This article was collaboratively written by Andrea Teres-Martinez, news editor, and Alaina Uhlenhoff, news reporter.
Boise State political science professor Scott Yenor posted a video to his Twitter account in response to criticism following a speech he gave at the National Conservatism Conference in November, in which he lectured on the “evils that flow from feminism.”
The response video, posted on Nov. 29, referenced the viral Tiktok video that brought more widespread attention to Yenor’s conference speech. The video focused on addressing the dangers behind supporting the “empowered woman.”
In his Twitter video, Yenor again espoused many anti-feminist and misogynistic beliefs, including that feminism has led to the “weakening of the family;” a fault which he claims comes from the medication of women.
“Things must change if this country is to rebuild the family,” Yenor said in the Nov. 29 video. “While [women] medicate themselves and their loneliness, we should rebuild a country where men act with responsibility and purpose.”
Following Yenor’s original conference speech, the hashtag #FireYenor gained traction on Twitter. The Idaho 97 Project, an anti-extremist political group, responded by encouraging both past and present students to speak up about their experiences with the professor.
Several Twitter users have tweeted statements calling for Yenor’s removal from the university, claiming his comments do not reflect Boise State’s values.
Boise State released an official statement about the importance of the First Amendment and academic freedom at the university.
However, several students and community members have called for Boise State to conduct a grade and curriculum audit, some claiming that Yenor’s misogynistic beliefs could have a negative impact on his non-male students.
Additionally, fellow faculty members have also come forward with their own concerns about Yenor’s impact on themselves and their department, calling into question his ability to avoid discriminating against women in his work environment.
“How am I supposed to go back to work knowing that someone who is directly responsible for evaluating my tenure profile thinks women shouldn’t be working and thinks working women are meddlesome and quarrelsome?” Boise State assistant professor Julie VanDusky-Allen wrote in a Tweet on Nov. 29.
Stephen Utych, a professor in Boise State’s political science department, spoke out against Yenor, his colleague, calling for the university to investigate his behavior towards women in his classes.
“Might this harm me professionally? I don’t know, maybe, but at a certain point I need to do what I think is right,” Utych wrote. “I should have spoken up about this sooner. I regret not doing so. But it is beyond time for Boise State to investigate Scott Yenor’s behavior.”
Utych also mentioned in the Tweet that he would “support Boise State removing Scott from the classroom, and from all service positions where he can impact the careers of junior faculty members,” like VanDusky-Allen.
On the morning of Dec. 1, Boise State sent an email to students and faculty under the subject line “Boise State in Support of Women,” which was signed by members of the university’s executive team.
“Boise State University has a long tradition of supporting women,” the email read. “We defend their right to seek an education, to pursue a range of academic aspirations and dreams, and to make their mark in whatever ways they choose.”
However, not all are content with the email and urge the university to “prove their words hold weight” by firing Yenor.
“It was pretty upsetting to read that a professor at Boise State University basically has disregarded half of the student population,” said Grace Brock, a junior political science major.
Brock said she had heard from other students that Yenor was opinionated, but had not yet experienced the extent of his opinions firsthand.
After learning of Yenor’s comments about feminism, Brock said she would avoid taking a class from him.
“It just seems in general like he’s not supportive of women entering the workforce and that’s what I’m in university to do,” Brock said. “I believe in the equal opportunities for male and female students on our campus, no matter how they identify.”
Due to Yenor’s tenured status at the university, the question of whether he can be held accountable for his statements through administrative action still remains. In the meantime, some Idaho leaders are taking action in support of women in the workforce.
Boise Representative Brooke Green is calling for women to gather at “The B” in front of Boise State’s Administration Building on Saturday morning for a rally and photo opportunity in support of women in science, law and medicine.
“This isn’t some sort of political stunt. This is about us gathering in unity together to be visible, to be present and to showcase that we have a role in our community,” Green said.
According to Rep. Green, the goal of the rally is to make women and their work visible; regardless of whether they find their work as engineers and doctors or as mothers and wives. Their mission is not to be confused with calling for Boise State to fire Yenor.
“I will say we are not calling for resignation, we’re not calling for a firing. I’m a big proponent of the First Amendment rights,” Rep. Green said. “And I want to make that so very clear because I believe that you go to a university to share different views, and to share views that aren’t necessarily yours and to have that dialogue.”
Since posting the Tweet, some men have also come forward offering to attend the rally in the place of their wives, who will be busy working important jobs.
The rally will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. at ‘The B’ on the Boise State campus.
The Arbiter will continue reporting on this topic as more information becomes available.