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Jeff Poelvoorde, whom I met through mutual friends, is a smart, charming, lively, funny guy, a professor of history and politics at Converse College in South Carolina, and an orthodox rabbi. He is also courageous, and when I read his open letter to colleagues and friends, published by the National Association of Scholars, I was sad but not surprised.
The powers that be at Converse had set out “a series of measures to demonstrate the College’s seriousness in addressing the existence of racism and racial bigotry… [including] the mandatory viewing of several videos that purport to address the issues of sensitivity, bias, prejudice, diversity and inclusion.” In his response, Jeff lays out the reasons for his refusal to comply, and it is a refreshing change from the long, abject line of apologizers. The letter is also a model of understanding and manly restraint, and I believe that it is unanswerable, at least from a civilized point of view.More