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Most of the article was spent addressing cases that weren’t in the film, rather than addressing what was in the film. The author also claims that “professors, administrators and students say the national picture is far more complicated than that pictured in ‘Indoctrinate U,’” although I don’t know how they could know that, because none of those people actually saw the film.
One of the examples cited in the article (but not the film) was the case of a student paper published by Vassar’s Moderate, Independent and Conservative Student Alliance. It was an odd selection of cases if the point was to argue that there’s more “nuance” to reality than what is shown in Indoctrinate U, because a close inspection of this case shows that it actually backs up the thesis of my film.
The paper was de-funded and shut down for a year after publishing a piece criticizing the school’s funding of special “social centers” for minority and gay students. But because the paper was eventually allowed to start publishing again—the following year—the Vassar case is presented as one in which “[u]ltimately, free speech was respected.”
Sorry, but shutting down a paper for a year is not a benign event, and it is certainly not one in which we can say “free speech was respected.” If Homeland Security shut down the Times for a year after exposing ways that we track terrorist financing, I’m sure they’d understand my position on this.
Rather than address the multiple cases in the film where people were told to see school psychologists because they had the wrong set of views, rather than address the fact that people’s academic careers were put in jeopardy for things like being registered in the “wrong” political party, this piece ignores the evidence presented in the film to set up an alternative straw man to knock down.
And when the author finally gets around to discussing cases that are actually in the film, he minimizes them by leaving out the most vital information.
One student, he says, “underwent a daylong disciplinary hearing for posting a flier.” Actually, that student had the police called on him, he was ordered to see a psychologist, he was questioned by an attorney without being allowed to have one of his own, he was threatened with expulsion, and he was “convicted” by the university for an offense that they couldn’t even define when asked.
The student’s crime? Posting a flyer which promoted an upcoming speech by an author named Mason Weaver. It merely had a picture of him, the title of his book, and the date, time and location of the event. Yet university regarded the flyers as “literature of an offensive racial nature,” and used it to railroad a student whose views they didn’t like. This case lasted 18 months and ended up in federal court before the student finally prevailed.
I think all that amounts to a tad more than “a daylong disciplinary hearing.”
To be honest, I expected worse treatment from the Times. And being written about in the Times—even negatively—is probably better than being ignored, so on the whole, I’m happy that this piece ran.
But I just wish the author addressed cases that I actually covered in the film, rather than ones I didn’t.