In an article first published on February 25, 2019, The California Aggie reporter Nick Irvin brought to light UC Davis professor Joshua Clover’s comments regarding, among other things, “cops need to be killed.” Here’s a link to the article:
UC Davis professor Joshua Clover, who is still employed by the University of California, has made the following unacceptable, vile, and repugnant statements regarding police officers:
“I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore” – tweeted on Nov. 27, 2014.
|UC Davis Professor Joshua Clover|
“People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.” – published in an interview on Jan. 31, 2016.
To say that we were shocked, disgusted, and infuriated would be an understatement. What was truly inconceivable was that the University of California, after having been made aware of Clover’s comments, chose to keep Clover in their employment. As you all know, we are staunch advocates of employees’ free speech rights pursuant to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (“First Amendment”). In fact, we have often waged many battles on our clients’ behalf in order to protect their free speech rights pursuant to the First Amendment. In this case, however, this is not about UC Davis professor Joshua Clover’s ability to enjoy free speech rights pursuant to the First Amendment. Rather, it is about professor Joshua Clover’s call for murdering police officers and advising the easiest way to do it while maintaining a job at the UC Davis campus where he may continue to spew his filth to young minds eager to learn. Under no circumstances should the University of California nor UC Davis professor Joshua Clover attempt to justify his perverse comments by using the First Amendment as a shield or by suggesting that professors may say whatever they believe for the purpose of maintaining unrestrained academic freedom.
On February 28, 2019, we sent the University of California a letter condemning UC Davis professor Joshua Clover’s statements, demanding that they reconsider their decision to keep him employed, and demanding an investigation into his “on-duty” activities while teaching at the University of California, Davis. A copy of the letter may be found here.
Since then, we have been made aware that numerous law enforcement associations have also sent letters to the University of California highlighting their concerns with the UC, the plight of law enforcement, the statistics concerning the recent uptick in ambush-style murders of law enforcement.
On March 4, 2019, UC Davis released a statement advising, in relevant part, that since their original statement was released:
continued interest from the broader public requires further clarification. Members of the public have been questioning why this professor continues to be employed by UC Davis. Only the UC Board of Regents can dismiss a tenured faculty member…The status of complaints lodged against faculty members are confidential personnel matters, so we are unable to publicly comment on the action steps we are taking at this time…The public expression of opinions, even those opinions considered controversial or abhorrent, enjoy a high level of protection under the First Amendment, and tenured faculty at the University of California enjoy significant employment protections, particularly around speech…Chancellor Gary S. May has asked the campus legal team to review the professor’s conduct and provide advice on the application of federal and state constitutional protections for freedom of expression.
I can’t help but wonder if UC Davis Professor Joshua Clover would still be employed if he had advocated the murder of any other group of professionals or group of people. We are hopeful that the University of California will ultimately do the right thing – sever all employment ties with UC Davis professor Joshua Clover. We are also hopeful that members of the public will continue to reach out to the University of California concerning their shock, disgust, and concerns with UC Davis professor Joshua Clover’s statements.