U. of MD prof’s email to students: Trayvon Martin case proves it’s ‘legal to hunt, kill children’

U. of MD prof’s email to students: Trayvon Martin case proves it’s ‘legal to hunt, kill children’

William Dorland
William Dorland

If it wasn’t obvious before why Barack Obama is so bullish on increasing college enrollment even as reports suggest the marketplace is saturated with degree holders, an email from a college administrator to students will shed some light on the subject.

Fox News notes that William Dorland, director of Honors College at the University of Maryland, sent an email to students that claims the verdict in the George Zimmerman case proves “it is legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida.”

The email has been blasted as the latest indicator of an extreme left-wing bias on campus and a likely explanation for why the president wants to consign more young malleable minds to the college grist mill.

The email opens innocently enough, welcoming students back to campus. But it rapidly devolves into a liberal political screed:

This year, we learned that it is legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida…. This year, the most activist Supreme Court in the history of the United States and radical factions of gun owners, gun manufacturers, and marijuana users are challenging the very fabric of the nation.

The email closes, unsurprisingly, with an invitation to students to attend a lecture by former NAACP chairman Julian Bond.

Jim Purtilo, a University of Maryland computer science professor, called the comments inappropriate. “It’s over the top,” he said. “But very much business as usual on this campus.”

Dorland told Fox that his goal was merely to stir student interest in the Julian Bond speaking event, adding, “I didn’t regard it as a political statement.” In fact, he went on:

I’m pretty apolitical. You can ask the students. I will take the side of Pope Benedict on an argument, and the next day take the side of a new Pope. You know, the intellectual position in the world is to engage people and get them to talk about what they believe in.

He dismissed the idea that the remarks in his email were indicative of general political bias on campus.

A spokesman for the College Democrats agrees. Said Ben Kramer, president of the University of Maryland chapter of the organization:

[Dorland] is a great academic and has done great things for our university. While I do not agree with his choice of words [in the Trayvon Martin reference], I respect and agree with his efforts to foster a dialogue about contentious issues.

But Ross Marchand, president of Students for Liberty, and Caroline Carlson, chairwoman of the UMD College Republicans, see the comments differently. “Sending politically charged emails like this not only alienates students, but also adds to our toxic political discourse,” said Marchand. Carlson added:

Claiming that it is ‘legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida’ is stretching the truth, and frankly, we believe Professor Dorland should be above making those types of false statements in what is presumed to be a factual Honors College email.

The controversy comes on the heels of a politically charged tweet last week by by a University of Kansas that ended in his being placed on administrative leave. The teacher in question, David Guth wrote, regarding the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard:

The blood is on the hands of the NRA. Next time let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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