A Letter Regarding ND's Connection to the Murders in Buffalo

Author: Sociology Department

Dear Father Jenkins and incoming Provost McGreevy:

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On May 14, 2022, a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, NY was carried out by a young white supremacist. In justifying the murder of 10 black people in a grocery store, the perpetrator used published writings of university professors as justification of this horrible, violent crime. A University of Notre Dame professor (John Gaski) affiliated with Mendoza College of Business was one of the professors cited by the shooter. As a part of the community of Notre Dame, we as a department find this deeply troubling for a number of reasons. First, this Notre Dame professor published opinions stemming from racist beliefs, using faulty interpretation of statistics to justify his points. In addition, nowhere in these right-wing media sources does the professor state that his views are not those of the University of Notre Dame. He also claims these as “scholarly publications” when they are very clearly racist diatribes based on nothing more than personal bias.

 

In the Sociology department’s diversity and inclusion statement, we affirm human dignity of all. Using the guise of academic discourse to express racist opinions is deeply offensive to us as social scientists and scholars and contributes to a hostile climate for students and faculty at Notre Dame, particularly BIPOC students and faculty. We call on the University of Notre Dame to hold this professor accountable for his offensive writings under the guise of “academic freedom.”  We strongly support academic freedom and the right of scholars to voice unpopular opinions. However, with academic freedom comes the obligation to do research responsibly. Academic freedom should not be used as a shield to protect blatantly false, racist, and inflammatory statements that are the products of terribly flawed research. Gaski's work unambiguously promoted a racist trope about interracial sexual violence that has inspired hatred and violence throughout American history. The University must show through its actions that it condemns hateful speech hiding under the cover of academic discourse. Finally, the University should also acknowledge that the piece cited by a racially-motivated mass murderer is just one of several articles written by Professor Gaski that express racist and misogynistic ideas that are hostile to that for which Notre Dame stands.  

 

Respectfully,

 

Steven Alvarado, Assistant Professor

Mark Berends, Professor

Kraig Beyerlein, Associate Professor

William Carbonaro, Professor and Dept. Chair

David Gibson, Associate Professor

David Hachen, Associate Professor

Anna Haskins, Associate Professor

Tamara Kay, Professor

Amy Langenkamp, Associate Professor

Elizabeth McClintock, Associate Professor

Terrence McDonnell, Associate Professor

Erin McDonnell, Associate Professor

Rory McVeigh, Professor

Ann Mische, Associate Professor

Joel Mittleman, Assistant Professor

Dana Moss, Associate Professor

Abigail Ocobock, Assistant Professor

David Sikkink, Associate Professor

Chris Smith, Professor

Lyn Spillman, Professor

Erika Summers-Effler, Associate Professor

Mim Thomas, DUS

Richard Williams, Professor

Simone Zhang, Assistant Professor

Calvin Zimmermann, Assistant Professor