HomeSchool Reform News'Cancel Culture' Lives at Woke Colleges

‘Cancel Culture’ Lives at Woke Colleges

Has ‘Cancel Culture’ Reached ‘Peak Wokeness,’ or do more people need to follow federal Appeals Court Judge James C. Ho and cancel law schools.

Can Colleges Cancel “Cancel Culture”?

What has come to be known in conservative circles as “cancel culture”—and was once known as assaults on free speech—is making headlines again.

Hamline University declined to renew an art instructor’s contract after a student complained about her showing a painting of the Prophet Mohamed; Cornell University students heckled political commentator and alumna Ann Coulter; Harvard University rescinded a fellowship offer to activist Kenneth Roth seemingly because of his criticism of Israel; archeology scholars are establishing anonymous online forums to discuss potentially fraught topics; Stanford University administrators counseled that words such as “American” and “immigrant” could be needlessly hurtful.

What can be done to reverse “cancel culture”? Princeton Professor Robert P. George argues that personal courage to “refuse to be intimidated or bullied” can help to ward off “cancellation,” while University of Pennsylvania Professor Sigal Ben-Porath, in her just-released book Cancel Wars, lays out strategies for trustees, administrators, and others to create a campus culture that encourages viewpoint diversity.

 Is the Tide Turning on Campus “Wokeness”?

Some prominent voices believe that the worst of “woke” is behind us, with “peak woke” giving way to “plateau woke.” But that’s not much of a victory, they concede. However, statistics show that the tide hasn’t turned yet.

According to The College Fix’s Campus Cancel Culture Database, there were 85 victims of the “woke” mentality on college campuses during the last academic year, and another 47 attempted cancellations. This averaged out to more than two such incidents per week.

“For those who think cancel culture was just a fad, it’s not, and we’ve got the receipts,” said the editor of The College Fix. Among the most notable examples in the past year: a professor at New York University who was fired after students said his class was too difficult.

Conservative Judges Boycott Yale Law School Grads

Judge James C. Ho, of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, made headlines when he announced he will no longer hire law clerks from Yale University Law School after multiple incidents of  what he called “cancel culture” on campus.

Speaking at a Federal Society conference, Ho, who was appointed by former president Donald Trump, called the nation’s top-ranked law school the “most elite institution of legal education [but] the worst when it comes to legal cancellation.” He urged other judges to likewise boycott the school. Since then, more than a dozen federal judges have joined in, including Alliance Defending Freedom’s Kristen Waggoner.

Last March, Yale activists and law students disrupted a bipartisan panel on civil liberties where Waggoner was speaking—creating a scene so heated that the Supreme Court litigator had to be escorted from the building by campus police.

The dean of Yale’s law school reportedly now wants to mend relationships with the judges, but Waggoner remains skeptical. Yale, she said, “has created a uniquely insular and intolerant monoculture in which competing ideas are unwelcome and sometimes violently shut down.”

Originally published by Paideia Times. Republished with permission.

For more on higher education, school choice, and pre-K to post-graduate education, read School Reform News.

Paideia Times
Paideia Times
Paideia Times is a quarterly reporting higher education news for trustees.


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