Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Obstructionism of university gun club at UNC

Mike Adams

Dear Chancellor Miller (chancellor@uncw.edu);

After laying the groundwork in my previous correspondence, I finally have an opportunity to respond to the sweeping claim that UNCW's student affairs division treats student groups equally, regardless of their political viewpoint. I will also respond to the Dean's claim that there are hundreds of student groups on campus that have been approved without any difficulties whatsoever. That claim suggests that those who are not approved have somehow failed to comply with university policies and procedures. The contrary evidence I will present will demonstrate that there has been a pattern of misconduct in the Dean's office extending over a period of more than a decade.

Let us start by going back to the first letter I wrote to you. We can learn something by focusing on just one of the groups in question, the Second Amendment Club. I have a special interest in this club because I am their advisor.

I began to help the club with its application for official recognition all the way back in August. The student affairs division has required multiple resubmissions of the application since that time. Let me provide some examples of suggested revisions from a recent application, which was submitted seven months into the process. Again, these are suggested revisions coming from your administration seven months into the application process:

- The administrator doesn't like the fact that we have the word "sixty" in our application. He prefers that we use the numerical "60."

- The administrator doesn't like our use of the phrase "during academic year." He wants us to say "during THE academic year."

- The administrator doesn't like the fact that one of the sentences in our nine-page typed single-spaced application has two periods. He wants that second period removed before we become an official organization and reclaim some of the student activity fee money being used to pay the salaries of the document approvers in the Student Affairs division.

I won't bore you, Chancellor, because there were literally scores of these unnecessary cosmetic changes, which were suddenly brought to our attention in the seventh month of the application process - as we rapidly approached the deadline to received SGA funding as an official student group.

With all these new suggestions we were still given a chance to go all the way to the university student club approval committee so we could have our shot at official recognition – almost seven months after beginning the application process. But, predictably, we ran into a new set of concerns after the committee had a chance to look over our application. Here are some choice examples:

-The committee found an apostrophe before an "s" that should have been after an "s." In other words, the student affairs document inspector missed a typo in all his previous proof readings of the document.

-The committee decided it didn't like that we use a hyphen in the word "late-comers." They prefer "latecomers." Too bad we were not told of this preference at any time previously in the seven month approval process. I guess they are late-deciders.

-They also found a sentence that should have had a comma. I guess the committee caught the official document approver sleeping on this one. Maybe he was comma-tose when he was proof-reading (or is proofreading just one word?).

-They also didn't like it that we had an official club officer called a "gatekeeper." They wanted us to call the officer something else. I suggested we call him gate-keeper, just for kicks.

-Then they found another comma missing. Next, they found another apostrophe missing. Good thing we are paying the salaries of these committee members to find all the typos that are missed by the official document inspector. But why are we paying that guy's salary? And why can't he do a better job of spotting all these typos - especially if that's his official responsibility?

After finding all these typos, the committee did something gracious. They gave us another chance to resubmit the application to the university administrator who missed all the typos. Yippee! They even sent us an email saying "congratulations! You're getting an extension!"

I'm not kidding, Chancellor Miller. They actually congratulated us on getting a chance to head into our eight month of reapplication. And they actually used exclamation points in their email. They could not contain their excitement! I thought about writing back with a few “XOs” to express my heartfelt appreciation. But I couldn’t decide whether it was proper to say “heart-felt” or to say “heartfelt” instead.

Dean Walker wrote to you earlier defending his office's handling of student groups. In that defense, he gave a description of the UNCW student group approval process. It was inaccurate. Here’s what the process really looks like:

1. Make the student group application so long that there are guaranteed to be spelling and grammar errors.
2. Don't say anything to students about any grammar errors until several meetings have occurred.
3. Only reveal a few grammar errors per meeting in order to justify more meetings with the administration.
4. When doing revisions, add in wording preference recommendations that are not actually grammar or spelling recommendations with a “right” answer.
5. Repeat step four until the date has passed for student groups to apply for SGA funding.
6. Inform students that they are ineligible for SGA funding.
7. Respond to any outside inquiries about intentional obstruction of student group applications with some sort of internal investigation.
8. Declare the administration innocent by insisting that the non-approval of clubs is not about speech but instead about words – and hyphens and commas, too.
9. Make sure that the outside investigators who are looking into the dean’s treatment of the SAE fraternity get copies of all self-investigations by administrators declaring themselves to be innocent.

Of course, there is another step in the process that is both unwritten and unintended:

10. Lose all credibility as an institution that respects viewpoint diversity and cares about its students.

Chancellor Miller, I know what you're probably thinking. While it looks like these constant revisions are merely a pretext for denying the group, it isn't conclusive. The administration doesn't actually tell them that their beliefs are the problem. So where is the smoking gun? (Please pardon the gun pun and the crime rhyme).

Fortunately, I have two more cases to share with you. In both cases, student affairs did identify the applicants’ beliefs as an obstacle to granting them official recognition. In both cases, the groups were conservative in nature.

Postscript: One hour after completing this column, the university finally capitulated and recognized the Second Amendment Club. The author wishes to thank those who read this series and took the time to write to Chancellor Miller. Dr. Adams is relieved that he can now go back to teaching his classes and doing research instead of doing the chancellor's job for him.


British schools told: stop hiding behind health and safety rules

Teachers should adopt a “common sense” approach to health and safety to boost the number of school trips and expose pupils to risks, according to new guidelines.

Schools in England have been told to dramatically cut back on levels of red tape because of concerns that too many outings are being cancelled amid fears staff will be sued over accidents.

Guidance issued to head teachers says that health and safety rules should “not stop them” embarking on a range of outings to museums, adventure centres, parks and trips abroad.

The document from the Department for Education says that legal action is rare and schools can protect themselves by taking care of pupils “in a way that a prudent parents would have done”.

It is unnecessary to carry out separate risk assessments or seek parental consent for every outing, guidance says.

All staff can be given necessary health and safety advice without attending costly and time-consuming training courses, it says, adding that “basic instructions” are often the only necessary requirement.

The 10 page document represents a dramatic change of course compared with the 150 pages of health and safety guidance issued under the last government.

It comes amid concerns that health and safety may still be getting in the way of traditional cornerstones of school life such as trips out and science experiments.

Last year, Prof Tanya Byron, the child psychologist and former government advisor, said that children’s natural development was being stunted because “paranoia about health and safety and well-being” had reached “insane” levels.

But the latest document says: “Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them.

“It is important that children learn to understand and manage the risks that are a normal part of life. Common sense should be used in assessing and managing the risks of any activity.”

The guidance – covering more than 21,000 state schools – says that separate written risk assessments are often not needed, saying staff should “avoid needless or unhelpful paperwork”.

It says infrequent activities such as annual trips should involve risk assessments. But schools need not carry out them out for activities that form a regular part of the day, such as trips to the swimming pool, park or a place of worship.

The document also says that written consent from parents is not required for the “majority of off-site activities” that take place during school hours. It is only needed for those such as adventure activities and off-site sporting fixtures outside the school day.

Concerns have been raised about the possibility of schools being sued by parents if a child is injured during an outing. But the guidance says that legal action is “very rare”.

Claims are only likely to be successful if the school had failed to act like “a prudent parent” or allowed a child to be injured as a “foreseeable consequence” of a dangerous activity.

A DfE spokesman said: “Exciting school trips broaden children’s horizons and are an important of their education.  “That is why we are cutting unnecessary red tape in schools and putting teachers back in charge. “Our advice to schools outlines a common-sense approach which will make it easier for schools to make lessons inspiring and fun.”


Australians are paying for the teaching of Marxist politics

MARXISTS murdered millions and wrecked every country they’ve led. Yet 25 years after the Berlin Wall’s fall, they still cling to power in Australia’s universities.

Amazing. Yes, our universities are the last refuge of the Marxist — of people such as Victoria University politics lecturer Max Lane, recently on the executive council of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Lane is now with the Socialist Alternative, which urges “the smashing of the capitalist state apparatus”, including the “dismantling” of “parliaments, courts, the armed forces and police”.

Its followers “reject Australian patriotism” and “oppose all immigration controls”, and Lane last week dutifully sent a letter to the Jakarta Post to warn its Indonesian readers our immigration minister is actually a pirate who kills innocent people.

“The forcible seizure of other people’s boats ... and the coerced towing them to a destination not of their choice would all seem to amount to piracy,” Lane thundered. “These are immoral, inhumane acts.

“I would like to see Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Scott Morrison, and the puppet General doing his work charged with piracy and criminal negligence causing death.”

It’s odd that we pay a man with such extreme views — and so ready to trash our reputation abroad — to teach students at a university.

Sure, universities should teach all perspectives, so an odd Lane here and there is a detour to be expected. But scores of them?

In fact, Lane is one of 12 academics listed to speak at Marxism 2014, a four-day conference over Easter, which the Socialist Alliance organisers persuaded Melbourne University to host on its grounds. (Would the university similarly play host to a conference of fascists?)

Twelve academics is an astonishing turnout of speakers for a conference to promote a totalitarian ideology which has caused such devastation.

But how well has the far Left captured our institutions — and public funding.

And so the Marxism 2014 speakers include, for example, Professor Jane Kenway, of Monash University’s education faculty, who teaches tomorrow’s teachers.

Then there’s socialist Rick Kuhn, a politics reader at the Australian National University; “socialist activist” Tom Bramble, a senior lecturer in industrial relations at the University of Queensland; Diane Fieldes, a teacher in industrial relations at the University of NSW; Lisa Milner, a filmmaker teaching media students at Southern Cross University; and Aboriginal radical Gary Foley of Victoria University.

Other speakers include academics whose influence goes beyond the students they teach.

Sarah Gregson, an industrial relations academic at the University of NSW, is also the president of her National Tertiary Education Union branch. (Her conference topic: “The RSL: foot soldiers of capital.”)

Ali Alizadeh, who teaches literature and creative writing at Monash, also writes regularly for Overland, a far-Left magazine generously funded by the Australia Council with more of our money.

By coincidence, another speaker is Melbourne Workers Theatre co-founder Patricia Cornelius, a former academic now on the Australia Council’s Literature Assessment Panel, which helps to decide how much in grants to give magazines like — hey! — Overland.

Hmmm. Why is it that Marxists are so dependent on state funding?

And why do they get so much of it? Why, when even these Marxists’ children have shown their parents their politics is unworkable?

You see, Marxism 2014 will hold a “School of Rebellion” to teach children as young as five “constructive, collective and organised rebellion” with lessons on “why unions matter” and “organising a student strike”, plus a little fun with “smashing capitalism: a piñata party”.

But even the Green Left Weekly had to admit last year’s School of Rebellion ended with its 30 students rebelling against the school itself.

It reported the children were given a “graffiti workshop” which “involved the kids making their demands and ideas known with spray paint”.

They sure did: “Their demands included, ‘Free internet’, ‘Free Food’, ‘Free everything!’ ”

And then: “The older kids rebelled in a slam poetry session, electing a 10-year-old girl as their spokesperson and demanding to go outside and play soccer. Which they did.”

Marxism in a nutshell: Here are mini-Marxists demanding everything be given to them free, and then refusing to work themselves.

And how often have we seen what inevitably follows: the state using force to make some work to provide what the others take, and to crack down on those who protest? There will be no graffiti workshop at the School of Rebellion this year.

That’s Marxism, kids. It’s amazing that after so many disastrous failures, your parents still believe this stuff.

But far worse is that so many of your parents’ gurus are in our universities, trying to turn them into Schools of Rebellion, too. And we pay them.


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