The lack of backbone in American higher ed leaders is astounding. They’re so afraid of getting on the wrong side of the aggressive leftists on campus that they won’t defend good faculty members who come under attack for having offended some Social Justice Warrior.
In today’s Martin Center article, Giovanni Gravano of FIRE writes about a case at Central Michigan University (CMU). A journalism professor, Timothy Boudreau, quoting from court documents, spoke the “n-word.” That was enough to cause a student to file a complaint against him.
How did the CMU administration react? By telling the student to behave like an adult rather than a whiney child? Of course not.
Writes Gravano, “Following class that day on June 22, 2020, a nine-minute video was posted by one of his students, labeling Boudreau ‘racist’ and criticizing his choice to quote the slur in the classroom. As is often the case on social media, a single post criticizing a professor’s speech or course content quickly became an amplified movement to have him punished or fired.”
After the dust had settled, Boudreau was forced into retirement, accepting a small settlement from the school. Remaining faculty at CMU will no doubt have learned to avoid even quoting the forbidden word, but also to worry about anything else that might “trigger” some student with a grudge.
Gravano concludes, “And as universities continue to fail to protect faculty speech, students suffer as good professors decline to return to classrooms. For students to miss out on the opportunity to learn how to properly deal with differences or study the breadth of their respective subject matter is a failure of educational institutions.”