Campus Free Speech

UVA Prof 'Agrees' to Leave of Absence After Criticizing Black Lives Matter

Did the university force him?


Queerbubbles / Wikimedia Commons

Did the University of Virginia force an engineering and business professor to take a leave of absence because he made a negative comment about Black Lives Matter? It certainly looks like it.

Last week, Doug Muir wrote on Facebook, "Black lives matter is the biggest racist organization since the clan. Are you kidding me? Disgusting!!!"

I don't agree with this comment—Black Lives Matter is bringing much-needed attention to important issues like police brutality, even if I disagree with some of their more extreme tactics and views about wealth redistribution. Obviously, BLM is not a domestic terrorist organization on par with the Klu Klux Klan.

But if Muir thinks so, that's his right. The proper response is to criticize him, not censor him.

Unfortunately, UVA has seemingly opted for the latter approach. In a statement, university administrators explained that Muir has "agreed to take leave":

While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir's comment was entirely inappropriate. UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission. Our faculty and staff are responsible for upholding our values and demonstrating them to students and the community. Mr. Muir has agreed to take leave and is preparing his own statement to the community.

Well, was Muir given a choice? It sounds like the university made him take a leave of absence as punishment for speaking his mind about BLM.

It's important for a university to play host to a wide range of views about important public policy topics. No one should be punished for saying something politically incorrect about BLM.

I reached out to the university for comment. A spokesperson did not immediately respond.