“Woke Dysphoria” at Concordia? University Suspends Professor After Criticism of Diversity Priorities

There is a major free speech fight brewing at Concordia University in Wisconsin where Professor (and Minister) Dr. Gregory Schulz was suspended after he criticized “woke dysphoria” as part of the search for a new university president. Ironically, Schulz is still listed as one of the approved candidates for the position.

There is nothing more unnerving for free speech advocates than demands to “recant” viewpoints as a condition for one’s employment or freedom. However, that is the demand of the university, according to counsel for Shultz.

Shultz was suspended with pay after he wrote a February 14 article for Christian News. In the article, he complained that Diversity, Inclusion, Equity (DIE) policies would move the university away from its core values:

“When our BoR committees announce their intentions to install a president who exhibits a “demonstrated belief in and commitment to equity and inclusion” and promotes racialized “diversity in all its myriad forms,” they are announcing their plan to disrupt the authority of the biblical text and in this way to transform our university from an institution of Lutheran higher education to … who knows what. They are announcing their intention to transform this LCMS institution into a DIE-ing institution.”

I happen to disagree with much of the article, but that does not have any bearing on the free speech and academic freedom concerns raised by this action.

Shultz not only is espousing his deeply held academic and religious views, but also views shared by other academics. Yet, many professors are reluctant to voice such sentiments publicly out of fear of what has unfolded at Concordia.

We have seen others targeted for questioning diversity policies. There is a clear effort to chill such opposing speech and many professors have supported the mob. At the University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.  In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech.  CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech.

Anyone who raises such objections is immediately set upon by a mob demanding their investigation or termination. The concern is not that such protests occur. They are wrong in their demands and their inherent intolerance for opposing views but they are also the exercise of free speech. Rather the concern is that universities have repeatedly failed to defend rights of faculty members or offered tepid support for such rights.

Some like Concordia are accused of actively targeting dissenters. Few academics want to risk being tagged in this way. There is a new orthodoxy that has taken hold of our universities and advocates threaten everything that an intellectual values if they speak out: publications, conferences, even their academic positions. The result is widespread fear that universities will not support dissenting voices on such issues.

One such campaign led to a truly tragic outcome with criminology professor Mike Adams at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington). Adams was a conservative faculty member with controversial writings who had to go to court to stop prior efforts to remove him. He then tweeted a condemnation of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for his pandemic rules, tweeting that he had dined with six men at a six-seat table and “felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina” before adding: “Massa Cooper, let my people go.” It was a stupid and offensive tweet. However, we have seen extreme comments on the left — including calls to gas or kill or torture conservatives — be tolerated or even celebrated at universities.

Celebrities, faculty and students demanded that Adams be fired. After weeks of public pummeling, Adams relented and took a settlement to resign. He then killed himself a few days before his final day as a professor.

Concordia has been accused of denying Schulz even the most minimal due process protections in taking this action. He is being represented by free speech advocates. In the meantime, he will remain in the curious position of being investigated by a university that is actively considering him as the next university president.


71 thoughts on ““Woke Dysphoria” at Concordia? University Suspends Professor After Criticism of Diversity Priorities”

  1. (OT)

    Who Is Responsible for America’s Energy Crisis?

    Since Biden’s Green New Deal zealots took command of the energy industry, they have:

    — Killed pipelines

    — Criminalized exploration and production (e.g., in ANWR)

    — Erected regulations and rules that throttle existing energy production (e.g., by making such production economically impossible)

    — Discouraged financial markets from financing energy projects

    *Before* the election, Biden’s anti-energy coalition said openly that their goal was to kill the fossil fuel industry. Why, now, is anyone surprised that they are doing just that?

    Biden’s energy destroyers have made Americans far poorer. And not just at the pump.

    The ultimate indignity is that Biden is now begging, hat in hand, a theocracy (Iran) and a dictatorship (Venezuela) to sell us oil.

    It is hard to fathom the evil of a country’s political leaders destroying its own energy production.

      1. December 2019 12.9m b/d of crude oil produced. December 2021 11.6m b/d produced. The low was in May 2020 when production was 9.7m b/d.

        The decline was caused by the drop in demand and fall in prices resulting from the pandemic lockdowns. Given the rise in demand and prices as the economy has recovered, the question is why has production not grown back more quickly to pre-pandemic levels.

        I believe the answer is low investment in restoring and expanding production capacity due to concerns about the Biden administration’s manifest hostility to fossil fuels. The time horizons to recover investments are long in the oil sector, and an uncertain and hostile regulatory environment adds political risk that favours other uses of the enhanced cash flows that arise from high prices, such as dividends and share buy-backs. Lenders and investors committed to ESG principles, and also influenced by government hostility to fossil fuels, are also reducing the capital available to expand production capacity in the oil and natural gas sectors.

        A government commitment to creating a stable regulatory environment designed to foster increased production of oil and natural gas would result in substantial expansion. That is the last thing this administration wants, except in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

        1. Daniel: Excellent points.

          The monomaniacal focus on production *today* is a kindergartener’s understanding of economics. As you noted, as with all industry, the energy industry (and its prices) is *future* focused. With their suffocating regulations, rules, and shutdowns, the Greens are stifling future exploration and production of energy. (That is what today’s prices reflect.)

          If you think there’s an energy disaster today (and there is) — just wait.

          Of course, as Betsy noted, we could just “wish” for there to be viable energy replacements. (Or the statists could get out of the way of the nuclear power industry.)

          On a purely practical level, here’s how destructive the Greens are:

          Suppose horses are the widespread mode of transportation. Then some government social engineers hear about a new technology being invented — an automobile. “Great,” they say. “Let’s ban and outlaw horses.” Meanwhile, the widespread production of cars (as a replacement for horses) is still decades away.

          The biggest lie here (which I didn’t mention) is the insane presumption that Psaki and the Green zealots know more about energy production than do the experts in the energy industry.

      2. “It would be good to reduce our need for fossil fuels”, sure. It would be nice to produce everything we want without petroleum. It would be nice if farmers could just wish the produce from the ground and to your table. Whose hyperbole are we talking about here? Our production must keep up with our population’s needs as we ease into alternatives. Who can afford an electric vehicle, seriously? The rich people that do business and get paid through their computers and have food delivered. If we really produced as much as under Trump, it’s not enough. Duh.

      1. “And then Biden administration berates the fossil fuel companies themselves after sabotaging them.”

        Good point.

        Statists always blame their victims. First they suffocate an industry in red tape, and bleed it dry with taxes and fees. Then they claim: “See, that industry cannot produce what Americans need. It’s time for total control.”

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