October 8, 2020
A University of Massachusetts-Boston professor went on a bit of a rant during an online class last month, likening the United States to “Nazi Germany,” declaring that “Republican militias with armbands” are “preparing to go to the polling booths” to carry out “voter suppression,” and then berating a student who tried to defend Trump.
Video also shows associate professor of psychology Ester Shapiro during the Sept. 29 Zoom session saying “white supremacy” is “baked” into the U.S. Constitution, Campus Reform said. Shapiro was a guest speaker in an Introduction to Human Rights class and that a student recorded video of Shapiro’s statements on her cellphone, the outlet added.
Interestingly, Shapiro noted at one point that “I didn’t use to talk politics. I used to be very attentive to my job as a professor who taught based on evidence and not based on politics.”
But talk politics she did — and Shapiro took direct aim at Trump and Republicans.
She recalled attending a Holocaust-related event before the COVID-19 shutdown: “All of us there — the writers, discussers, the scholars, the survivors — we thought this would never happen again. We thought we never were gonna see fascism of the Nazi Germany sort ever again. We now have children on the border in cages, we have the criminalization of immigrants, we have a criminal who’s a president and who’s going down in flames — don’t think he’s not.”
Shapiro added that “we have the Republican militias with armbands preparing to go to the polling booths; they are preparing for election suppression, for voter suppression.” She also said the Supreme Court declared “with no evidence” that there is no voter suppression in America and that “the only Republican strategy right now” is the “manipulation of the vote.”
“And, look, I didn’t use to say ‘Republican Democrat,’ but now that we have Nazis, we’ve gotta do it,” Shapiro added.
No pushback allowed?
At that point, student Mary O’Sullivan — who was recording the session, Campus Reform reported — pushed back by saying she doesn’t believe Trump is a Nazi.
Bad idea, apparently.
Shapiro aggressively shot back: “OK, alright, great Mary! This is not the debate I’d like to have. You asked me a question … And let’s have this offline, OK? … I’ve gotta be done with Mary.”
Shapiro then quickly admitted regarding Trump that, “Alright so maybe he’s not a Nazi. Maybe he’s just a fraud and a criminal but—”
O’Sullivan jumped back in: “Well, can I just say something, please? It’s about the children at the border. Are you aware of how many children are trafficked into this country?”
“Oh, Mary, of course I am,” Shapiro replied.
“Because I think that that’s a really big human rights issue that no one speaks about,” O’Sullivan said.
“And so, Mary, you would like us to talk about trafficked children? Alright, let’s do it some other time,” Shapiro replied, later adding that “trafficking is an abomination, Mary. As is a president who is willing to talk in public about having sex with his daughter. Just saying.”
By the end of the video, Shapiro said she was sorry about the tone of the chat.
“I apologize if the intensity was being dialed up to — what is it? —10-plus,” Shapiro said, after which she also offered O’Sullivan her “apologies.”
“Too many people are dying, including our students,” Shapiro concluded. “I just feel it.”
Here’s video of the relevant portion of the class:
UMass prof shuts down conservative student after comparing Trump to Hitler in class
O’Sullivan told Campus Reform other students attacked her in the Zoom chat room over her Trump support.
“Both professors allowed students to pretty much label me as a ‘racist Republican,'” she noted to the outlet before saying Shapiro “thought my comment was disgraceful, and she did not want to accept a student disagreeing with her absurd claim.”
A spokesperson for the University of Massachusetts-Boston told Campus Reform the college is “reviewing the facts” related to the Zoom session.
“The University of Massachusetts Boston takes pride in its faculty of extraordinarily qualified scholar-teachers and their deep commitment to presenting students with conceptual material designed to broaden their knowledge base, inspire analytical thinking, and challenge uncritical assumptions,” the spokesperson noted to the outlet. “The University is also fully committed to assuring free expression of opinion to all in its various communities (students, staff, faculty), encouraging civil discourse on controversial topics among all parties, and creating classroom climates that respect diversity of outlook. In the present case, the University is carefully reviewing the facts and will follow up as it deems appropriate, with due attention to the confidentiality of any individuals and disciplinary procedures.”
Campus Reform also said it reached out to Shapiro for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.