In this age of “trigger warnings” and “micro-agressions” on unhinged college campuses, one academic has had enough. English Professor Dr. James “Duke” Pesta at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh of FreedomProject fame is in the national news for a unique approach to the lunacy. If students wish to take his class, they must signs a contract promising to behave as adults. If they refuse, they should drop the course immediately.
“In this course, we study literature from cultures that existed before you were born,” reads the contract’s Statement of Purpose reads. “Their world is not our world. Their beliefs may not be our beliefs. No one asks you to believe or endorse any premise, attitude, precept, theology, political system, or ideology contained in these books or expressed in class. Nor will you ever lose points or be docked grades because of your opinion.”
However, with that said, students must avoid judging history’s great writers by today’s “progressive,” so-called, standards and values. “We will not malign or trivialize these texts because they do not always parrot our values,” the contract continues. “We will not assume these books are racist, sexist, or homophobic because of the period in which they were written, or because of the race, class, gender, or religion of the authors.”
To avoid problems, the contract urges students to drop the class immediately if they are triggered by free speech, the free exchange of ideas, or by people who express different ideas from their own. Anyone triggered by “open, direct, and adult discussion of issues, including but not limited to issues of faith, war, violence, race, gender, and sexuality,” should also drop the class, the contract states. Those who feel entitled to censor others are urged to drop out, too.
One clause would be likely to trigger radical leftists all on its own. “Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by recurring encounters with heterosexuality, traditional gender identities, sympathetic representations of Christianity (or religion in general), positive examples of free markets or capitalism, or unapologetic encounters with patriotism, hierarchies, or meritocracy-based institutions or attitudes,” the document reads.
In an interview with The College Fix that was picked up by other outlets including The Blaze, Dr. Pesta offered insight into why he felt the need to draw up the contract — an idea he first launched almost a decade ago. “I have learned through personal experience that university administrators and equity officers are often not willing to defend classroom speech, even if that speech is taken directly from books or used to explain them,” Pesta explained. “My contract is an attempt to make it harder for these kangaroo court investigations to be launched in the first place.”
The use of trigger warnings, aside from being harmful to students, is “appalling from an educational standpoint,” Pesta continued. “But I have come to realize that they may have more utility for professors than students. It’s one more way to try and indemnify yourself from malicious and unfounded complaints by driving away at the outset students who only want their own preconceived ideas validated.”
The fact that professors even have to consider such contracts is a sad testament about the current state of America’s mischaracterized “education” system. Hopefully, though, other academics will be encouraged and inspired by Dr. Pesta’s stand to speak up themselves. The alternative — continuing the descent into collective madness — would be catastrophic.