There’s been a troubling new development.
A group of my departmental colleagues has demanded that the dean order a “review” of my “conduct,” with an eye toward “disciplinary” action—i.e., my termination (or so they hope). The dean has been instructed by the Office of Legal Counsel that he must order said “review,” so he’s appointed an associate to do so.
My colleagues’ “case” is based on a barrage of falsehoods, or delusions, and gross distortion of the facts. They claim that I discouraged my students from wearing masks (I did no such thing), and—worse—that I “attack” students, maintain a classroom that’s not “safe,” and engage in “hate speech.”
That fantasy is based, first of all, on their assertion that (get this) _I_ attacked the student who attacked ME: that it’s because of ME that she got nasty pushback after tweeting her demand that I be fired. (I too was attacked on Twitter, but never mind.) They also charge that I attacked the department—i.e. THEM—in my petition (which doesn’t mention them). Thus they justify attacking me by casting me as the aggressor, with that student and themselves as my poor victims (much as Hitler did with Poland).
On top of that projective fantasy, they hammer at my putative “transphobia,” based on three of my online writings—a short piece I sent out to this list, and two facetious Facebook comments. Thus they’ve revived a smear that was refuted back in March, by NYU’s Office of Equal Opportunity, after one of the letter’s signatories reported me for those “hateful” writings, and I was questioned on the matter for an hour. The OEO’s lawyers quickly grasped that what I’d written was about transgender IDEOLOGY, NOT trans individuals; and that I’d made some wholly non-offensive points (about biological males competing in girls’ and women’s sports, and radical medical intervention in the sexual development of children). So they immediately dropped it.
Although I beat that rap, my colleagues are using it again, to make the absolutely groundless charge that I’m a monstrous bigot who demeans his students. As I told the dean this afternoon, this hallucination is, to put it mildly, utterly at odds with the consistent popularity of my classes, my student evaluations over many years, and the scores and scores of glowing emails I’ve received from students thanking me profusely for the great experience they’d had with me (the sort of testament that dedicated teachers cherish).
So this “review” is needless—and, I figure, driven not just by my colleagues’ ferocious zeal as Social Justice warriors (let me note that several colleagues did not sign the letter), but, no doubt, also by higher powers within the university, interested in somehow shutting down an irritating figure with some little public profile. That I have questioned propaganda narratives in which NYU is invested heavily (masks, COVID panic, and—above all—unsafe vaccines, just to name a few) certainly is not irrelevant to this renewed assault.
I will be sending out my colleagues’ letter (names redacted) for your perusal, with further commentary. Meanwhile, I am very grateful for your warm support, and hope you will continue to share my petition, which isn’t just about my plight but about the free speech rights of all who question propaganda narratives by seeking for the blacked-truth, and doing their best to tell it.