Monday 23 May 2022

Groningen University cancels ‘critical thinking’ course after alternative truth complaints

Groningen University’s main admin building. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Groningen University has banned a lecturer from teaching classes on critical thinking because of the way he is trying to convince students of his ‘alternative truths’, university newspaper UKrant said.

Tjeerd Andringa is, however, allowed to continue to teach other classes while an investigation into his methods is underway.

A university spokesman said that the course, entitled ‘Systems View on Life’ is no longer being taught and the lecture series due to start on February 7 has been cancelled.

UKrant spoke to 12 students about Andringa’s lessons and studied feedback and correspondence about the course. The students referred to his anti-Semitic ideas about the ‘dominant position of Jews’ and his belief in conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks in the US in 2001. Others spoke of his belief that vaccines cause autism and the lack of room for other opinions in discussion.

Read the Ukrant article, in English

On Andringa’s university website page he states his biggest achievement is becoming an ‘independent thinker. I did that really by myself, despite the education and the media I was exposed to.’

Warning

Andringa, a mathematician and physicist, was given an official warning when one student made a formal complaint but the university later decided to scrap the course altogether.

‘The last lesson he gave was made under supervision but we decided no improvement was possible on the basis of what we saw,’ Sander van den Bos, director of University College Groningen told UKrant.

Andringa has told the NRC he will respond to the allegations next week after ‘more nuance and reality’ enter the news cycle.

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