Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

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TollandRCR
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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#251

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:39 am

I think sending that letter to the parents is unacceptable harassment. It crosses the line. I would find it very difficult to seek to protect him on the grounds of academic freedom. This is not a matter of the exercise of academic freedom. It is a form of stalking the victims of a tragedy.

This is the collective bargaining agreement between the Board of Trustees of FAU and the faculty union, United Faculty of Florida. This is not an AAUP union. The following is excerpted from a public legal agreement.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
BOARD OF TRUSTEES/UNITED FACULTY OF FLORIDA
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
2012-2015

ARTICLE 5
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
5.1 Policy. The Board, the University, and the UFF are committed to maintaining and encouraging full academic freedom. Academic freedom and academic responsibility are twin guardians of the integrity of institutions of higher learning. This integrity is essential to the preservation of a free society and explains the willingness of society historically to accept the concept of academic freedom and, in addition, to protect it through the institution of academic tenure.

5.2 Academic Freedom. The principal elements of academic freedom include the freedom to:

(a) Present and discuss academic subjects, frankly and forthrightly, without fear of censorship, and to select instructional materials and determine grades in accordance with Board and University policies. The objective and skillful exposition of subject matter, including the acknowledgement of a variety of scholarly opinions, is the duty of every employee.

(b) Engage in scholarly and creative activity, and to publish results in a manner consistent with professional obligations.

(c) Speak freely on, and seek changes in, academic and institutional policies.

(d) Exercise constitutional rights without institutional censorship or discipline.

5.3 Academic Responsibility. Freedom entails responsibilities. The Board of Trustees, the University, and the UFF accept responsibilities to: (1) scholarship, (2) students and colleagues, (3) the University, and (4) the larger community which the University serves. These responsibilities include:

(a) Scholarly responsibility to be forthright and honest in the creation and communication of scientific and scholarly knowledge and to uphold the ethical standards of their discipline.

(b) Respecting the relationship between professor and student: adhere to the proper role as teacher, researcher, intellectual mentor, and academic advisor; respect students, staff, and colleagues and treat them with behavior free from discrimination; recognize their right to enjoy full academic freedom; and respect the integrity of the evaluation process with regard to students, staff, and colleagues.

(c) Contributing to the orderly and effective functioning of the academic unit (program, department, school, and/or college) and/or the University by adhering to the principles of shared governance. The Board of Trustees and their representatives have responsibilities that include, but are not limited to, promoting intellectual growth, the rights of employees, and academic freedom.

(d) Recognizing that faculty, as members of the community, have rights and duties. When speaking on any matter of public interest, a faculty member shall make clear when comments represent personal opinions and when they represent official University positions.
The assertion that he has claimed other instances of terrorism to be "false flags" may be relevant if he has similarly harassed other survivors or their kin or friends.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#252

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:33 am

Sam the Centipede wrote:It's a little like with the birthers: as long as no specific private individual is defamed in a concrete way, there is little to stop these scummy asses from propagating their lies
I would think being repeatedly publicly accused of faking your child's death for fun and profit would be considered being defamed in a concrete way. These assholes are stating that the so-called hoax is an actual fact, which means they are accusing the government, the school, the first responders and the parents of participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud and of actually committing that fraud.

I'm honestly surprised that some of these guys haven't been sued for defamatipn, including damages for emotional distress and the like. It must be absolutely HEL for the parents in particular to be faced with harassment by the idiots who believe the crock of shit these nithings are peddling. :thor: :thor: :thor: :torches: :smokeears: :explode: :cussing: :thor: :thor: :thor:


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#253

Post by Sam the Centipede » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:53 am

You're right, Kris, but I've never been through a tragedy like that so I don't know whether such evil idiocy would be (a) unbearably painful on top of everything else, or (b) a mere pinprick compared with the main tragedy. I guess that will vary according to individual.

For the academic perpetrators there is another issue which is probably barred by tenure privileges but perhaps ought to be a valid ground for the institution to have concerns: if Tracy is so effinstupid as to believe the crap he pushes, that must raise serious doubts about his academic and intellectual abilities. If I were a student, I think I would be expressing my concern that my teacher or supervisor was unfit both morally and intellectually, and I would demand better.



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#254

Post by realist » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:50 am

Image
Florida professor fired for sickening Sandy Hook hoax theory after harassing a victim's family 'over whether their dead son ever existed'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z3uad0J2Qm
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#255

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:52 am

As is routinely the case, the Daily Mail is wrong. At best it is not yet right.

There will be disciplinary hearings at FAU if Tracy files a "grievance" letter. In the hearings he will have representation from his union. Alternatively he may represent himself or obtain external legal counsel. Arbitration is often the final step in the disciplinary process.

He may choose not to file a grievance, in which case he would be permitted to pursue his case through the Florida courts.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#256

Post by DejaMoo » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:16 am

TollandRCR wrote:I think sending that letter to the parents is unacceptable harassment. It crosses the line. I would find it very difficult to seek to protect him on the grounds of academic freedom. This is not a matter of the exercise of academic freedom. It is a form of stalking the victims of a tragedy.
From the Discipline article of the contract:
16.1 Just Cause.
(a) The purpose of this article is to provide a prompt and equitable procedure for disciplinary action taken with just cause. Just cause shall be defined as:
(1) incompetence, or
(2) misconduct.
(b) An employee’s activities which fall outside the scope of employment shall constitute misconduct only if such activities adversely affect the legitimate interests of the University.

16.5 Termination. A tenured or permanent status appointment or any appointment of definite duration may be terminated during its term for just cause. An employee shall be given written notice of termination in advance of the effective date of such termination. If a grievance is timely filed, the effective date of termination shall be deferred pending the completion of the grievance process, except in cases where the President or representative determines that an employee’s actions adversely affect the functioning of the University or jeopardize the safety or welfare of the employee, colleagues, or students.

16.10 Investigation. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 10, whenever the University receives information that a faculty member is engaging in misconduct or behavior in the classroom which could create potential liability to the University, and in order to protect the interests of both the University and the faculty member, a chair/supervisor or other University representative may conduct unannounced observation/visitation of that faculty member’s classroom for the purpose of investigating the allegations.
The University has probably decided they've got him on misconduct grounds through his own-time activities which most certainly have adversely affected the University's functioning and reputation. They may possibly have him on the basis of incompetence, too, assuming they investigated his classroom activities and determined he's teaching bogus stuff that he's presenting as (and believes to be) truthful. I hope they investigated his classroom activities, and have appropriate experts ready to provide their opinion that what he's teaching is inaccurate and therefore incompetent. If they can fire both just cause barrels, they have a much better chance of sustaining their decision to terminate him.

If they're only using his own-time activities to support his firing, it will make it easier for his union to challenge it. Better to have those experts ready to assess his professional performance.



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#257

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:26 am

DejaMoo wrote:...
If they're only using his own-time activities to support his firing, it will make it easier for his union to challenge it. Better to have those experts ready to assess his professional performance.
Agreed. There is some online evidence that he brought his conspiracy theories into the classroom. Posters also say that he is mentally ill. However, this comes from "rate your professor" sites that are subject to rants from disgruntled students. Direct evidence from students may be required. Also, there has to be a question whether inserting such material into his class is consistent with the curriculum for the class approved by FAU faculty.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#258

Post by Slartibartfast » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:48 am

TollandRCR wrote:
DejaMoo wrote:...
If they're only using his own-time activities to support his firing, it will make it easier for his union to challenge it. Better to have those experts ready to assess his professional performance.
Agreed. There is some online evidence that he brought his conspiracy theories into the classroom. Posters also say that he is mentally ill. However, this comes from "rate your professor" sites that are subject to rants from disgruntled students. Direct evidence from students may be required. Also, there has to be a question whether inserting such material into his class is consistent with the curriculum for the class approved by FAU faculty.
I would hope that this is something that FAU has been investigating quietly for a while and that the recent flare-up just gave them a chance to pull the trigger on the disciplinary process. It seems like it would be a pretty big black eye to FAU if they tried to fire him and failed, so I'm guessing that they've done their due diligence.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#259

Post by esseff44 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:02 pm

About the address he wanted the documents sent to in SF:

https://automattic.com/about/

It's the home of a bunch of tech start ups including WordPress.



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#260

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:17 pm

Post deleted due to premature celebration.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#261

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:21 pm

Sam the Centipede wrote:You're right, Kris, but I've never been through a tragedy like that so I don't know whether such evil idiocy would be (a) unbearably painful on top of everything else, or (b) a mere pinprick compared with the main tragedy. I guess that will vary according to individual.
True.
For the academic perpetrators there is another issue which is probably barred by tenure privileges but perhaps ought to be a valid ground for the institution to have concerns: if Tracy is so effinstupid as to believe the crap he pushes, that must raise serious doubts about his academic and intellectual abilities. If I were a student, I think I would be expressing my concern that my teacher or supervisor was unfit both morally and intellectually, and I would demand better.
Yeah, I know I would...


Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand... - "Witch Hunt" by Rush

SCMP = SovCits/Militias/Patriots.

Thor promised to slay the Ice Giants
God promised to quell all evil
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I'm not seeing any Ice Giants...

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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#262

Post by DrIrvingFinegarten » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:32 pm

Kriselda Gray wrote:
Sam the Centipede wrote:It's a little like with the birthers: as long as no specific private individual is defamed in a concrete way, there is little to stop these scummy asses from propagating their lies
I would think being repeatedly publicly accused of faking your child's death for fun and profit would be considered being defamed in a concrete way. These assholes are stating that the so-called hoax is an actual fact, which means they are accusing the government, the school, the first responders and the parents of participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud and of actually committing that fraud.

I'm honestly surprised that some of these guys haven't been sued for defamatipn, including damages for emotional distress and the like. It must be absolutely HEL for the parents in particular to be faced with harassment by the idiots who believe the crock of shit these nithings are peddling. :thor: :thor: :thor: :torches: :smokeears: :explode: :cussing: :thor: :thor: :thor:

I'm wondering if the Pozners and other families who have spoken publicly about their losses are still legally considered private citizens or if the fact that they put themselves out there makes them public figures who would have a much harder time proving a defamation case.
Also, has there ever been a documented case of somebody faking a child's murder so they could rake in charitable donations?
I can't imagine anyone would ever do it since it would be so easy to get caught.



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#263

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:49 pm

James Tracy probably falls in the left-wing-nut category. He frequently contributes to a virulently anti-American publication, Global Research from the Centre for Research on Globalization. It is "a magnet for radicals, fringe figures and whacko elements from the left in general." The New World Order is its primary target.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#264

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:57 pm

esseff44 wrote:About the address he wanted the documents sent to in SF:

https://automattic.com/about/

It's the home of a bunch of tech start ups including WordPress.
The Pozner's had filed a DMCA notice against Tracy over a picture he was using of their son. As I understand it, such claims are filed with the hosting service of the site where the offending material was published. Tracy's blog is hosted by WordPress on their wordpress.com domain,, and WP is owned by Automattic so the Pozner's would have filed their complaint through them. Tracy is now demanding what he considers to be "proof" that they own the picture and is having them send it both to him (presumably at the address he listed at the top of the letter) and to Automattic, whose address he provided.

IOW, Tracy isn't connected to Automattic except as a customer.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#265

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:06 pm

DrIrvingFinegarten wrote: I'm wondering if the Pozners and other families who have spoken publicly about their losses are still legally considered private citizens or if the fact that they put themselves out there makes them public figures who would have a much harder time proving a defamation case.
Interesting question - i have no idea if that would be a factor or not.
Also, has there ever been a documented case of somebody faking a child's murder so they could rake in charitable donations?
I can't imagine anyone would ever do it since it would be so easy to get caught.
I don't know if anyone has done that with faking a murder - though I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone did - but I know there have been a number of cases where people have faked a child's illness to get donations.


Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand... - "Witch Hunt" by Rush

SCMP = SovCits/Militias/Patriots.

Thor promised to slay the Ice Giants
God promised to quell all evil
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I'm not seeing any Ice Giants...

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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#266

Post by Fortinbras » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:54 pm

I would not be surprised if someone faked the circumstances of a child's death to get donations but ....
... with Newtown we have several parents claiming their kids were killed by this guy, and not a single one of the other parents or neighbors ratting them out, even after 3 years.

That fact seems very significant to me.

Also, Florida Atlantic University has dumpt the journalism prof who said that Sandy Hook was a hoax (evidently there were other reasons):
http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/fa ... ax-7459727



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#267

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:04 pm

Fortinbras wrote:I would not be surprised if someone faked the circumstances of a child's death to get donations but ....
... with Newtown we have several parents claiming their kids were killed by this guy, and not a single one of the other parents or neighbors ratting them out, even after 3 years.

That fact seems very significant to me.
"...several parents claiming their kids were killed by this guy." Make that the parents of 20 kids and the friends and families of six adults. Read all about it from a survivor at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-s ... DH20150925.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#268

Post by Kriselda Gray » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:32 pm

Fortinbras wrote:Florida Atlantic University has dumpt the journalism prof who said that Sandy Hook was a hoax (evidently there were other reasons):
http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/fa ... ax-7459727
As Tollie commented upthread they haven't actually fired him yet. They've started the process, but the prof has the right to challenge the dismissal, and the school might be told that they can't fire him.:
There will be disciplinary hearings at FAU if Tracy files a "grievance" letter. In the hearings he will have representation from his union. Alternatively he may represent himself or obtain external legal counsel. Arbitration is often the final step in the disciplinary process.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#269

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:43 pm

The editorial by the Pozners is behind the newspaper's subscription wall, but essentially the same editorial is at The Forward.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#270

Post by Sam the Centipede » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:48 pm

DrIrvingFinegarten wrote: :snippity:
I'm wondering if the Pozners and other families who have spoken publicly about their losses are still legally considered private citizens or if the fact that they put themselves out there makes them public figures who would have a much harder time proving a defamation case.
:snippity:
IANAL, but if the parents are considered public figures, that places the bar very low. If your supposition were correct, it would imply than anybody who expresses a considered opinion reported in local or national media becomes a public figure, which seems absurd.

As I said, IANAL, but I won't believe they're public figures until the Fogbar rules otherwise!



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#271

Post by DejaMoo » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:04 pm

Kriselda Gray wrote:
Fortinbras wrote:Florida Atlantic University has dumpt the journalism prof who said that Sandy Hook was a hoax (evidently there were other reasons):
http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/news/fa ... ax-7459727
As Tollie commented upthread they haven't actually fired him yet. They've started the process, but the prof has the right to challenge the dismissal, and the school might be told that they can't fire him.:
There will be disciplinary hearings at FAU if Tracy files a "grievance" letter. In the hearings he will have representation from his union. Alternatively he may represent himself or obtain external legal counsel. Arbitration is often the final step in the disciplinary process.
(Speaking from experience as a union leader and union steward)
The way it generally goes is, management's role is to act; the union's role is to react. The employer administers discipline (including termination); the union-represented employee then has the right to file a grievance. The employer typically terminates immediately. It is then up to the now-former employee and/or the union to decide whether to file a grievance. Then again, it may be this university's practice, or required per this union contract, that the employee not be terminated until the grievance process is completed and the termination is upheld.

Under law, the union is required to provide fair representation for the employee. Even if the union leadership despises the employee or what he or she did, if the employee requests representation and there's grounds to be found for a grievance under the contract, the union is obligated to act as a fair, impartial, and reasonably zealous advocate on his or her behalf. (Keep that in mind when you read about, say, police unions defending a dirty cop. They have no recourse but to provide representation when asked.) The union also has the right to file a grievance without the affected employee's consent. Doesn't happen often, but if the outcome could potentially create a precedent or new interpretation of contract language that could affect other employees, the union will want to aggressively defend its contract, if not the employee it represents.

Under most union contracts, the grievance process is initially internal, meaning it's the employer who first hears and judges the grievance. If the employer upholds its own discipline, at that point the union can elect to take the grievance to arbitration, where an outside arbitrator hears the case and renders a decision. Unions generally won't take a case to arb unless they believe they have a very good chance of winning, or unless the issue under dispute could potentially affect a number of employees (this qualifies, since the fight will revolve around academic freedom), or unless the case has received so much publicity they'd look bad if they weren't seen to support their member to the uttermost. That's because the loser pays both sides costs of the arbitration. The arbitrator's ruling could also provide a new interpretation of contract language that will then become precedent, and that precedent may not be to the union's advantage. So arbitration is potentially risky and expensive.

This grievance could take a very long time. I doubt the University wants to keep this guy teaching until it is settled. If they don't fire him outright, they'll at least take him out of the classroom and/or put him on suspension. It could be further complicated if any of the families he's harassed decided to file suit against him, since what he says in the grievance hearings could potentially end up being used against him in the lawsuit.

All in all, he's in for months of stress. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy, amirite?



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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#272

Post by Kriselda Gray » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:10 am

When you're right, you're right! And thank you much for the explanation!


Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand... - "Witch Hunt" by Rush

SCMP = SovCits/Militias/Patriots.

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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#273

Post by TollandRCR » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:15 am

According to this article in The Daily Beast, based upon interviews with students and examination of syllabi, James Tracy did bring his conspiracy theories into the classroom. However, he appears to have made them subjects for discussion rather than facts taught to his students. It will be his interactions with the parents, particularly the Pozners, that will determine FAU's final actions regarding his tenure.

This Professor Trolled Sandy Hook Parents—And His University Wants Him Gone
James Tracy, who taught a course chock-full of conspiracy theories at Florida Atlantic University, reportedly harassed parents of a Sandy Hook child, demanding proof of his death.
...
But, according to class syllabi and former students who talked to The Daily Beast, Tracy’s classes at the publicly-funded university were veritable clearinghouses for certifiably debunked conspiracy theories—from his belief in chemtrails, to the theory that vaccines cause diseases like autism, and even the belief that 9/11 was a government conspiracy.

“It was basically about news stories that the media doesn’t cover as widely. That was the overarching subject of the class,” said former student Christopher Ross. “There were a lot of videos, but they were not necessarily conspiracy videos. They were stuff along those lines of what he’s known for.”


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#274

Post by TexasFilly » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:47 am

The New Times article mentions that Tracy is currently on paternity leave. The irony of that is nearly incomprehensible to me.


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Re: Newtown Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory

#275

Post by Sam the Centipede » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:26 am

TexasFilly wrote:The New Times article mentions that Tracy is currently on paternity leave. The irony of that is nearly incomprehensible to me.
But is he really the father? Or was his partner impregnated by an agent of the North American Union expressly to distract Tracy from his valuable work in uncovering how invisible black helicopters flew up fluoridated chemtrails to the moon to deliver a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the little gray folk in their base on the far side?



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