There is a controversy brewing at Skidmore College where students have demanded the “immediate firing” of three faculty members who were spotted at a “Back The Blue” pro-police rally. It is the latest expression of intolerance for opposing views in higher education.
According to WAMC, the student group Pass the Mic has made 19 demands of Skidmore after a “Back the Blue” rally for police from late July. The targeted faculty are music lecturer Mark Vinci and art professors David Peterson and Andrea Peterson.
Pass the Mic’s website includes an email targeting the professors and notes that the Petersons were spotted “were seen protesting with Blue Lives Matter protestors, while Skidmore alumni and students were being teargassed and attacked on the other side of the street”. They added:
This is absolutely unacceptable and reinforces what we art students have always known. That Professor David Peterson is racist, sexist, and has made a studio space that is not inclusive through his consistent mistreatment and disregard for non-cis white male students. But now he is openly advocating and preaching exclusionary, racist, and fascist ideology.
The students insist that
To remain silent and not take tangible action against the professors after this, affirms to the Skidmore community–students, faculty and staff–that the institution does not have the safety and wellbeing of those most affected by racist pedagogy. They are, simply put, unfit to teach and I demand action.
What is chilling is that the students want the school to punish the academics for supporting police and dissenting from their view: “Specifically, we want a public email from them addressing their presence at the Blue Lives protest, a conversation with the two professors about the implications this has on their pedagogy.”
The worse implication for pedagogy is the enforced orthodoxy, which the President of the university should denounce.