College is a time of experimentation. Not just in the way you’re thinking. It’s a college student’s primary duty to experiment with ideas. There’s no other time in one’s life when he or she will have the opportunity to pick and choose from the marketplace of ideas without the added pressure of “real world” concerns.
Most college students are under the age of twenty-five. These are prime wonder years, when the young man or woman is solidifying the man or woman they will become.
Who moderates that important developmental stage? College professors. These are the scholars, the keepers of knowledge. Professors have already been in the shoes of the student and have made mistakes and advances and are charged not only with teaching biology, but with guiding the student on the path to enlightenment.
PZ Myers isn’t one of those teachers. A professor biology at University of Minnesota’s Morris campus, Dr. Myers is much more prominent in the secular/skeptic community for lobbing rape accusations at pretty much everyone, telling a convention attendee he’s going to have sex with her and his less-than-friendly rhetoric.
On January 12, 2015, Dr. Myers published a blog post entitled, “A police report,” in which he links an official document related to charges that Professor PZ defaced copies of a student newspaper because he didn’t like what these students had to say. The grown-up, a man on the wrong end of middle age, has been engaged in a long and protracted battle with students at his university.
He claimed the college students on the NorthStar staff were guilty of “race baiting.”
He called the college students on the NorthStar staff “right-wing” “wackaloons who hate equal opportunity laws.”
He made the national news when dozens of copies of the NorthStar were defaced only days after PZ, a man who has ostensibly been a grownup since before the first Space Shuttle flight, were treated like “trash” in the manner he advised.
In “A police report,” Dr. Myers includes a link to the official police report related to the destruction of the student property. Essentially, the fine University Police investigated the crime and got a handwriting sample from PZ, but financial concerns prevented the sample from being analyzed.
Now, police reports are all well and good. Unlike Dr. Myers, who prefers to accuse men of serial rape on his blog instead of calling the authorities, I appreciate the calm objectivity of a real police investigation. Just one thing:
PZ didn’t redact the name or date of birth of the student in the document:
Sure, the police report is an official legal document and the student’s name needn’t be redacted by law. (Although I will point out that PZ is fully in favor of rape shield laws.) But here’s what PZ Myers, a man who has two grown children of his own, doesn’t understand: it’s not his job as a professor to police the students of his campus. He has violated the sacred bond between possessor and seeker of knowledge. College is supposed to be a safe space. Students are meant to come up with ideas they later choose to cast away like a pin-pulled grenade. That safe space is an incubator in which you should be allowed to make mistakes without an authority figure smacking you down in front of an audience as broken as you will find at Pharyngula.
If PZ reads this entheta, I implore him to look into his heart. To remember his years of undergraduate toil and how much he changed. Heck, PZ Myers has changed in only the past few years. Only last week, a poster surreptitiously copy/pasted Myers’s own comments onto PZ’s blog. Many in his commentariat called Pretend PZ an “islamophobe.” When the ruse was uncovered, one Pharyngulite bragged about how PZ had changed and, in a somewhat incoherent response, PZ seemed to intimate that his ideas had evolved.
PZ had a duty to let the named student and those who create the NorthStar to change and evolve in a safe space. PZ failed that duty.