A Reed College professor banned a male student from a class discussion section because he said the student’s views on rape and sexual assault made other students “uncomfortable.” “There are several survivors of sexual assault in our conference, and you have made them extremely uncomfortable with what they see as not only your undermining incidents of rape, but of also placing too much emphasis on men being unfairly charged with rape,” Professor Pancho Savery wrote in an email to Jeremiah True. “The entire conference without exception, men as well as women, feel that your presence makes them uncomfortable enough that they would rather not be there if you are there, and they have said that things you have said in our conference have made them so upset that they have difficulty concentrating in other classes.” The 19-year-old student says he was questioning the concept of “rape culture” and the imprecise claim that one in 5 women reported sexual assault on campus.
In a video posted in 2012, Savery describes himself as a “religious believer in the First Amendment.” “I believe that it is never OK to censor anything,” he says in it. “The ideas that are being talked about are going to be difficult, but I think that’s what it means to live in a democracy, to participate in the process, to be open to new ideas, and to be willing to talk about and debate those ideas with your fellow citizens. And the more that happens, the better and the stronger our democracy will be.”