No first amendment allowed at Berea College!
Persecution is now cool! The administration at Berea College, a Christian university in Kentucky, fired tenured professor Dave Porter because one student complained about a research survey he was conducting.
Porter’s offense was to have done a survey of attitudes on campus. One student claimed that the survey was a retaliation against her for having filed a Title IX complaint. Writes Porter, “The campus was quickly polarized, and the administration saw a crisis looming. Apparently, the dean had received information from a former student that current students were fearful of attending my classes. There was no investigation and suggestions of mediation or compromise were squelched by the dean’s claim that I was ‘unrepentant and unapologetic.’” [emphasis mine]
More details in this essay Porter himself wrote:
Even before this evidence was collected, several faculty members expressed their fears to the dean that I would come to their homes and “get in their face.” On that basis, he concluded I was “dangerous.” I was banished from campus and prohibited from communicating with students.
After a 10-week suspension based on fears expressed by unidentified grievants and unrelenting defamatory attacks on social media, my professional competence was questioned under the Faculty Manual’s Professional Competence and Dismissal for Cause section. Specifically, a faculty panel agreed with the dean that my “personal conduct” had interfered with my “professional responsibilities,” and this was sufficient cause to terminate my tenure and dismiss me.
Porter also noted he offered a three page apology, which was rejected out of hand because of the dean’s claim he was “unrepentant and unapologetic.”
The survey, which is described in this video [which you can run at 1:75 speed because Porter is such a slow speaker], was designed to document the conflict between freedom of speech and the modern academic effort to protect students from all language that offends them. Apparently these protections as proposed initially had claimed they would enhance academic freedom because students would be less fearful.
The survey found the opposite, that the more students and teachers ascribed to the belief that they must be protected from offensive speech, the more they abandoned the first amendment and the consept of freedom of speech.
Ironically, Porter immediately discovered how true his survey was, in the worst possible way. A single student complaint was immediately accepted without due process and used as a justification for stoning him off the campus, by students, teachers, and the administration. How dare he ask some pointed questions about the leftist orthodoxy that runs American campuses.
Porter is suing of course. His essay at the link above documents the numerous ways the college broke its contract with him by not following its own policies in terminating him. Thus, I suspect his chances of winning in court are high. Unfortunately, I doubt he will return to the campus. They will settle, paying him off so he goes away, thereby allowing them to maintain their close-minded bubble of intolerance to other viewpoints.
This story once again illustrates that the source of today’s blacklisting culture in academia comes not from a handful of evil petty dictators at the top, but from the overall larger community of students and teachers. The only way to truly defeat these storm troopers will to bankrupt them, to shut such corrupt institutions down. As long as they have their jobs and their college as a base of operations, their effort to silence dissent will go on, and will do so quite effectively.
Parents and high school students must stop attending such places. The students will not be well educated, and if anything they will be taught badly, to hate and fear and to promote intolerance. Better to go and get a job right after high school, as you will probably get a better education that will serve you better in life, and you will no longer be financing the oppressive blacklisting power culture that is destroying freedom and liberty in America.
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