“This Idea of Intellectual Debate and Rigor as the Pinnacle of Intellectualism Comes from a World in Which White Men Dominated" | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

“This Idea of Intellectual Debate and Rigor as the Pinnacle of Intellectualism Comes from a World in Which White Men Dominated"

Phoebe A. Cohen is a geosciences professor and department chair at Williams College and one of many who expressed anger on Twitter at M.I.T.’s decision to invite Dr. Abbot to speak, given that he has spoken against affirmative action in the past.

Dr. Cohen agreed that Dr. Abbot’s views reflect a broad current in American society. Ideally, she said, a university should not invite speakers who do not share its values on diversity and affirmative action. Nor was she enamored of M.I.T.’s offer to let him speak at a later date to the M.I.T. professors. “Honestly, I don’t know that I agree with that choice,” she said. “To me, the professional consequences are extremely minimal.”

What, she was asked, of the effect on academic debate? Should the academy serve as a bastion of unfettered speech?Dr. Abbot said his speech would not include his views about diversity and affirmative action, but faculty and graduate students objected to his invitation.

“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” she replied.

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