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AAUP acknowledges: harassment hysteria ruins freedom of speech

The New York Times and others have mentioned a Thursday report by AAUP:

Professors’ Group Says Efforts to Halt Sexual Harassment Have Stifled Speech
AAUP, the American Association of University Professors, has almost 50,000 members in 500 local campus chapters and 39 state organizations. It was founded in 1915 as a feel good organization that also wants to advance academic freedom.

Surprisingly, they have noticed that the hysteria directed against the alleged "sexual harassment" has also been indefensibly targeting the "sexual speech", even in courses whose very purpose is to study sexual issues. Ironically enough, many of the instructors who were targeted were females – and to make things even more ironic, many of them were female professors of "women's studies".

Students were outraged when they were shown lesbian sex from "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel. The scene was probably not as cute as the Hentai female schoolgirl-and-teacher animated video at "motherless Dot com Slash FE21653". ;-) At any rate, the idea that it is often spoiled students, demanding to be brought up in a convenient bubble, who spark such complaints.

AAUP notices that the increasingly widespread client-service relationship between ("corporate") universities and students is the reason why the extreme political correctness as imagined by the students is hijacking the campuses. I think it's true.

Concerning this more general issue, I just don't think that students should be considered primarily as paying clients at the universities. This comment of mine doesn't mean that I am against tuition and similar things. But the system should appreciate that the tuition is typically paid by parents – and that the very purpose of education starts with the student's admission that "they are not yet the fully mature people who have the right views about everything". For this reason, quite generally, the students simply shouldn't teach the teachers what is right and what is not. I don't claim that students can't be smarter or more cultural than instructors, or that the "inverse teaching relationship" should be forbidden, the students surely may be smarter and more knowledgeable about many things, but it just shouldn't be the default assumption that it is the case.

Equally importantly, the events in the classroom shouldn't be dictated by the least resilient or most freedom-hating students. There are others who actually want to learn something and discuss the issues and it is these students with a deep interest in the topic who should have the upper hand!

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