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Professor Under Fire for Comments on Killing Cops

February 28, 2019

Joshua Clover, a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Davis, is under scrutiny for, according to The Sacramento Bee, his years-old public comments about killing police officers, following the January shooting death of Natalie Corona, a Davis police officer who was murdered on the job. Clover’s Twitter account is now private. But Davis's student newspaper, The California Aggie, first reported that he tweeted in 2014, “I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore.” He also reportedly tweeted that “it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned,” and told an SF Weekly interviewer, “People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.”

Dana Topousis, a Davis spokesperson, told the Bee that the university’s administration condemns Clover’s speech, which “does not reflect our institutional values, and we find it unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder.” Davis has not received complaints that Clover has violated the Faculty Code of Conduct, Topousis also said, adding that statements such as Clover’s “are accorded a high level of protection under the First Amendment.” Clover, who is on medical leave, said via email that when “police have as much to fear from literature professors as black kids do from police, I will definitely have a statement.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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