By: Mark Glennon*
J.B. Pritzker, candidate for governor, is a trustee of Northwestern University.
Morton Schapiro is president of Northwestern. Schapiro has staked out a position at the forefront of the intolerance and repression engulfing so much of higher education and the left.
J.B., should Schapiro be fired?
Schapiro’s contempt for diversity of opinion and freedom of expression has been firm and consistent. You’re an “idiot” and a “lunatic” if you question safe spaces, trigger warnings and microagressions, he told new students in a speech that got national attention.
Earlier, Schapiro presided over the derailment of Karl Eikenberry’s appointment to become the first executive director of a new global studies institute at Northwestern. Eikenberry, who had already begun his move from Stanford, was superbly qualified as a three-star Army general and former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. But that military background didn’t sit well with leftists on Northwestern’s faculty who led the opposition to whom Schapiro caved.
Most recently, Schapiro defended his safe spaces on campus by saying some offensive speech should be considered a form of “assault.” Jonathan Turley, a Northwestern alum and a generally liberal law professor, wrote this last week:
The comments further distinguish Schapiro as one of the most hostile university presidents toward free speech principles in the country. His pandering to those demanding speech codes and regulations should be an embarrassment for the university….
Schapiro’s hypocrisy is boundless. He told his students,
[P]eople who decry safe spaces do it from their segregated housing places, from their jobs without diversity — they do it from their country clubs. It just drives me nuts.
But this month he told the Wall Street Journal,
I belong to a golf club…. It is a safe space for me. Nobody comes up to me and says, “Hey, idiot, you’re rejecting my granddaughter.” They just leave me alone when I play golf.
Northwestern pays Schapiro $1.2 million per year.
I know J.B. Pritzker quite well through work in the venture capital community. I like him a lot, though our politics differ. His efforts have been instrumental in making Chicago’s tech sector the success it is. He and his family have long been exceptionally philanthropic in many areas.
What I don’t know, however, is how far left he is — whether he has joined the intolerant left now dangerously ascending across the country, particularly on campuses. He has been dead silent on the controversy so far.
Illinois voters should know whether, as a Northwestern trustee, he thinks Morton Schapiro should be fired.
Yes or no, J.B.
Turley wrote that Northwestern must decide “if it has the courage to stand by free speech and academic integrity or whether it will merely pander to the mob.”
So must J.B. Pritzker, respecting Northwestern and freedom of expression everywhere.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.