Friday, April 24, 2015
Why Are Colleges Cancelling ‘American Sniper’?
Yes, it’s political correctness run amok. But it’s more than that. Campuses are grooming whiners because they aren’t nurturing citizens.
The pattern of on-campus culture wars is now as familiar as the plot of a blockbuster film. And no sooner did the University of Michigan’s Center for Campus Involvement announce a screening of American Sniper than a wave of upset broke out.
Things escalated quickly. The Michigan Muslim Students’ Association organized an open letter campaign, boasting 200 signatures, against the event. CCI balked, first canning and then rescheduling the social gathering. Michigan’s celebrity football coach, Jim Harbaugh, vehemently tweeted his support. A key administrator reinstated the original screening. And some irate students at other campuses—like Brown University’s Nicholas Asker—found themselves momentary media stars by claiming that, after all, “canceling the movie is perfectly consistent with freedom of expression, and showing the movie is what contradicts freedom of expression.”
Pundits accordingly trained their guns on these Orwellian, barrel-bound fish. But there is more to the story than the totalitarian instinct that alone guides minds when political correctness advances to its illogical conclusion. As Alyssa Rosenberg aptly observed: “Like so many controversies over campus speakers, events, or even freelance writing by professors, the University of Michigan’s ‘American Sniper’ kerfuffle is both a symptom of and a distraction from larger questions about campus climates and students’ sense of themselves and their environments.”
Put differently, the story-beyond-the-story concerns not what political correctness has done to academia, but what academia has done to political correctness. Alone, there’s something tremendously inconsequential about the emotionally fragile urge to micro-police all attitudes—in much the same way that there’s not necessarily very much at stake when people go around acting like jerks. In a mature environment, humans often opt—often without much fore- or afterthought—to simply shake off acts of political correctness or incorrectness.
But while today’s college campus is many things, mature it is not. This in itself is a special sort of problem, especially from the standpoint of those who believe that infantilization has set in and America’s teens and twentysomethings are being emotionally disabled by the institutions that surround them.
On the other hand, a strong case can be made that the opposite problem holds sway: Students in educational institutions are there because they’re in fact not ready for the prime time of adult society. Treating them otherwise is to invite disaster, in the form of a string of psychodramas resolvable only by recourse to unending arbitration.
The root issue is simple: The mission of colleges and universities today is no longer to educate students.
A clear-eyed look at the situation reveals that the maturity level of today’s college students is not an explanation but only a facet of the perpetual circus surrounding affirmative consent rules, campus kangaroo courts, and battered feelings syndrome. On close inspection, maturity itself turns out to be a red herring, an imprecise way to account for how institutions of higher education have made such a monster out of political correctness.
The root issue is simple: The mission of colleges and universities today is no longer to educate students. This may sound farfetched and odd, until one considers just how many missions our schools believe it is their duty to pursue. Today, no campus is worthy of the name unless it is simultaneously functioning as a business; a fundraising machine; a donor nexus; a quasi-philanthropy; a research institute; an administrative micro-state; a sort of secular church where the neoliberal creed of upward mobility through diversity and inclusion is taught every step of the way; and, yes, a place where humans are supplied in some manner with information, which they are then rewarded in some manner for reiterating back to campus hirelings more or less intact.
You may or may not thrill to the splendor and adaptability of the new “multiversity.” But you cannot deny that it is more like a city-state than like a school. Rather than educating those it admits, our multiversities actually raise them to be something very much indeed like citizens. Only trouble is, in these virtual city-states there is no such thing as actual citizenship. Despite the presence of a civic religion, a ruling elite, a rich treasury, a private police, an independent judiciary, and a labyrinthine tower of administrative offices, “student government” is nearly an oxymoron. Tiny budgets and trivial agendas define it. Talent and ambition vanish within it.
Even more perversely, while university administrators and professors proudly see themselves as interchangeable members of a cognitive caste freed from any local prejudice, students are driven madly into the confines of the most parochial of worldviews—whether the ever-more-exotic micro-niches of identity politics or the chauvinistic corridors of the stereotypical campus fraternity. Not even college sports transcends the banality of tribe.
All these problems could be erased if universities really were city-states. Pride could find itself a more adult, more productive, and more empowering means of campus expression. But of course it’s laughable to think that such an unfinished hodgepodge of human beings as today’s students could become citizens of anything so concrete and particular as a campus-state. For them, even the nation-state is often too demanding.
Small wonder political correctness has metastasized so swiftly in the precincts of these negligent little despotisms called campuses. There is nothing to contain it or even to define it. Why not censorship as freedom of expression? In a city without citizens, politics is an absurdity. To fully escape the madness, campus must again become a place to learn, and little more.
Paying for Kids’ College Top American Financial Worry
More parents in the United States say paying for their children’s college education is their chief financial worry, ranking it above saving for retirement, unforeseen medical expenses, paying bills or maintaining their lifestyle, according to a recent Gallup poll.
The poll showed 73 percent of Americans with children younger than 18 say they are "very worried" or "moderately worried" about paying for their children’s higher education.
“Parents worry more about college funding even more than the most financially vulnerable group – low-income Americans -- worry about any financial matter,” Gallup noted in its analysis.
Seventy percent of those making less than $30,000 per year say they worry about paying for medical expenses – still three percent less than those parents of kids under 18 who say they worry about college tuition.
About 77 percent of parents earning less than $100,000 per year say they worry about how they will pay for their children’s college, compared to 61 percent of those earning more than $100,000 per year, the data showed. Among those earning less than $30,000 per year, 85 percent say they worry about affording college tuition.
“Parents thus face twin challenges of paying for ever-escalating college expenses for one or more children and saving for their own retirement. And parents worry a great deal about both, but slightly more about college (73%) than retirement (68%),” Gallup noted.
Among those who do not have children under 18, saving for retirement ranked the top financial worry at 56 percent, the poll showed.
“Since 2001, Gallup has asked more than 16,000 Americans how much they worry about each of eight separate financial matters, ranging from having enough money for retirement to making minimum payments on credit cards,” Gallup explained in its analysis, adding, “[t]he rank order of these fundamental financial concerns has not varied much over time, although the percentage expressing worry in any given year can vary depending on the strength of the economy.”
Gallup gathered the data from combined annual surveys each April from 2001 to 2015. The combined surveys polled 16,302 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including 4,431 adults with children 18 and over. The margin of error for this sample is +/- 2 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.
Australia: Muslim head-teacher believes if females run in races they may lose their virginity
The principal of an Islamic school has come under fire after he reportedly banned girls from running, amid fears it would cause them to lose their virginity.
Former teachers of Al-Taqwa College, in Melbourne's outer western suburbs, claim in a letter sent to the state and federal education ministers that principal Omar Hallak was discriminating against female students.
The Age reported that the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority is currently investigating the allegations.
This comes a month after revelations that Mr Hallak was telling students at his school that Islamic State was not 'created' by Muslims, but was instead a plot against them by the West.
The letter sent to ministers by a former teacher this week about the girls not being able to fully participate in sport claimed Mr Hallak believes there is 'scientific evidence' to back his claims.
'The principal holds beliefs that if females run excessively, they may 'lose their virginity',' the letter said. 'The principal believes that there is scientific evidence to indicate that if girls injure themselves, such as break their leg while playing soccer, it could render them infertile.'
The principal of Al-Taqwa College banned female primary school students from participating in the 2013 and 2014 cross country district events, the teacher also claimed.
They said the principal had been unaware that the female students were training for the event, and got involved when he was notified.
When they found out they had been prevented from competing, a group of female students penned a letter to their principal asking him to let them compete.
'This letter is about the cross country event that has been cancelled', the letter from 'cross country girls' read. 'Apparantly (sic) it is because girls can't run and that is really offensive to all the girls that were going to participate in the event. 'As a school principal you should treat all the subjects equally just to be fair to all the students that want to participate in a sport event', the letter continued.
The note from the group of students also raises that point that 'it doesn't say girls can't run in the hadith (sayings of the prophet Mohammed)' and they should be able to participate as long as they are wearing 'appropriate clothes'.
Education minister James Merlino has told 3AW the reports are concerning and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority is investigating. "If true these are very concerning reports and I have asked the VRQA to investigate and report back to me," Mr Merlino has told 3AW on Thursday.
When contacted by Daily Mail Australia Al-Taqwa College refused to comment.
Last month it was reported that Mr Hallak was teaching students at his school that Islamic State was not the doing of Muslims, but rather a plot against them.
He reportedly shows his almost 2,000 students ‘evidence’ that Islamic State terrorists are ‘not linked to Islam’.
‘We don’t believe Muslims are creating IS,’ Mr Hallak told The Age. He believes that the murder and brutality carried out by Islamic State terrorists is actually a plot by Western countries to control oil in the Middle East.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:56 AM