Here’s a twist regarding a controversial new website called “Professor Watchlist,” which has the names of some 200 academics deemed by a conservative group to be advancing “leftist propaganda” in classrooms and discriminating against conservative students.

While most teachers at any level education would generally prefer to remain off politically motivated lists,  more than 100 faculty members at the University of Notre Dame say they want their names added to Professor Watchlist, a project of the nonprofit organization Turning Point USA. The group’s website says it is a national movement that seeks to “educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” Critics call it an assault on academic freedom.

The watch list includes two academics from Notre Dame. One is philosophy professor Gary Gutting, who is on the list, according to the watch list website, because he wrote that the country’s “permissive gun laws are a manifestation of racism.” That came from  a 2015 analysis about gun laws that Gutting wrote for the New York Times. The other is Iris Outlaw, director of Multicultural Student Programs and Services at the Catholic university. She is on the list, the website says, because she “taught a ‘white privilege’ seminar that pledged to help students acknowledge and understand their white privilege.”

The Notre Dame faculty members who signed the open letter said the people now on the list are, actually, “the sort of company we wish to keep.”

Here’s the brief letter in full. It was also published on the website of the Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame.

Dear Professor Watchlist,
We, the undersigned faculty at the University of Notre Dame, write to request that you place our names, all of them, on Professor Watchlist.
We make this request because we note that you currently list on your site several of our colleagues, such as Professor Gary Gutting, whose work is distinguished by its commitment to reasoned, fact-based civil discourse examining questions of tolerance, equality, and justice. We further note that nearly all faculty colleagues at other institutions listed on your site, the philosophers, historians, theologians, ethicists, feminists, rhetoricians, and others, have similarly devoted their professional lives to the unyielding pursuit of truth, to the critical examination of assumptions that underlie social and political policy, and to honoring this country’s commitments to the premise that all people are created equal and deserving of respect.
This is the sort of company we wish to keep.
We surmise that the purpose of your list is to shame and silence faculty who espouse ideas you reject. But your list has had a different effect upon us. We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called “dangerous,” reaffirming our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently, and fearlessly.
So please add our names, the undersigned faculty at the University of Notre Dame, to the Professor Watchlist. We wish to be counted among those you are watching.
Most sincerely,
Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Spanish
Ani Aprahamian, Physics
Francisco Aragon, Institute for Latino Studies
Doug Archer, Hesburgh Libraries
Carolina Arroyo, Political Science
Katrina Barron, Mathematics
Kevin Barry, Kaneb Center
Christine Becker, Film, Television, and Theater
Gail Bederman, History
Patricia Blanchette, Philosophy
Susan D. Blum, Anthropology
Catherine E. Bolten, Anthropology and Peace Studies
John G. Borkowski, Psychology
Bruce Bunker, Physics
Elizabeth Capdevielle, University Writing Program
Matthew Capdevielle, University Writing Program
Robert Randolf Coleman, Art, Art History & Design
Brian Collier, Institute for Educational Initiatives
Philippe Collon, Experimental Nuclear Physics
Michael Coppedge, Political Science
David Cortright, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Mary D’Angelo, Theology
Antonio Delgado, Physics
Denise M. Della Rossa, German
Michael Detlefsen, Philosophy
Tarek R. Dika,  Program of Liberal Studies
Jane Doering, Gender Studies
Jean Dibble, Art, Art History & Design
Margaret Anne Doody, English
Kevin Dreyer, Film, Television, and Theater
John Duffy, English
Amitava Krishna Dutt, Political Science
Stephen M. Fallon, Program of Liberal Studies and English
Stephen Fredman, English
Christopher Fox, English
Judith Fox, Law School
Mary E. Frandsen, Music
Jill Godmilow, Film Television & Theater
Karen Graubart, History
Stuart Greene, English and Africana Studies
David Hachen, Sociology
Matthew E.K. Hall, Political Science
Darlene Hampton, First Year of Studies
Susan Harris, English
Randy Harrison, Hesburgh Library
Anne Hayner, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Peter Holland, Film, Television, and Theater
Romana Huk, English
Charlice Hurst, Mendoza College of Business
Lionel M. Jensen, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Debra Javeline, Political Science
Claire Taylor Jones, German and Russian
Michael Kackman, Film, Television, and Theater
Asher Kaufman, History and Peace Studies
Mary Celeste Kearney, Film, Television, and Theater; Gender Studies
Micha Kilburn, Physics
Janet Kourany, Philosophy
Thomas Kselman, History
Greg Kucich, English
Rev. Donald G. LaSalle Jr., First Year of Studies
Daniel Lapsley, Psychology
Erin Moira Lemrow, Institute for Latino Studies
Neil Lobo, Biological Sciences,
George Lopez, Peace Studies
Cecilia Lucero, First Year of Studies
Collette Mak, Hesburgh Library
Julia Marvin, Program of Liberal Studies
Maria McKenna, Institute for Educational Initiatives and Africana Studies
Sarah McKibben, Irish Language and Literature
Erin McLaughlinUniversity Writing Program
Joyelle McSweeney, English
Stephen Miller, Music
Ann Mische, Sociology and Peace Studies
Leslie L. Morgan, Hesbuirgh Library
Brian O’Conchubhair, Irish Language and Literature
Lisa Oglesbee, Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
Kathleen Opel, Notre Dame International
Jessica Payne, Psychology
Catherine Perry, Romance Languages and Literatures
Dianne Pinderhughes, Political Science
Pierpaolo Polzonetti, Program in Liberal Studies and Sacred Music
Margaret Porter, Hesburgh Library
Clark Power, Program of Liberal Studies
Ava Preacher, College of Arts and Letters
William Purcell, Center for Social Concerns
Benjamin Radcliff, Political Science
Steve Reifenberg, Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Karen Richman, Institute for Latino Studies
Charles Rosenberg, Art, Art History & Design
Deb Rotman, Anthropology
David F. Ruccio, Arts and Letters
Valerie Sayers, English
Catherine Schlegel, Classics
Roy Scranton, English
Susan Sharpe, Center for Social Concerns
Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Biological Sciences and Philosophy
John Sitter, English
Cheri Smith, Hesburgh Library
Donald Sniegowski, English
Thomas A. Stapleford, Program of Liberal Studies
James Sterba, Philosophy
Susan St. Ville, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Maria Tomasula, Art, Art History & Design
Steve Tomasula, English
Ernesto Verdeja, Political Science
Henry Weinfield, Program of Liberal Studies and English
John Welle, Italian
Michael Wiescher, Physics
Pamela Wojcik, Film, Television, and Theater
Christina Wolbrecht, Political Science
Martin Wolfson, Professor of Economics Emeritus
Danielle Wood, Center for Social Concerns

 

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