An art professor at Skidmore College in upstate New York wanted to see how the unrest in America is affecting his community. So he attended a “Back the Blue” rally to see what was happening. He didn’t go to the rally as a participant. He went as an observer. He was there for about 20 minutes.
“Given the painful events that continue to unfold across this nation, I guess we just felt compelled to see first-hand how all of this was playing out in our own community,” the professor said.
But do you think that mattered to the mob now calling for his head?
The art professor, David Peterson, was apparently observed at the rally, which immediately triggered the triggerable snowflakes. They demanded he be fired for “engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.”
“The Petersons weren’t wearing pro-police T-shirts,” notes Churchill. “They weren’t carrying a banner, holding a sign or waving a black-and-blue flag. They appear to just be listening. But merely listening to an opinion that some Skidmore students find objectionable is apparently enough to get a professor in hot water.”
See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, right?
Students have circulated their demands on social media, and even taped a note to the door of Peterson’s classroom advising his students that they are “crossing a campus-wide picket line and breaking the boycott against Professor David Peterson.” Peterson has attempted to make it clear that his presence at the rally did not constitute an endorsement of it; this matters very little to the students. An opinion piece in the student newspaper included his explanation, but still accused him of failing to “reconcile with his behavior.” That piece also claimed that “there have been many claims of Mr. Peterson making students of color and queer students feel uncomfortable and unheard in his art classes prior to this,” but did not elaborate.
“I still have no indication of how [David and Andrea Peterson] plan to take accountability for their actions and make their classrooms a safe space for our communities of color,” wrote the student.
Peterson’s wife Andrea is not employed by the university. But in the game of “guilt by association,” she immediately becomes suspected of harboring racist views. And being suspected of wrong-think is as bad as actually thinking “wrong.”
Will no one stand up for Professor Peterson? Will no one defend his right to hold any views he wishes? Certainly not the president of the college, Marc C. Connor.
We are in conversation with Saratoga Springs city leadership to learn more about the events and how we can support our entire community. Skidmore College is steadfast in our support for peaceful gathering, peaceful protest, the right to hold and express different views, and the safety of all members of our community. In these challenging times, we all need to work in partnership to preserve these fundamental principles while pursuing fair and just treatment of all members of our community.
Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is firm and we will continue to articulate and uphold those values. In addition, I have been very clear about my and the College’s commitment to the principle that Black Lives Matter. This is consistent with our core values as a higher education institution, and we will continue to assert that commitment in all our actions.
Connor is all for “the right to hold and express different views” as long as those views don’t run afoul of the mob. Otherwise…not so much.
The cost to attend Skidmore College was more than $53,000 per year in the 2018/19 academic year for its 2600 students.
I fear that sometime in the very near future, being perceived as insufficiently enthusiastic about racial justice or fighting “fascism” will lead to being canceled. To be accused of making his classroom “unsafe” for people of color because he observed a rally in support of anything tells us we’re getting close to peak stupidity on campus.
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