Melbourne-based Rita Panahi has issued fiery comments in response to a recent Cambridge University tweet, claiming that the over 800-year-old educational institution is “no bastion of free speech”.
Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi has taken a dig at Cambridge University after it praised its support of free speech, recalling the university’s handling of Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson’s invitation in 2019.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) June 24, 2020
“You defend racists on your staff & blacklist critical thinkers like @jordanbpeterson”, Panahi fumed posting a link to The Guardian story about how Peterson’s invitation to lecture at Cambridge was rescinded last year. “You are no bastion of free speech”, Panahi voiced her verdict. Many more have echoed the stance, recalling the same instance, after the university tweeted its unconditional defence for “the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions which others might find controversial”.
Anyone who wants to cancel Jordan Peterson has either never listened to him or is too stupid to understand him.
— Shelby Wright-Mate (@montyfire247) June 24, 2020
“If even Cambridge has reached this level of stupidity, it’s safe to say that UK universities are a lost cause”, one said, with another posting: “Cowards, they don’t deserve Jordan Peterson”. One even told his own story of a personal encounter with the professor in response, saying it was a “blessing”:
How wicked! Jordan Peterson has been through hell and back in the past year. I was at my SDM next door and was lined up and guess who was in front of me? He was so kind! It didn’t sink in until he drove away and waved and someone said yeah he was in town? Blessing.
— Cindy (@EnglandRose5) June 25, 2020
Exiled researcher Noah Carl also came to some people’s minds. In 2019, Carl, a newly appointed junior researcher at the time, was sacked from Cambridge after students and staff said that his writings on race and intelligence helped “legitimise racist stereotypes”.
@NoahCarl90 comes to mind too
— Squirrel🐿️ (@SJPSquirrel) June 25, 2020
A special investigation panel appointed by the college that employed him dealt with the complaints and ruled Carl “had put a body of work into the public domain that did not comply with established criteria for research ethics and integrity”.
That same year Professor Peterson was awarded a visiting fellowship by Cambridge before having it revoked in April.
The psychologist accused Cambridge of being “unprofessional” after he found out he was being stripped of his fellowship as a result of complaints from the student union. Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who has been widely deemed as a life guru, made headlines with his YouTube videos a few years ago after criticising Canadian legislation stipulating the use of gender-neutral pronouns in relation to people who do not strictly identify with binary categories like men or women. He argued at the time that such legislation infringed upon his personal right to free speech.
Many have knocked Peterson’s conservative position, as the professor has argued for enforced monogamy, the view that men are victims of gender discrimination, etc. However, the position also appeared to strike a chord with quite a lot of people, who are now looking forward for his new book “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life”, a follow-up to the first one, which is to hit bookstores soon.