UCLA Professor Joseph Manson issued a powerful letter Thursday relinquishing his tenure at the university, explaining that “the woke takeover” of higher education has made freedom of expression on campus virtually impossible. He writes that “the ideological takeover of my university has ruined academic life for anyone who still believes in freedom of thought.”
Unfortunately, such ideological conquests are occurring at educational institutions across the country.
The 62-year-old Manson has been an anthropology professor at UCLA since 1992, and received tenure in 2000, with his research spanning topics ranging from nonhuman primate behavior to human personality variation. He starts his essay by detailing the “public torment and humiliation” of one of his colleagues, P. Jeffrey Brantingham, for allegedly being racist. His crime? He programmed simulation models of “the geographic and temporal patterning of urban crime” and marketed the software, called PredPol, to police forces.
Naturally, graduate students were quick to pounce—how dare he examine the statistics of urban crime?—and claimed he was “entrench[ing] and naturaliz[ing] the criminalization of Blackness in the United States.” For this, he was ostracized by other faculty and treated like a “pariah.” A group called #stoplapdspying plastered fliers all over campus. Here’s what their anti-police ideology looks like:
To Manson, the episode presaged where things were going on campus, writing that many professors keep quiet because of their “fear of the woke faction.”
Signs of this fear are omnipresent. Discussing whether to stop requiring the GRE (a standardized test, like the SAT) from applicants to our Ph.D. program, one colleague told a meeting of the biological anthropology subfield that he regarded the GRE as the most informative part of an applicant’s dossier, but that we had no choice but to vote to stop requiring it. Why? Because otherwise we would be regarded as racists.
He points out how race has entered almost every facet of university life, noting that “statements recounting one’s activities on behalf of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are mandatory in faculty job applications and in promotion dossiers.” In other words, you have to prove your DEIJ creds just to get hired or advance your career, no matter what subject you’re teaching. Manson laments that the situation is unlikely to improve:
As Doris Day sang, the future’s not ours to see, but it’s a good bet that the grip of woke orthodoxy on the University of California, and most other once-great American universities, will only tighten in the years to come.
One of the reasons he’s pessimistic, he explains, is that:
…now that standardized tests have been dropped from undergraduate application requirements, a growing number of students will be simultaneously unable to handle university level coursework, and predisposed to denounce their professors for heresy, having been chosen for admission on the basis on their leftist activism as high school students. Meanwhile, California’s K-12 schools are increasingly substituting mind-damaging political indoctrination for education.
RedState has reported on the decline of viewpoint diversity in universities before, but each new story reminds us that the problem is profound and that these activists are brainwashing our children. As Bari Weiss, who published the piece on her Substack, writes:
Common sense would tell you: If it can happen to him, it can happen to me. Common sense would insist: If the leopard is currently eating the face of the person in the the cubicle next to me, what will stop it from eating mine?
But when the leopard comes for your colleague, what I have witnessed is that something like 99% of people find a way to wiggle out of this obvious next step. They tell themselves the person getting their face eaten deserved it. Or that the leopard was just particularly hungry that day.
So true–and good for Manson for speaking out here.