The Eugene, Oregon chapter of Antifa wants Lane Community College philosophy instructor Jeffrey Borrowdale fired. The self-described libertarian's offenses? Borrowdale participated in a discussion of free speech versus hate speech, and he once included a politically incorrect question on a test.
Fliers promoting a November 18 "LCC Speak Out," described the discussion as a "deliberative dialogue discussion addressing issues on free speech versus hate speech," in which students could "explore contemporary topics from both sides." There was no mention of race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, or any of the identity politics issues that typically enrage Antifa and lead them to brand someone attending or speaking a fascist or racist.
Nevertheless, on the day of the event, @EugeneAntifa sent out a tweet, urging students to attend the discussion and "let him [Borrowdale] know it's time for him to go!" The tweet included a photo Borrowdale had previously taken with conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and described the philosophy instructor as "Young Americans for Liberty sponsor, alt-right, Milo admirer and all around crappy 'instructor'."
Despite protests from Antifa and a few students, Borrowdale tweeted after the event, "I was encouraged by the support I heard for #freespeech at the 'Speak Out' at #Lanecc Huge turn out, too."
Borrowdale is indeed the adviser for the school's Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter. He describes himself as a "bleeding heart libertarian, transhumanist, not a Nazi" and "a trans ally." Antifa never elaborated on what views of Borrowdale's justified its labeling of him as alt-right, other than the Milo photo.
"They've been trying to incite students against me since last fall when someone found the picture I took with Milo on Facebook," he told Campus Reform on November 21.
Since then, Borrowdale said activists have been sending him threatening messages, publishing his personal information on social media, tearing down or defacing fliers for his YAL group and urging students to infiltrate and disrupt YAL meetings.
Photos Borrowdale provided to Reason show YAL posters covered by memes from Antifa members who apparently don't understand the difference between libertarianism and the alt-right. One meme features Sen. Rand Paul with the words "Is Free Market, Dies Anyway." Another is a picture of an Antifa member punching an alt-right figure with the words "Good night, alt-right."
Some students, alleging he is transphobic, have attempted to get him fired, for a multiple choice current events question he asked on one of his midterm exams. "'Did you hear that the leader of this new transgender bathroom ordinance here in Charlotte is a registered sex offender? I'm voting No and so should you.' This argument is an example of:" Students were to choose from three philosophy answers and one clearly sarcastic, wrong answer: "a strong argument that the ordinance will lead to a rise in sexual molestation and assaults.
Borrowdale said he "miskeyed" the clearly sarcastic answer to show up as the correct answer and apologized for the mistake. But that hasn't stopped some students from calling for his head.
One student on the Eugene Antifa Facebook page posted a screenshot, which showed the midterm question with the sarcastic answer marked as "correct," and commented: "I was livid. I brought this to his superiors and filed a formal complaint with the school. The hypocrisy was making me head spin." Another student in the thread argued the school "should address" Borrowdale's "unacceptable and despicable" act. One other expressed regret that he hadn't been fired yet.
If fascism becomes so loosely defined that a "bleeding heart libertarian, transhumanist, not a Nazi" professor can be considered a transphobic fascist and lose his job, then these words have lost their meaning.