American Professor Charged With Crime for Giving Speech to Danish Parliament

The speech amounted to an illegal side job, according to Danish officials.


Brooke Harrington
OECD/Christian Moutarde/Flickr

Given the ugly turn U.S. immigration policies have taken recently, it's almost refreshing to be reminded that other governments can be bad on the issue as well. Take Denmark, whose immigration authorities are charging an American professor, Brooke Harrington, with a crime for giving academic lectures.

Inside Higher Education reports that Harrington, a professor of economic sociology at Copenhagen Business School, was charged with taking on illegal side jobs for giving speeches before Danish parliamentarians, tax officials, and law students at the University of Copenhagen.

This, officials say, violates her work permit, which only allows her to work at Copenhagen Business School.

"If I'd known what I was getting into, I really would have had second thoughts about coming here. Anyone in higher education considering moving here should be aware they'll have to confront this," Harrington told Inside Higher Education.

The charges came the same day the Danish Society for Education and Business gave Harrington an award for disseminating her research.

Harrington has had a long academic career studying international finance and tax havens, with teaching stints at Brown and Princeton. Her work has taken her to over 18 different countries, and she's been tenured at Copenhagen Business School since 2010.

If convicted of these charges, all this could be put at risk. Under Danish immigration law, those convicted of working illegally in the country are barred from seeking permanent residency for a period of 15 years. A criminal conviction would also make it difficult for her to continue traveling and working abroad.

"For someone who does international research…this would literally be the end of my career," Harrington told Inside Higher Ed.

Harrington is not the only person caught up in Denmark's crackdown on foreign educators working off-site. Police have contacted three other Copenhagen Business School employees for working outside the university, according to the Danish newspaper Politiken, although it is not clear whether charges were filed in these cases. The newspaper also notes that University of Copenhagen, Technical University of Denmark, and Aalborg University employees have all sanctioned for similar violations.

The charges have sparked controversy within the Danish academic community. The Rector of Copenhagen Business School, Per Holten-Andersen, issued a statement calling it "the worst form of bureaucracy. We stand 100 percent behind our employees who are experiencing problems and offer advice and support."

If convicted, Harrington will be expected to pay a 13,500 kroner ($2,100) fine.

The whole incident is a reminder that even in our connected, globalized world, there are a huge array of barriers to people living and working where they wish.

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  1. “Given the ugly turn U.S. immigration policies have taken recently, it’s almost refreshing to be reminded that other governments can be bad on the issue as well.”

    America has some of the most liberal immigration laws (and least severe deportation laws) in the world. Even if Trump got what he wanted, our laws would still be around the same as Canada or half of Europe.

    I am a big fan of unlimited legal immigration and making it easier for everybody to come here, but let’s not pretend like most of the rest of the Western world isn’t far more restrictive.

    1. My dream is to live in a world where people stop comparing us to Europe. We as Americans need to learn to hate Europe more instead of having this nostalgic love affair with the old country.

      Bunch of inbred, isolationist, authoritarian, schmucks.

  2. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    ALTERNATE JOKE: Now we know why Denmark looks like a dick, because they’re dicks.

  3. So, Denmark, the happiest country in the world, is full of fascists, proving that fascism makes people happy. Social Justice Engineering QED.

    1. Those ‘happiest places on earth’ indices are a joke.

      1. There are two questions you can ask with tests and surveys that attempts to get at very subjective ideas such as happiness.

        1) Are the results repeatable? This is a very common one, and my guess is that they are repeatable with the happiness index. That is, similar sampling and techniques lead to similar results. They are consistent.

        2) What question is this actually answering? This is where you’ll find these surveys breakdown quickly. Particularly with something as almost entirely undefined as ‘happiness’. More likely, you’re getting results for how likely people of a given nation are to tell an authority figure that they are doing well.

        1. From what I’ve seen, most of those ‘happiness’ measurements are pure confirmation bias. They measure happiness by how many services government provides. That’s how you get Denmark listed as being the happiest country in the world.

    2. They’d be less happy if foreigners could just traipse in and talk to anyone!

      1. *trapeze in

  4. “For someone who does international research…this would literally be the end of my career,” Harrington told Inside Higher Ed.

    Why? In Denmark, sure, but GTFO. It appears they don’t want you. Someone else will.

    1. I believe the charges in Denmark effect her ability to travel freely through other European nations, as well as possibly affect her ability for international travel in general. That’s what it sounds to be at least.

  5. “””studying international finance and tax havens””‘

    Maybe she should have studied immigration and labor laws?

    1. I hope they give it to this statist cunt hard and good. Then maybe the light bulb will slowly turn on as to why people try to avoid feeding the beast through all those tax havens she’s been studying.

  6. Don’t wanna be charged like a thug? Don’t give lectures in front of parliament like a thug.

    1. A rare time that this isn’t used as a joke.

  7. I know the president of a U.S. company who was turned back at the Canadian border because he told the border goons that he was traveling to advise a Canadian vendor on some product improvements his company wanted. Next time, he told them he was going to listen to some suggestions the vendor would be making, so they let him right in.

  8. This article is written by a liberal partisan, the first sentence makes this article nothing but garbage.

  9. Perhaps PDJT could add Danish government and higher-ed employees to his travel ban.
    After all, we wouldn’t want any Danes to fall afoul of American visa restrictions regarding “outside” employment.

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