Dartmouth faculty and President Philip Hanlon are at odds over one lecturer's controversial writings and media appearances about the Antifa, non-organized activists who say they oppose facism.
Lecturer Mark Bray is a leading expert on the Antifa, a group of activists fighting against White Supremacists, the KKK, neo-Nazis and other hate-groups.
But Bray's recent public comments on the group following rallies around the country have led Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon to distance Bray from the institution.
In a statement released Aug. 21, Hanlon says that Bray was supporting violence. But many in the Dartmouth faculty did not read Bray’s comments this way.
Now, reportedly more than 100 Dartmouth faculty are asking that Hanlon retract the statement.
They conclude the letter by saying:
We urge you to consider the lasting damage to Dartmouth’s reputation that follows from such actions as well as the personal danger in which Professor Bray now finds himself. We request that Dartmouth remove the statement on Professor Bray; apologize to him for exposing him to entirely predictable possibility of physical harm; and a initiate a review of peer-institution norms and recommended procedures on how to react when such a situation arises again—as it most certainly will.
According to several accounts, Bray has received numerous death threats, although some reportedly did come prior to President Hanlon’s disassociation with Bray.
Annelise Orleck is a professor of history at Dartmouth and helped pen the letter. She says statement's like Hanlon's produce a chilling effect in academia.
“The climate now is one in which numerous faculty are coming under attack for things they say as well as some of them the work they do,” Orleck said, “and that's a chilling environment and we really would like for Dartmouth to stand behind its faculty.”
A spokesperson for Dartmouth College says, at present, they do not know if President Hanlon will respond to the faculty's letter, but that Bray continues to receive the same support as any other staffer and will be able to continue using the Dartmouth backdrop and insignia in future interviews.