Academics receive packets of human feces in mail, suspect top prof

From Katie J. M. Baker at Buzzfeed:

When Sally Haslanger, a prominent feminist philosophy professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, returned to her Cambridge office in August after a summer abroad, she found a padded envelope with no return address waiting for her.

She opened the package while sorting through her other junk mail and stuck her hand inside to feel what was there. … MIT’s Environmental Health and Safety team confirmed that the substance was feces, according to a university police report. But Haslanger wasn’t as confounded as one might expect a well-respected philosopher to be when faced with a mysterious package of poop. That’s because three other philosophers also received shit in the mail last summer.

They are publicly implicating U Chicago’s Brian Leiter.

One of the most powerful players in philosophy is Leiter, who in 1989 founded the Philosophical Gourmet Report, a highly influential ranking of philosophy PhD programs that the New York Times has called a “bible for prospective graduate students.” Leiter and his report have drawn controversy for decades, but the shit really hit the fan, so to speak, in 2014, during a convoluted clash that began when Leiter felt personally attacked by a blog post Jenkins wrote. In it, she pledged to treat other philosophers with respect, especially those more junior or “professionally vulnerable.”

Jenkins and Leiter had never met, and her post did not name him or the Philosophical Gourmet Report, but Leiter emailed Jenkins to ridicule her post and to accuse her of taking aim at him in it. More.

Now, by all accounts, Leiter is not a nice guy. See, for example,

Brian Leiter’s rampage against fellow philosopher Thomas Nagel

Why tolerate religion? (He wouldn’t.)

Philosopher Brian Leiter to step down from philosophy program ranking post

Reality check: That said, I’m waiting this one out. No doubt shit got mailed but it could be a prof-level hate hoax: In particular,

“The effects of this on Professor Jenkins since July have been very serious, impacting her health, her capacity to work, and her ability to contribute to public discourse as a member of the profession,” the pledge read. “We don’t find what has happened to our colleague acceptable, and don’t wish voluntarily to help provide Professor Leiter the power that makes it possible.”

Oh. Has Leiter been found guilty in a court of law?

Here’s the level of evidence the learned profs have:

Although it’s impossible to know who sent the packages, “it does seem that we know why,” she said, given that the initial three professors are only connected by their criticism of Leiter’s emails. (Leiter also said in an email that what those three professors had in common “was their role in launching an attack on me around the time the last edition of my philosophy rankings were supposed to come out in fall 2014.”)

But come to think of it, in the Duke Lacrosse rape case, dozens of Duke U profs “knew” that the lacrosse players were guilty and published a statement essentially condemning the accused without forensic evidence and before the trial:

The Chronicle spoke to four of the original signatories of the ad—which many have argued prematurely rushed to judgment and unfairly vilified the three players. Ten years after it was published, the four signatories interviewed said that the ad was solely meant to promote a discussion on Duke culture and to reflect on issues of sexual assault and race for students who did not feel comfortable on Duke’s campus.

Oh sure. All the lacrosse players were acquitted by a court that dealt in facts, not suspicions (though they and their families were devastated and pillaged).

The account quoted above is a cringeworthy U Mag attempt by the profs’ hanging jury, a decade later, to exculpate themselves from the ultimate verdict:

You, prof, are despicable. You can force me to pretend to respect you, but I do not, never will, and never could actually respect you. Few could.

We’ll be thinking that way about academics more and more in the decades to come.

Oh, by the way, Gonzaga University has hired Melissa Click, the “journalism” prof justly fired by Mizzou for trying to sic police on student journalists. And the U.S. prof association defended her.

Meanwhile, admissions and donations at Mizzou tanked, no surprise, because most people already pay for public daycares,  mental homes, and prisons through our taxes.

See also: Another faked hate crime, but why? Not enough actual hate out there? Or perhaps the “victim” would not benefit from honest disclosure of the problems he faces?

Mizzou top U for growing up stupid. Pay good money to learn to freak out over hate crime hoaxes.


What’s with SJWs and all the fake hate crimes?

  • Hard Little Machine

    Why does MIT have feminist philosophers?

    • For the laughs?

    • Clausewitz

      Who else is going to fetch coffees and make sandwiches?

  • “Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it’s not true” – liberal mantra

  • WhiteRabbit3

    I don’t mind that Click got hired. She is repugnant and fascist, but professional black listing is not the way to go.

    At any rate, a one-year non-tenure-track stint as a lecturer is a pretty low position on the academic totem pole.

    • I don’t begrudge her a living. I just don’t want her anywhere near journalism or academic freedom.

      • WhiteRabbit3

        Click went from assistant professor — which is usually tenure track — to lecturer, which has less standing than the janitor. She won’t have much pull in her new digs.

        And given that her contract is for one year, she won’t be wanting to make a lot of waves.

        • Then I am glad Gonzaga found her a home. Now, they must warn the campus police to pay no attention to her demands to have people going about their lawful business muscled.

  • Ed

    What IS shit?

  • A Hamilton Guy

    Philosophy just means you don’t have the balls or brains to get areal job.

  • SouthChicago

    Leiter lives a block from Obama’s Chicago home.