Opinion: When a professor becomes a threat

Dylan Webb is a teaching English as a second language major. Contact him at [email protected].

Dylan Webb

Recently at Kent State, associate history professor Julio Pino — the same professor accused of making very bold anti-Semitic statements such as sending a letter to Israeli academics stating, “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza,” — is now being investigated for ties with the Islamic State group, known for being one of the most sadistic and horrifying organizations.

This simply brings up a painful but reasonable point: When does freedom of speech become words that start fights and creates an atmosphere of danger? When does one cross the line from a bad professor to a threat?

In my opinion, as a pro-Israel and Jewish student, it is not that I feel angry; I feel threatened and worried for the sake of my fellow students, especially Muslim students.

The wisest course of action for Kent State is to put Pino on leave until further investigation. Disregarding tenure laws for the safety of students should be Kent’s first priority.

I simply do not want to have him slandering face against the peaceful religion of Islam and cause ignorant people to base the twisted words of one man on an entire religion. This could possibly bring some to commit hate crimes and start conflict.

This is a case of — not free speech — but a threat, not only to students, but peace between the students as well. The administration must take action rather than stand by. As Haile Selassie I, the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, said, “Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most. That has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

For more information contact Dylan Webb at [email protected].