A Rhodes scholar alleged in a Tuesday letter to the Rhodes trustees that the Rhodes trust is intolerant to views that are not left-wing.
Dan Lubrich, spokesman for the Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity, a group advocating for free speech and different viewpoints among Rhodes scholars, asserted that the Rhodes House banned him from its discussion forum and would not let his group advertise as a Rhodes Scholar group, in correspondence shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Rhodes House and its Warden, Charles Conn, have shown a consistent pattern of banning debates on the Rhodes Internal Forum as soon as conservative opinions are being voiced,” said Lubrich to TheDCNF.
“Continuing a long process of politicization and left-shift of the Trust and scholar selections, the past year has shown that this dynamic has entered its next logical stage: outright censorship and exclusion of contrarian views and those expressing them,” asserted the spokesman in a Tuesday letter to Conn, obtained by TheDCNF.
Lubrich listed criteria by which he thinks Rhodes’ next warden should be selected, including a stalwart support for the First Amendment, fairness, specifically with regard to the scholarship selection process, independence from political nonprofits, and a track record that does not include serving as a pundit, politician, or activist.
The Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity spokesman asserted that Rhodes House told him he was banned from the forum for abusing other users. But Lubrich believes partisan bias was to blame, suggesting that users are permitted to make left-wing remarks and stay on the forum.
As for the Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity group, Lubrich told TheDCNF that Rhodes House originally did not list the group because the group was comprised of Rhodes alumni and not current “scholars in residence.” But while the group has scholar representation as of November 2017, it is still not listed.
“Western civilization is nothing short of a Machiavellian dream come true, and like a pernicious ivy plan that takes root and strangles everything in its path and creates an illusion that there were no other plants to begin with,” one user wrote on the forum, according to Lubrich. “Western countries have, through generations of military and political manipulation, made the lives for people in the originating countries so unbearable that they have no choice but to try and move.”
Lubrich sent TheDCNF a list of Rhodes Scholars in public office, noting that 10 out of 11 United States politicians from the group are Democrat and all of the Canadian ones are left-leaning.
Rhodes Trust’s partnership with the Atlantic Institute is also demonstrative of the organization’s political bias, according to Lubrich. Rhodes House will work with Atlantic fellows, who work in “equity” programs including a racial equity one aimed at “dismantl[ing] anti-black racism in the US” and an “Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Research” initiative.
Nearly half of the 2017 Rhodes scholars have conducted research on or performed activism for Black Lives matter, climate change, gender-neutral bathrooms, and other left-wing causes. (RELATED: Nearly Half Of The 2017 Rhodes Scholars Are Social Justice Activists)
Conn denied that the Rhodes Trust demonstrates a left-wing bias.
“Your claim that the Rhodes Trust promotes a particular ideology is perplexing and simply wrong,” said the warden to the Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity in a February 2017 letter. Conn made no qualms about supporting social justice, saying “it would seem axiomatic that justice and progress are just as important to the right as the left.”
Conn mentioned Rhodes community retreats in which the organization strives “to have each Scholar find their own
authentic and independent moral perspective, explicitly challenging all orthodoxies, left, right, and the rest.”
“We only list groups run by current Rhodes Scholars in residence at Oxford,” said Babette Tegldal, a spokeswoman for Rhodes, to TheDCNF. “Many of the discussion threads on the Rhodes Scholar ‘intranet’ called the Rhodes Scholar Network relating to Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity were not shut down. Those that were, and the reason that Mr Lubrich is temporarily suspended from the site, is because they violated our Code of Conduct, including ad hominem attacks on other Scholars.”
“Other than calling socialists out as socialists, I did not attack anyone with smears,” Lubrich told TheDCNF. The scholar pointed to instances in which scholars had called him or other members of Rhodes Scholars for Intellectual Diversity xenophobic, selfish, and fascist without being banned.
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