As 2020 comes to a close, there is a stark divide between the dogmatic liberal fanatics and common- sense conservatives regarding the global coronavirus pandemic. This year was a trying year, full of social media-fueled boycotts, public shaming or “cancel culture,” protests and counter-protests, and government-mandated economic shutdowns. Educators and academics did not shy away from controversy or bone-headed decisions, despite having the opportunity of avoiding public scrutiny with remote learning.
With that in mind, here is our list of the ten worst pandemic academics:
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren, a failed 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate, not only failed to secure the party’s nomination, but also failed to land her preferred landing spot as a Treasury Department secretary under the Biden administration. Also, a father in Iowa called her out on a hot mike about her proposal to forgive student loan debt if elected president, highlighting the hypocrisy of Warren’s left-wing, government-pays-for-all policies. The man asked, “So you’re gonna pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us that did the right thing get screwed?” Warren did not come up with an adequate answer to his question.
- Teacher labor unions: Both the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association resisted in-person learning and pushed for all-remote learning classes for their Ignoring the mental health toll on students, the labor unions held up school reopening plans for weeks in places such as Chicago, Ill., New York City, and in states like Arizona.
- Jerry Falwell, Jr.: After a social media photo scandal, the longtime president of the evangelical Christian university resigned. The son of the university’s founder, Falwell was placed on administrative leave after he posted (and later deleted) photos on social media of his vacation. One of the photos showed an unkept Falwell with an arm around a woman who is not his wife, with a drink in his other hand. He claimed that it was a “costume party” and that the photo was “just in good fun.”
- Jessica Krug: The former George Washington University professor of African and Latin American History admitted in an online post that she had lied about her racial ethnicity and upbringing as a Cuban black woman for at least eight years. Krug blamed the years of lies on “mental health demons” and the university removed her from teaching duties for the semester. She resigned from the university soon after.
- Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber: Eisgruber admitted in a letter to the university’s community that the university has mistreated its programs, students and staff members over the years. He said, “[Princeton], for most of its history, intentionally and systematically excluded people of color, women, Jews, and other minorities, Princetonians – from the oldest alumni to the newest undergraduates – now take pride in the diversity of our community.” Eisgruber pledged to “fight the systemic racism that has far too long damaged the lives of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, both at this University and in the United States more broadly.” The Department of Education announced a federal investigation into whether Princeton violated federal laws by willingly misusing federal subsidies meant to close racial inequality gaps. Then the university claimed that the federal agency misinterpreted Eisgruber’s remarks.
- Arizona State University: ASU revoked a job offer for an incoming dean, Sonya Forte Duhé, after her former students complained that she used racist microaggressions against them. It was questionable timing that the former students made the allegations just as she was becoming dean of ASU.
- University of California-Santa Cruz: After firing its striking graduate student workers for withholding grades in a labor dispute, the university caved and rehired forty-one of the original seventy graduate student workers after five months of negotiations.
- Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland: The county public school system heralded its pilot program on LGBTQ history and its LGBTQ activism within its high schools in a virtual town hall discussion, while allegedly overlooking concerns that it was not adequately responding to its students’ needs when it came to remote learning and students’ mental health during the pandemic.
- Peter Gade: Gade is the director of graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma’s journalism college and he apologized for comparing the N-word to the pop culture phrase, “Ok boomer.” The phrase is allegedly offensive towards the Baby Boomer generation, and as a result of his comparison, Gade was barred from teaching journalism courses for the semester.
- Maya Wiley: The New School professor and MSNBC legal analyst alleged that President Trump’s impeachment trial was “a murder conspiracy and the victim here is the Constitution.” Wiley failed to provide evidence of how the impeachment trial, which failed in the Senate along party lines, was a legal assault on the Constitution.