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    Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    OPINION: UConn protects conspiracy theorist on faculty

    So I’ve been hearing for a long time now complaints from the hard right about how liberal and woke the country’s universities are, poisoning young people’s minds with left-wing politics.

    I guess I don’t disagree that college faculty tend to lean left, at least for the sake of broad generalization.

    Indeed, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported in 2022 that 80% of Harvard faculty self-identified as liberal or very liberal.

    After all, statistics show Donald Trump’s political strength lies with followers who don’t have college degrees. I’ve always said you’d have to be really stupid to fall for all his scams.

    Given the left-leaning bent of most college faculty, therefore, I was surprised when someone told me that one of the most aggressive Trumpists to comment on theday.com, espousing conspiracy theories about the deep state and ridiculing climate change politics, is on the faculty at the University of Connecticut.

    “Align with the deep state controllers or choose freedom,” Paul Bureau, a lecturer and advisor and program director of Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Connecticut,” wrote in comment on an editorial in The Day last month.

    “Nov. 5, 2024 can’t arrive soon enough.”

    His remarks ended a long rant about how Trump was pursuing the force of good against the evil of the deep state, continuing a struggle that began in 1963 with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

    He accuses, in some of his comments, the FBI of coordinating a Jan. 6 deep state action to cover up the 2020 Big Steal.

    Trump won 80 percent of the vote in 2020, Bureau says. COVID-19 was seasonal flu, he says, just another hoax.

    The judicial system is corrupt.

    Trump retribution is coming, he predicts. Trump haters will awaken from their hate-filled trances after we get through a “tumultuous” 2024.

    Swamp rats will be sent to Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay. Shock is necessary, Bureau says. The gravy train must end, he warns in some of his darker comments.

    Bureau is the most animated in his comments when he talks about the “climate alarmists” who have been duped by the government, the United Nations, academia and other “corrupt entities.”

    “Don’t drink the Kool Aid,” he wrote in one post complaining about the way we’ve been brainwashed to believe in climate change.

    Of course none of this is what I would expect to be posted in a public forum by someone Connecticut taxpayers spend $117,000 a year on, to teach young people.

    Silly me, I thought college faculty members were supposed to use facts, science and reason to make an argument.

    I reached out to Bureau to ask him to talk about his politics and posting on the day.com. He answered the email I sent to his UConn address to say he didn’t want to spend university time on the question and would get back to me on his personal email.

    He never did.

    Maybe he’ll comment at the end of this column on theday.com.

    I asked the university what they think of a faculty member publicly posting conspiracy theories, election untruths, climate change denials and dark warnings about the coming election turbulence, when “sleepy creepy Joe will soon find out no immunity for him.”

    I got back a brief defense of Bureau’s right to public comment.

    “Commenting on news websites is in an employee’s capacity as a private citizen and would fall into the category of free speech,” wrote school spokesman Michael Enright.

    I’ll bet former Harvard President Claudine Gay, who resigned after the blistering reaction to her public testimony before Congress ― plagiarism also became an issue during the controversy about her testimony ― would have hoped for as much leeway from Harvard’s board as UConn apparently gives its faculty, to say stupid things.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.

    d.collins@theday.com

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.