September 21, 2021

A professor has had enough of the “woke” pressure at NC State University and filed a lawsuit against the university’s Board of Trustees and key university leaders in federal court.

Stephen Porter is a professor of higher education in the NCSU College of Education.  He claims in a 27-page lawsuit filed September 14 that he has been excluded from departmental programs and activities because of statements that he’s made about societal issues.  He claims that the actions against him are “effectively hollowing his job out from the inside.”  The lawsuit states “they have done this in a deliberate effort to set the stage for his eventual termination.”

Porter, a tenured professor since 2011, claims the departmental leadership “limited his involvement with Ph.D candidates” and “barred him” from university functions.

According to the Triangle Business Journal article, “Porter claims it’s all in response to his outspoken take that the field of higher education ‘is abandoning rigorous methodological analysis in favor of results-driven work aimed at furthering a highly dogmatic view of ‘diversity,’ ‘equity,’ and ‘inclusion.’’ He claims that he was labeled a ‘bully’ after questioning recruitment methodology, and that his critics falsely equated his ideology with ‘racism, misogyny or worse.’”

After hearing of the recent Nikole Hannah-Jones debacle at UNC, you may have thought UNC-Chapel Hill was the only state institution of higher learning where liberalism was running amok.

It appears “woke” is alive and well down Tobacco Road at NCSU as well.  In fact, we’re pretty sure the deeper you dig into all our state colleges, you would find evidence of wokeness choking the life out of academic freedom on our college campuses.  Where professors live in fear of holding onto their jobs and positions, and where students are threatened by peer isolation and bad grades from professors.

What is so weird about all this is that back in the 1960s and ‘70s, the hue and cry from liberals was for “academic freedom” and the right to say whatever they believed.  These days, it’s the liberals who are working to quash free speech and force people and businesses who don’t believe like they do to suffer through the cancel culture.

The story of Professor Porter’s lawsuit will be fascinating as we watch and see how NCSU handles this situation.  Will they attempt the contortionary efforts the UNC administration and Board of Trustees went through and bend-over-backwards to appease the liberal education department leadership like UNC did in the Hannah-Jones case?

It seems like our state colleges and universities – paid for by North Carolina taxpayers like you and me – should strive to have a balance of liberal and conservative viewpoints being taught in the classroom, or at least work for a goal of staying neutral.  There’s certainly no place for woke coercion like we’re seeing at the university level and in our state’s public school systems where teachers and principals fear for their jobs.

Mr. Porter wrote a blogpost with a title “When the woke mob comes for you, stand up and fight back!” that details some of the actions taken against him by his superiors.

We’re seeing more and more courageous parents and teachers all over the country stand up to the liberal establishment – as school boards and parent groups question how their children are being forced to accept Critical Race Theory teaching principles that are creating division and hostility in public schools.

As we see the Taliban rush to crush freedoms once again in Afghanistan, we are reminded how precious those rights are here in our country.  Let’s hope that those working to stifle academic freedom and freedom of expression will be exposed, and that common sense and the liberties we have worked for over 200 years to protect will prevail in all levels of public education in our state.