Here we go again. Another Professor targeted for cancellation because of tweets that offended a small number of people. In this case, we can see it playing out in real time.

The Professor is Gregory Manco, an Assistant Visiting Professor of Mathematics at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Manco does not have tenure, and has had his 1-year contracts renewed annually for over 15 years.

Manco also is the volunteer Assistant Baseball Coach, to which he devotes enormous time without pay. His role in working with the baseball team has been repeatedly praised by the university.

I’m not sure how Manco would be classified politically. Perhaps “classical liberal,” someone who believes in individual rights and capitalism. He has written op-eds on political topics expressing such views. He also wrote an op-ed that people should Fight racism with individualism, capitalism, limited government, in which he argued against the “white fragility” training, Kendi-style “antiracist” activism, and Black Lives Matter.

Manco used a pseudononymous Twitter account, @SouthJerzGiants (South Jersey Giants). His connection to that account was not generally known.

Manco’s time at St. Joseph’s has been uneventful until now. For reasons that are not immediately clear, someone or some persons targeted Manco to try to get him fired. They somehow learned that he was the person behind the South Jersey Giants Twitter account, and then complained (archive) to St. Joseph’s on Twitter, which then promised immediate action (archive).

https://twitter.com/saintjosephs/status/1362796474053058560

These are the three images attached to the tweet in response to which St. Joseph’s promised action:

https://twitter.com/conjoinedtoepez/status/1362792958513340416

https://twitter.com/conjoinedtoepez/status/1362792958513340416

https://twitter.com/conjoinedtoepez/status/1362792958513340416

Knowing that the complaints were going to be public and that the school student newspaper was planning on running a story about it, Prof. Manco decided to go public on his Twitter account, in a thread (archive) laying out what has happened:

Twitter friends,

It appears that cancel culture is now knocking on my door. In advance of a school newspaper article, I wanted to share my thoughts here in a way that they would be unfiltered.

THREAD

Even if you don’t know me by name, you may know that I am a fulltime mathematics professor and also a baseball coach. You also know that I am a passionate advocate of reason, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism.

This makes me somewhat of an outlier in academia. The reason why I kept this account and use nothing under my name is because it kept me semi-anonymous. And I always made sure to keep politics out of my classroom and dugout.

Well it seems someone from outside the University has made the connection and circulated screenshots of tweets among students that he/she claims are of a racially biased nature.

These here were brought to my attention (including one retweet of someone else); it includes additional commentary added at the bottom, presumably by the person trying to ruin me:

Of course, those conclusions are silly, my policy stances do not show racial bias, but the opposite. Many other recent tweets of mine were deliberately ignored by this person who wanted to establish a false narrative, because that narrative would have been thoroughly discredited

Here is user name “karl marx” (u can’t make this up!) bringing them to the U’s attention. This is now something w/ which I have to deal even though these are opinions as a private American citizen. A review of my writings do not show anything but respect for people of all races

In fact, opposition to racism is *inherent* in being a principled individualist.

I also have a well-documented employment record, in form of stellar performance reviews & student evals that show nothing but respect for all students and care for their well-being. Therefore, I am confident that a full and fair review will ultimately put this to rest.

Cancel culture is very real and very sad. It creates an environment where the free expression of ideas is stifled and many people are afraid to be themselves. And it is often fueled by people motivated by vengeance if not retribution.

They do it simply because they can.

Go back and look at the commentary added to my tweets. Does that really look like someone who is genuinely hurt by my words? Instead, it seems to show someone gleefully celebrating what they think will be another cancellation.

Now to anyone who is genuinely hurt or confused by these tweets of mine, I would simply say: let me explain why you shouldn’t be. I can do that. And I would also point out why they are regretfully being used by someone with ulterior and malicious motives.

This is why I intend to fight this. This is why I leave the account public and keep up these tweets. We have to take a stand against this awful and destructive trend in American life, where many people with non-leftist political beliefs are made to live in fear.

Also: a sincere thanks to the former student who anonymously brought this to my attention. I don’t have Instagram and would not have otherwise seen all of what was being circulated. I don’t know who you are, my friend, but this is also for you.

You shouldn’t be afraid, either

In closing, read my op-ed. All my writings are consistent w/ it:

REASON: reject contradictions

INDIVIDUALISM: Judge a person by their character, not immutable physical traits

CAPITALISM: equality before law, leave people free to pursue their dreams

And here is an op-ed about reparations by the aforementioned late Dr. Walter E. Williams, written while Full Professor of Economics at George Mason. Those of us who fight for liberty miss him every day.

I will keep you posted. Thank you for reading.

Kyle Ratliff, a friend of Manco, has written a Public Letter to St. Joseph’s demanding the investigation be closed:

A Public Letter to Saint Joseph’s University | Defending Professor Gregory Manco

University was once a place of vigorous debate where competing ideologies and philosophies clash among the most prominent and serious-minded intellectuals determined to know the truth. Institutions of higher learning protected those visionary and controversial pioneers to break the mold, stand on their independent judgement, and proudly proclaim their bold new ideas to the world. Despite differences, there was a tacit admission that reason was efficacious, that men could know truth from falsehood, and the pursuit of truth was the noblest enterprise man could embark. Places of higher learning were founded on this principle; but no more. We are now a far cry from that visionary standard.

Recently, students of Saint Joseph’s University identified the owner of a semi-anonymous Twitter account called “South Jersey Giants” claiming he is a virulent racist and should be fired immediately. They uncovered that professor Gregory Manco was the owner of this account. I have linked photos of their complaints on Twitter made to the university.

I will not defend Manco from these accusations, as he has done so himself in the following Twitter thread. To any honest person, it’s clear they are not actually offended by what Manco said. They are using their “offense” as a battering ram to ramrod their own political agenda. They have no interest in dealing with the ideas honestly; they demand university officials enact their requests, rather than intellectually engaging the professor. They offer no case for their demands, as their emotions substitute any rational cognition. The mere existence of their offense is sufficient and to claim otherwise is “problematic.” They are quintessential “crybullies.” The only thing worse than these “crybullies” are the spineless university officials appeasing their demands.

I am calling on the Saint Joseph’s University to immediately end their investigation of professor Gregory Manco. I am also calling on the university to formally and publicly apologize to him for starting this investigation to begin with. Furthermore, they must realign their function toward the actual purpose of university to begin with: rational inquiry and freedom of expression. Capitulation to an anonymous and cowardly mob that hide behind crude Twitter avatars is moral treason against their profession. Those of us who care about freedom of speech must use their voice to condemn this cancel culture trend. Eventually, it will come for you.

I sent the following email to St. Joseph’s media relations but as of this writing have not received a response:

I cover higher education issues, including ‘cancel culture’, and I noticed this tweet which appears to concern professor Gregory Manco, https://twitter.com/saintjosephs/status/1362796474053058560ur

Can you tell me the status of St. Joseph’s “looking into this immediately”? What is it you are looking into? Is there an investigation?

Also, extramural statements of faculty (e.g. on Twitter) are widely recognized as being protected by faculty academic freedom. Does St. Joseph’s consider these tweets protected by academic freedom, and does St. Josephs intend on honoring Prof. Manco’s right to speak out on matters of public interest?

If you could get back to me soon, that would be appreciated, as I may write about this as early as tonight.

St. Joseph’s President Mark Reed needs to prove leadership in defending faculty against such attacks, and should issue a simple statement affirming Prof. Manco’s academic freedom to comment on matters of public importance.

We will continue to follow this case, which is deeply personal to the target, Prof. Manco, but just sport for those trying to ruin his career.  It’s up to St. Joseph’s to stand strong for academic freedom, and not only to reject the complaints, but also to assure that Prof. Manco’s contract will be renewed as it had for over a decade.

UPDATES

Prof. Manco has been put on paid leave.

A Change.org Petition had been started supporting Prof. Manco:

https://www.change.org/p/saint-joseph-s-university-support-and-save-dr-greg-manco-of-saint-joseph-s-university-from-cancel-culture?

 

 
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