Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University who was one of three academics who published absurdly fake gender studies papers to prove a point, has resigned.
Boghossian sent a letter to the university’s provost on Wednesday morning and published a copy of Bari Weiss’ substack.
Boghossian began by noting how, over the past decade, he had invited numerous speakers to his class with differing viewpoints, “from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates.” He said he invited them mostly because he didn’t agree with them, but added that they added value to his classroom by allowing students to learn to challenge ideas respectfully.
“I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching,” Boghossian wrote.
But in recent years, this has changed, Boghossian wrote.
“But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has 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,” he wrote. “Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.”
He said he saw the “illiberalism” early on at PSU, when students refused to engage with different viewpoints and anyone questioning “approved narratives” about diversity training was dismissed, as was anyone who asked for evidence to justify new policies. Further, teaching philosophies written by white men would get someone accused of bigotry.
Boghossian wrote that he was retaliated against for speaking out against academia’s preferred narratives of victimhood. He discussed accusations against him by a white male student who claimed Boghossian beat his wife and children, among other things. The professor noted that he received no due process during the university’s investigation into him after the student’s allegations. The investigation concluded there was “insufficient evidence” to prove he had violated school policies, but recommended he “receive coaching” anyway.
He said the absurdity of the investigation and the corruption of academia led him to take part in the hoax papers, which The Daily Wire previously covered. After the hoax was uncovered and Boghossian came forward, his university investigated him again, this time alleging he had violated ethics with his obviously fake studies that were designed to prove a point – that Gender Studies journals would accept absurd stories that conformed to a preferred narrative – a point Boghossian proved. Following the investigation, Bohossian was ordered to complete “training specified by the Director of Research Compliance prior to any future work regarding human subjects” and banning him “from any future human subjects work” and “all sponsored research” until he completed that training.
Boghossian wrote to the PSU provost that he thought that if he “exposed the flawed thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could shake the university from its madness.” He was wrong.
Along with the university investigation, professors and activists disrupted public discussions he put on with academics opposed to “cancel culture” such as Christina Hoff Sommers and Bret Weinstein. The harassment continued for years, Boghossian wrote.
“For me, the years that followed were marked by continued harassment. I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit on and threatened by passersby while walking to class. I was informed by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes. And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation,” he wrote. “I wish I could say that what I am describing hasn’t taken a personal toll. But it has taken exactly the toll it was intended to: an increasingly intolerable working life and without the protection of tenure.”
He wrote that PSU has failed to uphold the freedom to question ideas.
“In doing so it has failed not only its students but the public that supports it. While I am grateful for the opportunity to have taught at Portland State for over a decade, it has become clear to me that this institution is no place for people who intend to think freely and explore ideas,” he concluded. “This is not the outcome I wanted. But I feel morally obligated to make this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?”
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