In today’s United States, the slip of a politically incorrect tongue or offending a person or group, even inadvertently, can lead to the alleged offender being publicly attacked, ridiculed, ostracized, humiliated, and tagged with an indelible label that generally ends in “-ist.”
Careers can also be threatened, as self-proclaimed “social justice warriors” not only feel justified in launching vicious attacks against those who don’t strictly abide by their views, but see it as a moral obligation, at least according to some liberal college professors who have recently published articles professing fears of their largely liberal — and powerful — students, reports Rare.
One of these liberal college professors, in an essay published on Vox, writes under the pseudonym Edward Schlosser, for fear of his real identity being exposed and his career destroyed by his students — the liberal ones in particular — for expressing his views.
“I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones,” writes the unidentified Edward Schlosser.
Self-identifying as a “liberal professor,” Schlosser says he has taught at a midsize state school for nine years, is a very dedicated teacher, and receives consistently positive feedback on his student evaluations.
And Schlosser admits he’d like to keep it that way, that despite being liberal himself, he teaches in fear of his liberal students. A progressive shift has made the world of academe “consumerist and hyper-protective” of students, scaring him into teaching in such a way as to avoid anything that might possibly upset his mostly liberal clientele.
“I have intentionally adjusted my teaching materials as the political winds have shifted. (I also make sure all my remotely offensive or challenging opinions, such as this article, are expressed either anonymously or pseudonymously). Most of my colleagues who still have jobs have done the same. We’ve seen bad things happen to too many good teachers — adjuncts getting axed because their evaluations dipped below a 3.0, grad students being removed from classes after a single student complaint, and so on… I once saw an adjunct not get his contract renewed after students complained that he exposed them to “offensive” texts written by Edward Said and Mark Twain. His response, that the texts were meant to be a little upsetting, only fueled the students’ ire and sealed his fate. That was enough to get me to comb through my syllabi and cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad, texts ranging from Upton Sinclair to Maureen Tkacik — and I wasn’t the only one who made adjustments, either.”
Schlosser cites another liberal professor that has recently experienced the potentially disastrous fate of upsetting the fragile sensitivities of liberal students, Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis.
In the wake of highly charged debates regarding sexual culture and sexual assault allegations on college campuses, Kipnis wrote an essay that included her feelings about students and professors “hooking up.”
“When I was in college,” wrote Kipnis in the Chronicle Review, “hooking up with professors was more or less part of the curriculum.”
The angry response from both offended liberal students and liberal professors forced the university to investigate if Kipnis had violated Title IX with her essay, that is, the federal law that is used to “fight sexual assault on campus.”
While ultimately vindicated, Kipnis wrote in a second essay that her accusers wouldn’t tell her what she was charged with, that she couldn’t document the proceedings, and that the whole process was “Kafkaesque.”
“Emotional discomfort is (now) regarded as equivalent to material injury, and all injuries have to be remediated,” wrote Kipnis, Schlosser also noting that, “Hurting a student’s feelings, even in the course of instruction that is absolutely appropriate and respectful, can now get a teacher into serious trouble.”
In the end, for liberal professor Schlosser, he and many fellow liberal professors are more or less impotent in the current progressive, liberal, college culture, fearing to even discuss or challenge a student’s beliefs for fear of being fired or simply not rehired.
“Right now, there’s nothing much to do other than sit on our hands and wait for the ascension of conservative political backlash —hop into the echo chamber, pile invective upon the next person or company who says something vaguely insensitive, insulate ourselves further and further from any concerns that might resonate outside of our own little corner of Twitter.”
So until then, liberal professors will remain impotent in the face of their liberal students.
[Image by David McNew, Getty Images]