The faculty senate at Portland State University passed a resolution equating the publication of course curriculum on social media with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 and allowing faculty members to identify other faculty members as participating in implicitly racist curriculum even if no evidence exists.
The Oregon Association of Scholars (OAS) issued a report in March titled, The New Censorship in American Higher Education: Insights from Portland State University.
In that report, they point to the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 as a pretense to impose censorship on American campuses.
Using Portland State University (PSU) as a case study, they write:
American higher education has been gripped by a moral panic since the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot, one that adds to the moral panic that ensued after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. Faculty and administrators have made use of both events to impose restrictions on academic freedom and free speech in the name of “ending racial violence” and “combating domestic extremism.” In March, Portland State University imposed restrictions on the ability of faculty members to criticize the work of other faculty members or departments. Justified in the name of protecting academic freedom, the restrictions offer administrators a new tool with which to censor the already vanishingly small number of voices that dissent against illiberal orthodoxies on campus. The New Censorship also goes a step further to deny academic freedom to voices deemed “racist.” Portland State president Stephen Percy refers to this as a “new status quo.” This assault on academic freedom in the name of academic freedom has implications well beyond higher education.
It all started with an Instagram post in which a student uploaded a course packet mandating “teaching for social justice” in the College of Education. The page, called “[email protected],” displayed a 173-page course package.
According to the OAS report, “[it] was a catalogue of Woke Studies indoctrination and agit-prop. It included a film entitled ‘Color Film was Built for White People’, an article entitled ‘Math is Racist,’ and a list of ‘Covert White Supremacy’ actions including advocating a color-blind society. Students were instructed how to submit ‘autoethnographies’ with strict guidelines about the need for soul-searching self-criticisms about their privilege.” (pg. 6)
Then things got really weird
The OAS reports: “On February 8, an unspecified number of faculty and students at Portland State deemed to have participated in this ‘[email protected] Capitol Riot’ received emails from college deans demanding that they remove their social media repostings and comments on the student course materials.”
The implication was that exposing woke studies at PSU amounts to the same unforgivable sin as the rioters committed by storming the Capitol on January 6. The demands hid behind claims that the posts revealed personal information and violated copyright laws, as a cover for their real demand—that those who posted the course material self-censor.
Any criticism of woke professors or faculty is akin to the “insurrection and mob mentality” of the Capitol rioters. The OAS report goes into great detail as to how this mentality spread like wildfire among the PSU faculty.
The faculty senate subsequently met on March 1 to consider a resolution denouncing the [email protected] activities. The resolution actually says the posting of the woke studies package replicated what happened at the Capitol riot, including mob mentality and the reckless endangerment of human life.
The OAS then reports that the public meeting of its public faculty senate was filmed and posted to YouTube, like every other meeting it conducts:
The resolution was presented for discussion and approval at a Portland State faculty senate meeting of March 1, 2021. Even by the standards of the contemporary academy, the live-streaming faculty senate “debate” on the resolution was notable in making painfully clear the disappearance of viewpoint diversity on campus and the emergence of a new racial justice activism animating taxpayer-funded universities. The meeting was live-streamed and then uploaded for public viewing on YouTube (the relevant half-hour section is from minutes 34:25 to 1:03:25). The OAS has created a 5-minute summary video of the relevant comments in the meeting here. It encourages readers to view the full video and judge for themselves.
The meeting gets censored after the fact
The links have now been scrubbed, however. Because things got even weirder. Not only did PSU demand that the OAS remove the clips of faculty members speaking from their 5-minute summary video, they scrubbed the entire video of the meeting from their YouTube account.
REPORT RELEASE: We have been asked by Portland State University to remove excerpts of the public video of the public meeting of the PSU faculty senate. Below please find the censored version of the video on the New Censorship.https://t.co/xhbJ9chKnw
— Oregon Association of Scholars (@OregonScholars) March 10, 2021
As of this writing, even the censored version has been pulled from YouTube by the OAS without explanation.
All this censoring may have happened because those in charge knew their statements could have been used to embarrass them. The faculty senate passed the resolution 47-0, with three abstentions. Per the OAS report,
Anthropology professor Michele Gamburd agrees that the faculty should be “engaged in some deep changes of the ground rules of our social hierarchy.” Women’s studies professor Vicki Reitenaur, who introduced the resolution, chimes in that she “agrees 100%” with the need for “bolder statement about what we won’t tolerate” and “would very much like to do that.” In the final speech, President [Stephen] Percy …. aligns himself with its message: “It’s not all about going back to some status quo, it needs to be a new status quo, one that is not so rooted in white dominance as so many of our policies and practices are.”
Summary — The Death of the Socratic Method?
So, to recap: a student, taken aback by the absurdity of mandatory social justice training for aspiring teachers, posts the coursework on social media. This causes the entire faculty senate at Portland State University to pass a resolution equating this act with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 and to codify a new policy allowing faculty members to identify other faculty members as participating in implicitly racist curriculum even if no evidence exists.
Faculty can now avoid hard questions by deeming the questions colonialist, racist, white supremacist, or bullying. The college president does a victory dance, reaffirms his dedication to making PSU an anti-racist campus, and has the various deans engage in overt censorship of public meetings and publicly available course packages for degree programs. And only a handful of professors speak up to denounce the anti-free speech shut down of debate on campus.
So much for the free exchange of ideas in the academy. The Socratic method is under full scale assault.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.DONATE
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