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Nearly 600 supporters of David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and professor of comparative literature at Stanford University, have signed an open letter asking his institution to “enunciate a strict code of ethics for journalists, distinguishing between opinion pieces and news reporting.” The letter was prompted by a recent article in an independent student newspaper, The Stanford Review, about Palumbo-Liu’s affiliation with the Campus Antifascist Network, calling it “undeniably a chapter of a terrorist group” that embraces “vigilante thuggery.” Fox News picked up the piece, as did several right-wing websites, and Palumbo-Liu says he’s since received graphic death threats and other hate mail from across the country.

The Campus Antifascist Network was formed in part to organize protests against racist demonstrations on college campuses. And while some members of the international “antifa” movement embrace violence as a protest tool, Palumbo-Liu told the Review that the network does not. The open letter says, in part, that “The Review provides no evidence whatsoever for their claim that Palumbo-Liu is a member of a terrorist organization. Such reckless and inflammatory statements violate not only journalistic standards but also Stanford's Fundamental Standard, and they ultimately endanger all of us.” The Review responded to criticism from Palumbo-Liu in a follow-up piece called “If It Quacks Like a Duck …” A spokesperson for Stanford said a review is under way and that the institution is “closely monitoring the situation.”