The latest victim of the college PC mob's bloodlust is an NYU professor who dared establish an anonymous Twitter account with which to criticize political correctness and student coddling. He was hunted down and booted from the classroom last week after colleagues complained about his “incivility."
According to The New York Post, untenured liberal studies associate professor Michael Rectenwald, 57, said he was forced Wednesday to go on paid leave for the rest of the semester. “They are actually pushing me out the door for having a different perspective."
Rectenwald had created the Twitter account called Deplorable NYU Prof last Sept. 12 to critique the growing PC culture in academia. The account was anonymous because he was afraid -- presciently, it turns out -- that “the PC Gestapo would ruin me” if he expressed his conservative ideas openly.
“I remember once on my Facebook I posted a story about a kid who changed his pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ because I thought it was funny. Then I got viciously attacked by 400 people. This whole milieu is nauseating. I grew tired of it, so I made the account.”
A month later, Rectenwald used the account to criticize “safe spaces” on campus as “at once a hall of mirrors and a rubber room.” Two weeks after that he posted a photo of a flyer put out by NYU resident advisers telling students how to avoid wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes.
“The scariest thing about Halloween today is . . . the liberal totalitarian costume surveillance,” he tweeted.
“It’s an alarming curtailment of free expression to the point where you can’t even pretend to be something without authorities coming down on you in the universities,” Rectenwald told The Post.
He said the Twitter feed sparked a “witch hunt” by the growing army of “social justice warriors." He agreed to an interview with a reporter with the Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper. “I thought there was nothing objectionable about what I had said,” he told The Post.
He told the interviewer, “My contention is that the trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hot-line reporting is not politically correct. It is insane.” That interview was published Monday, and by Wednesday he figured out why he was getting “dirty looks” in his department: the 12-person Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, including two deans, published a letter to the editor in the same paper.
“As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas,” they wrote. [Emphasis added]
“We seek to create a dynamic community that values full participation” they continued. "Such efforts are not the ‘destruction of academic integrity’ Professor Rectenwald suggests, but rather what make possible our program’s approach to global studies."
Rectenwald saw it as “a Salem witch trial. They took my views personally. I never even mentioned them and I never even said NYU liberal studies program. I was talking about academia at large.”
The same day that letter was published, Rectenwald was called before his department dean and an HR representative. “They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health."
Mental health -- that's how the politically incorrect are demonized. They're labeled crazy.
NYU spokesman Matt Nagel asserted that Rectenwald's leave has “absolutely zero to do with his Twitter account or his opinions on issues of the day,” although Nagel refused to identify the reason.
“I’m afraid my academic career is over,” said Rectenwald. “Academic freedom: It’s great, as long as you don’t use it.”