In a rare public rebuke of a faculty member, San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre went on Twitter this week and criticized one of her deans for controversial remarks she made about conservatives.
De la Torre focused on Monica Casper, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, who said on Twitter in early December, “Just so we’re clear on the Right’s agenda: racism good, abortion bad, money good, women bad, capitalism good, sustainability bad, stupidity good, science bad, power good, equality bad, white people good, nonwhite people bad. Stench, indeed.”
Earlier, Casper said on Twitter that Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal in the fatal shooting of two people in Wisconsin represented an act of white supremacy.
Many Twitter users characterized Casper’s remarks about conservatives as ill-tempered stereotyping. Twitter says that her account no longer exists.
De la Torre weighed in on Monday, broadly referring to Casper’s remarks in a Twitter post of her own.
“As we closed out 2021, a difficult year for many people, we know there are those who are hurt and unhappy about Twitter posts by SDSU Dean Monica Casper,” De la Torre said.
“I will always stand by the right to free speech, but I do not condone or agree with what she said. I do not support actions that seek to divide us or undermine civic discourse for any reason.
“At SDSU, we welcome everyone. We benefit from learning from one another when we participate in civic engagement across the spectrum of social and political discourse, even when we disagree with one another. This is what makes our university great.”
Casper, who became one of de la Torre’s deans in 2020, did not respond to a request by the Union-Tribune for comment.
She previously served as associate dean for faculty affairs and inclusion in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.
Just over a decade ago, Casper also co-founded The Feminist Wire, a website that says its mission “is to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally.”
SDSU has been the site of several controversies in recent years involving freedom of speech and academic freedom. One of the uproars occurred in August when Robert Jordan, a long-time lecturer, used a cultural stereotype about Blacks in an online class he was teaching on cinema. Jordan said he used the stereotype to make a historical point.
A video clip of his remarks appeared on Twitter, sparking anger from students. SDSU posted a message on Twitter saying that Jordan had claimed that comments “in no way represents his personal views or opinions.” The school also said that academic freedom protected his right to speak that way.”
Jordan is still listed as a member of SDSU’s faculty.