Thursday, February 02, 2012

Duke University is at it again

Leftist uproar over a finding that black students at Duke disproportionately migrate away from more difficult (science and engineering) to easier (liberal arts) majors

When we last left Duke University and its home of Durham, North Carolina, the bogus story fueled by the leftwing politics that governs Duke and Durham that three lacrosse players from Duke had beaten and raped Crystal Mangum was being put to rest. True, there were lawsuits filed against both entities by former lacrosse players, but the fires that burned at Duke seemed to have been doused.

For a year while the false criminal case went on, Duke University truly was the Bonfire of the Vanities as students and representatives of the Ruling Party of Durham competed with each other to see who could make the most outrageous and untrue statements. Almost six years ago, I likened it to the Reichstag Fire, but since that time, I have concluded that in the make-believe world that is Duke and Durham (or Dukham, for short), the fires always are burning and there always is a new reason for the Right Kind of People of Dukham to be offended.

Six years ago, the lacrosse incident set Dukham ablaze (or, to be more accurate, the refusal of Dukham’s finest to do any independent thinking set Dukhanm ablaze). Today, it is the appearance of an unpublished paper that takes a hard look at some of the unforeseen consequences of Duke’s aggressive affirmative action policies.

Granted, the end of the criminal portion of the lacrosse case was disappointing to a large number of Dukham folks. The charges, after being investigated for the first time (disgraced DA Mike Nifong never did take the time to do an actual investigation even though he had three indictments), were dismissed by North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper, who said openly that the players were "innocent." Such a thing did not sit well with the leftist and racialist faculty members that had pontificated on the case, as well as the Usual Suspects of the local activist groups.

Much has happened since then. Mangum is in jail awaiting trial for allegedly murdering her boyfriend, Nifong remains disbarred and disgraced, and his sidekick Tracey Cline, who has served as Durham County’s DA since Nifong disappeared (Cline was to be second chair in the prosecution if it had gone to trial), has been suspended from her duties while she is investigated for alleged misconduct.

While the lawsuits creep along, an email from Duke’s dean of students, Sue Wasiolek, that surfaced during discovery, pointed out that right from the start, the lacrosse players "cooperated" with the police. Unfortunately, when Nifong used the local and national media to insist that the players were "putting up a wall of silence," no one from Duke University’s administration, including Wasiolek, tried to set the record straight. It is clear that the leadership at Duke knew the truth, but the fiction was so much more satisfactory to the locals, a significant portion of the university’s faculty and student body, and, of course, the New York Times, which fell headlong into the Nifong pit. The players were guilty and Dukham’s leaders were not going to let a little thing like the truth spoil a party put on by self-righteous activists.

As I said earlier, the bonfires might have simmered temporarily, but today, they are in full blaze as Duke University is enmeshed in another self-inflicted crisis. Once again we see many of the same people from the faculty and the administration beating their chests to atone for the university’s supposed racism and to point out to others that there are dastardly racists in their midst.

When word that an unpublished paper written by an economics professor, a sociology professor, and a graduate student might not paint the happiest picture of academic life at Duke, the Usual Suspects rose up to protest. The paper itself looked at what happens after students with lower SAT scores (including both those admitted via affirmative action and the "legacy" students) actually settle into academic life at the university.

While many of these students might start out majoring in natural sciences, economics, or engineering, they often change majors and migrate to the "softer" majors in liberal arts. The significant part of that migration, the paper noted, was that the "legacy admissions" and affirmative action students migrate in statistically-significant larger numbers than do the students that did not need any special dispensation to enter Duke.

The paper’s findings matched what other researchers already have noted regarding affirmative action and legacy students attending other highly-select universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Many of these students arrive unprepared for the level of work they must do in the difficult majors in order to keep up with those students who can do the work, and this leads either to students dropping out or changing majors.

Not surprisingly, the faculty members in those areas of study such as Cultural Anthropology went ballistic over the paper, decrying it as "scholarly racism" (according to English and Law professor Karla Holloway, the same Karla Holloway who declared the lacrosse players to be rapists because "guilt is a social construct"). In fact, many of the same professors that rushed to judgment in the lacrosse case and created an atmosphere of hate and hysteria at Duke also are the out-front people here.

One of the worst offenders in the lacrosse crisis was professor Tim Tyson, who openly called for dismissal of all of the lacrosse players and repeated the lie that they were refusing to cooperate with the police. Tyson also led on-campus protests against them, rushing to judgment and then refusing to acknowledge after the players were exonerated that they actually were innocent. In other words, Tyson is one of those Duke faculty members who absolutely hates a large portion of the Duke student body along with most of the Adults who are on the faculty.

Tyson, as is his wont, openly attacked one of the authors, economics professor Peter Arcidiacono, in an article, alleging that Arcidiacono was a racist and worse. (Of course, Tyson’s article is filled with ad hominems and he refuses to address the real issues of the paper, preferring to wrap himself in the righteousness of his own worldview.)

Once again: Tyson does not challenge in any way the data that Arcidiacono, et al., presented, that black students at Duke disproportionately migrate away from more difficult (science and engineering) to easier (liberal arts) majors.

As in the lacrosse case, a large portion of Duke’s professors are permitted to launch baseless and public attacks on other students and faculty, all the while drawing large salaries and having to do little productive work while denouncing their employer and anyone else who pays for them to stomp about campus. In fact, it seems that their "work" is to claim that they are mistreated by Duke, which requires little out of them but spending a few hours a week on campus protesting that they should even be there at all.


British selective school pupils wrongly expelled after Facebook smear campaign saying that they had sex in a store cupboard

Two grammar school pupils were expelled after a malicious gossip campaign broke out on Facebook claiming the pair had sex in a school store room and toilet. Trevor Evans and his girlfriend were 16 when they were first suspended from West Kirby Grammar School, in Wirral, where they were sixth-formers.

Within two days they were expelled, but an independent tribunal has found that the school failed to investigate the claims properly. It also ruled that not enough evidence had been found to permanently exclude the pair.

Trevor, now 17, strongly denies having had sex with his then girlfriend. He insists that he was consoling her in a toilet cubicle after she became upset.

His mother, Honora, heard about the allegations when she received a letter from headteacher Glenice Robinson in October last year. Since then she has been fighting to clear her son's name and insists the allegations were spread on Facebook.

She said: 'This was a vindictive campaign hatched by some girls at the school who posted malicious rumours about him on Facebook.'

Trevor, a keen musician, said: 'I just want to get back to school and resume my studies.'

Mrs Evans, who lives in the affluent village of Meols, said she had endured a traumatic three months in order to expose the school's failure to carry out a proper investigation. She said: 'The way the school dealt with this was a knee-jerk reaction and the right to education should be supported, not taken away.'

Headteacher Mrs Robinson said: 'It would not be appropriate to discuss specific details but the school always acts in the best interests of pupils.'

An announcement on whether the pair can return to school is yet to be made.


Australia: Queenslanders want school performance made public

ALMOST two-thirds of Queenslanders believe teaching and learning audit results of state schools should be publicly released.

A poll on found 62 per cent of 2120 respondents wanted to know how schools performed, while 38 per cent did not think the results should be released.

The Courier-Mail's publication of the audit results on Saturday caused a furore among teachers and principals, with the Queensland Teachers' Union directing members to suspend participation in the process.

Political leaders are divided over the issue with Premier Anna Bligh backing the release, saying parents had a right to know, while LNP leader Campbell Newman dodged questions on whether he would continue the audits if his party won government.

"There's this obsession that's being created about doing the measurement, the testing and the measurement and the reporting, rather than helping the kids," he said.

Opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg said he supported parents having the right to information about their schools but wanted to know more about the cost and benefits before deciding about publication or whether they should still be run in Queensland.

Teachers are now pursuing a way of keeping future teaching and learning audit results from being published, despite the State Government saying it believes parents have a right to the statewide information.

The QTU opposed a Right to Information application by The Courier-Mail late last year for the results, endorsing last November to suspend participation if the outcomes were ever published. That suspension was put in place on Monday.

The union argues it had secured an agreement the statewide results would not be published and any publication of them was misleading.

Every state-run school and education centre was audited in 2010, with 460 re-audited last year against world-class benchmarks in eight teaching and learning practices.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said they were now considering discussing the future of the audit as part of their impending Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), including a possible guarantee of confidentiality as part of the EBA.


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