This piece reflects the views of Executive Board of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected]
The elected leadership of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation unequivocally condemns the University’s hosting of Cabot Phillips’s “Liberal Privilege” tour. For over forty years, the GTFF has committed itself to fostering an environment of academic freedom, rigorous debate, and the life of the mind for graduate employees and the wider campus community. Phillips and his associated organizations “Campus Reform” and “Turning Point USA” are only interested in cheap political theater at the expense of UO’s students and employees, not good-faith exploration of political ideas.
The actions of these groups belie their supposed commitment to free speech and open debate. They frequently harass those they view as political opponents through a strategy known as “doxing” where menacing phone calls, online interactions, and threats are delivered to those who openly oppose them. Moreover, these groups developed the “professor watch list” – an online database listing professors whose courses cover topics and include readings that challenge the political and economic orthodoxy of Turning Point and Campus Reform. Students who attempt to debate in the open with these groups, either at their speaking or campus tabling events, are shouted down, video-recorded, and then posted online without their consent for the amusement of their supporters. Students and the universities these groups visit, in other words, are made into humiliating props to bolster these groups’ political agenda.
Phillips and his associated groups claim to simply advocate for free speech and challenging academic norms, but in reality, they are only on our campus to intimidate and harass members of the UO community, especially members of marginalized groups, for their own political purposes.
Instead of Phillips’s talk, we encourage UO community members to attend the free showing of the film “Sorry to Bother You” on Friday, November 16th at 7pm in Straub 145, sponsored by UO Student Labor Action Project (SLAP) and UO Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA).
The Executive Board of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation