When a major university discovered that a science professor held conservative views, the school canceled his scheduled speech. Knowing that two can play that game, several alumni banded together to cancel something of the college’s as well.
Professor Dorian Abbot of the University of Chicago has boldly spoken out against diversity, equity, and social justice, which have dangerously shifted academia. Expectedly, he received a backlash after co-authoring an op-ed for Newsweek titled “The Diversity Problem on Campus.”
Abbot coined an alternative to the social justice pursuit called MFE, which stands for “Merit, Fairness, and Equality,” railing against universities that have adopted discriminatory policies in order to effectuate equity. Of course, his assessment didn’t go over well with the progressive colleges pushing these exact values.
After he came under fire for his criticism of the social justice movement, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discreetly disinvited Professor Abbot as the keynote speaker for an annual lecture in the university’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Despite the school’s efforts to quietly dismiss Abbot over his conservative views, word got out and caused one alumnus to take action.
Having graduated from MIT more than 50 years ago, Tom Hafer has been a faithful donor and supporter of the college’s academic efforts — until now. After hearing about his alma mater’s decision to cancel Abbot for his advocacy of equality, Hafter took the media to make his own cancelation. In a telephone interview with The College Fix, Hafer announced that unless MIT renews its protection of free speech and academic freedom, he won’t be making any further donations to the campus.
“What the free speech alliance is doing makes me have hope for MIT,” Hafer said. “It shows me that if change is going to happen, it has to start with the people, and not the administration.”
Hafer was quickly joined by fellow alumnus Henry I. Miller, who has likewise vowed to cut off financial support for MIT. The pair pointed to the college’s dedication to “wokeness” and the threat it poses to progress.
“First, facts are not racist, and stating facts is not racism. Second, a person’s ethnicity or skin color does not define him or her as a racist, oppressor, or victim,” the alumni wrote in the City Journal. “Third, intellectual ability and achievement are the principal requirements for admission as a student or faculty member to any university.”
In addition to pulling his donations, Hafer has called on the school to host a public debate between Professor Abbot and any one of MIT’s six new associate deans for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Neither the university nor the deans have responded to his invitation.
Hafer has also expressed his concern over MIT’s mandatory diversity training, which focuses on immutable characteristics instead of rewarding virtues like competence, tenacity, and industriousness.
“The compulsory videos contain deftly worded but fatuous questions implying that straight white males are at the ‘intersection’ of all oppressive behaviors,” Hafer wrote. “Everyone else is an oppressed victim, with extra points for being a member of multiple minority groups. Thus, the concept of ‘intersectionality” is a kind of conspiracy theory of victimization.”
In an email, Professor Abbot thanked the alumni for their support and again called on the university to stop hindering the exchange of ideas.
“Free speech and academic freedom protect the right of the activists involved to argue that my lecture should be canceled and to say whatever they want about me. It is the responsibility of the department chair and university administration to make sure that lectures are not canceled because someone claims to be offended. Doing so inhibits the progress of knowledge and creates a tool for activists to use in order to prevent arguments they disagree with from being aired,” he wrote.
MIT isn’t the only university to take this route. Colleges across the nation have adopted equitable policies, forsaking equality and stifling academic progress.
The best way to combat this regressive shift is to stop funding these universities and instead give to schools that are preserving free speech and rewarding hard work, intelligence, and perseverance regardless of what the student or staff member looks like on the outside.