Sunday, September 09, 2012

Discrimination is bad  -- except when Leftists do it

Journal abstract below

Political Diversity in Social and Personality Psychology

By Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers

A lack of political diversity in psychology is said to lead to a number of pernicious outcomes, including biased research and active discrimination against conservatives. The authors surveyed a large number (combined N = 800) of social and personality psychologists and discovered several interesting facts. First, although only 6% described themselves as conservative "overall," there was more diversity of political opinion on economic issues and foreign policy. Second, respondents significantly underestimated the proportion of conservatives among their colleagues. Third, conservatives fear negative consequences of revealing their political beliefs to their colleagues. Finally, conservatives are right to do so: In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists said that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues. The more liberal respondents were, the more they said they would discriminate.

Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 496-503, 2012..

Southern schools dominate list of best colleges for free speech‏

Just as college students head off to campus, a list of schools that hold the First Amendment above political correctness is out  — with a slew of Southern schools leading the way.

The list, released Wednesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), cites James Madison University, the College of William & Mary, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania for protecting free speech on campus and maintaining policies honoring freedom of expression.

"It's easy for students to get caught up in the frenzy of trying to get into the best-ranked schools, but if the college you attend doesn't respect free speech, your education will suffer regardless of how high the college is ranked," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said.

FIRE has spotlighted schools where free speech is taboo, including colleges that restrict expression of controversial ideas to small sections of campus and others that bar students from protesting affirmative action and government policies.

To determine this year’s list of pro-speech schools, Lukianoff said FIRE considered whether an institution’s policies restrict First Amendment-protected speech and whether the school had censored speech in recent years. Each of the seven schools surveyed out of roughly 400 colleges and universities received a “green light” rating, meaning its policies did not imperil free speech on campus.

Only 16 schools in all received that rating and roughly 65 percent of all schools received so-called red light ratings for speech codes that are “laughably unconstitutional,” Lukianoff said.

“Believe it or not, 16 schools getting a green light is a major improvement,” he said.

Three of the schools on the list — James Madison, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University — were included for the first time following revisions to its policies pertaining to student expression. The remaining four schools were selected for the second consecutive year.

In a statement to, James Madison officials said “liberty and freedom” are essential to its mission.

“At James Madison University we value and honor diverse perspectives,” said Dr. Josh Bacon, director of JMU’s Office of Judicial Affairs and Restorative Justice. “Freedom of speech is essential to advance learning, research, change, and ultimately the search for truth. Our students need to learn to express their opinions and just as importantly be open to the opinion of others; we believe this is essential to our mission of creating educated and enlightened citizens."

At University of Pennsylvania, officials said the Ivy League school is simply upholding the tradition started by a famous Philadelphian.

"The University of Pennsylvania is committed to the free exchange of ideas," the school said in a statement. "That was a principle of our founder Ben Franklin, and it is central to the mission of any great university."

There are plenty of schools where free expression isn't part of the learning experience, Lukianoff said.

“The kind of speech that can get you in trouble on college campuses is truly shocking,” Lukianoff told “Students are learning to keep their mouths shut when they disagree … things that are so vague and broad that they potentially ban any speech that’s controversial or interesting.”

Types of censored speech at American universities run the gamut from policies that restrict offensive or potentially hurtful speech to “flat-out political censorship,” Lukianoff said.

“Universities seem to think they can regulate every aspect of a student’s life,” he continued. “It’s important that universities know that they can write policies that are in line with the Constitution and the sky won’t fall.”

In March, FIRE released its second annual list of the 12 worst colleges for free speech, naming, among others, the University of Cincinnati, Bucknell University, Yale University and Harvard University.

Bucknell, for example, banned students on its Pennsylvania campus in 2010 from holding anti-affirmative action “bake sale” protests. A year earlier, a protest of President Obama’s stimulus plan featuring Monopoly money distributed by students was halted.

“They were stopped from doing that,” Lukianoff said. “Other times it’s very much an exercise of raw power, where an administrator doesn’t like being criticized or a threat of censorship.”

The University of Cincinnati was also included due to its “shockingly restrictive” free speech zone that comprises just 0.1 percent of its 137-acre campus. The zone was struck down on First Amendment grounds in federal court this summer in litigation coordinated in part by FIRE.

Other schools sharing that dubious distinction included Syracuse University, Widener University and St. Augustine’s College in North Carolina.

In contrast, Lukianoff said he was pleased to see that free speech “caught on” in Virginia, home to three of the seven schools named to this year’s list.

“There’s a tendency that once it catches on with one school in a region, all of the other schools nearby follow suit,” he said. “It had this kind of spreading effect.”


White males now classed as a 'minority group' at university

Women now dominate Britain’s universities and professions to such an extent that a leading institution has launched a campaign to recruit more “white males”.

The move by the Royal Veterinary College, where more than three-quarters of the intake are female, marks the first time that white men have been included in a strategy to help under-represented groups.

While the college is an extreme case, it reflects a wider trend of women overtaking men in education. Of the 24 leading universities in the Russell Group, only three have a majority of male students.

Across UK universities, 984,000 female undergraduates are studying for degrees, compared to 713,000 male. The gap is expected to widen in future years as new government rules make it easier for universities to recruit students with A-level grades of AAB or better, more of whom are female.

While last week’s A-level results showed boys narrowly outperforming girls at the A* grade for the first time, girls remained significantly more likely than boys to achieve grades in the upper range of A* to B.

According to Mary Curnock Cook, the chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the “very worrying gap” between male and female performance at school and university is leading to “fundamental shifts” in society.

Figures from professions which were traditionally male bastions reveal the workplace gender revolution.

In law, women made up 60 per cent of individuals qualifying to practise and admitted on to the roll of solicitors in 2010.

In the same year, 56 per cent of places in UK medical schools went to women, compared to less than a quarter in the 1960s, and it is predicted that by 2017 female doctors will be in a majority.

Yet while women account for 62 per cent of trainee GPs they make up less than a third of hospital consultants. A reluctance among female doctors to take on more demanding specialties, such as cardiology, has led to fears of shortages in key areas.

Women’s domination in veterinary science is also causing concern. About three-quarters of newly qualified vets are now female. By 2015, it is estimated that 90 per cent of those qualifying will be women.

The huge imbalance has prompted the Royal Veterinary College, with campuses in north London and Hertfordshire, to launch a campaign, outlined in its annual report to the admissions regulator Offa, to attract “white males”, among other under-represented groups such as pupils from poor backgrounds and ethnic minorities.

White males are defined as under-represented because while they make up about 45 per cent of the UK population, according to the last census, they account for only 20 per cent of the college’s intake.

Prospectuses and publicity materials have been redesigned to feature photographs and quotes from white male students. Visits to schools and college roadshows specifically target boys.

The college also targets other under-represented groups including ethnic minorities of both genders, who together make up about 10 per cent of the UK population but only 6 per cent of the students at the college.

They are sought out through schemes such as a science Saturday school for pupils from inner London.

By contrast, white women are overrepresented among the students, and are not being targeted for recruitment.

Professor Stephen May, vice-principal for teaching at the college, said: “Our concern is that just in terms of the professional community, having a good gender mix is healthy.

“It may be that in recent years, good quality male candidates have been attracted to more lucrative careers, such as banking.

"The decline in agriculture versus small animal practise could also be a factor. We are not in the business of quotas, that would be discriminatory, but we hope in the long term we will see progress with white males.”

This year, 84,000 more women applied to higher education than men. The only Russell Group universities where male students are in a majority are Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Imperial College, London.

Women outnumber men in the vast majority, including King’s College, London, where 67 per cent of students are female, and Cardiff University, where the figure is 60 per cent.

Mrs Curnock Cook said: “If you look at educational achievement through primary and secondary school and then university outcomes there is a very worrying gap between males and females.

“Somebody needs to address what it is about our education system that is allowing females to perform overall so much better than males. If this trend continues it will start to underpin quite a fundamental sociological change.”

While women are forging successful careers on the back of superior performances in school and university exams, some fear boys are being left on the scrap heap by an education system which disadvantages them.

Coursework and modular exams, less emphasis on the physical, outdoor curriculum and the lack of male teachers have all been blamed for boys’ underachievement. White working class boys now do worse at school than any other group.

Diane Houston, a psychology professor and graduate school dean at Kent University, said that whilst boys may be disadvantaged at school, women still faced a glass ceiling in the workplace.

“There are issues about the way in which schools have become feminised,” she said. “There is a culture in some schools which can be quite difficult for boys, the sitting still and being neat and organised.

"Some can be put off education at a critical point.

“But I’m not sure that at this point we should be screaming about percentage differences in attainment given the way in which women’s careers atrophy through their reproductive lives. There may be more women training to be solicitors, but the judges are men.”


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