A business professor, Eric Rasmusen, tweeted something offensive and stupid.
Eric Rasmusen tweeted a line from an article Nov. 7 titled “Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably,” which read, “Geniuses are overwhelmingly male because they combine outlier high IQ with moderately low agreeableness and moderately low conscientiousness.”
He can do that. Employment is not contingent on holding only good opinions and not being an asshole, so he’s not threatened with firing for it, although some people would like to. The university administration has made arrangements so students can avoid taking classes with him, which could eventually lead to trouble for him — if he has non-existent effectiveness as a teacher, that could end up as a dismissal. Not being able to do the job you’re hired for is grounds for being let go, and a conservative business professor ought to encourage that.
What annoys me, though, is his dishonest excuse. I don’t believe this at all:
Rasmusen has taught business economics and public policy in the Kelley School of Business since 1992. He said he shared the tweet because a quote in the article stood out to him.
“I don’t know the contents of the article,” Rasmusen said. “It was just the one part that I thought was interesting and worth keeping note of.”
Rasmusen said he was surprised his tweet received backlash.
“It seems strange to me because I didn’t say anything myself — I just quoted something,” he said.
Oh, he was just quoting someone else. He wasn’t expressing odious, ignorant ideas, he was just echoing an odious, ignorant idea, which makes it OK, because it means he has a handy scapegoat.
“To show students that they need not fear bias in grading, the university is condemning a dissident professor, requiring him to use blind grading, and allowing students to opt out of his class,” he said in the email. “This, it is claimed, will make students relaxed and feel able to express their political views without fear of retribution. Having seen the university crack down on the one outspoken conservative professor, students will feel more comfortable in expressing their views while at Indiana University — that is, they will know what to expect if they speak freely in the classes of the 999 liberal professors. Of course, IU is not discouraging bias, but encouraging it, even requiring it, as a condition of teaching. There are views you’re not supposed to express, even outside of class, and heaven help the student whose professor checks his twitter account before issuing grades.”
You don’t get to simultaneously claim that you are a dissident conservative martyr and that what you said was not your opinion and therefore innocuous. That’s not how any of this works.
Add to that fact that his other tweets and his blog apparently show that he really does believe women are inferior and should be subservient, and I don’t think that flashing the “quote” card is as effective a shield as he believes.