On Sept. 12 students gathered in protest against Dr. Timothy Farage and the lack of repercussions seen after the two month investigation that started with his homophobic comments in July.
Students from UTD Pride, Student Government, the National Women’s Association, the United Communist Party, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and more showed in waves of support at the Chess Plaza to sign a petition to take action and end Dr. Timothy Farage’s career. The standing rally displayed students holding pro-LGBTQIA+ and anti-racist signs calling into account Dr. Timothy Farage’s tweets and classroom discussions that made national news last summer.
“I’ve already had current students come up to me and express how uncomfortable they are in his class, that he’s still saying the things we’ve shown concern for. If UTD has gone up its chain of command to issue a verbal or written warning, it obviously hasn’t worked,” said Chase Mueller, a junior Psychology major that spearheaded the protest.
Protestors suggested that Dr. Farage had broken the Code of Conduct, which all UTD employees are required to follow, stating faculty members cannot discriminate against race, sex, and gender. Additionally, they called criticism against UTD for not taking accountability or being transparent in their eight week investigation, further pointing out that this contradicted UTD’s message of welcome and high ratings for both diversity and the LGBTQIA+ community. Initially grievances and concerns could be reported to the Institutional Compliance, Equity, and Title IX Initiatives (ICET), which many of the students there noted they didn’t know how to file a report to ICET to begin with.
“Going through ICET I was told their report [on Dr. Farage] has been closed, citing a lack of severity, a lack of retribution, and that they passed it to the ECS School for review. Despite the fact, I have an email sent to a parent last week from Dean Adams of the school stating that there was no ECS investigation. Maybe they’re scared of appearances.” Mueller said.
Protestors suggest that this is just the start, taking into their own hands action against Dr. Farage. QR codes to the petition can now be found across campus cork boards, asking many organizations to join them and plans to speak out now that it’s been announced UTD has taken little action to protect its students.
“We have an open letter that we are asking many of the organizations on campus to sign and so that along with the names on the petition, we are going to be submitting to the president’s office when they are completed,” Mueller said. “I have been in contact with the Federal Office for Civil Rights and they are processing whether they think that UT Dallas has taken enough action on this situation. They are currently in the middle of their review. They are going to be asking the school for their information and their records, which I think is good in getting them to realize that this was a situation that actually matters.”
Dr. Farage’s impact has sparked debate between what separates freedom of speech from hate speech across campus organizations. However the underlying concern for this protest was to clear up misinformation that UTD hasn’t been publicly transparent about and to establish that even if it is a matter of freedom of speech, it shouldn’t mean freedom from consequences.
“I just want to reiterate some of the misinformation that I’ve seen and clear that up. Farage is not tenured,” Mueller said. “So that is not what’s preventing action from being taken. It has been exactly eight weeks and no action has been taken. He has not been fired. He has not had any further positions taken away from him. We are just hoping that action and transparency is taken whatever form you think is right. I hope that at least many people can agree that some amount of responsibility should be on the school for this situation.”