Michael Rectenwald — the PC-bashing, “deplorable” New York University professor behind the Twitter handle @antipcnyuprof — is suing NYU and four of his colleagues for defamation, alleging that he was subjected to a campaign of ostracism and harassment when he criticized campus political correctness.
Rectenwald’s suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday, alleges that current and former NYU faculty members used official email distribution lists to defame him in May of 2017, calling him a “right-wing misogynist,” an “asshole” and “Satan” in messages sent to over 100 NYU faculty and administrators.
When contacted by The Daily Caller, John Beckman, New York University’s chief spokesman, brusquely dismissed the allegations. “The suit is without merit,” Beckman stated.
If Professor Rectenwald is a villain, he is a surprisingly personable one. Having readily agreed to an interview to discuss the state of campus politics, the 58-year-old instructor and author cracked a few jokes before spending nearly two hours reflecting on the smear campaign he says he endured when he spoke out against PC obsession on campus. [Disclaimer: the author of this article is a senior at New York University]
“The thing that is interesting here is that they were saying that because I don’t think like them, I am sick and mentally ill,” Rectenwald said. “So you have to be crazy to not believe what they do. Now, it may be true that you have to be crazy to say it, because look what happened!”
So what inspired Rectenwald, a former self-declared “longtime communist” and “ex-leftist,” to crusade against the screeching menace of campus leftism?
“In the fall of 2016,” the NYU professor recounted, “I was noting an increase of this social justice ideology on campuses, and it started to really alarm me. I saw it coming home to roost here at NYU, with the creation of the bias reporting hotline, and with the cancellation of the Milo Yiannopoulos talk because someone might walk past it and hear something which might ‘trigger’ them.”
Rectenwald, an ardent free speech advocate, took great issue with the proliferation of “no platforming” activism across college campuses. But he became especially concerned with the prevalence of what he calls “pure indoctrination” in the classroom:
It says so much to me that Stanford admitted a student who [submitted] one ‘essay’ for admission that said #BlackLivesMatter 100 times. That was one of his ‘essays.’ They admitted him to Stanford in a year during which they had the smallest ever freshman class in the history of the university; furthermore, they said they had an extremely rich field intellectually and diversity-wise. So here is a major top-flight university in the United States that is essentially saying that it is extremely important that universities have social justice sloganeering on campus, and that they have these acolytes who will repeat, ad nauseam, certain phrases.
Rectenwald stated that on Facebook, one former friend of his (a Marxist feminist) bragged that by the end of her course, “every student was now an avowed Marxist feminist.”
“I was the only person that demurred,” he remarked of the post. “I said, ‘I have to beg to differ that this is the objective of any course.’ If you have a teleological model of pedagogy in which you are trying to steer students to a particular end, that is not teaching. That is actually indoctrination. You can do that if you have a political party, but this is absolutely not the role of education, at all. This is absolutely anti-education and anti-intellectual.”