Higher Education

OCPA calls for higher-ed scrutiny after assigned terrorism book

Staff | March 28, 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28, 2024) — Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small today called for more rigorous scrutiny of state spending on colleges after learning an OU course requires students to read a book advocating terrorism.

“College is supposed to be a place of learning that prepares students for the workforce, but we increasingly see time and money wasted on tangents that are bizarre at best, if not wholly counterproductive,” Small said. “Yet lawmakers have not called for any cuts to state appropriations to the college system this year even as it is increasingly clear that much of that money is being wasted. It’s time to take this problem seriously and engage in a real review of college spending.”

At the University of Oklahoma, the 2021 book How to Blow Up a Pipeline is required reading for a graduate-level literature seminar on “Forms of Protest.”

In the book, author Andreas Malm encourages environmentalists to engage in acts of violence and destruction that target the oil-and-gas industry. In one interview, he conceded that people could be killed as a result.

“So here is what this movement of millions should do, for a start: announce and enforce the prohibition,” Malm writes. “Damage and destroy new CO2-emitting devices. Put them out of commission, pick them apart, demolish them, burn them, blow them up. Let the capitalists who keep on investing in the fire know that their properties will be trashed.”

Malm cites as inspiration the Women’s Social and Political Union, which committed 337 attacks in Great Britain over a year and a half. Individuals with that group were responsible for “planting bombs on sites along the routes of royal visits, fighting policemen with staves, charging against hostile politicians with dogwhips, breaking the windows in prison cells,” Malm noted, as well as a “systematic campaign of arson” that included setting fire to or blowing up “villas, tea pavilions, boathouses, hotels, haystacks, churches, post offices, aqueducts, theatres and a liberal range of other targets around the country.”

“Requiring OU students to read How to Blow Up a Pipeline is comparable to requiring them to read the materials that inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City,” Small said. “It’s one thing if people want to read this book on their own, and another thing entirely to mandate that people read it at taxpayer expense.”


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