Education

Boise State University Students Debate Firing Professor Who Criticized Feminism

Over two thousand people have signed a petition to fire a Boise State University professor, Scott Yenor, for his views critical of transgender activists and intersectional feminists, who he says are undermining parental rights.

The petition, which was created in August, gained renewed attention in late September after students debated on September 25 whether he deserved to be fired.

Yenor expressed his views in an article titled “Transgender Activists are Seeking to Undermine Parental Rights” on the Daily Signal, which isn’t connected to Boise State University. He highlighted the rise of transgender ideology being taught in elementary schools in Wisconsin, and a new law in Norway that allowed the government to decide the sex for children as young as six if neither parent can agree on a child’s gender. He cited these instances as a threat to the family unit.

“There are limits on parental rights, reasonable limits, like child abuse which is a reasonable limit on parental rights, but without that being the centerpiece on the family policy you end up with much worse outcomes,” he wrote.

His article enraged transgender activists and social justice warriors, particularly those in Boise State University, prompting them to call for his firing.

According to the school newspaper, the Arbiter, both the Young Democrats and College Republicans sparred in a debate on September 25 that revolved around Yenor.

Joe Goode, a student and president of the Young Democrats, argued for Yenor to be fired. He called Yenor’s views “hate speech.”

“I think it’s important to say that I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I realized that I am coming from a place of privilege,” said Goode. “I’m white; I’m hetero; I’m a male.”

“This forum is something that I’m passionate about. I don’t believe any teacher should be persecuted for her or his opinions,” said College Republicans president Ben Chafetz in his opening.

“Yes, it is his freedom of speech to say this. But freedom of speech does come with repercussion, and people must realize that,” argued Goode. “And people must realize—especially in this community we’ve seen so much hate crimes towards our LGBT community–-there is actually an issue with this and how this teacher’s article may have spiked up this anti-sentiment towards this community.”

Goode argued that Yenor’s position sent a hateful message that provoked discrimination towards LGBTQ individuals.

Chafetz disagreed, stating that Yenor’s article was quoting research and that it wasn’t as much of an op-ed as his detractors claimed. “He was just saying this study showed this in regards to family. It’s hard to say if I disagree with any of it,” he said.

Regardless of what students think of Yenor, the school is standing by his First Amendment rights. Addressing the campus community, BSU’s assistant director of content Sherry Squires published a post titled “Free Speech at Boise State University” that clarified the university’s recognition and support for the First Amendment.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.