Fighting back against the cancel culture

Professor denounced by colleagues after sharing his differing views

It will take the strength of those being attacked to put an end to the “cancel culture” in our society, according to a university professor who says he was targeted himself.

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Cornell University Clinical Law professor William Jacobson told FOX Business' Gerry Baker on "WSJ at Large" people need to stand up to the pressure from those who try to silence and humiliate them for taking positions that don’t align with the “progressive” agenda.

“What we have to recognize is that you can’t just view things at the surface,” he argued. “The people speaking out don’t necessarily represent the majority of people. And therefore we need to gear our efforts towards emboldening people who are silenced to feel comfortable in speaking up.”

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Jacobson, who is also the founder of the Legal Insurrection website, says he’s facing pressure after posting two blogs last month, one related to the shooting of Michael Brown and the other on the recent riots following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

“The first thing that happened was an alumni campaign to get me fired,” he said. “I then was denounced by 21 of my colleagues in a public letter basically accusing me of supporting institutional racism and police violence. I was denounced by the dean of the law school as my writings being not consistent with Cornell Law School values. And over a dozen student groups have organized a boycott of my course ... and they’ve called on all other students to boycott my course.”

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Jacobson said he’s been advised by the dean that he has academic freedom and won’t be fired. And he notes that while he’s received no support from the other faculty members, he has gotten backing by many students.

“[Students] have emailed me and said I have a lot of quiet support in the building,” he noted. “But everyone is afraid to speak up.”

So what does he think it will take for those facing the so-called “mob” to push back?

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“I don’t have a magic answer to that,” he explained. “But I think shedding a light is the first step. But it’s a real problem in institutions like in academia, which are overwhelmingly controlled by one political ideology -- which is liberalism, leftism, whatever you want to call it - -but it’s almost a uniformity of opinion and that’s at the heart of the problem.”

But Jacobson thinks it won’t be easy to reverse the current situation in colleges.

“Until we diversify the ideological foundation of academia, we’re not going to change this cancel culture on campus,” he said.

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