By Michael Castaneda
Published: October 10th, 2018
Like it or not, Mitchell Langbert is now the face of Brooklyn College. This is not because of his academic work, but for a blog post where he claims that sexual assault is a requirement for the male sex.
At the same time, Langbert is hiding. He hides behind the premise that this is a joke. He hides behind poor writing. He hides behind language that is solely used by far right ideologues. He hides behind the fact that Brooklyn College gets little attention from the rest of the world, then he tells us he is iconoclastic.
So, the Constitution guarantees that no one can be arrested for speaking their mind and this is known as free speech. However, that doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequences.
I am a Brooklyn College student and I also work for a publicly traded company. I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that I am a representative of my company whether I am at work or not. I am not allowed to misrepresent my company on my own social media without penalty, including the possibility of termination. This is ubiquitous in the industry. They can’t take me to federal court, but they can fire me. New York State employment law states that any employment can be terminated by either party at any time without notice or reason required. Further, if my company felt I had become a liability for its shareholders, there would likely be legal action taken.
Where you went to college counts. People talk about it for the rest of their lives. Look no further than Brett Kavanaugh.I am both a Brooklyn College student and a Brooklyn College alumnus. This college degree is listed on my resume and on my LinkedIn page. It is part of how I market myself and it affects how much I get paid. Mitchell Langbert lowers the value of our degree and hence decreases our leverage in salary negotiations where everything counts. In short, this will cost us money.
This is not because he expressed right wing views on his blog, which he uses to promote himself as an academic. Look to the piece written by Bret Stephens, former editor of the Jerusalem Post, in the New York Times for an example of a cogent piece of writing in support the current Supreme Court nominee. Instead what Langbert did was to self-publish a poorly written diatribe that could believably have been written by a child and makes everyone associated with Brooklyn College look bad. Since the story went national, it is likely the salient impression of Brooklyn College people will have for some time.