Portland State University president Wim Wiewel recently publicly denounced a resolution introduced to the student senate of the Associated Students of PSU calling on the university to divest any holdings in Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. Here is a link to Wiewel’s comments https://voxprez.com/ and here is a response from Occupation-Free Portland.
Imagine if Wiewel’s views of divisiveness and discomfort became the gold standard for academia: True scientific inquiry would come to a halt, because it would be uncomfortable for an academic to have their papers and research challenged and critiqued by colleagues; teachers would have to stop correcting student’s work because students might feel unsafe; civil rights and social justice movements would halt because they are divisive and would make people uncomfortable. Universities would still be segregated. South Africa would still be under apartheid. Free expression of political speech itself would end on college campuses.
Wiewel contends that the resolution introduced dictates opinion. This is false and an affront to the democratic process of student government. The resolution was introduced to the Senate and after due deliberation was voted on. It has passed the first reading by a democratic vote of the Senate and will continue on to a second reading for further deliberation and a final vote. Mr. Wiewel, this is called democracy. What you are attempting to teach students is, yes, you can have your democracy except when it comes to discussing human rights violations against Palestinians. This certainly fits the bill for teaching students the current zeitgeist of our political elites but is not about teaching real democracy.