DAVIS (CBS13) – UC Davis is condemning a professor’s inflammatory statements where he said cops “need to be killed.”
English professor Joshua Clover reportedly wrote several tweets and made comments in a 2015 interview with SF Weekly where he referenced violence against law enforcement officers.
“People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed,” Clover said in response to the question “What’s wrong with society today?”
Several old tweets from Clover’s followed the same criticism of law enforcement.
“I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore,” Clover reportedly tweeted on Nov. 27, 2014.
“I mean, it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned, no?” Clover also reportedly tweeted on Dec. 27, 2014.
Clover’s Twitter account is now private, but the statements were dug up and featured in an opinion piece published to the school’s student newspaper, The Aggie, this week.
Clover declined to comment on his controversial views, but he did tell CBS13, “On the day that police have as much to fear from literature professors as Black kids do from police, I will definitely have a statement.”
Tuesday, UC Davis officials released a statement condemning Clover:
“The UC Davis administration condemns the statement of Professor Clover to which you refer. It does not reflect our institutional values, and we find it unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder,” wrote UC Davis spokesperson Andy Fell.
UC Davis officials also noted how they are continuing to mourn the loss of Officer Natalie Corona, who was ambushed by a gunman in Davis and killed.
“We mourn her loss and express our gratitude to all who risk their lives protecting us. We support law enforcement, and the UC Davis Police Department and Chief Joe Farrow have been and remain critical partners to our community,” Fell wrote.
Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness is calling on the university to limit his speech or let him go.
“I’ve heard him hailed and lauded as an intellectual giant, well he’s not. With all due respect, that’s not symptomatic of somebody that has an abundance of intellect,” McGinness said. “You’re actually calling for the death of human beings. They have a right to say, ‘That’s not consistent with our values.'”
The college says they have not received a “complaint of conduct” against Clover.
“Public statements like those made by Professor Clover are accorded a high level of protection under the first amendment,” Dana Topousis with UC Davis said in response to a question regarding whether Clover could be fired due to the comments.
Constitutional law expert Jeffery Kravitz explained how the first amendment applies in this situation.
“Someone is fired for speech that they made and it’s protected speech… you would have to show that the statement is not actually protected. You would have to show that this statement is an incitement to violence,” Kravitz said.
Clover has published several books. His works focus on critical theory, political theory, political economy, poetry, poetics, and Marxism.
The head of the English Department at UC Davis said she is distressed to learn about his views. Clover is currently on medical leave but is scheduled to teach English and Literature at the university.