Jonathan Turley: We often follow controversies at universities over free speech and academic freedom issues, but few are quite so bizarre as the case of Dr. Amie Wolf. Wolf was fired after a period of paid administrative leave due to her attacks on 12 students who transferred out of her Indigenous Education in Canada course. Wolf has since lashed out at the university and other professors, including a vulgar diatribe. She is vowing to challenge the action of the university which she insists is due to her refusal to “assimilate to the institution’s norms” as “an academic who identifies as female Indigenous.” While I am certainly no expert on Canadian law, that would seem highly difficult on these facts if pursued as a legal action. (Perhaps some of our Canadian academics or lawyers could contribute on such claims).
The University of British Columbia hired Wolf in 2015 to be an Aboriginal education consultant at the UBC Sauder School of Business. She also served as a lecturer on Indigenous education. She was recently terminated after she doxxed a dozen students who transferred out of her Indigenous Education in Canada course. However, the termination without cause reportedly allowed her to receive a lump sum payment under her contract.Wolf published their names and, according to a conservative site, stated in a later interview that she wanted to be sure that they would be unable to get a job as clearly “unfit.”
We have often discussed professors under fire for controversial or extremist statements on social media or blog posts. I often oppose discipline for such statements even when professors espouse hatred or support violence against those with opposing views. As we have previously discussed, one professor called for more Trump supporters to be killed. Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis, who writes for the site Lawyers, Guns, and Money, said he saw “nothing wrong” with the killing of a conservative protester — a view defended by other academics. While sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like law professor Paul Campus who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself), it is not their commitment to free speech but our own that must guide our actions.
This is different. This is actively seeking to harm students through doxxing. This type of conduct has come up before. CNN legal analyst and Stanford lecturer Asha Rangappa doxxed a student journalist for criticizing her. However, that did not appear to involve a student at Stanford. MORE