Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Evidence Tampering U

 Mike Adams

For years, I've been writing about the issue of censorship on our nation's campuses. But I have given far too little emphasis to due process violations within the so-called campus judiciary. Today, that all comes to an end. This will be the beginning of a series of columns highlighting the worst colleges in America when it comes to due process violations. I will reveal the name of this week's winner after explaining why this university is being ushered into the due process Hall of Shame.

In 2005, a professor was brought up on charges of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Specifically, he was accused of giving a student an A in exchange for dancing with the professor in a sexually provocative way. There was only one problem with the charge: it wasn't true.

One set of university documents (the transcripts) revealed no A was given. The university convicted the professor anyway even after it was clear that another set of documents (the official harassment accusations) had been doctored in order to sustain the charge.

In 2009, our present inductees disciplined a fraternity for waving a fraternity flag that had a portion of the confederate flag imbedded within it. Incidentally, they waved it at another southern fraternity that also had a fraternity flag with a portion of a confederate flag imbedded within it. The all-white fraternity waved it at the other all-white fraternity at a university intramural game at which no nonwhites were present. So a white university official charged them with violating the campus hate speech code.

I wrote about the incident and the university soon realized the campus speech code (as applied) was illegal. So, rather than dropping the charges, they doctored university documents in order to remove any evidence that the charges against the fraternity were related to the speech code. They then inserted new allegations and convicted them under those. The fraternity was then punished with suspension from intramural sports competition for "taunting" rather than "hate speech" as originally charged.

In 2011, a professor was accused of sexual harassment and sought out legal counsel to defend him. During cross-examination by his attorney, the female accuser claimed not to have made two statements included in the official charges. In other words, the university helped the accuser by padding the charges without even bothering to tell her.

The accused was eventually dismissed from the university. Those tampering with the evidence were never identified and disciplined.

In 2012, police responded to an off campus alcohol-related incident involving a campus social organization. The police left shortly after arriving and no charges or arrests were even contemplated by police. Nonetheless, officers of the student organization were brought in to the Dean's Office for interrogation. Since they were being asked about behaviors that were minor violations of the criminal law, they asked to have legal counsel present. Their request was denied.

Recently, I had a chance to hear the tape recorded interrogation of the student officers. University officials repeatedly denied their requests for counsel and asked them to turn off the tape recorder. By the end of the investigation, the university had prepared three different reports on the incident. The facts in report #3 bore no resemblance to the facts in report #1. Each time the university realized its charges were incorrect they simply constructed a new version of events. Decent people would have dropped the charges once they realized they were wrong. But this is not the way things are done at Evidence Tampering U. The charges are still pending and the fate of the student organization is still hanging in the air.

Again in 2012, a professor appealed a sexual harassment charge (anyone seeing a pattern here?) and was exonerated on charges of inappropriately touching a student. Finally, there is some good news at Evidence Tampering U, right? Wrong. I'm not finished.

During the appeal of the conviction for inappropriate touching the university inserted a new charge of "inappropriate communication." The university convicted the professor of that in partial retaliation for his appeal on the charge of inappropriate touching. No chance of winning an appeal at Evidence Tampering U. These people are good. They rig appeals by adding new charges each step of the way. They base their judiciary rules on Franz Kafka novels.

This is all very important because the way universities administer justice affects the way students view justice. At Evidence Tampering U., justice is not a process. It is a result. The ends justify the means. It is the same mentality that justifies stealing elections. And it is not the way we educate young people. It is the way that a constitutional republic eventually turns into a banana republic.

Unfortunately, it is the way things are done at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, our inaugural inductees into the Due Process Hall of Shame. Their liberal administrators make providing a liberal education damned near impossible. It may seem ironic. But that’s what the evidence reveals.

In the next installment, we will learn about the role the Obama Department of Education has played in the erosion of campus due process. Students aren’t biting the hand that feeds them. They just re-elected the hand that is slapping them.


The £300 bespoke classroom chairs for the £80m British school dubbed 'socialist Eton' with a roof terrace and panoramic views of London

With panoramic views of the capital from a roof terrace, bespoke chairs and glass walls, this £80million six-storey building resembles that of a plush city hotel.  But this is, in fact, Britain's most expensive comprehensive school - set to open next week in a leafy area of Kensington, west London, for 1,480 lucky pupils.

Holland Park School, dubbed the 'socialist Eton', has unisex lavatories where no main door will be fitted to deter bullying, a glass-clad open-plan library and an exotic 25-metre basement swimming pool.

The new futuristic building for the school, once attended by the actress Anjelica Huston, has a glass roof and glass-walled classrooms, with an energy-saving array of fins and mesh to spare pupils the glare of the sun.

Pupils will sit down on £300 bespoke chairs created by one of Britain's leading furniture designers, Russell Pinch - though the school paid far less for the chairs with its large order.   Teachers will have their own version of Pinch's 'Holland Park Chair', with arms - retailing at £400.

They will also enjoy the services of waiters bringing them tea and coffee in their common room.

Modernist features of the building include wash troughs, and an atrium stretching the length of the building.

The school is about to leave council control to become an academy. It is part of a multibillion-pound building programme that has seen lavish state schools spring up around the country.

The schools have been designed by architects such as Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, renowned for their high-tech, modern designs, often featuring soaring glass atriums.

State schools built under Labour typically cost £21m-£50m and the lavish scale of Holland Park has caused friction among local groups at a time of cuts in services.  Union representatives have asked why a new academy planned for north Kensington, one of the poorest parts of the borough, has a budget of £28m.

But Elizabeth Campbell, the council's cabinet member for education, told the Sunday Times she was proud of Holland Park.  She said: 'We set out to build the best school in Britain and we have ended up with the best school in western Europe.'

She argued that the building had cost the taxpayer nothing, adding: 'We raised £105m by selling off part of the site to housing developers and built a six-storey school instead.'

The school dubbed the 'socialist Eton' because it once attracted members of the Labour elite who lived locally but did not want to compromise their principles by using private education.

The school now has Tory ministers in its catchment area, including George Osborne, who lives a short walk away.

A few weeks ago,  according to the Sunday Times, a Holland Park parent reported that her daughter had seen Gove and his wife Sarah looking round with their nine-year-old daughter.

Headteacher Colin Hall said earlier the school was a reward for pupils and teachers who over the past decade had transformed the comprehensive and put it in the top 5% of state schools for improved GCSE results.  He said: 'Students will be coming to something a bit unconventional and a little bit grand.

'Some don’t come from privileged backgrounds — we want them to have a sense of aspiration and see this building as aspirational.'


Australian students get right to sue training colleges

This could lead to damaging litigation by dim students. 

DISGRUNTLED students will be able to sue their training colleges for shoddy education under new laws to be introduced in Victoria.

The state government hopes the new rules will prevent dodgy training providers from delivering substandard education. The rules will apply to students whose vocational training was subsidised partly or fully by the state government.

An explanatory memorandum of the legislation, seen by The Age, said students could seek compensation for a college's "failure to deliver training". The state government contracts training providers to deliver courses to students.

An Education Department spokesman said students would soon have the right to enforce terms of that contract.

"This is designed to provide greater protection for students if there is a breach of contract between the government and vocational training provider," he said.

But he said contracts would vary between providers.

Earlier this year the national training regulator rejected a training college's registration after finding it had failed to meet quality standards.

More than 1200 students were enrolled at the college, which offered a wide range of courses from aged care, childcare and transport and logistics. The students were forced to find other colleges to complete their courses.

The Australian Education Union's TAFE vice-president, Greg Barclay, said the new laws were a "good move" but the government needed to ensure the contracts were fair to students.

The Victorian TAFE Association's education policy consultant, Nita Schultz, said the greater capacity to seek compensation would "fill a gap" in students' rights as consumers. "It's got to give students more confidence," she said.

Ms Schultz said students might also be entitled to sue their training college if it closed their course before they could complete it.

The new laws are part of legislation recently introduced to the Victorian Parliament about how universities and TAFEs are governed.

Some of the new legislation is highly contentious, including the removal of the requirement that university councils and TAFE boards must include students and staff.

More than 220 academics have signed an open letter protesting against this change.

Melbourne University professor and author Raimond Gaita and La Trobe politics Professor Dennis Altman are among the high-profile academics who have lent their names to the "defence of university autonomy and academic freedom". The letter calls on the state government to abandon the bill.

"Universities are not businesses selling education and research products. They are some of our oldest public institutions and their autonomy is crucial to a properly functioning democracy and vibrant civil society," the letter said.

But Higher Education Minister Peter Hall said there was nothing to stop universities appointing students and staff to their councils if they had the necessary skills.

He said the government was introducing the changes after extensive discussions with chancellors and vice-chancellors from Victoria's universities.


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