Students Demand Professor Be Fired After He Champions Due Process, Says ‘Accusers Sometimes Lie’
Nearly 100 students at the University of Southern California attended a rally at noon on Monday demanding a tenured professor be fired after he sent a reply-all email last Thursday to the student body noting that “accusers sometimes lie.”
“If the day comes you are accused of some crime or tort of which you are not guilty, and you find your peers automatically believing your accuser, I expect you find yourself a stronger proponent of due process than you are now,” emailed Professor James Moore.
The email — in response to a reply-all email that urged students to “Believe Survivors” on the day of Christine Ford’s testimony — triggered what one school admin said was “hundreds” of emails from concerned students and alumni since Thursday.
USC students Audrey Mechling and Joelle Montier then organized a Facebook rally against the engineering professor, entitled “Times Up for James Moore.” Monday at noon at the USC Argue Plaza, nearly 100 students yelled, “Times Up, No Moore!” dozens of times.
Roughly 7 students also spoke at a makeshift podium, sharing sharing stories of sexual abuse. The crowd then marched over to the office of Dean Jack Knott, according to multiple live-streams of the protest.
Met by security guards, the protesters demanded to see Dean Knott. It is unclear if they intended to occupy the building. After a roughly five-minute standoff, security guards allowed Dean Knott greet the protesters, but did not allow students in the building.
“What [Professor Moore] sent was extremely inappropriate, hurtful, insensitive. We are going to try to do everything we can to try to create a better school, to educate the faculty,” said Dean Knott to the crowd.
He then announced that USC would take action.
"This is going to be a multi-pronged effort. We are going to have a faculty meeting later this week around implicit bias, sensitivity towards [sexual assault]...." he said.
The dean added that what Moore said is “not what our school represents.”
In an interview with PJ Media Sunday night, Moore said he “took a risk” by sending an email about due process to the entire student body, nearly 44,000 students.
Prior to this incident, Moore had worked at USC for 30 years, and for 25 of those was trusted to live in the dorms as a “faculty resident” to help keep an eye on the students.
He told PJ Media that the lack of due process in Title IX investigations has especially concerned him. He also did not intend to insinuate that Christine Ford was lying about Kavanaugh, despite how his email to students came off.
His interest in due process developed when he was a vice dean at the USC Engineering School.
“I began getting calls from parents whose children who had been expelled from other institutions for sexual misconduct, and who wanted to know if USC would entertain a transfer application from their child,” he told PJ Media.
He felt the email urging students to “Believe Survivors” was an “opportunity.”
“We are punishing more of the guilty by punishing more of the innocent.... I work from within the organization as best I can to try and change it, and this was an opportunity to make a point [about Title IX] with students focused on the question,” he said.
Moore also expressed remorse.
“It is never my intention to hurt anyone. My intention is to protect more students than we currently do from being punished for acts of misconduct they have not committed. Any of us might stand accused of any number of misdeeds, and each of us at that point will want to be treated fairly under due process.”
“Today’s victim may be tomorrow’s respondent,” he told PJ Media.
It is unclear what will happen to Professor Moore. USC spokesmen did not respond to a request for comment in time for deadline.
Will Creeley, who works for the The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), said USC can’t fire Professor Moore and be in good standing with the law.
“Consistent with both its own policy and California state law, USC may not punish either Moore for his comment, nor students who peacefully protest Moore for his comment,” said Creeley.
This is a breaking story. This article will be updated upon any new information.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.