For more than 30 years, the critic Camille Paglia has taught at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Now a faction of art-school censors wants her fired for sharing wrong opinions on matters of sex, gender identity, and sexual assault.
“Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color,” an online petition declares. “If, due to tenure, it is absolutely illegal to remove her, then the University must at least offer alternate sections of the classes she teaches, instead taught by professors who respect transgender students and survivors of sexual assault.” Regardless, the students behind the petition want her banned from holding speaking events or selling books on campus. In their telling, her ideas “are not merely ‘controversial,’ they are dangerous.”
Others believe that the student activists are trying to set a dangerous precedent that would undermine freedom of expression and free academic inquiry. “The effort to remove her for expressing her *opinions* strikes me as political correctness run amuck,” a faculty member emailed. “Instead of discussing and debating, they attempt to shame and destroy. This is pure tribalism. It is exactly what Donald Trump does when he encounters something he doesn’t like.” Most at the institution seem to hold positions somewhere in between.
In Paglia’s first book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, she describes sex and nature as “brutal, daemonic” forces, “criticizes feminists for sentimentality or wishful thinking about the causes of rape, violence, and poor relations between the sexes,” and roots sex differences in biology. Seven publishers rejected the book before Yale University Press bought it in 1990; Sexual Personae was then savaged by feminist critics on the way to becoming an unexpected, 700-page best seller. And it sparked a national debate about art, history, gender, ideas that offend, free inquiry, and political correctness.To read Friedersdorf's entire article, click HERE.