Earlier this week, a JMU History Professor named Mary K. Gayne tweeted out the following:
Now we can all agree that in the heat of a campaign, passions rise and things often get said. A University Professor has a duty to ensure that his or her students learn in an open and free environment. But she did not go after Donald Trump or Mike Pence or a Republican candidate. She went after Republicans. In making the above statement, she was going after her own students. Contrary to what a lot of people may want to think, there are quite a few Republicans at JMU. And many alumni went to JMU, including former House Speaker Kirk Cox. A look at JMU’s Policy 1121, referring to the need for civil discourse, says:
The university encourages civic engagement, including vigorous and civil discourse and debate on topics of public interest, both on and off campus. Civil discourse is an important life skill and part of engaged learning, community engagement and civic engagement. The university’s mission to be the national model of the engaged university is fundamentally supported by these activities. Nothing is more central to the concept of engagement in the higher education setting than free expression and civil discourse.
The University which claims to encourage civil discourse has said remarkably little about this incident, other than to make some weak statement about the need to be civil. This woman, Ms. Gayne, basically said she wished her GOP students would die. Aka JMU students can go ahead and die. For JMU to seemingly overlook this bizarre statement from one of their own faculty is surreal at best. Caitlyn Read, the JMU Director of Communications, stated that JMU “has limited ability” to regulate the speech or expression of their faculty. How would a 19 year old impressionable student feel in her class, knowing that with her narrow rigid ideology, their grade might be affected?
JMU does have the right, according to their own Policy 1121, to publicly repudiate Ms. Gayne’s statement and to remind the Republican students at JMU that their opinions are important too. In classic GOP style and manner, the JMU CR’s issued a statement which read in part: “We as Dukes are BETTER than simply resorting to petty name calling, as reflected in this tweet. We as the JMU College Republicans welcome open debate void of name calling”…… We encourage the JMU Commujnity to stand against this rhetoric and come together to be the best JMU we can be”.As the Chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Party, I stand with the JMU GOP Dukes and call on the JMU Board of Directors to remind Ms. Gayne that the JMU College Republicans and all on the JMU campus have the right to have their opinions without fear of intimidation from narrow minded ideologues like Ms. Gayne.
As the Chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Party, I stand with the JMU GOP Dukes and call on the JMU Board of Directors to remind Ms. Gayne that the JMU College Republicans and all on the JMU campus have the right to have their opinions without fear of intimidation from narrow minded ideologues like Ms. Gayne.