Oh, dear. Daniel Povey has been fired.


Earlier this spring, there was a major protest at Johns Hopkins University — students actually occupied the administration building to protest the formation of a private police force on campus. It warmed my heart to see such classic action.

Some professors didn’t like it at all. Daniel Povey gathered a group of like-minded conservative thinkers who weren’t affiliated with the university, grabbed some big ol’ boltcutters, and assaulted the protesters late one night. Punches were thrown. Povey and his friends were thrown back. He’s calling it a “counter-protest”, but protest movements don’t involve planned violence, and usually involve peaceful non-violence training, rather than angry mobs.

Daniel Povey has now been fired from his non-tenured position at Johns Hopkins. I find that interesting in itself, in that the institution he pretended to have been defending wants nothing to do with him.

According to Povey’s termination letter, he was suspended and banned from campus in May over allegations that he “engaged in violent and aggressive behavior when attempting forcibly to enter Garland Hall,” and his conduct “was motivated by racially discriminatory animus and created a hostile environment.”

Povey has admitted leading a group of people to the campus building around midnight on May 8, carrying bolt cutters. “You believed the group of nonaffiliates you brought with you could become violent,” the termination letter also says. As a faculty member, “you created a dangerous situation that could have ended in serious harm to our students, yourself and others in the community.”

Povey was repeatedly told not enter Garland Hall prior to the exchange, despite his requests to enter the building to access computer servers there, according to the letter.

“These actions by a member of our faculty are entirely unacceptable. The safety, security and protection of our students and others are of paramount importance to the university,” wrote Andrew S. Douglas, vice dean for faculty. While the university will continue its investigation until it reaches its conclusion, “your own account of events based on your oral and written statements provides more than sufficient grounds for immediate termination, and we are hereby terminating your appointment with the university.”

Even more fascinating, though, is his rant about his firing. It’s as if he felt compelled to provide independent verification of everything he was accused of in the administration’s letter.

“My feeling is that this mostly has to do with underrepresented minorities, specifically black people (and trans people). There seems to be nothing that Americans, or American institutions, fear more than being accused of racism (or similar isms), which leads to ridiculous spectacles like what we’re seeing here, where such a huge organization can be paralyzed by a handful of deluded kids.”

If Povey had known in advance “that everyone inside the building was black (that was what I saw; although from media coverage it seems that there may have been a white trans person in the core group) — I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the counterprotest,” he said. “I’m not an idiot; I know that as a person who demographically ticks all the ‘oppressor boxes,’ I would have to be severely punished for opposing such a group.”

White men in “this environment seem to be expected to constantly atone for their existence by telegraphing their exclusive concern for every demographic group but their own, like a neutered puppy dog or some Justin Trudeau man child,” he said. “It’s pathetic, in my opinion, and I don’t accept it at all. I am not prepared to apologize for being who I am. I don’t think that empathy should preclude critical thinking or basic self-respect.”

Povey goes on to criticize critiques of “toxic masculinity,” compare current discourses on gender and race to Animal Farm and Nazism, discusses animus toward market-dominant minorities, and ends with some Bob Dylan: “I ain’t sorry for nothing I’ve done/I’m glad I fought, I only wish we’d won.” He at one point uses the word — widely considered a slur — “retarded.”

I’ll spare you all the long defense of Nazi Germany in which he argues that Hitler might have been “a little bit triggered” by all those rich Jews. You can read it if you want. You probably don’t want to, not recommended.

As you might have guessed, Povey is a white man, and he thinks he was fired because he is a white man, rather than for being an insensitive bigot who used violence to attack students.

He deserved to be fired, although as you might expect, he’s failing upwards. He brags about getting a better job in industry, in Seattle. Sorry, Seattle. I won’t be surprised if he gets enlisted in the Intellectual Dork Web, since he fits the bigoted profile perfectly, or gets a writing gig for Quillette.

All right, Daniel. You know what we say.

Comments

  1. wzrd1 says

    So, let me get this straight. He took a burglary tool, as bolt cutters would be pretty much the most unwieldy of weapons to an administration building, burglarized said building, with a riotous mob, to engage in his Right to Riot.
    Which isn’t a right, under any interpretation of the Constitutions, both federal and state.
    He then battered students that are nominally, via his faculty position, under his charge to protect.
    Why isn’t he in prison, where he belongs?

  2. says

    “Conservative thinkers” hey you are funny.

    Garland Hall is showing its age – most of the JHU campus has been palatialized with Bloomberg’s money.

    In my day the protests were about the horrible student food (outsourced to ARA) the faculty appears to have changed more. If we had any conservatives at all they were probably the few holdouts in the political science department.

    No doubt they will whine about conservatives being suppressed but, seriously, how did they infest one of America’s great universities? (“Infest” is apparently an appropriate word nowadays)

  3. PaulBC says

    Povey told CNBC he does not “expect to last very long at any big Silicon Valley company after expressing the kinds of opinions I have expressed in my leaving message.”

    This sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I said this to any prospective employer, I would expect the offer to be withdrawn immediately. If I were in charge of hiring, I would withdraw the offer, and with cause (not that it’s needed). The candidate himself expressed a lack of confidence in holding onto his job.

    Is he going to do any work or just start writing his Damore-style manifesto when he gets there?

  4. PaulBC says

    On the subject of private police, I was a grad student at JHU in the 90s and used to walk to campus from a nearby neighborhood. The walk between home and campus could be a little sketchy at night, but for whatever reason, campus seemed completely safe and adequately served by the Baltimore police department. Note that the 90s weren’t some idyllic past. In fact, Ta-Nehisi Coates has written about what was going on in his neighborhood around the same time or a little earlier in the wake of crack cocaine violence.

    The campus was not gated or anything. I’d walk straight through to my building.

    So has Baltimore actually become more violent? A private police force (and not just campus cops) shows a lack of support towards the community. I wonder what has happened since.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 chigau (違う)
    Justin Trudeau?
    Some minor politician from Montreal? :)

    I do not always agree with his policies ( I am more NDP) but so far he has been doing a pretty good job.

    For Non-Canadians: Trudeau is our Prime Minister, i.e. head of government. He has been doing a number of interesting things.

    PM in Gay Parade
    https://www.narcity.com/news/ca/on/toronto/pride-toronto-parade-justin-trudeau-has-officially-been-spotted-celebrating-pride-in-toronto

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @2: Trudeau has issued several formal apologies to various groups since taking office, as well as asking Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system. That’s probably what the doofus is referring to.

  7. says

    Povey has admitted leading a group of people to the campus building around midnight on May 8, carrying bolt cutters.

    Heck. This sort of thing should get a tenured faculty member booted out of his job. As an at-will employee, Povey was begging to get the bum’s rush off the campus. (And good riddance.)

  8. numerobis says

    On the flip side, Brown had protests in the 90s against arming the university police force, and also against calling in the (armed) Providence police too readily.

  9. Roi Du Voyageur says

    His mention of Trudeau endeared our Prime Minister to me even more. I had no idea U.S. bigots even knew who Justin was.

    (Also, like jrkrideau, I’m more of an NDPer, but I do appreciate the decent things that JT has done so far in office.)

  10. kurt1 says

    Enganging in incredibly inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour and then whining about the consequences and left wing bias to get hired by some “think tank” or big tech company seems to be the career path to take for conservatives these days.

  11. says

    If Povey had known in advance “that everyone inside the building was black (that was what I saw; although from media coverage it seems that there may have been a white trans person in the core group) — I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the counterprotest,” he said.

    Wait, is he saying it would have been ok to violently assault a group of white kids because then he’d have gotten away with it? So much for the plight of white people…

    +++

    I’ll spare you all the long defense of Nazi Germany in which he argues that Hitler might have been “a little bit triggered” by all those rich Jews. You can read it if you want.

    Well, Hitler had two great sources of inspiration: The US treatment of American Indians and US racial segregation. He was looking at something like Jim Crow laws and then he realised that it wouldn’t work because Jewish Germans* were on average better educated and better off than non Jewish Germans.

    *Please, when talking about Nazi Germany, don’t give the Nazis the triumph of having succeeded in making “Jews” and “Germans” mutually exclusive groups.

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