Academics are increasingly fearful of speaking out against intolerant political ideology. Coordinated action is needed to counter the threats to academic freedom driven by extreme policies of diversity, inclusion and equity. To this end, scholars are now collecting contributions from academics around the world to illustrate their experiences of these problem.
On the popular view, there are fewer female than male professors because women’s qualifications weigh lighter than men’s. Yet, according to a striking new study from Umeå University in Sweden the situation is very much the opposite: in the period 2009-2014, new male professors in medicine had 64 percent more publications and no less than 260 percent more citations than new female professors. The study was rejected by five journals without refereeing for being considered, among other things, “inappropriate”, until it was finally published after peer-review in the journal Studies in Higher Education.
Bringing up sensitive themes in order to challenge inherent notions and values in preparation for work as a psychologist seems no longer possible at Lund University. Dr. Johan Grant learned this when he was removed from teaching a course as a result of complaints from several female students who felt offended by the tuition, some reacting with depression and anxiety. In an unusual move, Grant has reported himself for “harrassment or discrimination against students” in order to spark an investigation into the leadership’s handling of the case.
According to leading sociological research, Sweden is likely the most feminine country in the world. In the past, universities have been male-dominated, but with increased female participation we now witness a far-reaching feminization of the culture at f higher education institutions. Academic Rights Watch’s Erik J. Olsson explains why this development is now the most urgent threat to academic freedom in Sweden.
As a male candidate you are welcome to apply for a position as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. However, internal documents tell another story: the faculty only provides the necessary funding for the position if a woman is to receive it. If a male applicant is about to get the position, the appointment is canceled. Then the department can make a new attempt to get a woman by advertising a new position, and so on. One of the faculty’s researchers has reported the obviously discriminatory scheme to the Equality Ombudsman, who is now investigating the case.
Swedish academic watchdog Academic Rights Watch has documented many cases where teachers’ and students’ right to freedom of speech has been questioned by university managements and others, which has led to severe conflicts and has probably had a chilling effect on the discussion climate. We now urge all Swedish colleges, universities, student organizations, trade unions and other bodies linked to higher education to adopt the so-called Chicago Statement for maximum freedom of expression on campus.
Academic Rights Watch marvels at a recent expert opinion from The University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm where male applicants for a professorship in Visual Communication are marginalized as a group because their art is considered masculine. We caution that the requirements of norm criticism and norm creativity on the part of the holder of the professorship in practice discriminate against men.
Sweden’s prominent academic watchdog now joins leading academics in supporting Dr Peter Boghossian following Portland State University’s decision to open an investigation into research misconduct relating to the so-called Grievance Studies Affair. Boghossian and his colleagues submitted several hoax papers that successfully exposed weaknesses in the refereeing and publication practices of a number of journals focusing on race, gender, fat and sexuality studies.
Concluding, based on empirical findings, that there are differences in intelligence between individuals and groups is not permissible in educational research in Sweden, a country known for its egalitarian policies. Distinguished American professor Linda Gottfredson was originally invited to give a keynote lecture at a pedagogy conference in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Yet, before the conference was about to take place in October this year, she received the message that she had been “uninvited” following protests from other researchers arguing that Gottfredson’s non-egalitarian conclusions contradict the organizer’s ethical standard.
In order to prevent students from feeling discriminated the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University has decided to introduce a long list of gender controls in its education programme for the medical profession. One requirement states that teachers must use the “correct” gender terminology. These actions follow a student criticizing renowned professor Germund Hesslow’s course on biological sex differences for conflicting with the university’s discrimination and equal treatment policies. Hesslow has refused to comply with the new speech regulations, making his case parallel to the conflict between Jordan B. Peterson and Canada.
Academic Rights Watch has received an audio recording suggesting that students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm do not have the right to free speech, following a student being accused of harassment for sharing statistics about sex offenders among immigrants. Academic Rights Watch concludes that the university has failed to live up to constitutional and academic standards.
If you are considering a future professorship at the prestigious Swedish University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, you should already start thinking about the political direction of your work. This is signaled by a recent appointment of a professorship in visual communication. One applicant, who is already a professor in the subject in Germany, was deemed not sufficiently “norm critical” for the position. ARW warns for the politicization resulting from the University’s policy to require norm criticism, in a narrow sense, from applicants to academic positions, which favors candidates with a certain political orientation.
Can universities force teachers to use some texts rather than others in the reading list to their own courses? The question arises following the introduction of female author gender quotas at a department at Lund University, Sweden. At least 40% of the course literature should according to department rules be written by female authors. The policy has stunned international observers who are now questioning the health of Swedish academia.
Swedish academics need support from the international community at a time when their academic rights and social function are being questioned in their home country. Therefore, Academic Rights Watch, a Swedish watchdog, now launches an international site with a selection of cases where academics have had their rights violated. The first posting addresses the case of Senior Lecturer Johan Lundberg at Stockholm University, who was denied promotion to full professor after his criticism of identity politics and postmodernism.
Overruling the recommendations of independent referees, Stockholm University recently declined Johan Lundberg’s application for promotion to Full Professor. A noted public intellectual, Associate Professor Lundberg had, in a series of books and articles, criticized identity politics and postmodernist ideas. The university’s decision, which commentators perceive as being ideologically motivated, has put Swedish academia in a state of dismay.