A conservative website called Professor Watchlist has posted a photo of one Montana University System professor warning that he will “discriminate against conservative students” and “advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

University of Montana African-American Studies Professor Tobin Shearer says that these charges are not true. Shearer acknowledges he has used his free speech rights as an American citizen to advocate publicly for political movements like “Black Lives Matter,” however, he says that ends at the classroom door.

"I do tend toward the left, but I'm afraid they mis-calibrated to say that I am, what was the word? 'radical and revolutionary,"' Shearer said. "I'm afraid that I don't have the political chutzpah to be put on that level of the extreme left... that would not be accurate."

Shearer says Professor Watchlist improperly took statements he made at a public forum and accused him of making those arguments in the classroom, something he says he would never do. He gives Professor Watchlist a C- for their research on the matter.

"In the classroom, I have a very particular relationship with my students, one in which I am given a whole lot of trust to be able to craft a learning space in which everyone's voice is welcome, and if I'm using my platform as a pedagogue to promote a political agenda, I am failing as an educator."

Shearer says the watchlist posting has not caused any students or parents to question him about his teaching methods. He says he has received mail from around the world though. According to Shearer, The University of Montana has been very supportive.

Photo Courtesy of Jon King
Photo Courtesy of Jon King

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