By Janet Phelan
Mark Crispin Miller, who teaches a course on propaganda at New York University in the Media, Culture and Communication Department, has been notified that he is to undergo a review board hearing after one of his students called for his firing due to his comments about masks.
According to Professor Miller, the student, Julia Jackson, only joined Miller’s course when it was into its second week. Almost immediately, she began to object publicly to his statements about the utility (or lack thereof) of masks and began to call for his firing.
On September 20, Jackson tweeted:
@nyuniversity: an MCC tenured professor spent an entire class period telling students that wearing masks doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that hydroxychloroquine trials were made to fail so more people would be given the vaccine and have their DNA changed. thread 1/
— Julia Jackson (@julia_jacks) September 21, 2020
Jackson later followed up with another in a series of tweets:
I hope @nyuniversity, @nyusteinhardt, and @mccNYU agree that this professor should not be trusted with educating and advising students, and I hope they take immediate steps to relieve him of these duties. 8/
— Julia Jackson (@julia_jacks) September 21, 2020
The University responded with alacrity. On September 21, NYU sent out the following email to Miller’s students:
Date: September 21, 2020
To: Students in MCC-UE 1014
From: Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, MD, Executive Lead, COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team
Jack Knott, Dean, Steinhardt School
Re: A Message to Students in MCC-UE 1014
The tenets of academic freedom accord wide latitude to faculty in their scholarship and their teaching. NYU has the utmost respect for the principles of academic freedom, and so is naturally circumspect about commenting on views expressed by faculty.
Amid reports that your professor, Mark Crispin Miller, has been saying that masks are ineffective in checking the spread of COVID-19, we refer you to the most authoritative public health guidance, which recommends wearing a mask as an effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The evidence backs it up. And we remind you that wearing a mask is required at NYU.
It pains us to comment in any way on a faculty member’s comments, and we do so advisedly now; however, we do not feel we have a choice. The matter is too important to your health and the health of those around you.
Miller states that he encouraged his class to think critically about the mask mandate. Contrary to the accusations made against him, he states he did not actively encourage his students not to wear masks.
In an interview this past week, Miller stated that he pushes his students to dig into things that are controversial. “I don’t tell students what to think,” he said.
Miller has had run-ins before with the higher ups at NYU. He spearheaded the protest against an NYU expansion plan, a plan which potentially held a price tag of $6 billion. Writing in the NY Times, Miller and his coauthors stated that “the plan is a financial risk,” and that “The project would put all of us through 20 years (or more) of demolition and construction. Roughly two acres of green space would be destroyed, including the acclaimed Sasaki Garden, and in the end, four giant buildings would be crammed into the area, three placed smack against the older buildings, blocking most of the apartments from the sun.”
The case went up to the New York Supreme Court where Miller and his colleagues prevailed.
Earlier this year, Professor Miller was called into a meeting with the NYU Office of Equal Opportunity after several of his colleagues complained about articles he had written on transgenderism, including this one.
He states that a facetious comment he had made concerning an article on biological males competing with women athletes also sparked an inquiry. Miller has stated that his concerns do not revolve around transgender individuals but the potential eugenics implications of the transgender movement. “I explained my view of transgender ideology, to make clear that that is something separate from transgender individuals, against whom I have no animus whatsoever. They were evidently satisfied with that,” he reports.
In a conversation last week, Miller mused about the nature of the complaints against him. “I’ve been accused of hammering on “conspiracy theories,” which is odd,” he states, “as my course explores the genesis of this term.” He went on to discuss how the CIA invented this phrase as a pejorative spin on independent thought and conclusions.
Miller also holds “controversial” ideas about 9/11, joining about 50% of Americans who question the official narrative surrounding the attacks on the World Trade Center. These views impelled The Observer to declare that “NYU Professor Uses Tenure to Advance 9/11 Hoax Theory.”
Professor Rodney Benson, Miller’s former departmental chair, was quoted in The Observer article as stating that “As a scholar of the university, Mark, like all academics, is entitled to his own views, whether or not they are shared by the larger NYU community,” he wrote. “There is really nothing more to say.”
Apparently his in-class comments on masks have ignited quite another response. This past Thursday, Miller received the following email from his current department chair, Jack Knott:
Dear Prof. Miller,
I am in receipt of the attached letter from faculty colleagues which calls for a review of your conduct in accordance with policies applicable to tenured and and tenure track faculty, as outlined in the Faculty Handbook, specifically Title IV, General Disciplinary Regulations Applicable to Both Tenured and Non-Tenured Faculty Members on the Tenure Track. I will ask Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs LaRue Allen to begin this review immediately by gathering information relevant to the claims outlined in the letter. I will then review this information and proceed, if required, with next steps as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
Miller has asked for a meeting to discuss this before the wheels of the bureaucracy start to grind. He states that his request was granted and that the meeting will take place on Monday, November 2.
Mark Crispin Miller has been teaching at NYU since 1997 and is the author of many books, including:
Seeing Through Movies (edited, 1990)
Mad Scientists: The Secret History of Modern Propaganda (2004)
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You are invited to support her work on Buy Me A Coffee here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JanetPhelan
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