Liberal prof slams conservative's NYT op-ed, calling it 'insidious and venomous'

Princeton Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. took to Twitter to denounce Rufo's work as 'racist.'

Rufo advocated for the end to diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, claiming that colleges should instead pursue a policy of neutrality on contentious issues.

A July 27 New York Times guest essay by conservative author Christopher Rufo, which blasted university diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and called for their abolishment, garnered the criticism of Princeton Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr., who called Rufo’s work “insidious and venomous.” 

Rufo, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and New College of Florida trustee, argued that such programs have fundamentally transformed universities. He noted that today, “the university is not merely a home for the discovery of knowledge, but also a vehicle for activism, liberation and social change.”

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He endorsed the abolition of the programs altogether, saying that they “often restrict the range of discourse, push a narrow political ideology on the campus community and micromanage the language that professors, administrators and students should use.”

Rufo also questioned the efficacy of such initiatives, referencing a Harvard and University of Tel Aviv study that found that similar programs within companies ultimately led to less diversity and had no real impact on employee attitudes toward diversity.

Instead, he suggested that universities should take alternative approaches to return to their roots of the “classical liberal arts tradition.” 

His prescriptions for achieving this included legislators adopting “a policy of colorblind equality” and moving to “affirm the principles of the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report,” a document that calls for “institutional neutrality on political and social issues.”

Glaude Jr., who serves as the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, did not welcome the piece, however, telling Rufo via Twitter that, “You [sic] work is insidious and venomous … I am inclined to say more explicitly that it is racist.”

When Rufo asked what specifically was venomous, Glaude responded, “That you would ignore the history of exclusion of these institutions. That you would fail to mention that for much of the history of education in this country ‘the true, the good, and the beautiful’ were tethered to a certain idea of ‘western civilization.’”

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Glaude’s criticism was met with backlash from various Twitter users, with one writing, “Notice how [Glaude] dropped off the map after this factual reply. Leftist professors are accustomed to preaching to a captive audience of young students who are desperate to please them. They are terrible at actual debate.”

Another user said, “‘Distinguished professor’ finds straightforward defense of liberal education to be ‘venomous nonsense.’ He also finds ‘troubling’ the expression of opinions to which he objects. Progressivism will rot your brain and corrupt your soul, and Glaude is a perfect example.”

Rufo and Glaude have been contacted for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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