In a heartening display of academic administrative backbone, the president of the University of Arts in Philadelphia, held firm against a band of hard-left, wacky progressive malcontents. This lunatic fringe insisted that Camille Paglia, a long-time professor, be fired or prevented from teaching or speaking. Paglia, is a well known and outspoken critic of the worst aspects of political correctness and the authoritarian impulses of progressivism.
Her anti-progressive views were too much for some demented snowflakes, who started a petition for her dismissal for attacking the tender sensibilities of students whose feelings were hurt while listening to Paglia’s lectures. Activists started a petition which demanded that Paglia be “red. “Camille Paglia has been teaching at UArts for many years, and has only become more controversial over time,” the petition states. It further contends,
“In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals.”
For this small coterie of dunderheads, that is too much to bear. It violates the cardinal tenet of multiculturalism, namely, if one person in the entire university finds such opposing views “hurtful,” that is sufficient reason to suppress the offending party who engaged in”hate speech” and stifle free speech on campus — regardless of whether some other students may want to hear Paglia’s “offensive” lectures.
The petition demanded that Paglia be fired and replace by a “queer person of color.” That request is the equivalent of hitting a double in the identiy politics ball game.
In what should be a standard response at every college nationwide, University president David Yager, informed the uninformed, ill-tempered and entitled student protesters that encouraging, nay defending, diversity of thought and opinion is the business of higher education institutions,
“Across our nation it is all too common that opinions expressed
that di#er from another’s—especially those that are controversial can
spark passion and even outrage, o!en resulting in calls to suppress that
that simply cannot be allowed to happen.”
Yager refers to the long tradition in the country of defending those whose views we may find repugnant,
“The University of the Arts is committed to the exercise of free speech and academic freedom, to addressing di%cult or controversial issues
and ideas through civil discussion, with respect for those who hold
opinions di#erent from our own. Supreme Court Justice Louis
Brandeis’ 1927 advice still holds true today: that the remedy for
messages we disagree with or dislike is more speech and not enforced silence.”
In his remarks, Yager goes on to defend the importance of fostering an environment where diversity of thought and a free and spirited exchange of ideas and opinion in the marketplace of ideas.
Unfortunately, Yager’s view of the mission of a college or university is a minority opinion amongst the majority of the diversity and inclusion college administrators across the country. However, it is a refreshing smack down of progressives attempt to suppress the free speech rights of others.