Free Speech

Iowa State English Professor Forbids Papers "Against Gay Marriage, Abortion, Black Lives Matter,"

threatens to kick students out of class for "othering." Fortunately, the university has stepped in and rejected this position.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Here is the syllabus (drawn from the Young America's Foundation story):

The key passage:

GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn't deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.

Fortunately, Iowa State University takes student academic freedom seriously, too, at least to the point of issuing this statement (which I've confirmed with the University itself):

The syllabus statement as written was inconsistent with the university's standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students. After reviewing this issue with the faculty member, the syllabus has been corrected to ensure it is consistent with university policy. Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university.

Iowa State is firmly committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of its students, faculty, and staff. With respect to student expression in the classroom, including the completion of assignments, the university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Supreme Court's Refusal to Reinvigorate the Contract Clause

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Another victory in the Reverend”s culture war against freedom and liberty.

    1. It sounds like this professor’s conduct is just as objectionable as the standard policies (strident censorship, rejection of academic freedom) enforced at conservative-controlled campuses.

      1. Name one PUBLIC (state funded) conservative-controlled campus.

        1. Why? Are censorship, ignorance, the teaching of nonsense, suppression of science, rejection of academic freedom, and the like unimportant or unobjectionable if associated with a private institution?

          1. You really don’t know the difference, do you?

            1. I understand the legal distinction.

              I also understand that the described conduct would be equally objectionable on public and nonpublic campuses.

              (Perhaps not in the eyes of partisan, bigoted (or bigotry-appeasing) right-wingers — who sacrifice integrity and decency to defend bigotry and censorship when practiced by their fellow clingers — but I am interested mostly in the judgment of modern, reasoning, decent, educated people.)

              1. You really don’t know….

        2. “Name one PUBLIC (state funded) conservative-controlled campus.”

          Oregon State University, circa 1984.

    2. I never realized how fortunate I was to have done my schooling in the ’60s and ’70s. So much so that no topics were ever off limits in my college level English or Composition courses and we were encouraged to think outside of the box. Any topic you chose, you could take the protagonist or antagonistic point of view. And I followed primary education of all three of our kids. The language of the Bill of Rights morphed over their times in school – remarkably! Then came Med school. Yep – abortions were taught but NEVER encouraged. They were ONLY to be done if the mother’s health was threatened. Never to be offered for just plain old birth control. There are many ways to practice birth control but, according to my education and religious views, an abortion just ain’t one of ’em!

      1. Indeed: I took Philosophy and Ethics back in the 70’s, and on a lark, spent the whole quarter defending Ethical Egoism. The prof was delighted.

        Could I get away with that today? Maybe not.

        1. It would be irresponsible not to speculate!

        2. I once took a terrorism course where part of the curriculum was planning both terrorism and counter-terrorism campaigns. I haven’t check if they are still offering that course.

          1. The course is not in their catalog. They have a related course which includes responses to terrorism.

      2. If there is anything southern schools were known for in the ’60s, it was the open-mindedness and modernity.

        Some thinking just can’t die off fast enough.

      3. ” no topics were ever off limits in my college level English or Composition courses and we were encouraged to think outside of the box. Any topic you chose, you could take the protagonist or antagonistic point of view.”

        Means the prof was new, and hadn’t already had to slog through 2 or 3 papers per term with the same logical errors in them.

  2. What in the world is “sorophobia”. Google can’t seem to find a definition of it. I see it used in a small handful of academic papers, but I have little interest in wading through the likely impenetrable jargon to try to find a definition.

    1. I wonder if it’s a typo and he meant serophobia?

      Discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS
      Discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS or serophobia is the prejudice, fear, rejection, and stigmatization of people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Marginalized, at-risk groups such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, intravenous drug users, and sex workers are most vulnerable to facing HIV/AIDS discrimination. The consequences of societal stigma against PLHIV are quite severe, as HIV/AIDS discrimination actively hinders access to HIV/AIDS screening and care around the world. Moreover, these negative stigmas become used against members of the LGBTQ+ community in the form of stereotypes held by physicians.Wikipedia

      1. Based on the roots, ‘fear of sisters’ still doesn’t make much sense.

        Serophobia would make a lot more sense.

        1. Remember that “phobia” in SJWspeak doesn’t mean fear. Homophobia, transphobia, sorophobia.

          1. Isn’t that what the “phobia” part is supposed to connote?

            1. Yes, but in practice such terms often refer to dislike of a group or an ideology rather than fear. “Islamophobia” for example is frequently used to denote dislike of Islam rather than fear of Islam. Similarly, “transphobia” denotes dislike of transsexuality, or disagreement with certain doctrines concerning transsexuality, not fear of transsexuals or transsexuality.

              1. I think a lot of prejudices are fear based, even though they include other things as well. The origins of racism was distrust of people not from your tribe, at a time when people lived in tight, cohesive tribal units and it made good sense not to trust outsiders. And I think there is a certain amount of fear about what Islam, or Christianity, would do with political power if they ever got it, and given history those fears aren’t irrational.

                1. ” I think there is a certain amount of fear about what Islam, or Christianity, would do with political power if they ever got it”

                  Christianity can’t get political power, because Jesus said so. So those “Christians” who are seeking political power aren’t Christians, in the sense that they aren’t following Jesus.

        2. Especially since the root (which is “soror”, not “soro”) is Latin. Fear of sisters should be something like adelphephobia.

          1. True, but it is no uncommon for Greek and Latin roots to be mixed in neo-classical formations in English.

        3. “Based on the roots, ‘fear of sisters’ still doesn’t make much sense.”

          But fear of the sisterhood sure does.

    2. “What in the world is “sorophobia”.”

      Who cares? Just acknowledge your sorophobia and try to do better.

      1. Okay, that’s pretty good. I feel like this is an under-appreciated comment.

    3. It’s was coined by Helena Michie in the 1990s and she wrote a book with that title.
      It’s basically about how feminism and sisterhood can negate the differences in women around the World. That there is no one womanhood.

    4. I am reminded of one of Dawkins’ more outrageous statements, where he questioned if theology could properly be described as an area of knowledge at all, given magic and gods don’t actually exist.

    5. Sorophobia is dislike of George Soros.

      1. Darn. Now when I have my next annual checkup, I’ll have to list sorophobia in the “current conditions” list.

      2. “Sorophobia is dislike of George Soros.”

        If phobia meant “dislike of”, which it does not.

        1. ***Joke***

          James Pollock’s head.

          1. There was no joke there.

            Jokes are funny.

            1. “David Nieporent
              August.18.2020 at 8:34 pm

              Remember that “phobia” in SJWspeak doesn’t mean fear. Homophobia, transphobia, sorophobia.”

              Just because you’re too dumb to understand a joke, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

              1. Just because it isn’t there, doesn’t mean you aren’t too stupid to insist that it is.

  3. She’ll just quietly drop down the grades for the wrong opinions rather than banning them openly.

    1. Crafty professors know not to announce their intention to punish wrongthink.

      “You got a C because, uh, your writing style is too, um, casual. My rubric says writing must be scholarly and professional, as judged by me. Also you were supposed to choose a significant work of American fiction to analyze, and you chose The Wapshot Chronicle.”

    2. Of course. I recall a loud/proud lefty law school professor on day one of a 1L perspective course who described his view that conservative arguments would require a higher degree of persuasion to overcome the biases of liberal faculty members. This is human to a degree, but I was struck by his lack of shame, as if he had no obligation or desire as an intellectually honest academic to recognize objective merits of arguments across the spectrum of political philosophies.

      1. Conservative arguments based on superstition, bigotry, and the like deserve to be treated with less respect in the reality-based, reasoning world.

        Competent people neither accept nor advance supernaturally based arguments or assertions in reasoned debate among adults.

        Clingers tend to disagree with that point. It is part of the reason they seem generally incapable of operating strong schools.

        1. “Conservative arguments based on superstition, bigotry, and the like deserve to be treated with less respect in the reality-based, reasoning world.”

          Meanwhile in bizarro world, lefty math teachers are on the wrong side of a debate over whether two plus two equals four.

          1. I believe 2 + 2 = 4 is a reliable statement, although I am not expert in mathematics.

            If you are asserting that a few liberals are mixed in among the conservatives who dominate the reality-rejecting, ignorant, downscale element of our population, I agree with that assertion.

            1. It seems like more than just a few, Arthur. Your side is in the process of rejecting reality as a Western construct that marginalizes other ways of knowing.

              1. Your unsourced mockery is truly cutting to the heart of liberalism.

                Are you arguing group theory is Marxist?

                1. I’m arguing that 2+2=4, as any sensible person does. I sourced my mockery in the thread above.

                  1. Math PhD’s saying that there’s more to math than the standard numberline is not really some indicia of leftism.

                    Reading down to the math section, she keeps abstracting the quantities from the symbols, which is putting words into people’s mouth that I’m not sure makes sense.

                    The worst I see is some folks using math to springboard into sociology, in classes about ethnic studies, so there’s not even a bait and switch there.

                    Nothing, of course, about teaching anyone 2+2 = 5.

                    This is, as expected, the usual right’s attempt to turn molehills into mountains.

                    1. If you follow the discussion on twitter, they’re basically arguing that there are no universal truths because you can redefine the axioms to make the statement say something else, which is of course nuts. Kind of like how the left likes to argue that black people can’t be racist by redefining racism.

                    2. I don’t doubt that there’s some silly people on the left on twitter.

                      But math without context is indeed hard to pin down.
                      For instance, it is absolutely true that you can always redefine axioms. That’s the whole point of recognizing axioms – they make sure you state your assumptions.

                      But a moment of consideration reveals that the utility of axioms is not the issue. Actually, this is a dumb performative Internet argument with the usual academic confusion of framing for content.
                      Should we acknowledge in mathematics that the whole is sometimes greater than the sum of it’s parts? It depends. More importantly: who cares.

                      Yeah, there are some silly folks on the left involved – and on the right. You should recognize this is more about the Internet than about politics and not throw in with either silly side.

                      By getting down in the mud with them, you sound like the folks invoking what they learned in middle school biology to prove there’s only 2 genders.

                    3. “But math without context is indeed hard to pin down.
                      For instance, it is absolutely true that you can always redefine axioms. That’s the whole point of recognizing axioms – they make sure you state your assumptions.”

                      Sure, the Greeks built up a whole system of geometry using only Euclid’s 5 axioms, and the notion of building a geometry with different axioms seemed ludicrous… of course parallel lines never cross. Then some smart-ass modern mathematician comes along and builds a functional, self-consistent geometry by discarding one of Euclid’s 5 axioms and replacing it with his own, and it turned out that he was describing the geometry of the inside of a sphere. All of a sudden, non-Euclidean geometry was a thing that serious mathematicians were allowed to play with. Boole messed with algebra and got some interesting results, too.

                    4. “If you follow the discussion on twitter, they’re basically arguing that there are no universal truths because you can redefine the axioms to make the statement say something else, which is of course nuts.”

                      It’s not nuts, it’s how things are. It may be over your head, though.
                      Consider:
                      there are 10 types of people in the world: Those who can do binary math and those who can’t.

            2. “I believe 2 + 2 = 4 is a reliable statement, although I am not expert in mathematics.”

              Wow, those strong liberal schools are really something.

              1. “Wow, those strong liberal schools are really something.”

                Turns out that some mathematical systems don’t produce 2+2=4.

                Consider that 10+10=100 is true (for some numbering systems) and false (for some numbering systems) and nonsensical (for some numbering systems).
                You didn’t get that in grade school math class. But some of those really good schools do get to this sort of thing by graduate school.

                1. “Turns out that some mathematical systems don’t produce 2+2=4.”

                  Sigh. All mathematical systems produce 2+2=4, although they might represent that in different ways.

                  1. No, they don’t. Except in elementary school.

                    1. 10 is the binary representation of 2. 100 is the binary representation of 4. 10+10=100 is therefore true in binary, and is exactly equivalent to 2+2=4.

                      Most of the world has agreed upon base 10 (see SI units) since before “white people” were in any sort of supposed position of systemic power. In fact, 2+2=4 in every number system capable of counting, and only appears different in unary, binary, and ternary.

                    2. “and only appears different in unary, binary, and ternary.”

                      Ignoring language differences, which may represent the arabic numerals with different symbols or words.

                    3. “10 is the binary representation of 2. 100 is the binary representation of 4. 10+10=100 is therefore true in binary, and is exactly equivalent to 2+2=4.”

                      No shit, really?

                  2. “Sigh. All mathematical systems produce 2+2=4”

                    Here’s one that doesn’t.
                    It works just like the one you learned about in grade school, except that “+” is the symbol for “divided by”.
                    Under this mathematical system, 2+2 = 1, not 4.

      2. “Of course. I recall a loud/proud lefty law school professor on day one of a 1L perspective course who described his view that conservative arguments would require a higher degree of persuasion to overcome the biases of liberal faculty members. This is human to a degree, but I was struck by his lack of shame, as if he had no obligation or desire as an intellectually honest academic to recognize objective merits of arguments across the spectrum of political philosophies.”

        The thing is, “clever” students always think they’re the first to think of arguments that are “fresh” and “creative”, but turn out to actually be just stupid and based on logical fallacies. If you had to keep reading them, you’d get tired of it, too.

        1. Let me offer an example.
          Say, the 2A says that the right to keep and bear arms can’t be infringed, but it doesn’t say that you can have ammunition!
          You read a couple of papers by people who think that this argument is new or fresh, and see if you don’t find yourself tearing up the next paper that presents this “new”, “fresh” argument.

          1. It seems to me that if someone presents a paper based on a logical fallacy, their grade could reflect that without having anything to do with their political leaning or whether the content of their paper is “wrong” or not. What does this have to do with a student’s viewpoint?

            1. “What does this have to do with a student’s viewpoint?”

              Nothing whatsoever. (which was my point)

              1. Your point was muddled by your conflating conservative arguments with logical fallacies. Why else would a liberal professor require a “higher degree of persuasion” of conservative arguments? Certainly not because they disagree with the viewpoint, right?

                1. It absolutely couldn’t possibly be because conservative arguments are usually lazy, and taken verbatim from AM radio broadcasts.

    3. Exactly, but remember, most of us as students (at least at top universities) were smarter than our professors, so we knew that. (Professors are generally people who couldn’t handle real jobs.) Just spew back the professor whatever he wants to hear, collect your “A,” and head off to high-paying real job.

      1. “(Professors are generally people who couldn’t handle real jobs.)”

        Prof. Volokh generally prefers right-wing readers and conservative viewpoints, but he might consider an exception now and then . . .

  4. Is the professor being ordered to attend diversity and sensitivity training?

    1. No. He is being ordered to obfuscate in the future.

      1. She. And she looks exactly as expected.

  5. “…Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university….”

    Maybe first explain what the First Amendment is? Wait; I’m skipping a step. Maybe first explain what a constitution is, then explain that ours has a First Amendment, and *then* explain the protections offered by our First Amendment?

    This is such an obvious violation, my first instinct was to assume that someone was trolling the poor professor. At schools and universities, are teachers given cart blanche on their syllabi? No oversight at all by their departments? That would surprise me. (Although the irony of teachers having the First Amendment right to put anything they want into a syllabus while denying students those same rights in required class papers is pretty off-putting.)

    1. In one of my classes I found a stray syllabus from the previous English class..English not History or some weird upper div English class and the instructor basically used half of it to rant about how great Trotskyism is so this sort of thing isn’t all that unusual from what I’ve seen.

      1. “She’ll just quietly drop down the grades for the wrong opinions rather than banning them openly.”

        No, she’ll flunk them outright.It isn’t/

        1. I don’t know where that came from — I meant to write that “it isn’t uncommon.”

    2. “This is such an obvious violation”

      It would be, if the First Amendment had a prohibition on hurting the tender feelings of right-wing students. Which it does not.

  6. And the university is going to assign someone else to double check the grades this professor has been handing out the last couple years as well, right? He announced his inability to be unbiased and grade on quality, so it would seem the least they could do is make sure his students are being treated unfairly in their grades.

    1. ” it would seem the least they could do is make sure his students are being treated unfairly in their grades.”

      That sounds like an ideal outcome.

  7. Universities can’t function without group think. I assume the Prof is in possession of a Doctorate. Credentialed not accomplished.
    Some commenters here always defer to the credentialed.

    1. And many commenters here disdain the educated, the credentialed, the elite, the experienced, the skilled, the accomplished, the reasoning, and the mainstream.

      1. Well, yeah, if this professor is indicative of what you so revere, then definitely it is worthy of nothing more than disdain.

        Inferring from your posting, your education level is roughly somewhere between middle school and high school dropout.

        Fucking moron.

        1. I labeled the described conduct objectionable and consider it extremely objectionable. It has no legitimate position at a legitimate educational institution.

          Other than that, great comment!

          1. With logic like that, I am confident that no, you are not smarter than a 5th grader.

            1. With your evident ability to analyze rational arguments, I guess it’s a good thing that the Marines dropped the HS graduate requirement for enlistment.

              1. I’m sure Artie is far too old to enlist.

                I will be patiently waiting for Artie, or you, to present a rational argument to analyze. I won’t hold my breath though.

                1. If you hold your breath until you recognize rational arguments, you’re gonna starve your brain of the very oxygen it needs to process rational arguments. But since it has no use for them, no loss.

    2. And people wonder why I use the “Dr.”

      I’m credentialed too. I can call them incompetent.

      1. “And people wonder why I use the ‘Dr.'”

        Wishful thinking was the working assumption. Still is.

  8. I’m looking forward to another piece or tweet by some liberal commentator saying political correctness and speech suppression doesn’t exist.

    1. Wouldn’t how notable this is imply that whatever’s happening, it’s not at this level?

  9. Sorophobia-fear of George Soros.

  10. Sure, but what about Biola?

    1. I guess I called that one.

  11. This is starting to feel like whack-a-mole. Until there are serious consequences for the professor, it will simply reoccur, perhaps in a different guise or different course.

    1. The problem is that there are NO consequences….

  12. I have spent quality time with the Dean of ISU, in several soybean fields. Also challenged her position on Bt corn, (I was right). But I still doubt I hold any sway with how she would handle this Prof.

  13. Correction. The President of ISU. Not Dean

  14. This case is interesting because both sides, the professor and dissident students, can claim that their own freedom of speech applies.

    The outcome seems unsatisfactory to me because the only likely result of Iowa State’s review is that this professor will continue his biased grading policy, but will no longer say so in the syllabus. If I were a student in his class I would rather the syllabus say so expressly so that I can avoid the issue by dropping the class early.

    1. Until someone shoots her.

      This is what places like this are terrified of, and the know how badly some of their faculty are psychologically raping their students.

      That’s why they rely on the Star Chamber BITs and are so willing to lynch anyone to the right of Vladimir Lenin.

      1. Is the Volokh Conspiracy Board of Censors vacationing this August?

      2. “Until someone shoots her.”

        There’s that wishful thinking I referenced yesterday.

    2. ” If I were a student in his class I would rather the syllabus say so expressly so that I can avoid the issue by dropping the class early.”

      Will you be dropping all the classes where you might have to actually learn something? Why are you actually in a state school instead of a private right-wing school? Is it because nobody takes your Freedom Constitution University degree seriously?

  15. The constitution, with the amendments, trumps all laws.
    Yet the surest way to avoid any substantive penalty is to go big, and violate a tenet of the Constitution rather than a law.

    1. I’d go for Drawing & Quartering…

      1. Is this correct? I would have thought “Draw & Quartering.” Not sure why “ing” on both words seems off to me.

        1. It’s definitely drawing and quartering, they’re done sequentially, not as one operation.

          1. Sounds inefficient.

    2. “Yet the surest way to avoid any substantive penalty is to go big, and violate a tenet of the Constitution rather than a law.”

      Or, as in this case, to violate nothing but the tender feelings of a subset of the population.

  16. If he had lived a hundred and fifty years ago, he would have said he wouldn’t accept papers that didn’t acknowledge the equal property rights of slaveholders.

    It’s exactly, exactly the same argument.

  17. Also, they are saying he can’t take disciplinary action. But they aren’t saying he can’t flunk them.

  18. The most disturbing aspect of this incident is that a university faculty member would think it appropriate to impose such a requirement and that it would be possible to get away with it.

    1. They usually do.

  19. “Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university.”

    Whereas he should be provided with a pink slip.

  20. Some universities have a grade challenge process, in which you can challenge a grade given to you on an assignment causing a review of the assignment and for the professor to back up the reasoning for the grade.

    If this is the case at said university, a wary and wily student could readily challenge every single grade given, so long as their paper is written to an acceptable academic standard and have the paltry grades given by the professor to the student as punishment for topics said professor doesn’t like.

    This would not only disgruntle the professor immensely, it would show the school clearly that the professor is punishing students for their ‘speech’ against the policies given for the school and possibly lead to disciplinary action.

    But I have my doubts that such a student would do this on purpose with a quality enough set of papers, let alone the school taking action even if one did.

  21. I have started a petition to have this professor removed from Iowa State University. Please sign!
    http://www.change.org/chloeclark

    1. Cancel culture, right here on the VC!

      1. I’m almost with you on that criticism, except in this case the attitudes expressed do directly impact ability to do the job.

        OTOH, maybe getting a stern talking from administration will actually work (…maybe), so i’m not signing the petition either. Students should be the ones calling for the professors removal if problems continue.

        1. I’m being a bit flippant but the argument on the left is we should not tolerate the intolerant. This is just the same argument with another iteration.

          I’m all for attempts to cancel this guy, actually; this is the marketplace of ideas. I’m not signing the petition, because I agree with you about administrative sanction first. But go ahead with your petition – the fault lies with the risk-averse administrations, not the petitioners.

          However, I wonder if there may be a few here with double standards revealed by this attempt.

          1. We’ll see when the left tries to cancel a professor for saying in the course syllabus “I will give extra points on grades to members of the glorious Aryan race” and then retracting the syllabus after a stern talking to while still keeping his/her job.

            1. An interestingly distinct hypothetical from the case here. Why not just reverse the scenario on the OP?

              1. So, failing people for writing papers that are supportive of “gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc”?

                You think that result would be any different than Eddy’s hypothetical? If you do, I’ve got a great, big, beautiful bridge to sell you. The best bridge.

                1. “You think that result would be any different than Eddy’s hypothetical?”

                  One punishes people for something they choose to do, while the other punishes people for something they are.

                  1. “We’ll see when the left tries to cancel a professor for saying in the course syllabus ‘failing people for writing papers that are supportive of gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc’ and then retracting the syllabus after a stern talking to while still keeping his/her job.”

                    This would be the proper comprehension of my reply to Sarc’s reply to Eddy. I don’t know what you’re on about.

                    1. ” I don’t know what you’re on about.”

                      Keep practicing reading. You’ll get the hang of it!

                    2. “Keep practicing reading. You’ll get the hang of it!”

                      I’m not sure we can say the same for you.

                    3. “I’m not sure we can say the same for you.”

                      Since I don’t have a problem, there’s no need to.

          2. “I’m being a bit flippant but the argument on the left is we should not tolerate the intolerant. This is just the same argument with another iteration.”

            I keep forgetting that being intolerant of people who express the “wrongthink” of “being intolerant” is not actually intolerance. Sarcastr0 says “it’s ok, if we do it, because you’re BAD”. Go right ahead, keep beating those tribal drums.

            1. I laid out my consistent position in the paragraph right below that, Vinni.

              But what about you – are you okay with this, and if so how do you feel about cancelling conservative profs for saying that black students are harder to teach or whatnot?

              1. “I laid out my consistent position in the paragraph right below that, Vinni.”

                If I was replying to that, I would have quoted it. I was just pointing out the absurdity of the bit that I quoted. It’s not “the same argument with another iteration”, it’s the same argument, period. It’s not a double standard to insist that the cancel culture crowd be held to their own standard.

                I basically agree with your second paragraph. First offense, administrative sanction. Investigate whether the professor has a history of grading complaints. Cancel culture is stupid both ways.

                1. ” It’s not a double standard to insist that the cancel culture crowd be held to their own standard.”

                  If you can’t even admit that your guys do it, too, that’s a double standard which is entirely separate.

          3. No double standard.

            I believe cancel culture is antithetical to free speech, the free flow and consideration of opposing viewpoints and ideas, and prevents the offender from learning and growing.

            Nevertheless, I acknowledge cancelling people is presently a feature of our culture, with a disproportionate amount of the attempts to cancel coming from activists, academics and students of the political left and university campuses.

            Accordingly, the best way to teach these people that cancelling is wrong and detrimental is to ensure their supporters and compatriots are also cancelled. Often when you realize that you will be strictly held to your own standards, it has a self-reflective and moderating influence.

            1. “Nevertheless, I acknowledge cancelling people is presently a feature of our culture, with a disproportionate amount of the attempts to cancel coming from activists, academics and students of the political left and university campuses.”

              Sounds like you weren’t paying attention when the canceling was being applied to people you disapproved of. Back in the day, There was an attempt to bury John Lennon for saying the Beatles were really popular. More recently, the Dixie Chicks got in trouble for saying they were unhappy that President Bush Jr. was from Texas.

              Lennon got the message, later singing in “Revolution”: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.”

              1. Indeed, cancelling was very much a phenomenon employed by the right in the 50’s and 60’s, with universities and students a common target.

                Thankfully, people became wiser and it helped generate a great deal of expansive free speech jurisprudence and culture that was the norm until recently.

                I would hope my position would have been the same if I was alive then, but it doesn’t change the fact that cancelling is now a product largely employed by the left. In fact, that cancelling is being used by the left after they were the primary victims within living memory demonstrates how the victimized become the victimizers. History repeats itself. A lot of those liberal free speech student radicals of the 60’s who are now professors seem to forget the law and culture they championed applies to everyone, not just those they agree with.

                With respect to the Dixie Chicks specifically, I don’t believe they represented a cultural cancellation phenomena of that time. It was shocking because it really didn’t happen too often back then. Moreover, the audience of the country music Dixie Chicks was largely conservative and Republican. Insulting a significant number of your fans, and the fans retaliating in turn, isn’t really cancellation so much as standard celebrity and economics that has always existed.

                1. “Thankfully, people became wiser and it helped generate a great deal of expansive free speech jurisprudence and culture that was the norm until recently.”

                  Which is why the Dixie Chicks still tour today under that name. Since, as you suggest, they were never subjected to any sort of “cancelling” of a political nature.

                  1. They toured as The Dixie Chicks until this year, when they dropped Dixie because of the “negative connotations” (and the possibility that they would be cancelled by the very same people who supported their stance against the war and Bush). Nothing at all to do with the backlash they faced in 2003 for their virtue signaling in London.

                    1. That they were too stubborn to abandon their trademarks doesn’ prove that there was no attempt to cancel them. It just proves that they weren’t as effective/successful as the backers had hoped.

            2. “Presently”?

              Did you mean to imply that isn’t the historical standard? Because it is the historical standard. The impermissible views may have changed, but this mythical land of wine and honey where people never face social or financial consequences for their publicly stated views and action has never existed.

              Accordingly, your last paragraph is hilarious.

  22. I recognized all of the professor’s categories of prohibited thought except “sorophobia.” An internet search revealed that it refers to various types of conflicts among women that undermine unity focused on their shared identities as females. In other words, it refers to women insulting or harming other women. Or, in short, “cattiness.” Apparently, there is no word for conflicts among men that undermine their unity focused on their shared identities as men, so I have invented one: Fratophobia. If I knew the professor’s name, I would let her know so that she can include it on her next list of specifically prohibited thought crimes.

  23. “‘The syllabus statement as written was inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students.'”

    there is approximately zero impact on the First Amendment
    rights of students from this syllabus statement. Odd that you didn’t point this out, Professor.

    1. “there is approximately zero impact on the First Amendment rights of students from this syllabus statement. Odd that you didn’t point this out, Professor.”

      Odd that you might actually believe this, James.

      1. “Odd that you might actually believe this, James.”

        Just because it’s true.
        The first amendment lists several rights that Congress is not allowed to infringe. Which are you imagining Congress infringing here?

        1. Odd that the Supreme Court regularly takes to ruling on lots of groups that aren’t Congress when it pertains to infringing on the First Amendment if it only applies to Congress as you seem to think it does, James.

          Literature such as the Federalist Papers and the Constitution Annotated thoroughly evidence that interpretations such as yours are comically ignorant at best.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.