Prof. gets email threats
October 25, 2007 7:38 PM
An SF State professor received a dose of southern inhospitality when a man from Atlanta, angered by a YouTube video featuring the professor, sent a menacing e-mail threatening him with physical harm.
The video prompting the man's e-mail threat, a montage of clips collected from the conflict surrounding the Malcom X Plaza 9/11 memorial, was produced by the College Republicans at SF State and appeared on Fox News Network last month.
"It was a perfect example of the manipulation of the media to indicate the opposite of something that occurred," said Phillip Klasky Professor of American Indian Studies, who received the intimidating e-mail.
Klasky said the video was a "shameful manipulation" of his attempt to resolve the heated dispute between protestors and the memorial's organizers.
According to Klasky, the e-mail declaring, "We saw the video. Watch your back," found its way to his inbox shortly after Bill O'Reilly aired a segment of the event, characterizing SF State as disrespectful to 9/11 victims.
Klasky said he then notified campus authorities of the threat, who immediately contacted the police department in Atlanta about the man.
Captain Patrick Wasley, of the SF State university police department, handled Klasky’s threat.
"It's a closed case, but we're going to continue to monitor the situation," Wasley said.
Klasky said he was concerned about the potential for violence and stepped in to quell the escalating tension at the 9/11 memorial—where protestors from the group, The World Can’t Wait, shouted and interrupted the event jointly held by campus Democrat and Republican organizations.
He appears near the end of the campus Republican's YouTube video, talking with protestors and saying, "They're using the deaths of these people to wage an illegal war." The video then cuts to a slide that reads, "Leftist professors and students joined forces to disrespect those that died in Sept. 11th."
Klasky said the clip was taken out of context as he tried to broker a deal between the groups, offering protestors a chance to speak following the memorial in exchange for an end to their disruption.
"I told organizers that the university is a constructive place to open dialogue and discuss these very important global issues," he said.
President of the College Republicans at SF State, Leigh Wolf, would not comment on the YouTube video saying he didn't want to get into a "who said what argument about the memorial," but added that his group condemned the e-mail threat against Klasky.
"As an organization that has received multiple threats, we don't think what the man in Georgia did is appropriate," Wolf said. "We condemn that action. It should be fully investigated, and that person should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Klasky said he was upset and saddened by the video, but added it wouldn't dissuade him from promoting a diversity of opinions on campus.
"I'm not easily intimidated," Klasky said. "I will continue to endeavor to create situations for constructive dialogue at our university."
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