This month ,two black Penn State University professors reported a “noose” in a tree behind their home The PSU student newspaper Daily Collegian quoted the professors said the “noose” was “deliberately placed [on the tree] to harass them” and was “deeply distressing to them and their family.” PSU President Eric Barron quickly posted a statement “expressing concern” about the incident and “offering support,” adding,
“[T]he incident underscores the importance of our anti-racism work as a University, and as a community of scholarsIt also underscores the importance of our town-gown work to build a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all who live here. Groups like Community & Campus in Unity that have formed the Centre Region Anti-bias Coalition are critical to helping create a climate of acceptance and support.”
When police interviewed the professors’ neighbor, they learned that the “noose” was part of a swing set. The neighbors’ kid told police he had thrown the rope “into the woods.” Police concluded “no kind of crime [was] committed at all” and that the rope was not intentionally used to suggest a noose, or any racist statement.
- But things could be worse, as in Scotland. There, Lisa Keogh, a mother of two and a law student at Abertay University, faces discipline for saying that women are born with vaginas and are physically weaker than men. Keogh was taking part in a virtual discussion on “gender feminism and the law” and was discussing transgender women participating in women’s sports, Keogh also said her classmates were “man-hating feminists” after a peer stated that all men were rapists.“I didn’t deny saying these things and told the university exactly why I did so,” Keogh said. “I didn’t intend to be offensive but I did take part in a debate and outlined my sincerely held views. I was abused and called names by the other students, who told me I was a ‘typical white, cis girl’. You have got to be able to freely exchange differing opinions otherwise it’s not a debate.”
Somebody needs to explain to Lisa that the kind of people who reported her have no interest in fair debate.
The university will judge Keogh’s conduct applying its nicely vague and subjective definition of misconduct that includes “offensive language” or “discriminating against gender reassignment.” She could be expelled.
Keogh says, “I’m worried that my chance of becoming a lawyer, and making a positive contribution, could be ended just because some people were offended.”
Of course, this couldn’t happen here—yet. I wonder, as I note such stories in a critical context, if doing so is considered “conservative” or “right wing.” I regard it as non-political and simply illustrative of what unrestrained ideological fanaticism does to the human mind, and, by extension, civilization. Intelligent people are conditioned to see the world as racist and hostile; students are intimidated and threatened for acknowledging reality. Recognizing both as pathological and dangerous shouldn’t be a marker of partisanship or political bias.