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Jorjani v. New Jersey Institute of Technology

July 2018
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Public college or university)
Newark, NJ, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Jason Jorjani
    Faculty/Staff
    Other

    Jason Jorjani is a prominent leader in the Alt-Right movement and the founder of the “Alt-Right Corporation,” a prominent alt-right media organization.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration protective of speech
    Litigation
  • Incident Status:
    In litigation Federal District Court
  • Incident Protested
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

Jason Jorjani was a lecturer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the co-founder of the “Alt-Right Corporation,” a prominent alt-right media organization. On September 19, 2017, the New York Times published an op-ed titled Undercover With the Alt-Right. The article contained a video of Jorjani that was surreptitiously recorded by a member of a watchdog group posing as an alt-right supporter. In the video Jorjani states “we will have a Europe in 2050 where the banknotes have Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great. And Hitler will be seen like that: like Napoleon, like Alexander; not like some weird monster, who is unique in his own category. No, he’s just going to be seen as a great European leader.” He additionally states “as the present order begins to disintegrate, will we be able to create a parallel or alternate structure? It’s going to end with the expulsion of the majority of the migrants, including citizens, who are of Muslim decent, generally speaking, that’s how it’s going to end. It’s gonna end with concentration camps and expulsions and war. At the cost of a few hundred million people.”

Following the release of the video, Joel S. Bloom, the President of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Kevin J. Belfield, the Dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts, sent an email to faculty calling Jorjani’s statements “repugnant.” Five days later, the University suspended Jorjani and began an investigation. On October 4, 2017, Gareth J. Russell, the chair of the Biology Department released a statement that condemned Jorjani’s statements as supporting eugenics and white supremacy, and stating that “Jorjani’s beliefs, as revealed by his remarks, cannot help but produce a discriminatory and intimidating educational environment for our diverse student body” which “makes him unfit to teach at NJIT, or indeed any other academic institution.” On October 12, 2017, Andrew Klobucar, an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities, also condemned Jorjani’s remarks as “racist” and “morally repugnant.” Finally, on October 25, 2017, Neil J. Maher, the chairman of the Federated Department of History, released a statement in support of Jorjani’s termination that stated that Jorjani’s comments in the video were “consistent with his other public statements, which indicate that Dr. Jorjani is a proponent of racist ideologies” and that Jorjani’s beliefs “create a hostile learning environment for students of color in particular, and his presence on the instructional staff at NJIT appears to legitimize discredited race-based ideas about intelligence and citizenship that have no place in academia.”

On February 13, 2018, the University informed Jorjani that it would not extend his contract beyond the current school year. On July 17, 2018, Jorjani filed suit against Belfield, Bloom, Klobucar, Maher, Russell, and the University alleging First Amendment retaliation and four counts of defamation against the individual Defendants. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the defamation counts and on March 12, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed the counts without prejudice with leave to submit an amended complaint. The court held that Jorjani failed to allege malice and that the allegedly defamatory

statements constituted the defendants’ opinions rather than fact. On April 10, 2019, Jorjani submitted a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint and on June 26, 2019, the District Court of New Jersey allowed Jorjani to submit an amended complaint alleging tortious interference with a contract and conspiracy to violate the First Amendment. The case is ongoing.