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Boise State voices support for women and academic freedom after professor's controversial statements

BSU Professor Scott Yenor is facing backlash for comments he made regarding women's occupations at the National Conservatism Conference.

BOISE, Idaho — Scott Yenor, a professor of political science at Boise State University, is facing backlash on social media for statements made in his speech earlier this month at the annual National Conservatism Conference.

"Our independent women seek their purpose in life in midlevel bureaucratic jobs like human resource management, environmental protection, and marketing. They're more medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome than women need to be," Yenor said at the conference.

The conference took place Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Orlando, Florida, and included keynote speakers such as U.S Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio.

Yenor's comments went viral after they were posted on Tiktok by the user @sociallstlyawkward.

Yenor on Tuesday, Nov. 30, posted a response on Twitter. He stood by his speech at the conference, and asserted that in celebrating women's empowerment and independence, feminists are talking about "career-based empowerment" and women's independence from the family.

"It has been good for some, but for others it has brought addiction, suicide, misery, crime, pain and purposelessness," Yenor said in his video response. "What do feminists do? They encourage women to deflect blame and be meddlesome and quarrelsome. When feminists celebrate the revolutionary anger of modern women, they are applauded. When they celebrate their nastiness, they applaud one another. Things must change if this country is to rebuild the family. While they medicate their loneliness, we should rebuild a country where men act with responsibility and purpose. We should build a country where young girls are encouraged to be mothers and wives as well as enjoying fulfilling jobs if they choose."

In one reply to Yenor's Twitter post, a man identifying himself as a father of five writes, "I have serious doubts about your generalizations. How do you know what independent refers to to each woman, or where women place their self importance? Consider that your opinions differ from others, so do theirs. An intelligent person would know you can't generalize a gender."

Boise State University President Dr. Marlene Tromp is among the dozens of administrators and faculty who've signed a statement expressing the university's support for women. The statement, posted Wednesday morning, says, in part, "Boise State University has a long tradition of supporting women. We continue to do so across the university. 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."

BSU's Director of Media Relations Mike Sharp last week issued the following statement on Yenor's speech:

"Boise State University understands that the open exchange of ideas, which is fundamental to education, can introduce uncomfortable and even offensive ideas. However, the university cannot infringe upon the First Amendment rights of any members of our community, regardless of whether we, as individual leaders, agree or disagree with the message. No single faculty member defines what Boise State — or any public university — endorses or stands for."

"Recently, academic freedom has faced challenges in universities around the country. We stand fully in support of academic freedom. Academic freedom is the bedrock of the university and higher education, and our faculty hold a wide range of opinions and perspectives. As noted by our governing Board, “Academic freedom is essential to protect the rights of the faculty member in teaching and the student in learning.” As such, academic freedom will be protected within the governing policies of the Idaho State Board of Education and Boise State University. We aim to facilitate non-violent and free expression that allows for true and open engagement with ideas — in support or in critique of a position — and that results in deeper learning and growth for all."

"We welcome all people to our campus, regardless of their background, experiences, or identity. Members of the Boise State community who have questions about the intersection of academic freedom, free speech, and harassment or who would like to file a complaint alleging a violation of law or policy, can contact Institutional Compliance and Ethics. If students at any time feel they are experiencing discrimination because of their viewpoints, background, or any distinguishing characteristic, we have robust processes, including our academic grievance policy and our nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policy, which protect students’ rights. Boise State takes these concerns very seriously and implements corrective action when appropriate."

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