Two months after a Calvin profressor was added to a "watchlist" of professors "who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom," more than 100 of his colleagues sent a letter requesting their names be added, too.
The letter, published in Calvin's student newspaper, Chimes, on Jan. 13, is a show of solidarity among Calvin faculty, and serves as a repudiation by Christian scholars of the watchlist's aims.
"Your organization claims to provide a service by revealing the names of professors who advance a 'radical agenda.' ...We wish to be counted among those you are watching," reads the letter to Turning Point USA, the group responsible for the list.
The letter continues:
Your organization claims to recognize "the right for professors to say whatever they wish." Professors like Joe Kuilema don’t say whatever they wish. Instead, we say what we know, based on careful research, the accumulated work of other scholars, and our own direct experience outside the classroom.
The letter also specfically comments on Calvin professor Joseph Kuilema's teaching on power structures and white privilege, the coursework that appears to have generated scrutiny by creators of the watchlist:
If an aim of your site is to identify professors who maintain that racism remains a difficult problem in American society, then all of us need to be on the list. Most of us teach about racism in American institutions and structures in our courses. We don’t take pleasure in discussing the realities of institutional racism with our students, but we know that it needs to be discussed. Indeed, our college as a whole — based on our shared Christian convictions — has dedicated itself to the goal of racial reconciliation. While we each have distinct ways of addressing racism and its ongoing effects in our society, we all agree that this goal requires an intentional stand.
In December, Prof. Kuilema issued his own response to discovering his name on this list, writing, "The Professor Watchlist is clearly intended to quiet the prophetic voice. To instill fear. To encourage more cautious language. But as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently wrote in the New Yorker, 'Now is the time to call things what they actually are.'"
If it is “leftist propaganda” to talk about the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant, to talk about justice and love for God and neighbor, to talk about humility and grace — in short, to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then let us do it all the louder.
Read the letter in full here.