High-Tech Lynching at DePaul

Philosophy professor and Freedom Center Shillman Fellow slandered as being “violently transphobic”.

The Left’s thought police at DePaul University in Chicago have come after Dr. Jason D. Hill, a tenured professor of philosophy and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The leftwing fascists treat every expression of views they don’t like on a controversial issue as evidence of bigotry against one or another so-called “oppressed” minority. The censors demand conformity or punishment for dissenting views.

In Dr. Hill’s case, one of his former students, Grace Gallant, charged that he is "violently transphobic.” Gallant claimed the professor “said that we would be discussing ‘if a biological man could ever be a woman.’” Gallant complained that this alleged remark Dr. Hill is accused of making was “not just offensive and hurtful, but it’s so archaic, useless and immature to have these kinds of conversations in class.”

DePaul’s student-run school newspaper, The DePaulia, ran a feature article hyping Gallant’s accusation, which Professor Hill has categorically denied. “The accusations made by [a student] against me… are inaccurate. I do not have a transphobic bone in my body,” Professor Hill said.

Dr. Hill’s accuser would like to see Professor Hill cancelled. “I’m shocked that [Hill] still has a platform at DePaul,” Gallant said, as quoted by the school newspaper. “It’s one thing to be open to all views, which I do value. But when the view is challenging the validity of student’s identities, there is a line crossed.”

The DePaulia school paper not only printed Grace Gallant’s accusation that Professor Hill was “violently transphobic,” which it described as “student testimony” in the headline of its article. The school paper also objected to a tweet by Professor Hill, which it claimed used “harmful language that reduces people to their biology.” Sonal Soni, a junior at DePaul University majoring in journalism and communications who wrote the article, declared that “Hill’s tweet stating trans women are at a physical advantage is largely untrue scientifically.” Soni added that “[T]he idea that people who are assigned male at birth have greater physical advantages is a misconception that is often used to discriminate against trans athletes, specifically trans women.”

Professor Hill rightly took personal umbrage at both the school newspaper and his student accuser. "This feels like continued harassment on the part of The DePaulia newspaper against me that is contributing to a hostile work environment,” he said. “I feel that the student accuser has engaged in a racial stereotype in using the word ‘violently’ and I feel personally violated by that comment."

Professor Hill is a distinguished philosophy professor, whose academic specialties include ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of education. From his philosophical ethics perspective, he has questioned the fairness of allowing transwomen to compete in athletic contests against biologically born women. But he has done so on social media outside of his classroom, as is his right to do.

On January 21, Professor Hill tweeted: “Trans people should be treated with dignity. Agreed. Trans women ought not to be competing in sports with biological women. Why? Transwomen are still biological men with all the physical privileges of male strength. This move is misogynistic and a declaration of war against WOMEN.” Professor Hill has been careful not to inject this point of view into his classroom teaching.

The university has not yet taken an official position specifically on the transphobia accusation against Dr. Hill.  However, a member of DePaul’s public relations team tipped his hand when he said that “The university’s Title IX Coordinator/Director of Gender Equity is responsible for receiving, processing, and investigating a complaint that an employee has engaged in discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of sex, gender, or gender identity.”

Will the university grant Dr. Hill due process in its investigation? That’s unlikely, based on the university’s track record. This is not the first time that Dr. Hill has been targeted by leftwing censors. A Faculty Council resolution passed in 2019 condemned Professor Hill for his writing of a strong pro-Israel op-ed published in The Federalist. He filed a lawsuit last year seeking redress to vindicate his contractual and due process rights, clear his name, and compensate him for the pain, humiliation, and mental distress that the defendants inflicted upon him with their censure resolution and other actions.

Transgender girls’ competition with biologically born girls in student athletics has real world consequences. For example, Selina Soule is a high school track star from Connecticut who was born a girl. Soule has claimed that she failed to qualify for a spot in the New England track and field regionals because she was defeated by two biologically born boys who identify as girls. She joined two other high school girls in a federal complaint challenging the policy of the Connecticut’s interscholastic athletic organization allowing biologically born boys who claim a female transgender identity to compete in girls’ athletic events.

Professor Hill has questioned such policies on ethical grounds. Others are free to disagree with Professor Hill’s position. However, they should do so with reason and evidence-based arguments, not with character assassination.

Sonal Soni, the college junior who authored The DePaulia article, used her student-run school newspaper platform to repeat Grace Gallant’s loaded accusations against Dr. Hill, evidently without checking their veracity. Soni also claimed there was little scientific basis for “Hill’s tweet stating trans women are at a physical advantage.” The non-science major cited one 2015 study to support her assertion. She also quoted the opinion of Dr. Joshua Safer, an endocrinologist and executive director of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital who is a long-time advocate for transgenders. That’s it. The would-be journalist made no effort to do a deep dive into the issue before accusing Dr. Hill of employing a “negative trope” and a “misconception that is often used to discriminate against trans athletes, specifically trans women.” No wonder Dr. Hill feels harassed!

Had Soni done her homework she would have found substantial scientific evidence supporting Dr. Hill’s concern that transgender women, who were biologically males at birth, have a measurable physical advantage in certain athletic contests over biologically born women. Studies have found this to be true even for transgender women who underwent treatments to lower their testosterone levels.

For example, the authors of an article published on December 8, 2020, entitled “Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage,” performed “a systematic search of the scientific literature addressing anthropometric and muscle characteristics of transgender women.” The authors, who are biologists, concluded “that the muscle mass advantage males possess over females, and the performance implications thereof, are not removed by the currently studied durations (4 months, 1, 2 and 3 years) of testosterone suppression in transgender women. In sports where muscle mass is important for performance, inclusion is therefore only possible if a large imbalance in fairness, and potentially safety in some sports, is to be tolerated.”

Dr. Timothy Roberts, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, examined athletic performance data for transgender women in the U.S. Air Force vs. cisgender women (biologically born women). “Transgender women retain an advantage in upper body strength (push-ups and sit-ups) over female controls for 1 to 2 years after starting gender-affirming hormones,” Dr. Roberts concluded from his research. “Transgender women retain an advantage in endurance (1.5-mile run) over female controls for over 2 years after starting gender-affirming hormones,” he added.

Scientists may legitimately disagree as to the extent of the physical advantage and whether it diminishes over time. Ethicists may legitimately disagree about whether it is fair that biologically born girls have to compete athletically against transgender girls. But the thought police accusing Dr. Hill of bigotry for raising a genuine, scientifically based concern are not interested in evidence or reasoned debate. They are censors who insist on silencing anyone who deviates from their dogmatic "woke" beliefs. They are today’s version of the inquisitors who centuries ago treated philosophers questioning the politically correct dogma of their day as heretics and punished the philosophers accordingly.

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