- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The New York University professor who went undercover as an alt-right Twitter user to blast “safe space” campus culture is under fire by fellow faculty and students.

Michael Rectenwald, a clinical assistant professor of liberal studies, created the undercover Twitter account, “Deplorable NYU Prof,” in September so he could blast political correctness and trigger warnings without fear of reprisal from “social justice warriors.”

Mr. Rectenwald came forward for the first time during an interview Monday with Washington Square News, NYU’s daily student newspaper, saying he’s taking a stand against policing of behavior and identity.

“My contention is that this particular social-justice-warrior-left is producing the alt-right by virtue of its insanity,” he told the paper. “Frankly, I’m not really anti-pc. My contention is that the trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hotline reporting is not politically correct. It is insane. This stuff is producing a culture of hypervigilance, self-surveillance and panopticism.”

“This kind of left that we’re talking about: the SJW — identity-politics left — it’s not political; it’s religious,” he said. “A cis, white, straight male like myself is guilty of something. I don’t know what. But I’m [expletive] sure I’m guilty of it. And I am very low on the ethical totem pole.”

On Wednesday, several NYU faculty members and students signed a letter to the editor of Washington Square News, accusing Mr. Rectenwald of being “guilty of illogic and incivility.”

“We regretfully agree that Professor Rectenwald is guilty of something, though not by reason of his race, gender or sexuality,” they wrote. “And though we have never seen an ‘ethical totem pole,’ on the basis of his interview comments and tweets that denigrate NYU students, faculty and administrators, we imagine that Professor Rectenwald might be rather low on it.

“We fully support Professor Rectenwald’s right to speak his mind and we welcome civil discourse on the issues that concern him,” they continued. “But as long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas. The cause of Professor Rectenwald’s guilt is certainly not, in our view, his identity as a cis, white, straight male. The cause of his guilt is the content and structure of his thinking.”

The letter was signed by members of the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, including Associate Dean of Students Jonathon White, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Robert Squillace, and Clinical Assistant Professors Suzanne Maria Menghraj, Elayne Tobin, Marion Thain and Sean Eve.

Mr. Rectenwald responded in the comments section of the letter, writing: “This is far bigger than NYU liberal studies, and for this committee to respond as it does here to my interview is indicative of the very mob think culture that I refer to. As for evidence, you really don’t want the evidence, trust me.”

Mr. Rectenwald has previously promised to expose “inside stories that will blow yr mind.”

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