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NYU must affirm MCM’s academic freedom (PETITION)

If you believe in academic freedom, as well as free speech overall, please consider signing this petition, and sharing it with others who believe that higher education must be free from censorship of any kind, whether by the state, corporations, foreign interests, pressure groups, or by the university itself.

Petition Link: https://www.change.org/MarkMiller


The background

A full professor in NYU’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication (since 1997), and a recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill Foundations, Prof. Miller teaches a course on propaganda, focusing not only on the history of modern propaganda, but—necessarily—on propaganda drives ongoing at the time. The aim is to teach students to identify such drives for what they are, think carefully about their claims, seek out whatever data and/or arguments have been blacked out or misreported to protect those claims from contradiction, and look into the interests financing and managing the propaganda, so as to figure out its purpose.

On Sept. 20, after a class discussion of the case for universal masking as defense against transmission of SARS-COV-2 (in which discussion she did not participate), a student took to Twitter to express her fury that Prof. Miller had brought up the randomized, controlled tests—all of those so far conducted on the subject—finding that masks and ventilators are ineffective at preventing such transmission, because the COVID-19 virions are too small for such expedients to block them. Prof. Miller urged the students to read those studies, as well as others that purport to show the opposite, with due attention to the scientific reviews thereof, and possible financial links between the researchers conducting them, and such interests as Big Pharma and the Gates Foundation. Prof. Miller followed up by providing the links to the former studies (not easily found on Google, though they have all appeared in reputable medical journals), and other materials, including a video of a debate on the subject.

The student was so outraged by Prof. Miller even mentioning those studies that she called on NYU to fire him:

I hope @nyuniversity, @nyusteinhardt, and @mccNYU agree that this professor should not be trusted with educating and advising students, and I hope they take immediate steps to relieve him of these duties. 8/

Having contacted NYU’s bias response line to report him, and getting no satisfaction there, the student kept on tweeting her demand for Prof. Miller’s termination, due to his “unhealthy amount of skepticism around health professionals,” and a range of other posts that she had seen on News from Underground, Prof. Miller’s website, and found no less insidious, misreporting that their sources were “many far right and conspiracy websites,” and therefore, evidently, not worth reading.

The student’s call provoked a storm of tweets, many attacking her, and others thanking her—one of which was posted by Prof. Miller’s department chair, promising to act on her demand: “Julia, thank you for reporting this issue. We as a department have made this a priority and are discussing next steps.”

Soon after this pledge of institutional support, the dean of NYU’s Steinhardt School (in which Prof. Miller teaches), together with a doctor who advises them on COVID-19 policy, emailed each of Prof. Miller’s students (without putting him on copy), starting with a ritual nod to “academic freedom,” then hinting that the studies noted in that class were dangerous misinformation. To set them straight, the two advised the students to consult the “authoritative” CDC—specifically, its list of several recent studies finding that masks are effective against COVID-19. (That the CDC itself, as well as Dr. Fauci, had, until April, publicly adhered to the consensus of those “dangerous” studies went unmentioned.) The two concluded with a stern reminder that the students are obliged to mask on campus (although Prof. Miller had made quite clear that he was not suggesting that they break NYU’s rule, which he observes himself.)

Thus that student’s tweets immediately prompted NYU to take her side, and several media outlets to attack Prof. Miller for his dissidence, without interviewing him. The following week, NYU followed up by urging him to cancel his propaganda course next term, and, instead, teach two sections of his course on cinema. Their rationale was that it would be “better for the department,” because enrollment in the latter course is always high; but then so are the enrollments for Prof. Miller’s propaganda course, which has earned the highest praises from its students. (The emails here were sent to him by students in his propaganda and film courses in 2019/20.)


Hi Professor Miller,

Thank you so much for a wonderful semester!  Your class is invaluable and has already dramatically affected the way I receive information.  I’m very grateful it exists. 

Best,

_________________________ (MA propaganda course)

Hello Professor Miller,

Thank you for an eye-opening few months! Have a great break.

Kind regards,

_______________________________ (MA propaganda course)

Professor Miller!

Thanks so much for such a thoughtful class and a transformative 

semester. Enjoy your break!

All the best,

_______________________________ (MA propaganda course)

Professor Miller,

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in your class. I look forward to learning more from you in the future. 

Thank you for the semester and happy holidays,

________________________________ (MA propaganda course)

Dear Prof. Mark Crispin Miller,

Could you please add me to your newsletter recipient list? Really looking forward to knowing about your insights on news. Thank you!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy holidays!

_______________________(MA propaganda course)

Dear Professor Miller: 

Greetings. Thank you for your work last semester. Personally, I am truly grateful for your teaching and have fully reflected my appreciation to you in faculty evaluation earlier in December. I have gained a lot from your class and learned how to rethink our surroundings from the perspective of propaganda analysis.

Best, 

___________________________________ (MA propaganda course)

Mark,

It has been such a privilege being your student these past two years. You’ve changed the way I think about thinking. You’ve taught me how to appreciate films–a skill that has brought insurmountable joie-de-vivre to my existence since the film class I took with you many semesters ago. Your classes also provided the environment for _____ and I to find and build a very fulfilling friendship with each other. I cherish all of this greatly!

My school days have come to a close–for now. I am positive I will head back to higher-ed soon, and I owe that to professors like you who remind me daily of the sheer joy of learning. Thank you for your guidance, and for being the highlight of my NYU educational experience. This school doesn’t deserve you, but its students need you!

Best,

_______________________ (undergraduate propaganda and film courses)

Hi Professor Miller,

I am writing to you because my thesis proposal on Criminal Minds and its portrayal of the FBI was just approved, and I wanted to make sure that you’re able to be my advisor. I’ll attach a copy of my proposal in case you need it. I think your guidance will be super valuable, and I’m excited to work with you again!

Thanks,

_________________________ (undergraduate propaganda course)


I wanted to ask a couple things. First, may I be added to your listserv? I also showed my mom your site, and she would love to be added as well if possible. I would like a daily digest and she wants to get everything – she really likes your writing and all your curated sources.

Lastly, I was wondering if we are going to do a coronavirus class this week. I know this is late notice to request that, but I would really enjoy hearing your thoughts…maybe you could make it optional and shorter for those who are interested? Either way, I wanted to thank you for creating such an engaging and informative class. I learned so much about film, politics and life itself – so thank you. I hope we can stay in touch and that I can possibly take your Senior Seminar next year.

______________________ (film course)

Hi Mark,

Needless to say, I’ve loved every class of yours I’ve taken over the years, you being the professor I’ve seen the most during my undergrad career and easily among those I’ll miss the most.

Thank you for everything and hopefully we can meet again in the future.

_____________________________ (propaganda and film courses)

Thanks for a great year! I really enjoyed both of your classes, and I have really learnt so much in both. Attached is my final paper. I hope you are staying well through these tough times.

All the best,
______________________________(propaganda and film courses)

Thanks again for an incredible semester! I have enjoyed your [propaganda] class more than any I have taken at NYU before. It has really opened my eyes to the influence of popular media in America and has made me see everything in a different light now. For that, I thank you. 

Warmly,

____________________________ (propaganda course)        

Hi Professor Miller, 

Here’s my final paper. Thanks again for a great semester. I really enjoyed this [propaganda] class very much and recognize its strong impact in the way I think about not only media but everything that’s presented to me on a daily basis. It truly enlightened and sharpen my perspective. I will miss it and the great discussions our class had! If you need any help with your future classes, or personal projects that you are working on, please let me know. I would be happy to help in any way I can. 

Have a great summer! 

Sincerely, 

______________________ (propaganda course)

Dear Prof. Miller,

Please see my final paper assignment in attachment. Thank you for what you’ve done in class – I’ve enjoyed this semester and learnt a lot.

______________________ (propaganda and film courses)

Hi Professor Miller,

I’ve attached my final paper to this email.

Thank you for such an interesting and eye-opening class. It was a great semester!

Best,

_________________________ (propaganda course)

Dear Professor Miller, 

I have attached my final essay to this email. 

I really enjoyed writing this essay and attending your classes. 

I would love to get updates from you. Could you be able to add me to your mailing list?

Thank you so much. Have a great holiday.

Sincerely,

__________________________ (propaganda course)

Dear Prof. Miller,

I apologize for turning in [this paper] a day late, and I hope you still consider it for full credit. I enjoyed delving into this essay, and this will definitely contribute to my colloquium in some ways. 

I also very much enjoyed this class – I learned quite a bit, and you’ve given me a toolbox with which I will evaluate every form of media that crosses my path. Now I can’t watch a single piece of, well, anything without trying to rip it apart piece by piece to see who is influencing what and why. I enjoyed this class and the connections I made through it.

I wish you all the best in your career and future classes! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Best,

________________________ (propaganda course) 

I want to thank you for an amazing class. Probably the best film criticism class I’ve taken, so Tisch can take it’s big head somewhere else. Thank you also for letting me take the course. I know the virus made it impossible for us to fulfill the full potential of the analysis of the films, but I think we stil got a lot done, especially considering the circumstances. 

Enjoy your Summer and keep staying safe,

____________________________________ (film course)

Thank you for a great semester! The close viewing we worked on in this class has been invaluable to me as a casual viewer, an actor, and a writer. I will carry these skills with me and develop them as I go.

_____________________________________ (film course)

Hi Professor,

Here is my final paper! I really enjoyed discussing my two favorite films from the class, The Killing and Eyes Wide Shut, and I hope you enjoy reading about how they are connected.

This class was one of my favorites in all my four years at NYU and it is largely due to the academic spirit and knowledge you brought to the table! Thank you so much for making my final semester so meaningful in spite of the circumstances.

I hope we continue to keep in touch and that you make an appearance for our director’s movie club!

Sincerely,

___________________________________(film course)

Hi Professor Miller,

It has been a pleasure attending your class this semester. Your class was my only class that didn’t falter because of quarantine. If anything, I think it was strangely more thought-provoking. 

Here is my final essay. I hope you enjoy. And I hope that we will all stay connected with the film club.


All My Best,

_____________________________________ (film course)

Hi Professor Miller,

I hope you’re doing well. First off, thank you for a very educational and engaging semester. I will truly cherish the things I learned in your class, not just about film, but critical thinking and the appreciation of art in general. I can’t think of a much better way to have spent my last semester at NYU.

Please find attached my final essay on Eyes Wide Shut. Thanks in advance for reading, and I hope you have a pleasant summer, whatever form it may take.

Best,

____________________________________ (film course)

Hi Professor Miller, this is _______________, and here is my final paper. Thank you so much for the wonderful semester! In the fall, I will be attending USC for film productions and your class has been so helpful for me to learn more about the American Cinema. Please take care of yourself in this pandemic. And I truly hope you have a wonderful summer (which will only get better)!  :D

Sincerely,

______________________________________ (film course)

Hi Professor Miller, 

Attached is my final paper for the Kubrick Senior Seminar. 

I also just wanted to thank you for hosting a wonderful class. It really opened my eyes and gave me a stronger appreciation for Stanley Kubrick’s films. All in all, I really enjoyed everything and hope to stay in contact about some of your other research. 

Wishing you all the best, 

_______________________________________ (film course)

Good evening Mark, I hope this email finds you well and healthy. I have attached my final paper as a Word Document. 

Thank you for a great semester despite the many hiccups both in the classroom and online. I wish we could have finished in-person, but we all did the best that we could and I think the discussions we had were still great. 

I am looking forward to our meeting tomorrow and thank you for taking the time to teach us some facts that we are not seeing or hearing.  

Wish you well, 

______________________________________ (film course)

Hi Professor,

Attached is my final paper (Persona: Kubrick’s Negotiation of Virtue and Vice).

Thanks so much for this semester! It was a crazy one, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to take a class with you. 

Thanks again and looking forward to continuing discussions with the rest of class through our film club,

____________________________ (film course)

Dear Professor Miller,

I hope this email finds you well. 

Please find my final paper attached to this email. Thank you so much for an incredible class, and a great last semester. I feel like I learned a lot from this course outside of Kubrick-related content as well- I was also wondering if you could put me on your listserv for your newsletter. 

Thanks again, and have a great summer!

Sincerely,

____________________________________ (film course)

   

Hi Professor Miller,

Attached is my final paper. Thank you for a great semester, even though it was a weird one, I really enjoyed our classes!

Best,

______________________ (film course)

Dear Professor Miller,

I’ve attached my final essay onto this email. Thank you so much for a wonderful semester–this class has truly been a highlight of my week, every week, and I’ve gained so much knowledge about and insight into films I know I will take with me when watching movies from now on! Thank you again, and happy holidays!

Best,

_________________________________ (two of my film courses)

Thanks and thank you so much for a wonderful semester — I feel like I learned a lot!

_________________________________ (film course)

Hi Mark,

Attached is my submission for the Kubrick course’s final assignment. It was really a joy to be a part of both your film courses for this semester. I truly feel as if I have become a far more critical and informed viewer of film and I took immense pleasure in expanding my horizons with the filmography of Stanley Kubrick. 

As I graduate I intend to begin work in the film industry myself once the world returns to normal and although I do not know yet where this path may take me, I hope that maybe one day I will be able to have a role in the creation of a work as a rich as many of the films I watched in these two courses. Thank you for making my final semester an intellectually challenging and rewarding experience. 

All the best,

__________________________________ (two of my film courses)

Attached below is my essay on the film Parasite. It has been a pleasure being in your class and I look forward to crossing paths in the future. Take care and have an enjoyable summer!

__________________________________(film course)

Dear Professor Miller, 

How are you? This is my final paper. Thanks so much for this great semester! 

Best, 

___________________________________ (film courses)

Hi Professor!

Attached is my final paper on The Silence of the Lambs. Thank you so much for a great semester. Your class was the perfect way to end my college career as a drama student. 

I hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during this nuts time! 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

_____________________________________ (film course)

Hi Mark,

I am attaching my final paper to this email. Thank you for this class. I felt like I learned so much not only about films and their history, but about my own deeper enjoyment of film as an art form. I used to hate rewatching movies and now I feel like I need to rewatch every one I enjoy. I hope you have a great summer! 

______________________________________ (film course)

53 replies on “NYU must affirm MCM’s academic freedom (PETITION)”

I would have loved to have a professor spewing unfounded garbage like Professor Miller does. I love the debate and presenting my evidence to refute my opponents evidence, especially if my opponent is a well-read, intelligent and analytical person like the professor. If I vigorously disagree with my opponents position, all the better to help sharpen my arguments and keep me engaged in debunking their BS positions.

The idea that masks don’t help is pure garbage BS, and the idea that the pre-pandemic scientific data and studies don’t support their usefulness is even a bigger pile of BS and dishonest and disingenuous at best. But that’s great, let’s have the debate!

How do you learn how to refute BS arguments, or twisted interpretations of evidence and facts to support an unfounded position? Isn’t learning how to do this what college is all about?

How do you learn how to debate, analyze, and counter arguments made by very smart people, like Professor Miller, if you refuse to be challenged with their arguments or refuse to even engage in the debate?

How do you learn to think for yourself if you refuse to engage with people who also think for themselves but–heaven forbid–come to different conclusions than you?

If you can’t use your brain, or are too afraid to, then don’t go to college and never talk to smart people who you disagree with.

NYU is pathetic if this is the level of total conformance discourse that is now expected.

Controls of Covid-19 are kept from the public by CDC and NIH .
HCQ and Ivermectin STOPS COVID-19. Dr. Pierre Kory, Associate Professor of Medicine at St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center in Milwaukee, testified December 8, 2020 at the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Ref. https://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=230634

Exposure of government lies is what filled Siberian labor camps, has driven Julian Assange and Ed Snowden into exile, concealed CIA actions in Dealy Plaza, 9/11 actions, etc. “conspiracy theorists” will soon be sent to Alaskan North shore oil wells and be paid 8 cents per hour.

Mark Crispin Miller is a shining light in a variety of venues. He should be cherished and protected.

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