University of Rhode Island Condemns Faculty Member For Publishing Criticism Of “Trans-Sex/Gender Ideology”

This week Women’s Studies Professor Donna Hughes was publicly condemned by the University of Rhode Island for writing an op-ed that criticized what she called the LGBTQ ideology.  The op-ed actually criticized the far right as well for what Professor Hughes calls extreme “ideological fantasies” but the university only objects to her criticism of LGBTQ views from a feminist perspective. The university also warned that, while “faculty have the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as other American citizens” under the First Amendment those rights are not “boundless.”

We previously wrote about academic freedom issues at University of Rhode Island due to its Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis, who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence. Loomis also declared that “Science, statistics, and technology are all inherently racist because they are developed by racists who live in a racist society, whether they identify as racists or not.”

Hughes actually begins and spends much of her op-ed criticizing the far right and its violent history and ideology.  However, she then criticizes what she calls similar fantasies on the far left. In doing so, Professor Hughes was espousing a view shared by other feminists that aspects of LGBTQ writings undermine feminist values and goals. She argues that “The American political left is increasingly diving headfirst into their own world of lies and fantasy and, unlike in the imaginary world of QAnon, real children are becoming actual victims. The trans-sex fantasy, the belief that a person can change his or her sex, either from male to female or from female to male, is spreading largely unquestioned among the political left.”  She added that “[w]omen and girls are expected to give up their places of privacy such as restrooms, locker rooms, and even prison cells.”

From a free speech and academic perspective, the issue is not the merits of this argument but the decision of the university to issue a public condemnation. The statement includes the following:

A faculty member’s First Amendment and academic freedom rights are not boundless, however, and should be exercised responsibly with due regard for the faculty member’s other obligations, including their obligations to the University’s students and the University community. As stated in the above referenced documents, faculty have a special obligation to show due respect for the opinions of others and to “exercise critical self-discipline and judgment” and “appropriate restraint” in transmitting their personal opinions.

The University, College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Gender and Women Studies are working to support our students and the community as we move through — and learn from — this situation.

I am concerned what students will “learn from this situation.”  The university says that professors do not enjoy “boundless” rights and that they must “show due respect for the opinions of others and to “exercise critical self-discipline and judgment” and “appropriate restraint.” However, the objection is that Hughes published her views about LGBTQ writings.  What would the required “restraint” look like in this case? It sounds like Hughes is expected to “exercise critical self-discipline” by not stating her views opposing LGBTQ writing and ideology.  The University states categorically that her “perspectives” of LGBTQ foundations  “can cause pain and discomfort for many transgender individuals” and the university “does not support” them.

The only way that Hughes could not cause such harm would be to stay silent on her criticism of the movement. This is a matter that runs to the very core of her writings as an academic and identity as a feminist. I am glad that the university has not taken to fire Hughes or Loomis. However, this official condemnation raises serious concerns over free speech and academic freedom.  I have no problem with President David Dooley speaking in his individual capacity against Hughes or writing a counter essay addressing her various points of criticism.  However, he chose to have the university as a whole condemn an academic for expressing her objections to LGBTQ writings from her own feminist perspective.

The silence of other faculty at the university to support their colleague’s rights to free speech and academic freedom is, again, deafening.

37 thoughts on “University of Rhode Island Condemns Faculty Member For Publishing Criticism Of “Trans-Sex/Gender Ideology””

  1. This idea that “gender is assigned by a doctor at birth” is ridiculous. Gender was determined at the moment of conception. One either has XX chromosomes or XY. Why has biology been completely left out of the discussion? Because it’s not convenient.

    Women should NOT be forced to cancel themselves because of someone who FEELS like they are one. If you feel like you are; want to cut yourself up to be one and take the drugs that help you with that, that is YOUR business. There is not the same pressure for biological men to be canceled so trans men feel included.

    I AM totally opposed to forcing children who have no control over their lives into such a major live altering decision. Children need to have the opportunity to be children without being forced to deal with such decisions being pushed upon them or made for them by adults wanting to virtue signal how “woke” they are.

    It’s time to stop canceling people because their options do not support the narrative.

    I don’t hate you or condemn trans people for their choices. You do you and live your life, however, respect the rest of us in that same manner.

    1. Thank you, Kara Dansky and WHRC USA for all you are doing to ensure women and girls are able to speak out honestly regarding how transgender “rights” interfere with the sex-based rights of women and girls. This is such an important cause and I appreciate your hard work so much.

    2. “The University asserts that faculty have an obligation “to show due respect for the opinions of others and to “exercise critical self-discipline and judgment” and “appropriate restraint” in transmitting their personal opinions”, yet we would counter that the University has an obligation to respect the intelligence of its students’ abilities to be faced with ideas with which they might disagree. The University should be a forum to expand students’ minds, not a protective bubble where the administration guards against wrongthink.

      Professor Hughes is to be publicly commended, not censured or reprimanded.”

      +100 gazillion.

  2. Instead of being a role model of academic freedom, the administrations of these universities habitually throw the faculty — and their rights — under the bus. The irony here is that many gay people are as opposed to the trans trend as are straight people. We need a national speak-out day where people all across the nation can voice their opposition to CRT en masse. Let them fire all of us!

  3. Clearly, universities desire to protect faculty and students from exposure to opposing ideas, debate, or rigorous thought. The fact this irony is lost on them speaks to the degradation of their fall.

  4. Sex is genetic: male and female Gender is sex-correlated physical and mental (e.g. sexual orientation) attributes: masculine and feminine, respectively. The transgender spectrum includes individuals (e.g. homosexuals) who are in a state or process of divergence from normal. Trans/neo-females (i.e. males) share physiological constructs with males, while simulating through medical manipulation, surgical corruption, and psychiatric steering aspects of the feminine gender. That said, normalize, tolerate, or reject? #HateLovesAbortion

  5. I see more citation of QAnon by leftists than I’ve ever seen in conservative or “right” publications. I don’t even know what it’s about but it seems to be mostly fringe made-up boogeyman for the Marxist paranoid.

    1. Bugaboos and Q Who, neither libertarian on the right nor conservative in the center. Perhaps residing in the left-right nexus is leftist, or a nominally independent space with diverging interests from both.

  6. One thing about LGBTQ ideology….It has to be taught & learned, using grooming strategies. Get the young prospect into a cheap motel & play cowboys & Indians or cops & robbers in bed.

    1. This is something the LGBTQ “community” sweeps under the rug. In the case of every homosexual I know, they were seduced by an older man or boy when whey were children or young adolescents. Ditto for lesbians, although an article in TIME magazine back in the eighties quoted young lesbians as saying they were making a political statement by their sexual preference.

      1. One of my sisters was an officer in the USMC after graduation from university in the early 1970s. At her second assignment, she was so disgusted by the lesbian officers (especially as they engaged in seductions of newly enlisted Marines at events like “slumber parties”) that she resigned from the USMC.

    2. Don’t think about some cheap motel! Think about grade schools through colleges; youngsters and young adults are being groomed about this LGBQRST stuff – it’s ok for them to dabble in it and they must tolerate it in others. Shame, shame. No surgeries and no hormones change the biological makeup of a human being at conception and birth.

  7. The left has an intense disregard for the truth and wishes to remove anyone saying the emperor has no clothes.

    1. The Left will no longer be lectured about disregarding the truth by Trumpists who- to this day- continue to lie that Trump is an honest man. They have no moral standing. Zilch.

      1. Jeff, this sounds like a declaration by an individual making statements he cannot prove. That places such ideas into the realm of religion which is faith based.

        That is not the case with you because you have explained why the left will not be lectured by those with alternative ideas. It has nothing to do with truth. It has to do with preferences and faith.

        The only question that remains is whose preference is preferable? No, that cannot be because according to the leftist religion there is only one ideology. I don’t think you like to preach or demand only one choice of religion so maybe I am interpreting what you said in the wrong way.

      2. Jeffy is the scorched kettle calling the clean pot black…again. You beat this drum to death. You have one would hope enough sense to see what the zeig heil demoratzi party is doing to free speech , oh and it’s gummi puppen boldly saying “no amendment is absolute”. Imagine if your nemesis said that…imagine. Yet you march in line with this garbage reasoning…and you lap it up. Says a lot of your ilk.

  8. We don’t have smart people in academia anymore – we have brainwashed people. The lack of heterodoxy in the university environment shows a robotic, propogandist mentality. Their reflexive virtue signaling has become comedic. They are also infiltrating our K-12. Time for Democrats to renounce these propogandist, communists that have become their leaders. Democrats must renounce the fascist anti-fa, BLM, and socialists they have bowed down to. We can only hope that Professor Hughes stands strong.

  9. I rode all around that island and I conclude that it is not an island and not a picture by artist Rhodes.

    1. Actually two small bits of it are islands. But correct on the picture front.


  10. I can remember going through Writing 101 at URI many years ago. The TA I had was a creative type (she also TAed theatre 101, probably a screen writing grad student), and we no doubt had divergent views. The formats covered were the standard writing 101 formats and the topics were open. I look back at the topics I chose and have no doubt that if a student today were dumb enough to write on some of those topics, they would fail. I received an A and my only college 100. I had a good background in writing from high school and found the class easy, but I still enjoyed it, particularly the discussions. I can’t imagine what college is like now. I will not be giving any more money URI, they can stop their solicitations until this stupidity ends.

  11. When did opposing an ideology become the equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre?

    Note to URI staff. It didn’t. Better to shut down URI since it can’t handle free speech.

  12. Love that you spend a paragraph in an article about Hughes going after Loomis as a means to fuel your long standing campaign to trash talk him at every opportunity, JT.

    At the very least we should spend some time to decipher whether Young is a jealous bull dyke mac daddy who doesn’t want any trans infringement competition in working women’s rest rooms. These are the questions we need answered, Turley. And these are the questions, when answered, that will take blog articles like this from the toilet into serious consideration.

    So put down your grudges about URI owning GWU on the basketball court and get on it.


  13. Professor Turley calls the University’s response a “public condemnation”, but that’s not what the University’s statement says. It says “The University does not support…”
    Words matter. Not supporting a viewpoint is not the same as condemning it.

    1. Do these exaggerations take place as the information is first being absorbed (defensive warpage), during memory consolidation with existing belief structure (belief coherence), or consciously at the time of recalling (exaggerated retelling)? It would be easiest to fix if it were the latter, which takes place under conscious control. I fear it’s the former, which makes human automaticities in the processing of incoming information a defect in truth-gathering.

  14. From what Turley shows, the article sounds reasonable.

    But the bullies of the left fear any contradiction and are clearly signaling that “cancelation” is nigh.

    Yes, the Lefties can bully and intimidate, but opposition is growing.

    Each episode like this one fuels the fear and anger of ordinary Americans.

    1. 98

      Don’t know, but all of us look at that era with dismay.

      We all fantasize that we would have spoken up against blacklists.

      This is our chance (obligation) to speak up.

    2. Yes. It impacts so many more people than McCarthy ever did. And McCarthyism wasn’t embedded in academia as this is. It’s definitely worse and more dangerous.

Comments are closed.