Those offended by Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar’s tweets can quit wasting their time demanding that the university fire her.

Her ugly tweets — posted by Jarrar to call attention to herself — are protected by the First Amendment. For those who have forgotten exactly what it says, here is it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Portrait of GV Wire News Director/Columnist Bill McEwen

Opinion

Bill McEwen

I’m damn glad and consider myself fortunate to live in a country that allows me to speak my mind, choose my religion and protest with precious few restrictions. To see what isn’t allowed under the First Amendment click on this link.

Being offended, on occasion, by what people have to say is an infinitesimal price to pay for the First Amendment. I’d call it one of the best bargains on earth.

Jarrar Protected By 1st Amendment and Her Union

Now about those folks saying things like “I’d fire her on the spot if she worked for me.” One, she doesn’t work for you. Two, she works for the California State University system and is a union member.

If Fresno State President Joe Castro fired her because she said mean things about Barbara Bush, then he should have his head examined. Firing her would mean he (and the CSU counsel) don’t understand the First Amendment and also want to make her fabulously rich.

What I find interesting about this controversy is how the right-wing social media machine is able to so easily spike the blood pressure of American conservatives that they forget the meaning of the First Amendment. The left-wing social media machine is good at this, too. I guess we’re becoming the nation of the habitually aggrieved.

Are Offended Donors Withholding Support of GOP, Too?

The beauty of the First Amendment is that it protects everyone. Thus, conservative political operative Roger Stone, a close confidant of President Donald Trump, is free to give his views on Barbara Bush following her death without the FBI or the local police knocking on his door.

“She was a mean-spirited, vindictive drunk. She is ascending into hell right now,” Stone told Alex Jones of InfoWars. “She’s not going to heaven. She was a bad person.” Tampabay.com additionally reported that Stone wrote on Instagram, “Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days.”

Here’s a question for donors who are upset at Castro for not firing Jarrar and are contemplating withdrawing their support of the university: Are you also contemplating not giving another dime to the Republican Party or conservative groups because of Stone’s words?

I didn’t think so.

Stone’s words did cost him a Lincoln Reagan Day speaking gig at a country club in Florida. As for Stone, of whom I’m not a fan, I did like his response to the speech cancellation: “The day that some officious country club Republican in Fort Walton Beach tells me what I can and cannot say in public will be the day that hell freezes over.”

Fresno State Students Aren’t Kids. They’re Adults.

Some of those demanding Jarrar’s firing talk about her corrupting students. Really? She teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts program. Her students are all college graduates and need a 3.0 grade-point average to qualify. They’re adults, not kids. And they can think for themselves.

Moreover, Jarrar teaches a handful of students. Until she took her Rebel Without a Cause mission nationwide, I doubt that more than a couple of hundred students on a campus with an enrollment of more than 25,000 had ever heard of her, much less sat in her fiction writing workshops.

As for her YouTube rants, it’s law enforcement’s job — not Castro’s — to decide whether they cross the line.  My take is she’s a wanna-be comedian. Or performance artist. A gutless one, too. Otherwise, she’d give up her tenured teaching position and hit the road with her act.

Fresno State’s Mission is a Million Times Bigger Than a Narcissistic Professor

Finally, Fresno State is the driving force in efforts to reduce poverty and improve conditions for all in the San Joaquin Valley.

Working on efforts started by John Welty, Castro and his leadership team, along with faculty and staff, are transforming Fresno State into a cutting-edge university that graduates young adults from all backgrounds with the skills and the knowledge they need to succeed in life and to uplift our region.

Randa Jarrar’s tweets don’t change these facts.

Mad about what she said?

The best revenge is to ignore her. Narcissists can’t stand it when you do that.

Then send a donation to Fresno State in the name of your favorite program.

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10 Responses

  1. dave shapiro

    if students are unhappy about donations reducing, they can protest and march for randa jarrar to be punished in some way. the university could make a statement and only allot one students for each of her classes for the next school year. Until, they do that, the public needs to make the conclusion that fresno st has lost any control over their employees. Any of us in the private sector, would be fired already. If fresno st really is for free speech, they would make sure to have affirmative action to have a diverse 50 percent conservative faculty. The university is NOT being intellectually honest

    Reply
    • John

      But it’s not the private sector – it’s a union State contract – and within the confines of that humongous document I would bet Dr. castro exercises as much control as he can. But to punish the school for something he can’t control is simply a circular firing squad. And allot one student per class? Seriously, you want to reward her? That’s the silliest thing I’ve heard. You think this woman has any shame? She would love being paid for one student and sleeping late.

      Reply
  2. Dan Waterhouse

    Let’s ignore narcissistic folks like Michael Der Manouel too. They don’t add anything to a discussion.

    Reply
  3. Gary Gerwin

    Mr. McEwen, does it even cross your mind that Randa Jarrar’s Twitter rantings and other videotaped comments suggest that she is impulsive, self-righteous and willing to completely disregard the well-being of others to achieve her aims?

    Those qualities make me question her fitness to teach a dog obedience class, let alone graduate-level lit classes.

    Reply
  4. Tom Marsella

    Until TENURE is restructured nothing will change. Now, since this has placed FSC in the national negative spotlight. It’s a perfect time to initiate TENURE revision. Let’s be part of the solution, not part of the continued problem.

    Reply
    • John

      It’s not tenure or the first amendment – it’s all their union State contract and Dr. Castro has zero control over it. That’s the source and the remedy. All the rest is just emotional babble.

      Reply
  5. Steve Kipp

    As a Fresno State grad (B.A. Journalism, almost 40 years ago), I find it hilariously ironic that this campus administration has now twice in two years had to defend two professors (Jarrar & Maischak) under a “First Amendment” defense…no matter how many “miles” they go off-course in hatefully calling for the deaths of others. And yet a farmer, speaking before the forum, starts inching off-course…and his mic gets cut off! First Amendment for me, but not for thee? (Some people are “more equal” than others, perhaps?) As a former newspaper sports editor from The Valley, I’m done with Fresno State athletics TV-wise; and I encourage others to re-evaluate how they spend their time & $ in the Valley.

    Reply
  6. john

    She should have been fired Fresno State decided not to do it behind the “1st Amendment.” I believe the 1st Amendment has a clause for this specific situation:

    The government can restrict speech under a less demanding standard when the speaker is in a special relationship to the government. For example, the speech of government employees and of students in public schools can be restricted, even based on content, when their speech is incompatible with their status as public officials or students.

    When she gave out the suicide hotline number as her complaint number she created a “public concern” which would prevent her from being protected from “free speech”.

    Reply
  7. John

    All you folks forget this had less to do with the 1st amendment and was almost 100% to do with her State employment contract – over which Dr. Castro has zero control. You can all rant all day, and hurt our university, but until you get off your butts and convince enough other voters to elect representatives who will change the contracts with their State employees, nothing can change. And if you have lived here in the valley so long you don’t realize every other school in the country has 3-4 or more Jarrar’s, you really need to get out more. The difference is their alum don’t overreact and kill their alma mater over one or two idiots who have near-zero impact on our students. Most of the rest of the country knows us as a relatively conservative institution. Ya’ll need to get out more.

    Reply
    • Gary Gerwin

      I don’t live in California.

      If “every other school in the country” means “state universities,” there are hundreds in the U.S., and there are definitely not 3-4 nutjobs creating bad publicity at the level Jarrar has.

      My position is, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more doubt raised about her mental state. The mere fact that she has a First Amendment right to publicly delight in the death of another human being is no guarantee of her mental stability. Randa Jarrar has a First Amendment right to say “I’m Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France,” but if she begins seriously asserting that claim, I would hope her employers wouldn’t shrink back from investigating further.

      Reply

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