(CNSNews.com) — More than 3,000 people have signed an online change.org petition demanding that DePaul University Philosophy Prof. Jason Hill, who is a gay, Jamaican, “conservative Democrat,” be censured for “his heinous statements against marginalized communities,” specifically remarks he made in a commentary for The Federalist in which he argued for Israel’s right to annex the West Bank.
“We, the students of DePaul University call upon the administration to censure Professor Hill for his heinous statements against marginalized communities,” reads the petition.
“His comments create unsafe and uncomfortable spaces for everyone, especially Palestinian and Muslim students who now all refuse to enroll in a class that is taught by Professor Hill.”
“We are not only seeking censure, but for Professor Hill to commit to racial sensitivity training and to release a public apology for his immoral conduct,” states the petition.
In his commentary, Prof. Hill said the Palestinians “constitute a national security threat to Israel because a core feature of their identity is a commitment to destroying Israel as a Jewish state. Therefore, only a policy of radical containment or expulsion remains a viable option.”
Dr. Hill, a tenured at DePaul University, told CNSNews.com by telephone, “I’m not attending a [racial] sensitivity workshop [and] I’m not apologizing.”
“In a case like this, you don’t yield one inch,” he said.
When asked why he thought so many students were demanding that the university take action against him, Hill said, “I’m not a wishy-washy academic. I take a very definitive stance on certain issues.”
According to the student newspaper The DePaulia, the petition was set up by several campus groups, including the DePaul chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, United Muslims Moving Ahead, DePaul Socialists, Students Against Incarceration, College Democrats and Lambdas.
DePaul University is a private, Catholic university founded in 1898 and named after St. Vincent DePaul.
Dr. Hill commented in his interview, “It’s unacceptable for [any] student organization… to behave as moral bullies…. Taking offence is not a criteria for shutting down free speech.”
Instead of demanding that people be censured for their opinions, Dr. Hill recommended, “Student organizations can petition [a] university to seek an audience with the professor, to seek — let’s say — a town hall meeting, or to have a debate about an issue that it [has with] the professor’s view.”
DePaul University President A. Gabriel Esteban sent out an email to the student body on april 24 explaining that Prof. Hill’s views are his own and not reflective of the university.
“The university will not censure Professor Hill for making unpopular statements,” reads the email. “Our professors and students share academic freedom, guaranteed to them by their membership in the university community. They also share freedom of speech, guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights.
“DePaul will ensure that all faculty and students are empowered to exercise these rights, and DePaul will provide an appropriate environment where ideas can be exchanged freely in an atmosphere of safety for all. Arrangements are underway to provide a forum for such an exchange of ideas and opinions on Middle Eastern politics.”
In 2018, Dr. Hill wrote a commentary for The Hill in which he called for the defunding of all public universities for becoming socialist “propaganda machines.”
“Our universities risk losing their status as learning sites and becoming national security threats,” he said. “We need to defund them, disband and rebuild them with conservative principles — that is, values advocating individualism, capitalism, Americanism, free speech, self-reliance and the morality of wealth creation.”