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Actual Malice at Vassar College

Actual Malice at Vassar College

False claims I posed a safety threat incited campus against me for my free speech event.

I’m still trying to get my mind around the Vassar College campus reaction to my planned lecture on “hate speech” and free speech, which I wrote about in Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff were whipped into a frenzy by factually false accusations against me and regarding my appearance. There were many false accusations. In this post, I’ll address just one aspect, that I supposedly posed a threat to campus safety.

The campus was misled into thinking that I, and supposed “neo-Nazis and white supremacists” who were likely to attend with me, were going to target non-white, LGBT and Jewish students. It was a fabrication.

Two campus forums attended by hundreds of people were held by a student group called Healing 2 Action to prepare how to protect the campus from the supposed threat I posed. Among other statements reportedly made at the meeting was the false claim that the “speaker himself is trying to incite violence….” That was a lie without any factual basis.

A document circulated widely on campus after the first of those meetings recites that one of the administrative Deans of Vassar addressed the crowd as follows:

“[name of Dean]: the school/administration has a responsibility to protect us, they intend to do so
○ question: how exactly will they protect us?
○ look at what has happened on other campuses, make a plan that involves Safety
& Security ahead of time”

False claims by Healing 2 Action that event information was shared by me “on multiple white nationalist websites,” and that there was “active encouragement for other white nationalists to come to the event” were spread to thousands of people by the Vassar Student Association, the student government, in an all-student email. The claim was made in that all-student email that there was a need to “protect the people that this speaker has targeted in the past.”

“Safe” events were organized on and off campus to help protect students from me and my supposed supporters. That such events were held at Chabad [*] and the Jewish Student Union was particularly painful for me, considering all I have done to fight anti-Semitism on campuses, including at Vassar.

In addition to asking the Vassar President to cancel my appearance, as quoted in my prior post, the Executive Board of the Vassar Student Association requested that academic deadlines be relaxed because the problems my appearance was causing students were so serious. VSA requested the president:

“Reach out to faculty to make them aware of and acknowledge the pain and emotional toll students are facing right now and will face this week, so that a strict adherence to deadlines on academic work is not an additional and unjust burden on students”

In the run up to my appearance, event posters were placed around campus by the sponsoring group, the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union. Those posters, consistent with Vassar policy, were approved to be place on bulletin boards, and had the stamp of approval on them.

The posters were torn down almost as soon as they were put up. The demonization was so complete that one of the posters that was not immediately torn down was defaced by putting horns on me.

Keep in mind, this campus frenzy intended to portray me as a threat to campus safety (and other things, as well) never was based on reality. It was similar to falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, but even worse, because it falsely blamed a real person (me) for the fictitious fire.

There is a malevolence on the Vassar campus, among a small but potent percentage of the student body, faculty and staff, that the Vassar administration has not come to grips with. Instead, people falsely claiming I posed a threat to campus safety had their baseless reactions recognized as legitimate.

The event as it took place was as it always was intended to be, a serious discussion of the balancing of 1st Amendment free speech and campus inclusivity concerns on private college campuses. There never was any factual basis to claim otherwise, only actual malice.

For those of you who have not yet seen the videos of my speech and the Q&A session, the videos are below.

.

—–

[* Added 10-30-2017 – Chabad central organization contacted me asserting that the Chabad event, in which students reacting to my presence on campus could go for “Tea, food, couches and lots of love” was not a “safe” event but “is what Chabad does all the time.” You can read the Chabad Facebook post here. I stand by my post.]

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Comments

The left has become a cult complete with unquestionable dogma. Any descent will be met with violent reactions from the other cult members.

    If a decent soft-spoken person like Professor Jacobson is called names like a white-supremacist and they make claims that he incites violence, it makes you wonder how many others who have been similarly accused by the college madmen and in the media were actually guilty of such actions.

    Those responsible for this at Vassar need to be expelled (students) or fired (faculty/administrators) and then charged with inciting violence and hate crimes. Otherwise it will continuously get worse.

    GeorgeCrosley in reply to SpaceInvader. | October 29, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Any “dissent,” you mean?

Lies, deceit, deception, distraction – all to generate divisiveness and hate.
And all of this at Bastions of Higher Learning !
I am really afraid this “infection” is beyond a cure.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to Lewfarge. | October 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    The cure does not come in a miracle injection to cure the disease but through a long protracted treatment of the ailment.

    The first course of treatment comes from simply enforcing the existing laws at Universities and stopping this absurd notion that Universities are autonomous fiefdoms that are not subject to the laws of our nation, state and municipality. Regarding the enforcement there have been several recent posts here at Legal Insurrection that indicate there has been some movement in the right direction. Specifically in reference to title VI, title IX and the warnings to the Universities by the DOJ of their responsibilities and AJ Sessions intention to enforce and prosecute. There was another measure passed a few years ago that might of been specifically mentioned or I noticed following the references provided by Miriam in here most recent post that related to BDS aspects of title VI but I cannot remember right now off the top of my head.

    Enforcement of current law can do wonders for free speech, safety and civility on campus. Incidentally, enforcement of the current legislation regarding immigration can do wonders for the problems resulting from the lack of enforcement that we were promised after RR granted amnesty back in the early 80s.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Lewfarge. | October 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    All that, while blaming conservatives for the coarseness of today’s political dialog (what’s left of it, at least).

    The cure comes from money – or lack of it.
    Cut off loan eligibility to schools like vaSSer.

    No more hitler youth on fed funds.

      …and since the professors want to remain employed, they would drop tuition drastically and accept anyone who applied entrance. Removing Federal Monies wouldn’t chase out the rich-kid Marxist thugs, only allow more thuggish non-rich. Antifa and their leadership are looking for open street conflict – and I doubt they’re alone.

      Aren’t universities run by Boards of Directors, Presidents, Dept Heads, etc. That is the root of this nasty tree – and it drinks money. Kill the root and the tree dies. Removing Federal monies won’t accomplish that – both Google and Facebook are in the process of Censoring American citizens, and with their billions they could easily support major universities if the Govt money dries up. Then you have dozens of other BILLIONAIRES who would be willing to chip in a dollar or two.

      Nope, somehow the root needs killed. Now the primary grade schools are busy pushing social justice and Islam. At this rate, in two generations America will be unrecognizable.

        Money is the key.

        As for Google and Facebook’s censorship, those companies need to be busted up under anti-trust laws.

        Money is power, whether it comes privately or from government, Especially if it comes/does not come from government.

At what point are you being slandered?

    Tom Servo in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 28, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    When the claim was made that Prof J. intended to incite violence.

    To accuse someone of a crime, in a way that others will find credible (and obviously many listeners at Vassar did) is slander.

    And since this was obvious, what you just wrote is a kind of passive aggressive implied slander. But it’s the kind of slander that only gutless weasels tend to use.

    Olinser in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Yes, that was my thought as well. We’re talking about official documents being circulated by the student government here, which had doubtlessly been seen and approved by multiple faculty and staff.

    We’re not talking about generic things here, we’re talking about very specific, VERIFIABLY FALSE statements that they made about you personally.

    Have you considered actual legal action against Vassar?

    MalkaBT in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 29, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I wondered the same thing. It must weigh deeply on a legal mind such as Professor Jacobson. It’s certainly malicious intent and not based on fact, which I (a layperson) think is basis for slander.

      Milhouse in reply to MalkaBT. | October 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Actually if it’s not a factual statement then it’s opinion, and therefore not slander. “Jacobson said X” is a statement of fact, which is either true or false; if it’s both defamatory and false (and, to the extent that he’s a public figure, knowingly or recklessly false), then it’s slander or libel, depending on its form. But “Jacobson is a bad person” is a conclusion, an opinion derived from possibly false statements of fact, and by definition it cannot be slanderous or libelous. “Jacobson is a white supremacist” is generally seen as being in the second category, not the first; it’s not stating a fact but a conclusion, which is inherently opinion and thus not actionable.

        Sue them, and let them defend it.

        Zumkopf in reply to Milhouse. | October 30, 2017 at 9:25 am

        Not so fast, Milhouse. Accusing of vicious and/or criminal behavior is defamatory, even if not entirely specific. So saying “Jacobsen is a rapist” or “Jacobsen is a thief” or even “Jacobsen has committed felonies” would be actionable; you don’t have to say who Jacobsen allegedly raped or stole from or what specific felonies he committed. [You will also note that both rape and theft depend on lack of consent, which can itself be open to interpretation.] Moreover, implying that someone is unfit for his/her chosen profession is also actionable. Most would consider being an actual Nazi/Klansman to be disqualifying for a professor. So that is also actionable.

          Milhouse in reply to Zumkopf. | October 30, 2017 at 5:31 pm

          “Jacobson has committed felonies” is a statement of fact, and so actionable. But “is a rapist” or “is a thief” doesn’t necessarily imply that he’s committed actual rapes or thefts; it could mean that he “rapes” the environment, or “justice” or some such nonsense, or that he benefits unfairly at the expense of the poor (“property is theft”), which is opinion, and therefore protected speech.

          Alleging that someone is objectively unqualified for their chosen profession is actionable, but alleging that they’re morally unfit is not. So saying he is not learned in the law would be actionable, but saying he’s a nazi or klan sympathizer (as opposed to card-carrying member) is not.

Instead, people falsely claiming I posed a threat to campus safety had their baseless reactions recognized as legitimate.

I can (maybe, kinda) understand how they could be deluded enough to believe you were a threat to their personal safety before the event, but now that the event is over and they’re unmolested, shouldn’t they realize their fears were unfounded? And that maybe next time, they will react differently to a similar situation?

I know, that’s a lot to ask of people with no critical thinking skills…but, still…

    nomadic100 in reply to rinardman. | October 29, 2017 at 12:01 am

    The snowflakes’ reply would be that the Professor WOULD have incited violence had he not been deterred from doing so by the preemptive war waged against him.

Ragspierre | October 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm

The first action that I would like to address is the misrepresentation of facts. For this, I would like to clarify the truth of a few claims H2A made about the event for the sake of upholding truth. Firstly, while Professor Jacobson is a conservative and runs a conservative publication called “Legal Insurrection,” it was alleged by some that he is actually a white supremacist. There is no evidence to support this fact, and while some may argue that conservative and white supremacist are one and the same, Jacobson, to my knowledge, has not been accused by anybody besides H2A of harboring racist or white supremacist opinions.

Furthermore, some people alleged that news of the event was shared on white supremacist and neo-Nazi websites and publications. My research found that the news was shared on four sites: Legal Insurrection, VidolAmerica.org, LongRoom. com and VCLU’s own newspaper, Tertium Quids. While some of these sites lean right, none could reasonably be considered white nationalist in the way that the Daily Stormer or the KKK’s website can. The statement that the event has been shared on white nationalist websites is misleading.

Lastly, there is no evidence that I could find to support H2A’s claim that members of national hate groups are likely to come to this event as they did in Charlottesville. The president of VCLU told me that they know of “five people” who are attending and who shall remain confidential.. Besides that, there is no evidence of attendees from the outside community, and claims of any are little more than speculation branching off of the earlier claim that news of the event was shared on white nationalist websites.
http://miscellanynews.org/2017/10/25/opinions/banning-hate-speech-ultimately-hurts-progressive-cause/

Pretty gutsy. The same author, eating his errors. You have to admire that rare event.

I’d chalk that up as a WIN!, Prof.

    Olinser in reply to Ragspierre. | October 28, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    He’s not eating anything and still trying to justify it. Seriously read his bullshit.

    He tries to conflate conservatism and white supremacy multiple times, and chickenshits out of it by claiming there is ‘no evidence’. Not ‘they were false’. There is just ‘no evidence’.

    Seriously read his crap here:

    “My research found that the news was shared on four sites: Legal Insurrection, VidolAmerica.org, LongRoom. com and VCLU’s own newspaper, Tertium Quids. While some of these sites lean right, none could reasonably be considered white nationalist in the way that the Daily Stormer or the KKK’s website can. The statement that the event has been shared on white nationalist websites is misleading.”

    Once again he tries to conflate ‘leaning right’ with white supremacy. And the statement that the event has been shared on white nationalist websites is not ‘misleading’, you chickenshit hack. It’s VERIFIABLY FALSE.

    Probably why the article you linked is now ‘under review’ and no longer actually available.

      Ragspierre in reply to Olinser. | October 28, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      I read both this piece and the one preceding it.

      I’ll leave it to the Prof. as to whether the second piece counts as a net win.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | October 28, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    “This article is under review and will be made available shortly. The Miscellany News is committed to transparency and ethical reporting and will act with these values as a guide.”

    This is now in place of the article you linked Rags. Not sure what it means.

      What is means is fairly simple. The paper is trying to do what the MSM have been getting away with for decades: Lie to as many people as you possibly can, and when your lies are discovered, apologize to three or four people and call it good. Or as I like to put it:

      Lie to millions
      Apologize to dozens
      Claim neutrality
      Today’s MSM

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 28, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Check the link again. Apparently there was an “addendum” that completely undid the good of the original article, and the whole thing has now been taken down.

      DudeAbides in reply to Milhouse. | October 28, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      No, the original article outright called Jacobson a white supremacist, and the addendum is what Rags linked.

      Although as Olinser pointed out, he still tried to act like he could have been right and there was just ‘no evidence’ that Jacobson was a white supremacist.

      Obviously the editor, or more likely the University staff, realized that they couldn’t salvage it so they pulled it down and are trying to pretend that it never existed.

    “My research found that…”

    Has your research ever discovered the meaning of the phrase “Great Goad Cheeto,” as you used it previously in the comment section?

    Ragspierre | October 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    “Romney winds up losing the softball election of 2012
    against obama.”

    If the 2012 election was a “gimme”, why didn’t your
    Great Goad Cheeto run and save the Republic?

    Hmmmm…???

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2017/10/report-romney-seriously-considering-run-for-senate-in-utah/

    Perhaps you could ask the president of VCLU. Or Frito-Lay.

One of the reasons the Left disrupts Conservative Speakers on a College Campus, or some other public forums is their precepts and ideas will not stand up under even minor scrutiny. While the failure of Communism is obvious and numerous, the Progs will tend to say “the concept has not been implemented by the right people.”

    TX-rifraph in reply to Romey. | October 29, 2017 at 6:49 am

    The truth is an enemy to those it exposes. Open discourse is feared by the left. The Professor was an existential threat to the leftists and therefore had to receive the Alinsky treatment. This is all about process. Neither the content nor the facts matter here to the left. The core threat to a totalitarian is open discourse.

    Professor, your enemies pay you great compliments: They had to create great lies about you.

Professor.

You really need to start using that picture of you (with the horns) as your official picture.

Mirabelle Ward | October 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Kind of seems like the people saying you have horns are the white supremacists.

DouglasJBender | October 29, 2017 at 12:14 am

Is “Vassar” the formal plural of “vassal”? Did Professor Jacobsen confront the Vassar of two evils?

(Just trying to inject some levity into a weighty matter.)

“Matt Vassar was a beer brewer…” How long before the name of the college is changed.

Correct me if I am wrong, but does not Alt-Right mean “an alternative to the right”?
>
Even more bizarre, people need to look at what those who are legitimate white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and so forth, really do stand for and believe.
>
First of all they reject the notion of God for God is inclusive everyone, demands that we love everyone, sees everyone as being equal, and so forth. This is the antithesis to what they believe so they reject the entire concept of God and Christianity and, in this regard, they share this stance with the Left and these campus snowflakes.
>
A second aspect to the alt-right is that they focus on the group. They do not believe the individual is unique and that the individual attains all their characteristics from the group with whom they associate. In others words, if you are black, then you automatically behave, think, and believe in a certain monolithic way just as members of any other group would behave, think, and believe in their own certain way and according to the group to which they belong. In this manner, the alt-right is quite similar to the Left and as the Left’s behavior at this lecture, labeling Professor Jacobson as a white supremacist, and so forth, so clearly demonstrates.
>
A third aspect of the alt-right is that they are obsessed with race and identity politics. This should be obvious just as it should be obvious that this characteristic is shared by the Left.
>
It should become apparent now that the alt-right is the antithesis to the typical conservative who believes in the individual as unique and not a part of the monolithic group to which they are assigned, who have a strong believe in Christianity, and who reject identity politics while also trying to put the issue of race on the back burner for it is the individual who is important in their eyes and not their race. It is the person’s actions and behavior as well as the concept of personal responsibility that is so important to the conservative and that is rejected by both the alt-right and the Left.
>
What this means is that the Alt-right is far more closely allied with the ideology of the Left than anyone else. Where the problem lies is that the alt-right places some minorities far down the list of importance while elevating the importance of being white while the Left does the opposite. In all other aspects they are very similar, if not the same, in their beliefs.
>
What all this means is that we are watching another display of diversion. Groups like Antifa promote fascism and use fascist techniques in their fight against fascism while they accuse everyone else of being fascist just as the extreme Left accuses conservatives of being alt-right when the alt-right is ideologically closer to the Left than conservatism.
>
If this warped thinking, twisted logic, out of control paranoia, and absolutely childish behavior wasn’t a harbinger of something far more terrifying, then it would be outright comical.

    thalesofmiletus in reply to Cleetus. | October 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    “Correct me if I am wrong…”

    There’s more to the independent right than the handful of unironic nazis.

      Ragspierre in reply to thalesofmiletus. | October 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Really? Elaborate.

        Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 29, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        Note that he used the term “independent right” rather than “alt-right”. The rather recent term “alt-right” is sometimes used in a very narrow sense to include only the truly ugly, deplorable, and insane, but it’s also sometimes used in a much broader sense to refer to the whole spectrum of independent and insurgent right sites, groups, and thinkers who’ve arisen in the last 20 years, including the uglies, but also including Porkbusters in 2006-8 (which ironically included Barack 0bama), the TEA Party movement of 2009-11, and this blog. Of course the left’s favorite tactic is to use it in the narrow sense but pretend to do so in the broad sense, so people get the impression that the entire broad sector shares the ugly traits for which the narrow sector is justly reviled.

        Remember they did the same thing to the Patriot movement (or as they liked to call it, the “militia movement”) in the ’90s, which truly did include some very ugly groups as well as quite a few bizarre and insane groups, but the bulk of which was made up of true patriots and normal Americans, color-blind and tolerant, and willing to stand up for what was right. I knew a few of those people and while some had some very strange ideas, none struck me as in any way bigoted or dangerous.

This is a form of “Swatting” ala Academia. A tactic used and loved by the left. They are losing.

I admit that I didn’t used to be very interested in politics – I fact I probably was your generally uninformed middle of the roader who just strolled along sort of oblivious.

But I am amazed at how everything have changed so much in such a short time. Apparently I went from the bland center to being a raging white supremacist, bigot, homophobe, hater. I honestly thought the white supremacist was the really scary fascist/white hooded guys but now everyone I know who voted for Trump is now one.

When I went to college people just ignored the speakers they didn’t like – we didn’t prevent them from speaking to those who were interested. IMO higher education may well be our nation’s downfall.

First of all, recent history has shown that the liberal left presents a far greater physical danger to people and property than does the far right [read: “white supremacists”]. Antifa and other leftists were responsible for the post election violence across the country, the campus violence surrounding conservative speakers and even the initial physical attacks at Charlottetown and Berkley. Many conservative gatherings and campus events have been cancelled or shut down solely due to threatened violence from the LEFT, not the Right. Also, no one is required to attend any of these speaker’s lectures. In the past it has been a standard practice for liberal professors to require that students in their classes attend liberal speakers for CREDIT. So, in this case there should be no emotional toll on students from a conservative speaker’s presentation.

This is simply the rise of the thugocracy. Rule by thugs. And, the best way to deal with thugs is to ignore them and, if they attack you physically, bloody their noses. It has worked since the dawn of time and it will work just as well today.

Professor Jacobson:

We are at war with the left – literally: street violence and all. You, as a professor at a major university, are as great threat to the left as anyone in public life. You have taken on a role that has made you a target of the loons of the left, but has also elevated you to substantial heights in the eyes of most Americans who discover you. It’s as if you joined the the military after Pearl Harbor, or 9/11.

Our nation is populated with millions upon millions of people who are either street thugs, ego-challenged useful idiots of the left, or people who living in the information bubble of the democrat media and have no idea what’s really going on – or all three. In this war of information, there are few, if any, college professors in the front lines who are on the side of sanity, as you are. (Given what just happened, I’d use it get yourself on Laura Ingraham’s and Sean Hannity’s shows.)

There are many of us behind you, in ways you’d be surprised to know about. You must keep it up – it will pay-off in dividends for our country, as well as for you personally. (You deserve it.)

It’s lonely at the top. But it’s lonelier in the middle, living in fascist nation.

You are the Serena Williams of WOMEN’s tennis.

juliathemechanic | October 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm

I have learned through observing my older brother’s career, first as a union organizer and Communist party member, then as a professor in the California university system, that the Socialist/Communist party is alive and well within the teaching profession. On July 7-8, 2017 many members of the American Socialist and Commmunist parties attended the G20 Summit in Hamberg, Germany. There they met up with several Antifa, al Queda and Muslim Brotherhood groups to organize their planned “march through the institutions” to take place at American universities. Their efforts are funded in large part by George Soros, though I’m certain he’s not the only funder. The outcome of this meeting is what we’ve been witnessing ever since. Many, many members of the teaching profession, at college level and all the way down, support and march with Antifa. A perfect example of this is the Berkeley, CA school district in which several elementary and junior high school level teachers have been arrested for rioting with By All Means Necessary, an organizing member of the Antifa alliance.

This may sound crazy to you, but I assure you it’s not. The eradication of free speech within the universities is direct action by revolutionary Communist subversives and their Socialist fellow travelers. These people take Gramsci’s call to corrupt the institutions from within very much to heart. The kids involved are unfortunately being propagandized and taken for a very expensive ride. This is not coming from the students, Mr. Jacobson. This is coming from the professors and the administration. These people are wealthy and safe in union protected and/or tenured positions and feel free to disrupt. How will we change this? Stop sending your kids to schools that won’t respect their freedoms for a start. As a follow-up, publicly shame and ridicule them out of their cushy jobs. They’re a menace.

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