A professor at Syracuse University has drawn strong reactions for a tweet calling the attacks on September 11, 2001 a strike against “heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems.”
Jenn M. Jackson, an assistant professor of political science, made the remarks in a series of tweets on Friday, a day before the 20th anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,977 people. “We have to be more honest about what 9/11 was and what it wasn’t. It was an attack on the heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems that America relies upon to wrangle other countries into passivity,” wrote Jackson, who uses they/them pronouns. “It was an attack on the systems many white Americans fight to protect,” they added.
Jackson’s tweets, which have since been set to private, came as the professor remarked on how they were “really disturbed by how many white pundits and correspondents talk about” 9/11, according to the Daily Wire. Jackson criticized the notion “that 9/11 was the first time that Americans ever felt fear.”
“White Americans might not have really felt true fear before 9/11 because they never felt what it meant to be accessible, vulnerable, and on the receiving side of military violence at home. But, white Americans’ experiences are not a stand-in for ‘America,’” they wrote.
Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dean David Van Slyke addressed the matter in a joint statement to students, faculty, and staff on Monday, saying that Jackson would not be disciplined for the comments.
“Recently, one of our professors shared thoughts on 9/11 on social media. These comments have been the subject of much scrutiny and vehement disagreement by critics,” the statement said. “That is their right, just as our professor has the right to free speech, however uncomfortable it may make anyone feel.” The school officials went on to say that Jackson had received “violent threats” over their remarks.
“What cannot be tolerated are the harassment and violent threats that we have seen in response that have been directed at this professor,” the officials said, adding that federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies had been contacted. “Some have asked the University to condemn the professor’s comments and others have demanded the professor’s dismissal. Neither of those actions will happen,” the statement added.