Bioethicist Alice Dreger, who has recently written about the history of political intrusion into science, and has faced considerable flak for her own work was interviewed by evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad this week (on “The Saad Truth”). Here’s the video:
Around the 20:00 mark she gets to the nexus of university branding and student activism:
I think we have this toxic combination where you’ve got this sea of political correctness but in addition to that that we’ve got administrators who are not really scholars. There are business people increasingly at universities. And as a consequence, how do they think? They think in a corporate mentality that doesn’t value academic freedom because academic freedom is not monetizable. Academic freedom doesn’t produce money. In fact, it sometimes gets in the way of money production because it causes kerfuffles, so what you’ve got with this obsession is with the brand, which all the universities now have. It is the concept of staying on message and having one message. Academic freedom by its nature cannot be about a single message. It has to be about messages that are diverse, in contradiction, uncomfortable, dangerous. So the problem is we have administrator who don’t have what we value, which is the idea of going wherever the data takes you.
What we’ve got is the idea of dangerous administrators combined with students and some faculty who are seeking to shut us up if what we say makes them uncomfortable, And the administrators are perfectly happy to use those people as an excuse to shut the rest of us down. They’re perfectly happy to take the Leftists and take corporate values and say “Oh you’re upsetting people who are marginalized historically, and you can’t upset those people’. So it’s really a toxic combination of money and progressivism.
She also talks about how she uncovered shoddy research that purported to counter Michael Bailey’s scientific work on transgenderism, and how she received threats from people who found her work unpalatable. She also describes how Northwestern University, which historically defended her academic freedom, recently made a censorial decision that caused her to resign her academic post.