5 Big Questions: Peter Boghossian, former professor who resigned in protest

The former philosophy professor resigned in a shocking open letter that revealed how Portland State University had cracked down on open inquiry.

Boghossian says that higher education is "not just broken, it’s teaching people things that are false."

Former Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian has a message for America about the state of higher education: “There is no hope. We need to build parallel institutions.”

Boghossian called out his former employer in a stunning resignation letter which detailed a years-long string of abuses he suffered in retaliation for supporting the free exchange of ideas. He faced harassment and false accusations of misconduct, along with a whisper campaign by fellow faculty members who told students not to take his classes.

His decision to resign came after a discussion with a university administrator in which the administrator spoke proudly of the university’s poor free speech ranking. 

Boghossian says of the restrictions on speech, “This was not a bug of the ideology, this was a feature of it. This was a good thing. And that was really the last straw…at that moment, I made up my mind.”

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As a philosophy professor, Boghossian had his students entertain competing ideas, including those that disagree with his own views. 

Though he is an atheist, he invited the president of Ratio Christi, a large Christian organization, to his class to speak to students. 

He says this should be a model for all college classes. 

“Students need to be taught the best arguments from people who believe them. And then they should be taught the best arguments on the other side from people who believe them. That’s why you’re in college,” he states. 

Boghossian says that colleges continue to fall far short of delivering a meaningful education because, in his view, “Professors look at the university system as an indoctrination mill.”

Teacher colleges across the country, he argues, are preparing future teachers to practice woke ideology in the classroom. Because teacher training programs are steeped in wokeness, Boghossian says, they are creating indoctrinated teachers who, in turn, go on to indoctrinate young students. 

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“If you had a wand, and you waved that wand, and you got rid of all wokeness from the K-12 system, it would just repopulate,” Boghossian says. “The most important thing, if you really want to…extirpate this from all of our systems, the most important thing is to hit colleges of education.”

The former professor says students should be open with their parents about what colleges are teaching. He encourages them to say, “This is what my education has become. This is what they are teaching me.” 

Boghossian also advises students to think carefully about how their college education aligns with their future goals.  

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito