Campus cancelations averaged well over once per week in 2023
Campus cancel culture continued unbated over the last 12 months, with 78 successful cancelations in 2023, including the removal of a plaque dedicated to Gen. Robert E. Lee’s horse, a professor fired after teaching sex is defined by chromosomes, and a college that ended its use of the word “field” to promote inclusivity.
The incidents are chronicled on The College Fix’s exclusive Campus Cancel Culture Database, which tracks targeting and suppression efforts in higher education.
The database defines cancel culture as any effort by people or groups to identify someone or something as offensive or unacceptable and seek in some way to censor or punish the transgressor or item. It tracks both successful cancelations as well as attempted efforts, which can still have a chilling effect on freedom of thought.
Launched in September 2021 with more than 1,400 entries, it currently sits at 1,743 entries. With 52 weeks in a year and 78 successful incidents, the math adds up to an average of 1.5 campus cancelations per week in 2023.
“The database quantifies cancel culture on campus and really gives people a clear picture of the size, breadth and scope of the problem,” said Jennifer Kabbany, editor in chief of The College Fix. “Clearly, it shows no end in sight. Progressives on campus continue to shut down anything they disagree with.”
More than a dozen professors were the target of successful shut downs this year.
Among scholars who faced cancelations in 2023: a Jewish economics professor at USC was required to teach off campus for a portion of the fall semester after he got into a heated exchange with a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators; a Pennsylvania State Abington professor was fired after he opposed diversity trainings that argued white people are racist; and a professor at a college in Texas was fired after he taught that sex is determined by chromosomes.
Plenty of guest speakers also saw their events axed, including a renowned oncologist whose speech was canceled over his contrarian COVID views and a Princeton professor’s speech on “truth seeking” shut down by rowdy protesters.
In recent months, frenzied demonstrations on many campuses against Israel led to students, and even some professors, ripping down and trashing posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas.
More building names were also scrapped this year at UC Berkeley, Bryn Mawr College, University of Puget Sound, West Chester University, Wheaton College, Johns Hopkins University and Virginia Theological Seminary.
Two universities — USC and Smith College — also stopped using the word “field,” arguing it is not inclusive and could be construed as anti-black.
Several student events also did not escape cancel campaigns: Catholic Gonzaga University prohibited a pro-life event with Liz Wheeler and students disrupted and canceled a screening of a trans-critical documentary at the University of Utah.
Other notable campus cancelations this year include:
Univ. removes dolphin from logo because it belonged to slave trader 300+ years ago
Leftist tears down YAF Berlin Wall display at Michigan Tech
Jewish, Israeli students at MIT ‘blockaded’ from attending classes
College play about gay interracial love affair canceled after outrage: ‘romanticizes slavery’
UNLV law school apologizes for using word ‘picnic,’ changes it to ‘Lunch by the Lake’
University cancels planned talk on Christianity’s influence on civilization
USD rejects request to host Matt Walsh talk titled ‘It’s your fault you’re offended’
Professor made student ‘uncomfortable’ with open debate, gets fired
Gay conservative professor suspended after handing out Jeremy’s Chocolate during event
DEI director fired for criticizing DEI
“These incidents will not stop until administrators grow a backbone and start defending open debate and punishing students for actions that aggressively silence and shut down others’ right to free speech,” Kabbany said.
It’s not just students, either. Campus leaders must defend scholars who don’t follow lockstep with progressive orthodoxy, she said.
“If scholars want to silence and push out their peers, it’s administrators who must be first to step and and defend academic freedom,” she said.