A self-described “distinguished” professor at Penn State University recently rebuffed a conservative student group’s request that he serve as an adviser, slamming the group for supporting “racism” and “sexism” and suggesting that they bear “some responsibility” for the riots in the U.S. Capitol last week.
Pete Hatemi, a political science professor at the university, told the Young America’s Foundation group that “in order to be an unbiased instructor” he does not take part in an political movement or organization, but that even if he did, he would never align himself with a conservative group.
“But in your case, under no condition, would I support any group that has an implied or explicit support for [President] Trump, racism, sexism, or indifference to democratic values, including peace, liberty, freedom, and justice for all peoples,” he wrote in an email obtained by the organization.
He then went on to bizarrely blame the organization for inciting a pro-Trump mob to breach security perimeters and storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, an incident that has resulted in the deaths of at least five people and injuries to many more.
“I question if your national organization has some responsibility for recent actions,” he wrote before slamming the timing of the group’s request as “offensive.”
“I suggest taking a moment, and a serious look at the political situation, and given that many members of the Republican [sic] party supported an act of insurrection and violence … now might not be the time to solicit for new members or advisors for your organization,” he added.
John Stafford, the Penn State student who submitted the request near the start of the spring semester, reportedly told the Federalist in an interview that the professor’s response caught him off guard.
“Through his research, I thought he would be a very tolerant person,” he said.
Hatemi’s research at the school focuses on the intersection of genetics and political ideology.
In a response email, Stafford told the professor that he found his response to be “insulting, not only towards YAF, but the entirety of the conservative movement,” noting he fears that “asking conservative students to quiet down will only ensure more intolerance among my peers.”
Stafford also defended the conservative organization against Hatemi’s “unsubstantiated” claims that YAF had a role in the violence at the Capitol.
“YAF has never advocated for violence, and to assert such a claim with no evidence or research is dishonorable,” he wrote.