A Stanford University professor with a distinguished background in business has told of his dismay at the ‘cancel culture’ on campuses, telling how he was labelled a racist for standing for the United States’ flag.
Joel Peterson, professor of management at the California university and a former chairman of JetBlue Airways, said students at elite institutions were ignorant of history in their rush to ‘cancel’ perceived oppressors.
Peterson said that he had been reported to the dean for ‘triggering’ students.
‘I had several students come to me and say they needed time off. They’d been triggered by the election, and they couldn’t take their exams.
Peterson, a professor of management at Stanford university, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Tuesday night to explain an op ed he had written in Deseret News, discussing cancel culture on campuses
Peterson appeared on Carlson’s show to discuss his op ed in Deseret News
‘At first, was a little disappointed that I hadn’t thought of that when Nixon was elected president when I was at college. But I got over that.
‘Then one thing happen to her, and another where they started feeling triggered for various things.
‘Finally it culminated in them reporting me to the dean, the dean calling me in.’
Peterson, who has taught at Stanford since 1992, said that the drama quietened down, until this spring when a student wrote on Twitter that ‘white people should be eradicated.’
The tweets were posted in July 2020 by Gabby Crooks, who was running for re-election to student government. The tweets were dug up in April of this year by Stanford College Republicans, The Federalist reported.
Crooks has since made her account private.
The campus of Stanford University, including Hoover Tower and buildings of the Main Quadrangle. Peterson has taught at Stanford since 1992
Peterson (center) is seen in photos from his professional Facebook page. His group holds up copies of his book, The 10 Laws of Trust
The professor told Carlson: ‘That troubled me a little bit.
‘I still didn’t say anything until a Jewish student came to me and said that he felt kind of threatened by claims of racism.
‘I thought, somebody has to speak out.’
Peterson published an op ed in Deseret News, entitled: ‘My road to cancellation’.
He wrote: ‘A Black Lives Matter advocate asked, of all things, whether I would stand for the American flag.
‘To provide context for my decision, I shared a story. As a toddler, I’d seen my mother take a call from the Department of Defense announcing that her fighter-pilot brother had been killed.
‘Honoring her grief, I’d chosen to stand for the flag under which my only uncle had offered the ultimate sacrifice.
‘The student’s response was presented as an irrefutable argument; my choice was “racist.”’
He said that Condoleeza Rice, the Secretary of State under George W. Bush, who now teaches at Stanford, recounted how she told her students that capturing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, while in office, felt like “having Erwin Rommel under lock and key.”
Peterson wrote: ‘The blank looks on the faces of her very bright students revealed that they had never heard of WWII’s famous Desert Fox.’
Peterson is seen teaching on Zoom during the pandemic. He said on Tuesday night that he was left dismayed by the attitude of some of his students
He concluded that it ‘stemmed from students having swapped an education for indoctrination.’
Peterson added: ‘Those enlisted as social justice warriors had avoided the lessons of history, missed out on refining skills that might have allowed them to judge assertions and denied themselves the insights required to make wise trade-offs.’
The businessman, who co-founded a $1 billion investment management firm, Peterson Partners, has taught courses in real estate, entrepreneurship, and leadership at the Graduate School of Business.
He said that his voicing of concerns about the tweet were greeted with criticism from Twitter, but support from other faculty members.
‘I think people are taking it seriously and seeing the problem that’s a real one,’ Peterson told Carlson.
He said 200 faculty members signed a letter in his defense.
‘They wrote a letter that reflects what they decided in Chicago, at the University of Chicago, as an anti-triggering warning where they say to students: if you are here, and you don’t feel your views threatened, you are in the wrong place. You should go somewhere else.’
Peterson was referring to an August 2016 letter from John Ellison, dean of students at the University of Chicago, which set off a firestorm.
Ellison wrote: ‘Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.’
Peterson continued: ‘Rather than protect students, they are actually willing to have them be triggered – to have open and free debate, exchanges of ideas.’