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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Protest in favor of dismissing Professor Joshua Clover held

Chancellor Gary May says that there will be no further university investigation into Clover’s conduct

In an attempt to demonstrate their belief that professor of English and comparative literature Joshua Clover should be fired over his anti-police comments, the Davis College Republicans (DCR) held a rally outside the Memorial Union with the help of ASUCD Senator Mohammad Qayum and former ASUCD President Michael Gofman on March 15.

“The goal of the rally was to demonstrate to campus administration that the student body was not going to stand idly by while a murder advocate is protected by the university,” DCR chair Ryan Gardiner said. “Advocating for violence against any group of people is unacceptable.”

Qayum started the rally with a brief statement, saying that both his presence there and the rally itself were things he wished he “didn’t need to do.” Much of the focus was on what constitutes free speech. Qayum stated Clover’s comments do not fall under this category and are instead “hate speech.” The crowd applauded, appreciative of Qayum’s determination to make something happen. “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Qayum said.

Gofman discussed the death of officer Natalie Corona in comparison to the Clover controversy, stating both situations were a matter of “right and wrong.” For Gofman, what was inherently wrong about Clover’s comments was the lack of critique.

“It was very simple,” Gofman said. “It was calling for the murder of the people that protect. It was calling for the murder of people.”

James Gallagher (AD-3), an alumnus of UC Davis and a California State Assemblymember, was the last speaker at the rally. Gallagher advocated for a civil dialogue and discourse in which everyone could “reach an understanding of each other.” While also introducing a resolution into California Legislature, Gallagher demanded “UC Davis administration ‘do what they think is right and make sure this rhetoric is not going to be taken anymore.’”

Gallagher’s resolution, HR-22, is a direct response to the UC Davis administration’s actions regarding Clover’s statements. The resolution states “that the Assembly urges University of California, Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, University of California President Janet Napolitano, and the Regents of the University of California to remove Professor Joshua Clover from the classroom and terminate his employment at the University.”

The resolution has not been approved by the California State Assembly at the time of publication.

Chancellor Gary May updated his statement that had previously not been changed since Mar. 4 and released a letter in response to Gallagher’s resolution. In his statement, May said he consulted his team to see if Clover’s comments were “subject to review under the University of California’s Faculty Code of Conduct (APM 015)” which describes both a formal and informal investigation into faculty misconduct. May came to the conclusion that the “university will not proceed with review or investigation of concerns regarding Professor Clover’s public statements” due to a possible reduction in federal funding for not protecting Clover’s right to free speech. This comes on the heels of President Donald J. Trump’s recent executive order that requires universities protect free speech on campuses.

On behalf of Chief Campus Counsel Michael Sweeney, Melissa Lutz Blouin of Strategic Communications said, “The procedures for responding to allegations of misconduct by faculty members are set forth in UCD Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 015.” However, APM 016 lays out forms of faculty discipline, one of which is dismissal which could be used against Clover. Other forms of discipline include written censure, reduction in salary, demotion, suspension, denial or curtailment of emeritus status and dismissal from the employ of the University.

The UC Regents have the power to make the final decision to dismiss a faculty member. If they choose to do so, Clover “may file a lawsuit to challenge a dismissal action.”

The California Aggie reached out to Clover for interview or statement. Clover provided the same response he previously sent: “On the day that police have as much to fear from literature professors as black kids do from police, I will definitely have a statement. Until then I have nothing further to add.”

Written by: Deana Medina — campus@theaggie.org


  1. Like it or not, this is free speech. Astounding that the so-called constituionalist college republicans would advocate for his firing.

  2. “March 15.” What a timely article.

    And Clover, as always, takes the cowardly way out by not even attempting a defense. But I suppose fanatics tend to believe their beliefs are above the need for defense.

    I don’t agree with the conclusion, but using Trump’s executive order in such a way is genuinely funny.

  3. Students stop signing up for his class.
    If he has no students he won’t last long! You think UC Davis is going to employ some idiot who has no class? The power is in the hands of the students and always has been. Students can make the choice whether or not to sign up for his class. That will get him dismissed in and of itself.


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