Phi Beta Cons

Thought Crimes at Davidson College

On the heels of a scandal involving a faculty member’s ad hominem attack on a conservative student at the end of last year, ultra-PC Davidson College is now pushing the envelope of limiting free speech through “inclusiveness.” In August, the vice president for academic affairs sent around a letter to department and program chairs encouraging them to “advance two important College-wide objectives” related to “building an inclusive community.”

The first is to include a “trained equity advisor” in faculty search committees. That’s bad enough, likely to ensure that professors holding non-establishment views will never get hired.

But the second will choke off dissenting speech altogether.  The VP complained that “there are circumstances and incidents where students can be offended, sometimes by faculty comment or other times by perceived attitude of those in the classroom.” According to the VP, in a survey called the “Peer Review of the Students of Color” conducted last spring, “several students commented to the review team about inappropriate comments made in the classroom, either by the professor or by student comments that went unchecked.”

The VP went on to say that he intends to “discuss this issue and to consider ways that we might increase the vigilance” — ostensibly toward such egregious offenses as “perceived attitudes.”

If “perceived attitudes” are now subject to “vigilance” and, if found to be in error, punishment, how far behind are the thought police?


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