Peterson talk canceled, ASLC pulls funding

Kaelia Neal, Editor-in-chief

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Dr. Jordan Peterson’s scheduled talk at Linfield next Monday has been canceled after ASLC pulled funding for it due to stipulations not being met by Peterson and the event requester, Young Americans for Liberty, according to an email sent to students by Susan Agre-Kippenhan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.

The talk will now take place at the Falls Event Center Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 24.

Peterson, who is a free speech activist, philosopher and psychologist, tweeted on Tuesday to his 107,000 Twitter followers, “I’m violating more safe spaces soon: Linfield College.”

In response to Peterson’s tweet, Agre-Kippenhan said that Linfield’s Anti-Harassment Protection and Academic Freedom policy states that “anti-harassment policies are not intended to limit the free exchange of opinions or the vigorous debate over ideas.”

She states further that “intimidation, harassment, exploitation, and the use or threat of force are incompatible with the preservation of this freedom.”

The stipulations YAL needed to complete were that the event needed to be a closed Linfield event, which means no publicizing outside of Linfield community. It needed a contract, and the contract had to include what the speaker was going to talk about.

“We cannot welcome speakers when the stipulations for their appearances are not met and who intend to violate the safety of our community,” Agre-Kippenhan said.

“The speaker’s organization sent out a press release that invited more than just the Linfield Community,” ASLC Cabinet President Nathan Pellatz said.

“We did not get a contract until 18 hours after the deadline, and it did not contain what the speaker was talking about. It was because of all these factors, the decision was made to pull funding for the Jordan Peterson event,” Pellatz said.

Senior Parker Wells, a member of YAL, was the coordinator for Peterson’s appearance at Linfield.

“I’ve put forth my most genuine effort in being respectful and communicative while coordinating this event,” Wells said. “Unfortunately, the school has seized on circumstances outside of our control in order to cancel it.”

“Students and faculty alike were excited about the opportunity to exchange ideas with Peterson. We in the ideological minority on campus are greatly disheartened to see that opportunity taken away,” Wells said.

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56 Responses to “Peterson talk canceled, ASLC pulls funding”

  1. Matt Weant on April 19th, 2017 2:55 pm

    Call it what you may, this is censorship against our YAL chapter and against any like-minded students, all for the sake of not hurting anyone’s feelings. If it doesn’t align with what the institution says, then it’s instantly, “intimidation and harassment.” This is absolute bullshit.

  2. Rob on May 4th, 2017 9:25 am

    My curiosity is piqued. Was the event cancelled because of the content or potential content of Linfield’s speech, or was it cancelled because the organization failed to meet requirements by announcing the event against stated policy and failing to provide a contract on time?
    People of all political stripes these days seem too keen to count themselves aggrieved. Did the YAL screw up, or did they not?

  3. IronyisDead on April 19th, 2017 2:55 pm

    If Jordan B Peterson’s ideas are so harmful why won’t a professor, Professor of English Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt for example, or any student who disagrees, show up to the event and defeat his ideas in open debate? This type of action by the college contradicts half of Linfield’s own Mission Statement.

  4. Unclezip on April 23rd, 2017 3:58 am

    Because liberals don’t debate. They cry, scream, riot, and attempt to intimidate anyone with opposing ideas.

  5. Brock on April 19th, 2017 10:13 pm

    A truly unfortunate outcome for the students of Linfield College.

  6. Michael Buchanan on April 19th, 2017 10:21 pm

    Cowardice isn’t soon forgotten.

  7. Mareko on April 19th, 2017 10:22 pm

    My son is scheduled to attend in the Fall – or should I say WAS. I can’t condone getting an education from a place that places limitations on free speech.

    I am sad for your school. Best of luck going forward.

  8. Mako on April 19th, 2017 10:52 pm

    Good for you. There are reasonable colleges out there

  9. Hillsdale on April 20th, 2017 2:34 am

    Send him to Hillsdale. He will get a real education there.

  10. James Hanley on April 21st, 2017 10:21 am

    He’d just get indoctrinated in a different way there. A real education exposes students to competing ideas and values. Although my own values are closer to Hillsdale’s than Linfield’s, I wouldn’t let my own kids go there.

  11. Shirley on April 20th, 2017 6:29 pm

    Whew! We’re glad you’re son isn’t coming to Linfield. Hey fun fact, we are the top ranked school for Diversity in Oregon. He probably does not have a diverse opinion to share. Another school can have his white cis gendered ass.

  12. Keva Rosenberg on May 2nd, 2017 2:31 pm

    This is so meta.

  13. James on May 2nd, 2017 5:46 pm

    I guess you were never taught that judging people by their immutable traits (race, gender, sexual identity) is bigoted. So, I will point it out to you. You are a bigot, and an enemy of free speech.

  14. lynn on October 3rd, 2018 6:54 am

    Really? Name calling and insults for someone making a decision to attend a certain school? Does that sound like free speech or freedom to choose??

  15. Jennifer Drummond on April 21st, 2017 7:28 am

    King University in Bristol, TN also a good pro-speech one

  16. AbsurdityDefined on April 19th, 2017 10:28 pm

    Clearly you folks were looking for any possible excuse to forbid Dr Peterson from speaking. One harmless tweet is seen as ‘intimidation and harassment’?!

    It’s a sad day when people who claim to be educators and teachers of our youth decide to blindly label everything they dislike as evil.

    If his ideas are so terrible, let others expose his ideas. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Behaving like scared little children will only breed generations to follow. Is that your plan?

  17. Matthew Davis on April 19th, 2017 10:37 pm

    How to fix this problem; stop teaching the kids to be little dictators, and start actually teaching them. I’m going to just leave this quote for your students, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” -Ayn Rand

  18. Sorted on April 19th, 2017 10:48 pm

    No academy should opt to coddle their students and shield them from arguments and ideas that might challenge their own. Your students ought to be held to the standards of adults, encouraged to seek new ideas, and respectfully acknowledge that there are other people with sincere arguments and perspectives unlike their own.

    By revoking the right of Peterson to present his lecture, you’ve legitimized a jokey tweet about the pervasive attitude of victimhood, and a growing desire in youth culture for their respective institutions to insulate them from the world. Or, your institution has opted to do that on their behalf, which is even more troubling.

    By no means is Peterson some dangerous iconoclast, either. I see him, as I’m sure many do, as a very levelheaded man, and as someone who exemplifies liberal values, far above and beyond that which you would see at most universities.

  19. Ek4B16 on April 19th, 2017 11:06 pm

    Another vile example of censorship. To the Linfield students: put pressure, write your deans, show your disagreement. To the rest, watch out where you send your kids to.

  20. Jorge Henriquez on April 19th, 2017 11:10 pm


  21. Disappointed on April 20th, 2017 12:32 am

    Transgender Linfield student here, extremely disappointed in the school’s decision to cancel Dr. Peterson’s talk. I was very excited to attend, and have had the date saved on my calendar since it was first announced. As far as I’m concerned, after watching his videos, what he’s saying is far from hate speech or harassment and would have been a fascinating educational experience. I feel many of the faculty have acted surprisingly unprofessionally throughout this entire ordeal and this decision will cause more harm than good, and not just to free speech.

    A voice that has been strikingly absent in this entire debate is the Linfield trans community itself, and I have felt consistently patronized as students and professors alike have been acting as if I, and all the transgender students, are so fragile that they cannot handle dissenting opinions. That we, as was literally said by a professor during the free speech forum on Monday, might attend Dr. Peterson’s talk and proceed to go home and commit suicide. That is, without exaggeration, significantly more insulting to me on a personal level than anything I have heard Dr. Peterson, or indeed any member of Linfield YAL, say. I’m made of much tougher stuff than that.

    I was not afraid one bit, that any fellow member of my Linfield community, who have never shown me anything but respect in my 4 years at this school, would harm, intimidate, or harass anyone on this campus after listening to Dr. Peterson’s talk. Now, that they feel like they have been silenced yet again and treated like potential rioters, I must admit I am a little worried. There are certainly many more conservative and libertarian students on campus than just the 5 members of the YAL, and I wouldn’t doubt many of them might blame the LGBT community for the way this incident has played out. To them I want to say: not all of us agree with this decision. I am not conservative nor libertarian, but I also find value in many of Dr. Peterson’s ideas. You don’t have to agree with everything someone says to find merit in parts of it.

    @YAL Linfield
    While I can appreciate that you were brave enough to sit in front of a room of people and take criticism like you did, you guys dropped the ball on this, you and you alone. I don’t believe for one second any one of you would have a bad word to say about trans people or think of intimidating or threatening anyone. You did not show that well during your chance to speak up and defend yourselves. While I respect 100% your right to say everything you’ve said, there is a difference between what you should be allowed to say and what you should actually say. You have carried yourselves extremely poorly, and not done well to support your own cause. You have started pointless controversy with your freedom ball and Pepe memes and you were not well spoken when asked to defend your actions. “I don’t have to care about your feelings” is simply an ignorant thing to say to a room full of people, period. You’re right, you don’t have to. But maybe you should, if you want to look like a legitimate organization instead of edgy provocateurs. Likewise, is Pepe the Frog really the hill you want to die on? Really? A dumb meme from the early 2000s that was never really funny to begin with? I am on your side here, I really am, but you make it hard to be when your actions are poorly conceived and your words poorly thought out. If you had handled the situation with more class, and cogently argued your position, perhaps the administration wouldn’t have been looking for any opportunity to cancel your event. I don’t want to diminish the fact that you spoke up at all, despite being in the minority and allowed yourselves to be criticized. That is what free speech is about, you can say something unpopular, but you accept the consequences and criticisms you get in return. I didn’t speak fear of outing myself, and I wish I had. If anything good has come of this, I have resolved to be braver and more open in the future.

    @The Linfield Review and everyone else
    Proof I am who I say I am and not some random person online:
    Unfortunately I don’t want to post my name and out myself online for all to see on google. That being said the email provided to comment is a real address and I would be happy to speak with anyone in private.

  22. Hillsdale on April 20th, 2017 2:38 am

    You needn’t worry about real conservatives like those that participate in YAF. Only extreme fringe zealots would merit anxiety. This is coming from someone who completely disagrees with your lifestyle on a personal level, but would in no way advance ‘hate’ or violence against you for personal choices.

  23. Matt Weant on April 20th, 2017 3:45 am

    Thank you for writing this. While I might not agree with you and your life choices, I still respect you as a person and in no way blame you or the LGBT community for what the administration is clearly responsible for.

    Had the other members informed me of the sit down that was held, I’m sure the outcome would have been different. I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible for not being there for YAL when I was needed.

    That being said, this is the second time ASLC has censored something I was involved in, and I’ll be damned if I allow for a third time. We can’t just stand by idly and allow them to censor us just because of dissenting opinions.

  24. Dave on April 20th, 2017 8:13 am

    “I don’t have to care about your feelings” is simply an ignorant thing to say to a room full of people, period. You’re right, you don’t have to. But maybe you should, if you want to look like a legitimate organization instead of edgy provocateurs. ”

    Very thoughtful post, “Disappointed”, but I disagree with your quoted statement. I am not a student, but arrived at this page by following a few links, so suffice it to say I can’t know the context of the YAL’s remarks. It seems to me that when voices are being silenced specifically because feelings are being hurt (or could be hurt), making the point that speech is not required to account for, nor acquiesce to, the feelings of others is essential.

    If YAL indicates that they do need to account for those feelings, they concede one of the central points being made by the censors.

    Best of luck to you.

  25. Disappointed on April 20th, 2017 11:39 am

    To be honest I don’t think people outside of the school shouldn’t be commenting here, because you unfortunately can’t know that context. I understand many of you are upset about it, as you have every right to be, but it might be harmful for dialogue between students if random people from Dr. Peterson’s twitter are here making posts. There have been concerns raised by some critics about YAL being influenced by outside groups (true or not I have no idea) and I think you are only proving to the administration that might be the case and making it easy to dismiss any commentary by actual students as some outside lynch mob.

    As to the point: In fact I agree with what he said, his speech rights should not be limited because it upsets people. I also very strongly disagree with the decision to cancel the Peterson event. That being said, the issue is a bit more complicated than that in the current climate here and context of the discussion though, and the manner and context in which it was said made it plainly and simply a bad decision. If not wrong on principle, it was clearly harmful to the club being taken seriously and damaged their reputation and cause pretty badly, and therefore was a stupid thing to say in that way at that time. The point could have been made in a better and more nuanced way. Unfortunately you can’t know the context in full and so we can’t have a reasoned debate about it, but I think they all know it was a foolish thing to say in retrospect, even if the sentiment may have been right.

  26. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 8:31 am

    What context? As an American citizen, I think I have a right to be upset about censorship going on American campuses. The context seems to be the same as the context every other time a JBP talk is cancelled or another speaker for ideological reasons.

  27. Unclezip on April 23rd, 2017 5:17 am

    What, in the name of Strunk and White, does that first sentence mean?

  28. Hugh Mungus on April 21st, 2017 10:50 pm
  29. Hugh Mungus on April 21st, 2017 10:55 pm

    Worth a watch for the self-righteous & intolerant:

  30. LM on April 20th, 2017 12:39 am

    Such blatant cowardice.

  31. Hugh Mungus on April 21st, 2017 10:49 pm
  32. U.P. on April 20th, 2017 1:15 am

    It saddens me to see such an hypocritical statement as «intend to violate the safety of our community,». How do you define “safety” so that a talk from Jordan Peterson would “violate’ it ?
    You have hundreds of videos of him talking on the internet : please be more specific and tell us which were the damning speech that could violate some safety.

    It feels to me like you are treating students like they are infants unable to decide by themselves what to make of some speech that could challenge their beliefs.

  33. Unclezip on April 23rd, 2017 5:18 am

    Anything with which they disagree is “damning speech”.

  34. Jedah on April 20th, 2017 3:31 am

    Jesus, is this really a Canadian thing to do???
    Seems more like the White Terror era of the country I came from…

  35. Aurora on April 20th, 2017 2:15 pm

    Linfield College is in Oregon, USA.

  36. Hugh Mungus on April 21st, 2017 10:49 pm
  37. Aron on April 20th, 2017 3:56 am

    You said “funding was pulled”. I’m sure we can get the money. I bet that won’t change your decision (narrative)

  38. Mark on April 20th, 2017 4:40 am

    “If you need a safe space, get a therapist. Seriously.” – Prof. Jordan Petterson

  39. Allison on April 20th, 2017 11:56 am

    Pull the federal funding from these anti-American, anti-free speech universities and colleges.

  40. John on April 20th, 2017 12:33 pm

    Are these muppets trying to prove Peterson’s point for him? The guy is extremely level-headed, extremely fair-minded, extremely well-read, has an extremely high iq, and is an extremely good speaker. So these other quackademics carry-on as if he was an extremist! Besides popping their risible ideological bubble, he also highlights just what a exploitative fraud today’s modern (non-traditional) liberal arts education has become….why take on a lifetime of debt-induced misery to study under closed-minded 4th rate cultists, when you’ve got 100’s of hours of this genius, all for free on YouTube ! 🙂

  41. Raphael on April 21st, 2017 1:32 am

    Sickening. Worse yet, as the barbarians gather internally and on our borders, our intellectuals scurry in fear. Rome will be sacked.

  42. Hugh Mungus on April 21st, 2017 10:47 pm

    So I guess that Susan Agre-Kippenhan is pro-student rape but anti-free speech. Weird interpretation of “safe space”, but OK.

  43. David Medlock on April 21st, 2017 11:52 pm

    40k per year is a lot to pay for a leftist indoctrination camp.

  44. Colum on April 22nd, 2017 12:41 am

    Just another step in alienating the trans community from everybody else. Free speech is dead. What a disgraceful “school”.

  45. Colum on April 22nd, 2017 12:42 am

    So is any university that has installed “safe space” policies now deeming everybody that disagrees with their ideology as “unsafe”?

  46. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 8:26 am

    >In response to Peterson’s tweet, Agre-Kippenhan said that Linfield’s Anti-Harassment Protection and Academic Freedom policy states that “anti-harassment policies are not intended to limit the free exchange of opinions or the vigorous debate over ideas.”

    Too bad that’s really hard to believe.

  47. Anna Keesey on April 22nd, 2017 12:16 pm

    I’m adding my thoughts to this discussion because though we Linfield college faculty have been engaging in vigorous discussion of the Peterson issue with one another, I don’t think many of us have commented in public discussions like this one. I’d like to say that colleges–particularly residential colleges of a small size, where the campus is a de facto “home” for students of all stripes–have a combination of important obligations, including to promote both freedom of speech and political activity AND the physical security of the campus and its residents. That’s a tough line to walk, especially in the current climate. If it had been clear that the campus community alone would be hearing a thoughtful, grounded argument by Dr. Peterson, and would be able to ask questions that he would welcome, I suspect the college would have made a different call. But Peterson did not explain what he meant to discuss (as all other speakers do easily and as a matter of course), and (according to members of student government) did not intend to allow questions and answers, which is not congruent with our policies for speakers on campus. Moreover, though obviously a gifted scholar, Dr. Peterson has become a minor celebrity of the alternative right, and has clearly enjoyed his status and stoked his cult of personality in ways that serious academic thinkers usually do not. When the prospect of his talk came under discussion, and legitimate concern about its content was reported here in the Linfield Review, Peterson took a cavalier attitude toward the seriousness of the college’s obligations and tweeted out what he later called a joke: “Violating some more safe spaces soon.” Sure, it’s a joke–but it’s a mean joke. As one male student of mine said, “It’s just rapey.” Legitimate scholars who are interested in the vitality of discussion about speech and politics and social boundaries and language don’t see themselves as “violators” but contributors. Given that Peterson’s talk at Linfield had been advertised and promoted by his supporters far outside our campus community, and given that some adherents of libertarian free speech are more interested in havoc than ideas, the college’s decision wasn’t cowardly, or coddling, or somehow doctrinaire. It was simply prudent. I, for one, am sorry not to hear Dr. Peterson speak, because as an English professor, I’m passionately interested in language and its uses and its limits. It’s a shame that Dr. Peterson hasn’t conducted himself in a manner that would earn him the respect and welcome his background and achievements might otherwise deserve.

  48. Carole Lynn on April 23rd, 2017 7:28 am

    Violation of a safe space…. Just rapey.” Oh please!

  49. Joe Tyndall on April 23rd, 2017 9:27 am

    Clearly, you have not watched Prof. Peterson’s talks on YouTube. He seems to thrive on questions. Oh the willful ignorance, the willful ignorance.

  50. Dave on April 9th, 2018 1:35 am

    So his alleged transgressions were:
    1. He is “a minor celebrity of the alternative right”.
    You don’t define what the alternative right is. However you are suggesting that expressing right wing views rather than left wing views is not to be tolerated.
    2. “Peterson did not explain what he meant to discuss”.
    Except he did. And if you genuinely wanted more details you could have simply written to him directly to ask him but no one from the university did that. Ever.
    3. “it’s a mean joke”. Well that is subjective. However are you preparing students for the real world beyond a safe spaces and to deal with confronting ideas or not? If not, then you are not fulfilling the function of a university and should be shutdown or convert yourself to a community playgroup. Plenty of scholars have been called much worse than being violators. After all you just said Peterson has a personality cult and a legion of alt right followers. So you can give it out but you don’t want any satire of the group think. Is that it?
    4. ““It’s just rapey.” You quoted that thoughtless, bigtoed comment. Seriously? Or was that just a joke too? Please do explain why some satire is acceptable and some is not. We can’t wait for the explanation.
    5. “…given that some adherents of libertarian free speech are more interested in havoc than ideas..” by this standard and given that some adherents of left wing ideologies have committed genocide, then do you agree that it would be prudent to fire Susan Agre-Kippenhan?
    6. Just who do you think you are fooling?

  51. John on April 24th, 2017 4:12 pm

    Imagine an all-time great of Mental Health….visiting «YOUR :-» workplace. I would circle the wagons too! 🙂 I

    Jordan Peterson can’t help it..

    He very much was born the way he is. He’s missing many of the niceties of civilised discourse. He can’t find a single phd or prof to debate him. He only got so smart by being driven by his heart…and working like a dog. He’s just a Professor.

    Faculty should stand up for a very good Professor coming to visit. Don’t reject an air drop of iq. He’s less controversial than you….FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!! Workers of the world……WAKE UP!!!!,

  52. Kath on April 25th, 2017 8:12 pm

    Another chill on free speech. It is jaw-dropping to hear the letter written by the VP of Academic at Linfield explain why support was pulled. The one day late submission is classic – I’m sure every other submission is submitted on time. Also the whole “harassment” line – without any evidence of this. My kids are College age and wouldn’t send them here.

  53. rykart on April 9th, 2018 3:05 pm

    Peterson is filth from the toilet bowl. No reason for him or the alt-right lice who follow him to be allowed on any campus.

    We don’t go to their gun shows and Klan rallies, so these garbage rodents need to stay away from our universities.


  54. Steve on April 23rd, 2018 3:25 am

    In situations like this, I can see the validity of Jean-Pierre Faye’s Horseshoe Theory.

  55. Steve on April 23rd, 2018 3:40 am

    One of the main tenets of liberalism is tolerance, another is contempt for those in power who ruthlessly oppress others. Banning Jordan Peterson by suggesting he is dangerous seems like an excuse to abuse power for the sake of oppression. This situation reminds me of both the last paragraph of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and of the Horseshoe Theory in politics.

  56. Gentsu Gen on December 9th, 2018 11:31 am

    As a parent of two recent Linfield Grads, the school has just guaranteed that they will never see a dime of money from us again. Is this how Linfield intends to grow it’s endowment?

    Demanding to know what a speaker is going to talk about before they speak is the exact opposite of free speech. I am ashamed of the school administration; this is so, so sad.

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Peterson talk canceled, ASLC pulls funding