A psychology professor whose contract to teach at a private Ohio college was not renewed after pursuing a provocative — and disputed — line of research on racial identity said he’s a victim of academic freedom violations.
“[A]lthough I am but one professor at one small college in one small town,” Marietta College assistant professor Bo Winegard wrote in a blog post last week for Quillette, a conservative online magazine, “I want to persuade you that, if you care about free speech and free inquiry in academia, you should be alarmed by my termination.”
According to Mr. Winegard, Marietta administrators approached him after he gave a rowdy visiting speech in October at an Alabama university, in which he posited the controversial notion of biological differences in races. A campus newspaper article had accused him of endorsing “eugenics,” a charge Mr. Winegard vehemently denies.
“They [administrators] were not terribly pleased, but the meeting was uneventful and I was told to be more strategic in my navigation of such a sensitive topic,” he said.
A few months later, social media posts authored by Mr. Winegard surfaced, including one on “biological (genetic) inequality.” In a second meeting, he wrote, administrators chastised Mr. Winegard for anti-Semitic and racist leanings. In late February, he was told he would not be hired back.
A spokesperson for the college declined to comment, citing confidentiality. The Marietta, Ohio, school enrolls about 1,200 students, according to its website.
According to Inside Higher Ed, a similar vein on inquiry of race and biology — such as Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray’s “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life” — drew immediate criticism from within the academy in the mid-1990s.