C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at the university, has faced criticism after a Sept. 29 tweet that advocated for violence towards GOP senators involved in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings.
Fair’s tweet was in response to statements made by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in defense of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court after three women accused him of sexual assault.
“Look at thus [sic] chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement,” Fair’s tweet read, referring to Graham and the other senators supporting Kavanaugh. “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”
Twitter suspended Fair’s account after the tweet was published, although a Twitter spokesperson told the Washington Post the suspension was a mistake, and her account is currently active. The tweet drew media attention and outrage, especially among conservative outlets. In an Oct. 2 segment, Laura Ingraham of Fox News denounced Fair’s statements and called her a “left-wing nutbag.”
In an email to the Voice, Fair defended her statements and decried the response from conservative outlets, writing that they had “conflate[d] anger at white male privilege with misandry.”
“What they, Fox News, Daily Caller, and associated ilk, want to do is silence the voices of people who are outraged by this political movement, which is is actively disenfranchising a majority of Americans at all level of governance,” she wrote.
In an email to the School of Foreign Service student body, Dean Joel Hellman wrote that Fair will immediately go on research leave, due to threatening statements included in the response against her, as well as to “prevent further disruption to her students.”
“It’s become clear that incivility begets incivility,” Hellman wrote. “While we have received many legitimate concerns from members of our community and beyond regarding the social media posts Professor Fair has made in her personal capacity, many other complaints registered have been provocative and threatening. Our Threat Assessment Team and Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) have taken preventive steps to secure our campus, conduct safety assessments, and continue to monitor the situation.”
University President John DeGioia release a statement on Oct. 2 in response to Fair’s comments, although he did not mention her by name. “We protect the right of our community members to exercise their freedom of expression. This does not mean the University endorses the content of their expression,” he wrote.
In an Oct. 5 email to students and staff, DeGioia denounced the use of violent or profane language. However, he defended students and staff’s right to free speech at the university.
“Our community sustains a commitment to speech and expression that does not limit speech—either on the content of the view or the person expressing the view—except in extremely limited circumstances as described in our Speech and Expression Policy,” the statement said. “Debased, coarse, and vitriolic speech undermines the foundation that enables the work of the University—the disinterested pursuit of truth. As an academic community, we are at our best when we act in the spirit of seeking the best in one another.”
Fair is an associate professor with Georgetown’s Security Studies Program, focusing on counter-terrorism and military affairs in South Asia. She has frequently drawn media criticism for inflammatory statements. In January 2017, she tweeted that Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman who voted for Trump, was a “clueless dolt” who had “pimped herself to all media outlets.” That May, Fair again garnered media coverage for an altercation with white supremacist Richard Spencer at a gym.
At an Oct. 2 GUSA senate meeting, two senators proposed a resolution that called for GUSA to condemn Fair’s statements. The resolution was met with criticism, and after a failed vote, tabled until the next meeting.
10/5/18: This post has been updated to include Dean Joel Hellman’s statement regarding Fair’s research leave and President DeGioia’s extended Oct. 5 statement to the student body.