By Morgan Chalfant at Red Alert Politics
A student at Reed College was barred by a professor from a section of his freshman humanities course for being vocal about his unpopular views on sexual assault.
According to BuzzFeed, 19-year-old freshman Jeremiah True received an e-mail from his professor Pancho Savery banning True from the discussion section of his Humanities 110 lecture-seminar course.
The March 14 e-mail alleged that True had caused his classmates “serious stress” by voicing his opinions about sexual assault, which gave the professor “no other choice” but to ban him from the conference portion of the class.
In particular, True said that during discussions he questioned the oft-cited statistic that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted and argued that “rape culture” doesn’t exist.
“I know many people aren’t comfortable with taking the stances I do, but I’m not a sheep,” True told BuzzFeed.
The student attempted to clarify his logic to Savery in an e-mail.
“I am critical of the idea of a rape culture because it does not exist,” True wrote. “We live in a society that hates rape, but also hasn’t optimized the best way to handle rape. Changing the legal definition of rape is a slippery slope. If sexual assault becomes qualified as rape, what happens next? What else can we legally redefine to become rape? Why would we want to inflate the numbers of rape in our society?”
The private college in Portland, Oregon, which has an undergraduate population of 1,400 students, permits professors to bar a student from class because of “serious misconduct” so long as they speak to the student’s advisor. In this case, Savery was advising True.
According to the school’s website, students at Reed “share an unparalleled commitment to a genuine learning community and an openhearted understanding that mutual respect and dialogue between people with different perspectives, values, and backgrounds enhances the college experience.”
In response to the professor’s ban, True has created a Change.org petition to get himself readmitted to the conference portion of the course. He had over 500 supporters as of Thursday afternoon.
“I just want to bring attention to the fact that this happens on colleges,” explained True. “Right now, going to college is a terrifying experience if you are male.”
Reed isn’t the only school appearing rather unfriendly to free speech. For example, a tenured professor at Marquette University was banned from campus property and suspended from teaching last December because of a blog post he wrote criticizing a liberal colleague’s refusal to allow a conservative student to debate the topic of gay marriage in her classroom.
In fact, the threat to free speech at America’s universities is so severe that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has dedicated itself to standing up for the free speech of students across the country.
Schools: Reed College