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Dear Dr. Block,
I have been following the trail of e-mails regarding the ridiculous charges against you made in the Times Picayune and the public lynching that some college professors have partaken in. You would think that having PHD’s they’d know to do research before writing papers or making public statements like that, but I guess not.
I just wanted to write to let you know that as a previous student, I support you and “have your back” so to speak. While I am not a lawyer, and can probably do nothing more than give you moral support, please know that I appreciate your teaching style and the knowledge you passed on through debates, articles, curriculum etc. I do think that you supported a healthy debate, and that you did not discourage people from disagreeing with you on different topics. If anything yours was one of the classes (and Dr. Barnett’s) where I heard different sides, inciting us to think critically of anything we were taught vs taking anything taught and written as if that was all there was to know. Additionally, I never thought you to be sexist or racist, seeing as I was a Hispanic female who aced your class ;).
Also, I am glad that despite it all, that you still have a sense of humor “Here is a bit of friendly advice, in closing. Next time, pick your target for unwarranted ill-treatment more carefully. Do not choose a professor who is on sabbatical. He has more time than usual to respond to your unjust allegations.” I was almost in tears laughing at that.
Lastly, I think it would not be out of line for you to sue in a court of law for defamation of character under US Libel laws. From what I have read, this applies to all of the US, including Louisiana even though the law system is slightly different. While I understand that you are trying to clear things up through the university, the fact is that the article was not published in the Maroon, but rather in the Times Picayune, ie outside of the university, and their statements were totally out of line and constitute “libel”. I looked it up on the net (seeing as I also have some free time while on X-mas vacations). I know you are probably not looking for damages, but rather an apology and for them to accept that they were wrong – but for some unknown reason, human pride is one of the hardest things to overcome – so this may be an option.
Best of luck to you and hope you had a Happy Hanukkah!
MC is a former student of Walter Block’s at Loyola University New Orleans7:35 pm on January 12, 2009 Email Walter E. Block