St. Philip’s College, the poster child of academic
blacklisting and censorship
They’re coming for you next: Today’s blacklist story is a follow-up on a July 2023 essay about the oppressive atmosphere at St. Philip’s College in Texas, where two different professors were fired in 2023 for political reasons.
First, Dr. Johnson Varkey, was fired because in teaching human anatomy he had the audacity to mention that sex is determined by the X and Y chromosomes, a very basic fact of biology that any medical student has to know to become a competent doctor. Four students walked out on him for saying so, and when they complained to the administration it fired him without due process. He is presently suing the college.
Then, college officials fired professor Will Moravits because he insisted on allowing free and open debate in his classroom and one anonymous student complained, and while doing so made false accusations against Moravits. The school felt so threatened by the idea of freedom of speech that it had Moravits escorted off campus by police, never to return.
Moravits has now won a $185K settlement with St. Philip’s College.
A political science professor and former police officer effectively fired by St. Philip’s College earlier this year after allowing debate on topics such as gender ideology and police brutality has received a $185,000 settlement.
The college’s agreement with Will Moravits also included a neutral job recommendation, and in turn he agreed to not work for any Alamo Colleges District schools in the future, he said. The San Antonio-based St. Philip’s is one of five in the community college district.
At first glance this deal seems to be a defeat for Morovits, since he didn’t get his job back and the school appears to have gotten off lightly. In reality, for Morovits it is a win, since he continues to teach at nearby Texas State University, where “things are going well for him there and his peers treat him with respect.” He has no reason to go back to a university run no different than the Soviet Union. He is quite rightly taking the money and running.
For St. Philip’s however this settlement is a win, but a Pyrrhic victory. It allows the university to get away with its blacklisting and slander of Morovits, while allowing it to continue teaching its students as badly as before. No reforms have been instituted, and it appears the school’s administration is still good with the idea of using unsubstantiated accusations by anonymous students as a basis for disciplining and firing professors. Under that framework St. Philip’s is nothing more than its own mini-Soviet Union. At any moment a single student can get a professor removed. All the student has to do is make up some offense by that professor to the modern Diversity-Equity-Inclusion mantra, and poof! that professor is gone.
As I noted in July, St. Philip’s is a public community college with extensive funding from federal and state sources. Though one Texas senator (Ted Cruz) and four Texas representatives (Chip Roy, Michael Cloud, Lance Gooden, and Dan Crenshaw), all Republicans in Congress, have written a letter [pdf] condemning the college for its treatment of Dr. Varkey and demanding a response from it by mid-January or it might find it threatened with a loss of federal funds, the Texas state legislature did nothing this year to address this college’s illegal behavior.
Meanwhile, the local supermarket chain H-E-B endorsed St. Philip’s authoritarian ways by giving it a million dollar donation on December 19, 2023. This donation makes sense, because H-E-B is proud of its diversity and inclusion program, including giving favoritism to some minorities in awarding supply contracts.
Great work H-E-B., doing its all to make America either the next Soviet Union or a reborn South Africa!