A professor at Florida Atlantic University is dodging calls for his termination from students who have taken issue with his seemingly racist ideals.
In recent weeks, the university has faced mounting pressure from students to investigate political science professor Marshall DeRosa, who has faced criticism for his essays blaming slavery on so-called “Black supremacy” and his general defense of the Confederacy, Inside Higher Ed reported.
” … If faculty members here have ties to people who have in the past lynched my folks, I deserve to know that, do I not?” alumnus and graduate student Jonathan Jackson inquired during a Faculty Senate meeting last week. Video of the tense exchange has circulated on social media.
Today students and community showed up to the FAU faculty meeting to demand an investigation into the white supremacist…
DeRosa used the meeting to address the allegations leveled against him, dubbing them as “untruths, lies and smears” against his character. He went on to say that he did not blame the students, but rather the kingpins” who “weaponized politically their fiduciary positions as faculty members at this university for political purposes, and they’re going to be rooted out.”
According to the Sun Sentinel, the professor has never made any racist or incendiary comments in class. There is a reason why the opposition against DeRosa is so fierce, however.
An article published in The Nation revealed that from 2000 to 2009, the professor served as a faculty member at the neo-Confederate League of the South Institute, a pro-secessionist group with clear ties to white nationalism. There he taught what’s called the “The Southern Constitutional Tradition” as part of the institute’s summer school program.
“I disengaged early on,” DeRosa told The Nation, distancing himself from the group. “They’d invite me to things and I would go to talk about my scholarship, especially the Confederate constitution. But I got an inkling as to some of the characters involved … [and] I didn’t feel comfortable.”
However, despite his attempt to distance himself from the group and pass it off as “a long time ago”, DeRosa’s white nationalist leanings continued appearing in several of his works as recent as last year. In a 2017 essay titled “Confederate Case Law: The Rule of Law Not Men,” the professor argued that white supremacy wasn’t the cause for slavery and that stripping white slaveholders of their property rights was unjust. Rather, he said slavery was rooted in “Black supremacy,” since some Africans also took part in the slave trade.
“The tar-baby in any defense of the Confederacy is slavery, which has segued into ‘white supremacy,’ ” DeRosa, who currently runs a private-prison education program funded by the Koch Foundation, wrote in part. “Linking the two, slavery with white supremacy is a gross over-simplification. First, Black supremacy is the origin of Southern slavery. It was blacks and Asiatic Muslims on the African continent that enslaved and sold other blacks to the slave traders.”
As bothersome as the professor’s views are, university officials said in a statement last week that it hasn’t received any formal complaints against DeRosa, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic said it plans to “maintain its commitments to the value of diversity and to the principles of nonviolent civil discourse and academic freedom, which encourage the free exchange of ideas fundamental to a democratic society.”