Faculty members from the University of Toronto’s Women and Gender Studies Institute (WGSI) have requested a meeting with the university’s vice-provost to demand that action be taken against professor Jordan Peterson, who has stated his intent to create a website ranking university courses and instructors based on “postmodern neo-Marxian” ideologies included in course content.
“We are writing to express our deep concern about a proposed website being built under the direction of Prof. Jordan Peterson for the purpose of identifying and ranking courses and professors that he advocates should be removed from the university,” read the letter, “This website, if launched, presents a serious case of harassment, fostering unsafe work and study conditions for students, faculty, and staff.”
Peterson has spoken about this digital tool since summer of 2017, recently saying that he hopes to have the site ready by January.
“In public online remarks more broadly, Prof. Peterson regularly describes women and gender studies and what he refers to as ‘racial and ethnic group studies’ as pathological, a cancer, and in other strongly denigrating terms,” the letter also reads, “The launch of this website must be put in this context in order to fully understand it as a platform that will generate harassment.”
Peterson stated his goal to establish the website as a way of “moderating the behavior of the universities.”
“It will tell you the degree to which the description is postmodern and then you can decide for yourself whether you want to take that and become a social justice warrior, if that is what you think your education should be about, or if you should avoid that like the plague that it truly is,” Peterson stated in an interview with Julie Patreon, uploaded on July 3rd of this year, “I would like to knock enrolment in the postmodern disciplines down by 75 per cent over the next five years.”
“I think that what needs to happen is that freshman and second-year university students, and students coming into university from high school, need to be educated about the postmodern cult and they need to be encouraged to not take the courses, to just drop the courses, to just stay the hell away from them,” Peterson stated in a video uploaded on July 9th.
In the same video, Peterson expressed an interest in seeing enrolment in the humanities decline at an increased rate.
The university faculty also expressed concern over the “violence-tinged language to describe the courses he hopes to prevent people from taking” in Peterson’s videos.
On November 10th, the U of T Faculty Association released a statement stating that a meeting with the provost office has been requested.
“Instructors of the potentially targeted courses believe that their autonomy as educators may be under threat. The proposed website has created a climate of fear and intimidation,” the statement reads, “The UTFA Executive has taken the unprecedented step of asking that the entire Executive meet with the Provost’s office to express our deep concern about this threat to our members and to the academic mission of the University.”
As of press time, the provost has not released a statement regarding its intent to meet with faculty from WGSI regarding Peterson, or stated any possible plan to address Peterson’s site.
Peterson has frequently spoken out regarding freedom of speech on the university campuses, has voiced his dislike towards censoring lectures for students, and the current feminism movement.
Peterson has also gained national attention last September after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns in his lectures. Since then, he has taken to uploading videos through YouTube to discuss his views on current social issues and doing guest speeches at public events.