The president of Dartmouth College has disavowed college lecturer and Antifa expert, Mark Bray.
Bray is the author of a recent book exploring antifa, a leftist movement in which members use any means, including violence if necessary, to suppress white supremacy. Bray’s colleagues praise his academic exploration of political extremism.
“When pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence,” Bray told host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” last week.
“A lot of people are under attack, and sometimes they need to be able to defend themselves. It’s a privileged position to say you never have to defend yourself from these kinds of monsters.”
Bray’s academic exploration of Antifa has landed Bray in hot water with Dartmouth officials. Following the interview with Chuck Todd, many outlets accused Bray of “[endorsing] Antifa’s violent protest tactics.”
These stories prompted a statement from Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon.
“Dartmouth embraces free speech and open inquiry in all matters, and all on our campus enjoy the freedom to speak, write, listen and debate in pursuit of better learning and understanding,” Hanlon’s statement continued. “…the endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values.”
“As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of ideas,” he said.
Hanlon’s statement has upset other Dartmouth educators. Over 100 faculty members have signed a letter demanding a retraction of the statement and an apology from President Hanlon to Bray. Signers are angered that college officials did not consult Bray before making their statement about his beliefs.
Bray received death threats since Dartmouth released a statement all but condemning his psychological review of Antifa.
“Professor Bray was exposed to violent threats, without so much as a basic effort even to warn him that the College intended to endorse the mischaracterization of his position and the implied attack on his scholarly standing by making clear he had no institutional support,” colleagues wrote.
Bray also maintains that his views were taken out of context.
“It shows that there are a lot of faculty who support my academic freedom and are upset with the president issuing his statement without, at the very least, checking in with me and my department to clarify my comments,” Bray said, in regards to the letter.
Bray maintained that it was “self-defense” he referenced during his appearance on “Meet the Press.” According to Bray, the only way to stop white supremacy was to do “what people did in Boston, what people did in Charlottesville.”
Bray also received pushback from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s president, Richard Cohen, who also appeared on “Meet the Press” and quickly refuted Bray’s beliefs.
“Hate is not illegal in this country,” he said. “Hurting people is illegal, and we have First Amendment rights, and we can’t squelch them by having people show up at rallies with clubs.”
At time of publication, Bray still teaches at Dartmouth but has said he is worried about job security.