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University of Michigan official makes no bones about 'hating' Republicans

It's a good thing to "hate Republicans," said the chairwoman of the University of Michigan's communications department in an op-ed article published In These Times this week. The piece stirred up a duststorm — especially among Republicans, who have majorities of both houses of the Michigan Legislature and also hold the governorship.

The op-ed article has since been removed, but the conservative National Review summarized highlights.

Susan J. Douglas wrote that she hates Republicans because they pursue the “determined vilification” of those who disagree with them and have “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.”

She accuses adherents of the GOP of “dogmatism, rigidity and intolerance of ambiguity,” arguing that “two core dimensions of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for inequality.”

“These, in turn, are core elements of social intolerance … which could certainly lead to a desire to deride those not like you — whether people of color, LGBT people or Democrats.”

“So now we hate them back,” she wrote. “And with good reason.”

University of Michigan Regent Andrea Fischer Newman was not amused. “The University of Michigan community rightly supports and defends a wide variety of viewpoints and a diversity of opinion on all subjects,” Newman wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Detroit Free Press. “But this particular column, which expresses and condones hatred toward an entire segment of individuals in our society based solely on their political views, fails to observe an equally important value of our university — respect for the right of others to hold views contrary to our own.”

The university itself steered a middle ground in a statement, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, defending Douglas' right to express her strong views and loathing, while also insisting that the "university must and will work vigilantly to ensure students can express diverse ideas and perspectives in a respectful environment and without fear of reprisal. The university values viewpoint diversity and encourages a wide range of opinions.”

The angry kerfuffle follows closely on the firing of Omar Mahmood, a student journalist who was forced to resign from the campus newspaper, The Michigan Daily, after he penned a satirical op-ed article in another paper mocking hypersensensitive political correctness on campus.

"The variety of fliers including images of the devil, print outs of his piece 'Do the Left Thing' from The Michigan Review, a conservative publication at the university, as well as defaced photos of Mahmood himself. Eggs and hot dogs were smashed on and around his doorway," The Michigan Daily reported.

The vandals also left threatening and obscene notes, with messages scrawled across his articles and a copy of his column with "the words “shut the f--- up” written with a black marker.