On a growing number of college and university campuses, the University of Tennessee among them, there appears a choice between having a “safe and welcoming” campus, or one where students and faculty feel free to speak and share freely about ideas, thoughts, and views.
Middle ground is elusive. Or nonexistent. The reason: fear. Fear of losing reputations, being spotlighted in the news for having “offended” a person or group, or of wrecking academic or professional careers.
At Reed College in Oregon, where I work, a group of students began protesting the required first-year humanities course a year ago. Three times a week, students sat in the lecture space holding signs — many too obscene to be printed here — condemning the course and its faculty as white supremacists, as anti-black, as not open to dialogue and criticism, on the grounds that we continue to teach, among many other things, Aristotle and Plato.
In the interest of supporting dissent and the free exchange of ideas, the faculty and administration allowed this. Those who felt able to do so lectured surrounded by those signs for the better part of a year. I lectured, but dealt with physical anxiety — lack of sleep, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to focus — in the weeks leading up to my lecture.
-Lucía Martínez Valdivia
Penn State Liberal Arts tweeted a message affirming diversity in various forms. This included an acknowledgment of conservative students and their viewpoints.
After backlash from students and social media, Penn State deleted the tweet.
This atmosphere is intellectually stifling. “Every professor’s affected by the current climate, unless they’re oblivious,” Kipnis told me via e-mail.
“I got many dozens of emails from professors (and administrators and deans and one ex college president) describing how fearful they are of speaking honestly or dissenting on any of these issues.
Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me... I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.
The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.
Incompetence, Character, Degeneracy, Fear, Education, Fascism, Academia, Jobs, Censorship
Attempts to sanction scholars for their speech, research or teaching practices has skyrocketed since 2015, with about three in four campaigns leading to some form of professional sanction — including termination — according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Such attacks are “on the rise and are increasingly coming from within academia itself—from other scholars and especially from undergraduate students,” FIRE research fellows Komi German and Sean Stevens state in their report.
A total of 426 incidents occurred between January 1, 2015, to July 13, 2021. They included efforts to either investigate, penalize, demote, censor, suspend or terminate college faculty for their unpopular or controversial speech, research or teaching practices.
“A staggering three-fourths of the incidents (314 out of 426) resulted in some form of sanction, the most common being investigation, termination, and suspension,” according to the report.
Liberal, Funny, Education, Academia, Ignorance
A flag displayed from a construction site over Memorial Day Weekend has ignited controversy at Central Connecticut State University after members of the community said that the flag appeared to be displayed from a noose.
The flag was flown on a metal cable hanging from a crane at an on-campus construction site. The cable, which had a loop at the end, closely resembles standard loop steel cables that are commonly used in construction; Home Depot sells several varieties...
When social media users took note of the cable, Central Connecticut State University responded, "As soon as we saw the photo we called the construction company and ordered the cable be brought down immediately."
Hypocrisy, Hate, Violence, Character, Racism, Threats, Fear, Education, Academia, Jobs, Bigotry
Evergreen State College biology professor Bret Weinstein learned the severe consequences of opposing campus leftists this week.
Weinstein originally caused a ruckus on his very-liberal Washington state university when he sensibly opposed an event that required all whites to depart from the campus for a day. He called the idea a “show of force and an act of oppression.”
For voicing this opinion and being white himself, Weinstein was branded a racist and hounded by campus agitators who demanded his termination. On Thursday, the biology professor had to conduct his class off-campus due to police telling him it wasn’t safe for the mild academic to appear at his place of work.
A white professor's refusal to participate in "Day of Absence"...
"Through a series of decisions made at the highest levels, including to officially support a day of racial segregation, the college has refused to protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence."
Minds Closing in Academia...
I worry every day I enter class that I will say something that a student will find offensive. I no longer teach topics that I taught only a couple of years ago, and which I taught without anyone complaining that I was being offensive.
STEM faculty targeted for "antibias" training...
"[What] we are working towards is, bring 'em in, train 'em, and if they don't get it, sanction them."
They Want Their Identities Hidden...
Over the past few months I’ve been contacted by various UT staff members, none of whom I have met, but who have read previous columns on freedom of speech on college campuses or heard me speak on the subject on radio or television.
Each had a story about the limitations of freedom on campus and the fear they have in speaking up or speaking out.
Their stories and examples can’t be shared because they wouldn’t allow me to reveal their identities to anyone, even editors. They’re too afraid.
Administrators Held Hostage...
Despite attempting to reason with the protesters, Weinstein recalled that the activists “had no apparent interest in the very dialog they seemed to invite,” and said that they were “shouting down my actual students, some of whom had known me for years.”
Campus police advised Weinstein to leave campus, saying they could not ensure his safety, but the protests continued to escalate, climaxing when students held the school’s president and other high-ranking administrators hostage until they agreed to fully comply with a list of demands.
Ideological Conformity on Campus...
"I’m a liberal Professor and my liberal students scare me."
Violence, Threats, Fear, Academia, Terrorism
On Tuesday, a group of Evergreen students disrupted a class he was teaching, surrounded him, cursed at him, screamed at him, and called for him to resign or be fired. Campus police have told Weinstein that for his own physical safety, he should stay off campus for a few days. He held his Thursday class in an off-campus park.
Fear and Self-Censorship is Pervasive...
"Bringing in new faculty or guest speakers with conservative or centrist political perspectives is considered risky and out of the question at the moment.
Fear and self-censorship is pervasive among Evergreen faculty, especially under the existing budget crisis."
Videos from Evergreen have since continued to leak, painting a chaotic portrait of campus in which protesters try to bully administrators into kowtowing to their demands, and in one case even tell the school’s president, George Bridges, to “shut the fuck up.”
“No, fuck you, George. We don’t want to hear a Goddamn thing you have to say,” one protester can be heard saying as Bridges attempts to speak. “You talk so fucking much. No, you shut the fuck up.”
Liberal, Violence, Fear, Education, Protest, Academia, Metaphor
The University of California, Berkeley has constructed an emergency escape door for its embattled chancellor in case of potential security threats, such as student protests. The Daily Californian initially reported that the school had completed work on a $9,000 emergency exit in the office of Chancellor Nicholas Dirks over the weekend, dubbing it an “escape hatch” and asserting that construction of the door was requested about a year ago by Dirks’ staff in response to a student protest that obtrusively made its way through his office in April 2015.
An Illustrious Career Safely Behind Him...
... I said earlier that Kronman’s book is brave, but in that respect I may be giving him too much credit. Much of his illustrious career is now safely behind him; he can write as he pleases. Would an untenured professor have the guts to say what he does?
Students Protesters Attack Professor...
Murray and Stanger ducked into an administrator's car, but the protesters attacked the car, pounding on it rocking it, and seeking to prevent it from leaving.
You Can't Really Lead A Mob
Just like the French Revolution. You can't really lead a mob. It consumes all, and in the end it eats its own for being insufficiently pure.— 𝔗𝔥𝔢𝔐𝔬𝔫𝔰𝔱𝔢𝔯 (@SumErgoMonstro) September 19, 2017
The Attack Of The Crybullies
“Paranoia strikes deep,
“Into your life it will creep,
“It starts when you’re always afraid,
“Step out of line, the men come, and take you away.”
The campaign of hurt feelings over basic constitutional rights rocks on across the country, most recently at Amherst College where protesters want administrators to "apologize for signs that lament the death of free speech."