University of Southern California Professor James Moore has come under fire for hanging a Blue Lives Matter flag on his office door, with some students saying he should remove it, calling the imagery “inappropriate” and counterproductive to creating an “inclusive” environment.
Moore hung the flag at the start of the fall semester. A few weeks ago, he said an administrator called him and suggested that perhaps he take the flag down. The professor of engineering and policy replied no, it stays up.
“It’s important,” Moore said in a telephone interview Tuesday with The College Fix. “Blue lives protect black lives, and black lives are not at risk from the police — they are at risk from crime — and it’s blue lives that stand between them and crime.”
But Moore’s public display (pictured) led to an article this week in the Daily Trojan calling the situation a “controversy” and quoting students who say the flag should come down.
“We are in an environment where there is a lot of homogenization of ideas, and diversity should include diversity of ideas,” he told The College Fix.
“This [USC] is supposed to be a safe space for diversity of thought,” the professor said. “We are charging people very good money to teach them to think. I am just trying to deliver.”
Moore said he was inspired to hang the flag for three main purposes.
One, to dispute the notion that police are the biggest statistical threat black lives face. He cited data found in “The War on Cops” author Heather Mac Donald’s research to point out that “the conclusions many people have reached about the risk police present to black folks are not grounded in data, because the data says otherwise.”
Two, he said he wanted to honor a family member who recently retired as a police detective, saying he respected the work that he did.
Finally, Moore said he seeks to sound the alarm on the fact that the U.S. homicide rate has spiked 30 percent amid the defund the police movement and in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In a statement to the Daily Trojan, a university official asserted Moore’s right to keep the flag up:
“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. 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.”
Moore said he is satisfied with the university’s response — except for that part where officials say they are looking into whether a policy on faculty displays is needed. “Ominous,” the professor called it.
Full story at The College Fix.