AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – Auburn University is condemning social media statements made by a lecturer calling all police officers “instruments of violence,” while expressing other anti-police sentiments.
Jesse Goldberg, Ph.D., an incoming Auburn lecturer, posted a tweet this week. WRBL edited the Tweet to remove explicit profanity.
It reads: “F*ck every single cop. Every single one. The only ethical choice for any cop to make at this point is to refuse to do their job and quit. The police do not protect people. They protect capital. They are instruments of violence on behalf of capital.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but a screenshot was shared by the Yellow Hammer News and included a link to an American Civil Liberties Union post claiming a New York protestor was abducted. The NYPD says the protester had warrants and was arrested by officers, not in uniform, but in plainclothes.
A recent public post on Goldberg’s Facebook page contained other anti-police and Democratic Party sentiments. News 3 edited explicit profanity included in that post, also.
It reads: “Mad about so many things, as usual. I can’t f*cking get over that the DNC, in the middle of a f*cking global pandemic where millions of people are losing their jobs and thus their health insurance b/c coupling healthcare to employment is still a thing in this f*cking country, voted AGAINST putting #M4A on the party platform. Oh and also in the year 2020 still voted against legalizing marijuana. I know the Democratic Party doesn’t give a s*it about anyone besides the wealthy and upper to upper-middle class, but even on the cynical “at least *pretend* to care about the poor and working class to win an election” scale they fail. And then on the ground we continue to see police forces literally grab people off the streets and throw them into unmarked vans. If you haven’t seen the video of plainclothes NYPD officers throwing Nikki Stone into a van yet, it’s a brutal display of fascism (as all videos of police violence – a redundant phrase – are). It’s kidnapping. ACAB. Yes, all. Police do not protect people. They protect capital. Cops are instruments of violence on behalf of capital. Literally the only ethical decision for a cop in this moment is to refuse to do their job, to quit. The only good cop is a cop who quits. Those two things — the Dem party platform and police as violent protectors of private property over actual people’s lives — may seem at odds, but they are sides of the same coin of a bipartisan politics of death. Most frustrating to me is that both points are about institutions — the Democratic Party and police departments — that liberals continue to have faith in as things that can improve people’s lives, and yet things which are actually obstacles for building the world we need.”
Thursday afternoon, Brian Keeter, Executive Director for Auburn University Public Affairs, released a statement to News 3 regarding Goldberg’s social media messaging. Auburn University condemned Goldberg’s post.
“We find Mr. Goldberg’s comments inexcusable and completely counter to Auburn values. Hate speech of any kind is simply wrong. Auburn is fully committed to the fundamental right of free speech, but we do not support hateful words or actions that degrade, disrespect or exclude. Especially during these difficult times in our nation, it’s vital that we reject crude stereotypes and work together to foster mutual understanding and respect within our communities. Auburn officials are considering options available to the university,” said Keeter.
News 3 reached out Thursday night on FB messager to Goldberg in an effort to get a statement. As of Friday morning News 3 has not heard back from him.
Goldberg is set to begin his first semester as a Lecturer with AU’s English Department, where he is slated to teach online courses due to the pandemic, according to his social media posts.
Goldberg gained attention a few months ago when he tweeted he would not be able to call himself a “War Eagle” after Auburn University’s Eagle mascot because it had “war” in it.
Goldberg’s Facebook cover photo is of a poem titled Against the Police.
News 3 reached out to former Auburn Police Chief Paul Register, who is now the city’s Public Safety Director for his reaction.
“This person is certainly entitled to his opinion; his comments don’t represent the “Auburn Community” that I know or hear from daily. It will not phase the professional staff we have here; they will protect him just as they do everyone else.”Paul Register
Auburn Public Safety Director
Following the reactions to Goldberg’s social media posts and statements made by Auburn leaders, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free speech advocacy organization, released the following statement to News 3:
“Faculty members at public universities possess the First Amendment right to share their personal thoughts on matters of the day without institutional censorship or punishment. The First Amendment protects faculty who subscribe to the belief that police should be defunded or prisons abolished, just as it protects those who oppose those beliefs. Auburn cannot lawfully punish Goldberg for his comments, which are protected by the First Amendment, no matter how offensive or outrageous others might find them.”Adam Steinbaugh, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
News 3 will let you know how Auburn University proceeds and if we hear back from Mr. Goldberg.