A Professor Got Fired for Joking That Microaggression Pamphlets are 'Garbage'

Source - The University of North Texas fired a full-time math professor for the weighty crime of disagreeing with fliers on “microaggressions,” according to a First Amendment lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court. ...

When Hiers noticed “a stack of fliers” on microaggressions in the department faculty lounge in November, he read them and found the ideas wanting. Then he wrote “Don’t leave garbage lying around” in jest on a chalkboard, with arrows pointing to the fliers (above), according to the suit. ...

The fliers claimed that certain phrases are microaggressions that “propagate the ‘myth of meritocracy’ and promote ‘color blindness.’” They include “America is a melting pot,” “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” and “America is the land of opportunity.”

Such phrases “target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership,” according to the fliers. Another point: It is “sexist/heterosexist” to be “forced to choose Male or Female when completing basic forms.”

The response was swift. Math Department Chairman Ralf Schmidt, a named defendant, allegedly told Hiers that his response to the flyers was “stupid” and “cowardly.” In the week following this, Schmidt fired Hiers.

Let's put aside for a second the notion that our public colleges and universities are funded to be places where adults young and old engage in a free exchange of ideas so that we can all learn to better understand differing viewpoints and to how think more critically. That ship sailed out of port and off the edge of the flat earth a long, long time ago. 

Instead, I want to start at the part where this is a Math Department. Math. As in the place where college students go to learn provable, verifiable, immutable truths. Where nothing is a matter of opinion. Where the laws are universal and the results are the same, regardless of what group you're lumped into. 

That is where the head of the department wants to force students and faculty alike to focus on bullshit, made up concepts like microaggressions, propagated myths, marginalized group memberships, -isms and -phobes. With the people who have chosen a life of literally solving problems. University of North Texas wants them focused on opinions about whether or not certain abstract concepts that didn't exist when they first started learning to add and subtract hurt their feelings or not. 

Nice job, UNT. Way to believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. These same asswipes in academia that love to bemoan the fact there is not enough "representation" in STEM fields are telling students that life is not about getting the numbers, values and calculations right. It's about the search for microaggressions. 

Yeah that's how your learn 'em. So the next time one of UNT's Math Department grads is on the job and they're tasked with working out the structural integrity of a high rise in a tornado zone, they can say, "Well I don't know how the engineering figures work out. So allow me instead to read you this passage from a handout I read in school about how America isn't really a land of opportunity." I'm looking forward to that NASA meeting where they're looking for the telemetry calculations for the weather satellite they're planning to launch, and the new hire from UNT says, "Yeah, I haven't gotten going on those because I'm still triggered about the questions in the forms I filled out for HR, which I found to be sexist/heterosexist. Let's talk about that instead. By the way, when is payday?"

So great. Let's make every effort to teach students that the best, surest way to get through life is to not deal with slights, real or imagined. To not confront problems as they come up and resolve them to the best of your ability so you can lead your best life. And for the love of Gaia, to not disregard the inconsequential nonsense in pamphlet some Poly/Sci major shoved into your hands because you're not interested and don't have time for them working out their issues. Treat this horsecrap like it matters and is worthy of you taking it seriously. Or else it'll cost people their jobs. 

If I was sending one of my kids to a school where things like this went on, I'd have the moving truck backed up to his dorm the following morning. And if the other UNT parents don't do likewise, they have only themselves to blame for shelling out real money for a college degree that is suddenly not worth the nail it'll take to hang it on the wall.