Email to the Dean, Provost and President of the University of Rhode Island

Dear all,

I wanted to write to protest in the strongest possible terms your treatment of Erik Loomis.

Following the tragic Newtown shooting, Erik Loomis called for Wayne LaPierre’s “head on a stick.” This was in reference to Wayne LaPierre’s anti-gun control advocacy as head of the National Rifle Association. This was a demand for the NRA to be held accountable for their pro-gun work, not a demand for vigilante action. As should be clear to all.

Following these comments a fake scandal has dogged Erik and some have claimed that Erik proposed the physical insertion of a stick into Mr LaPierre’s head. This is frankly ludicrous, and serves only as a distraction from the real, and avoidable, tragedy that occurred at Newtown last week. Erik has been visited by the police and has now, rather ironically, received threats himself.

Beyond the misleading nature of the accusations, it should also be emphasised that they are deeply hypocritical and politically motivated. Two months ago, right-wing blogger Glenn Reynolds voiced his anger over the State Department’s lax provision of security in Benghazi by demanding, “Can we see some heads roll?” Yet that very same Glenn Reynolds is now accusing Loomis of using “eliminationist rhetoric.”

I was therefore very disappointed by the statement issued yesterday:

The University of Rhode Island does not condone acts or threats of violence. These remarks do not reflect the views of the institution and Erik Loomis does not speak on behalf of the University. The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change.

By stating that the University of Rhode Island “does not condone acts or threats of violence” you imply that Erik Loomis does, moreover you imply that the allegations against him are true. For the record Erik does not want LaPierre impaled,

When you should have been supportive of Erik’s right to freedom of speech and expression and brave enough to stand by him, it seems you have instead thrown Erik under the bus. For the avoidance of any doubt, this is a metaphorical bus.

I urge you to read what he and others have written on the situation and reconsider your stand. Although it is never pleasant to be subject to such ire, this is the price which must occasionally be played to protect freedom of speech and personal integrity. Please reconsider your position and offer Erik the unreserved support which he deserves.

Yours sincerely,