NYU Professor calls on John Jay College President to terminate Mike Isaacson

NYU Professor calls on John Jay College President to terminate Mike Isaacson

On Thursday, September 14th, we published a story that profiled John Jay College Professor and Antifa leader, Mike Isaacson. In this story we included multiple incendiary tweets in which he advocated for “dead cops” and claimed that political violence was necessary against people who oppose communism. Once this story began receiving significant media coverage we launched a #FireMike Campaign and encouraged concerned citizens to contact the John Jay College administration and make sure their voices were heard.

After receiving pressure from our campaign, the NYC Police Union, and even NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, the John Jay College President, Karol Mason, issued a statement regarding the conduct of Professor Mike Isaacson in which she said:

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority. Today, members of the John Jay faculty received threats, and our students expressed concerns for their safety in the classroom. Out of concern for the safety of our students, faculty and staff, we are immediately placing the adjunct on administrative leave as we continue to review this matter.”

Throughout this review process we have maintained pressure on the administration and encouraged people to contact President Mason directly.

One person who has also raised concerns with President Mason is NYU Liberal Studies Professor, Michael Rectenwald.

Dear President Mason:

I am a full professor at NYU and a concerned educator. I am not a right-winger, an alt-right-winger, or even a conservative. I am a firm advocate of academic freedom and the intellectual self-determination of university and college faculty members.

I strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution and the rights endowed each and every one of us by virtue of the Constitution and its first Ten Amendments.

I am asking you to terminate the employment of Mike Isaacson, not only for what he has said but also for what he advocates: the infringement of others’ rights, even their right to live. Isaacson openly advocates the stripping of rights from those with whom he disagrees, Antifa’s stated mission. They aim to silence and destroy their enemies “by any means necessary.”

Last fall, I enunciated an opinion in the media that some members of my program faculty did not like. Unlike the Twitter feed and other expressions of Mike Isaacson, however, I never singled anyone out by name, never called for the infringement of others’ rights, and certainly never even remotely came close to advocating violence as a means for dealing with political opposition. I made no ad hominem remarks. I did not denigrate any group, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, or persons of any sexual orientation. Rather, I criticized an ideology and its mechanisms. 

Yet I was placed on paid medical leave and was denounced by an official committee in Liberal Studies, and thus, my university. I also have since faced the universal shunning of my program’s faculty of over 100 members. Yet, I said nothing remotely resembling the horrific statements made by Mike Isaacson. I criticized the takeover of university policies by “social justice” ideologues, and their implementation of safe spaces, triggers warnings, bias reporting hotlines, and the no-platforming or shutting down of speakers with whom they disagree. By the way, I did so as a left communist.

Last spring, I had the misfortune of being taunted and defamed by email on official NYU listservs by a few of these faculty members. Mike Isaacson was one of them. Although I had never met or even heard of him, he sent emails over mass email listservs reaching over 100 people, calling me an “asshole” four times within the space four lines. That is how Mike Isaacson addresses people he’s never met, and hopefully, will never meet. He made no argument against my views, but merely repeated vulgarities. 

Then, to my surprise, I saw that he had been on Tucker Carlson’s show last week, equivocating about Antifa violence. He is an openly avowed Antifa member. One organization with which he’s affiliated, Antifa NYU, has placed a target on my back. Although he apparently no longer teaches at NYU, NYU administrators felt it incumbent upon themselves to provide an office for me in an entirely separate building, because Isaacson and his Antifa cohort knew where to find me. 

I’m sure that you’re aware that Antifa has been officially labelled a terrorist organization in the U.S. As an avowed member, Isaacson voices their terrorist propaganda and advocates their terroristic methods. And, as I’ve said, these methods include “whatever means necessary.”

By now, I know that you are well aware of Mike Isaacson’s routine “death-to-cops” Twitter proclamations. The set that most worries and disturbs me most is this pair, which apparently represent a tweet, and the quoting of his own tweet, with an added message on top. I believe that together this pair of tweets utterly disqualifies Isaacson from ever being trusted to teach at John Jay, or any other institution of learning for that matter, again.

Please read these two messages as connected by a thread. That thread is the teaching future police officers at John Jay. The implications of these successive tweets are clear. In the top tweet, he suggests that he finds it a privilege to teach “future dead cops,” i.e., his current students. In the bottom the tweet, he suggests the he may very well be the one to slit their throats. “Weren’t you my econ professor?” asks the cop and former student of Isaacson. “See? You had the opportunity,” Isaacson replies. The next line is disgusting beyond measure: “*blade drops.*” 

The point Isaacson makes here is that his former student had “the opportunity” to learn from Isaacson and to choose another means of employment other than police work. Yet the student failed to do so. Isaacson tells him the he had a chance. But now it’s too late. Then the “blade drops,” no doubt the blade that Isaacson has just used to stab or slice this officer’s throat. 

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This is an epigrammatic statement for how Isaacson sees his students, his role in relation to them, their decisions, and how he will respond to them in the future, depending on whether or not they heed his sage advice. This one didn’t; likewise, he’s merely another “dead cop.”

As I said, I am a firm believer in academic freedom, and a controversial figure in my own right. But what Mike Isaacson has said and advocated crosses the line by a large margin. He advocates infringing on others’ rights, and even ending their lives — if they happen to be police officers. There is no place in higher education for such a despicable advocate of violence and ideological bigotry. 

I plead with you not to be fooled the veneer of egalitarian rhetoric under which Antifa and fellow travelers disguise their totalitarian nature. They are not egalitarian. They are authoritarian monsters. Thank you.



Michael Rectenwald

As part of our ongoing #FireMike campaign we encourage everyone who shares Professor Rectenwald’s concerns to contact President Mason and make it clear that we will not tolerate educators who encourage political violence.

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