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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Anthropology professor placed on right-wing ‘watchlist’

Monica+Salas+Landa+was+placed+on+the+watchlist+for+her+course+on+museum+studies.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Professorwatchlist.org%29
Monica Salas Landa was placed on the watchlist for her course on museum studies. (Photo courtesy of Professorwatchlist.org)

Associate professor of anthropology Monica Salas Landa was listed on a conservative “watchlist” last December.

The Professor Watchlist, an offshoot of Turning Point USA whose mission is “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom” criticized a course taught by Salas Landa last semester called “Museum Studies: History, Theory, and Debates.” The course analyzed how “colonialism, looting and exploitation have shaped the construction of museums and their collections,” according to the course description.

The course culminated in a collaborative student-curated exhibit titled “Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism.” The exhibit featured objects whose “imperialist” history had been “erased” by museums.

“The radical, anti-American Left have hijacked our universities and any further contribution to those universities is a contribution to that force of destruction,” the Turning Point USA website reads. “Administrations pour resources into lecture halls where students are being indoctrinated, not educated.”

Turning Point was founded by right-wing political activist Charlie Kirk, who continues to serve as executive director of the organization.

Kirk “founded this big organization with the idea being to keep an eye on universities, protect conservative students and protect against free speech violations,” said Michael Feola, a government and law professor who studies the far right. “This is all part of their mission statement.”

This critique of Salas Landa’s museum studies course is not an isolated incident. Instead, it is part of a much larger cultural trend, according to Feola.

“There’s certainly been scrutiny of professors for a very, very, very long time,” Feola said. “Going back to McCarthy and the Red Scare, professors were one of the groups that was persistently scrutinized or potentially made into ‘anti-American’ actors, so certainly scrutiny and suspicion toward professors is much, much, much longer than Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA.”

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a free speech group, Lafayette is among the most intolerant of elite schools towards conservatives in the country.

Salas Landa declined to comment, citing possible backlash for herself and students and increasing publicity for the website.

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Makenna McCall, Staff News Writer
Tall, left-handed and stupid.

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    Joshua Miller, ProfessorFeb 17, 2024 at 10:05 am

    Putting it mildly, it is wrong to target professors for their courses. Doing so is the antithesis of the free speech they claim as a goal. They are in no position to judge the course or the professor. Professor Salas Landa has degrees from New York University and Cornell University, two of the best universities in the world, She is highly qualified to create a substantive course appropriate for Lafayette College students.

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