Charging students are being trained to “mimic ideologues” rather than being taught to think for themselves, a professor at Portland State University has resigned.
In a letter to the dean, Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosphy, said the institution is not fufilling its liberal arts mission and instead had become a “social justice factory” that promotes “intolerance of divergent beliefs,” DailyMail.com reported.
Boghossian’s letter was published Wednesday by Bari Weiss, a former New York Times editor who famously quit for reasons similar to the professor’s.
“Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues,” he wrote.
My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit.
— Peter Boghossian (@peterboghossian) September 8, 2021
Boghossian noted he has invited “a wide range of guest lecturers to address my classes, from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates.”
He explained that he invited those speakers “not because I agreed with their worldviews, but primarily because I didn’t.”
“From those messy and difficult conversations, I’ve seen the best of what our students can achieve: questioning beliefs while respecting believers; staying even-tempered in challenging circumstances; and even changing their minds,” the professor said.
He said he has never believed that “the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion.”
“Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions,” he said. “This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.”
‘A welcoming home for free speech and academic freedom’
Boghossian is known for joining with two colleagues in the production of hoax papers on subjects such as “canine rape culture” to prove academic journals would print anything that aligns with their left-wing worldview.
In response to his challenges, he was harassed on campus, with his name scrawled on bathroom walls next to swastikas. A flyer circulated around campus, he said, depicting him with a Pinocchio nose. He was spit on and colleagues, he said, told students not to take his class.
A Portland State spokesman told DailyMail.com he would have no comment on Boghossian’s resignation because of the policy of not commenting on personnel matters.
But he said the university “has always been and will continue to be a welcoming home for free speech and academic freedom.”
“We believe that those practices are not in conflict with our core institutional values of student success; racial justice and equity; and proactive engagement with our community,”
In his letter, Boghossian said “professors were accused of bigotry for assigning canonical texts written by philosophers who happened to have been European and male.”
He said faculty and administrators “have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions.”
“This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.”
The university took no action, he said, when a tenured professor in March 2018 interrupted his discussion with author Christina Hoff Sommers and evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying.
Weinstein and Heying, who are married, resigned from Evergreen State College in Washington state after Weinstein’s criticism of a whites-only day on campus triggered a revolt in which activists seized control of the college.
Boghossian also recalled an investigation of him by university officials in 2017 prompted by a sex-discrimination complaint from a man. The professor said he was informed by students interviewed in the probe that they were asked if he had ever beat his wife or children. The investigation ultimately found that his accuser’s claims were unsubstantiated.
DailyMail.com noted Boghossian is not alone, with his resignation coming amid a recent slew of moves across the nation for similar reasons.
Virginia teacher Laura Morris announced her resignation in a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board, telling members “equity trainings” and political dogma forced her to quit.
The complaints of parents at $50,000-a-year Dalton in New York City led eventually to the resignation of the private school’s head, Jim Best.
“Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity, ‘racist cop’ reenactments in science, ‘de-centering whiteness’ in art class, learning about white supremacy and sexuality in health class,” the parents wrote in a letter in April.
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