BREAKING: RIT professors don’t give a shit about your ‘Radical Professor Watchlist’

An email sent out today urged professors to self-nominate

Professors standing up for beliefs that threaten the ideologies of Conservatives are being placed on Professor Watchlist. The site strives to expose professors on campuses nationwide who push these radical ideas in the classroom. Assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy Lawrence Torcello is on this list. According to the site, Torcello’s offense is believing “that scientists who deny climate change should be jailed for criminal negligence.” This claim is then supported by a link to a Breitbart article instead of Torcello’s original article. Torcello is the only RIT professor featured on the site, but administration has plans to change that.

In an email sent out to faculty and staff of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Katie Terezakis of the Department of Philosophy urged the community to take action against this website and the hostility it may warrant to professors by nominating others to be on the list. Doing so would serve as “an act of solidarity that tenured and senior faculty can undertake on behalf of more vulnerable faculty who have been or could be targeted,” says Terezakis.

In another email sent the same day, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts James Winebrake, PhD stood behind the academic freedom of RIT’s faculty. He reminds faculty of his support and adherence of the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct which states, “As an administrator, I will defend my students, faculty, and non-academic staff. I will not allow the expulsion, firing, harassment, or marginalization of individuals targeted for being members of disfavored groups or for expressing dangerous opinions. I will speak up for academic freedom. I will insist on the autonomy of my institution.”

At an institute where innovation and creativity are hailed, RIT faculty stand by the “radical agendas” being pushed in the lecture hall. We are a community constantly challenged to grow outside of our comfort zone. In his post-election address, President Destler affirms this when he says, “Each year, I tell prospective students that if they are afraid to immerse themselves in a community of students, staff, and faculty from widely different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and religions, then RIT is not the place for them.”

As word spreads about the lists, more professors eagerly wait to be added. Instead of viewing this list as a threat, our community is using it as something to be proud of. As a student, I personally can’t wait to see them on it.

Rochester Institute of Technology