NYU Professor Michael Rectenwald, who has been branded politically incorrect, is now suing the college and four fellow professors for calling him everything from a drug addict to Satan, as reported by the NY Post. The 58-year-old liberal studies professor said that the 20 “hateful” e-mails against him turned his once-pleasant academic life into a nightmare and has jeopardized his career. “I’ve been universally shunned by the entire department,” he said. “In academia, to be called a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist’ is like the kiss of death.” In his defamation lawsuit filed on Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court, Rectenwald asserts that “malicious” statements appeared in an e-mail thread that blasted out over five days in May from school accounts to more than 100 university staff members. He says the school did nothing to stop the “nasty screed”. The suit seeks unspecified monetary and punitive damages.
Back in September 2016, the professor opened an undercover twitter account with the name “Deplorable NYU Prof”. He spoke out against the overly liberal and PC culture with increasingly popular use of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” on campus and universities across the country. After he identified himself, in an interview for the school newspaper, 12 members of NYU’s ‘Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group’, a group of liberal-studies students and staff, published a letter claiming Rectenwald was “guilty of illogic and incivility.” In October, NYU forced Rectenwald to go on paid leave for the semester. When he returned to his post in January 2017, he says he was ill-treated and slandered in the department.
He says after his return, Associate professor Jacqueline Bishop called him the “short pants boy they call the devil” as well as a “coward,” “punk *ss” and “Adderall-filled bully.” She accused him of coming to staff meetings “high and incoherent with your tongue sticking out the side of your mouth,” as per the suit. Rectenwald says, former assistant professor Theresa Senft also “mocked” him in a mass e-mail to the dean and the entire liberal-studies department. He says Professor Carley Moore allegedly accused him of an “ongoing campaign to silence and harass anyone who seeks to challenge his delusional, narcissistic and drug-fueled narrative.” Further, adjunct professor Amber Frost called him a “right-wing misogynist.”
“It’s very painful to be accused of things that you haven’t done and have no basis in fact,” he said in tears. As per the Post, Rectenwald pleaded with NYU’s human resources to relocate him to the Russian-studies building three blocks away, which they did in September. “I felt unsafe” in my department, he said. He also said that he is worried he will not have his contract renewed when it ends. “The renewal committee will be drawn from the faculty, which has been utterly contaminated now by these statements,” he said.
NYU spokesman John Beckman commented to say, “This lawsuit is without merit”.
By: Ellen Can