A professor who criticized “woke dysphoria” at his school and its search for a new president has been suspended.
Dr. Gregory Schulz, a professor at Concordia College in Wisconsin, wrote in a February 14 article at Christian News that “My Concordia university is experiencing dysphoria because it is coming under the influence of Woke-ism (that is, a potent cocktail of Progressivism, Neo-Pragmatism, and Marxism).” Schulz, who was at one point a candidate to be Concordia’s next president, also criticized the school “for allegedly prioritizing candidates who support diversity, equity, inclusion and critical race theory ideology,” The College Fix reported.
Schulz wrote that those working to select the new president “have been publicly announcing their determination to have a president who exhibits a ‘demonstrated belief in and commitment to equity and inclusion.’” He added that this committee has also expressed they want a candidate “who promotes racialized ‘diversity in all its myriad forms.”
Dan Lennington of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), Schulz’s attorney, told the Fix that “The University has asked that Dr. Schulz ‘recant’ his views and apologize for offending University officials, which he is unwilling to do.”
Schulz was then suspended, Lennington told the outlet.
“It is our understanding that the University suspended Dr. [Gregory] Schulz for his public criticism of the search for a new president and the overall direction of the university,” Lennington said.
On February 24, Concordia Interim President William Cario released a statement confirming Schulz had been suspended without explaining why.
“Last week I took the painful action of suspending one of our employees,” Cario said. “Despite my effort to meet with the individual outside of class time to discuss the situation using biblical principles as outlined in Matthew 18, my request was rejected.”
“The employee was suspended with full pay and benefits pending appropriate due process within our church system and the legal system,” Cario added.
Lisa Liljegren, a spokesperson for Concordia, gave the Fix an additional statement regarding the search for a new permanent president.
“The Board has been clear that the ideal candidate will: be a person of deep faith, humble and devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ and God’s Word; winsome and fervent in their confession of the doctrine of the Lutheran Church,” the statement said, adding that the new president “will possess extraordinary intellectual curiosity and theological acumen.”
Prominent free speech groups have spoken out against Schulz’s punishment, including the Academic Freedom Alliance, which said in a letter written by Princeton professor Keith Whittington that the punishment “would have a profound chilling effect on open discourse by professors on this campus and through the Concordia University system.” This punishment “would damage the university’s ability to operate as an institution of higher education.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) added that “Administrators should not suppress criticism from faculty, but should welcome it as a potentially valuable source of feedback on institutional policies and culture.”
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