In 2017 and 2018, Portland State University philosophy professor Peter Boghossian set out to display the intellectual vacuity of women’s and gender studies as an academic endeavor. He, along with a few others, authored hoax research papers and submitted them to prominent academic publications. Before you say, “well it’s Portland, what can you expect?”, consider how nonsensical these papers are. From claiming that “manspreading… is akin to [a male] raping the empty space around him,” to a literal feminist rewrite of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to a paper asserting that “dog parks are petri dishes for canine rape culture,” each paper submitted by Boghossian and his colleagues was, to any sane individual, open mockery of gender studies. Yet, the lunacy fit right in with PhD’s and the world’s best “gender studies experts.” Hoax paper after hoax paper was accepted and published in prominent peer-reviewed academic journals.
After publicly revealing that the papers were hoaxes, bureaucrats and gender studies pseudo professors organized against Boghossian (aren’t you shocked). He was accused of numerous counts of “research misconduct” by PSU and investigated. Among the charges were accusations of “violations regarding the ethical treatment of animals in research” based on the idea that Boghossian had abused the imaginary dogs in the hoax research paper about dog park rape culture.
Boghossian’s punishment is that he is now “forbidden to engage in any human subjects related research” and “forbidden to engage in any sponsored research,” until he undergoes “protection of human subjects training.” The most overtly Maoist, Orwellian portion of the letter is the conclusion: “I believe the results of this office’s review of your research behavior raises concerns regarding a lack of academic integrity, questionable ethical behavior and employee breach of rules. Therefore, a copy of this letter and its attachments are being sent to your supervisory ranks of department chair, dean, and provost. Additionally, as a part of the completion of this review, I am copying the president on this matter.” Is PSU operating secret re-education camps? Are they endowing a Pol Pot chair in the dept. of Women’s and Assorted Other Oppressed Groups Studies?
What about the students? From the Washington Examiner: The most recent report from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI),for instance, shows that only 4% of incoming first year students in 2017 identify as far-left with 2% being on the far right. This is hardly a large group of students on the extremes In fact, 41% of incoming students ideologically identify as being middle of the road while 36% identify as being liberal or on the Left and the remaining 23% hold that they are conservative or are on the Right. Going further, data from HERI speaks to the question of diverse ideas directly and demonstrates that students want to not only hear a multiplicity of views but consider themselves as more than capable of empathizing with others who hold divergent ideas and beliefs.
In 2015, HERI found that over two-thirds of students agreed with the statement that “dissent is a critical component of the political process” and a minority of students — just 43% — believe that “colleges have the right to ban extreme speakers from campus.” This is strong evidence that most students are not only aware that ideas should be both debated and challenged, but also that speakers should not be forcibly banned—they can be engaged through more speech and reason. in 2017, 81% of students rated themselves highly as being tolerant “of others with different beliefs” and 77% believed that a major strength of theirs is the “ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective.” Going further, over two-thirds of incoming students stated that a major strength of theirs is an “openness to having [their] own views challenged” and a similar number took pride in their ability to discuss and negotiate controversial issues. The most impressive finding is that 88% held that a major strength of theirs was the “ability to work cooperatively with diverse people.” There’s hope aplenty. Maybe it isn’t the young that are dumb.