By Dr. Mike Spaulding:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet – Act 1, Scene 5
Dr. Samuel J. Abrams is a Professor of Politics at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York. Dr. Abrams wrote an op-ed article published in the New York Times Opinion section that appeared in October 2018. Dr. Abrams’ article was motivated as he says, by an email he received from a staff member of the Sarah Lawrence College Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement.
The email according to Dr. Abrams, sought input from the college community for topics of discussion during an upcoming conference titled “Our Liberation Summit.” It was revealed that the conference would include discussion about “liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.”
As a result of this initial email, Dr. Abrams began to look into other activities that the Sarah Lawrence College administration was coordinating and soon learned that the Office of Student Affairs seemed to be in lock-step with the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement, by offering such progressive events as “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions,” and an event pandering to the current darling of all leftist subjects, “Understanding White Privilege.”
Did I mention that Dr. Abrams happens to be a conservative-leaning professor? He is quick to admit that this problem of leftist myopia is not limited to historically liberal schools, but is in fact a phenomenon that has gripped a vast majority of schools across America.
Professor Abrams decided to undertake a small research project in which he would seek to determine the make-up of college administrators and other college staff employees who were engaged in direct student affairs, activities, and programming beyond the classroom teaching environment. Indeed, Dr. Abrams noted in his op-ed article that many colleges have transitioned away from classroom instruction as the sole method of interacting with students. In the place of classroom instruction, schools are hiring personnel for student residential life, student centers, offices of student life, success, inclusion, and engagement. In other words, schools have increasingly determined to shape the minds of students through non-observed, non-evaluated, student and peer led activities taking place in the very places students call home. This has enabled peer pressure and the development of a herd mentality to take the place of actual learning that is determined against rigorous examination and testing.
The result of Professor Abrams’ survey of approximately 900 college administrators across America that have direct interaction with students as the primary activity of their role was not surprising. On average, liberal college staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by a 12 to 1 ratio. The statistics were much more lopsided when viewed regionally. For example, New England was the most liberal in the nation, with liberal administrators holding a 25 to 1 advantage over their conservative peers.
There was nothing unusual or controversial about anything that Dr. Abrams wrote. He concluded his op-ed with these words:
This warped ideological distribution among college administrators should give our students and their families pause. To students who are in their first semester at school, I urge you not to accept unthinkingly what your campus administrators are telling you. Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times.
That a professor of politics wrote an op-ed article about the politically charged environment on college campuses seems rather ordinary. That this professor took the time to request survey data from approximately 900 college administrators shows he based his evaluation on real data. What followed after Dr. Abrams’ article was discovered by students at Sarah Lawrence College demonstrates the precise points Abrams was making. The student activists did not resort to conversation guided by reason, logic, critical thinking and analysis. Instead, they immediately leaped into attack mode they justify by their victimhood mentality.
Progressive Marxism at Sarah Lawrence College
Writing on the Reason blog, Robby Soave examines the meltdown of the activist students in an article aptly title, “Activist Students Demand Sarah Lawrence College Punish a Conservative Professor for Expressing His Views.” Soave includes a link to a list of demands that Dr. Abrams views triggered. Those demands include but are not limited to:
- Housing and Accommodation Accessibility. Under this category are such things as free housing during school breaks especially during winter break, free housing for students of color, free laundry cleaning products for all students and faculty.
- Food Security and Accessibility. Apparently there is a hunger problem among this private, very expensive, very exclusive college student body. In order to meet the needs of this starving student body, these activist students demand free meals that cater to “vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, halal, and kosher” diets. These free meals are to be provided 24/7/365. Additionally, the students demand the establishment of a Food Pantry capable of feeding 300 students per semester, and the construction of separate halal and kosher kitchens to “make good on the college administrations prior commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Here I quote exactly as it appears on The Phoenix, the official news source of Sarah Lawrence College.
Students of color should not be forced to resort to racist white professors in order to have access to their own history. It is crucial that the College offer courses taught about people of color by people of color so that students may engage in and produce meaningful work that represents them authentically.
We demand there be new tenured faculty of color – at least two in African diasporic studies, one in Asian-American studies, one in Latinx diasporic studies, and one in indigenous/native peoples studies.
We demand there be at least three more courses offered in African diasporic studies taught by Black professors.
We demand that the College offer classes that embody intersectionality, as defined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and address the racial diversity of the LGBTQ+ community instead of centering whiteness.
The aforementioned classes must be taught by professors who are a part of the culture they are teaching about.
Reject Funding or Involvement from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch-Affiliated Organizations
From 2010-2017, Sarah Lawrence accepted $89,500 from the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation. Professor Sam Abrams is an alumnus of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University (GMU), of which Charles Koch has served as chairman of the board for almost four decades. The IHS is linked to the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that proudly “dared go to Charlottesville in August 2017” for the infamous white supremacist demonstration that resulted in the murder of 32-year-old anti-racist protester Heather Heyer. With this company, it is unsurprising that the Koch brothers wield their corporate influence to fight against free speech and progress, as documented by activists including the group Transparent GMU and news publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. The fact that Sarah Lawrence utilizes money from the Charles Koch Foundation, at best, demonstrates a passive condoning of the violent ideology of the Koch brothers and their efforts to maintain the institutionalization of oppression against marginalized people. Accepting such money completely violates SLC’s “progressive” values and displays a gross indifference towards the suffering of marginalized students and faculty. Sarah Lawrence must confront how the presence of Sam Abrams, an anti-queer, misogynist, and racist who actively targets queer people, women, and people of color and is an alumnus of an institute with direct ties to a neo-Confederate hate group, affects the safety and wellbeing of marginalized students. Additionally, Sarah Lawrence will forfeit donations and interactions from the Charles Koch Foundation and never hire alumni from the League of the South-aligned Institute for Human Studies in the future.
Professor Samuel Abrams and Defending Progressive Education
On October 16, 2018, politics professor Samuel Abrams published an op-ed entitled “Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators” in The New York Times. The article revealed the anti-Blackness, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-woman bigotry of Abrams. The article specifically targeted programs such as the Our Liberation Summit, which Abrams did not attend, facilitated by the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement. The Sarah Lawrence community deserves an administration that strives for an inclusive education that reflects the diversity of our community. Abrams’ derision of the Black Lives Matter, queer liberation, and women’s rights movements displays not only ignorance but outright hostility towards the essential efforts to dismantle white supremacy and other systems of oppression. This threatens the safety and wellbeing of marginalized people within the Sarah Lawrence community by demonstrating that our lives and identities are viewed as “opinions” that we can have a “difference in dialogue” about, as if we haven’t been forced to debate our very existences for our entire lives. We demand that Samuel Abrams’ position at the College be put up to tenure review to a panel of the Diaspora Coalition and at least three faculty members of color. In addition, the College must issue a statement condemning the harm that Abrams has caused to the college community, specifically queer, Black, and female students, whilst apologizing for its refusal to protect marginalized students wounded by his op-ed and the ignorant dialogue that followed. Abrams must issue a public apology to the broader SLC community and cease to target Black people, queer people, and women.
- Protection for Students. This category of demands amounts to this: We intend to do whatever we deem necessary to force the administration of Sarah Lawrence College to acquiesce and we demand that we not be held accountable in any fashion for our behavior in achieving our goals. Here is the actual language:
“The College’s work-study employers will respect students’ right to protest during the week of the sit-in and in the future.
The institution will not use the threat of expulsion, removal of positions held in student government, or any other forms of punishment in retaliation to civil disobedience.
We, the Diaspora Coalition and our allies, demand that students not be penalized for participating in sit-in commencing on Monday, March 11, 2019. We expect faculty to understand that student activists attending the sit-in may not be able to attend class. We ask faculty to support the student activism happening this week, which includes the sit in, distribution of demands, and a talk-back taking place on Wednesday, March 13th at 5:30pm in Titsworth Marjorie Miller Leff Lecture Hall. It is our hope that faculty and staff value our voices outside of the classroom and support students’ right to protest without repercussion.”
These self-styled activists are not what they believe themselves to be. They are merely brainwashed progressive zombies. Their self-aggrandizing, moral superiority is alarming and dangerous. They exhibit an undeniable inability to comprehend that the bubble they live in is a fantasy world. They have invented grievances from their fantasy land of utopian dreams.
Dr. Abrams did not come close to making the statements these Marxist sycophants attribute to him. Dr. Abrams, quoted by Soave in the Reason article, summarizes the current situation at Sarah Lawrence College as well as many other colleges across America:
The College had a chance to take the lead and serve as an national example in terms of how to have civil debates and disagreement and discuss facts and how they differ from opinions, Abrams told me via email. Sadly, the school did not come out strongly on academic freedom and free speech and this behavior runs against the core values of the College itself.
The Tragic Usurpation of Logic and Reason
The continued assault on free speech in America as demonstrated in Professor Abrams’ story is a symptom of the death of reason and logic in communication. Postmodernism has certainly had an impact as has philosophically relativism.
Ironically, it is the tenured professors themselves who in many instances have brought this rotten fruit to bear upon America. Their radicalized rejection of truth propositions and Christian morals has opened the door for a Pandora’s Box of anything goes and the most outrageous behavior wins the prize mentality among many college students today.
What is lost on the Sarah Lawrence social justice warriors, and I use that phrase in a pejorative sense, is that they are nothing more than judgmental, exclusivist, partisans. They project their characteristics upon those they vilify in the “Demands” letter cited above. How strange is it that these cultural Marxists masquerading as students believe they are nonjudgmental, inclusive, and neutral?
Instead of engaging Dr. Abrams in discussion about his views, the activists at Sarah Lawrence College demand that he be brought before a tribunal composed of members of their myopic peers for the purpose of determining whether he should continue to hold tenure. How do you think that would turn out?
Let’s peel back the layers of this philosophic “onion” and expose the insanity and sheer lunacy of the activist students of Sarah Lawrence College as well as the faculty and staff that support such stupidity.
Progressives use such buzz words as inclusive, inclusivity, intersectionality, and diversity because they believe they denote tolerance. They are demonstrably wrong. They can check the box for virtual virtuosity but feeling morally superior to others based on your beliefs doesn’t make you such or make your views true.
When you tolerate all forms of beliefs and morals except those you do not agree with, you are a fool or worse. Intolerance hiding behind tolerance often becomes the iron fist of totalitarianism. Let me state this in another way so that readers comprehend exactly what I am pointing out here.
The students at Sarah Lawrence College have shown themselves to be fools worthy of scorn for these very reasons:
- They preach tolerance but castigate Dr. Abrams for having a viewpoint. Clearly, they are not tolerant, but are in fact judgmental.
- The activist students at Sarah Lawrence College are not inclusive as they claim because they reject Dr. Abrams and anyone else who has a viewpoint similar to him. Therefore they are in fact exclusivists.
- The social justice Marxist students are exclusive and judgmental therefore, they are extremely partisan, and not remotely tolerant.
The plain truth is that the activist students at Sarah Lawrence College who make up the Diaspora Coalition and their supporters among students, faculty and administrators are direct results of the death of logic and reason.
Francis Beckwith summarizes well the spiral into insanity that Sarah Lawrence College is in.
Tolerance only makes sense within the framework of a moral order, for it is within such a framework that one can morally justify tolerating others. For tolerance without a moral framework, or absolute tolerance, leads to a dogmatic relativism, and thus to an intolerance of any viewpoint that does not embrace relativism. It is no wonder that in such a climate of “tolerance” any person who maintains that there is an objective moral order to which society ought to subscribe is greeted with contempt.
Cultural Marxism attacks Christian morality, logic, and reason for the purpose of supplanting them with an amalgamation of nonsensical bluster. Establishing a permanent useful idiot brigade of perpetual victims is necessary to the furtherance of Marxism’s goals. If allowed to take root in an academic environment the result is devastating to critical and analytical thinking. The students and faculty at Sarah Lawrence College are merely one more example of the disease of Progressive thought formulated within Marxist theory.
My plea to the students and faculty at Sarah Lawrence College is this: Step back from the abyss you are teetering on the edge of. There are more things in heaven and earth than you envision in your utopian dreams.
 Dr. Abrams article found here – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/opinion/liberal-college-administrators.html
 Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets. URL https://reason.com/blog/2019/03/12/sarah-lawrence-college-abrams-demands Accessed March 2019.
 See http://www.sarahlawrencephoenix.com/campus/2019/3/11/demands-westlands-sit-in-50-years-of-shame All emphases in the original. Accessed March 2019.
 Reason article cited previously.
 Francis J. Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, (Cambridge University Press, New York, NY), 2007, p. 14.
© Copyright by Dr. Mike Spaulding, 2019. All rights reserved.
Email Mike: email@example.com