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CSUSB faculty in the news

NOTE: Faculty, if you are interviewed and quoted by news media, or if your work has been cited, and you have an online link to the article or video, please let us know. Contact us at news@csusb.edu.  

CSUSB professor cowrites article: ‘We researched hundreds of races. Here’s who Democrats are nominating.’
Aug 10, 2018
Meredith Conroy, CSUSB assistant professor of political science was one of the writers of an article on the 2018 midterm elections.
She and her colleagues with the website FiveThirtyEight wrote: “You’ve probably already heard that 2018 is a new “Year of the Woman” in Democratic primaries. Women are being nominated in record numbers across the country. But that fact only tells you so much. To what extent is a candidate’s gender really affecting voters’ choices? And do other candidate characteristics make a difference?”
Read the complete article at “We researched hundreds of races. Here’s who Democrats are nominating.

FiveThirtyEight later posted a podcast featuring Conroy as she and the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew discussed the topic. Listen to it at "Listen at “Politics Podcast: What kinds of candidates are Democrats nominating?”​​​​​​​

CSUSB professor explains some of Holy Fire arson suspect’s social media postings
BuzzFeed News
Aug. 10, 2018
Forrest Clark, accused of sparking the 18,000-acre Holy Fire in California, shared debunked conspiracy theories, including about pedophiles. Prosecutors have not said what Clark’s motive may have been, but a Facebook page appearing to belong to him suggests he was obsessed with fringe anti-government conspiracy theories. 
Brian Levin, who studies hate and extremism at California State University San Bernardino, told BuzzFeed News Friday that there “appears to be a link with respect to the location of the wildfires and the use of weapons.”
“He’s borrowing a certain type of MO from what he sees online,” said Levin, director of the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Levin pointed to comments Clark made online about Agenda 21, a UN action plan from 1992 that conspiracy theorists believe is really a pretense for powerful globalists to seize control of land. Clark appeared to draw a connection between Agenda 21 and starting fires.
“The thing I thought was so interesting was he talked about these fire weapons,” Levin said. “And he accused the government of using technology, including lasers, to cause arson to advance their Agenda 21.”
controlling the world.
Read the complete article at “It’s a Lie’, Holy Fire arson suspect says during first court appearance; arraignment continued.”

CSUSB professor quoted in article about Holy Fire arson suspect
Los Angeles Times
Aug. 10, 2018
After reviewing the Facebook page of suspected Holy Jim arsonist Forrest Gordon Clark, Brian Levin, director of the Cal State San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said Clark appeared to be an "anti-government, anti-establishment conspiracy theorist."
He expressed specific concerns about Clark's adherence to conspiracies involving land use. The Cleveland National Forest is federal land, and cabins located in the area where Clark lived and the fire started are not supposed to be used as full-time residences.
The Holy fire started Monday near Trabuco Canyon and has grown over the last week to 18,137 acres.
Read the complete article at “The man arrested for allegedly starting a massive wildfire pushed rightwing conspiracy theories.”

While hate crimes decrease, it’s still too early to say it’s a downward trend, says CSUSB professor
Voice of America
Aug. 10, 2018
After four years of sharp increases, hate crimes in most major American cities fell during the first half of 2018, preliminary police data show.
The total number of hate incidents in the country’s six most populous cities declined by nearly 15 percent from January through June, according to police department data collected by Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University at San Bernardino.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said it was too early to predict whether the multiyear uptrend in hate crimes would be reversed in 2018.
“The bottom line is we’re quite happy that in some cities hate crimes are down, but they’re not down in all of them and you can’t really make a full-year prediction, particularly at a time when we’re so polarized with only the half year in,” Levin said.
Levin said there is a “cyclicality” to hate crimes, with the latter quarters of the year showing a larger number of incidents. He also noted that while overall hate crimes fell in major cities, those involving violence, including assault and aggravated assault, rose.
“Hate crime laws might be making a difference, at least in the sense that some of the more minor types of hate crimes are decreasing in certain areas, while the more hard, violent ones are going up,” he said.
Read the complete article at “Are hate crimes in US peaking?

CSUSB professor interviewed about white nationalists’ rally in Washington, D.C.
The New York Times
Aug. 12, 2018
After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.
But even with the low turnout, almost no one walked away with the sense that the nation’s divisions were any closer to healing.
According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there were a total of 1,038 hate crimes recorded in the 10 largest American cities last year, an increase of 12 percent from 2016 and the highest figure in more than a decade.
Some saw in the wall-to-wall media coverage of the rally a kind of public relations victory for the far right. “They are getting international coverage and profiles, and the bottom line is that exposure equals importance,” said Brian H. Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Mr. Levin added that there had been “over-coverage” and “hype” in the run-up to the protests. “And at a time when the movement is in disarray and some of its members are getting knocked off of social media, it can, nonetheless, get a message out across millions of eyeballs on television and in print,” he said.
Read the complete article at “Rally by white nationalists was over almost before it began.

Alt-right momentum by appear to be waning, but the problem leading to its rise is still there, CSUSB professor says
The Christian Science Monitor
Aug. 9, 2018
Brian Levin, CSUSB professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for an article about Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent and left three people dead.
In the year since, it appears to many that the alt-right movement, of which Kessler was one of the figureheads, has lost momentum.
“While people are celebrating the implosion of the alt-right – and there’s many reasons to do that – when you shake the hornet’s nest and kick it apart, it doesn’t mean your hornet problem is over,” said Levin. …
And hate group sentiment is spilling over into mainstream politics, says Professor Levin, who credits, at least in part, white nationalist Richard Spencer’s 2008 vow to destroy the traditional Republican Party, which did not allow white nationalists through the door.
“That has happened,” says Levin, citing as an example a 2016 Klan rally in Orange County with signs like “stop illegal immigration” or “stop sharia (Islamic law)” – the same sort of signs one would see at mainstream events. “If 9 or 10 percent of Americans support Nazi or alt-right views, if you go into other wedge issues … and talk about immigration or Muslims, you get a much bigger pool of people you can recruit from.”
Read the complete article at “Jason Kessler and the 'alt-right' implosion after Charlottesville.”

CSUSB professor quoted in article about verdict in 2016 Oregon shooting
The (Portland) Oregonian
Aug. 10, 2018
A federal jury Friday returned not guilty verdicts in the trial of FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, accused of lying to conceal that he fired two shots at the truck of refuge occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum" in January 2016. The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for about six hours over two days after a three-week trial in Portland before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones. They acquitted Astarita on two counts of making a false statement and one count of obstruction of justice.
Brian Levin, a former New York Police officer who has worked closely with the FBI and now is director of California State University, San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said the verdict "plays into the narrative that there's some kind of government coverup,'' although the alleged coverup wasn't proven in court by prosecutors.
"The burden was on the prosecution,'' Levin said. "This was not a trial as to whether or not the use of force was justified. This was about who was where and who took the shots. The defense was able to introduce enough ambiguity that it precluded the prosecution from meeting its burden.''
Read the complete article at “Jury acquits FBI agent accused of lying in Finicum shooting case.”

These news clips and others may be found at “In the Headlines” on the Inside CSUSB website.

TAGS:Brian Levin, hate crime, crime, criminal justice, Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, politics, Holy Fire, arson, conspiracy theories, Meredith Conroy, political science, elections, votes, voting, Democrats, Democratic Party, Top Stories

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