Law Professor Arrested, Fired After Bizarre Rant And Shoving Students [VIDEO]
College campuses may be the sacred centers of free speech, but that speech went sour at the University of Oregon on Thursday, when an adjunct law professor engaged with students holding a pro-immigrantion demonstration. The instructor pushed students, and pocketed one demonstrator's phone, leading to his arrest and an indefinite ban from campus.
A student group at the school, Students Against Imperialism, erected a mock border patrol checkpoint on Thursday to raise awareness of human rights issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. James L. Olmsted, who taught in the University of Oregon School of Law's environmental and natural resources department, disagreed strongly with the protest, and the conversation quickly escalated.
In videos recorded on students' phones, Olmsted can be seen challenging the protesters. (Warning: The video contains profanity.) "Institutionally, you're no f***ing morally better than I am," he says, after listing non-Western civilizations that were guilty of human rights abuses. He later mocks the students as simply talking about the issue rather than taking more dramatic action.
The police arrested Olmsted, and charged him with two counts of physical intimidation and second-degree theft, reports the college newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald. On Friday, the university announced that Olmsted's teaching responsibilities had been reassigned to another teacher, and his name was removed from the adjunct faculty website.
Olmsted's attorney Mike Arnold told the Daily Emerald that the videos didn't tell the whole story. "Even with the ability to record parts of a situation with audio and video, you're still going to have huge gaps in a story," he said. One student witness said it appeared that Olmsted was simply trying to challenge the protesters and spark debate, although he admitted that the faculty member took it too far. But others had less generous interpretations.
"We were prepared for having people who were not going to agree with us," Students Against Imperialism co-founder Jaki Salgado told the campus paper. "We never expected anyone to come up to the group and be so blatantly racist."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...