Campus Free Speech

Wellesley College Professors Say Offensive Speakers Like Laura Kipnis 'Harm' Students and Shouldn't Be Invited

"There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley."

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Kipnis
Reason TV

Six professors at Wellesley College sent an email to members of campus imploring the community not to invite controversial speakers who might upset certain students—speakers like Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis, the noted critic (and victim) of the Title IX bureaucracy.

The professors' statement is incredible. If their position was accepted by the college, it would demolish the entire foundation of higher education.

"There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley," wrote the professors in their email.

To be clear, they are saying that extending a platform to any speaker whose ideas might be disliked by some member of the community is essentially a violation of the member's rights. Remedying this injustice requires not inviting such speakers and ignoring the rights of campus members who might actually like to hear a contrary perspective for once.

The professors go on to lament that the harms to students—"harm" being synonymous with offense in this instance—could have been avoided if only the people inviting controversial speakers had comprehended the likelihood of offense being given, and not moved forward with the invitation on that basis.

"The speakers who appeared on campus presented ideas that they had published, and those who hosted the speakers could certainly anticipate that these ideas would be painful to significant portions of the Wellesley community," wrote the professors. "Laura Kipnis's recent visit to Wellesley prompted students to respond to Kipnis's presentation with a video post on Facebook. Kipnis posted the video on her page, and professor Tom Cushman left a comment that publicly disparaged the students who produced the video. Professor Cushman apologized for his remarks, but in light of these developments, we recommend the following."

Before we move on to the recommendations, consider what these professors are doing: they are ceding total power to students who claim to be victimized by opinions they don't like. In their view, it is inappropriate for members of campus to invite a speaker whose views are not accepted by 100% of the student body. It is also inappropriate for a university professor to tell students that they are misguided about something.

If an institution of higher learning actually surrendered on these two issues, there would be no point to continue operating. There would be no point to having classes at all. Students would be paying for their own affirmation, rather than any kind of education.

The email continues:

First, those who invite speakers to campus should consider whether, in their zeal for promoting debate, they might, in fact, stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups. We in CERE are happy to serve as a sounding board when hosts are considering inviting controversial speakers, to help sponsors think through the various implications of extending an invitation.

Second, standards of respect and rigor must remain paramount when considering whether a speaker is actually qualified for the platform granted by an invitation to Wellesley. In the case of an academic speaker, we ask that the Wellesley host not only consider whether the speaker holds credentials, but whether the presenter has standing in his/her/their discipline. This is not a matter of ideological bias. Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley. Similar arguments pertaining to race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and other identity markers are equally inappropriate.

Third, faculty and administrators should step up in defense of themselves and all members of the Wellesley community. The responsibility to defend the disempowered does not rest solely with students, and the injuries suffered by students, faculty, and staff are not contained within the specific identity group in question; they ripple throughout our community and prevent Wellesley from living out its mission.

Emphasis mine. It's amazing to watch the professors insist that they are not ideologically biased, and then proceed in the very next sentence to engage in bias against a specific ideological position—a position that I suspect is wrong, but is certainly worth discussing at a university campus if someone wishes to argue the opposite. As Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker once said about this very issue, "Perhaps the hypothesis is wrong, but how would we ever find out whether it is wrong if it is 'offensive' even to consider it?"

The professors who wrote this email—who wish to serve as gatekeepers of permissible discourse on campus, and urge the Wellesley community to self-censor in the name of emotional comfort— are Diego Arcineagas, Beth DeSombre, Brenna Greer, Soo Hong, Michael Jeffries, and Layli Maparyan. Their email was recently publicized by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which strongly objected to its contents.

Kipnis objected, too. As she told FIRE:

"I find it absurd that six faculty members at Wellesley can call themselves defenders of free speech and also conflate my recent talk with bullying the disempowered," Kipnis told FIRE in an email. "What actually happened was that there was a lively back and forth after I spoke. The students were smart and articulate, including those who disagreed with me."

"I'm going to go further and say — as someone who's been teaching for a long time, and wants to see my students able to function in the world post-graduation — that protecting students from the 'distress' of someone's ideas isn't education, it's a $67,000 babysitting bill."

If the faculty will not re-assert that the purpose of a liberal arts education is to actually teach students Enlightenment liberal principles—including the paramount value of unfettered free speech—the campus free expression wars are truly lost. Given this email, and given the behavior of so many faculty members at Middlebury College, it is difficult not to be pessimistic about the fure of freedom on campus.

NEXT: Apparently Tax and Spending Cuts are Either Too Small or Too Big, but Never Just Right

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  1. As I watch these formerly academic institutions degenerate into SJW backbiting shitshows, it seems to me that there’s a tremendous market opportunity for new colleges that simply won’t put up with this bullshit. They should probably start out as engineering schools with clearly stated policies that anyone throwing a tantrum over what someone else has to say will be expelled without refund.

    -jcr

    1. So the solution to the problem of colleges that prohibit free expression is to start new colleges that prohibit free expression?

      1. It seems that you don’t grasp the difference between merely saying something and throwing a tantrum.

        -jcr

        1. I really don’t. What qualifies as throwing a tantrum with regard to free speech on campus? Do the professors in this article count?

          1. I don’t mean to put words in John C. Randolph’s mouth, but his statement makes perfect sense if you define “throwing a tantrum” as “attempting to block the legal free speech of others in any way”. Protest all you want, but stay out of everyone else’s way and let the speakers be heard by anyone who wants to listen.

            1. “Block the legal free speech”? The so-called “free speech community” says that anything that does not fit into a recognized category of illegal speech is legal, but there are many kinds of speech that ought to be criminalized, even if they don’t fit into those categories. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

          2. When you’re trying to shout down the speaker, it’s a tantrum.
            When you’re trying to make it so people cannot even attend the event, it’s a tantrum.

            When you provide disagreements in a Q & A session, that is not a tantrum.

            1. What is it when a fat, ugly lesbian flaps her bingo wings, shrieks at the top of her voice and insists she not be treated like a child?

      2. Yes. You don’t seem to understand that any institution with a particular purpose must necessarily restrict speech. If you go and take a welding class, the professor can’t spend the entire semester lecturing on medieval history. He has to teach welding. That is a restriction on his academic freedom and speech.

        Yes, the way to fix colleges is to restrict professors speech to the subjects they are there to teach.

        1. Oh my god, you fucking dummy. If you ever took anything more intellectually rigorous than a welding class, you’d know that there are plenty of subjects tangential to the actual subject ‘that they are there to teach’ which are helpful to the discussion. Even a welding course would, for example probably include instructions on how to use safe eyewear. What does that have to do with welding? Nothing. You can weld without goggles. Plus, I wouldn’t want the professor to spend the entire semester lecturing on welding, I’d want him to show me how to do it and if he wants to make conversation, then that’s his business.

          1. You are a literal-minded moron. I don’t know what else to tell you. Yes, I understand there is tangential information. I thought that went without saying. That “what they teach” includes a lot of different things. The point is that you have to have an institution focused on education and not political indoctrination and that necessarily requires restricting speech to some degree.

            To anyone over a 90 IQ that is obvious. The reason why you think what I was saying is stupid, is because you are stupid and didn’t understand it. Part of being a moron is not knowing it. If you knew it, you wouldn’t be one.

            1. Anyone with an IQ over 90 should know there is no such thing as apolitical education.

              1. Anyone with an IQ over 100 knows that IQ scores are pseudoscientific bullshit.

                -jcr

                1. They definitely are not pseudoscience but it isn’t the only measure of intelligence and definitely doesn’t judge wisdom.

                  Experience and internal thought process mentality is more telling.

                  Someone can be smart and still an idiot if he doesn’t rigorously call bullshit and question everything. I know many people that are definitely intelligent but they lack the wisdom to fact check and call bullshit. They also more importantly lack an ability to look at themselves and question their own thought processes.

                  A truly smart person questions themselves constantly and calls them self out on bullshit.

                  1. They definitely are not pseudoscience but it isn’t the only measure of intelligence and definitely doesn’t judge wisdom.

                    IQ is straight from the wretched bowels of the social ‘sciences’, so I disagree. We don’t even understand intelligence to any significant degree, yet people still claim that IQ is anything more than a joke. It’s not just that it isn’t the “only” measure of intelligence, but that we can’t rigorously prove that it is even a decent measure of any sort of intelligence at all. Just observing some correlations between IQ and things such as academic performance doesn’t really prove much at all (and the vast majority of schools just test for rote memorization anyway).

                    So, at best, IQ is unproven. If you expect real science, don’t look to the social ‘sciences’ for it.

          2. Throughout my studies in math and physics, it was never necessary to consider anyone’s “feelings” about the subjects.

            What appears to be missing from the SJW vocabulary is equitable treatment. If a single SJW complaint can veto a conservative speaker, then a single conservative can veto ALL SJW speakers. That is, no speakers of any sort allowed on campus.

            Alternatively, a code of conduct saying no actions infringing free speech may be allowed on campus. Thus, if a speaker is engaged, protest all you want – OFF campus. Time-Place-Manner has long been a touchstone of the Supremes interpretation of the First Amendment.

    2. The problem is that the market can’t solve this problem. The reason for that is the infamous Duke Power Case that banned employers from giving objective skills tests to job applicants because such tests had a disparate impact on minorities. Understand, Duke power didn’t ban all merit-based hiring. You can still hire based on credentials. If the position was for an engineer, you could demand the person have an engineering degree. What you can’t do is give the applicants a test to see if they know anything about engineering or how smart they are.

      1. Duke Power is an outlier. STEM firms DO give objective skills tests before hiring. If I’m hiring you for a C++ development position, I’m going to throw a moderately difficult C++ problem at you during the interview. This is standard. This is expected. There are objective criteria for the job and I’m going to find out if you meet those objective criteria. The credentials are important, but I’ve been in firms that have hired based solely on demonstrated skill rather than credentials. Merit rules.

        1. The problem is that not every or even most jobs are that specific. Yes, if I am hiring a C++ programmer, I can just ask them questions about C++. But most jobs are not like that. The sort of specialized tests of knowledge and intelligence that would find out just who is the better prepared for jobs that are not technical in nature are not going to be allowed.

          Also, if your C++ test has a disparate impact on minorities, you are going to lose in court. Disparate impact is straight up affirmative action. If your hiring does not statistically line up with the racial percentages of the population of qualified and interested candidates, you are going to lose.

          1. But most jobs are not like that.

            Hell, most jobs in IT aren’t like that anymore. That’s why all the job openings show an exhaustive list of technologies you’re supposed to be experienced in. No business can test for all that.

          2. Sadly true. As we saw with NY doing away with literacy tests for teachers, disparate impact seems to be the most important thing these days.

          3. The key phrase is “qualified and interested candidates”. Qualified and interested candidates of color and non-male gender get hired almost automatically. Software development is a blinding glare of pale pasty white dudes, and anything to balance it out is leapt at. The problem is not the lack of hiring, the problem is a culture that has driven non-white and non-males away from the industry. We WANT to make our workforce resemble the population!

            1. Why? I don’t care what my workforce looks like. I care what it produces. Anything else is bullshit quotas.

              1. Bingo!

                It’s a WORK force.

                Do the WORK and don’t be an asshole.

            2. “The problem is not the lack of hiring, the problem is a culture that has driven non-white and non-males away from the industry. We WANT to make our workforce resemble the population!”

              I am not sure where you work but if you really believe non-white males are driven away you are delusional. White males were probably the norm 20 years ago but today I would say it is overwhelmingly Asian male. There is still a lack of females but it isn’t because they are being driven away. I am now on my second large corp that gives explicit preferences to females. There is simply a dearth of good female engineers. I interviewed one today that couldn’t even describe what makes data a good candidate for caching. If you suck I am not going to encourage you to be hired just because vagina.

          4. Could it be that there’s a disparate impact on certain groups simply because they’re relatively stupid?

      2. The main reason the market can’t solve this problem is because of government interference in the funding of education. If you take away the subsidies so that people have to actually pay for their own education all of this would fix itself in the time it takes to get a Social Studies degree. Instead of being in college complaining about free speech these people would be out of college complaining (more so) about “access” to higher education.

        1. Amen. What happens to the overall quality of a good when you subsidize the hell out of its production?

        2. Thats why Obama took over all students loans so that they can now determine what is taught by what they allow the student loans to go to.

    3. So employers have to hire by credentials. They hire from the best and most selective school because that is the only way they can have any assurance they are hiring the smartest applicant. Understand that students don’t go to a university for the education. They go to a university for the job the degree is going to get them. Thanks to Duke power, the fact that many of our elite schools have become insane asylums that provided no real education to their students hasn’t been recognized by the market. Employees keep hiring based upon degree because it is the only means available. Students keep going to the colleges because they still get jobs, which is the point of going there.

      Had it not been for Duke Power, employers would have long since taken advantage of the maturing field of testing and advanced metrics to figure out what skills and qualities their best employees had and then given tests to applicants to determine which ones had these characteristics. Had that occurred, the graduates of the elite universities would have stopped getting jobs and the market would have corrected itself. But thanks to Duke power, it didn’t and the market hasn’t corrected.

      1. Does it only apply to certain fields or written tests? Because programmers and other tech professionals often have to go through technical interviews that can be very exhaustive. It’s not usually something you can fake your way through.

        1. It applies to all fields. You can give such tests but only if they are shown not to have a disparate impact on minorities. My guess is the firms who give such tests have affirmative action programs that weight the scores to ensure they don’t run afoul with Duke Power.

          But you make a good point. You could work around Duke Power by weighting the scores of minorities. For whatever reason, firms have not done that and continue to hire based on credentials and interviews.

          1. Hmmm never heard about this case, and apparently neither have most the professional jobs I’ve had, and many fortune 500 companies like google, that tests applicants to see if the know what they are doing. I’ve been tested at small family owned business’s, and large corporations, and pretty much everything in between. I suspect that there is more to this than you are suggesting, because in my field at any rate, you are hard pressed to find an employer that does not validate your credentials with a test. I will say that my currently employer gave me a test prepared by a 3rd party company that then scored it and gave the results to my employer, so that may have been how they ensured they get around it.

            It’s pretty well known that google’s test often drive many of the best applicant’s away as it is oriented towards people just leaving college that still have lots of the purely academic knowledge. Thus you get asinine cases of people who are considered the go to experts on some software because they helped create it in the first place, can’t get a job at google working on that very same software as they did not learn about the software in college.

            1. That’s because kids just out of college will work longer hours for less pay. How they get away with that kind of age discrimination is beyond me.

            2. The more to it is this, you can only sue if you can prove the test as applied has a disparate impact. Those tech firms likely have pretty robust affirmative action programs. So, there is no one to sue. In a sense, they really aren’t using the test to determine hiring. They are just using it to determine who of whatever group gets hired.

          2. Duke Power was my nickname in college.

          3. You can’t group-norm the tests, because that’d be explicit discrimination. Therefore your affirmative action needs a way around, as by awarding points for “disadvantage”.

      2. Umm no.

        The Supreme Court ruled that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, if such tests disparately impact ethnic minority groups, businesses must demonstrate that such tests are “reasonably related” to the job for which the test is required.

        The reality is the opposite of what you’re arguing — a generic requirement for a college degree (analogous to the high school diploma Duke Power was attempting to use as a filter to keep blacks out) is more dangerous than actually testing an applicant on knowledge required for the job.

    4. Why engineering schools? I would start out with a liberal arts college. Study the ideas of long dead white men! Study the classics of a civilization that was literary enough to actually have classics to study!

    5. but, I object to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and should be able to pursue an engineering degree without discussing it…

  2. Anything said, taught, published, or thought by Diego Arcineagas, Beth DeSombre, Brenna Greer, Soo Hong, Michael Jeffries, or Layli Maparyanis is offensive, and must be banned from the campus.
    End of problem.

    1. to the woodchipper with them…

  3. First, those who invite speakers to campus should consider whether, in their zeal for promoting debate, they might, in fact, stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups.

    We are talking about a college campus. How are these groups disempowered? If they are, then it is because the administration has made them that way. Who is in charge here? And if that is the case, the university has a bigger problem then who it is inviting to speak at the campus.

    Beyond that, the implication seems to be that the mere act of speaking and engaging in discussion “bullies and disempowers” some groups. That statement makes the appallingly racist assumption that some groups by virtue of who they are are unable to stand up to logical scrutiny or contrary argument. The entire assumption seems to be that minorities and the various other victim groups are unable to be reasoned with or even exposed to a contrary opinion lest they feel disempowered and bullied. It is pretty hard to imagine someone being more paternalistic and racist than these professors.

    1. The entire assumption seems to be that minorities and the various other victim groups are unable to be reasoned with or even exposed to a contrary opinion lest they feel disempowered and bullied.

      Even this is exceedingly generous/presumptuous. The mere existence of facts, relevant or not, is logical scrutiny and bullying to the victim groups. Kipnis could, for all we/they know, be reciting known facts about her ordeal.

    2. this is the process to which anything they don’t like they can silence when these students finally graduate they will outlaw any thought that they disagree with it revolutions often start at the university level. deniers will be crucified under law.

  4. Just out of curiosity, I looked up what Diego Arcineagas, Beth DeSombre, Brenna Greer, Soo Hong, Michael Jeffries, and Layli Maparyan allegedly teach.

    Not surprisingly, I found:

    Theater studies, Environmental Studies, “Historian of race, gender, and culture”, “Explores school-community relationships in K-12 urban schools with an emphasis on race, immigration, and culture”, “Qualitative sociologist with emphasis on race, class, gender, and cultural production”, and “expert on the womanist worldview and activist methodology.”

    Not a single genuine teacher in the bunch. Since they don’t have any real work to do, they have the time to snivel at their intellectual superiors and demand censorship.

    -jcr

    1. What value are those departments providing their students?

      1. Education.

        1. I don’t think the word means what you think it does. I could teach you to pick your nose with your big toe and that would be “education” in some broad sense of the term. The value of such, however, would be very small.

          You really are simple minded and stupid aren’t you?

          1. I’ve forgotten more about how to pick my nose with my big toe than you could ever hope to teach me. Sheesh, you kids today.

      2. Monetarily? IDK, you might be able to turn theater studies into a lucrative acting career if you play your cards right, maybe? I don’t know any relevant statistics for that.

        In other respects? I see four identity politics specialists, which I guess might be vaguely relevant to people who want to be politicians who play on those strings (yeah I’m really stretching); environmental studies, the usefulness of which largely depends on how much that is a euphemism for apocalyptic climatology; and theater studies.

        1. So, all theater really.

      3. You said it above. They are providing a degree. Credentials that might get these students hired into a social service job, or a government bureaucracy or a non-profit, basically any job that doesn’t have to produce anything because its funded by other people’s money.

        1. I understand that. I meant more added value in the larger sense. How is society more productive because of this.

          1. requiring productivity is an aggressive act since its what was required of slaves and corporatist masters.

    2. Soo Hong was my nickname in college.

    3. “Historian of race, gender, and culture” sounds like a legitimate area of study. The rest, less so.

    4. Thanks for looking this up – I was checking the comments for exactly this information.

  5. and then proceed in the very next sentence to engage in bias against a specific ideological position?a position that I suspect is wrong, but is certainly worth discussing at a university campus if someone wishes to argue the opposite

    I’ll put $10 on this part.

    1. to be sure, its not like he’s ever going to actually debate anyone who suspects otherwise.

  6. Once we assert that the rules should differ depending on whether a group is “empowered” or “disempowered”, everyone one is going to assert “disempowered” status, regardless of whether they could actually objectively be considered disempowered in a modern campus environment.

    The idea that feminist groups are “disempowered” at Wellesley and might be terrified to speak up due to the “bullying” of individuals like Laura Kipnis ought to be regarded as self-evidently ludicrous. I’ve never seen any evidence that liberals or progressives are being bullied into silence anywhere, especially not on college campuses. There is some evidence that conservatives ARE often bullied into silence, and things like this are part of how.

    Anyway, let’s not forget that the MO of the left has always been to manipulate language and frame the debate to advantage themselves because nothing matters except power and who has it. This whole idea that Laura Kipnes is so terrifying that she’s going to scare people into not speaking is just another example of that. A wholely fictional rationale for creating and maintaining their own power.

    1. You know this. I know this. They know this. The powers that be also know this.

      Yet they still say it, and say it with a smile.

    2. I’ve realized that is it exceptionally liberating to be a victim of oppression – it means never having to say anything is your fault.

      Then people can empowering themselves simply by calling themselves disempowered.

      1. victim of oppression

        It also means you are justified in most anything you do to rectify it, sometimes even it it’s illegal.

  7. “Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley.”

    Not pseudoscience. The gender binary and general roles are found in every single culture of every color on every continent in history. Likes and dislikes are shown to be different as early as two weeks old.

    To deny that there are differences between the average woman’s brains and the average man’s brain is no different than being a full-blown creationist. You have to deny any biological and evolutionary influence on our brains and ignore what is seen in every other primate species.

    This does not mean the best mathematician in the world can’t be a woman, it just means the average woman is far less interested in engineering than the average man.

    1. Actually women used to do much better at STEM. Especially math. Women used to be the brainy ones. They used to be the ones good at math, instead of the very recent “maths is hard” barbie meme. They used to be the calculators and computers that provided the numbers that men took credit for. It was mainly women that cracked Enigma. It was mainly women that got man to the moon. The culture tried to keep them out, but when they could get the education and opportunity, women excelled in those fields that did not require manly brawn.

      The reason women are less interested in STEM is because there is a shitload of STEM males that are outright assholes. It’s not that women are less technical, it’s just that women have a lower threshold for the kind of assholery common in STEM.

      1. I didn’t say they weren’t good at math. They out-test boys in every academic level in every subject. I said they weren’t as interested in it.

        1. There’s some truth to that. However, the lack of interest is somewhat culturally driven. When girls hit puberty they become very concerned with social acceptance and “fitting in” and if being a sciency math nerd isn’t seen as “cool” then girls will not continue to spend effort trying to be good at math and science. There are jokes about this in popular culture like in “Mean Girls” … “You can’t join the math club, that’s social suicide!”

        2. You responded to the statement that “men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields” with the assertion that it was not psuedoscience. Let me quote you:

          “Not pseudoscience”

          Sorry for responding to what you said rather than what you meant.

      2. the kind of assholery common in STEM

        O…K…

        1. Yeah, I don’t see that much assholery in STEM, but maybe times have changed. I came of age when ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ was still popular.

      3. “Actually women used to do much better at STEM”

        Cite. And not historically revisionist films.

      4. Many of those women you are describing were not brilliant mathematicians, they were human adding machines — performing tedious calculations by rote, to save time for the actual mathematicians. This was in the days before real handheld or even desktop calculators, and labor was cheap.

    2. XX or XY. Yep, sounds pseudo to me alright.
      Leaves out all the brand new made up stuff that those babbling idiots just thought up, so it must be wrong. Ban it.

  8. The anti-free speech opinions voiced by these professors offend me. Therefore, they harm me. Therefore, they should not be allowed to express those opinions.

    /proglogic

  9. First, those who invite speakers to campus should consider whether, in their zeal for promoting debate, they might, in fact, stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups.

    First, you are teaching people to be precious snowflakes that are incapable of processing and dealing with opposing viewpoints or being cordial to those that express said opposing viewpoints (i’ve experienced as much with my lefty gf’s grotesquely lefty friends…). Second, I assume that, to you, “productive debate” means “sit down, shut up and agree with me”. Which is to say, you mean the opposite of ‘debate’.

    Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley.

    “Pseudoscience”? LOL. I really don’t understand how people cannot make simple observations like men typically choosing hard sciences and women typically choosing soft sciences. It’s not sexist, it’s personal choice stemming from biological pre-disposition.

    that protecting students from the ‘distress’ of someone’s ideas isn’t education, it’s a $67,000 babysitting bill.”

    As long as I’m not paying for it, idc. They can get their gender-studies degree and bitch all they want about the white, male, hetero patriarchy as they fetch my coffee.

    1. There is a difference in saying men are more likely to choose a hard science and saying men are naturally better equipped to excel at a hard science. The first is true, the second is not. Unless you wanna open yourself to arguments justifying affirmative action, better stay away from such assertions.

      1. saying men are naturally better equipped to excel at a hard science. The first is true, the second is not.

        Why isn’t the second true? isn’t the fact that men are more likely to choose hard sciences evidence they are more suited to them since people as a general rule choose fields that suit them? Suppose it is true that men as a group are more suited to the hard sciences. I don’t see how that justifies affirmative action. Why must there be an equal number of men and women or even a minimum percentage of each in every field? What is wrong with the sciences being mostly men?

        1. I don’t think anyone can say that they know the second is true. But there is some reason to suspect it might be true.

          1. The first assertion is provable with available retrospective data. The second assertion is more difficult because the proper metric has not even been determined and would more likely require prospective study.

            It might be possible to know the answer, but we must first be willing to truly entertain the question. And those shouting ‘pseudoscience’ would seem to be firmly opposed to that.

            1. It would require testing kids at a very young age.

              1. That is unclear, but possible. It is unclear largely because, by starting too early, you might miss many of the factors that go into whatever defines ‘suitability’ for a given activity.

        2. You and I might not view that as a justification for affirmative action, but I bet many people would. I generally shy away from conclusions such as which gender is more suited for what, because I am an individualist. I am not sure we need any sort of policy based on gender at all, so I don’t even know what such a necessarily statistical conclusion would grant you.

          1. Knowledge for it’s own sake.

            But maybe we should first consider that scientific knowledge is not the be all – end all when it comes to policy questions. IMO it is always second best at best.

            Which does point up the game these sorts play – seeking to establish a new sort of Cathedral, where ‘science’ is a means of dictating policy, while simultaneously defending this ‘science’ from any sort of unorthodox or heretical thought.

            Refuse to play their game.

      2. The first is true, the second is not.

        Why not? Men are typically more analytical, whereas women are typically more emotional/nurturing. There is nothing particularly wrong with this. There is a reality to biology and biological roles.

    2. Pseudoscience? LOL. I really don’t understand how people cannot make simple observations like men typically choosing hard sciences and women typically choosing soft sciences. It’s not sexist, it’s personal choice stemming from biological pre-disposition.

      If this is true, then why are roles (rapidly) reversing in areas like biology and medicine? And why have they been reversing for a century? Is this political pressure?

      Likewise, why are other sciences, like economics, not exhibiting the same level of increase?

      The short answer to your observation is this — anecdotal evidence is not the scientific method in action. It’s actually historically the antithesis to it. You will find very little scientific support for the notion that there is a biological predisposition.

      While we’re at it, there isn’t a biological predisposition for black people to like chicken or for asians to drive poorly. Even if those stereotypes are true — and they may very well be — that does not imply that there is an inherent biological reason for it.

      1. There’s a lot of research showing that nearly all cognitive and behavioral traits are at least 40-50% heritable. That leaves a lot of room for environmental, cultural and economic manipulation, but to declare that there’s no biological reason for predisposition to certain roles would be a stretch. Nobody denies that a husky, a doberman and a border collie are biologically suited for different roles, not only physically, but behaviorally and cognitively.

        1. True about the dogs, and a quick search through Endnote confirms some original research on that topic that seems to support it. But could you provide some evidence in support of your hypothesis about humans? I can’t seem to find much.

  10. “If the faculty will not re-assert that the purpose of a liberal arts education is to actually teach students Enlightenment liberal principles?”

    Why would they reassert something that’s not true? The purpose of a liberal arts education is to push socialist propaganda. How could anyone possibly not have noticed that by now?

  11. I love the idea that has taken root: Any speech that a certain subset doesn’t like is violence, while actual, no shit violence (ie physically attacking those who dare say something that the subset doesn’t like) is labeled self defense.

    1. Oh, but you can’t be offended by promiscuity or abortion or a myriad other things that religious people find offensive. The only people allowed to be offended are on the left.

  12. The professors’ statement is incredible completely unsurprising..

  13. OMG!! I am really close friends with one of the Wellesley professors on the email. She was in my wedding

    1. Have her progsplain to you why she is so closed-minded.

      1. Then, once she’s done that, ask her to hit you over the head several times with a hammer so you can get back to us about which is more painful and which is more mentally debilitating.

        This letter makes old, coked-out Adam Sandler seem lucid.

    2. Any good bachelorette stories?

    3. I actually will ask her about this. She’s always been liberal, but this actually surprises me.
      No good bachelorette stories from either her or my wife, at least not that I recall, it was a long time ago.

      1. “No good bachelorette stories”

        Well, that was your first warning right there!

        1. None they were willing to share! There was probably something great that I’ve never been told

          1. Do you really want to know about the time your then-fiancee was doing lines off of some stripper’s D?

  14. Jesus, do these profs not realize how offensive and triggering their statement is? I need a safe space where I can pretend idiots like this don’t even exist, let alone that they’re the lunatics running the asylum. How the hell can you attempt to teach anybody anything if you’re opposed to even listening to contrary arguments? You’re not even making an argument yourself if you don’t know the alternative argument – you’re just making an assertion. George Washington accidentally invented electricity while tinkering with his radio, Louis Pasteur discovered Australia while digging in his sock drawer, Marie Antoinette was head of the Chinese Army at the Battle of Stalingrad, John Wilkes Booth was the first man to circumnavigate Jupiter on a unicycle – all of these things are indisputably true if I claim the right to refuse to listen to any counter-arguments.

  15. The email message from Wellesley faculty members makes me think of an analogy. They don’t appear to regard students and faculty at Wellesley as an academic community. They appear to regard it as a family. If I’m in a family of four, for example – two parents and two children – and my parents invite Donald Trump to dinner, I don’t really have a chance to check out of that occasion. I have to put up with the guy sitting at my dinner table. The same might go for Ann Coulter, say, or Rush Limbaugh – two controversial speakers who don’t hold high office. I may take offense at these people, but I didn’t have as say about the initial invitation, and I don’t have a say about their presence at my dinner table.

    So I think, what can I do about this situation? I go to my parents (college administrators) on the side and say, you have to stop inviting these objectionable people to our dinner table. They don’t belong here. Moreover, my brother here agrees with me. My parents think about my petition, and they agree. They say, okay, no more Coulter, Limbaugh, or Trump at dinner. On the assumption that you’d still like to have guests over for dinner occasionally, we’ll run the invitations by you before we send them out. Now the family is happy again.

  16. …Needless to say, a college campus is not a family. Both family and college share an educational function, but they are not the same. If you try to run a college like a family, you are not going to get good results. Families can suffer violence, as Berkeley and Middlebury did. When colleges suffer violence because they invite controversial people to visit, they are no longer colleges. They are violent families.

    People on college campuses say they want to feel safe. Many associate safety with home. Others do not. One thing is sure: if you want to make college campuses dysfunctional, treat them as something they are not. Treat them the way the six faculty members at Wellesley want to treat their campus.

  17. “Before we move on to the recommendations, consider what these professors are doing: they are ceding total power to students who claim to be victimized by opinions they don’t like. In their view, it is inappropriate for members of campus to invite a speaker whose views are not accepted by 100% of the student body. It is also inappropriate for a university professor to tell students that they are misguided about something.”

    The professors also admit that they have failed, in every conceivable way, at their core job — teaching students HOW to think. These students are incapable of not just discussing an opposing view but even tolerating one.

    I don’t get why young adults would need such an expensive baby-sitting service, but that is what they seem to demand. Of course, the faculty is supposed to be wiser than the students, but we’re learning otherwise.

  18. This crap will dwindle away when the alumni stop writing checks to their alma mater. I’ve done so with Drexel U. until they please announce what action, if any, they took regarding the professor who tweeted about it being time for a white genocide.

    1. Are you kidding? I have no doubt most of the alumnae approve of this, or at least I am sure that Hillary does.

    2. After interviewing him, they made a public statement that they did not take action. They have sponsored multiple academic freedom forums since that event, probably in lieu of issuing him a formal apology.

      In short — they’re upholding academic freedom and the freedom to personally express yourself outside the confines of your workplace. They decided not to concede to people who consider themselves victims of “offensive” speech.

  19. This email triggers me. Fire these professors. Give them what they want.

  20. I have dated a couple of Wellesley chicks back in the day and I have spent some time on the campus, which is quite scenic. I am not surprised at all by this; since its a women’s only college, the students have already made the choice to avoid the male gender most of the time (exception for the heterosexual students who take the Fuck Bus to MIT on weekends) and feel that they are entitled to a permanent safe space.

    1. MIT? That school where a bunch of dudes major in STEM?

  21. I came late and didn’t bother to read the rest of the comments first, but you are far too generous to the group of six professors when you write:

    In their view, it is inappropriate for members of campus to invite a speaker whose views are not accepted by 100% of the student body.

    That is what they appear to claim, but I think we all know better. Does anyone really believe that if these six professors were set up as the review board they desire, they would really nix an appearance by Rachel Maddow because the college Republicans said they were offended? Not a chance.

    OK, she’s kinda mainstream. So lets do the same thought experiment with someone a little more controversial. What if the campus rape crisis center were bringing in Sabrina Erdely to talk about her rape story and the impact of rape culture on campus. That would certainly be controversial to say the least. Do we think they’d nix that appearance? She would most certainly be more likely to cause actual harm to members of the campus community through her appearance than any of the “conservative” speakers they’ve objected to. After all, she did perpetuate an actual rape hoax that did actual harm to real people on the Virginia campus merely through her speech. So much so that a court found her guilty of defamation.

    But does anyone here actually believe that the gang of six would deny her a platform?

    Nuff said….

    1. reading what I wrote, it sounds like I’m implying that Erdely was the hoaxer, which is not what I intended…. to clarify, she repeated and amplified the hoax as told to her by another.

      1. My understanding of that case, though, is that Sabrina Erdely set out to write a ‘fraternity rape’ story and shopped around several campuses looking for one. When she found the alleged victim at U.Va, she ran with her story without even doing basic research to see if any of it was true, because it fit the narrative she wanted to push. I’d say that she definitely deserves the label of ‘hoaxer’.

        I’d say it puts her on the same level as Al Sharpton in the Tawana Brawley case, at least.

        1. Which is my point. I have no doubt that they would fully support even harmful and demonstrably false speech if it fits their world view of what is truth and justice and light.

          I am calling bullshit on their entire premise. I have little doubt that they believe in themselves as true arbiters of good and evil. But they are just echo chamber police.

  22. Didn’t Kiplis’ own university basically back her right to speak freely? I think some of you are painting with really broad brushes here by condemning academia in general, while advocates of academic freedom have been among her staunchest defenders.

    Also, I’m curious how many people here think that academic freedom of speech — no matter how controversial — is important in this case, but were the first to call for the Drexel professor to be fired before he “harm students”?

    1. It’s reason.com Republicans posing as libertarians, what did you expect?

    2. And how many professors and deans from the university stood up for academic freedom when they issued their statement?

      Sorry, couldn’t hear you over the sound of the crickets.

      But if some prof came out with a statement like “Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy, just real misunderstood”, the U would be tripping over itself proclaiming that view was not shared by the broader faculty.

    3. 1) I’d be surprised if you can find many people posting on this thread who called for that Drexel doofus to be fired. I mostly tried to figure out what his “joke” meant.*

      2) I’m in favor of academic freedom, but I’d probably draw the line at someone who was calling for literal genocide. (Which the Drexel guy almost certainly wasn’t, but if I thought he was, I would be concerned.) Kipnis, as I understand it, thinks current college sexual policing has gone too far in some areas, Murray is a genetic determinist, although he typically reports actual science reasonably accurately, and Yiannopolis is a troll who likes to offend people.

      Of the three, Kipnis seems the least offensive and the most likely for students to be able to be aware of without suffering injury, but when you close out ideas to keep people safe from disagreement, I guess it’s hard where to stop.

      * It’s kind of an inside joke based on the lefty idea that white supremacists are super exercised about “white genoicide.**

      ** I’m not sure if white genocide is actually a big deal among white supremacists or if this is one of those things where three idiots on twitter are declared to be a trend.

  23. The Left are despicable thugs.

  24. Replacing education with affirmation of (liberal) views is exactly what they want. The intelligentsia as a class are perhaps the most harmful in America (except perhaps for newsliars). One way to strike back, of course, would be for whatever conservative students can be found at Wellesley to start using this approach against every liberal speaker. Either that, or open season on intellectuals. Most of them wouldn’t be missed anyway.

  25. There are no topics that 100% of any group would not be offended by. Can’t even show the slides of your summer vacation, because vacations are too privileged. The value of exercise? Offensive to the lazy or fat. Questions about salt in the diet? How dare you question the medical establishment! A talk on history? Patriarchal. Astronomy? A white man’s game. See how easy it is to play this game even with “academic” subjects? No possibility of having a political speaker. It is taking the “victim” game to its logical conclusion, that all victims must be given all the power all the time, even if their victimhood is ephemeral and imaginary.

  26. Here’s what you do. Book a ‘liberal’ speaker and replace them at the last moment with a 170dB sound system that literally blows their brains out of their heads.

  27. “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” – 1984

  28. There is nothing wrong with saying someone should not be invited.

    Ted Nugent should not be invited either
    Neither should Bill Maher.

    It is quite another to DENY someone the right to speak if they were invited by, say, a college club and the rules allow for outside speakers.

    If the faculty will not re-assert that the purpose of a liberal arts education is to actually teach students Enlightenment liberal principles?including the paramount value of unfettered free speech?the campus free expression wars are truly lost.Good. At least the stupidity of not inviting someone will not be confused with someone being required to invited so that free speech can be said to have been upheld

  29. Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley.

    Actually, the pseudoscience is suggesting that they are not.

    Note that none of the signatories to the letter are scientists, let alone people with any knowledge or experience relevant to human biology.

    (I’m also disappointed that someone with the name of “Soo Hong” is a woman.)

    1. Your second sentence does not support your first.

      So you’ve left me pretty eager to hear support of your first sentence, because it’s a pretty provocative statement.

      1. So you’ve left me pretty eager to hear support of your first sentence, because it’s a pretty provocative statement.

        Yeah, if you’re scientifically illiterate, I suppose it might be “provocative”

        I suggest you do some background reading on sex differences in cognition and intelligence.

        1. I thought I did, but apparently I missed it. Care to point me in the right direction?

          1. There was a pair of books written I think by the same author called ‘the Male Brain’ and ‘The Female Brain’ that were ok. There are plenty of more specific research papers out there though.

            Exposure to testosterone in rodents at a young age corresponds to better spatial reasoning. This has been found repeatedly; unfortunately ethics prevent us from performing similar experiments on humans (e.g., neutering them and exposing them to different sex hormones.

            Generally at a very young age boys start to show better performance on spatial tests and their brains show greater formation of synaptic connections between neurons in regions of the brain associated with spatial reasoning.

            The notion that males, on average, tend to be innately better at spatial and quantitative reasoning is fairly well evidenced. Indeed the bulk of the controversy surrounding the hypothesis is political rather than scientific. Among actual hard scientists the view that males and females are innately equally predisposed to all cognitive tasks is rare.

            1. If you could provide reference to one of those research papers you’re referring to, that would be extremely helpful. This shouldn’t be hard if it’s the consensus in the literature, but I just can’t seem to find any! Any help is much appreciated.

              1. If you could provide reference to one of those research papers you’re referring to, that would be extremely helpful.

                Bullshit. You’re a troll, and you are just going to raise the usual uninformed drivel.

          2. If you “apparently missed it”, you are basically outing yourself as scientifically illiterate and utterly out of touch with politics.

            This has been discussed at length. There are entire books about it.

            You can use Google.

            1. Why is it so difficult for you to provide a single reference to support your contention, if it’s as easy as you are claiming?

              This is troll behavior? I’m simply asking for you to cite your assertion. I’m giving you the opportunity to demonstrate that you are correct, rather than just saying you’re wrong.

              1. I just gave you three references and two Google searches and you still keep complaining. WTF is wrong with you?

                The real question is why people like you are incapable of formulating simple Google searches like “sex differences in intelligence” and “sex differences in cognition”.

              2. And the reason why your behavior is so objectionable is that feminists and social justice activists have no trouble demanding intrusive, discriminatory, and sexist policies, and accusing others of being unscientific while ignoring extremely well-established science.

  30. I just wonder what this attitude would result in if it infected military boot camp.

    1. In some cases it already has. The only chance America has in a ground war is if the enemy dies laughing as our troops mount a massive gay parade across the battlefield. Somewhat like the event in New York city every year. And before all the hate replies come in I believe that anyone has the right to be homosexual or transgenders but in the military there can only be one leader and blind obedience by the troops or you have lost before you start.

  31. Is Wellesley an institution of higher learning and part of an open society, or a monastery/convent that should be walled off from that society for all time?

  32. Huh, I never knew any of that stuff. To Wikipedia!

  33. It would seems that many students are against freedom of speech, so why is it that they hide behind that very same freedom while the protesting others rights to the same freedom. I used to be against abortion, but now I think maybe it has been under utilized.

    1. Good one. May I use this: I used to be against abortion, but now I think maybe it has been under utilized.

  34. Words of wisdom from my high school English teacher (circa 1967) that I remember to this day. “The purpose of high school is to teach you how to learn. College is to teach you how to think.” At Wellesley it appears to be “The purpose of college is to teach you how to think (so long as we approve).”

    1. “The purpose of college is to teach you how to think (so long as we approve).”

      Yes. Or …”how to think what we think.”

  35. Re: “This is not a matter of ideological bias. Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley.”

    Amazing. The professors’ own ideological bias compelled them not to offend women by adding: “…or that women are more naturally equipped to excel in nurturing children, etc.”

    All we can say about STEM fields is that more men than women pursue them. The only thing we can say about women and children is that more women spend more time with children. Both occur for the same reasons.

    On the sexes:

    “A Comprehensive Look at Gender Equality: Taking On The Institute For Women’s Policy Research” http://www.malemattersusa.wordpress.c…..-research/

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  37. Freedom Of Speech is not a right it is a privilege permitted by authorities. Educators and the media have the power – self appointed – to permit or not permit freedom. I’ve never read Mein Kampf, any similarities?

  38. Quote from article, above: “Before we move on to the recommendations, consider what these professors are doing: they are ceding total power to students who claim to be victimized by opinions they don’t like. In their view, it is inappropriate for members of campus to invite a speaker whose views are not accepted by 100% of the student body.”

    That isn’t quite how things are. Not even a politically correct speaker will have views accepted by 100% of the student body. The situation is one of ideological factionalism, with one faction being dominant over its rivals. The leftists are in control. They try to conceal their control behind lofty goals and pretty words.

    Whether or not a minority’s sensibilities are worthy of consideration depends on whether that particular minority is favored or scorned by the leftists. Some minorities get tender consideration and new rules are made to protect them by restricting others. Other minorities are pariahs, getting only contempt and a-priori restrictions.

    You might have noticed that the way in which sexism is defined is sexist, and that the way in which racism is defined is racist. But those are the definitions that prevail when leftists are in control. And, on the university campuses, they are.

  39. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.

    We had Louis Fucking Farakhan speak when I was in college. The guy believes white people were created in a lab by evil black scientists to make lives miserable for black people.

    Everybody survived, and despite a peaceful protest outside the venue and some vigorous debate in the editorial pages of the school newspaper, by the time basketball season started everyone had moved on.

  40. Easily understood. The students are determined to install Mommy (nurture) replacing Daddy (responsibility).

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