A medical college president canceled an event featuring speakers critical of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) after students and faculty members wrote a letter opposing the event, according to documents obtained by National Association of Scholars’ (NAS) Director of University Policy John Sailer.
The Wisconsin Association of Scholars, a branch of NAS, were scheduled to host a symposium titled “Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Medicine and the Sciences: Uses and Abuses” on May 12 at the Medical College of Wisconsin that featured a speaker panel including Sailer, Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Republican state Rep. Dave Murphy, according to Sailer’s Twitter thread. College president John Raymond sent a letter on Thursday announcing he had “decided to rescind the use of [the college’s] facilities” because discussions about the event became “unacceptably disruptive.” (RELATED: Author Cancels Campus Speech On Identity Politics To Avoid ‘Angry Mob’)
“A fundamental purpose of a university is to facilitate the exchange of ideas, even when those ideas challenge our cherished values or are offensive to members of our university community. However, the exchange of ideas should not disrupt the core functions of a university or jeopardize the safety of our MCW community,” Raymond wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Sailer. “While I have decided to rescind the use of our facilities for the symposium, I am retaining the possibility to allow the symposium or a similar event to be held at MCW in the future under less disruptive conditions.”
NEW: On May 12, I was going to speak on DEI at the Medical College of Wisconsin, alongside Sen. Ron Johnson and State Rep. Dave Murphy.
Last night, the president of the college announced he has “rescind the use” of the its facilities for the event, citing disruptions and safety. pic.twitter.com/bSgbBQvjUn
— John Sailer (@JohnDSailer) May 5, 2023
Raymond claimed his decision was not impacted by the speakers’ viewpoints. A letter sent to Raymond by critics of the symposium cited Sailer’s “focus on denouncing DEI initiatives in academics” as well as the association’s “mission” to “unveil the ‘degrading influence of woke ideology,'” according to a copy obtained by Sailer.
Sen. Johnson intended to discuss “the censorship during Covid of early treatment and vaccine injuries,” he told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Our colleges and universities should be bastions of free speech and diversity of thought,” Johnson told the DCNF. “Students should be able to freely explore different concepts, ideas, and worldviews so they are equipped to lead successful lives inside a free and open society. Instead, higher education has increasingly devolved into institutions of intolerance, conformist bullying, and intellectual tyranny.”
Rep. Murphy, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Colleges and Universities, was “surprised” that the college “would have so much backlash that they couldn’t, or felt like they couldn’t, uphold free speech rights,” he told the DCNF.
“My disappointment almost leaves me speechless,” he said.
“MCW will continue to identify opportunities for our faculty, staff, learners, elected officials, and the community to be a part of a meaningful and constructive exchange of ideas guided by principles based on inclusion and respect,” a Medical College of Wisconsin spokesperson told the DCNF.
Sailer and Wisconsin Association of Scholars did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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