Open Letter Against Feminist Censorship (University of Southern California, Sonja Starr)

Exhibit A. The University of Southern California has purposefully removed Sonja Starr’s article from its search index results. Typing the article returns an obscure 2015 reportage about the article, but the article itself is missing. An official representative of the University has also purposefully lied to a journalist, telling her that she cannot access the article because she is not a USC student. Interestingly, the third result to appear in the index is a highly misleading article which argues that women receive preferential treatment in the criminal justice system because of the patriarchy.

Dear USC Administrators,

My name is Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, and I am a Provost’s Fellow (Ph.D. candidate) at the University of Southern California. This is my fifth year at the institution, and you never cease to surprise me.

Feminist censorship is nothing new: the Victorian morality underlying the ideology necessitates it, so to speak. Many will remember how feminists sought to outlaw pornography during the Sex Wars of the 1970s. What is new today, perhaps, is the sheer institutionalization of feminist censorship in the academic and corporate worlds. There are now more than seven hundred Women’s Studies programs across the United States and more than 165,000 Women’s Studies majors in the workforce,[1] and the numbers are increasing.[2] Radical feminists who absorb this ideology during college years end up infiltrating the legal world,[3] the press,[4] and the HR departments of major corporations[5] where they can impose their partisanship upon the masses. Their ideological bias has not only infected academic culture at large but also major online platforms like Wikipedia,[6] Facebook,[7] Twitter,[8] and Google.

Radical feminists suppress free speech in academia and the corporate world on a daily basis. Many will remember the notorious 2015 incident in which feminists attempted to lynch a male scientist because he wore a shirt emblazoned with female cartoon characters.[9] Google fired a male engineer, James Damore, for criticizing aspects of the company’s “diversity culture.”[10] Lake Ingle, a male student, was kicked out of class in Indiana University for engaging in civil disagreement with a radical feminist professor (March 2018).[11] A board member at the University of Virginia (Fred W. Scott Jr.) was forced to resign from his position because he criticized female-only programs at the University (August 2018).[12] A male professor (Rick Mehta) was fired from Acadia University because of “sexist” comments (September 2018).[13] Catholic University of America suspended a male dean for merely questioning Julie Swetnick, who made transparently false allegations against the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh (October 2018).[14] These are some of the cases that stirred up public trouble, but the fact remains that radical feminist censorship has become an ingrained feature of the American life, often unchallenged and even unobserved. Just when you think things cannot get Orwellian enough, something new happens to surprise you.

I am writing this letter due to a recent observation. Sonja Starr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, has published two seminal studies about the sentencing disparities in the American criminal justice system. To summarize her findings, she published two studies about racial and sexual disparities in criminal sentencing. The study about racial disparities found that blacks and Latinos receive heavier sentences than whites and Asians for equivalent crimes.[15] The study about sexual disparities found that men receive substantially heavier sentences than women for equivalent crimes (not just for violent crimes, but even for white collar crime).[16] Her article about sex-based disparity is more famous and cited more often. Professor Starr is a very non-partisan figure and her methodology is as dispassionate as it is rigorous. Like all good science, her studies do not fit neatly into the identity politics paradigm of America: if blacks face discrimination compared to whites and if men face discrimination compared to women, as Sonja Starr’s studies contend, then neither the Left nor the Right is entirely correct in their pattern of political thinking.

I was teaching a writing seminar at the University of Southern California last Spring semester, and I assigned Sonja Starr’s study about gender disparity in criminal sentencing to my class. I recall that the study was available through the University’s online library at that time (since I assigned it as mandatory reading to my students). I have conducted a similar search last week, and I was shocked to find out that Sonja Starr’s 2012 study has mysteriously disappeared. The University of Southern California is a bastion of radical feminism, as many people are already well aware.[17],[18],[19],[20] But censoring the studies of a non-partisan professor because it is inconsistent with the “social justice paradigm” is shocking even for an institution where we entertain student riots because a professor can dare to say, “accusers sometimes lie.”[21]

Interestingly, Starr’s study about racial disparities still shows up in the University’s online library index (since it does not contradict social justice theology). Studies which cite Sonja Starr’s study about sex-based discrimination also appear in the index, bizarrely enough. But her seminal study about gender has mysteriously disappeared from the records.

I find this censorship shocking — it is the digital equivalent of book burning, to say the least. I hope the University of Southern California restores Professor Starr’s paper to the digital index so that students can continue reviewing it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

[1] https://datausa.io/profile/cip/050207/

[2] Ibid.

[3] According to federal data, the most popular option for Women’s Studies majors is the legal profession. The second most popular choice is the HR industry (i.e. “miscellaneous managers”) and the third, “education administration.” <<https://datausa.io/profile/cip/050207/#employment>>

[4] As we have seen from the example of Sarah Jeong, radical feminists who preach hate against men are allowed to continue broadcasting their propaganda even in major news outlets like New York Times. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/08/02/new-york-times-stands-by-new-tech-writer-sarah-jeong-after-racist-tweets-surface.html

[5] For a critique see, e.g., Heather McDonald, Heather Mac Donald on Corporate America’s Diversity Cult, https://amgreatness.com/2017/08/16/heather-mac-donald-corporate-americas-diversity-cult/

[6] According an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on March 2018, Women’s Studies majors are making a concerted effort to infiltrate Wikipedia in order to provide “accurate information around gender issues.” https://www.chronicle.com/article/Women-s-Studies-Students/242866

[7] In addition to congressional concerns over the censorship of conservative views, Facebook’s algorithm specifically filters out intellectual content critical of feminism: http://antifeminismaustralia.com/facebooks-new-algorithms-censors-anti-feminist-content-newsfeed/

[8] For example, Twitter has hired a “Safety and Security Council” which includes the radical feminist “expert” Anita Sarkeesian among its ranks. https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/02/09/twitter-unveils-new-trust-and-safety-council-featuring-feminist-frequency/

[9]https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11232986/Matt-Taylors-sexist-shirt-and-the-day-political-correctness-officially-went-mad.html

[10]http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/01/09/james-damore-sues-google-claims-tech-giant-discriminates-against-white-conservative-men.html

[11]http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/12/college-student-kicked-out-class-for-telling-professor-there-are-only-two-genders.html

[12]https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/09/06/uva-center-board-member-resigns-after-explaining-why-women-didnt-want-go-shoe

[13]https://www.andrewlawton.ca/pro-free-speech-professor-rick-mehta-fired-by-acadia-university/

[14]https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/409090-catholic-university-suspends-dean-over-comment-that-degraded

[15] https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2413&context=articles

[16] https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1164&context=law_econ_current

[17] https://reason.com/blog/2016/04/29/usc-cancelled-an-awesome-video-game-pane

[18]https://dailytrojan.com/2018/09/24/student-groups-criticize-usc-over-ben-shapiro-event-policing/

[19]https://www.foxnews.com/us/usc-sparks-controversy-with-dismantle-whiteness-and-misogyny-mural-on-campus

[20] http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/08/a-bizarre-usc-case-shows-how-broken-title-ix-enforcement-is.html

[21]https://pjmedia.com/trending/students-demand-professor-fired-after-he-champions-due-process-says-accusers-sometimes-lie/

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