This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 13, 2021:
Last week, officials at New York University relented and exonerated Professor Mark Crispin Miller over the school’s claims that he was teaching his students “dangerous misinformation” about the efficacy of masks during the COVID-10 pandemic.
The exoneration came with a warning, however: NYU suggested that he might need to “reconsider his teaching style” and perhaps to “even get some coaching.”
This for a man who has been with NYU since 1997 and, consequently, is a fully tenured professor there. He has been teaching a course on propaganda there for 20 years, which is one of the most popular classes on campus.
In September 2020, Professor Miller thought the issue of masking would make a great issue to study as there was so much conflicting information floating around about the efficacy of masks in reining in the spread of the virus. He told his students:
You would want to read all the scientific literature on masking.
It may interest you to know that all the randomized controlled trials on masking in hospitals have found that masks are not effective barriers against respiratory viruses. You would want to read all those studies.
And you would also then want to read the more recent studies finding otherwise.
He also advised his students to look for financial connections between the authors of those studies and the pharmaceutical industry as well as the Gates Foundation. He even provided Internet links to studies that had been censored for exposing information that didn’t fit the popular narrative.
That’s real teaching, and not indoctrination. He asked his students to do their research on both sides of the issue, to review and analyze what they found, and then to use their critical thinking skills to come to an educated and well-informed opinion on the matter. And then be prepared to defend their conclusions in class. He didn’t interpose his personal opinion, leaving the students to come to their own conclusions. This often led to lively discussions during his classes.
Julia, a student who hadn’t attended his first class, was outraged. She tweeted:
I hope NYUniversity/NYUSteinhardt agrees that this professor should not be trusted with educating and advising students, and I hope they take immediate stops to relieve him of these duties.
In response, Miller’s department head wrote: “Julia, thank you for reporting this issue. We as a department have made this a priority and are discussing next steps.”
The “next steps” included sending an e-mail to his students (while excluding Miller from the e-mail) suggesting that, said Miller, “I had given this class dangerous misinformation, and [then] included a list of links to studies recommended by the CDC, calling them authoritative, and then ending by warning them to wear their masks on campus, as if I had told them not to.”
This was followed by 25 of Miller’s colleagues writing a letter to the dean, who then ordered an investigation before even talking to Miller.
When he learned that the university had relented and concluded that he hadn’t violated any of the university’s rules, Miller said:
Here I was accused of bullying my students into agreeing with my crackpot views.
Well, several students who defended me actually said that my classes were unusually tolerant and open and that I do not punish anyone for disagreeing.
And I do not hold the party line on any issue, whereas other professors at NYU, specifically in my department, do precisely that.
They hold forth with all kinds of social justice pieties, and the students are intimidated, and [consequently] they censor themselves, and they are afraid to disagree.
Professor Miller has taken the next step: He is suing 19 of his “colleagues” who ganged up on him for libel.