Los Angeles, CA – A professor at the University of Southern California (USC) has pushed back against calls to remove his Thin Blue Line flag supporting law enforcement from his office door at the college.
James Moore, a professor of engineering and policy at USC, said he tacked up the American flag with a blue line running through it outside his office door at the start of the fall semester, FOX News reported.
Outraged students have called for Moore to remove the flag but the professor has refused to cave to their demands.
“I wanted to communicate to progressively-oriented students that there’s a competing point of view,” Moore told FOX News.
“They live in something of a progressive bubble on a college campus,” he explained. “I wanted to communicate to conservative students, of which there are many, that in fact they’re entitled to their voice, that the messages they hear are really not representative of society at large.”
Moore said that he put the Thin Blue Line flag up outside his door to send a counter-message to the premise that black people were at more risk from police violence, FOX News reported.
“I think it’s a lie,” the professor said. “Black lives benefit rather strongly, disproportionately from the activities of police… Black lives are at greatest risk from reduced police service.”
“If all lives matter and Black lives in particular matter, then we need to make sure that they’re secure,” Moore added.
Graduate student Shai Porat complained about Moore’s Thin Blue Line flag to the Dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering and USC’s Office of Equity and Diversity in mid-October, the Daily Trojan reported.
“This is an inappropriate and unnecessary symbol to have on an office door where USC is, within the last year or two, trying to have a much broader diversity initiative and to be inclusive, especially in the STEM area,” Porat said.
But both university offices told Porat that Moore hadn’t violated any policy that would require him to take down the Thin Blue Line flag, according to the Daily Trojan.
“The university does not have a policy that limits the display of materials in spaces like this, though we are looking at whether it is needed,” USC said in a statement. “As part of the university’s commitment to academic freedom, a faculty member can express his or her individual beliefs and viewpoints on a wide variety of topics – even controversial issues – but they do not speak on behalf of a school or the broader university.”
But Porat claimed Moore posting the flag in support of police was a “trolling situation,” the Daily Trojan reported.
The graduate student said he thought the professor had done it the same way that he had responded to a schoolwide email about Title IX in 2018 by writing “accusers sometimes lie.”
Students protested and called for Moore’s resignation on that occasion, too, but the professor remained firmly entrenched in the university, the Daily Trojan reported.
Moore called USC’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts “counterproductive” and said he was “skeptical” that the university had any processes bolstering racism and inequality in an article he published on the National Association of Scholars’ website.
“[Moore] had to know this would be an inappropriate thing to have, especially with USC’s diversity initiatives,” Porat told the Daily Trojan.
Moore told the school newspaper he hung the flag in early August to “communicate a different view than what students are used to seeing.”
“I wanted to remind students that there are multiple points of view present on this campus, because we are becoming fairly homogenous in respect to ideas,” Moore said.
Moore told the Daily Trojan that he believed that the “Blue Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” movements are not mutually exclusive.
The professor pointed out that “blue lives protect black lives.”
“We have a tendency to argue that black lives are in danger from the police,” Moore said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”