Education

Portland State Professor Assails University President’s Social Justice Message

(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
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Peter Boghossian, an assistant philosophy professor at Portland State University (PSU), lambasted PSU’s president in a series of social media posts over social justice issues and the school’s priorities.

In an email sent to the entire university community that Boghossian shared on Twitter, PSU President Stephen Percy wrote that his “highest priority is sustaining and amplifying our commitment to social justice.”

Boghossian asked why Percy, a white male, doesn’t “resign and offer [his] position to a black person.”

“There are real true believers in this ideology. This is a genuine question if he believes this,” Boghossian said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “Why hire another white dean? Every person should ask that.”

He continued, “What is the highest purpose of a public institution? It is incumbent on people to explain why racial equity is the highest priority.”

On social media, Boghossian pointed to other concerns that he felt the president should be addressing instead.

PSU raised tuition approximately five percent before the start of the 2020-21 school year. The university was left cash-strapped in part by a severance package of $855,000 in pay and other benefits offered to Percy’s predecessor, Rahmat Shoureshi, Oregon Live reported in 2019. (RELATED: Schatz: Blame ‘Free’ Tuition Programs For Rising College Costs)

The school was the site of a November riot in which vandals broke windows at PSU’s Public Safety Office and a nearby Starbucks, ABC 2 reported. Two people were arrested during the protest, which was ostensibly about racial equity issues.

Portland State already employs a Bias Review Team whose job it is to respond to “beliefs or assumptions about a group or individual’s identity that negatively impact… behaviors and perceptions.”

The team spent 2018 and 2019 addressing jokes made on campus that offended students, the College Fix reported.

Percy, formerly a public policy professor, has written two books on disability advocacy, according to his university profile.

Known for his role in the Grievance Studies hoax, which exposed poor scholarship in critical humanities studies, Boghossian has clashed with Portland State administrators before. He was investigated in 2019 by PSU for committing ethical violations as part of the hoax.