Wednesday, April 26, 2017
'Ladies First:' Men Are Suffering Campus Injustice
Sexual assault on campus is a real problem, but false accusations are also ruining some young men.
The “Dear Colleague” letter, the brainchild of the ACLU and other far-left activist groups, states that, under Title IX, it is the responsibility of institutions of higher education “to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence” on campuses. The letter makes clear that, should an institution fail to fulfill its newly contrived responsibilities under Title IX, the Department of Education can impose a fine and potentially deny its access to federal funds.
However, this defense against sexual harassment seems to apply only to female students. Recently, a male student at Cornell who claimed he was sexually harassed and raped by a woman was himself expelled and charged with raping the very woman he claimed assaulted him. The male student claims he was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression after Cornell subsequently suspended him. Last spring, the day he was notified of his second suspension, he tried to commit suicide.
Sadly, another male student was successful in taking his own life after enduring a kangaroo court at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was accused of writing anti-gay slurs against a self-identified homosexual male student. After the accused student’s tragic death, campus investigators admitted that there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims. The father of the deceased student is now suing the accuser on the grounds that the accuser himself was the one making inappropriate sexual advances and pressed charges to protect himself.
The war against men on modern college campuses has spun out of control. Not only are a man’s claims of sexual assault brushed aside while a woman’s same claims receive unquestionable celebrity status, but many male students are afraid to even approach female students for fear of making said females feel uncomfortable and thus pressing charges. After all, according to many modern feminists, a man can sexually assault a woman without laying a finger on her. Those men who entered college hoping for some merry mingling with the opposite sex may find themselves expelled and publicly disgraced with a permanent record.
That said, promiscuity on college campuses — and in culture in general — doesn’t come without consequences.
It’s unrealistic to expect colleges to be successful at catching and punishing sexual predators. That’s simply not their core mission. Colleges are supposed to be sanctuaries where young people learn to be responsible, but instead they have shouldered the unnecessary burden of policing their students' sex lives.
The federally funded, Barack Obama-initiated, anti-campus-rape program “It’s On Us” touts a snazzy website and slick avatars to upload to your social media accounts, but it fails to offer common sense advice on stopping rape in its tracks: personal responsibility. Don’t drink yourself unconscious? Don’t put yourself in compromising situations? You won’t find such sound advice here — only a carefully edited video of professors and students reading from a script about how they are ready to “stand up for victims.” It’s almost enough to make one wonder if their goal is preventing victimhood versus celebrating it.
The Campus Sexual Assault Study of 2007, undertaken for the Department of Justice, found that the popular belief that many female rape victims have been slipped “date rape” drugs is false. “Most sexual assaults occur after voluntary consumption of alcohol by the victim and assailant,” the report states. An astonishing number of rape cases brought up by female students against male students fall apart in court, but still make headlines for years afterwards and often bring the accused men to disgrace and utter ruin.
Unfortunately, giving any advice to women about their behavior or attire is the unforgivable sin of our culture and the harbinger to becoming eviscerated by hordes of furious feminists. But the feckless accusations of these unscrupulous people have caused not only destruction but even death. Like conservative Christians, straight white males are becoming a minority group on modern campuses that the Left is eagerly attempting to extinguish. And that’s not the way to go about helping those young males become the men our society really needs them to be.
Avoiding making eye contact or asking where someone is from are signs of RACISM says Oxford University in new snowflake row
Avoiding making eye contact with someone or asking where they are originally from have been deemed as racist micro-aggressions in a newsletter issued by Oxford University.
The institution's Equality and Diversity Unit states these two common behaviours could potentially cause the listener 'mental ill-health'.
The Trinity term newsletter claims asking someone where they are 'originally' from implies that the questioner does not believe they are British.
The Trinity term newsletter also mentions 'not speaking directly to people' and 'jokes drawing attention to someone's difference' as possible forms of everyday racism.
It says people doing these things are often 'well-meaning', but insists they are still reinforcing negative stereotypes and making people feel like they 'do not belong'.
But Professor Frank Furedi, author of What's Happened To The University, said the advice was 'Orwellian' and called on Oxford to 'wake up to reality'. He told MailOnline: 'To go from simply stating someone is racist based on what they say to assume they are unconsciously racist is a very Orwellian turn.
'Microaggressions empower the accuser to say that it doesn't matter what you intend by that look, I just know by the look of your eyes you are racist. 'It is a very insidious way of thinking. Universities used to understand the reality that humans are complex.
'It would be nice if Oxford could wake up to reality.'
Oxford University said the advice was part of an attempt to fight discrimination and encourage equality of opportunity.
Students at the university recently took part in a campaign called 'I, too, am Oxford', to raise awareness of unconscious racism.
At one college, Pembroke, students are advised by their representatives to report 'macro and microaggressions' to a welfare officer. She will then deal with the issue by 'mediation with the other party' or 'through the harassment policy'.
Professor Furedi said giving advice on avoiding microaggressions happens at 'virtually every' university in the USA, but is fairly new to the UK.
The Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Kent University urged British students to resist the trend, adding: 'A minority of students make it their own cause.
'But there are usually a lot of people who think it is stupid but they acquiesce to it and eventually the influence of these ideas becomes more prominent.'
An Oxford University spokesman told MailOnline: 'The Equality and Diversity Unit works with University bodies to ensure that the University's pursuit of excellence goes hand in hand with freedom from discrimination and equality of opportunity. 'The newsletter is one way of advising and supporting staff towards achieving these aims.'
The row comes two months after a Cambridge college was accused of 'cultural misrepresentation' by students after serving 'Jamaican stew' and 'Tunisian rice'.
Students argued the dishes served at Pembroke College were not authentic to countries they were described to be from, The Sunday Times reported.
The original complainant said: 'I'm used to as a minority student being constantly invalidated when flagging up specific issues but if people feel their cultures are misrepresented they have the right to address this. 'Micro-aggressions are a reality of the everyday existence of many people of colour.'
The rot of political correctness
By Tammy Bruce
In today’s academy, truth is an invention. Expecting people to show up on time is racist. Censorship is good. Silencing opposing viewpoints imperative. Violence to enforce safety is natural.
For the last 25 years, under the guise of “political correctness,” we’ve been watching the inexplicable flow into our culture. The idiotic demands of political correctness in the 1980s, ironically relying on the decency of the American people for their acquiescence, was just the prep course, an amuse bouche before the main course of creating social chaos and destruction.
It sounds dramatic, and it is, and it’s also the only way the left maintains power — brainwashing people into believing that social norms must be destroyed in order to create a more perfect society. From the ashes would emerge the great collective phoenix.
Just ask the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Cuba and Venezuela how well that works out.
Last year, we watched political correctness on campus jump with abandon into its perfected state of fascism. Within a year, we moved from weeping students demanding safe spaces to direct, organized violence to stop speakers who do not pay allegiance to the left’s status quo.
Perhaps with the ascent of Donald Trump, it was the shock of realizing the American people weren’t Venezuelan and were not inclined to commit mass suicide.
Consider some recent revelations, the natural trajectory from the crowd a generation ago that was demanding manhole covers be called “personhole covers,” and making “mailman,” “fireman,” and “policeman” all verboten. We assented, and a thousand steps later:
Reporting about Pomona College: “Black students condemn ‘truth’ as an invention of white people, want conservatives expelled.” News about Clemson University: “Public university’s ‘diversity training’: Expecting people to show up on time is racist.” A headline about the work of an ungraduated researcher at University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Teachers should allow Ebonics because English grammar is too hard for minorities to learn.”
This “activism” at the academy is not only classically fascist, it destroys the future for the young people awash in its conditioning. Imagine, after all: What business, what culture, could survive a generation that thinks expecting people to be on time is racist?
Attempting to enact Orwellian rules at college is just one pastime of students. Free Beacon comments on the direct and often violent efforts to stop nonliberal speakers from being heard:
“With Notre Dame students feeling ‘unsafe’ at the prospect of Vice President Mike Pence speaking at their commencement, the riots at Berkeley caused by the presence of professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos on campus, and the explosive protest in March against author Charles Murray at Middlebury College that resulted in the assault of a professor, the war on campuses against freedom of expression and hearing opposing views is pervasive and troubling.”
To say the least.
Last week, the University of California at Davis’ Student Senate voted to remove the American flag from Student Senate meetings. If you want it to be visible, you have to file a petition in an effort to convince others.
Todd Starnes reported one UC Davis student’s support of the action on her Facebook post: “Why do you feel that advocating for the U.S. flag that represents a history of genocide, slavery, and imperialism is more important than stuff that actually matters like I don’t know, the violence against our LGBTQ Brown and Black students, rising tuition, resources for our students without homes,” she fumed. “What a waste of time.”
The odds are quite high that the students at this public university are relying on a variety of federal, state and alumni loans to finance their rage against the machine. Perhaps some of the assistance should be reconsidered when a classic education is taking a backseat to social justice warrioring. On Monday, I appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program discussing this after the student leaders canceled a planned appearance on the program. Apparently, their college bubble was threatened.
Yet, college was supposed to be the bubble destroyer. Leaving home and all familiar, thrown into a new, challenging world. You are to be prepared for a world bigger than you, and certainly different from you.
Instead, we are infantilizing students, appeasing and placating them, condemning them to a life uncertain. Who needs time management? The ability to work and live with people unlike yourself? Why not resort to violence because you’re upset or angry or irritated?
It has been a perfect storm creating this disaster, one of which is the lowering of expectations of students in general because of the rot of political correctness. Our public schools have failed so miserably, universities now can’t hold applicants to any sort of standard.
Consider the frighteningly absurd decision by Stanford, as The Wall Street Journal reported: “Every year, Stanford asks its applicants an excellent question: ‘What matters to you, and why?’ Ziad Ahmed of Princeton, N.J., summed up his answer in three words. His essay consisted of the hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter” repeated 100 times. He got in.”
We can answer Stanford’s question quite simply: What matters to us are college degrees that still mean something; graduates who are ready to contribute to society and are ready to pursue dreams in business, life and society. What matters to us is the future. What matters is us winning this existential fight for students and a nation being abandoned by the liberals running our universities.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Education Department launches investigation of Richmond Public Schools over racial disparities
The Education Department has launched “a civil rights probe of Richmond Public Schools at the request of advocacy groups who say the district’s disciplinary policies discriminate against black students and students with disabilities.” The probe was announced in an April 12 letter from the District of Columbia regional office of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The groups that filed the complaint, the Legal Aid Justice Center and the ACLU of Virginia, cite data showing “Black students with disabilities were nearly 13 times more likely than white students without disabilities to receive short-term suspension.” Comparing blacks with disabilities to whites without disabilities seems like an odd, apples-to-oranges comparison, since students with emotional or behavioral disabilities may be more likely to act out in class, or attack their classmates or teachers, due to emotional problems — and thus have higher suspension rates than those without disabilities for legitimate non-discriminatory reasons (even though the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act makes it harder to suspend students with disabilities than it is to suspend students without disabilities).
Perhaps realizing that they had no evidence of actual racism, the groups base their discrimination complaint on “disparate impact” — the idea that even colorblind policies amount to discrimination when they impact more minorities than whites. The Richmond Public Schools have lots of black teachers and staff, so suggesting that these suspensions are due to racism or ill-will towards black people would stretch the bounds of credulity. The complaint seeks to compel the Richmond Public Schools to make discipline laxer by reducing suspensions and using “restorative justice,” and by curbing what they view as overly subjective policies regarding suspensions. This push will backfire on students, most of all on black students. And it will likely lead to lawsuits against the Richmond Public Schools by teachers and students who have to put up with abuse from students who are no longer suspended, but left in the classroom.
Black students are suspended at higher rates than white students in Richmond. But that hardly is a sign of racism. As one commenter put it, “the system is 90% black. There are hardly enough white kids to make a valid comparison. The white kids who are there are from high earning homes concentrated around Fox and Mary Munford.” The appeals court in Richmond has rejected the idea that racial disparities in suspension rates show discrimination. Faced with “statistics [that] show that of the 13,206 students disciplined” in a North Carolina school district “from 1996–98, sixty-six percent were African–American,” it said, this “‘disparity does not, by itself, constitute discrimination,’” and was “no evidence” that the school district “targets African–American students for discipline.” (See Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 269 F.3d 305, 332 (4th Cir. 2001) (en banc)).
Such disparities may not even amount to unintentional discrimination of the “disparate impact” variety. Even “disparate impact” complaints are supposed to be based on statistical findings that control “for various factors that one would expect to be relevant to the likelihood of disciplinary action.” (See Caridad v. Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co., 191 F.3d 283, 292-93 (2d Cir. 1999); see also Ward’s Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642 (1989)). Factors linked to student misbehavior and disciplinary action include, but are not limited to, living in poverty, or coming from a single-parent household, challenges that disproportionately confront black students. Student misconduct rates are much higher in schools where poverty is common, especially abuse aimed at teachers: verbal abuse aimed at teachers is five times higher in such schools. (See Rachel Dinkes, et al., Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007, pg. 26)). Misbehavior is also much more common among students from single-parent households. As the Brookings Institution has pointed out, “black students are also more likely to come from family backgrounds associated with school behavior problems; for example, children ages 12–17 that come from single-parent families are at least twice as likely to be suspended as children from two-parent families.” (See Tom Loveless, The 2017 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? (Brookings Institution, March 2017, pages 30-31)).
As Katherine Kersten pointed out last year in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, black students’
discipline rate is higher than other students’ because, on average, they misbehave more. In fact, a major 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that the racial gap in suspensions is “completely accounted for by a measure of the prior problem behavior of the student.” That problem behavior can manifest itself in other ways. Nationally, for example, young black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white[s]…Why such a gap? A primary reason is likely dramatic differences in family structure. Figures for St. Paul are not available, but nationally, 71 percent of black children are born out of wedlock…while the rate for whites is 29 percent. Research reveals that children from fatherless families are far more likely than others to engage in many kinds of antisocial behavior.
In its past investigations of school districts, though, the Office for Civil Rights has sometimes failed to control for any race-neutral factors, wrongly assuming that any difference in suspension rates between blacks and whites makes out a prima facie case of disparate impact. In addition to sometimes misapplying the disparate-impact concept, the Education Department may not even have the power to apply it to begin with. The Supreme Court has expressed skepticism about the validity of the Education Department’s disparate-impact regulations, since they were adopted pursuant to the Title VI statute, which the Supreme Court has ruled only bans intentional discrimination, not disparate impact. (See Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 286 n.6 (2001) (calling the case for disparate-impact rules under Title VI “strange”)).
The curbs on suspensions that the Richmond complaint seeks will likely backfire on students, especially black students, and will lead to additional lawsuits. When New York City restricted principals’ ability to suspend students, and increased reliance on “restorative justice” approaches, there were increases in violence and gang activity in schools, with blacks suffering most from that. As the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden observed, “teachers report less order and discipline, and students report less mutual respect among their peers, as well as more violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. There was also a significant differential racial impact: nonelementary schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst shift in school climate under the de Blasio reform.” (See School Discipline Reform and Disorder: Evidence from New York City Public Schools, 2012-16 (Manhattan Institute, March 2017)). University of Rochester professor Joshua Kinsler earlier discovered that “in public schools with discipline problems, it hurts those innocent African American children academically to keep disruptive students in the classroom,” and “cutting out-of-school suspensions in those schools widens the black-white academic achievement gap.”
Restorative justice approaches and other forms of lax discipline also lead to lawsuits against school districts by teachers and students who have to put up with abuse from students who are no longer suspended, but left in the classroom. In an April 19 column, the black economics professor Walter Williams gives an example of a teacher in a South Carolina school district who sued for racial and sexual harassment at the hands of students who were not removed from her classroom despite repeated verbal abuse: “a white Charleston, South Carolina, teacher frequently complained of black students calling her a white b——, white m——-f——-, white c—- and white ho. School officials told her that racially charged profanity was simply part of the students’ culture and that if she couldn’t handle it, she was in the wrong school. The teacher brought a harassment suit, and the school district settled out of court for $200,000.” Teachers assaulted by students have also brought lawsuits.
Laxer discipline does not, by itself, eliminate disparities in the suspension rate between blacks and whites. That’s because it cuts the suspension rate for both blacks and whites, rather than just cutting the black suspension rate. In fact, laxer discipline sometimes cuts the suspension rate even more for whites than for blacks, resulting in an even bigger ratio of suspended blacks to suspended whites, as the Washington lawyer and numbers-cruncher James Scanlan notes. Scanlan, who has degrees from Harvard Law School and the London School of Economics, points to examples from cities like Denver, Colorado, where the ratio of the black suspension rate to the white suspension rate went up from less than 4 to 5.5 after the schools began making discipline more lenient. In the San Francisco recorder, Scanlan argued that it is a mistaken assumption “that stringent discipline policies tend to cause large racial disparities in discipline rates. Exactly the opposite is the case. Stringent discipline policies tend to yield smaller racial differences in discipline rates than more lenient ones.”
The complaint prudently doesn’t ask the Education Department to reduce the suspension rate of blacks to the suspension rate of whites, which would be illegal — although such demands have been made in past complaints, and the complaint does demand identification of the causes of “race and disability disparities” and “recommendations for reform.” In past settlements with the Office for Civil Rights, some school systems have agreed to “targeted reductions” in “suspensions for African American students,” to resolve discrimination complaints against them with the Education Department. But those are racial quotas all but name, and the appeals court in Richmond has taken a dim view of such racial quotas. In its ruling in Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 269 F.3d 305, 332 (2001), the court rejected the idea that suspension rates should be made equal among all groups, declaring that the notion that a school system “should have a disciplinary quota is patently absurd.” Similarly, the appeals court in Chicago blocked a provision that forbade a “school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline unless the district purges all ‘subjective’ criteria from its disciplinary code,” because that constituted an illegal racial quota. (See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997)).
One hopes that the Richmond Public Schools will not try to resolve this discrimination complaint by offering to adopt a racial quota in suspensions. That is something that could lead to reverse discrimination lawsuits against it by affected students and teachers. (See, e.g., Huckabay v. Moore, 142 F.3d 233 (1998) (white employee could sue for racial harassment); Parents Involved v. Seattle School District, 551 U.S. 701 (2007) (successful reverse discrimination lawsuit by mostly white parents)).
The desire of the Richmond complaint to eliminate “subjective” elements in discipline seems hopelessly impractical. As the appeals court in Chicago noted, some of the most important school rules are inherently “subjective,” but they cannot be discarded on that basis: for example, although rules against “disrupting classes” are to some extent “subjective,” they are nevertheless essential and cannot be sacrificed to achieve racial balance, since they serve “important disciplinary criteria.” (See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997)). Moreover, there is no evidence that “subjectivity” is the cause of blacks being suspended at a higher rate than whites. Indeed, the appeals court in Philadelphia found to the contrary, noting that blacks had the highest suspension rates relative to whites for “very objective offenses.” (See Coalition to Save Our Children v. State Board of Education, 90 F.3d 752, 775 (3d Cir. 1996)).
UCLA Conservative Professor May Be Fired From Job For Refusing to Cave In to Political Correctness
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) administration is allegedly trying to sack an outspoken conservative professor for his resistance to political correctness.
Keith Fink, a UCLA professor who teaches classes on entertainment law and free speech, fears the university could an upcoming professional review to help push him out of the institution.
Fink has previously caused waves on campus by refusing to embrace trigger warnings and safe spaces, prompting the university to block some students from taking his classes.
University policy dictates that every lecturer must undergo a periodic “Excellence Review” to judge their performance.
If a panel of senior faculty members decide the professor doesn’t meet the excellence standards, they are forced to leave the position. Fink told The Daily Wire that such reviews are normally just a formality, but the university administration is throwing obstacles in his path.
According to the emails acquired by the Wire, the officials have reprimanded Fink for incorrect admin in soliciting statements from students to support his teaching – a charge Fink denies.
He also claims the department ignoring his nominees for students to contact and using a different list, purposefully skipping one which praised him particularly strongly. Only when he noticed that the document was missing, the department fixed the allegedly accidental mistake.
The student who wrote the letter told the site: “No reasonable person would believe that my letter was ‘accidentally’ omitted from the dossier, because presumably it flatly contradicts the department’s narrative,” the student said.
“They asked me what my honest opinion was, and I spent hours articulating how Professor Fink is an excellent instructor and explaining the impact he has had on my life. It infuriates me to hear they attempted to (by accident or by malice) discard my opinion simply because it contradicts their mission.”
The UCLA administration also solicited a number of negative letters from students, which the professor believes are exaggerated.
One allegedly accuses him of using racial slurs – without the context that he was teaching a class on the First Amendment and whether they were protected.
Fink told the Wire: “The way the system is, this is the easiest way for them to get rid of me. This is the perfect storm.”
The Insane Punishment a School Gave a Teen Over a Water Gun
What is the appropriate punishment for a high school student found on campus in possession of a water gun?
The Autauga County Board of Education, which covers communities near Montgomery, Alabama, decided that a 16-year-old girl with a water gun was in violation of the board’s firearms policy. So Sara Allena “Laney” Nichols received a one-year expulsion.
According to a report in the Montgomery Advertiser, Laney explained that she acquired the water pistol “as a joke” from a male classmate in a school hallway at Prattville High School.
The school’s security cameras captured footage of Laney holding the toy gun, but not of the male student holding it at any time. He received no punishment.
Laney said she put the water pistol in her backpack and then, the same day, on the back seat of her car in the school parking lot. It went unnoticed by the principal and school officials until a classmate reported to the administration a few days later that Laney had a gun.
Prattville High officials, following proper procedures, questioned Laney. She told them that the purported gun was really a water gun and was in her car, parked on school grounds, at that time. Confirming that Laney, in fact, possessed a harmless piece of plastic, school officials successfully cleared the threat.
Laney’s mother, Tara Herring, says her daughter got a 10-day suspension. Herring conceded that the black water pistol may have looked like a real gun at first glance, but is made of plastic and clearly distinguishable the second someone touches it.
That could have been the end of the story, but the school board decided to hand down a one-year expulsion for Laney’s violation of the Parent/Student Code of Conduct, which classifies possession of a weapon as a “major offense” punishable by expulsion.
The board’s Policy Manual prohibits students from possessing firearms on school grounds, including cars parked in the school lot. “Any student who violates this policy shall be expelled for a period of one year,” it says.
The Policy Manual, however, also provides that the superintendent of schools “may modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.” Thus far, Superintendent Spence Agee has declined to comment on the incident, although if he has any common sense, he’ll modify this draconian penalty.
Also at issue is whether Laney’s water pistol even qualifies as a prohibited firearm under school board rules. The Code of Conduct broadly defines a firearm as an object that “is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive charge or by compressed air or by spring action.”
A water gun could fall under this broad definition of a firearm only if water qualifies as a projectile and the plastic toy uses compressed air or a spring mechanism to release it. Surely, the board did not envision a harmless water gun when it adopted its firearm prohibition.
The Policy Manual provides an even stricter definition by adopting the definition of a firearm provided by federal law (18 U.S.C. § 921). Under the statute, a “firearm” is “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.” Notably, not a water gun.
As the New Jersey State Supreme Court once reasoned, the statute is “talking about a real gun capable of discharging a projectile of some sort, not talking about a toy gun, not talking about a water gun, not talking about a plastic gun that can’t fire a projectile” (State v. Gantt (1986).
Laney’s water pistol is not a firearm under the adopted definition of Autauga County schools’ Policy Manual.
Education officials are understandably hypersensitive to threats of guns on campus, but the danger posed by real guns at school should not allow for a gross overreaction that could derail a student’s academic career.
Conflicting standards, overly broad definitions, and vague policies plague the criminal justice system with the possibility of absurd results. The same is happening here.
In this case, Agee should yield to reason, if not compassion, and use his discretion to modify the expulsion or yield to the statutory definition of a firearm to reduce the level of Laney’s offense.
Laney’s family has hired a lawyer and is threatening to sue if the school board does not act to remove the “scarlet letter E” (expulsion) from Laney’s record. It should not take a lawsuit to determine that a water pistol is not a firearm.
A 16-year-old girl deserves more from America’s public education system than a one-year expulsion for possession of a water gun.
Monday, April 24, 2017
College Activists: Searching For Truth Makes You A Racist
Do you believe there’s an objective truth? Well, you’re a white supremacist then, at least according to a small number of black Pomona College students.
In a letter that strings together words the students no doubt learned in their Blank-Studies classes in what almost appears to be social justice Mad Libs (the word “marginalized” appears seven times in the one-page document), the students claim inviting a speaker critical of Black Lives Matter and supportive of police amounts to oppression.
Further, the three authors of the letter—freshmen Dray Denson, Avery Jonas, and sophomore Shanaya Stephenson—explain that “the Truth” is a concept rooted in racism.
“The idea that there is a single truth–’the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain,” the students wrote. “This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples” (emphasis added).
Notice the list of social justice buzzwords: white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, and capitalism. I’m surprised they didn’t include authoritarianism and Donald Trump.
The letter is a response to an email sent by Pomona College president David Oxtoby, who on April 7 criticized those who protested the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald. Mac Donald was invited to speak by the Rose Institute for State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College, Pomona’s sister school, about her book, “The War on Cops.” Some students called her a “notorious white supremacist fascist,” and proceeded to chant “Black Lives Matter” while banging on the windows of the building where Mac Donald was scheduled to speak.
Disagreeing With Me Makes You a White Supremacist
Oxtoby wrote in his email to students that Pomona opposes “preventing others from engaging with an invited speaker.” He further stated that Pomona’s “mission is founded upon the discovery of truth, the collaborative development of knowledge and the betterment of society.”
Denson, Jonas and Stephenson took offense to Oxtoby’s defense of the truth.
“The idea that the search for this truth involves entertaining Heather Mac Donald’s hate speech is illogical,” the students wrote. “If engaged, Heather Mac Donald would not be debating on mere difference of opinion, but the right of Black people to exist. Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live.”
Where do they get the idea that Mac Donald doesn’t think black people have the right to exist? Defending good cops and criticizing the bad tactics of a politically correct group (that not all black people have decided to join) doesn’t mean she believes black people don’t have a right to exist. Also, again notice the string of social-justice-warrior buzzwords to describe Mac Donald.
Mac Donald wasn’t the only target of the students’ ire. They also wanted the school to “take action” against the Claremont Independent, a right-leaning campus publication. The three students, along with nearly a dozen others, signed their names to the letter, then said if the Independent publishes those names and they “receive threats and hate mail,” then Pomona should “take legal action against members of the Claremont Independent involved with the editing and publication process as well as disciplinary action, such as expulsion on the grounds of endangering the wellbeing of others.”
Get that? They signed their names, but if they receive any backlash for their actions they want other students expelled and sued. How progressive.
Mac Donald Responds: ‘A Major Embarassment’
In a statement to The Federalist, Mac Donald called the letter “a major embarrassment to the Pomona and Claremont faculty.” She cited instances of poor writing and grammar, but lambasted the content as well.
“The students appear to argue that the ideal of free speech is based on a mystifying and oppressive concept of unitary truth, and that such a concept solidifies white supremacy … [yet] They are fully confident that they possess the truth about me and about their oppressed plight at Pomona and Claremont,” Mac Donald said.
Mac Donald also defended her work, saying the students have misread it.
“My entire argument about the necessity of proactive policing is based on the value of black lives,” she said. “I have decried the loss of black life to drive-by shootings and other forms of street violence. I have argued that the fact that blacks die of homicide at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined is a civil rights abomination. And I have tried to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding residents of high-crime areas who are desperate for more police protection so that they can enjoy the same freedom from fear as people in more wealthy areas take for granted.”
Do What We Want Or Else We’ll Say You’re Racists
The students have also demanded that Oxtoby respond to them by Tuesday at 4:07 p.m. and send a revised email by Thursday, “apologizing for the previous patronizing statement, enforcing that Pomona College does not tolerate hate speech and speech that projects violence onto the bodies of its marginalized students and oppressed peoples, especially Black students who straddle the intersection of marginalized identities, and explaining the steps the institution will take and the resources it will allocate to protect the aforementioned students.”
So. Many. Buzzwords.
The social justice warrior problem on college campuses appears to be escalating. The protests are becoming more violent, and the demands are becoming more absurd. Just last week, the editorial staff of the Wellesley College student newspaper wrote: “If people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted.”
The phrase “hate speech” has lost all meaning on campuses, as it now refers simply to speech liberal students don’t agree with. They claim it is bigoted, dangerous, and “violent,” making it acceptable—in their minds—to respond with physical violence.
I’d honestly believe this letter was a hoax, like that ridiculous article on the Huffington Post demanding we take away all white men’s voting rights, which was taken down because the author was fake—except you can actually find these students in the campus directory.
Dignity and Fairness Matter for Every Child in the Locker Room
The American Civil Liberties Union recently noted in a blog post that “the burden of confronting and remedying injustice falls on the shoulders of the oppressed.”
There is some truth to this: The oppressed are powerful voices in any battle for justice. But when it comes to defending the most vulnerable among us—our children—it is chiefly the responsibility of parents, teachers, school administrators, and lawmakers to defend their rights.
Yet the ACLU, rather than seeking justice, fairness, and privacy for every child, has chosen to privilege a select few while utterly disregarding the privacy rights of millions of other young students across the country.
In the growing conversation taking place about what privacy means in intimate facilities, and whether one’s biological sex is a relevant factor to consider in boys’ and girls’ athletics, we’ve heard a lot from certain students who are working through very sensitive issues pertaining to their sex and gender identity.
And that is a good thing. Their voices matter in this conversation.
But substantially missing from this national conversation are the indispensable voices of the vast majority of children, and particularly girls. Ignoring their voices results in a failure to advance true equality and justice and violates children’s fundamental rights. Indeed, not one child’s privacy should be compromised.
And yet, young girls across the country—including in Illinois and Ohio, as just two examples—have been subjected to anxiety and humiliation when their school administrators secretly decided to open the schools’ locker rooms, restrooms, or showers to the opposite sex.
In Texas, 10-year-old Shiloh Satterfield recently described to the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee how uncomfortable and anxious she feels now that her school has changed its policies to let boys into the school’s intimate facilities.
Her parents join thousands of other parents understandably concerned about what this means—not only for their children when changing clothes for gym class or showering after a swim meet, but also for overnight school trips where their daughters could be forced to share a bed with a biological boy (or vice versa).
And take the young boy in Pennsylvania who is not even able to change for the school’s mandatory gym class because the school is forcing boys and girls to undress together and to try “to act as natural as possible” while doing so. The boy is receiving a failing grade for each class he is unable to change for.
Young girls and boys across the country are trying to be heard—to share their discomfort and embarrassment at the thought of having to undress with a member of the opposite sex, or their frustration that they will no longer be able to compete in a fair environment if their sports teams allow boys and girls to play together.
These voices are not coming from a place of fear or social dislike. I’ve witnessed the love these students have for their friends who consider themselves transgender, while simultaneously pleading for their own rights, dignity, and privacy to be protected.
Just last week, a 15-year-old boy who identifies as a girl competed in a Connecticut high school girls’ track meet and won the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Even a quick glance at the pictures from the meet reveal that this young man, who now identifies as a woman, is still very much built as a male and is already significantly larger than his female peers.
As a woman who loved playing sports in high school, it’s obvious to me and many others that allowing biological males to compete with females is fundamentally unfair to girls who are physically different than high school boys.
Allowing boys, regardless of how they identify, to play on girls’ sports teams creates an unequal playing field for girls to compete and deprives them of a fair chance to qualify for—let alone win—athletic competitions.
Before the Civil Rights Act of 1972, women did not have the same athletic opportunities as men. In this emerging conversation, we cannot forget the ground women have gained for equal opportunities.
Permitting the definition of sex to be changed or ignored would undermine the very essence of what it means to be male and female, which is a particularly relevant factor when it comes to athletics.
This understanding of biological differences is precisely what led to the passage of federal laws that help ensure a fair playing field for women. And now, some in our society, ironically in the name of equality, are running roughshod over what women fought so hard to obtain.
Many would like to paint this as a one-sided story about one victim: the boy who thinks he’s a girl, or the girl who thinks she’s a boy. And these children absolutely deserve love, attention, and support.
But supporting and caring for them does not mean we should inflict injustice on other children. We owe every young person in America a better response—a compassionate and fair solution that ensures protection for every student’s privacy and well-being, such as the policy that Alliance Defending Freedom has recommended to schools since 2014.
This policy allows schools to respect student privacy by continuing to designate separate boys’ and girls’ showers, locker rooms, and restrooms while providing other facilities for any student uncomfortable with using areas that correspond to his or her biological sex.
Justice requires that we protect the privacy and dignity of every child. We as a society should pause before we tell some children that their voices and their privacy rights don’t matter.
Clemson ‘Diversity’ Training: Time Is Culturally Relative, Expecting Promptness Is Racist
Clemson University’s ‘diversity education and training” teaches employees that every “cultural perspective regarding time” is equally valid, so it’s wrong to expect people to be prompt.
Clemson is spending $26,945 on “diversity education and training” for its faculty members, Campus Reform reports:
“Clemson President James Clements pledged that ‘all employees will participate in diversity education and training,’ last April, in order to create a more inclusive environment on campus.”
In one slide, employees are taught that tardiness is acceptable because the concept of time is culturally relative. Thus, every culture’s perception of the actual time must be respected - since one “cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”
The slide gives the example of “Alejandro,” who called a 9:00 AM meeting, and teaches that he should not rebuke a group of foreign professors and students who show up late:
“Time may be considered precise or fluid depending on the culture.”
Thus, the slide teaches, Alejandro shouldn’t impose his definition of time on others, because “his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”
Posted by jonjayray at 12:48 AM
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley’s new invite — and a lawsuit may be pending
Officials at the University of California at Berkeley are offering conservative firebrand Ann Coulter a new date to make a speech on campus, but she says she can’t make it that day, and the student group that invited her is threatening to sue the school.
The university announced Wednesday that it was canceling Coulter’s appearance following several political protests in Berkeley that turned violent. But on Thursday, the university said it had found a venue where it could hold the speech on a different day, May 2, instead of the original April 27 date.
Coulter and the college Republican group arranging her event said they are rejecting the new invitation, and a lawyer, representing the organizer, has been hired.
In a series of tweets Thursday night, Coulter criticized the university, saying Berkeley officials were adding “burdensome” conditions to her speech. She said she had already spent money to hold the event on the original April 27 date and is not available May 2. She also pointed out that May 2 would coincide with a reading period before final exams, when there are no classes on campus and fewer students around.
And she vowed that she is going to speak in Berkeley on the originally planned April 27 date, whether the university approved or not.
A lawyer representing the college Republican group that invited Coulter sent a letter late Thursday night to the university threatening litigation if the university does not allow Coulter to speak on campus April 27. In the four-page letter, the lawyer demands that the university find a venue near the center of campus for Coulter and allow her to speak in the evening rather than daytime. If that does not happen, the letter says, “we will seek relief in federal court, including claims for injunctive relief and damages.”
A leader of the college Republicans said the university is placing strict conditions on the event. But a Berkeley spokesman rejected the claim, saying the one main request the university made in extending its new invitation was to hold the event in the afternoon.
In its offer to Coulter to host her speech on campus on the new date, the university has asked for the event to end by 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m., said Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. Holding the event later in the day would risk protests and potential violence stretching into the evening when the campus tends to get crowded with commuters and students.
“Everything we’re doing is so the speaker and students can actually exercise their rights without disruption,” Mogulof said. “It’s hard to understand this display of disdain and disregard for the assessment of law enforcement professionals, particularly when their primary concern is the safety and well-being of college students.”
Even before the university’s new invitation and date was announced, Coulter had vowed to go ahead with an appearance anyway. If she does appear next week as she has promised, it will probably put security officials on high alert and may spark still further debate on the campus as the university wrestles with safety, student views and ideological openness.
“What are they going to do? Arrest me?” she said late Wednesday on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Coulter said she “called their bluff” by agreeing to rules set by the university seeking to prevent violence.
University officials originally sent a letter canceling the event to a campus Republican group that invited Coulter to speak. In it, university officials said Wednesday that they made the decision to cancel Coulter’s appearance after assessing the violence that flared on campus in February, when the same college Republican group invited right-wing provocateur and now-former Breitbart News senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak. As the protest and clashes escalated during the Yiannopoulos’s event, some began setting fires, throwing rocks and molotov cocktails, and attacking members of the crowd.
The violence and damage caused by Yiannopoulos’s invitation garnered national attention and forced officials to put the campus on lockdown. And after the university canceled Yiannopoulos’s talk, President Trump criticized the school and threatened in a tweet to pull federal funds from Berkeley.
Fascism is not only alive and well in America, it is being actively nurtured on college campuses throughout the nation
Fascism is not only alive and well in America, it is being actively nurtured on college campuses throughout the nation.
The University of California at Berkeley has now endured two riots, one to deny conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopolous from speaking, the other to disrupt a pro-Trump rally last weekend. The school also just canceled a speech by Ann Coulter over safety concerns. Violent protesters at Middlebury College blocked author Charles Murray from speaking, surrounded his car as he was leaving, and assaulted Middlebury professor Allison Stanger who was hospitalized as a result. “The War on Cops” author Heather Mac Donald was forced to give her talk at Claremont McKenna College via Livestream, after which she left through the kitchen into an unmarked police van, as per her pre-arranged “escape plan.”
On the other side, Fresno State professor Lars Maischak tweeted, “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance #DeathToFascism.” (“Death to fascism”? Talk about an utter lack of self-awareness.) Arizona State University professor Angeles Maldonado allowed her Global Politics of Human Rights class to organize an anti-Trump protest in lieu of taking a final exam. And an editorial in The Wellesley News — which insisted free speech is not violated at that college — nonetheless declared that “if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted.”
As National Review’s David French explains, there is a method to the orchestrated madness. “On campus and in the streets, a violent or menacing core seizes the ground it wants, blocks access to buildings, and shuts down the speech or events it seeks to suppress,” he writes. “This violent core is often surrounded and protected by a larger group of ostensibly ‘peaceful’ protesters who sometimes cheer aggression wildly and then provide cover for the rioters, who melt back into the crowd. After the riot, the polite progressives condemn the violence, urge that it not distract from the alleged rightness of the underlying cause, and then do virtually nothing to enforce the law and punish the offenders.”
The Wellesley editorial epitomizes the ignorant self-righteousness that enables these marauders. “Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech,” it states. “Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.”
This is colossally wrong. The founding fathers weren’t in support of free speech to protect individuals from the power of government, only to have some Ivory Tower grandees and their “disenfranchised” student collaborators censor, sometimes violently, anything they consider “hateful and damaging.” Even more appalling, their laundry list of “taboo” isms and phobias is nothing less than an effort to obliterate the First Amendment and replace it with Political Correctness.
It doesn’t get more fascist than that.
Trump assassin-promoting professor Maischak has apologized for his tweets — perhaps prompted by the reality that college President Joseph Castro alerted federal authorities to Maischak’s possibly law-breaking activities.
Yet he remains unhinged. “I do not intend to harm Mr. Trump, nor do I wish for anyone else to harm Mr. Trump by way of an assassination!” he stated. “I am, however, convinced, given the nature of his regime, that he will be held accountable for his crimes in a court, and that historical precedent suggests that a death sentence is inevitable, if democracy prevails.”
Claremont students are not content with running Mac Donald off campus. In a letter written to outgoing Pomona College president David Oxtoby, who had reminded students such efforts are inimical to “the discovery of truth,” three self-identified black students revealed they want objective truth itself eliminated. “Historically,” they write, “white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples.”
Many Americans believe the election of Donald Trump dealt campus fascism a substantial rebuke, and what we’re seeing is the manifestation of a decaying ideology. Nothing could be further from the truth. American culture is moving inexorably leftward, driven in large part by the failure to confront this growing cancer on college campuses.
It’s a cancer decades in the making. National Review’s Stanley Kurtz divides it into four anti-speech waves that infected institutions of higher learning beginning more than 50 years ago. The first phase was the “Young Radicals” wave of the ‘60s when colleges began rejecting classical Western liberalism and embracing neo-Marxist ideas. It was followed by the “Long March” of the '80s when those '60s student radicals took up junior faculty positions. After that came the “Takeover” of the mid-'90s when older professors began retiring, and the juniors moved up, giving them control of the hiring process that ultimately produced an “intellectual monopoly of the Left” in many social science and humanity departments. The fourth wave, a.k.a. the “Transformed Generation,” is composed of Millennials who demand safe spaces, trigger warning and free speech zones.
Far more important, Kurtz notes the effort to counter this campus cancer is declining. “Top comedians and an unknowable number of conservative speakers now avoid college campuses,” he explains.
The problem goes far beyond college campuses. Most people avoid confrontation of any kind in any environment, much less confrontation that might result in one being labeled a bigot. Yet it is precisely this kind of “silent default” that further empowers progressive ideology, whose adherents remain smugly self-assured such silence is tantamount to victory.
Sadly, they are correct. Moreover, the playing field is tilted in their favor. Most Americans still believe the nation’s cultural concepts, traditions and morals are both self-explanatory and virtuous. Thus, they are completely unprepared for a progressive assault that holds many of those values in utter contempt. Values like marriage being reserved for members of the opposite sex, gender being tethered to biology — or objective truth being immutable.
College campuses are a great place to begin a counter-attack. As Kurtz so rightly envisions, “It is incumbent upon Congress to make the protection of First Amendment rights a prerequisite of its financial assistance to America’s colleges and universities.” He notes the Higher Education Act (HEA), first passed in 1965, is scheduled for reauthorization this year, and that the National Association of Scholars has created “Freedom to Learn” amendments aimed at re-instituting the free and open exchange of ideas on college campuses.
If colleges insist on remaining de facto leftist indoctrination centers? Let their alumni finance them. Student loan defaults? Make colleges partially liable for the $1.4 trillion in outstanding, taxpayer-guaranteed, student debt and see if they’re still willing to continue sending tuition costs skyrocketing — or continue funding exponentially expanding bureaucracies rife with diversity “experts” who manipulate race, sex and gender to justify the campus fascism they define as “social justice.”
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” stated Ronald Reagan.
It’s time the American taxpayer stopped underwriting that extinction.
Australia: Homosexual promotion project to lose funding in Tasmanian schools too
Tasmania will scrap support for the contentious Safe Schools program, opting to focus on a comprehensive anti-bullying scheme for the schoolyard.
Tasmania’s Education and Training Minister Jeremy Rockliff has confirmed that his government would not fund the program — which has so far been adopted by 22 Tasmanian schools — once federal funding stops mid-year.
“The Tasmanian government is committed to providing a safe and inclusive school environment to support student learning and wellbeing, which is why we have invested $3 million over four years as part of the Combating Bullying budget initiative,” Mr Rockliff said.
“It is up to each Tasmanian school to make their own decisions about the programs used in their school, and government schools are encouraged to use the Department of Education’s own program.
“Given the significant investment in our own anti-bullying initiative, the state government has no plans to take over funding for the federal program.”
Tasmania’s defection follows the weekend’s announcement from NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes that his government would introduce a broader anti-bullying scheme to replace Safe Schools, leaving support for the La Trobe University-developed program resting largely with the Labor-governed states.
Financial support for Safe Schools was a key part of West Australian Labor’s successful election campaign last month, while a spokeswoman for Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones said yesterday that there were no plans to ditch the program.
In South Australia, the government is weighing up whether to take over funding the program, in much the same way the Victorian Labor government has done.
“We see value in having a specific program to support schools to tackle bullying against LGBTI students,” said a spokeswoman for the SA Department of Education and Child Development. “We expect to make an announcement shortly about the future of the safe schools program.”
While Victoria has committed more than $2m to roll out the program to all state schools by the end of 2018, questions are being asked about the level of its commitment following the decision to sever ties with La Trobe and run Safe Schools directly from its own Education Department.
Previously vocal supporters of the program Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino have lately left the job of defending it to departmental staff and media advisers. And following widespread criticism over Safe School’s promotion of contested gender ideology and sexual politics, the department has taken to describing the program as a “pledge” or a “policy” to create a safe and inclusive environment, with schools having discretion over how “this commitment is realised”.
Victoria’s opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said it was time for Mr Andrews to “admit he got it wrong on this discredited program”.
He said the Liberal Party would scrap the program if elected and replace it with a program “that teaches kids the importance of respecting people of all appearances, sexuality, gender, religion and ethnicity”.
“Daniel Andrews is very naive if he thinks school bullying is only confined to sexuality and doesn’t include appearance, religion, ethnicity or gender,” Mr Wakeling said.
A spokeswoman for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which is convened by the Foundation for Young Australians, declined to comment on the NSW decision, other than to say the organisation remained committed to supporting LGBTI young people.
Friday, April 21, 2017
School Forced to Cut More Than 20 Classes in Order to Pay Labor Union
The University of Massachusetts, Boston is cutting more than 20 summer courses as the school desperately attempts to manage a $30 million operating deficit that is due in part to a project labor agreement that requires unions to be the “sole and exclusive” source of job-site labor.
The university has been plagued by controversy, ranging from declining enrollment to lackluster fundraising, but the project labor agreement is one reason why the university must now cut classes in the summer, and into the fall, reports The Boston Globe.
The university system’s building authority approved a 10-year master plan that called for $750 million in construction with a union work requirement. The requirement effectively excluded the 80 percent of Massachusetts construction workers that are not members of a union. The project labor agreement means less competition, fewer bidders, and higher costs, The Boston Globe reports.
The school’s [black] chancellor, J. Keith Motley, announced last week that he would step down at the end of the year, but defended his 10-year record full of multimillion-dollar construction projects.
“I have no regrets because if the creator blesses me to walk on this campus three years from now and you walk it with me, I know you’ll see an incredible institution,” Motley told the university system’s board of trustees Tuesday.
The warning signs were out there as early as 2011, when UMass Boston’s 2011 strategic planning team warned that rapid growth would be expensive, and that they would have to find efficiencies wherever possible. In 2014, Ellen O’Connor, the former vice chancellor for administration and finance, warned Motley about the exorbitant construction costs.
“We are running out of money,” O’Connor said to Motley in 2014. It is unclear as to who else was made aware of the concerns, but university officials continued to move forward with ambitious expansion.
Despite the multiple warnings, construction on new facilities continued, with costs running well over budget and behind schedule. For example, The UMass Boston science center was projected to cost $155 million, but ended up running $28 million over budget and two years behind schedule. A new classroom building ran $17 million over budget and a year behind schedule, according to The Boston Globe.
In order to make up for the massive budget deficit, adjunct faculty have been laid off, course offerings have been reduced, and database subscriptions in the school’s library have been canceled
Ann Coulter's speech at a California public university was canceled because of "security concerns."
Apparently the lesson University of California, Berkeley learned from the violent protests surrounding writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech earlier this year was … you shouldn’t let controversial figures give speeches.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that commentator Ann Coulter’s upcoming speech had been canceled “for security concerns.”
“UC Berkeley officials say they were ‘unable to find a safe and suitable’ venue for the right-wing provocateur who was invited to speak by campus Republicans on April 27,” the AP report added.
This shouldn’t be acceptable.
UC Berkeley canceled Yiannopoulos’ Feb. 1 speech. The level of violence and destruction that greeted Yiannopoulos—who was rightly condemned shortly after the Berkeley violence for remarks he made months earlier about teens, adults, and sexual relationships—was astonishing.
No doubt it’s quite a headache for a university to figure out how to cope with thugs who are willing to act like this, just because they want someone silenced. Although the fact that UC Berkeley appears to have arrested only one person in the aftermath of the protests suggests a lack of seriousness about holding protesters accountable for their actions.
(Update: In an email to me received after publication, Sgt. Sabrina Reich, a public information officer at University of California, Berkeley Police Department, wrote: “To date, there have been two arrests and one student is facing school discipline … but the investigative efforts continue.”)
The point is, no college should reward violent protesters by refusing to allow controversial speakers to appear.
Because this isn’t really about Coulter or Yiannopoulos or author Charles Murray, who was greeted by violent protests when he arrived to speak to Middlebury College in Vermont.
Legal Foundations Call for Repeal of Obama-Era Race-Based School Discipline Guidance
Two legal foundations are calling for an end to federal pressure on school districts to adopt racial quotas in suspensions. And rightly so: It is wrong for an agency to pressure regulated entities to adopt racial quotas, or make race-based decisions, even if the pressure does not inexorably lead to a quota. (See Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod v. FCC, 141 F.3d 344 (D.C. Cir. 1998)). I earlier discussed at length how Obama-era rules, issued without notice and comment in 2014, pressured school districts to adopt racial quotas in suspensions, which violated the Constitution; misinterpreted Title VI of the Civil Rights Act; and ignored judicially-recognized limits on disparate-impact liability.
On March 29, Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, sent an email to the Justice Department asking the Trump administration to withdraw these rules, which are contained in the Obama administration’s January 8, 2014 letter to America’s schools, known as the “Dear Colleague letter: Racial Disparities In The Administration Of School Discipline.” Clegg urged “the withdrawal of the January 8, 2014 ‘Dear Colleague’ letter,” which was issued by the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. He called this letter “unsound as a matter of both law and policy,” citing “a variety of sources that have criticized the letter, again from both policy and legal perspectives.” Clegg is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division, where he served from 1987-1991.
On April 3, the veteran constitutional lawyer who heads the Mountain States Legal Foundation, William Perry Pendley, sent a letter requesting the rules’ repeal. The letter quotes my March 29 letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal, including the following language:
“The Obama administration’s rules wrongly pressure schools to have racial quotas in suspensions, and the Education and Justice Departments should now rescind them …The Obama administration’s 2014 ‘guidance’ told the nation’s schools to do something about the disparity in which black students are suspended from school at a higher rate than whites. But as the federal appeals court in Richmond noted, when it comes to suspensions ‘disparity does not, by itself, constitute discrimination,’ and the idea that a school system ‘should have a disciplinary quota is patently absurd.’ The fact that 66% of suspended students were black did not show discrimination in that case, Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (2001). Similarly, in 1997 the federal appeals court in Chicago struck down as an unconstitutional racial quota a requirement that schools not ‘refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline’ [in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education (1997)].”
Pendley cited the harm caused by the Obama administration’s pressure in places such as Oklahoma City, where the school district entered into a settlement with the Obama administration designed to lower minority suspension rates. The resulting curbs on suspensions have apparently resulted in more fighting and classroom disorder. Quoting The Wall Street Journal, Pendley noted that a teacher in Oklahoma City said that referrals to the principal’s office “‘would not require suspension unless there was blood.’”
The accompanying April 4 press release from Mountain States Legal Foundation notes:
“William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation, in a letter delivered today to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urged voiding of a directive—styled a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter—sent to State and local public school officials across the country by senior officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education. The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter (titled, ‘Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline’) warns recipients that the federal Departments of Justice and Education will ‘initiate investigations’ over ‘racial disparities in student discipline’—in some cases, even when the disparity merely reflects the fact that minority students ‘are engaging’ in specified misconduct ‘at a higher rate than students of other races.’
“According to Mr. Pendley, the ‘Dear Colleague’ January 8, 2014, letter violates federal law, misinterprets Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and pressures recipients to violate the Equal Protection Clause. In addition, the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter constitutes illegal rulemaking in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, promotes a policy that has a horrific record when used by local school districts, and has been the subject of almost universal condemnation by knowledgeable experts. In St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, the results of using racial equity rules to discipline students were nothing short of disastrous, specifically ‘violence and chaos.’ Because ‘kids … consider themselves untouchable [w]e are seeing more violence and more serious violence.’ ‘[A]t many elementary schools, anarchy reigned.’
“Jason Riley, in an op-ed entitled, ‘An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless,’ Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2017, at A19, questions why, two months into the Trump administration, the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter is still official policy. Referencing a newly released study (‘School Discipline Reform and Disorder: Evidence from New York City Public schools, 2012-2016,’ by Max Eden, Manhattan Institute, March 14, 2017), he notes that more than half of the nation’s 50 largest school districts have reduced suspensions ‘to the dismay of those on the front lines.’
“That the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was issued illegally, that similar policies have yielded disastrous results for students, teachers, and even the intended beneficiaries (allowing students to avoid any responsibility for their actions, said one teacher, means they are destined to go ‘from the school house to the jail house’), and that it earned the condemnation of public policy experts should spell its doom,” said William Perry Pendley…Please withdraw the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter as soon as possible.”
Unlike some other civil rights statutes, Title VI does not itself ban “disparate impact,” as the Supreme Court made clear in its 2001 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval. The Obama administration argues that even if the Title VI statute itself does not reach disparate impact, regulations under it can and do (an idea that the Supreme Court characterized as “strange” in footnote 6 of its Sandoval ruling). But even if Title VI disparate-impact regulations were generally valid, they would be subordinate to, and could not override, the Title VI statute itself, which bans racial quotas, as does the Constitution’s equal-protection guarantee. (See, e.g., People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 538 (7th Cir. 1997) (striking down as unconstitutional a provision that forbade a “school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline unless the district purges all ‘subjective’ criteria from its disciplinary code,” because that constituted a forbidden racial quota)).
Even if disparate-impact liability applied under Title VI, the Obama-era guidance fails to take into account non-racial factors (such as poverty and coming from a single-parent household) in determining whether a meaningful disparity exists to begin with, as courts require (and as I previously explained.)
Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:38 AM
Thursday, April 20, 2017
The University of Virginia’s Fight to Protect Free Speech
According to some observers, college campuses are facing a “free speech crisis.” From author Charles Murray, who faced violent protests at Middlebury College, to Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald, who was shouted down by students at Claremont McKenna College, controversial free speech cases arise on college campuses almost weekly.
But amid the chaos, some college and university administrators are working harder than ever to protect the First Amendment. The Daily Signal traveled to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has faced its own campus protests in recent weeks, to find out how difficult—and costly—it is in today’s political environment to stand up for free speech.
University Students Vote to Make American Flag 'Optional'
Students at the University of California, Davis proved you don’t need a Bic lighter to desecrate Old Glory — you just need a majority vote.
The UC Davis Student Senate passed legislation revoking a long-standing rule that required the American flag “stand visibly” at every senate meeting.
“It shall not be compulsory for the flag of the United State (sic) of America to be displayed at the ASUCD Senate meetings,” the new legislation declares.
Ironically, the author of the anti-American bill is a student who recently became a naturalized citizen.
“The concept of the United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual,” Itmar Waksman told the CBS news affiliate in Sacramento.
Under the new rules, any senator who wants to display Old Glory must file a petition.
“It will then be at the discretion of the Senate Pro Tempore whether to approve, reject or set the decision to a vote of the Senate,” the bill reads.
Sadly, there are plenty of young people at UC Davis who share Mr. Waksman’s sick and twisted ideology. One student explained her rage against the flag in a Facebook post:
“Why do you feel that advocating for the U.S. flag that represents a history of genocide, slavery, and imperialism is more important than stuff that actually matters like I don’t know, the violence against our LGBTQ Brown and Black students, rising tuition, resources for our students without homes,” she fumed. “What a waste of time.”
A waste of time?
Try telling that to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who put their lives on the line every day so that perpetually offended snowflakes can spit on America.
Try telling that to our wounded warriors whose arms and legs were blown off fighting for our freedom. Without their sacrifice we would not be the land of the free or the home of the brave.
But concepts like duty and honor and courage — God and Country — are lost on many of the perpetually offended generation.
UC Davis student Michael Gofman understands those concepts. His parents fled the Soviet Union so their family could have a better life. Michael was one of the few students to oppose the flag bill.
He told Fox 40 in Sacramento that “every student on this campus owes a lot to this country whether they know it or not, and that creating a bill that takes steps to ban he flag is a slap in the face.”
And there are some patriots around campus who agree with this courageous young man. One supporter responded to those posting hateful messages about our nation.
“That flag represents the freedom you have to make such a comment,” the supporter wrote. “Try going to North Korea and expressing those kinds of opinions about the state. You won’t get far. The United States is by no means perfect in anyone’s eyes. I think we can all agree on that point. But that flag by far represents the freest nation on Earth. That is a privilege you should honor, not trash.”
We have two courses of action. First, you should contact the UC Davis Alumni Association. Encourage them to withhold donations until this unpatriotic bill is reversed.
Second, revoke federal student loans for every senator who supported the bill. It’s hypocritical for the young lawmakers to take taxpayer money from the very nation and government they despise.
As for Mr. Waksman, we are honored to welcome people from other nations — those willing to come here legally, those yearning to breathe free. But it’s incredibly impolite to disrespect the nation that gave you refuge.
So, Mr. Waksman, if you have a problem with the red, white and blue, I would encourage you to go back to wherever you came from.
Students Demand Administrators ‘Take Action’ Against Conservative Journalists
In an open letter to outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby, a group of students from the Claremont Colleges assail the president for affirming Pomona’s commitment to free speech and demand that all five colleges “take action” against the conservative journalists on the staff of the Claremont Independent.
The letter, written by three self-identified Black students at Pomona College, is a response to an April 7 email from President Oxtoby in which he reiterated the college’s commitment to “the exercise of free speech and academic freedom” in the aftermath of protests that shut down a scheduled appearance by an invited speaker, scholar and Black Lives Matter critic Heather Mac Donald, on April 6.
“Protest has a legitimate and celebrated place on college campuses,” Oxtoby wrote. “What we cannot support is the act of preventing others from engaging with an invited speaker. Our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth, the collaborative development of knowledge and the betterment of society.”
In their open letter, the students sharply disagree.
“Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions. It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry,” they write.
“Thus, if ‘our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth,’” the students continue, citing Oxtoby’s letter, “how does free speech uphold that value?”
The students also characterize truth as a “myth” and a white supremacist concept.
“Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples,” they explain. “The idea that there is a single truth–‘the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples.”
In reference to the protests of Mac Donald, the open letter explains that engaging with Mac Donald’s speech would have amounted to a debate not “on mere difference of opinion, but [on] the right of Black people to exist.”
“Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live,” the letter claims. “Why are you [President Oxtoby], and other persons in positions of power at these institutions, protecting a fascist and her hate speech and not students that are directly affected by her presence?”
The open letter concludes by insisting that Oxtoby apologize for his April 7 email and issue a new message that the college “does not tolerate hate speech and speech that projects violence onto the bodies of its marginalized students and oppressed peoples.”
The students also demand that the Claremont Colleges “take action” against the staff of the Claremont Independent for their “continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.” Taking a step further, they call for “disciplinary action” against conservative journalists from the Claremont Colleges.
“We also demand that Pomona College and the Claremont University Consortium entities take action against the Claremont Independent editorial staff for its continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds,” they write. “Provided that the Claremont Independent releases the identity of students involved with this letter and such students begin to receive threats and hate mail, we demand that this institution and its constituents take legal action against members of the Claremont Independent involved with the editing and publication process as well as disciplinary action, such as expulsion on the grounds of endangering the wellbeing of others.”
The letter’s signatories, of whom there are more than 20 at the time of publication, request a response by the afternoon of April 18.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Pushing Communism on Children
As that old cliché states, the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over again expecting different results. However, when applied to those who promote the Marxist ideals of communism, this becomes a truism. It’s quite simply intellectually and historically dishonest to suggest that communism has ever produced a more just society, let alone anything even remotely resembling the utopia its advocates so exuberantly promise. And yet leftist proponents of the fatally flawed system repeatedly argue for its acceptance on the basis of it being in principle a perfect system — you know, if it weren’t for a history of failed implementations.
Which brings us to those at MIT Press who just can’t resist the temptation to push for communism’s acceptance with the next generation. MIT Press recently released a children’s book entitled “Communism for Kids” — a propaganda tract written by a German political theorist who specializes in “queer politics.” The plot synopsis of the book reads as follows: “Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true? This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”
The book, according to MIT Press, “unfolds like a story, with jealous princesses, fancy swords, displaced peasants, mean bosses, and tired workers — not to mention a Ouija board, a talking chair, and a big pot called ‘the state.’” Clearly it should be found in the children’s fantasy section of the book store. Chapter titles of the book include, “What is communism?”, “What is capitalism?”, “How did capitalism arise?”, “What is work?” as well as “What is to be done?”
A portion of the book states, “Communism names the society that gets rid of all the evils people suffer today in our society under capitalism. There are lots of different ideas about what communism should look like. But if communism means getting rid of all the evils people suffer under capitalism, then the best kind of communism is the one that can get rid of the most evils.” The problem is that kind of communism is simply non-existent, for communism itself fundamentally rejects one of the most obvious and basic foundational truths of human nature: People are selfish.
In the increasingly godless circles of the leftist elites, the opiate of Marxism is as enticing as it has ever been.
Former Choate teacher fired in 1999 for 'anally raping' a student in a resort swimming pool KEPT teaching at other schools and became a high school principal after nobody reported the allegations
A prestigious boarding school says a Spanish teacher it fired in 1999 after two students accused him of sexual assault was able to continue his education career for the next 18 years at several other schools that weren't notified of the allegations.
Jaime Rivera-Murillo is among 12 former faculty and staff members at Choate Rosemary Hall named in a report the Wallingford, Connecticut school released Thursday, accusing them of sexual misconduct with students over the past several decades. Rivera denies the allegations.
Rivera just last week resigned as principal of Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield after its school superintendent was notified by Choate officials about the allegations. His teaching career spanned at least two other high schools in the 18 years he was fired from Choate.
The explosive allegations stem from an incident in October of 1999, when Rivera was a Spanish teacher for Choate.
He was leading a fall semester study abroad program in San Jose, Costa Rica, when he led a group of students on a weekend excursion.
Late on a Friday evening, Rivera and five students were 'hanging out' at a resort swimming pool and nearby bar, the students recalled in interviews with investigators.
As the night went on, Rivera 'became overly friendly' and 'touchy-feely' with one 15-year-old female student, placing his hand on her leg and groping her breast, according to a memo of the investigation conducted less than 24 hours later.
Later, in the pool with a 17-year-old female student, Rivera got even more personal.
'I have these problems. I am a man,' he told her, adding that he and his wife were separated, according to the memo.
The student said that Rivera kissed her, put his hand on her underpants, and moved her into a dark area of the pool, which had an island in the center of it.
Rivera then 'removed his shorts,' and 'entered her anus with his penis,' memo says.
Another student claims he found Rivera in the midst of 'thrusting' into the young girl, and yanked the teacher away from the girl.
Interviews this year with the students involved substantially correspond to the contemporaneous accounts, with the exception that the 17-year-old now says that Rivera was trying to penetrate her when he was interrupted.
Rivera denied the claims at the time and in a 2017 interview with investigators, saying that he simply had some 'local moonshine' and returned to his room.
But the Spanish teacher was fired from Choate for 'just cause' after the school investigated the assault allegations.
The incident seems to have never been reported to any authorities, and Rivera retained his ability to teach.
The report indicates that he taught at Henry Abbott Technical High School and Newtown High School in Connecticut, as well as Harrison High School in New York.
Rivera could not be reached for comment on Friday.
No current faculty or staff members at Choate have been implicated in the misconduct claims and there are no reports relating to any current students.
The report notes that in some cases the school acted quickly in response to the alleged sexual misconduct, but in other cases it did not.
Police were never notified and in some cases teachers were allowed to resign and then given letters of recommendation. The school has issued an apology.
The posh boarding school counts JFK and Ivanka Trump as former students. New York attorney Nancy Kestenbaum had been hired to investigate claims that staff had sex with their students at the institution.
Parents pay boarding fees of up to $56,000 for their children to attend.
It has taught generations of the upper-classes in New England, including the former president and others related to the American political elite.
Who's Unsafe on Campus?
Springtime may be in bloom, but snowflakes never go out of season at America's most prestigious colleges and universities.
Quivering students at the University of Notre Dame launched a protest last week against the school's decision to invite Vice President Mike Pence as commencement speaker. Activist Imanne Mondane told the campus newspaper that she and her peers felt "unsafe" and threatened by "someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity."
In other words: The mere presence of a public official whose policy positions veer from acceptable left-wing norms is a public safety hazard.
At Wichita State University, the student government voted to refuse official recognition of the libertarian Young Americans for Liberty group because it supports — gasp! — the First Amendment. Since other chapters of the group across the country have invited controversial conservative speakers to their campuses, the Kansas safe-spacers argued, it would be "dangerous" to allow them to operate in Kansas.
And at Duquesne University, students have now declared that welcoming a Chick-fil-A on campus would put their "safe place" at "risk" because the founders of the fast-food company defended traditional marriage.
What the cluck? These millennial chicken littles have grown softer than the insides of waffle fries.
While they hype the existential dangers of exposure to discomfiting ideological dissent, the bubble-wrapped brigade ignores the real menaces in the academy.
Take vengeful Fresno State professor Lars Maischak. He's been on the loose on social media, tweeting earlier this year that "Trump must hang." Just to be clear, he added: "The sooner and the higher, the better." In retaliation the administration's crackdown on illegal immigration, Maischak proclaimed, "two Republicans" should be "executed" for "each deported immigrant."
Using the hashtag "#TheResistance," Maischak tweeted: "Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?"
The unhinged academic also tweeted a photo of a bullet with the caption: "Finally discovered! A cure for racism. Take one, administered straight to the cranium."
I can't say "lock and load" or do the "Charlie's Angels" finger gun pose without being accused of inciting violence. But this assassination-obsessed loon can tweet his twisted heart out on Twitter with impunity. (Where's that Twitter Safety Council when you need it?) Of course, Maischak denies harboring any hatred and claims he's the innocent target of a "digital lynch-mob."
Meanwhile, real mobs set fire to U.C. Berkeley to protest speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, injured a professor at Middlebury College while hounding conservative speaker Charles Murray off campus, and assaulted conservative speaker and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes at New York University.
As Manhattan Institute scholar and "The War on Cops" author Heather MacDonald recounted in City Journal, she became "the target of such silencing tactics two days in a row last week" at Claremont McKenna College and UCLA. Baying protesters chanted, "We are here to shut down the f—-ing fascist" and "From Oakland to Greece, f—- the police." She was forced to livestream her talk from an empty room while agitators pounded on the windows outside. Then she was whisked away in an unmarked Claremont Police Department van.
Who's unsafe on campus? The social justice mobsters play victim but wield bloodied brass knuckles in the ivory tower against any and all who threaten their orthodoxy and power.