College Math a ‘White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space,’ Vanderbilt Professor Says at Major Conference

by Chloe Ezzo


An education professor delivered a lecture in early January at a major mathematician meeting that described college math as “white” and “cisheteropatriarchal.”

“Undergraduate Mathematics Education as a White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space and Opportunities for Structural Disruption to Advance Queer of Color Justice” was the full title of the lecture given by Luis Leyva, associate professor of mathematics education at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

Leyva delivered the lecture Jan. 4 in Boston at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2023. The summit is the “largest mathematics gathering in the world,” according to its website.

“Cisheteropatriarchal” is a term in ethnic studies referring to “a system of male, straight, conforming-to-assigned sex system power,” teacher and curriculum designer R. Tolteka Cuauhtin told the Los Angeles Times in a 2019 article.

Leyva’s “findings depict[ed] how Black, Latin*, and Asian QT [queer and transgender] students’ narratives of experience reflect forms of intersectionality, or instances of oppression and resistance,” according to his lecture’s abstract. Fix left Leyva a voicemail asking for a comment or brief interview on the lecture via email or phone call. His email address was not publicly available. Leyva did not return the call.

Leyva’s research followed the “educational experiences of 39 undergraduate queer and trans* (QT) students of color pursuing STEM majors across historically white and minority-serving universities in the United States,” his abstract stated.

“I conclude by re-imagining undergraduate mathematics education with structural disruptions that advance justice for learners marginalized across intersections of race, gender, and sexuality,” the abstract added.

Leyva is also an affiliate in Vanderbilt’s Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies, according to his faculty bio. His work ​​”draws on critical race theory, women of color feminisms, and queer of color critique to conceptually and methodologically ground his scholarship, which centers historically marginalized voices in STEM higher education across intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.”

Leyva was named the 2022 LGBTQ+ Educator of the Year by Out to Innovate, a professional organization for LGBTQ+ people in STEM, Vanderbilt stated in a news release last May.

Leyva’s social justice pedagogy questioned by mathematician, Vanderbilt student

“[Leyva’s] abstract reads like an over-the-top caricature, another Sokal hoax,” Aryeh Kontorovich, a professor of computer science at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, told The Fix via email. “This one is all too real, I know.”

“It is my opinion as a computer scientist/mathematician and instructor with over 14 years of experience that politics and social justice have no place in math pedagogy,” Kontorovich said. “We can never all agree on what is just, while we can (hopefully) agree on what is mathematically correct, so math education should focus exclusively on the latter.”

Vanderbilt freshman Noah Jenkins also expressed concern.

“I fail to see, in any way, shape, or form, how collegiate math education in the status quo represents a system of ‘oppression and resistance,’ especially in a field that is so objective,” he told The Fix.

“Either you solve the equation properly, or you don’t. It really is that simple. It doesn’t matter if a gay person, a trans person, or whoever solves the problem, two plus two will always equal four.”

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College Fix contributor Chloe Ezzo is a student at Dartmouth College where she studies French and Russian. She is the President of the Dartmouth Republicans and several other conservative groups on campus.
Photo “Luis Leyva” by Vanderbilt University.



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8 Thoughts to “College Math a ‘White, Cisheteropatriarchal Space,’ Vanderbilt Professor Says at Major Conference”

  1. Commie-Crusher

    On January 10, 1963, The 45 Communist Goals to Takeover America was read into the House Congressional record (Appendix, pp. A34-A35).

    Among them was Goal # 17 which directs the following:

    1. Get control of the schools (K through college). Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Progressive (Communist) propaganda.

    2. Soften the curriculum (dumb down the students). Instead of math, reading, science, and Civics as outlined in The Constitution, divert their attention and time with propaganda that divides Americans such as race, envy (rich vs poor, the “haves vs the have-nots”, “Inclusion”, “Equity” “Diversity”, “Tolerance”, white privilege, gay and transgenderism, global warming (now climate change), and identity politics– All are dog whistles for Cultural Marxism).

    3. Discourage the teaching of American history or distort it. The less they know, the more easily they can be manipulated… This is why they are destroying statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Columbus and renaming historical landmarks. They are purposefully trying to erase our culture and history.

    4. Get control of teachers’ unions and associations… Done.

    Vladimir Lenin: ‘Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.’…

    We are already at least two generations in.

  2. Truthy McTruthFace

    what a clown show. they spend time on this rather than, say, math

  3. Wolf Woman

    And Vanderbilt, via Peabody College, its refuge for athletes, continues its free-fall into into the darkness of woke pedagogy.

    Keep up the good work, Vanderbilt,, and you will earn what you always wanted, the title of the”Harvard of the South.”

  4. Joe Blow

    I have a degree in math and statistics from a major university. Al I can say is this guy is full of crap.

  5. Dr Ken

    This is just plain silly and nothing more than a no-name professor trying to score points with the woke community. Vanderbilt can, and should do better if selecting faculty. This is not the first time ridiculous statements or policy has come out of what once was, a prestigious university. If this professor is not tenured, run him out town. If he is tenured, I would encourage alumni and the community to refrain from contributing to any program from which this clown receives funding.

  6. juspassinthru

    I wonder if Leyva really understands that math is non-denominational, non-sexist, non-sexual preferential,……well, you get the idea. What a clown!

  7. Randy

    Another wise stupid person speaks up. Demonstrating once again the lack of intestinal fortitude by our elected officials for stop the funding of hateful and destructive rhetoric by a few intolerant individuals. .

  8. JB Taylor

    Vanderbilt Professor needs to be removed from his position. Is creating turmoil where no turmoil exists. His opinions have nothing to do with math.