At Duke Divinity School, just like at virtually every so-called institution of higher learning today, telling the truth can land you in hot water.
Three months ago, Catholic professor Paul Griffiths responded to a faculty listserv invitation for “racial equity” training. He hilariously responded that he believed this training would be full of “bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs” and therefore a waste of time. He wrote, "When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show. Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual. (Re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history; I hope you’ll keep that history in mind as you think about this instance."
Apparently, the rest of the faculty wasn't as impressed by the professor's response. Dean Elaine Heath wrote that she believed it was “inappropriate and unprofessional” for Griffiths to “humiliate or undermine” the person who sent the invitation. "The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable," she wrote, "especially in a Christian institution."
Professor Griffiths is now the subject of not one but two disciplinary proceedings. The College Fix reports that one charge is "for 'unprofessional conduct' and one for 'harassment.'" However, English professor Thomas Pfau defended Griffiths. "These disciplinary proceedings are designed not to engage and rebut the views I hold and have expressed about the matters mentioned, but rather to discipline me for having expressed them," he wrote. He said that the dean and the person who sent the invitation preferred "discipline to argument. In doing so they act illiberally and anti-intellectually; their action shows totalitarian affinities in its preferred method, which is the veiled use of institutional power."
Unsurprisingly, Professor Griffiths is resigning after this academic year, leaving one less courageous voice in academia to speak out against creeping totalitarianism.
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