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U. of Michigan Professor Takes Heat for Writing ‘I Hate Republicans’

[Updated (12/18/2014, 5:28 p.m.) with comment from Ms. Douglas and a link to her essay.]

The chair of the communications department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is under fire, reports the Detroit Free Press, for a blog post she wrote that begins as follows:

“I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa, or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform, or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”

The essay by Susan J. Douglas, published on the website of the magazine In These Times, has drawn the ire of prominent Republicans, including a university regent, Andrea Fischer Newman.

“The University of Michigan community rightly supports and defends a wide variety of viewpoints and a diversity of opinion on all subjects,” Ms. Newman wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Free Press. “But this particular column, which expresses and condones hatred toward an entire segment of individuals in our society based solely on their political views, fails to observe an equally important value of our university—respect for the right of others to hold views contrary to our own.”

Ms. Douglas responded by saying in a written statement that she did not mean to vilify Republicans but instead to hold herself up as an example of America’s partisan divisions. “The article’s main point is to bemoan this situation,” she said.

In a statement, a university spokesman, Rick Fitzgerald, didn’t take sides: “The views expressed are those of the individual faculty member and not those of the University of Michigan. Faculty freedom of expression, including in the public sphere, is one of the core values of our institution. At the same time, the university must and will work vigilantly to ensure students can express diverse ideas and perspectives in a respectful environment and without fear of reprisal. The university values viewpoint diversity and encourages a wide range of opinions.”

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