Home News First Person: The outrage mob came for me at Emory University

First Person: The outrage mob came for me at Emory University

by Mike Santorini

Heather Mac Donald, a contributing editor of City Journal and a New York Times bestselling author, wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner detailing Emory University students’ reaction to her appearance and speech at the college.

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Accusations of discrimination: MacDonald, who is a political conservative, said left-leaning students tried to prevent her from attending by filing a complaint about the group that invited her. “The student official charged that the Emory College Republicans should be investigated for discriminating against other Emory students — merely by inviting me to campus,” she writes.

Despite their best efforts, the “student government dismissed this complaint on jurisdictional grounds, since my appearance was not funded by student activity fees.”

What it means and why it matters: “Nevertheless, the College Republicans and any other student group that might contemplate hosting a controversial speaker were put on notice: All possible means to thwart your efforts to question academic orthodoxies will be used against you. This is, sadly, par for the course. Long after a controversial invitee leaves campus, conservative student groups often face harassment and abuse for having invited a dissenter.”

Heckling and “safe space”: “Students in the lecture hall shouted in unison in an attempt to drown me out, and cries of “you racist bitch” emanated from the audience. Emory’s NAACP chapter and other self-described ‘black and Latinx groups on campus’ created a ‘safe space’ for students to watch the speech via live-streaming rather than attend in person, and additional counterprotests occurred simultaneously during my event.

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In the aftermath of her speech, “the Center for Women, the Office of LGBT Life, and the Office for Racial and Cultural Engagement hosted an event to allow students to ‘air their grievances,’ in the words of a student reporter. The Young Democrats of Emory held a ‘teach-in”’about affirmative action and diversity. Emory Sexual Assault Peer Advocates and The Survivor Anthology released a joint letter directing those traumatized by my talk to Emory’s Office of Respect, the Title IX office, and Counseling and Psychological Services, among other campus resources.”

“The Emory Wheel, the student newspaper, organized a symposium for students to vent their anger and pain. One of the contributors reports that numerous faculty members will be releasing their own ‘statements and complaints to the public and Emory administration.’ The undergraduate and graduate student governments are contemplating a measure to give students more time to organize protests against heterodox speakers, in the absence of formal mechanisms to block their appearance.”

What did she actually say? “Merely that Emory students, like undergraduates across the country, are among the most privileged individuals in history by virtue of their unfettered access to learning. That students should emulate the Renaissance humanists, whose passion for the lost Classical tradition triggered a centurieslong explosion of knowledge. That Emory’s costly diversity bureaucracy, premised on the alleged oppression of “marginalized” student groups, is unneeded. That Emory is filled not with bigots, but with well-meaning faculty and administrators who want all their students to succeed.”

A broader picture: “The collective hysteria that routinely greets my campus appearances (and those of other conservative lecturers) grows out of a problem more serious than the beleaguered state of open discourse. A growing cadre of administrators and politicized faculty relentlessly cultivates in students a victim identity, and anyone who challenges that identity will be labeled with the usual ‘racist-sexist-homophobic’ epithets, if not blocked from speaking entirely.”

Read the full piece here.

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