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Purdue’s President Says Free-Speech Policy Forces Him to Defend Faculty Critic

In a message to a Purdue University professor, the institution’s president, Mitch Daniels, criticized the faculty member’s defense of “Antifa” and said the campus’s free-speech policy had forced him to defend the professor, the Journal & Courier reports.

When Mr. Daniels was pressed by Bill Mullen, a professor of English and American studies and a founding member of the Campus Anti-Fascist Network, to further investigate white-supremacist posters found on the campus, the president responded with details from Purdue’s free-speech policy. He wrote that administrators can condemn such posters but cannot silence the individuals who put them up, no matter how offensive the posters are.

Mr. Daniels also wrote that the policy requires him to defend Mr. Mullen’s right to free speech.

“In particular, your defense of the so-called ‘Antifa’ organization, a group that has not only advocated but practiced violence, gave deep offense and embarrassment to many,” Mr. Daniels wrote in a message given to the Journal & Courier.

The Campus Anti-Fascist Network is not formally related to the Antifa groups that sometimes practice violent protest.

Correction (10/11/2017, 4:06 p.m.): This post originally described inconsistently how President Daniels characterized Professor Mullen and the Antifa groups. Mr. Daniels referred to Mr. Mullen’s defense of Antifa, not his ties to it. In addition, Mr. Mullen says he has no ties to it. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.

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