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Barrett professors respond to letter to Turning Point USA from President Michael Crow

A letter written by Crow in April shows he asked Kirk to take professors off a Turning Point USA watchlist after many faculty received threats


ASU President Michael Crow during a meeting with The State Press in the Fulton Center on the Tempe campus on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

University President Michael Crow wrote Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk a letter asking that he remove ASU professors from his "professor watchlist" after multiple professors received threats.

Crow’s letter to Kirk from April 10 said the "Health, Wealth & Happiness" event from Feb. 2023 went forward despite members of Barrett faculty’s letter to distance themselves from the event. Therefore, he didn’t support the professors inclusion on the watchlist. 

"Accordingly, I would like to request that you remove the ASU faculty members from the Professor Watchlist, as the only basis for their inclusion appears to be that they have expressed views with which you or your colleagues disagree," Crow said in the letter.

Crow also jokingly asked to be added to the watchlist if Kirk refused to remove the ASU professors from it.

"If being on the list means believing that viewpoints from across the ideological spectrum are welcome on college campuses, I would be honored to be on it," Crow said in the letter. 

Some professors at Barrett said they agree with Crow and are grateful for his support.

"I think Crow’s letter makes something really clear which is neither the 'Professor Watchlist' nor the controversy that has been going on since February is actually about free speech," Barrett professor Michael Ostling said. "It’s about harassing professors who don’t agree with the viewpoint of Charlie Kirk and his ilk."

Fellow Barrett professor Alex Young, another professor on Kirk’s list, said he agrees with this sentiment of gratitude towards Crow and his support for the faculty.

"I am grateful for President Crow’s thoughtful letter," Young said in a statement to the State Press. "It demonstrates how standing up for free speech on campus and speaking out against the kind of hateful disinformation campaigns waged by Turning Point USA are not contradictory positions. Indeed, defending academic freedom today increasingly requires leaders to do both."

The news of Crow’s letter to Kirk came almost two months after a joint state legislative committee gave the University 60 days to investigate the event and less than a month since Kirk and conservative talk show host Dennis Prager announced they would be returning to ASU.

READ MORE: Joint State Legislature Committee gives University 60 days to investigate Prager event and T.W. Lewis Center

"Health, Wealth, and Happiness 2.0" will be taking place on campus on Sept. 27, though its exact location is not known to the public yet.

Edited by Shane Brennan, Sadie Buggle and Grace Copperthite.

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