I have some comments on this on today's "Tongue-Tied" posts
A student who wrote disparaging comments on an anonymous course evaluation now finds himself facing University sanctions. Brian Beck, a landscape architecture major from Gordon, was found in violation of three University Code of Conduct regulations in a decision announced last week by University Judiciary. Beck was found in violation of the code due to:
* Disruption of the teaching evaluation process
* On grounds of multiplicity
* Harassment based on presumed knowledge of the associate professor's sexual orientation
Beck's violations stem from comments made on two course evaluations in Joseph Disponzio's History of the Built Environment course sequence. On the first course evaluation, Beck was asked "What aspects of the course could use improvement or change?" Beck wrote: "Joe Disponzio is a complete asshole. I hope he chokes on a dick, gets AIDS and dies. To hell with all gay teachers who are terrible with their jobs and try to fail students!"
During a phone interview with The Red & Black, Disponzio said, "As always, there were good comments and bad comments. I am a difficult professor. After receiving the comment [in January] I went to my dean about it. I was not amused by it."
College of Environment & Design Interim Dean Scott Weinberg said he told Disponzio, "He probably needs to go see people in Legal Affairs." According to an e-mail sent from Disponzio to Kimberly Ellis, associate dean for Student Affairs-Office of Judicial Programs, Weinberg "essentially said that since the evaluation was anonymous, there was little he could do. [Weinberg] does nothing to address the situation among the staff and faculty of the (College of Environment & Design)."
After consulting Legal Affairs, Disponzio said he did not pursue the matter because of academic responsibilities. The University did not take action. "Ultimately, I let the whole thing drop," Disponzio said, but "at the end of the spring semester, I received a similar comment."
Beck answered the evaluation question "What were the most helpful/useful aspects of the course?" with "Joe Disponzio needs help with his issues dealing with homosexuality. Fags are not cool and neither are ney [sic] yorkers."
After comparing the two evaluations to exams from the class, Disponzio said he was able to identify the student he thought made the comments. "I am a New Yorker and a gay man ... but I have no idea what the student's issues were," Disponzio said. "Systematically you go through this, then I realized that I found the culprit."
On June 11, Disponzio went to Weinberg's office and left copies of the two evaluations along with copies of the exams he believed to be those of the offending students. No action was taken at this point because Weinberg was out of town. On. Aug. 21, Weinberg referred Disponzio to Cheryl Dozier, associate provost for institutional diversity. Disponzio and Dozier met the next day and the matter was referred to Ellis. Two days later, an official complaint was filed with the Office of Judicial Programs.
A letter was mailed to Beck's home address on Sept. 6 stating "it is alleged that Mr. Beck wrote threatening comments on course evaluations that were directed to a faculty member. Such comments indicated that he wanted the faculty member to die. Also the comments may have violated the University's anti-discrimination and harassment policy in that comments made may have been discriminatory regarding sexual orientation." Beck was directed to contact the Office of Judicial Programs and a hearing was set for Oct. 15.
The University retained a handwriting document examiner to confirm the author of the evaluations. Roy Fenoff, a 2004 graduate of the University and forensic document examiner, was faxed the evaluations in question and Beck's class exams. He "concluded that the questioned writing was indeed authored by Brian Beck." Fenoff came to this conclusion by examining "ink patterns, slant, size, fluidity of movement, entry strokes, final strokes, spacing of letters, the connections, letter form, punctuation, numbers, and abbreviation," according to judical programs' records.
Beck's punishment includes writing a 1,200-word essay on how his remarks affect the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community and interact with a greater intolerance of the campus LGBT community, a letter of apology to Disponzio including constructive criticisms of his teaching style, and meeting with Michael Shutt, assistant dean of students, to discuss completion of SafeSpace training or other programs deemed appropriate. Beck received a reprimand/warning and was told he is expected to follow University Conduct Regulations in the future.
Disponzio wrote in a letter to Weinberg: "Though the evaluations are 'confidential'; such pointedly directed hate removes all rights to confidentially. Whether it is the student I suspect, or another, I will do whatever is necessary to find [him or her]."
Members of the LGBT community say they are not satisfied with how the University handled the case. "Lambda is going to be up in arms. [We're] upset it took almost a year," said Moira Gillis, an anthropology major from Richmond and the director of public relations for Lambda Alliance, a group whose purpose is creating a safe and supportive environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
New Report: Asians, Not Whites, Gain When AA Ends
Post below lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links
This morning the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on yet another study that confirms Asians benefit much more than whites when racial preference policies are eliminated. In fact, the proportion of whites admitted often decreases when race preferences are curtailed. An earlier study, discussed here, found that
when one group loses ground, another has to gain - in this case it would be Asian applicants. Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students, with an acceptance rate rising from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent.
Similarly, a Dan Golden article in the Wall Street Journal, which I discussed here, also found that
Asian-American enrollment at Berkeley has increased since California voters banned affirmative action in college admissions. Berkeley accepted 4,122 Asian-American applicants for this fall's freshman class -- nearly 42% of the total admitted. That is up from 2,925 in 1997, or 34.6%, the last year before the ban took effect. Similarly, Asian-American undergraduate enrollment at the University of Washington rose to 25.4% in 2004 from 22.1% in 1998, when voters in that state prohibited affirmative action in college admissions.
The University of Michigan may be poised for a similar leap in Asian-American enrollment, now that voters in that state have banned affirmative action. The Center for Equal Opportunity study found that, among applicants with a 1240 SAT score and 3.2 grade point average in 2005, the university admitted 10% of Asian-Americans, 14% of whites, 88% of Hispanics and 92% of blacks. Asian applicants to the university's medical school also faced a higher admissions bar than any other group.
The new study, which will be published next week in InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, also finds, according to one of its authors, that
Asian Americans' share of enrollment has shot upward at selective public universities that have been forced to abandon affirmative-action preferences, he said, and the Asian-American population has not increased nearly enough to explain the trend. Meanwhile, a report on the study's findings says, white enrollments, as a share of the student body, actually declined slightly at the universities examined.....
It sounds as though this new study largely confirms the findings of earlier ones, but, based on the Chronicle's summary, it also sounds as though the authors are uncomfortable with their findings. Whether for that reason or simply in an attempt to convince readers they are not racist, right-wing Republican meanies (sorry for the redundancy here), they engage in some wholly gratuitous and unsupported insults to critics of race preferences.
The report says, for example, that its findings that Asians, not whites, benefit from the demise of race preferences "`can hardly be satisfying' to `those who campaigned for the elimination of affirmative action in the belief that it would advantage the admission of white students.'"
And who, exactly, are "those who campaigned for the elimination of affirmative action in the belief that it would advantage the admission of white students"? Do the authors assume that all those who oppose race preferences do so because they believe whites will benefit? It would be nice to have some names of who the authors have in mind, or perhaps they are afraid of libel suits.
Not only did those who "campaigned" against race preferences do so in a mistaken effort to benefit whites. In the future, now that the facts are known, those who continue to campaign against preferences will no doubt do so in order to deprive Asians of the benefits they receive when they are nt longer victims of double-standard discrimination.
The report predicts that white people might begin actively opposing race-neutral admissions policies if Asian Americans continue to make gains. "Whites are still too influential in politics and in the private sector to sit quietly while this trend continues," it says.
Such comments are not only dumb - where is the evidence? - but offensive.
I was just about to post the above comments when I saw Roger Clegg's comments on the same study. If I'd only read his first, I could have saved myself some trouble and posted what I usually feel like saying after reading something Roger has written: "What he said." Anyway, here's a part of what he said:
I'm prepared to believe that Asians may be discriminated against more than whites by PC admissions policies, but the evidence is overwhelming - in, among other places, the dozens of studies done by the Center for Equal Opportunity - that both groups are discriminated against (and sometimes Latinos as well). I have a sneaking suspicion that this is just another desperate effort by the proponents of such discrimination to stem the tide that is running against them, this time by trying to persuade whites that they shouldn't care about colorblind principles, since it is only those darn Asian kids who benefit from them. It's an ugly tactic, and it won't work. Those of us "who campaigned" against racial preferences did so not because we care about white kids and not Asian kids - we're doing so because we don't like discrimination against anyone. I think the overwhelming majority of those supporting these initiatives feel this way.
The grand inquistion: destroying teens to save them
It appears the entire student body of Parkland High School ought to be registered sex offenders, if the law were applied. But the local police and district attorney are not going to apply the law because virtually the entire school is guilty of possession of child pornography.
State police have been sent to the school to scare the bejeesus out of the students into co-operating. Apparently images of two girls were distributed by cell phone from one student to another. In one case the girl involved had taken a photo of her breasts herself. District Attorney James Martin said of this girl, "she's a victim and she's not a victim." There's a clear legal standard.
Another girl was photographed having oral sex with an unidentified boy. Police can't, or won't, say if this is was done with her knowledge. So we don't know if she too is "a victim and not a victim".
Police have gone to the school to ensure that every student erases any such images from their cellphones or the students face prosecution for child pornography. In fact, the district attorney is being very careful with his wording. He said: "Our thrust has been to get the kids to come forward and we've indicated we will not charge them for possessing the images." Please note that that the word indicated is one of those lovely weasel words. It doesn't mean "promised" it merely means that the district attorney has said this is possible. It is a sign of something not a confirmation.
The real reason that they are hedging and hawing over this is that if they actually applied the laws as they stand they would have to prosecute most the teens at this high school and many in other schools who also saw the images. Samantha Smith, a junior at the school, clearly noted the problem: "The school isn't going to get everybody because it is everybody. I don't know anybody who didn't get the pictures." And in this case the everybody includes about 3,200 students.
Now to prosecute 3,200 students means around 6,400 angry parents. It means outraged grandparents and cousins. It means pissed off neighbors. In other words it means the district attorney would be toast in the next election. So here the law will be selectively enforced to save the DA's ass.
But as noted the DA only "indicated" that there won't be prosecutions. He hasn't promised it. And he's also being very political here. He wants to have the option to prosecute someone just in case the anger goes the other way. He said: "I'm not sure what we're going to do with the participants at this point." Actually that should have been what he was going to do "to the participants" not with. With implies they are happy participants in the DA's actions and I doubt that is the case.
The DA refers to the participants which, I assume, includes the girl who took a photo of her own breasts, that's the girl he said was "a victim" and "not a victim" at the same time. So the DA is implying that they face a real possibility of being prosecuted as child pornographers even though they were the children in question.
This wouldn't be the first time. The courts have backed up the sex panic laws that apply to kids as much as adults. Teens who stupidly record their own sex lives, in any way, can be, and have been, prosecuted as child pornographers. The Florida state appeals court has ruled that this legit. In the case they heard a 16-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy took some sexual photos of themselves. These digital photos were then sent from the girl's computer to the boy's e-mail. At no time did they distribute the photos to anyone else. Court records are unclear but somehow the police learned the photos existed and both teens were arrested for victimizing themselves. And the boy was charged with possessing child pornography (the photo of himself and his girlfriend) as well.
Now the courts have ruled that the teens can have sex without facing prosecution. But if they photograph those acts then they become heinous criminals, a threat to Western Civilization, cause Jesus to weep bloody tears, and encourage terrorism. Well, not quite but damn close.
The robed morons in Florida had some unique arguments in the case. Judge James Wolf though it fine to ruin the lives of these kids in order to not ruin their lives. He argued, in the majority opinion, that it didn't matter that these "victims" hadn't shown their own photos to anyone. He said they could still sell the photos to child pornographers (someone should let this moron know that because one is a minor in the law doesn't make one a child -- teens are not children. They may not be adults yet but neither are they children.) Apparently the judge imagined that these two kids would be able to find child pornographers. Perhaps they are listed in the Yellow Pages. And he assumed these pornographers, who didn't exist in the case, would actually want to buy these photos.
But this ignoramus said "the statute was intended to protect minors like appellant and her co-defendant from their own lack of judgment..." Even if one accepts that premise how does turning these teens in sex offenders protect them? They face a life time of harassment because they did something silly as teens. Apparently the judge is like the Inquisitors who were willing to execute someone in order to save them.
He also wanted them convicted because the "mere production of these videos or pictures may also result in psychological trauma to the teenagers involved." If it were a crime to be stupid this man would have been jailed long ago. Does this "judge" actually think that these photos, taken by the teens themselves, are actually more traumatic than being arrested, hauled before idiots in robes, and convicted as child pornographers? Talk about irrationality in the courtroom.
The reality is that pornographers who want photos of teens of that age can find them legally and easily because that is the age of consent in most of Europe. The U.S. is unique in having a much higher age of consent than other countries when it comes to such matters. The age of consent for porn used to be 16 in the United States: so it is unlikely any of the teens we are talking would have been criminals under the old law. The law was changed by one of the worst attorney general's in U.S. history, Ed Meese. Meese was a professional panic-monger when it came to sex and he was doing his level best to eradicate the "porn menace".
Meese had the federal law changed to 18-years-of-age. He argued that while 16-year-olds might be able to consent that teens younger than that can't. But some teens who are 14 appear to be 16 so to protect them he had the law raised to cover all teens until they turn 18. The idea was supposedly to protect teens younger than 16, not teens older than 16. Of course once Meese got his way things really took off. In fact, at that time the U.S. government claimed there was a massive increase in child porn. Duh! What they didn't tell the public was that the porn in question had been legal until a few days earlier. The increase was entirely due to the change in definition. But with the increase in arrests the sex panic industry got rolling.
From that point, until today, the police and prosecutors, under both Democrats and Republicans, have been expanding their ability to arrest and incarcerate Americans for having consenting sex lives and sometimes for less. During the reign of Attorney General Janet Reno, a real sexaphobic monster, things got worse. Some of the cases I remember include a university student arrested for owning a video of teenaged girls, fully dressed, using a mink's tail to pretend to whip each other. A grandmother who went to take a bath decided to bath her infant granddaughter at the same time. The husband thought it was beautiful and took a photo. They were prosecuted as child pornographers and the grandmother accused of "imminent lesbianism". In another case a man was convicted for owning a photograph of a teenaged boy who was shirtless. The courts ruled that since the man allegedly found the photo appealing it qualified as child pornography.
No one questions the necessity of the law to protect children. But there is plenty of reason to think the law defines child far too broadly. And there is plenty of evidence that prosecutors are doing more harm to the alleged "victims" in these cases then they are doing good. The reality is that the legal system is exploiting a common fear among parents and that fear is being used to harm lots of teens in the process. When teens are traumatized by police, courts and being registered sex offenders, in order to protect them from themselves then things have really gotten out of hand.