New Series: Worst Professors in America

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Prof. Pancho Savery

We have the (temporarily dormant) Power Line 100 Best Professors in America roster (which I do intend to restart when I get back to a broader higher education project), and of course the coveted Power Line Green Weenie Award. It occurs to me that we really do need a Worst Professors in America roster, too.

The other day we noted the tenured professor of sociology from Penn State, Karen Halnon, who ranted about Venezuela while lighting up a cigarette on an airplane. Surely she deserves to be Entry Number 1 in Power Line’s Worst Professors in America roster.

And barely three days later, we have out second distinguished professor to add to the roster: Pancho Savery of Reed College in Portlandia. I’ll let the Daily Caller explain:

A student at Reed College has been banned from class for denying the existence of “rape culture” in the United States and arguing that the oft-repeated statistic that one in five women are raped at college is bogus.

True, 19, received an email from professor Pancho Savery on March 14 telling him he was making his classmates so uncomfortable that he was no longer welcome to participate in the “conference” sections of his Humanities 110 class, a course which focuses on the art and literature of classical Greece, according to BuzzFeed News.

True says he sparred with his classmates on a variety of issues, but says it was his criticism of the 1-in-5 rape statistic that ended up being the tipping point.

“There are several survivors of sexual assault in our conference, and you have made them extremely uncomfortable with what they see as not only your undermining incidents of rape, but of also placing too much emphasis on men being unfairly charged with rape,” said Savery in an email True posted online. “[Other students] have said that things you have said in our conference have made them so upset that they have difficulty concentrating in other classes. I, as conference leader, have to do what is best for the well-being of the entire class, and I am therefore banning you from conference for the remainder of the semester.”

Read the whole thing, as the saying goes: it doesn’t get any better, and will prompt you to wonder whether Reed College students might be placed in the running for a Power Line group award for Worst Students in America (or at least the most coddled). I wondered whether this story about a person named True could possibly be true, because it is too good to be . . . real. But apparently it is. Maybe the headline should be: “True Booted for Telling Truth.” And by the way, whatever happened to “telling truth to power”? I guess campus power can’t handle too much truth any more.

In the campus profile of Prof. Savery, he says:

Teaching is the means by which I try to change the world. I see my activity as not just literary, but as political, moral, philosophical. I believe that it is part of the job of the college to prepare students to go out into the real world when they graduate.

I think I’m starting to understand by Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed.

Savery is ostensibly an English professor, but another box on his profile lists the recent student theses he has supervised:

“The Thing You Need to Know Is: It’s All About Sex”: The Function of Heteronormative Discourse and Ideology in Queer as Folk and The L Word.

Tuition, room and board at Reed is currently $62,530. Refund time?

By the way, this new series welcomes nominations.

Postscript: In this one minute video from three years ago, Prof. Savery says he is “against censorship in all its forms and supports free expression and debate.”  Except in his classroom, I guess.

UPDATE: Possible this story is a very large train wreck, reports Robby Soave at Reason.  Stay tuned for more.