Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Fear and Loathing in Carbondale

Jonathan Bean, a self-described "libertarian-conservative" who teaches in the history department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has gotten into hot water with some members of the administration, as well as some of his departmental colleagues. In a course that he teaches on the civil rights movement, Bean thought he’d generate discussion by having his graduate student assistants hand out an optional reading assignment--excerpts from "Remembering the Zebra Killings", an article that appeared at, about a series of 71 murders of whites by black men that took place in San Francisco in the early 1970s. Things haven’t gone well for Professor Bean since:

"It sparked what I called "handout hysteria," he said. "I handed it out on Tuesday. On Friday afternoon I’m called into the department chair’s office, with a hysterical department chair waving the handout at me."

Bean quickly backed off, issuing an apology and withdrawing the assignment (although it had always been optional). Alas, it wasn’t enough. Bean’s teaching assistants were told that they no longer had to work for him (although, presumably, they will continue to be paid), and eight of his colleagues signed a public letter accusing the professor of distributing "racist propaganda" in his class. Another of his liberal colleagues, Jane Shaw, has come to his defense:

"I think this is a really serious breach of collegiality," Adams said. "One of the things I am appalled by is his (Bean’s) reputation has been publicly smeared. That is all we have as professors."

More on this as it develops. Full disclosure: Jon Bean is a longtime acquaintance of mine, and an outstanding scholar and teacher. He does not deserve this.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Too bad he isn’t at the University of Colorado at Boulder and he taught from a different idealogical perspective then he would be lionized. T

I should just say, too bad he doesn’t teach from a different idealogical perspective, it doesn’t matter what college or university.

He should just go get a good lawyer right now. Don’t waste time with internal commmittees -- just threaten to sue the living hell out of them if the persecution continues.

Believe me, it’s the best way to go. Doing things the "official" way is a run-around, and ultimately they’ll side with the administration.

It is such a shame that the limitations that high school teachers have are being passed onto college professors. This has been happening in high schools for sometime. If students can’t be forced to "think outside the box," then they suffer.

Once again, an individual who is truly interested in imparting knowledge runs afoul of the ’thought police’, rampant on today’s college campuses.

He should immediately retain a junkyard dog lawyer and sue the hell out of the university, and for good measure, throw in the Board of Regents for allowing same.

Make sure that lawyer is one who likes to talk to the media.

Why is he apologizing? Why is the article inappropriate?

Prof. Bean is being represented by an SIU law professor who is also an ACLU attorney.

Working within their system is a mistake. Give them one chance, but only one. When a university acts like this, it must become an object of public contempt. The left will never surrender and will never be persuaded that it should be fair. It must be beaten, pure and simple.

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