In response to “Hopkins must hold Dr. Darren Klugman accountable” published November 30, 2023:
When thinking of Dr. Darren Klugman’s behavior, I am reminded of President Ronald J. Daniels’ 2016 commencement address on Former University President Isaiah Bowman, an unrepentant racist and an anti-Semite:
“I am a Jew, whose father emigrated from Europe on the eve of the Holocaust. As you would expect, I have a visceral reaction to Dr. Bowman. He is a flawed leader whose ideas and actions are not only reprehensible to me from the perspective of the present but even, I believe, inexcusable in the context of his own time. And yet…and yet… his accomplishments — individually and on behalf of our university — are real and undeniable.”
Dr. Klugman’s awful tweets in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ attack are inexcusable. However, as Daniels might say, “And yet…and yet….” we know the doctor has done — and could continue to do — much good in this troubled world.
I hope that responsible officials will investigate thoroughly and weigh the entire circumstances wisely. Again, I quote Daniels:
“In this context, we must strain to see, to understand, and to reckon with greater complexity. If we do not, we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from people's flaws or to be surprised, to be astonished, by their abilities, by their actions.”
Nowadays, faculty and students fear that a regrettable moment will end their careers. Especially in cases in which the emotional component is so strong and remorse is evident, we could hope that we would be treated fairly and offered forgiveness and grace.
Extramural speech can have effects at work or on campus. I hope administrators and his peers will not be unduly influenced by social media campaigns, because that will lead to more of them, and by their nature, they often are disinformed, disproportionate and unjust. I hope they will talk with Klugman at length, and each will listen to the other.
I don’t know what sanctions are appropriate. Although I am not a religious person, I often find it helpful to consider the wisdom of St. Augustine: “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
P. R. McCullough
Adjunct Professor, Physics & Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
(Obviously my opinions are my own)