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History and current events put the two of university’s faculty in the media spotlight this past week.

Travel writer Bea Broada listed a lecture by Sid Burks, a lecturer at the Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus, on “The Military History of the Salton Sea.” The event is part of the Old School House lecture series by the Joshua Tree National Park Association, and will take place at 7 p.m. today, Friday, June 9, at the Old School House Museum, 6760 National Park Drive, in Twentynine Palms.

Burks, who lectures in educational leadership and technology at the Palm Desert Campus, “is a serious enthusiast of anything military, aviation, or desert history,” Broda wrote. “He’s given many lectures throughout the Coachella Valley on aviation and military history.”

The article was published June 7, 2016, and can be read at “Joshua Tree National Park features unique lectures and breathtaking views.”

Brian Levin, criminal justice professor and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, continues to be the go-to expert on topics of hate crime and terrorism.

In The Advocate, he weighed in on the discussion of whether the Pulse nightclub mass shooting on June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla., should be seen as a hate crime or an act of terrorism. The night club was a popular spot with Orlando’s LGBT community.

“There are some people who feel less comfortable discussing the underlying prejudices that lead to hate crimes,” says Levin, a criminal justice. “Making terrorism the primary characteristic means we do not need to pay attention to the homophobic aspect.”

Yet bias indicators developed by professional law enforcement over three decades unquestionably mark the attack as an act of hate, Levin says.

The article was published June 9, 2017 and can be read at Pulse: Hate crime or terrorist attack?

The Boston Globe reported on the apparent lack of hate crime statistics kept by the University of New Hampshire, though the university says it is addressing these incidents as they happen.

Levin said colleges should strive to have accurate data on hate crimes, in part because it can show administrators take the issue seriously.

“These kinds of incidents on campuses can escalate rapidly, and if it appears there’s an inadequate response it could worsen things going forward,” he said.

UNH officials have condemned the recent hate incidents, saying everyone on campus deserves to feel safe and respected and threatening behavior will not be tolerated.

The article was published June 8, 2017, and can be read at “UNH stats showing zero hate crimes in recent years raises red flag, experts say.”

The 2016 Hate Crime Report compiled by the Orange County Human Relations Commission was released a week ago, and showed that hate crimes in the county rose from 44 in 2015 to 50 in 2016, while hate incidents increased from 43 in 2015 to 72 in 2016, The Orange County Register reported.

Orange County’s numbers are consistent with statewide and national trends that show significant increases in hate crimes and incidents, said Levin. Hate crimes are a small percentage of overall criminal incidents, but their impact on the morale and well-being of a community cannot be minimized, he said.

“Hate crimes fall within that category of crimes that can spark changes in behavior and rifts between groups,” Levin said. “They are also vastly under-reported and their impact on individual victims and communities is significant.”

Levin was the lead author of a report released in May, which showed hate crimes in 2016 were up 14 percent in California’s largest cities. The rise of anti-Muslim hate incidents is disturbing, Levin said, and goes hand in hand with political rhetoric, which demonizes Muslims.

The article was published June 2, 2017, and can be read at “Orange County hate crimes on the rise, spiking since November, new report shows.”

CNN turned to Levin for its report on why people commit hate crimes. The report listed four categories: thrill-seeking, defensive, retaliatory and mission offenders. Levin commented on the defensive category, defined as attackers who sees themselves as 'defending' their their neighborhood, their workplace, their religion or their country; and the mission offenders category, a group of people who consider themselves 'crusaders,' often for a racial or religious cause.

'They honestly believe that what they're doing has some sort of communal assent,' said Levin of the defenders.

Of mission offenders, he said, they “believe that the system is rigged against them, which means that they can justify excessive violence against innocents.'

The article was published June 3, 2017, and can be read at The four reasons people commit hate crimes.”The New York Times contacted Levin for an article in the aftermath of the May 26 fatal stabbings in Portland, Ore., of two men who came to the aid of two teenage girls who were being targeted with hate speech while riding on a commuter train. The article examined the “two Oregons,” where islands of tolerance abut places awash in frustration and rage.

While international terrorist groups use social media and other digital tools to influence and recruit followers, the stark difference with what some scholars have called “postmodern hate,” is that there is no unifying philosophy to draw from.

“Today’s hate is splintered,” said Levin. “People are dipping in the ladle and scooping out what they want.”

The geography has shifted, too, he said: The rise of the alt-right — the racist fringe movement with online roots — has destabilized the old extremist groups that once flourished in the Pacific Northwest by disavowing the idea that geography matters at all.

“Their message has been, ‘Why do we have to settle for one region?’” Levin said.

The article was published June 4, 2017, and can be read at “Portland killings dredge up legacy of racist laws in Oregon.”And The Press-Enterprise spoke to Levin about a planned protest on Saturday, June 10, at a memorial to the victims of the Dec. 2, 2015, mass shooting in San Bernardino. A group plans to protest what it says is a repressive system of Islamic law that seeks to dominate the U.S. The protest is being denounced by critics, including a loved one of a Dec. 2 victim, as a display of bigotry at a sacred site. And scholars on Islam said organizers are distorting the true meaning of Sharia.

Even if there was a movement to make Sharia the law of the land, “the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that religious entities cannot impose their own laws through the government other than if there’s an agreement between two parties,” said   Levin.

“The notion that there would be any implementation of Sharia law on the populace at large is so fallacious that it strains credulity,” said Levin, who added: “It is beyond disgusting and condemnable that any moron would choose hallowed community ground for this (protest).”

Not mentioned in the article is that six CSUSB alumni were among the 14 victims who died during the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

The article was published June 3, 2017, and can be read at “A protest against Sharia law will be held near site of San Bernardino terror attack. Is that appropriate?