Michael Avery, a Suffolk University Law School professor who made headlines for an email to colleagues calling care packages for United States soldiers abroad “shameful,” attended the University of Moscow from 1968 through 1969, The Daily Caller has learned.
Avery’s studies in the U.S.S.R. coincided with the height of the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, punishing a period of liberalization known as “The Prague Spring.” That 1968 invasion marked the launch of the “Brezhnev Doctrine,” which declared: “When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.”
Avery’s time studying in Moscow, then the epicenter of totalitarian expansionism, also corresponded with the height of the Vietnam War when thousands of Americans were serving and dying in combat against Soviet-backed forces.
Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reported that in his five-paragraph email to colleagues protesting a school-wide care package drive for the holiday season, Avery wrote, “I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.”
In a statement, Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown — who recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan — said, “It’s sad there are still some people who fail to appreciate the selfless sacrifice of our military, but it makes me angry when they openly campaign to deprive our troops of the love and support they deserve. I wish Professor Avery could witness for himself the joy that a small gift can bring to a soldier, especially around the holidays.”
A high-ranking U.S. Army officer who spoke to TheDC on condition of anonymity was more forward in his criticism. “I have served 28 years in the United States Army and Professor Michael Avery’s statements, made during a time of war, are just a treasonous as Jane Fonda’s actions during the Viet Nam war,” he wrote in an email.
“Young American soldiers, all volunteers, will spend Christmas on remote hilltops throughout Afghanistan — If they are lucky, in mud walled shacks — defending slobs like Avery’s right to speak out, no matter how asinine their opinions. If [the soldiers] are lucky, some American family will send them some homemade goodies they can share on Christmas with their buddies while Avery lies drunk in front of his fireplace, safe and warm.”
Avery also objected to a United States flag that has flown at Suffolk University following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “Since Sept. 11 we have had perhaps the largest flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act,” he wrote. “Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Bush administration, and which continue during the Obama administration.”
In a statement on the law school’s website, Suffolk University Acting President and University Provost Barry Brown wrote, “We respect the right of our faculty members to exercise academic freedom and support all members of our community in speaking freely and expressing their opinions.”
Avery’s studies in the Soviet Union were independent of his studies at Yale University, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1966. It is not known if Avery practiced anti-war activism during his time in the Soviet Union, or what his course of study there consisted of.
A phone call to the Suffolk University public affairs office was not returned. Avery did not respond to an email seeking comment.