PSU Professor Resigns, Says ‘Woke Ideology,’ Cancel Culture Deprive Students of Thinking Abilities

CC BY 2.0 / Parker Michael Knight / Portland State University
Portland State University - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.09.2021
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During his years-long work at Portland State University, Peter Boghossian considered the dispute a tool of critical thought. According to him, a diversity of views can help young minds “hunt and furrow for their own conclusions.”
Professor Peter Boghossian resigned after the university did not accept what was described as his attempts to teach students to think critically. In a letter released on Wednesday, Boghossian said that “the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible” and “students refuse to engage with different points of view.”
The teacher suggested that that the university had “transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.”
The professor soon realized the systemic nature of “values that sound wonderful, like diversity, equity, and inclusion, but might actually be just the opposite.” Boghossian wrote that those who want to question the “new culture,” and are determined to hear “evidence to justify new institutional policies, were accused of microaggressions.”
“The more I read the primary source material produced by critical theorists, the more I suspected that their conclusions reflected the postulates of an ideology, not insights based on evidence,” he stressed.
According to the professor, he was retaliated against for “challenging approved narratives” after a former student initiated a Title IX investigation. The professor claimed his students were asked by investigators “if they knew anything about him beating his wife and children.”
The probe later proved the accusations were baseless, but “this horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.”
“I eventually became convinced that corrupted bodies of scholarship were responsible for justifying radical departures from the traditional role of liberal arts schools and basic civility on campus,” Boghossian noted.
To draw attention to the problem of ideological “illiberalism” and “to demonstrate that morally fashionable papers — no matter how absurd — could be published,” he wrote absurdist articles on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” and rape among dogs.
Both were approved by editorial boards, and after the professor revealed they were a “hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems,” he was blasted for what was called an “experiment on human subjects.” Soon after, Boghossian saw swastikas drawn on two bathrooms near the philosophy department and his office door, “in one instance accompanied by bags of feces.”
The offensive atmosphere, according to Boghossian, continued, as some have “triggered the fire alarm” and “pulled out the speaker” during some of his speeches. Insults and threats have followed in recent years and “no one was punished or disciplined,” the professor said.
“Every idea that has advanced human freedom has always, and without fail, been initially condemned. As individuals, we often seem incapable of remembering this lesson, but that is exactly what our institutions are for: to remind us that the freedom to question is our fundamental right,” Boghossian wrote.
Boghossian stated that the university has failed students and the public and is not a place “for people who intend to think freely and explore ideas.”
Boghossian's case is not the first in which teachers and professors come under pressure for what is described by some as "non-woke" opinions. Numerous resignations amid a refusal to support critical race theory and other so-called woke ideas are surrounded by fierce dispute.
Earlier, North Korean escapee Yeonmi Park, who graduated from Columbia University, noted that “anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness” in American Ivy League universities made her think that even her motherland “is not this nuts.”
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