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FSU Student Body President Blake Zante: Students lose in Professor Jarrar backlash

Fresno State

FSU Student Body President Blake Zante: Students lose in Professor Jarrar backlash

Withdrawing support from Fresno State University over Professor Jarrar impacts students the most during a time when students are also upset over the potential loss in the value of their degree over this issue.

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Students are Bearing the Backlash

Fresno State has been a hotbed of free speech in recent years. Professors, students, and community members have all voiced extreme opinions that stir up controversy both locally and nationally. While I strongly disagree with the opinions and methods used by Professor Jarrar regarding First Lady Barbara Bush – a revered leader and lifelong servant of our nation – I think we may be missing the point of how this particular issue impacts students.

One voice that has been ignored in community conversations and news articles may be one of the most important. Students have just as much of an interest in the free speech issues at Fresno State. I have seen professors, experts, public figures, and administrators quoted frequently in local and national publications, especially the Fresno Bee. President Castro has been incredibly helpful and responsive when it comes to listening to the student voice on this particular issue. But beyond the university, students have largely been ignored, and I am afraid that this issue impacts them the most.

To be honest, I believe that students are most upset over the potential loss in the value of their degree than anything else. It does not matter whether students support or oppose the opinions of Randa Jarrar. Negative publicity and hate has flooded Fresno State, impacting all students who now must deal with a national issue that they had no control over. Staff must now answer angry phone calls instead of paying attention to the student. Community members have threatened to pull support from key programs that help students succeed in college. Students are the ones bearing the backlash.

I have been one of the largest advocates for Fresno State as many people know.

To our friends who threaten to withdraw support, think about how that will impact a student who is trying to become the next farmer, teacher, lawyer, business owner, doctor, and artist of the Central Valley.

To those that will respond to this letter with hateful opposition, think about how your threats will not resolve this problem and only further promote the misuse of free speech and hateful rhetoric that began this controversial conversation in the first place.

To everyone reading this, think about the student. Think about how the bashing of Fresno State because of one professor’s comments is impacting their college degree and education. We are watching to see how the generations before us are communicating with one another to resolve this issue.

Blake Zante
Student Body President, Fresno State

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Andrew English

    April 24, 2018 at 9:53 am

    It’s not just the potential loss in the value of any degree from Fresno State. Employers will stay clear of the controversy and not hire graduate students from this university of hatred no matter what their degree, resulting in a far greater potential economic loss. The resumes will be weeded out very early in the hiring process, even if it is “unconscious bias”. You “reap what you sow” and the “seeds of hatred” cannot be stopped once they hit a certain growth threshold. It’s clear from the general public this morning that as the petitions head towards 100,000 that that threshold has been met: https://www.change.org/p/california-state-university-remove-randa-jarrar-from-fresno-state-university-for-racist-comments

    • jack

      April 25, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Hate to break the news to you, but no responsible HR person in this country will identify this crackpot with an applicant – she exists a thousand times over at every university in the world. Wake up – she is not that unusual.

      • WildHair

        April 25, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        Jack, I know when I look at a stack of resumes the ones from Fresno State are going in the round file. And I am an alum.

        • jack

          April 26, 2018 at 8:32 am

          Then you are a lousy judge of character and shouldn’t be hiring. Every school has many more like her, most have even more than 1 or 2. Reality check.

        • Ak

          April 29, 2018 at 8:27 am

          And that wound make u a bigot. An amazing bigot. Shame on u.

          U should judge people on their merit.

    • Dee

      May 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Ms. Jarah should take full responsibility for her representation of Fresno State University. No where in her comments should she have used her workplace name or bragged about the right to standby her comments because she could not get fired. She does not care about the students. She used the school name to make an impression and the school allowed it so therefore the school should be sued along with this helpless female. I am upset with many of your left wing commi teachers I have family going here and they have made it clear that if you do not agree with their philosophy then you get an F.

  2. Nancy Flynn

    April 24, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Yes, Blake…the students are important. My concern all along was and is for the students in this Professor’s classes. If any of them felt intimidated to the point of refraining from discussion or perhaps not writing an honest opinion then damage was done. I have listened to this professor’s unbelievably coarse language and hateful thoughts and find it hard to believe that she was able to keep all of that behavior on even keel during her lectures. I keep hoping to hear that the administration will talk with her students to see if the students from a conservative farming family were unjustly treated by this professor. She appears to be daunting in her mannerism and speech. Has anyone talked to her students?

    • WildHair

      April 25, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      I guess the first amendment doesn’t apply with this rag because they keep deleting my posts. so I will try again. Jack, I know any Fresno State resume’s that wind up on my desk are going in the rotary file. And I’m an alum.

      • Ak

        April 29, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Do u work for someone? We want to make sure your boss knows your attiftidue. And then we will lobby him endlessly and senselessly to fire u.

  3. Peter

    April 24, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Well said Mr. Zante !! Free speech must always be protected. It is at the very foundation of our society. We must all work hard to be tolerant and avoid hatred, so long as this free speech is within the law. We don’t have to like what she said – and most sane people don’t. Her actions, no matter how despicable, are “her thoughts” not the University’s nor the views of the student body. IF WE ALLOW ONE PERSON’S HORRIBLE ACTIONS OF HATRED NEGATIVELY EFFECT FRESNO STATE’S CONTINUED MISSION OF EXCELLECE – BY PULLING SUPPORT OF ANY KIND – SHE WINS! We just can’t let one twisted, dark mind of a whacked professor negatively effect the beautiful minds being nurtured at OUR university.

    • Jean Marshall

      April 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Actually three people. Lars Maischak, Gregory Thatcher, and now Randa Jarrar. This college has a history of shielding despicable anti-American professors, spewing hatred. I would never hire a student from here for fear that they are indocrinated and would spread their hate and divisive politics in the workplace.

      Ironcially, Gregory was suppressing student free speech, but it’s ok when it’s conservative speech. Disgusting.

    • Irene Anne Mills

      April 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      It’s not what she said about Barabara Bush that worries me. It’s what she said about she’s buying guns and going to do some crazy “shi*”. It’s her asking why some guy’s house was still standing and saying people need to throw grenades into it. I have one more kid to get through college and it will not be to a school that has opted to keep an unhinged teacher who is encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism. You try going on a rant and encouraging kids to throw grenades into someone’s home and see how long you keep your freedom. Or rant about you’re buying guns and going to do some crazy “shi*” and see how long you keep your freedom. With all the school shootings are you kidding me????

      • Brenda

        April 27, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Unhinged is the appropriate label for this woman.
        When did FSU stoop to hiring crackpots like this?
        This is far beyond her comments about Barbara Bush.
        There is so much hate, vindictive speel and arrogance in this woman, she is nothing professional. Doesn’t FSU want professionalism anymore?
        Or is it all about “rights?”
        When I saw the photo of her with a Kewpie doll head on her headband, I was mortified.
        Since when did it become “okay” for tenured professors to walk about looking like a circus…

      • Tony

        April 29, 2018 at 5:59 pm

        Irene,

        Can you cite the source where she said “buying guns and going to do some crazy “shi*”? If so, coupled with her hatred remarks, I believe contacting the local FBI would not be out of line. At least, she would probably be questioned as to the intent of her comments. I don’t think the FBI would pass on too many red flags in light of the Parkland situation. If you could cite the source, that would be helpful.

        P.S. Observer moderators – you did not post my reply the first time. Screen shots have been taken inquiring into this information. If this professor acts on her words and it comes to light that someone was trying to bring the concern to forefront and the FSU moderators quinced a concern, that would be very bad press for FSU.

    • Brian

      April 25, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      So, if students wanted to sell t-shirts with the caption, “Randa Jarrar is a fat cunt!” you would support it? It is free speech after all, right?

      • Brian

        April 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        Why is my comment “awaiting moderation”? Are you trying to stifle my freedom of speech?

  4. dave shapiro

    April 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Students protest for all kinds of things. the university is going to lose fundraising funds. Maybe, the students should do a few protest of prof jarrar. Otherwise, the students have no reason to complain that their tuition will rise, as a result of Prof Jarrar’s actions

  5. Professor Plum

    April 24, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Blake-
    Thank You for your letter. I have found it odd in following this that there is hardly a mention of the students. I’m afraid you have brought up some valid points. Please do not consider this a personal attack as you appear to be a sincere and upstanding individual.
    I run a financial services company that is based on the East Coast but has several offices in California. While I am unsure if we actively recruit at Fresno State, I can assure you that we will not be hiring any graduates of your University. This is how the real world works-actions have very real consequences. You could consider that Fresno State is a business and I am going to boycott their product. I wish you the best of luck as I am probably not alone in this conviction-which I am well aware is unfair to you and your fellow students. While I will be castigated for saying this (albeit anonymously) this is the real truth. We get thousands of applications for very few positions. My firm will not associate with any controversy or risk upsetting any of our clients in the highly competitive field in which we operate.

    • John

      April 24, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      You work at a financial institution. There have probably been unscrupulous people who have done less than ethical things under the employ of your institution. As a result, people have likely stopped doing business with your institution. Does the financial institution, as a whole, deserve to get rattled by the actions of an individual or by the few? Of course not. Does it happen? Of course.

      When people lose trust in your place of business, do you hope that you’re able to regain the trust of the consumer in good faith? Of course you do. So, why is it that you hold another business to a standard that you would not want your own business to be held to?

      You claim that your firm will not associate with any controversy or risk upsetting clients. I worked in financial services years ago in Los Angeles and my alma mater rarely, if ever, was brought up. What position is held in a financial services firm where alma mater matters to the client?

      I also find it rather convenient that you do not name your firm. Why bother mentioning that your company will be boycotting Fresno State applicants and save potential applicants (and your gatekeepers) the time and effort of sending in applications?

      The answer is because you still want the money from potential Fresno State clients whether it be current students, alumni, staff, etc. You’ll boycott the “product” but you certainly won’t turn down money from that “product,” will you?

      Finally, you referring to the hard working men and women that are earning their degree from Fresno State–many of whom had no idea Jarrar even existed until last week–as “products” tells me all I need to know about your mindset.

      • Professor Plum

        April 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

        John-
        You are correct for the most part and will win the argument. The elephant in the room is that Barbara Bush would likely agree with everything that you have said and not agree with me.
        1) Convenient that I will not name my firm? It would have been much more convenient for Fresno State had Ms. Jarrar not named her employer. I do not have tenure over my clients investments. I would probably be fired for saying what I already have.
        2) Alma Mater is important in investment banking. The majority of what we do is assess risk. Why take a risk, albeit minute, when it is easily avoided as we have a large pool of applicants. Considering nearly 60k people have signed a petition for Ms. Jarrar’s removal it is obvious that people have strong feelings about this-and perhaps some of them are my clients. I am pre-empting any controversy.
        I strangely agree that she should not have been fired-but really wish she had never been hired.
        3) I stated “consider” that Fresno State is a business.
        4) Above all-perhaps I just want to be petty. Do you not believe that exists in everyday life or that people in high positions are immune? I can rise above making personal attacks on Ms. Jarrar but this is my way of telling her and her institution that I strongly disagree with everything that happened last week.

    • jack

      April 25, 2018 at 11:50 am

      If you are silly enough to believe that one idiot professor at CSUF is representative of the entire school, or naive enough to believe there aren’t many more of her at all other universities in the country, then do your goofy hiring boycott. You are simply giving a nobody what they want – notoriety. Thank you for helping her.

      • Jean Marshall

        April 25, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        Actually, 3 idiot professors. That’s enough to warrant a second look.

  6. MB

    April 24, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    What, then, does someone have to do in order to get fired from Fresno State? What is the criteria? There may not, in fact, be existing rules that she violated. If so, that might be even more alarming. Let’s face it, the powers that be were never going to fire her, for at least 2 main reasons: 1. The religion of Political Correctness wins at all cost; 2. Fresno State was in a no win situation, if they fired her then they would have to pay her millions of dollars for doing the right thing, or they could keep her, and promote hate-in-the-name-of-love-and-tolerance, and then ride out the storm.

    • jack

      April 25, 2018 at 11:53 am

      There are more of her at every university in the country – get fired? Break the rules of her employment contract which probably has very precise rules revolving around criminal charges.She belongs to a union – read the contract and you will find out. She is not an at will employee and would have gotten rich of any firing.

      • Professor Plum

        April 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        My suggestion is that Blake as a student leader be pro-active and make some sort of gesture. He complained about the school’s phone lines being tied up-I believe ASU has more of a right to that complaint. Perhaps start a small campaign amongst students and make a small donation to THEIR crisis center.
        Perhaps have student leaders sign a letter of apology to the Bush family.
        Perhaps draft a social media code of conduct and ask the faculty to sign.
        You might be laughing and perhaps there are better ideas but there are so many small gestures that would make the optics of this much better for the student body. I can almost guarantee that making such a gesture would be noted by a major media outlet if they were contacted. The NY Post would be a good place to start.

        • jack

          April 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

          all good suggestions – maybe they are doing them but we never hear. Social media lives on momentary emotions.Code of conduct is a great idea but unfortunately is probably governed by their union contract which makes it an item that will take three years to negotiate. This is all more about their contract terms for discipline, not the first amendment.

  7. Maureen Souza

    April 24, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Then maybe you & the other students should make a statement to this Professor by boycotting her classes because ultimately, she is the one who started this hotbed of controversy. If she had kept her hatred to herself, FSU would not be feeling the backlash of her bad behavior. I know about freedom of speech but I also know there are lines that should not be crossed because of what you are all going through now. Just because you can say something does not mean you should. Spewing hatred has a very negative ripple effect…..

    • jack

      April 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      She had about 12 twitter followers before this and no one cared – she didn’t make this into a hotbed. Our social media fixated society did and with every signature on another online petition, adds to what she wanted but never had – congrts.

      • Jean Marshall

        April 25, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        The problem is not the 12 Twitter followers she had, the problem is that her insidious viewpoints were undoubtedly influencing her classes. It’s slanting all of her books, websites, rantings, etc… To believe that this toxicity isn’t spilling over into her classes is naive at best. I’d hate to be a conservative white person in her class.

        • jack

          April 26, 2018 at 8:46 am

          I never said she was a good teacher – I just hate that she is now a “cause celebre” among the fringe and has gotten exactly what she wants – notoriety. Every signature on meaningless petitions only adds to it when she is protected by an employment contract that I guarantee you says she can’t be fired unless she is convicted of a crime.

  8. Gail Rogers

    April 25, 2018 at 8:50 am

    There is a simple solution to this – fire her ass or in the very least discipline her! Problem solved! Consequences for her actions. Had she not mentioned Fresno State in her comments about Barbara Bush – saying that she has tenure at Fresno State and therefore, will never be fired – the community would have supported her right to self expression. But SHE DID MENTION FRESNO STATE! The reputation has been compromised! Ignoring THAT is the problem. Arrogance has a price!
    WHAT next? Where is the line? She is a poor excuse for a REPRESENTATIVE of Fresno State. Do something about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jack

      April 25, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Do what? – fire her and hand her several million dollars in a year or two? Oh that’s brilliant. I guarantee you she has a standard State contract that is very specific about being fired and it probably involves breaking the law – any charges files yet? I didn’t think so. She is no different than any goofball you will find on ebery campus in the world. Wake up and leave FSU alone – she is not that unusual.

      • Jean Marshall

        April 25, 2018 at 2:03 pm

        Fairly certain that denying service to a mental help line in another state by having them spammed is illegal. Castro’s letter conveniently omits that.

        • jack

          April 26, 2018 at 8:47 am

          It’s meaningless unless someone at that other location brings a charge. Files, tries her and convicts. I see laws broken every day.

      • Just a dumb Fresno farmer

        April 25, 2018 at 6:57 pm

        It would be cheaper in the long run for the university to give her a million dollars and send her down the road and restore faith in the university. They stand to lose millions from big donors as they withdraw support over the controversy.

        • jack

          April 26, 2018 at 8:52 am

          Those donors need to understand that compared to most universities, Fresno State is a bastion of conservative values. And any payment to her is completely out of Castros hands – all that runs through the Board of CSU Trustees. And it wouldn’t be a million – They paid Stacy Klein $9 million and another person $3.5 million for lesser issues than firing. Years ago.

        • Michael S Milne

          April 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm

          Bingo

  9. Stephanie Murphy

    April 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

    I agree with your concern about the students at Fresno State, Mr. Dante. While I disagree with what the professor said. We always seem to focus on the professors and forget about the students. I went to Fresno State, I am proud to be a Bulldog. No doubt there are students as well as faculty that do not agree with this teacher.

  10. Shane W

    April 25, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Simply put a person of this character should not be teach youth.

  11. James

    April 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Why did you not mention the fact that she posted a crisis hotline as her own phone number. You and the president of Fresno State both completely ignore that my question is why that’s a huge issue. How is that behavior even acceptable.

    • jack

      April 26, 2018 at 8:57 am

      I’m not defending her, just explaining. People forget that she is protected by a Union employment contract that I guarantee you has 5 pages that very explicitly explains when she can be disciplined or fired. I will venture a good guess that it involves conviction of a crime. So if the operator of the hotline wants to bring charges, and she is convicted, they might have some grounds. For now, nothing. The problem is less about the first amendment than it is about overly generous contracts agreed to by our state leaders.

  12. Ben

    April 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Blake: life lesson: actions have consequences. Shameful, hateful, racist public actions by an employee of Fresno State – dismissed by the University President as adding to the diversity of opinion on campus – will impact donations and overall support. If you’re upset, take it up with the administration, not with donors.

  13. faye

    April 25, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    The way I see it is that the school is saying it is okay for hate speech to be used in their college. They are allowing people who post a mental health hotline as her phone number to be at their school. They are showing students that hate speech is okay. Please contact the school and let them know what you think. Please continue to get people to sign the petition and let the college know that a lot of people disagree with the kind of “teachers” they have teaching at their school. It is heart breaking that they are okay with her hate speech. If they let her teach they are saying it is okay, because she may have been using her own time, but she was using the colleges name to be hateful. She was laughing in peoples faces because she can not be fired and I guess she is right. They rather have hate speech than having peoples respect. Not sure why anyone would spend a penny on a school that promotes hate. Here is the link to the petition. I ask that you take a chance to really think about how they spread hate at this school.

    https://www.change.org/p/california-state-university-remove-randa-jarrar-from-fresno-state-university-for-racist-comments

    • jack

      April 26, 2018 at 9:00 am

      The school doesn’t condone any of it, but is hamstrung by State emploment contracts that dictate very clearly when she can be disciplined. Castro has ZERO control over that as these faculty and staff contracts are all statewide issues – All CSU’s are the same. If she got convicted of a crime related to the hotline, they might have a chance – but until then you are tilting at the wrong windmill – it’s not in the schools jurisdiction, even though Castro has to take the heat.It’s all in the contracts

      • Brenda

        April 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

        Bottom line: is this. Fresno is a town heavily tarnished already by past glaring political stains on it’s integrity – or what’s left of it – (remember “Operation Rezone”, folks….); now, we have this. A professor with this low of character, or shall we say, lack of character; a moral abyss more or less, who has no business being a professor anywhere. Here is hoping the powers that be who do the hiring at FSU don’t make a mistake like this again or yes, they can kiss all support goodbye.

        And intelligent kids will choose to go elsewhere. Values, morals, character exhibiting the class to be able to keep one’s mouth shut, DO matter folks.

  14. Michelle Braun

    May 4, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    It’s a shame that the students will have to suffer, but in the greater scheme of things, the students have a responsibility to put pressure on the university to change and improve the hiring methods and vetting procedures used to select professors and other staff. They are the ones who benefit or suffer depending on the effort they’re willing to put into their education.

  15. MYeager

    May 7, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I agree with you Michelle Braun!
    The students and parents who are paying for their education need to step up and make it crystal clear what they expect from the University.
    I see donors leaving and not coming back. WHY? Because they did not have a voice, they did not see or meet the Legal Counsel. The University made their decision prior to the meeting on Thursday Night, May 4th. The University SHUT THEM DOWN AND SHUT THEM OUT.

    I now see donors paying attention to Temperance Flat Dam and Political Issues, because of the progressive left is doing to our educational system and State. Things need to change! Like Yesterday!

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