A university program director was forced to resign from his post over a Facebook comment which caused outrage among anti-Trump students on campus.
Following a student protest at the University of Rochester in upstate New York, a program director made an arguably pro-Trump joke and the students pounced on him. The protest had a “Not My America” theme, so Ted Pawlicki quipped, “A bus ticket from Rochester to Canada is $16. If this is not your America, then I will pay for your ticket if you promise never to come back.”
Pawlicki, who until Friday served as undergraduate program director in the Department of Computer Science, posted the comment on a #NotMyAmerica Facebook page associated with the protest. Shortly after the program director posted the comment, the student Caleb Krieg responded, “I have reported this as a bias incident report.”
— PARKER ZACK (@PARKERzack) November 11, 2016
“This is why women and minorities don’t feel welcome in the computer science department,” wrote another student, Bethany Gardner. Pawlicki had not made any reference to race or sex in his comment, and this response reveals more bias from the student than from the professor.
“It was intended to be humorous, actually,” Pawlicki told the Democrat and Chronicle. “Moving to Canada (in reaction to presidential election outcomes) has been a joke since the Reagan administration. I didn’t intend it to be malicious, certainly. I don’t think there’s anything malicious about it, either.” After all, the party was themed “Not My America,” so it is reasonable to play off that theme.
— CITY Newspaper (@roccitynews) November 11, 2016
Nevertheless, facing pressure, Pawlicki issued an apology letter. “I apologize for my Facebook post of Thursday, November 10th. Those remarks were ill-considered and I deeply regret any and all hurt they occasioned,” the professor wrote. He insisted that his opinions on Facebook only represented him and not the University of Rochester. “Please also be assured that I am absolutely dedicated to the equality of all people.”
On Friday, he stepped down. “After reflecting on the impact my remarks have had on students, and following consultation with Dr. Wendi Heinzelman, Dean of Hajim School, and Dr. Sandhya Dwarkadas, Chair of Computer Science, I have decided to step down from the position of Undergraduate Program Director for Computer Science,” he wrote in an email statement.
Pawlicki had directed the program for 18 years, and he told the Democrat and Chronicle “I love the job.” He will continue in his role as a senior lecturer, an untenured teaching faculty position.
This forced resignation proves particularly ironic, as it follows the unforgivable sin of a joke that took the students’ slogans seriously. Many celebrities had promised to move to Canada were Trump to win (and failed to fulfill their promises, alas), and it should not constitute hate speech to acknowledge this cultural tidbit.
Next Page: Did the “safe space” bullies accept his apology? Prepare to be disappointed.
Even apologizing and stepping down did not appease the “safe space” bullies. “Whether or not it was a joke, his comment was insensitive and crass,” senior Som Liengtiraphan, president of the UR chapter of Women in Computing, told the Campus Times. “As a professor, your duty is to promote a welcoming learning environment and tolerance of difference between all your students. His comment only caused polarization and disparity.” How his comment caused “disparity” is anyone’s guess.
Senior Lance Floto, computer science major and vice president of the Students’ Association, proved thoroughly unimpressed. “As far as his apology, I don’t find it genuine,” Floto told the Campus Times. “It appears to be a reaction to the backlash he has received from his recent post.”
So not only will the all-powerful student bullies pressure you to step down for merely making a joke, they will also judge your intentions. How is this not a political correctness inquisition?
Sadly, this campus culture of intolerance is all too common, and it is often racially tinged. At the University of California-Berkeley, students formed a human wall to keep white people from crossing a bridge. For RA training, the State University of Binghamton (also in New York state) hosted an event called “Stop White People.” A group of “people of color” students at the Claremont Colleges specifically tried to prevent getting any white roommates. A high school teacher recently told students that “to be white is to be racist, period.”
Indeed, liberal ideology has pushed campus politics to absurd dimensions: some students have rejected science in favor of “witchcraft” (the student’s own words), others called conservative students white supremacists merely because they disagreed with “safe spaces.” In fact, some liberals are advocating for racial diversity — in the outdoors.
Other professors have also faced sanction for their heinous acts of free speech. One University of Virginia professor was suspended — also for a Facebook comment.
With political correctness this bad on college campuses, is it any wonder that Donald Trump’s attacks against it took hold? Would the alt-right exist without the nasty racial undertones in how American students are taught to blame white Americans for slavery, an institution older than history and only first eradicated by European Christians?
And now, another professor has lost his position — because of one joking Facebook comment. Seriously, if these students can’t take a look in the mirror and laugh from time to time, something is very wrong with them.