University Departments Endorse Campus Anti-Fascist Network
by Nikita Vladimirov, CampusReform.org, November 16, 2017
- The Campus Anti-fascist Network (CAN) claims that it has been endorsed by at least five university departments and dozens of other organizations nationwide.
- Antifa has participated in acts of vandalism and violence across the country that have destroyed property, caused people bodily harm, and torn communities apart.
- One of those endorsers, the University of Hawaii's Department of English, was quietly removed from the list after Campus Reform contacted every faculty member in the department.
- UPDATE: Trinity University has denied that any of its departments have endorsed CAN, speculating that the Antifa website may have been referring to another school that also bears the name "Trinity."
The Campus Anti-fascist Network (CAN) claims that it has been endorsed by at least five university departments and dozens of other organizations nationwide.
According to the official list of CAN endorsements touted on the group’s website, the sociology departments at Trinity University and the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the History Department of Occidental College, the Department of English at the University of Hawaii, and the Department of Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University have all declared their support for the Antifa network.
The University of Hawaii’s English Department, however, was quietly removed from the list of organizational endorsers after Campus Reform reached out to every faculty member listed on the school’s website.
When asked whether department members “are aware of the endorsement, and if so, whether you approve of it,” only one professor replied, telling Campus Reform that “we are, and I am.”
Other requests for comment from more than 100 faculty members at Trinity University, the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Occidental College, Claremont Graduate University, and the University of Hawaii remained unanswered, though some students are not pleased with the endorsements.
“I’m deeply disappointed that at a University that values inclusion and diversity, one of our departments has made the decision to throw Trinity Values out the window in order to score cheap political points,” Manfred Wendt, a student government senator, told Campus Reform, calling Antifa “a far-left, fringe movement categorized as a terrorist organization.
“Organizations like [this] have no place on Trinity’s campus or any institution that claims to value actual discussion of differing views,” he added, noting that “Antifa has played a key role in the continued polarization of our nation’s political dialogue.”
Wendt also disclosed that he is calling for “a formal investigation into Trinity’s Sociology department in order to determine how this decision came about,” as well as an immediate retraction of the endorsement.
“Endorsing CAN is against Trinity’s values, one of the most important of which is community,” he maintained. “Antifa has participated in acts of vandalism and violence across the country that have destroyed property, caused people bodily harm, and torn communities apart.”
Notably, CAN was originally organized by two activist professors in August, who envisioned it to be a “big tent” for “anyone committed to fighting fascism.”
According to its mission statement, CAN “looks to mass counter-mobilizations and broad-based coalitions as key to the fight” against fascism.
“In addition to protests, we encourage the development of educational and political spaces on campuses for teach-ins, reading groups, workshops, and strategy sessions on the history of fascism in its many guises and how to combat it,” the website states.
Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu, one of the founders of CAN, previously stressed that the group only supports “self-defense" on the part of "those who are being threatened by fascists.”
The University of Hawaii’s English Department chair did not immediately return Campus Reform’s request for an explanation as to why the department is no longer on the list.
UPDATE: Trinity University has denied that any of its departments have endorsed CAN, speculating that the Antifa website may have been referring to another school that also bears the name "Trinity."
"We did not as a department endorse Campus Antifascist Network nor have we ever endorsed, to my knowledge, any other political organization," David Spener, Chair of Trinity's Department of Sociology and Anthropology, told Campus Reform. "That would require a department discussion and vote, which has never occurred. That said, I do not believe that there is anyone in our department who supports fascists or fascism, in the United States or elsewhere."