Not a Pluss for Fairleigh Dickinson University

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Ralph
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Not a Pluss for Fairleigh Dickinson University

Post by Ralph » Fri May 13, 2005 10:59 pm

Campus shocked, angry over professor with Nazi views
5/14/2005, 12:00 a.m. ET
By GEOFF MULVIHILL
The Associated Press

TEANECK, N.J. (AP) — Jordan Ingram always thought his history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University was a little quirky.

Jacques Pluss certainly had an unusual style, Ingram recalled. But Ingram, who is black, never thought his professor was a racist — until after Pluss was fired.

Pluss, 51, said he was dismissed in March because university officials learned about his involvement in the National Socialist Movement, which bills itself as "America's Nazi Party." School officials said he was let go for missing too many classes.

Pluss, who had taught at the university since 2002, said he joined the neo-Nazi group in February but kept his views a secret on campus. Off campus, however, he didn't hold back.

In late March, just after his dismissal, he went on "White Viewpoint," a radio show on the National Socialist Movement Web site, to talk about FDU's "Jewish plutocratic university" and described the school's men's basketball team as "nigger to the core."

"They (the players) have absolutely no right to be in that classroom because they do not possess either the merit or the enhanced intelligence to be there," he said on the show.

Those views were shocking to many of his former students, including Ingram, a sophomore from Philadelphia who earned a B-plus in a History of Western Civilization class taught by Pluss in fall 2003. Ingram says he thought so highly of Pluss that he considered asking him for a recommendation for a job or academic program.

Ingram's opinion changed quickly after word of Pluss' neo-Nazi involvement spread on the campus of this private, liberal arts college less than a half hour from New York City.

"To come in every day and know you're going to have class with a white supremacist, that's definitely going to affect me," Ingram said.

Pluss' story has been big news on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson, a college that emphasizes diversity and teaching with an international perspective. For example, it has frequent guest speakers from the United Nations, and some public bathrooms are identified with signs in 16 languages. About 1,000 of the school's roughly 10,000 students come from outside the United States.

Pluss bristles when he's called a white supremacist or a racist.

"The world is made up of different cultures, all of which have a place, all of which have a direction and all of which should have a say in determining their own futures," he said.

Pluss said he joined the socialist group, whose members wear Nazi regalia at their meetings and sometimes hold joint meetings with the Ku Klux Klan, because he "was looking for alternative political parties that presented what I thought were more solid and sensible plans for the common good of America."

The party's 25-point platform include limiting U.S. citizenship to non-Jewish, straight whites. Nonwhites should not be allowed to enter the country and those already here should be "required to leave the nation forthwith and return to their land of origin: peacefully or by force," it states.

Some former students said they did not think Pluss' views influenced his teaching.

Only in retrospect does Sharrod Young, an FDU sophomore who had a class with Pluss in 2003, see signs of discrimination.

"When it was two people raising their hands, he called on certain students. It just so happened it was white males," said Young, who is black.

University officials won't elaborate on Pluss' dismissal, following their lawyers' advice not to discuss a personnel matter. So it's unclear what role, if any, Pluss' political views played in his ouster.

Pluss, who received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, is being paid through this semester. Adjunct professors at the school generally make between $1,500 and $3,000 per course.

A university is within its rights to remove faculty members for their political views under certain circumstances, according to Robert Kreiser, a senior program officer at the Washington-based American Association of University Professors, an organization that often gets involved in academic freedom cases.

For example, if Pluss was discovered to have given misinformation about the Holocaust, that would be a legitimate cause for dismissal, Kreiser said.

Pluss says he didn't talk about this in class, but questions the way the Holocaust is described as the killing of 6 million Jews in Nazi concentration camps. He said more research needs to be done to know the truth of what happened.

"I don't deny that a Jewish Holocaust of some kind occurred," he said in his customary dry, dispassionate voice. "However, I do believe that the Holocaust needs to be re-examined from a general vantage point. How many were really killed? Under what circumstances?"

With Pluss now off campus, there is still simmering anger about him.

Some anger has been directed at Pluss' girlfriend, Jessica Stephens, a 21-year-old sophomore who had taken one of his classes (that sort of student-faculty relationship is not strictly forbidden but strongly discouraged under university policy.)

Stephens left FDU in April, claiming she was harassed by students who called her "Nazi lover." Tension grew when the socialist group threatened to send guards to campus so she could take her final exams.

In the weeks since Pluss left campus, his neo-Nazi agenda appears to have gained traction.

He said if he had not been dismissed, he would not have landed appearances on talk radio shows in New Jersey and St. Louis as well as Alan Colmes' national show, giving Pluss a wide — and judging from the callers, largely hostile — audience.

Pluss said the publicity from his dismissal helped the socialist organization, which has a post office box in Minneapolis, grow in membership from about 470 to roughly 650. Jeff Schoep, commander of the group, would not confirm those numbers or talk about the size of the membership.
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Re: Not a Pluss for Fairleigh Dickinson University

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 14, 2005 12:29 pm

GEOFF MULVIHILL wrote:Jordan Ingram always thought his history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University was a little quirky.

Jacques Pluss certainly had an unusual style, Ingram recalled. But Ingram, who is black, never thought his professor was a racist — until after Pluss was fired.
Strange that Pluss would be able to keep it under control in the class room, and the Columbia profs weren't.
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Post by Donald Isler » Sat May 14, 2005 1:24 pm

I think the Columbia situation was more about Middle East politics, not the Holocaust. This kind of stuff is beyond the pale.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 14, 2005 1:37 pm

Donald Isler wrote:I think the Columbia situation was more about Middle East politics, not the Holocaust. This kind of stuff is beyond the pale.
I thought they both were.
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Post by Donald Isler » Sat May 14, 2005 4:03 pm

They're not exactly the same thing. No Jew who cares about Israel likes to hear it defamed but, as is obvious, we have differences on how the conflict in the region should be settled, where borders should be, etc.

Questioning if the Holocaust happened is totally out of bounds.
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Re: Not a Pluss for Fairleigh Dickinson University

Post by Ralph » Sat May 14, 2005 6:14 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
GEOFF MULVIHILL wrote:Jordan Ingram always thought his history professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University was a little quirky.

Jacques Pluss certainly had an unusual style, Ingram recalled. But Ingram, who is black, never thought his professor was a racist — until after Pluss was fired.
Strange that Pluss would be able to keep it under control in the class room, and the Columbia profs weren't.
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You state as fact what one investigating body rejected. That's your right but I doubt you've read the primary documents or reports.
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Post by GK » Sat May 14, 2005 9:39 pm

In the meantime the notorious Holocaust denier Dr. Butz continues on the faculty at Northwestern.

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Post by Ralph » Sun May 15, 2005 6:33 am

GK wrote:In the meantime the notorious Holocaust denier Dr. Butz continues on the faculty at Northwestern.
*****

Has he done anything that would support a legal proceeding to revoke his tenure (I assume he is tenured or he'd have long been shown the gate)?
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Post by GK » Sun May 15, 2005 8:31 am

Ralph wrote:
GK wrote:In the meantime the notorious Holocaust denier Dr. Butz continues on the faculty at Northwestern.
*****

Has he done anything that would support a legal proceeding to revoke his tenure (I assume he is tenured or he'd have long been shown the gate)?
Alas he is a tenured prof. of electrical engineering.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun May 15, 2005 9:17 am

For alums of selective universities, it's a little like "how did he/she ever get in here?" when we were freshmen, isn't it?

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