Friday, February 14, 2014

University of Alabama Students 'Offended' By Pro-Life Display, School Promptly Removes It

When the University of Alabama group Bama Students for Life set up a pro-life display on campus, some of their classmates deemed it too ‘offensive’ for school grounds. Administrators removed it without the slightest hint of hesitation.

So, what exactly was so offensive?

The display, which featured several abortion-related facts, pictures of women who have died as a result of having an abortion, and two small pictures of aborted babies, was among numerous other student group displays. Claire Chretien, president of Bama Students for Life, captured a school official on video claiming that university policy allows her to remove displays that have “offensive or graphic material.”

The revealing video, via Campus Reform, captures Event Coordinator Donna Lake telling Chretien, “You guys were lucky to get it up there as long as you did.” When Chretien insists their group had reserved the display case for at least a few more days, the coordinator said if they receive complaints they have to remove it.

I did some research, and I have three words for the University of Alabama: The Vagina Monologues. Those not familiar with this feminist play only need to know it features young women bashing the opposite sex and talking about their lady parts. The school featured a production of the play last year. This permission form even warns there is some “strong content in a few of the monologues.”

Inevitably, the event organizers posted ads for the play. On my own campus, I was constantly offended by advertisements for this vulgar production starring female lady parts. I haven't even mentioned the SexFest posters. But, what am I saying. Of course pictures of victimized babies are more unacceptable.

Bama Students for Life are working with Alliance Defending Freedom to challenge their school’s intolerant decision. Here’s hoping justice wins out and Bama Students for Life are not denied the chance to courageously defend the lives of precious unborn children.


Totalitarians at UNC

Mike Adams

Dear Chancellor Miller (

I am in receipt of the results of your three day investigation into allegations of viewpoint discrimination by the student affairs division of the administration at UNC-Wilmington. The results of the investigation are unsatisfactory and now compel me to seek outside assistance to remedy problems that administrators are aware of but unfortunately appear to be denying.

The idea of a three day investigation into viewpoint discrimination is patently offensive. There were four student groups mentioned in my previous letter. The investigation identified two of the groups as having applied for official recognition before declaring that they were being treated fairly. The investigation also blamed one group for losing its provisional status by missing a scheduled meeting. Next, it concluded that the process of recognizing the other group was going smoothly. That characterization is in dispute.

Unfortunately, your investigator neglected to do something important. He neglected to speak to the student applicants directly. I have talked to them directly but your administration hasn't. You should schedule a meeting with these students and hear their concerns directly. Take your time and get all of the relevant information from both sides. Don't rely on the results of a three day internal investigation. Internal investigations have a tendency to result in acquittal. They tend to be fast, but not very furious.

The length of the investigation is not the only problem. Also problematic is the investigator. Mike Walker, the UNCW Dean of Students, was previously at the center of a well-known controversy concerning the general issue of fairness toward student groups. That controversy led to the passing of North Carolina's Student & Administrative Equity Act, also known as the SAE act. The act now prevents students and student groups from being expelled or suspended as a result of hearings that ban students from bringing in outside counsel.

Last year, things came to a head when the Dean's office punished Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) for insisting on having an attorney present while its officers were questioned about possible hazing and alcohol related violations. The Dean's office asserted that the hearing was administrative, not criminal, and that, therefore, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel did not apply.

The fraternity was cleared of the most serious allegations of hazing. But they were held responsible for the alcohol related violations. They were then suspended from campus for two and one half years.

Lawmakers and concerned citizens were shocked over the incident. The idea of questioning kids about potentially criminal conduct without permitting their attorneys to be present (and while facing university counsel) violated widely accepted values of fundamental fairness.

The letter written by Dean Walker to SAE, which informed them of their suspension, demonstrated a shocking display of administrative arrogance. In the letter, Walker actually accused the fraternity of "potentially intimidating behavior" and "disrespectful conduct toward university staff and a witness participating in the hearing process" without any explanation of what that behavior entailed. They were accused of exhibiting behavior that fell below expected standards of "decorum" for simply standing outside the hearing and waiting to hear whether they would be suspended from campus.

These fraternity members were standing outside the hearing for a very simple reason: they were not allowed to enter the hearing because university officials would not let them enter. Instead of transparency, the university opted for secrecy. And there is good reason for that. Please allow me to explain.

At the very moment Dean Walker suggests that SAE was trying to coerce witnesses with tactics of intimidation, the university was using coerced confessions in a hearing that would have adversely affected those alleged to be engaging in the "inappropriate behavior," which is otherwise known as "standing."

Unbelievably, prior to the SAE hearing, witnesses were actually called in by university officials and asked to sign confessions of illegal conduct (alcohol consumption). Students were told that if they did not sign the confessions the university would call their parents. At least one student signed a confession without even reading it.

Predictably, UNCW then used the confession in the SAE hearing. When the student said he didn't read the confession (suggesting that he was coerced) the university had to cover its tracks. Two days later, an administrator emailed the student and apologized for making him sit outside near the SAEs as he prepared to testify.

This was a clever maneuver. There was a discrepancy between what the student said in the hearing and what was said in the confession he signed outside the hearing. Instead of admitting that the administration caused the discrepancy by intimidating the student outside the hearing, they tried to turn the tables. This explains the origins of the accusation that the students were the ones altering testimony by engaging in intimidation in the form of standing near witnesses.

To recapitulate, this was a three step maneuver: 1. UNCW officials intimidate student witness. 2. When caught, UNCW officials accuse other students of intimidation. 3. Dean Walker writes an intimidating letter to create a paper trail to cover up the UNCW policy of intimidating students into signing coerced confessions.

It is obvious why the Dean does not want lawyers in student administrative proceedings. The tactics of dictator deans cannot survive the process of cross-examination.

Of course, not all hearings go so badly for fraternities. After SAE was acquitted of hazing and sentenced to 2&1/2 years suspension, Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) was actually convicted of hazing and sentenced to only one year of suspension. What could account for the discrepancy?

Is the fact that Dean Walker was a member of TKE in college wholly unrelated to the discrepancy? Just for safe measure, why not conduct a three-day investigation? And why not put Dean Walker in charge?

Chancellor Miller, I'll write back when I've finished my own investigation into the issue of viewpoint discrimination, which was the subject of my previous correspondence. In the meantime, I would recommend that you get busy firing some people over the in the Dean of Student's office.

The problem isn’t drunken students. The problem is administrators who are drunk on their own power.


State school headmaster forced to apologise after asking parents for £400-a-year 'voluntary' donation - and insisting it's still cheaper than private school

A high-flying state school head who wrote to parents asking them to make voluntary contributions of up to £30 a month has said sorry after being accused of pressurising struggling families.

Andrew Davies said opportunities at Beechen Cliff School in Bath were similar to some private schools charging fees of up to £10,000 a year, but said the school's efforts to improve were hampered by a lack of government funds.

So he asked all parents to make voluntary contributions of £10, £20 or £30 a month, by standing order, which he said was not 'a great sum to contribute towards a child’s education'.

The head, who has been in the post since 2005, then had to apologise after parents said they already paid for the boys' school through taxes and criticised him for  'undermining the state school system'.

The school has been running a voluntary contribution scheme for 10 years and already receives around £20,000 a year as a result from some parents of the 830 boys at the school, but Mr Davies' letter was an attempt to encourage more to take part.  Mr Davies has since apologised for the ‘unhelpful’ wording of the letter, which he sent earlier this month.

In it, he wrote: 'Independent school fees are normally over £10,000 a year per pupil.  'At Beechen Cliff education is free but, if parents are willing to give a fraction of that money, we could achieve so much more.  'We are asking all families for a voluntary contribution of £30, £20 or £10 per month to the new top-up scheme.

'We believe that this isn’t a great sum to contribute towards a child’s education.  'Of course we appreciate that some parents do not have the resources to contribute.  Thankfully there are some generous parents who are already contributing significantly.

'If you are already supporting then we are of course most grateful, but please review your contribution.'

His suggestion was criticised by mother Jane Middleton, whose son attends Beechen Cliff, judged 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

Writing on a parents' online forum, she accused the school of 'attempting to blur the lines' between state and independent schools and of 'putting pressure on parents'.

In her post on Local Schools Network, Mrs Middleton added: 'It introduces the idea of parents contributing financially to state schools on a regular basis with the aim of it becoming the norm.

'This undermines our state school system.  It is putting financial and moral pressure on parents at a time when many are struggling.   'It ignores the fact that we already pay for state schooling through our taxes.  'His - and our - time would be better spent campaigning for increased state funding than supporting schemes that erode the principle of free education and lead to greater inequality.'

Mr Davies claimed that voluntary contribution schemes were widely used by schools in Bath, and said that pupils were not asked to pay for after-school clubs unless external coaches were involved.

'We have an incredible range of activities and we try to make sure that no one is disadvantaged by the lack of money,' he added.

Last month parents of children at Prince Henry's Grammar School in Otley complained after the school proposed that they would pay for each Key Stage 3 pupil to buy an iPad at a cost to parents of £360 over three years.

The school said the scheme would boost pupil attainment levels but parents questioned the merits of the scheme and the cost.


No comments: