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:

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. 


_________________________ (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.


___________________________________ (MA propaganda course)


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!


_______________________ (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!


_________________________ (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. 


____________________________ (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! 


______________________ (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!


_________________________ (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.


__________________________ (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.


________________________ (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!


___________________________________(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.


____________________________________ (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


______________________________________ (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!


____________________________________ (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!


______________________ (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!


_________________________________ (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! 


___________________________________ (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.


_____________________________________ (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)

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

I work in a resource management organization that is suffering under the influence of college graduates who have attained high level positions and don’t have an inclination to challenge the non-science that pervades in these professions. The internal propaganda that drives out conversation and directs internal imposition and policy mandates is becoming very concerning. I think it is also contributory to the disconnect between our public trust organization and their constituents. I think there needs to be more classes like what this professor teaches; ones that encourage students to think and not be afraid to analyze information more thoroughly and logically.

Interestingly, my son graduated from NYU and works as a nurse at a hospital in NY that was converted to a covid unit. He would not have taken Professor Miller’s class but I am sure he would have benefited from it if he had. A very smart lad who I don’t always see eye to eye with, but willing to have logical conversations. I shared this petition with him and look forward to what discussion this might inspire.
I came to this position through a post by one of my Facebook friends who had this, well written comment, to go along with it.
“Please support academic freedom and sign this petition in support of Professor Mark Crispin Miller and the right of all professors to do their jobs to the standards their profession demands. Censorship of this sort (much less, in the face of the nearly 40 years of scientific research and their generally concordant findings on the efficacy of surgical masks). The politicization of science and unprecedented level of censorship we have seen in this manner is reminiscent of some of the worst totalitarian governments in history. It makes a mockery of everything academia is supposed to stand for and is a direct attack on science.”- Albert Lucientes

Hi Mark, I am so sorry that we weren’t more successful in reaching the majority of the American people with regard to the disinformation that is so prevalent in our media today.

A society that doesn’t base it’s decision making on sound facts cannot expect to be effective at producing a culture that brings joy.

“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.”

Any reason these resource links are not provided? Can they be found elsewhere under a single link?

As a retired professor who spent much time teaching students to think critically, it is sad to see such a teacher as Mark Crispin Miller being attacked for doing what education is supposed to do. When Rodney Benson tweeted, “We as a department have made this a priority,” did he mean suppressing rational thinking and critical analysis?

This is not the first time that NYU has demanded that its professors stop doing first rate research and teaching because it displeased the vested interests of some of their donors. it is sad to see education and ethics sold to the highest bidder. It seems that those attacking Professor Miller could benefit greatly by taking his class.

Please invent a time machine and send this student to work as an agitator for the Nazi SA or as an admission officer for a Stalinist Gulag. She says she wants to abolish police yet she is an officer in the Thought Police

Just before my course was dropped at a northern UK business school,
the course leader came to me and said “your module isn’t quite as popular as you think it is.” I pointed out that I had just been voted ‘tutor of the year’ by the students but was not concerned at this as I didn’t prepare courses to make myself popular but to educate and help with intellectual and critical development of my charges. To no avail, I was soon cycling down the road!

Regardless of my own position on masking, I am shocked that NYU would even seriously consider limiting his academic freedom. I am a professor emeritus at a religious school (Claremont School of Theology) and also at Claremont Graduate University, and neither of those institutions would ever have done such a thing.

Discernment, discussion, investigation, analysis of data and relationship to source, questioning, challenging held perspectives and the efficacy of research and source on any given subject, are among the skill sets I have learned in my studies at NYU. These have come to serve me in a myriad of ways. The benefits of such practices are not to be compromised.

Well what have we here? Another case of diarrhea of the mouth without putting one’s brain in gear from one or two students, as their complaints are not grounded in facts, but mere opinions. However, the PC, CYA and spineless head of Dr. Miller’s department are simply hypocrites. They allow these trifling complaints to sway them to pressure a professor, who teaches a course instructing his students to examine topical and relevant issues using the empirical guidelines of scientific inquiry, suggesting he drop a course which teaches students’ to critically think. This amounts to nothing more than academic censure, which is tantamount to a violation of his 1st Amendment rights. Need I say more?

The greatest advancements in human history were because an individual critical thinker challenged the status quo and accomplished the seemingly impossible. I can foresee some of Professor Miller’s students doing the same, for the mind that learns to think beyond the boundaries of social conformity is highly powerful.

I Hope you are reinstated in your position and course!

It is time people woke up and started questioning the “Plandemic”.

It is only a matter of time sadly, before the “New World Order”, One World Government, Cashless, Anti – Christ Society – “Mark Of The Beast” 666 system is put in place. Just read Biblical prophecy.

Are we going to just line up and let them inject a microchip one quarter the size of a rice seed, administered through a hypodermic needle in our right hand or forehead.

And then just scan us – George Orwell”s 1984 – “Big Brother” is watching.

Revelations in the Bible talks about the mark – without it you cannot buy or sell.

We Do not have to live in fear of a virus – eat a clean plant based diet, Vitamin C, D, Zinc, etc.

Our Natural God given immunity!

Forget vaccines with their aluminum, mercury a known neurotoxin, formaldehyde, dog tissue, monkey tissue, aborted fetal tissue, etc.

This is health?!!

Where does it say that the creator, – said in order to have wellness – you must stick a man made syringe, with man made serums in your arm?

It states in Genesis in the Bible – I have given you every fruit and herb to you it shall be for “meat” – for food and medicine.

Yes it is unfortunately No longer the Garden of Eden – so we have to fight for our Heath and Wellness and access to the truth amongst all the Corruption.

Wow! I just heard your conversation with Bobby Kennedy. It was so amazing to hear someone speaking the “real truth”. I signed the petition so you can get to teach that awesome class again!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the UK after the mandatory wearing of masks the cases of Covid 19 have started to peak again helped by the closing of pubs at the same time 10pm

Self-harming behaviors are difficult but not impossible to help people through in person. Banning relating to persons in person makes it so much more difficult. I see mask-wearing and shaming of non-mask-wearers as a form of self-harming behavior. It seems extreme that perhaps tb and pneumonia will thin such persons out, but if people who care about them cannot reach them, I guess that is where this goes.

Germ theory is a 100+ year fraud. Conflicts of interest causes resistance to overturning it for something much, much better.
The global monopolists want to own and control everything and everyone. For their own safety, and only their safety. They don’t really care about the “little people”. Whenever they say they want to “protect you”, they’re lying. They want to enslave us. Permanently.

Won’t happen. “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees…”… same consciousness… false “authorities”,, they know nothing because they know not The Truth. Pathetic deniers.

I Am The Truth, and I Am Infinitely Greater and More Effective than any illusion or false idea.
I Am The Truth. And My Name Is Love.

Those with The Spirit Know- Remember

Our civilization cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness. It is our developing and extending consciousness that he/(she!) threatens – and our consciousness in its newest, most sensitive activity, its vital growth. To arrest or circumscribe the vital consciousness is to produce morons, and nothing but a moron would do it. H.D. Lawrence

A professor being censored by the college that pays him to teach a course on propaganda? Does anyone else find this hilarious? You can’t make this stuff up.

I am profoundly shocked by the disgraceful mobbing of Mark Crispin Miller by a group of his colleagues at NYU. Mark is a brilliant scholar and a public intellectual of major stature. I have unwavering admiration for his lucidity, his courage, and his intellectual generosity. (He was an altogether exemplary external examiner for one of my department’s PhD students several years ago.) I look forward to seeing him receive a full and complete apology, together with appropriate damages, from those who have so shamefully smeared and abused this outstanding scholar.

Michael Keefer, Professor Emeritus, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph

Best wishes to this brave professor who is only doing his job. Delighted people are making a Big Fuss about this. One vicious idiot is all it takes to spoil a good thing these days. The worst in our communities is floating to the top these days, let’s skim it off.

the student who complained needs some serious education. What a sad warped person she is.The Uni too should have pointed out how wrong she is.

Where’s the material the professor used to back up his claims about masks?
Why don’t you share that with us so we can judge the quality of the “research” the professor is using to proclaim his anti-mask position is grounded in real science?

I’d be interested to see if it’s propaganda or science.

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