Let's not

A new list targets progressive professors. Here’s why that’s terrifying.

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A conservative nonprofit irresponsibly launched a website this week to keep track of “college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” So basically all those super friendly alt-right and white nationalist folk have a catalogue of people to harass. Oh, and Donald Trump’s got a ready-made list of intellectual dissidents!

The president-elect’s clear lack of respect for the first amendment and one of his surrogates calling internment camps a “precedent” for a national Muslim registry makes the existence of such a list chilling and dangerous.

The website comes courtesy of Turning Point USA, which aims to educate “students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” Here’s a list of the transgressions of professors who made the list, courtesy of The Cut.

There are currently 197 academics on the TPUSA list; featured professors’ perceived offenses vary across the board and include having socialist leanings, saying that climate-change deniers are incorrect, addressing the concept of white privilege, and calling for stricter gun-control laws. More specifically, one professor landed on the list for reportedly saying Ted Cruz’s “New York Values” comment was anti-Semitic, while another allegedly “instructed students to write ‘Jesus’ on a piece of paper, then stomp on it.”

The creator of the site tells Slate’s Rebecca Schuman the intention isn’t to “threaten or harm professors.” Schuman writes:

I’ve no reason to doubt [Charlie] Kirk’s sincerity, but at this point, I also have to wonder whether the intentions of his watch list make a difference—and whether this is a bell that can be unrung…. Intentionally or not, the Professor Watchlist, simply by being a self-styled watch list, has aligned itself with the ugly, frightening new political status quo.

That’s great your intent isn’t to threaten professors, kid, but your vendetta on colleges and universities could actually put people in harm’s way. Take it down. Those white supremacists are emboldened and no one knows what Trump’s presidency is going to look like.

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