In response to the news that Tommy Curry, professor of philosophy at Texas A & M University, has been receiving racist hate mail and death threats owing to a mispresentation of his words by pundit Rod Dreher, and that the president of his university, Michael K. Young, publicly reiterated this misrepresentation, graduate students from across his university have authored a public statement calling for support for Curry.
On 10 May 2017, President Michael K. Young of Texas A&M University sent an email to the university listserv concerning statements lifted from a 2012 podcast interview with Dr. Tommy Curry of the Department of Philosophy. Without naming him or describing the context of the interview, President Young characterized Dr. Curry’s statements in that interview as “disturbing” and “stand[ing] in stark contrast to Aggie core values, most notably those of respect, excellence, leadership, and integrity—values that we hold true toward all of humanity.”
President Young’s language in this email not only allows for but encourages the campus community to assume that Dr. Curry, in the podcast in question, used his First Amendment rights to “espouse hateful views” by advocating for “violence, hate, and killing.” We believe that this is not only a mischaracterization of Dr. Curry’s comments but serves to perpetuate a targeted campaign against his person and his work.
As members of the Texas A&M community, Aggies, and former students, particularly those of us who identify as Aggies of color, we are deeply alarmed and saddened by President Young’s decision to not support Dr. Curry in the face of these attacks. President Young’s response has not only exacerbated the situation but has legitimized dangerous and harmful rhetoric against a Black professor at Texas A&M University…