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Ed. Note: The following are selections from an article about
Paul Fallavollita that recently appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Educatio. We
cannot link to the entire article because CHE offers subscriber-only access.
Daily report from the Chronicle of Higher Education,
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Purdue U. Political-Science Department Grapples With What to
Do About Neo-Nazi Graduate Student
By ERIC HOOVER
Paul Fallavollita seems like a typical graduate student. He
teaches a discussion section, "Introduction to International
Relations"; is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science; and
generally strikes professors in his department, at Purdue
University at West Lafayette, as bright and mild-mannered.
[ ... ]
In "A Report From the Academic Gulag," a recent posting on the
Vanguard News Network, a right-wing Web site, Mr. Fallavollita
wrote that a member of the faculty recently confronted him
about his writings and told him that they were "disturbing."
Following that meeting -- which was confirmed by two faculty
members at Purdue -- the university's administration
apparently became aware of the situation. Sources said that
Alysa C. Rollock, Purdue's vice president for human relations,
met with members of the department on September 28 and urged
them not to do anything that might infringe on Mr.
Fallavollita's right to get an education. (One professor says
that he has since taken out a professional-liability insurance
policy in case of a lawsuit.)
[ ... ]
The picture of Mr. Fallavollita that emerges in his writings
is far different from his rather traditional academic profile.
Mr. Fallavollita, 24, graduated in 1999 from Loyola University
in New Orleans, where he majored in political science and
philosophy. According to an article in the spring 1999 issue
of the Writing Across America newsletter, Mr. Fallavollita was
a writing tutor and a senior resident assistant at Loyola. He
also enjoyed rock climbing, the article noted. He earned his
M.A. in political science from Purdue last year.
Mr. Fallavollita did not return telephone messages left by The
Chronicle or respond to requests for interviews sent to two
e-mail accounts. But in his posting on the Vanguard News
Network, Mr. Fallavollita defended his right to his beliefs:
"My position on the issue is that my political beliefs are my
business, and what I do on the Internet is my business as
well. The purposes toward which I seek to put my education are
not for anyone to judge; the university provides a service and
I am a customer. I treat the people I meet each day with
respect, regardless of my political beliefs."
He concludes: "I am an Internet columnist, and a White
American nationalist. I am a Ph.D. student, and a
professor-to-be. Stand aside."
[ ... ]
While no faculty member contacted by The Chronicle said the
university should take any sort of action against Mr.
Fallavollita, some of them said they believe Purdue is not
doing enough to answer their concerns about their safety,
especially because the National Alliance has been tied to
violence. The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty
Law Center report that in the last several years, dozens of
violent crimes, including murders, bombings, and robberies,
have been linked to National Alliance members or to people
apparently inspired by the group's propaganda. At least one
member of the department said that Mr. Fallavollita's
description on the Vanguard News Network site of his meeting
with a professor was "threatening."
[ ... ]
But members of groups that monitor hate-group activity are not
surprised to learn that a young scholar has ties to the
"He sounds like exactly the person that the group would want
as a member, because it is interested most of all in
attracting educated, middle-class members," says Marilyn Mayo,
associate director of the national fact-finding department of
the Anti-Defamation League. "The National Alliance has stated
that it wants a cadre of intelligent people who are motivated
enough and articulate enough to spread its ideology to create
the kind of society they want."