Story at a glance
- A political science professor in Idaho has sparked widespread outrage for saying women should be barred from professions in certain fields.
- Excerpts from a speech made in late October went viral last week after they were posted to TikTok.
- Despite pushback, the professor, Scott Yenor, is unlikely to face consequences from his employer, Boise State University, because of First Amendment protections.
A university professor in Idaho is under fire after he said in late October that “independent women” are “medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome” and should be kept out of professions like engineering, comments that went viral last week.
Scott Yenor, a political science professor at Boise State University, said women should be encouraged to pursue “feminine goals” like “homemaking and having children” while speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 31.
“Every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade,” he said.
Snippets of his speech were posted to TikTok on Nov. 25.
“Our culture is steeped with feminism,” Yenor, who previously served on an Idaho task force investigating right-wing claims of “indoctrination” in schools, said in his speech. “It teaches young boys and girls that they are motivated by much the same things and want much the same things.”
Yenor is no stranger to controversy, and made headlines in 2017 for penning an article in the conservative news site The Daily Signal arguing that transgender activists were “seeking to undermine parental rights.”
Female students and policymakers in Idaho have pushed back against Yenor’s remarks.
“It’s disgusting. He needs to come into the current century, but it doesn’t sound like he will,” Emily Walton, a Boise State MBA student, told the Idaho Statesman, a local newspaper.
According to Walton, Yenor’s public admission that women should be barred from certain professions could leave the university vulnerable to Title IX complaints. She told the Statesman she’s looking to connect female students of Yenor’s with legal representation.
“It doesn’t matter what Scott Yenor says. We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “Let that be a warning to him. We’re not going to put up with this. It’s not OK.”
Democratic state Sen. Melissa Wintrow, former director of the Boise State Women’s Center (now known as the Gender Equity Center), told the Statesman she found Yenor’s comments “dehumanizing.”
“You start to wonder, what is the goal here?” she said. “If it’s to set us back in time and disenfranchise women from as far as we’ve come, that’s a problem.”
But it’s unlikely Yenor will face any consequences.
“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,” a spokesperson for Boise State told Changing America in email, which made no mention of Yenor.
“Boise State University understands that the open exchange of ideas, which is fundamental to education, can introduce uncomfortable and even offensive ideas,” they said. “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.”
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