Controversial views at a university? Heaven forfend!
I know it’s repetitive to level criticism at universities for deviating from the traditional role in which controversy, debate and challenging discussion were the norm and not the exception they are today requiring “formal investigations”. But, if the mortar board fits, wear it.
Acadia University is launching an investigation into the classroom conduct of professor Rick Mehta because of complaints about his controversial views on decolonization, gender identity and other mind benders such as “truth and reconciliation”.
From the notice to professor Mehta about the impending investigation comes this statement: “The university has a legal responsibility to provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment and personal harassment”.
Now that seems like quite a logical leap considering that Mehta has simply expressed differing views, according to the article. It’s also indicated that he has advised his students that he isn’t testing them on any of the issues he’s raised but just wants them to consider “a different perspective from what he calls the dominant political orientation on campus“.
Mehta also reportedly states that:
I would have no problem if people refuted me and told me I was being unreasonable, that is perfectly fine. I would love it if students just told me I’m wrong.
That apparently would be too stressful for today’s students, many of whom evidently prefer to complain to authorities that they don’t feel safe in the university environment.
Some professors may feel the same. Matthew Sears, associate professor of classics and ancient history at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, according to the article, called Mehta’s “free-speech absolutism” extreme, noting that free speech does not mean consequence-free speech.
Fair enough, but we’re talking about consequences that relate to truth not “political correctness”. And that’s revealed in another statement attributed to professor Sears in this article: “The university must weigh a professor’s right to free speech with a student’s right to be safe and supported in class . . ..”
A university student is an adult not a child. His elementary and secondary education ought to have prepared him to think for himself, to understand the essentials of history and to logically seek further knowledge to integrate with what he may already know.
A university student should be challenged as an independent thinker not treated as a pre-pubescent child in elementary school requiring constant supervision and “support”.