Face of the day


Dr. Shu-Ju Ada Cheng, an Associate Professor of Sociology at DePaul University

Today’s face of the day is Dr. Shu-Ju Ada Cheng, an Associate Professor of Sociology at DePaul University. She has announced her intention to resign from her post and has accused the University President of “reinforcing existing inequalities” due to his support for a free and equal exchange of ideas.

I find her belief amusing as the President actually did everything in his power to prevent the free and equal exchange of ideas. The presentation was unable to go ahead as the security paid for by the event organisers (but controlled by University management), refused to remove the protesters

In a message posted on Facebook, Dr. Cheng claimed free speech is a “delusional” idea rooted in “market ideology.” She said “incidents over the past two days” — a reference to Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ chaos-stricken visit to campus earlier this week — were a “symptom of historical institutional racism.”

Following the disruption of Milo’s event, University President issued a lukewarm statement, slamming Yiannopoulos’ political views but apologizing to the College Republicans, who hosted the speaker, for the disruption to their event caused by threats of violence and protests. It appears this apology is what has upset Dr. Cheng.

Cheng has since removed the post from Facebook, but the full text can be read below:

Dear President,

This is my last quarter at DePaul University. After 15 years of teaching, I have decided to leave the university. This is the first time I have ever emailed you and let you know my thoughts. Please read this note from a woman of color faculty without dismissing it easily.

Universities, like all institutions, are not neutral platforms. Universities are embodied institutions predicated upon social inequalities and dominant ideologies, privileging the participation and access of certain groups. In time of political crisis, universities have the responsibility to take a moral stand. To believe that universities are simply neutral platforms for “equal” exchanges of ideas, the so-called free speech rooted in the market ideology, is delusional and that positional objectivity ends up reinforcing the exact inequalities and dominant ideologies upon which this institution is built. It is a hypocrisy to believe that one can promote diversity without tackling the racism that underlines all educational institutions. The incidents that took place during these past two days are just symptoms of the historical institutional racism embedded in this institution. The long history of exiting faculty of color is a longstanding indication.

Your handling of this case is shameful and embarassing. It is a lack of moral courage in the disguise of intellectual objectivity and positional neutrality. The lack of position is a position, and your chosen position is to reinforce the existing inequalities. Shame on you. I am glad I will no longer be part of this institution and be complicit in the institutional practices that support our racist society.


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