Randa Jarrar, an English professor at the California State University (Fresno) attacked Barbara Bush online just hours after the 92-year-old former First Lady died. Jarrar said some disgustingly awful things, which is her right to do, but not on my dime.
Like Jarrar, I have problems with the Bush presidencies. George W. Bush dragged the United States into an immoral and unconstitutional war in Iraq. His domestic policies were equally tragic.
Having voiced my disapproval of the Bush presidencies would never lead me to say the things Jarrar said about Barbara Bush. Proverbs 24:17-18 says the following:
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.
The truth of this biblical Proverb is becoming a reality for Jarrar. There have been numerous calls for her to be fired, especially since she said she can’t be fired because she has tenure.
She was thumbing her nose at the people who are forced to pay her. This is an accurate summary of her screed:
“You can’t do anything to me; I’ve got tenure, and I make $100,000 a year to say anything I want. So there, suckers.”
A number of articles defend the “free speech” of this disgusting professor. The following is from David French of National Review Online. Whatever the content of Jarrar’s speech,
it was free speech. The constitutional analysis here is pretty darn simple. Under relevant law, a public employee enjoys First Amendment protection when she can show her speech “addressed ‘matters of public concern.’” Then, if her speech passes that test, her interest “in commenting upon matters of public concern” must outweigh “the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.”
As a practical matter, once a professor can establish they’re speaking on a matter of public concern, the second part of the legal test is easy to pass. The Supreme Court has long held that academic freedom is essential to American culture.
The thing of it is, Jarrar’s right to speak as an employee of an educational institution paid for by money confiscated from taxpayers is not free speech. If Jarrar taught at a school where not a single penny of tax-payer confiscated money funded the school (directly or indirectly), then I would say that she was exercising her “free speech.”