Lund University Professor Under Fire For Refusing To Comply With Gender Quota For Assigned Reading

Lund_University_logotypeWe recently discussed a controversy at the GW International School where the Administration told faculty that panels had to be gender diverse or face cancelation.  Now there is an analogous controversy in Sweden where Professor Erik Ringmar, a senior political science lecturer at Lund University, is under attack for refusing to include an author on his curriculum solely because of her gender.  Critics have objected to the school gender quota as an attack on academic freedom.


Ringmar decided to omit author Judith Butler from the syllabus of a course he was teaching on “Modern Society and Its Critics.”  Butler is a well known author and worthy of study but Ringmar elected to assign a different list of works.  However, the university has a rule that stipulates that at least 40 percent of the reading list of any given course must be composed by women.  After students objected, the committee told Ringmar keep Butler on his syllabus. He refused the obvious denial of academic freedomas discussed by Inside Higher Education.

As with free speech, academic freedom is under attack by groups like Antifa as as tool of oppression.  In a December 8th editorial at American University, Nickolaus Mack, a managing editor for the student newspaper, denounced the Faculty Senate for passing a resolution in support of academic freedom. The resolution was two years old, but Mack objected to the resolution  as enabling “campus speakers who espouse sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic views.”

Ringmar has faced the same blind disregard of academic freedom in Sweden.  He declared “thinking and learning cannot be restricted according to quotas.”

The pressure has worked.  Ringmar has decided to drop the course rather than apply a non-academic measure for the readings that he considers worthy of the course.

44 thoughts on “Lund University Professor Under Fire For Refusing To Comply With Gender Quota For Assigned Reading”

    1. The woman in red is from near here and did her degree in psychology at WSU.

  1. Professor Ringmar may be taking a principled stand, or he may be taking a stand of another kind. I can’t make a judgment solely on the information provided.

      1. I support affirmative action, but not quotas. Sometimes it’s the only way a member of an oppressed group gets a chance to succeed or fail based on her own efforts.

        1. I consider myself very open minded, but because of affirmative action, I can never fully trust a minority professional to do my business. This could be dentistry, medicine, accounting, etc. I just don’t want to take any chances.

            1. Penelope, who is white, has a lot of black clients who simply do not trust the black lawyers in town. When they are in trouble, they want a white lawyer. Some of the black lawyers are very competent, and some are sheer baboons with a law license, but the point is, that even a lot of blacks tend to not trust people who they think got there by affirmative action. Even though, many of them didn’t.

              Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

          1. CJ You would rather take your chances with a white professional who may have been given the opportunity because of white privilege? Doesn’t mean that white professional is more qualified than the minority. Check out our current “stable genius”. It’s always a good idea to check out more than the person’s majority status.

      2. Exclusion due to gender or race is as bad or worse. All I said is that there isn’t enough information to know the professor’s reasoning to exclude a well-respected author.

        1. Anytime the government gives any group special status it backfires as we’ve seen in the case of race discrimination against or in favor of any racial group.

          1. Let’s imagine (as was the case) that companies and governments, left to their own measures, continually discriminated against minority-owned companies in the awarding of contracts and hiring. Does the government have any responsibility to clean up its own house or look to change the behavior of those they contract with? Would your perspective be changed at all if you were the minority being excluded from business opportunities?

            Making it relevant to the post, if this Professor refused to include any women because he thought their thought processes were inherently inferior. Should “Academic Freedom” allow that position to stand.

            I’ll concede that government can get things wrong in their approach. Accepting the status quo can be even more so. Again, I don’t know that this professor was wrong, I don’t have enough information. I submit that you and others cannot know he was right.

            1. Enigma: In your instructive example of the company discriminating that is illegal and the law would apply equally to any company and to any racial group so affected. The government’s role is thus a neutral umpire. Where it gets dicey is when a government protects one group and ignores others with similar concerns based on so-called historic wrongs.

              1. When you say, “so-called historic wrongs,” are you suggesting these aren’t real things? I there were no historical (and present) wrongs, there never would have been a need for any sort of quotas or affirmative action or Minority/Women Business Enterprise programs. All of these things were designed to right wrongs that left to their own devices would go uncorrected.

                When it is the government itself that perpetuates the wrong, how likely is it they’ll find themselves in a position to be a neutral umpire or that they could indeed be neutral?

                1. Governments aren’t formed to right historical wrongs. They are formed to protect citizens from outside and internal threats. If they fail, there are no “do overs.”

                    1. Then the affected citizens sue for damages. You don’t have the government place them at a privileged position in the law. That’s the fraud of affirmative action. It’s neither affirmative nor action. It’s government enforced privilege without any notion of merit in the calculus. Just like Jim Crow was when the government granted whites privilege without merit.

                    2. Jim Crow didn’t grant whites privileges, it denied them to black people. Historically, the people that started out with privileges in this country were land owners who were almost exclusively white males. Everyone else has been fighting for some sort of equality since.

                      None of the things you oppose have given anyone privileged position in the law. They have generally established minimums, generally far less than their representation in the population, that say you ought to at least be doing this.

                      It works out that the minimums became very nearly the maximums as well as any entities forced to comply almost never do more than called for by the letter of the law. So “quotas’ get the affected parties less than their equitable share, lack of quotas get them even less.

                      I gave thought to your supposition as to why governments were formed. While they serve multiple interests including the national defense, they generally serve the wealthy, which has been true in world history. The recent tax bill would be an example of that. The usual arbiter of fairness, The Supreme Court, has done more to protect the wealthy than any other institution. Even when Congress has passed bills to protect people with Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts (of which there have been several) the SCOTUS has weakened them every time without exception.

                    3. Governments serve everyone but cater to and support the people who pay the bills, i.e., the wealthy . If you don’t believe that then square it with this: “[The] top 1 percent of earners (incomes in excess of $615,000) are paying nearly half — 45.7 percent — of individual income taxes.” Take away the wealthy; take away the wealth. BTW, I’ll support quotas when they apply across the board like in the NFL and the NBA. Merit matters there and no one wants to cry racism when one racial group is over-represented based on percentage of population.

                    4. “It would have ameliorated the current crisis in African – American communities by strengthening family bonds that the Welfare state totally ripped to shreds.”

                      The welfare state ripped black families to shreds? And here all this time I thought maybe selling members off to different plantations played a role.

                      In modern times, mass incarceration certainly plays a part. Stop & Frisk and other policies only enforced in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Disparate sentencing for similar crimes, Housing discrimination, job discrimination, separate and unequal schools.

                      Lastly, however bad you think affirmative action is. It was that much worse before it’s existence when a minuscule percentage of minorities were hired or admitted.

                    5. Mass incarceration is a canard. The poor have always committed most of the crimes and been incarcerated for it. They have the least to lose. Today is no different. Slavery broke up some families both here and in Africa but the AFDC Program did more to destroy restored nuclear black families. Discrimination is bad but some blacks act as if they were it’s only victims. Let me know if you want to read about lynched Italians.

                    6. Mass incarceration is awfully well documented to be “a canard.” A 500% increase in the past 40 years isn’t significant? We seem to be operating with a completely different set of facts.

                      I don’t doubt at all that you have a better understanding of Italian history than I do. Your apparent assumption that you understand African-American history better than I is befuddling.

                    7. Enigma:

                      BTW, unlike a lot of folks I would have supported paying reparations (i.e. damages) to the affected slaves after the Civil War. The funds could have used on the folks actually damaged by the then-legal slavery laws instead of paying their heirs and it had the added grace of being paid by the citizens who benefited from the system including Northerners who liked cheap Southern goods. It would have ameliorated the current crisis in African – American communities by strengthening family bonds that the Welfare state totally ripped to shreds. It would have also helped A-A communities by giving them a basis of wealth from which future generations could grow. it also could have reduced economic crime rates and stemmed feelings of helplessness and entitlement if properly managed (and I know that’s a big “if” given the financial sophistication of many freed slaves). It was still a missed opportunity.

            2. Hi,

              I’m the professor teaching this course. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. The reason there were no women on the reading list is that the course was on the history of ideas with a focus on primary sources. There were virtually no critics of modern society writing in the 19th century who were females. Yes, I do think the professor responsible should have complete freedom to include/exclude whoever on a reading list, but also the obligation to motivate the choices made. Students should have the option not to take courses they don’t like. On the much broader, and quite different, issue of affirmative action, I’m broadly in favor.

  2. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    The long march of oppression of thought and freedom, cloaked in the mantles of equality and political correctness , but really the spear of intolerance , continues. It is frightening and global.

  3. The seal highlights the university’s abandonment of one of the tenets of its foundation.

    From wiki article:

    Ad utrumque paratus, sometimes shortened to ad utrumque, is Latin for “Ready for either alternative” or “Prepared for both” and is a sentence attributed to Virgil.

    Lund University was established in 1666 in the Swedish province Skåne which until 1658 was a Danish province. Thus the students at the university should be prepared for both the book and the sword – to study and to defend the country in times of war. The lion in Lund University’s seal holds a book in one hand, and a sword in the other.

    So much for being defenders of merit.

  4. It’s noteworthy that the course being taught was “Modern Society and Its Critics.” I never heard of ANY of these issues that rage today back when I was at university — I guess because I was studying engineering, and after that architecture. I think there are just certain kinds of courses that lend themselves to utter nonsense. A course such as “Modern Society and Its Critics” sounds like it’s basically BS from the get go — not because the subject matter itself is unworthy of consideration by an individual, but because every field that worthy of consideration doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a classroom or any form of “grading” — unless the grading is based purely on questions that reveal proof of whether or not a student actually read the assigned material.
    Anyway, it’s funny that none of the current issues of academia ever came up while I was studying calculus or fluid dynamics or strength of materials, etc.

    By the way: I never did read a decent book written by an architect. Not one — unless you go back to Vitruvius or, at the latest, one of the geniuses of the Renaissance — and the quality of the books comes mostly from the illustrations, not the words written. There’ve been some wonderful architects since way back then however, man or woman — it makes no difference — there’s a palpable body of evidence from which to reasonably conclude that architects make REALLY crappy writers.

    1. Susan Susanka has written pretty interesting books. They are for the lay reader, so perhaps architects cannot write good technical books. I do agree that the pictures comprise a large part of the quality.

      1. “I do agree that the pictures comprise a large part of the quality.”

        And that’s a sure sign that there’s a problem with the writing. If you can tell the story with pictures better than with words, why even try using words?

        Architecture is a peculiar profession, to be sure. A good architect has to devote equal consideration to both technical issues and aesthetics — essentially be mentally ambidextrous, using both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Most people lean heavily toward using one lobe or the other of their brains, just as they prefer using one hand or the other. Put another way: Writers don’t usually make good painters, nor painters writers — those two activities generally relying upon opposite side of the brain.

        As best as I’ve been able to conclude, architects that write books just don’t have enough gas left in their left-lobe tanks (having expended their entire allotment dealing with technical building issues), and unfortunately for them, writing is a decidedly left-hemisphere activity.

        And the bottom line is that if most of them knew as much about good writing as they know about good architecture, then they wouldn’t even try writing a book in the first place because they’d realize that their own writing stinks — usually stinks in every way it’s possible for writing to stink.

        But most architects I’ve known don’t read much, if at all, unless it is somehow required of them. Reading isn’t one of their appetites, so it’s not surprising that writing isn’t one of their talents.

        One of my clearest remaining impressions from architecture school is how 95% of the class dreaded the course called “structures.” It’s simple, basic first-year engineering school stuff — almost a pleasure class when I was in engineering school — but to all the young, budding, would-be architects it was as if they were being expected to memorize a telephone directory. It is absolutely NOT difficult subject matter, so the only reasonable conclusion I could reach is that most people that are attracted to architecture as a profession just don’t like having to use their brains for that kind of task, and that sort of scientific/technical study uses the same areas of the brain as reading and writing uses.

        And perhaps part of the problem I have with books written by architects is my own, because while it’s generally acknowledged that architecture is part art and part technology, I’ve never read anyone mention anything about it being a form of applied psychology, when practiced properly.

          1. Squeek – have you ever checked out the Enneagram personality types? FWIW I found it very interesting

    2. WB – “Suburban Nation” by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk is very readable IMO

  5. Hurray Hurray Hurray! For Mr. Ringmar, however sad that he had to drop the course but the stand taken on principal was heroic and it’s heartening to know there are individuals in the academe that have integrity and decency to stand for good principals of merit scholarship, period.

  6. I’m in the trades and not one book in my field has been written by a woman. Do they want building officials and hazardous materials inspectors or political correctness? I don’t care who writes a text. All I care about is if it’s accurate.

    1. Could be that no woman has written a text because no woman has been accepted in the field long enough to gain the expertise needed to write an accurate text. Or maybe a woman has written a text and you see it as written by a man because she had to use a pseudonym or because a man put his name on her work as if it were his.

      1. Or maybe, most women are just not capable of prolonged rational thought. I estimate the number at 85%.

        For most women, logic and consistency are foreign concepts and artificial constructs, to be cast aside whenever necessary.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

    2. It is only recently that a push for women studying engineering has been successful.

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