New York, NY; May 9, 2023 — Last week the president of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) deplatformed an event sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Scholars (WAS), an affiliate of the National Association of Scholars (NAS). The event was to be held this Friday on campus (now online) to discuss how government sponsored diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and trainings affect medical, scientific, and technical education. The WAS will host Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, Republican State Assemblyman Dave Murphy, and NAS senior fellow and director of policy John Sailer.
“For nearly a decade now, NAS has tracked and fought a growing tide of intolerance and political activism on campus that threatens academic freedom and the pursuit of truth,” said NAS president Peter Wood. “MCW president John Raymond and the students he supposedly oversees have outed themselves as shining examples of such intolerance.”
MCW president John Raymond notes in his email to the campus community that “the fundamental purpose of a university is to facilitate the exchange of ideas.” Then promptly backtracks, claiming “the exchange of ideas should not disrupt the core functions of a university or jeopardize the safety of our MCW community.” Raymond offers a model of self-contradiction, claiming on one hand that “the rescission is not due to the topic or the viewpoints of the speakers,” while on the other hand explaining that the viewpoints in question must be censored because they are “unacceptably disruptive” and the “timing of the symposium,” which was long-scheduled, was inconvenient.
Wood added, “The only reason this event was deplatformed was due to the topic and viewpoint of the speakers. DEI is the sacred cow of higher education. To research it, to study it, and to discuss its merits as John Sailer does, is to threaten its sanctity. President Raymond joins a long line of hypocritical college presidents who say they favor free speech in the very act of crushing it.”
Students and faculty circulated a petition in the days leading up to president Raymond’s decision. The petition’s authors specifically take issue with John Sailer, claiming without evidence, that he has used “discriminatory language.” They argue that he should not be allowed to speak because of his “opposition to” and “focus on denouncing DEI initiatives.”
“It is no conspiracy that Sailer has criticized university DEI initiatives. Thankfully he is in good company,” said Wood. “The race essentialism and outright race-based discrimination of DEI offices that John has exposed at nearly a dozen universities has spurred citizens and legislators to action. To keep John Sailer from speaking is to shield not MCW’s students from harmful ideas but its DEI bureaucracy from criticism.”
NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.
If you would like more information about this issue, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].
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