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SDSU dean's comments spark debate over academic free speech

Emilyn Mohebbi / KPBS
San Diego State University is shown in this undated photo.

In December, Monica Casper who is dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University, tweeted about conservatives.

Casper's twitter profile has since been deleted. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports her tweet as saying: “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.”

Casper's words were met with swift backlash including threats. Now they are part of a larger conversation about academic free speech.


SDSU President Adela de la Torre commented publicly about Casper's tweet in January saying in part, "I will always stand by the right to free speech. But I do not condone or agree with what she said."

Other academic colleagues have defended Casper's right to speech.

Gary Robbins has been reporting on the controversy for the San Diego Union-Tribune. In a recent article he explored the larger conversation about academic free speech, its consequences and necessity.

"It's an example that there are a lot more people looking at who is saying what on twitter," Robbins said.

Robbins joined Midday Edition to discuss the fallout from Casper's comments and what it means for academic speech on hot button issues.


KPBS is affiliated with San Diego State University.