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Idaho View

Idaho View: Boise State University has a workplace liability on its hands with professor Scott Yenor

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Scott Yenor

“If every Nobel Prize winner is a man, that’s not a failure,” Scott Yenor said in an Oct. 31 speech. “It’s kind of a cause for celebration.” While much of the speech — and much of the backlash — has focused on gender issues, the Boise State University professor also continued his criticism of campus culture.

Boise State University should review the grading history and tenure decisions by political science professor Scott Yenor, after he clearly advocated for discrimination against women.

His comments this fall to the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida, go beyond merely academic exploration. Yenor made clear that women shouldn’t be encouraged to pursue careers, that their role in society is to be wives and mothers.

“Young men must be respectable and responsible to inspire young women to be secure with feminine goals of homemaking and having children,” he said. “Every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade.”

Boise State is not only a university; it is also a workplace. It is difficult to imagine, after listening to Yenor’s manifesto advocating a “thoroughly sexed” society, that Yenor would treat female colleagues the same as he would treat male colleagues, who, in his estimation, belong in the workplace, achieving great things and providing for their families. His female colleagues, on the other hand, belong in the kitchen.

Same goes for his students. Can you imagine being a woman in one of his classes, where your grade is dependent on a teacher who thinks you shouldn’t be pursuing a career, that you should aspire only to childbirth and tending to the home fires?

Yenor has been grading women for a long time, and there are records that allow simple questions to be answered. What is the average grade of a woman in his class? Is it significantly lower than the average grade given to a man?

Boise State should gather those facts to see whether Yenor has put his misogynistic views into discriminatory practice. Academic freedom does not exempt him from the responsibility to give students fair, equal treatment in the classroom.

It’s almost inconceivable that Yenor hasn’t discriminated against his female students, who are in his classes doing what he thinks is destroying the nation.

It’s also incredible that there are still people like Yenor who hold these views in 2021.

“But he has First Amendment rights!” some shout. “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech,” according to the First Amendment.

Correct, no law, and the government isn’t throwing Yenor in jail. His speech creates a reasonable basis for investigating whether he has engaged in discrimination. Discrimination is not protected by the First Amendment.

Boise State should also consider the potential impact Yenor’s views could have on BSU’s recruiting efforts. What parents would want to send their daughters to a school where one of its professors thinks women shouldn’t be there?

“Cancel culture!” others shout. “You’re canceling conservatives but not the Lefties.”

Is this really what conservatism is all about? Talk about identity politics. Conservatives clamor consistently about freedom — you know, like women having the freedom to pursue careers. “Girls are taught to be as independent as boys are said to be,” Yenor shrieks, as if that were somehow a bad thing.

He offers women an inescapable binary: You are either a “medicated, meddlesome and quarrelsome” career woman or you know your station in life and are a good stay-at-home mother and wife. For Yenor, the mother and wife is what creates a “great nation,” while the “childless media scold or a barren bureaucratic apparatchik” is “corrosive of our national greatness.”

Despite Yenor’s assertion that our society has become feminized, his views fit right in with fashionable internet darlings like Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson. Perhaps that’s what Yenor is going for here; he’s ready to shake off the dust of this small-town university, and he wants to spend more time with Tucker Carlson.

Which is fine; guys like Yenor are a dime a dozen on YouTube, trying to cash in on a new brand of toxic masculinity.

But Boise State University would be wise to recognize that it has a liability on its hands.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members are opinion editor Scott McIntosh, opinion writer Bryan Clark, editor Chadd Cripe, newsroom editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser and community members J.J. Saldaña and Christy Perry.



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