Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hamline University, Minnesota: Closed Hearts, Closed Minds, and Closed Doors

“At Hamline, students collaborate with professors invested in their success. They are challenged in and out of the classroom to create and apply knowledge in local and global contexts, while cultivating an ethic of civic responsibility, social justice, and inclusive leadership and service.” – From the Hamline University website

Hamline University is not a liberal arts college as it claims to be. It is an illiberal arts college that has just disgraced itself in the national court of public opinion. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer was hired to teach at the school but then abruptly canned by those who did not want even a single high-profile conservative faculty member. So much for the “civil and open exchange of ideas” Hamline promises to prospective students. It is nothing short of false advertising meant to lure students into an ideological echo chamber that will leave them deep in debt and shallow on exposure to controversial ideas.

Tom Emmer holds conservative views on taxes and health care reform but neither of those issues mattered in the eyes of those who wished to exclude him from the Hamline faculty. Hamline officials reneged on a job offer for one reason and one reason only: Tom Emmer has publicly stated his opposition to same-sex marriage. And the faculty will not tolerate such intolerance.

The view of some faculty members and some in the Minnesota media can be roughly summarized as follows: If Tom Emmer supports marital discrimination then he cannot claim to be a victim of viewpoint discrimination at the hands of Hamline progressives.

That sort of rationalization is dangerous, of course, because it knows no bounds. There was virtually no discussion of this issue on campuses until the late 1990s. The idea that everyone must jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon in order to retain a job they have already been given is sure to kill any remnant of diversity that might be found on the campus of Hamline University. Imagine the strange variations of this kind of we-can-discriminate-against-you-because-you-advocate-discrimination logic:

1.)You support the African American Center therefore you cannot claim to be a victim of traditional marriage laws that exclude same-sex marriage.

2.)You support the Women’s Resource Center so you can’t complain that you were denied a job because you are black.

3.)You supported the firing of Tom Emmer so you cannot claim to be a victim of sex discrimination.

Tom Emmer was hired to teach business law not to teach Sociology of Marriage and Family. His most important qualification is a law degree and extensive law practice in the State of Minnesota. It should not matter that he lacks a certificate of completion of sensitivity training from the local LGBT Resource Office.

Aside from the same-sex marriage controversy, there is an issue over the general character and integrity of the supporters of the Emmer firing. Some of those supporters of the firing say it really was not a firing because there was never really a hiring – just a pending hiring. Internal memoranda and emails put the lie to that rationalization.

In an Oct. 6 e-mail, a Hamline professor/administrator urges Emmer to make a quick decision on when he can teach, not whether he will teach, so she can prepare the spring schedule for business students.

An Oct. 7 e-mail, from an associate dean for academic affairs, states that Emmer “will be joining” the Hamline faculty within the School of Business. In other words, upper administration, not just lower administration, characterizes the hiring as a done deal.

If you click on the two links I have provided (above) you will see additional supporting documentation. I thank my readers in Minnesota for directing me to this information. They are helping to hold an allegedly Christian university accountable to the truth, if not the Truth.

It is a shame that Tom Emmer will not be teaching at Hamline. Given that he received over 43% of the vote in the Minnesota governor’s race, he probably would have been good for fund raising. Tom Emmer also would have been good for the ascertainment of truth. Sociology professors could have invited him to guest lecture and to debate in their classes. Even if they thought his positions were wrong, students could have benefited from a greater appreciation of the truth via its collision with falsity.

Maybe progressive faculty members at Hamline are just insecure with their beliefs. Or maybe I misunderstood the United Methodist Church with which Hamline is affiliated. I knew they had open hearts, open minds, and open doors for those who support the gay agenda. I thought they also had room for those who place God above contemporary notions of social justice.


"Obesity" used in Massachusetts to hobble Christmas cheer

Westford school officials are getting tough on classroom holiday parties. They’re banning sugary snacks and sweetened beverages from the celebrations this year.

Students are being told to leave the Christmas cookies, cakes, candy bars, and soda at home and to bring fruits, unsweetened juices, popcorn and raisins instead.

Superintendent Everett Olsen says the ban on holiday sweets has nothing to do with being politically correct, rather, his motive is simply promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“We aren’t trying to take the Christmas out of Christmas. We’re not trying to take the enjoyment out of children’s lives. We’re just trying to act responsible,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin. The school’s goal is to avoid the types of sweets that pile on empty calories and contribute to childhood obesity.

School officials say they’re also hoping to protect the growing number of children with severe food allergies.

The new policy comes as schools across Massachusetts get set to implement stricter state-mandated food policies aimed at reducing child obesity.


Teach primary pupils mechanics: British education boss calls for schools to adopt Far Eastern-style curriculum

Primary school pupils are to be given tougher lessons to ensure they keep up with those in the Far East, in a sweeping shake-up of education.

It means schools in England will borrow some principles from their high-achieving counterparts in Asia.

That includes teaching separate lessons in grammar rather than treating the discipline as an optional ‘add on’, amid concerns that too many pupils get to 16 without even a basic grasp of spelling and punctuation.

Primary school children should also receive lessons in basic scientific concepts such as how machines work and how plastic is made, according to the interim findings of an independent review ordered by Michael Gove.

The Education Secretary wants to stiffen up the National Curriculum to create a ‘gold standard’ lesson plan modelled on the world’s most rigorous exam systems. To do that, teachers should look to the Far East, he said - in particular the high-performing countries of Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

A government-commissioned review of the curriculum, to be published tomorrow, reveals children in Singapore are introduced to scientific concepts in year six. But in England, children do not learn about 'motion around a pivot' or the 'operation of simple machines' until between years seven and nine.

The report, by the Expert Panel, will also say that successful Asian education system make sure all pupils have mastered a subject before moving on to tackle the next part. That is in stark contrast to England where some children are left behind if they do not grasp the topic.

A Whitehall source told the Sunday Times: 'It is wrong to conclude that England should simply import these examples lock, stock and barrel. 'But the consistent theme that does emerge is that some countries do set materially higher expectations in some areas in terms of what they believe children can and should master at different ages.'

A new curriculum had been planned for 2013 - with alterations to the English, maths, science and PE syllabuses. Other subjects would have been introduced from 2014. But all changes will now be delayed until 2014 so more radical proposals can be debated.

The move has prompted criticism from Labour, who have suggested the review is 'in chaos'. A spokesman said the panel was being sent back to the drawing board for failing to fit Gove's 'ideological creed'.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"sensitivity training from the local LGBT Resource Office."

Sounds like something to do with latex.
LGBT, convenient acronym, not that they're generalizing or anything. Its mostly angry Lesbians anyway, otherwise it would be TLGB or some other variation.