The Univer­sity of Toronto must re­con­sider the pres­ence of Jor­dan Peter­son

The McGill Daily - - Contents -

Jor­dan Peter­son, a psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Toronto (U of T) and grad­u­ate of Mcgill, has raised alarm among stu­dents and fac­ulty fol­low­ing his pro­posal of a web­site that helps stu­dents iden­tify and avoid cour­ses that of­fer “rad­i­cal left so­cial jus­tice- ori­ented” ma­te­rial. Peter­son’s ac­tions were met with strong op­po­si­tion from the Women’s and Gen­der Stud­ies In­sti­tute and the Univer­sity of Toronto Fac­ulty As­so­ci­a­tion, as well as from the ed­i­to­rial board of The Var­sity, a stu­dent-run news­pa­per at U of T. Peter­son first gar­nered pub­lic at­ten­tion in 2016 when he posted a Youtube video ex­press­ing his op­po­si­tion to Bill C-16, which pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion on the ba­sis of gen­der iden­tity. This in­ci­dent marked the be­gin­ning of his cru­sade against fac­ul­ties and cour­ses that of­fer crit­i­cal, di­verse, and so­cial jus­tice- ori­ented per­spec­tives. His op­pres­sive agenda tar­gets women’s stud­ies, gen­der stud­ies, and racial and eth­nic stud­ies in par­tic­u­lar. His pres­ence as a fac­ulty mem­ber at U of T gives his vi­o­lent and op­pres­sive views a dan­ger­ous amount of clout, and U of T should se­ri­ously re­con­sider the place of such a per­son at their univer­sity.

Peter­son’s pro­posal en­dan­gers the safety and well­be­ing of stu­dents, in­cit­ing hate speech and vi­o­lence be­yond the univer­sity cam­pus. Peter­son has ex­plic­itly re­fused to rec­og­nize gen­der-neu­tral pro­nouns. In a recorded in­ter­view pub­lished ear­lier this year, he also claimed that he can­not “con­trol crazy women” be­cause he is for­bid­den to phys­i­cally fight them. At a U of T panel on free speech, Peter­son stated that in­di­vid­u­als ex­press­ing ar­gu­ments from a “post­mod­ern neo-marx­ist” per­spec­tive should be “punched in the nose hard enough to knock [them] out.” When a protest against the en­cour­age­ment of hate speech led to the can­cel­la­tion of an event at Ry­er­son Univer­sity where he was sched­uled to speak, Peter­son doxxed two stu­dents who or­ga­nized the rally by tweet­ing links to their Face­book pro­files, thereby de­lib­er­ately sub­ject­ing them to a tirade of hate­ful mes­sages and ver­bal at­tacks from his sup­port­ers. Peter­son has iden­ti­fied him­self as an out­spo­ken sup­porter of “free speech” in univer­si­ties, while hyp­o­crit­i­cally ad­vo­cat­ing for the sup­pres­sion of di­verse voices on cam­pus through tac­tics of in­tim­i­da­tion and vi­o­lence.

Fur­ther­more, Peter­son is prof­it­ing from this hate speech. In ad­di­tion to his U of T ten­ure pay, he re­ceives thou­sands of dol­lars a month from In­diegogo and crowd­fund­ing plat­forms to con­tinue his hate­ful cam­paign. He has since amassed in­ter­na­tional on­line sup­port from con­ser­va­tive groups and the alt right, con­tribut­ing to the spread of vi­o­lent and op­pres­sive sen­ti­ments and to the on­line ha­rass­ment of doxxed ac­tivists. His be­hav­iour can­not be par­doned on the ba­sis of free­dom of speech. Us­ing one’s pub­lic plat­form as a pro­fes­sor and clin­i­cian to not only tar­get, but also en­cour­age vi­o­lence against stu­dents is a ma­li­cious abuse of power. Peter­son’s cam­paign is not founded on aca­demic free­dom, but on dan­ger­ous tenets of hate, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and vi­o­lence.

As long as U of T con­tin­ues to en­dorse Peter­son, and fails to hold him ac­count­able for this be­hav­iour, they are com­plicit in his hate-mon­ger­ing. Writ­ten warn­ings are not enough to counter the threat Peter­son rep­re­sents to the health and di­ver­sity of aca­demic dis­course, along with the safety and well-be­ing of in­di­vid­u­als on and off cam­pus. We sup­port The Var­sity’s call on the U of T ad­min­is­tra­tion to se­ri­ously re­con­sider Peter­son’s em­ploy­ment. We also call on the ad­min­is­tra­tion to up­hold their val­ues of eq­uity, jus­tice, and “the right to rad­i­cal, crit­i­cal teach­ing and re­search” by tak­ing sub­stan­tial ac­tion against Peter­son and by openly de­nounc­ing his harm­ful be­hav­iour. —The Mcgill Daily Ed­i­to­rial Board

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.