When a college or university invites a speaker who challenges the preconceived notions of the student body (or some small part of it) there may be trouble. Campuses once known for their willing to allow free speech are now functioning as echo changes where even the most well accepted scientific principles can wreck havoc on students’ fragile minds.
Consider this case from Portland State. It happened when James Damore came to talk about diversity at his former employer, Google. That alone was going to draw the opposition. Damore, though, wasn’t the one who caused the most disruption. It was a woman, a biologist, who talked about some basic distinctions common in men and women.
Sexual dimorphism, as these differences are collectively known, is easy enough to understand. The well accepted scientific principal is characterized by distinct difference in size or appearance between the sexes, and the more familiar difference between the sexual organs. This is easy enough to see in birds, for example, where the males and females are often completely different colors. In humans, though the fact is capable of inciting violence.
That’s what’s happening at Portland State University after a student group invited former Google engineer James Damore to speak on campus about diversity. Damore had the spotlight shine on him after he got fired over a 10-page Google memo he wrote criticizing the company’s internal gender diversity policies and accusing the tech giant of “alienating conservatives.”
Dr. Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist, began talking about some differences between men and women. She even acknowledged that it struck her as odd to have to defend this notion that men and women are different.
As she spoke of differences in height and muscle mass, a few students stood and voiced their protest. Though there were not many, the students caused a scene. One went to the PA system and threw it from the table. The sound for the event was cut as a result of the damage.
“Event organizer, Andy Ngo, knew there would be controversy, but didn’t expect to become a target of the sometimes-violent and virulently leftwing Antifa group,” Fox reports.
As the protestor was being detained, she threw around the usual rhetoric. “Even the women in there have been brainwashed!” she explains. Others hurled insults at the police, and threw around terms like “fascists” and “Nazis.”
Protest flyers for the event read: “We have to work together to show James Damore and the PSU Freethinkers that they can’t get away with dressing up bigotry and calling it science.”
Portland State, in an attempt to make everyone happy, set up three different alternative events.
Portland State spokesman, Chris Broderick, told Fox the university itself stands opposed to Damore’s “ideas as sexist stereotypes.”
Damore, for his part, feels like his comments have been misconstrued. The memo he wrote about men and women working at Goolge got him fired.
“They’re worsening the divisions and generating outrage by misrepresenting what I’ve said,” Damore said. “I encourage any students to actually read what I’ve written, watch my interviews, and come to my event with questions and an open mind.”
“How many people who are upset about the memo have actually read the memo?” Peter Boghossian, the professor hosting the event told Fox News. “When we’re not willing to discuss difficult, complex issues, extremists step in with solutions.”