It’s quite easy to designate someone or some group as necessarily having malicious intent when the consequences of their actions are particularly ghastly.
However, this designation is precisely what I want to avoid in this discussion. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a major German author and statesman in the late 18th and early 19th century, provided insight into this subject. In The Sorrows of Young Werther, he wrote, “Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness.” Goethe’s “razor” is merely a philosophical way in which one can shave off unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.
Recently, the University of Connecticut effectively normalized support of terrorism and anti-Semitism. Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College and political commentator for CNN, is a consistent cheerleader for Palestinian terrorism against civilians in Israel. The most recent manifestation of Hill’s vile immorality came in October, when he campaigned to raise money (via Twitter) for terrorist Ali Jiddah. Jiddah spent almost two decades in prison after he bombed Strauss Street in downtown Jerusalem, injuring 9 Israeli civilians near a hospital.
Pertaining to the University of Connecticut’s decision to bring Hill to our campus, I’ll assume Goethe’s rule in that this was most likely due to negligence or stupidity rather than ill will. Nevertheless, people should be held accountable for their actions.
Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that I had submitted to the university’s Office of the General Counsel, I obtained information that Hill was paid $20,000 in speaking fees for the short Martin Luther King Jr. Day event here. The state of Connecticut, which in part funds speakers, is currently in a $1.5 Billion budget deficit. In a fiscal report published by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, statistics indicated Connecticut ranked 50th (worst) out of 50 states. Its financial position is poor across all categories. Thus, the decision to bring a supporter of terrorism to campus in a time when the state is in dire straits is especially puzzling.
On another note, you simply cannot read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or his letters and conclude that Marc Lamont Hill is following King’s message of love.
Speaking of Mr. Hill, UConn’s own Dr. Willena Price said, “He’s a down to earth, real brother.” I would implore Professor Price and the school to rethink Dr. King’s legacy and the mission statement of a school supposedly committed to intellectualism.
Both UConn Hillel and the University of Connecticut’s spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.