November 18, 2016

Rutgers professor forced to visit psych ward for voicing political opinions

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As in so many places across the country, tensions seem to be running high at Rutgers University after the election. On Tuesday, a professor was taken by police to a psychiatric hospital, but quickly released, after he made statements about last week’s Republican victory that were perceived by a student as threatening.

The Associated Press reports that Kevin Allred, an adjunct professor on the New Brunswick, NJ, campus, was “taken to a New York City hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after university police claimed he made threats to kill white people.”

According to the AP, “Allread said the dispute stems from comments he made about whether conservatives would care as much about gun rights if guns were used to kill more white people.” The comment was made in class as well as on Twitter, where he’d also “cited another tweet that showed an American flag being ignited.” The Rutgers police, who referred the complaint to the NYPD because Allred lives in Brooklyn, told the AP that a student had complained, and they “took all appropriate action.”

Allred spent two hours as the hospital before doctors deemed he wasn’t a threat. Talking to the New York Daily News, he said he believed that he had been unjustly targeted for voicing his political opinions. “The crackdown on free speech has absolutely begun.”

While it’s hard to be sure exactly what happened, especially without hearing from any of the students in the class, the incident certainly has a whiff of panicked overreaction if not outright aggression. Fox News began their report by describing Allred as a professor who “created a ‘politicizing Beyoncé’ course,” which hardly seems relevant.

On Twitter last Wednesday, Allred announced a walk-out and march against Donald Trump scheduled for Thursday. “Now more than ever it’s important to fight back, make your voices heard, push for change WHATEVER way you can,” he wrote.

 

 

Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.

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