Dozens of students at the University of Southern Califonia attended a rally on Monday, October 1, 2018, demanding a tenured professor be fired after he sent a reply e-mail to the student body saying that “accusers sometimes lie” on Thursday, September 27.
“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 strong proponent of due process than you are now,” USC Price Professor James Moore wrote in an e-mail. “Accusers sometimes lie.”
“Times Up For James Moore”
According to the PJ Media, the e-mail was in response to a reply-all email that urged students to “Believe Survivors” on the day of Christine Ford’s testimony. Moore’s message has triggered what one school admin said was “hundreds” of emails from concerned students and alumni since Thursday, September 27.
The rally entitled “Times Up for James Moore” was organized by Price students Joelle Montier and Audry Mechling, according to Daily Trojan. The rally came after an extensive email chain prompted by Moore’s reply to an invitation for an event called “Coffee and Title IX” organized by Price Women and Allies.
During the protest on Monday, about seven female students, including Montier and Mechling, shared their assault stories.
“To be clear, I take no joy in standing here and sharing my most painful memory with the world, but I refuse to stand by and let another human being go through what I went through,” Daily Trojan reported while citing Montier. “Rapists must be held accountable for their actions. Rape enablers, like Professor Moore, must be held accountable for their actions.”
Price Dean Jack Knott addressed Moore’s email, calling his remarks “insensitive and incendiary.” Knott also assured the ralliers that Price school administrators would push for education on issues surrounding sexual assault and implicit biases.
“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]….” Knott said.
“We don’t want [the email chain] to become derailed into something like this, but we also want to have a forum for open discussions so people get to debate these issues,” he added. “We want people to participate in a responsible way…in a way that respects others and doesn’t, in this case, throw something out like this that can cause a tremendous amount of injury.”
Moore Felt “Believe Survivors” Was An “Opportunity”
In the interview with PJ Media, Moore said he “took a risk” by sending an email about due process to the nearly 44,000 student body.
He said that the lack of due process in Title IX investigation has especially concerned him. He also did not intend to insinuate that Christine Ford was lying about Kavanaugh, despite how his email came off.
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,” Moore told PJ Media.
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,” he said. “My goal was protecting students, not traumatizing or bullying them.”
Although USC hasn’t released any official decision about Moore, Will Creeley from The Foundation for Individual Right in Education said USC can’t fire Moore and be in good standing with the law, as PJ Media reported.
“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,” Creeley said.