PPU Students Seek To Expel Conservative Student Who Spoke Out Against Pronoun Rule

We recently discussed the move by Point Park University to include “misgendering, pronoun misuse, and deadnaming” as forms of discrimination subject to discipline at the school. Now students are seeking the removal of Logan Dubil, an undergraduate student who appeared in media criticizing the policy. The Change.org petition has hundreds of signing students and is the latest example of a rising generation of censors emerging from our campuses. Many today focus more on silencing others than responding to their opposing viewpoints.

The petition states “We need to remove Logan Dubil from campus as well as others like him who refuse to respect other people pronouns.”

The poster called “Max” wrote:

“There is no possible way to be a moral correct person while also disrespecting people’s pronouns. Logan Dubil and others like him are the scum of the Earth. No one belongs on our campus who does not respect other peoples pronouns.”

Of course, anyone can post such an anonymous petition and there is no indication that the university is taking such a move seriously. Indeed, one never knows who is behind such anonymous campaigns in this age of rage. However, what does concern me is the hundreds of signatures in support of the campaign and, most importantly, the silence of the university. I could not find any comment from PPU reaffirming that it will not expel a student over his appearing in the media to express criticism of the university or such policies. Such a statement would certainly be reassuring to the school’s faculty and students who may hold opposing views on this or other subjects.

Ironically, in one of the interviews that triggered this angry backlash, Dubil expressed how he and other conservative students have been subject to regular harassment without support from the university:

A lot of conservative students on campus have reached out to me, going along with what you said, how stupid this is. This is not normal in any sense, but God forbid as student of the liberal descent wants to be respected on campus. The organizations and the university bow head over heel to make sure that they’re safe. But when it comes to conservatives on campuses, we don’t feel that same love. Freshman year I dealt with threats of violence, my door was violated. Sophomore year, I dealt with being threatened to be doxed from other students, and nothing has been done to this day.

And it is really scary how easily and how ready the school is to jump to make sure that one side is protected and on side feels safe, but the other doesn’t.

I support the right of Max to denounce the views Dubil and vice versa. It is all free speech. However, as we have seen in other recent cases, universities are often silent in defense of free speech when conservative students are harassed or sanctioned by other students. Just as it did in expressing its position on pronouns, PPU should be clear that the university stands for the protection of a diversity of viewpoints on its campus.

There is a teachable moment in all of this. While the petition will not succeed, the underlying campaign shows a rising intolerance for opposing views on our campuses. As discussed recently, sixty-six percent of students now believe that shutting down opposing speakers is an exercise of free speech.

Free speech advocates are facing a generational shift that is now being reflected in our law schools, where free speech principles were once a touchstone of the rule of law. As millions of students are taught that free speech is a threat and that “China is right” about censorship, these figures are shaping a new society in their own intolerant images.

The most chilling aspect of this story is how many on the left applaud such censorship. A prior poll shows roughly half of the public supporting not just corporate censorship but government censorship of anything deemed “misinformation.”

We discussed this issue recently with regard to a lawsuit against SUNY. It is also discussed in my forthcoming law review article, Jonathan Turley, Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States, 45 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (2021).

111 thoughts on “PPU Students Seek To Expel Conservative Student Who Spoke Out Against Pronoun Rule”

  1. Jonathan: My comment re your column has caused a spirited debate. One person wants me to admit I am a “socialist” and a supporter of the Russian and Chinese regimes. I am neither. But some people find it easier to attach labels to anyone with whom they disagree. “ThinkitThrough” thinks I have “pronounced capitalism to be an entirely failed economic system”. Wasn’t me who said this. I was pointing out that polls and studies of GenZ show what they (not me) think about capitalism. It is irrelevant what I think. But criticizing the messenger is always the fall back position when someone doesn’t want to actually discuss the issues. GenZ has lost faith in the present economic system. They generally favor free higher education, affordable health care and housing and a livable wage. Why? Because they see how the present system has had a devastating affect on their career and life prospects. Even if GenZ is able to complete a four education they are often saddled with student loan debt they cannot repay. So they give up a post-graduate degree and move back home because they can’t find a job that pays a living wage. They understand that if they become seriously ill their parent’s health insurance may not cover them–or impose a huge deductible that could bankrupt the family. That is the reality. GenZ sees that the present political system is broken and they are willing to embrace “socialist” policies that exist in most Western European capitalist countries–policies opposed by conservatives here.

      1. CarpsLaw,
        Well said.
        What I dont get is why are they saddled with debt?
        When the ex and I divorced, one of the deals was I was responsible for funding our child’s college education via 529 savings plan. To meet that goal, I had to work a second job for more than a few years. My child is well aware of that fact.
        So I ask, what happened to all the other adults? Their children are saddled with debt not because of a broken political system. They are saddled with debt as their parents failed to provide them with the chance or opportunity to get higher education debt free by savings for them. For that matter, capitalism was the means by which my child’s education was paid for in full.
        Sure, it requires a sacrifice as it did me, having to work two jobs. But that is my responsibility as an adult to my child, to make sure they get ahead of me, they have a better life than I. To know not what sleeping on the floor is like. Or having to have a second job just to make it (pre-marriage or child and post marriage and child).
        Granted, the higher education system is a for profit (regardless of what they say) institution.
        That still does not excuse those parents from not providing for their children.

    1. Dennis says:

      “But some people find it easier to attach labels to anyone with whom they disagree.”

      Ain’t that the dyin’ truth. I’m being labeled a “troll” because I question the prevailing sentiments of those on this blog.

      It seems that you can’t point out any flaws of Capitalism without being called a “socialist.” Only if you are a Conservative may you criticize aspects of Capitalism without being so labeled even if you make the same points. This is not intellectually honest, but it certainly is effective in the court of public opinion where dishonesty is rampant.

  2. Making new things from thin air. We have so may examples in numerous segments of society. For instance cryptocurrencies. They have no real value yet billions have been assigned to them as potential successful ventures. Now pronouns, as mentioned in their complaint they believe certain individuals are “disrespecting people’s pronouns”. As if we have the luxury of using any pronoun we feel like. We can identify as a man, woman, a black person, a black Jewish person, or any combination that tickles our fancy. It is really hilarious and could also be a sign of society’s trend of avoiding any responsibility. I wonder if Rome had a similar phenomena before the great fall?

  3. Yeonmi Park, a N. Korean defector, rape survivor, was sold into slavery, escaped to Mongolia, and eventually attended Columbia University where she said American universities are brain washing students.

    “They are forcing you [Americans] to think the way they want you to think. I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying…..America is not free”. – Wiki

    So there you go

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