The State of the Modern American University

Lawrence Krause and Joshua Hochschild:

In May 2017 Bret Weinstein and his wife were forced to resign from Evergreen State College following an outcry over his refusal to cancel his class for a day and stay off campus to show solidarity with minority students protests.

In November 2015 a mob of students at Yale University accused college master Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika of racism following her email suggesting that Yale did not need to oversee Halloween costumes. Subsequently the University conferred graduation prizes on two of the mob members for their “service of race and ethnic relations,” and for their “anti-racist” work.

This September students at Skidmore College demanded that an art professor be fired because he and his wife went to watch a rally supporting police. The administration responded by investigating possible bias in his classes. The same month USC replaced a professor of business communication with another instructor after complaints that he explained to the class that in China, a common pause word (like “um” in English) is “that that that,” or “ne ga ne ga ne ga.”

Following the death of George Floyd, calls to “shut down STEM” in academia to fight “systemic racism” were echoed by university leaders. During one strike at Michigan State University, a group initiated a protest campaign against the VP for research, whose “crimes” consisted of doing research on computational genomics to study how human genetics might be related to cognitive ability, and supporting the research of MSU psychologists on the statistics of police shootings that didn’t provide direct support of claims of racial bias. Within a week, the university president forced the VP to resign.

In response to the protests following Floyd’s death, 100 Princeton faculty proposed the creation of a faculty policing committee to “oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty,” with “racism” to be defined by another faculty committee, and requiring every department, including math, physics, astronomy, and other sciences, to establish a senior thesis prize for research that somehow “is actively anti-racist.”