Friday, November 20, 2015

Arizona State Offering Course Exploring 'Problem of Whiteness'

Could you imagine the uproar if a university thought that it could make money offering a course titled “The Problem of Blackness”? For the second time, Arizona State University will offer a course exploring the problem of whiteness. The course, titled U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness, seeks to explore institutionalized racism. Equality, so often espoused on liberal college campuses, would call for Arizona State to offer a few more courses that, let’s just say, would be politically incorrect in this day and age of “safe spaces” and the unrest that toppled the president of University of Missouri earlier this month. As Mark Alexander explained last year when the course was initially offered:

I would argue that there are to varying degrees undeniable societal biases based on all those human traits and attributes we are supposed to ignore — race, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, etc.

Do I think those biases are so pronounced that some groups experience more privilege under some circumstances than others? Yes. Is it worth discussing? Yes, but only if that discussion includes the whole color spectrum of privilege. …

Beyond all the benefits that clearly fit under the category of “black privilege” (if anyone dared label them as such), perhaps the most obvious would be the across-the-board institutionalization of affirmative action and a wide range of other preferential treatment standards based on the sole attribute of being anything but white.


Vanderbilt Professor Facing Protests Tells Students to ‘Grow Up’

A black conservative professor who found herself the latest target of student protests nationwide has one thing to say to those calling for her to be suspended from the university where she teachers: “Grow up.”

Among other allegations, students accused Carol Swain, a professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University for nearly 27 years, of “unprofessional intimidation on social media” and “discriminatory practices in the classroom.”

Swain actively posts her Christian conservative view points on her public Facebook page and website called BeThePeopleTV. She has authored numerous award-winning books and has been cited by the Supreme Court, according to her résumé.

But recently, her conservative values left her at odds with students on campus who started a petition demanding she be removed from the university.

Swain told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Friday the petition, posted on, originally demanded that she be fired but has since been amended to read in part:

    "We are petitioning that Carol Swain be temporarily suspended from her position as professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University pending an investigation into student allegations of unprofessional intimidation on social media, discriminatory practices in the classroom, and unclear representation as a Public Figure with invocations of the Vanderbilt name on her Facebook page....

    Over the past few years, Professor Carol Swain has become synonymous with bigotry, intolerance, and unprofessionalism. While Swain first and foremost has a right to her personal beliefs and the right to freedom of speech within and outside of the classroom, it recently came to the attention of the Vanderbilt community that Carol Swain has let her hate-filled prejudices negatively impact her work, our student body, and Vanderbilt’s reputation."

Swain said the students behind the protests never took any of her classes, all of which are elective.

“My classes are elective, so no one has to take any of my classes, and no one has to go to my blog page or go to my Facebook,” she said. “I feel that I have been defamed by the students and the petition has been filled with lies, and they ought to be held accountable for what they’ve done.”

Those students, she said, “don’t get to decide whose speech is more valuable than someone else’s.”

Since its release, the petition garnered more than 1,500 signatures. A petition in support of Swain has gained more than 1,000 signatures.

In response to the protests, Nicholas S. Zeppos, the chancellor of Vanderbilt University, released a statement that in part read:

    "Professor Swain’s opinions are her own. They do not reflect the opinions of the university in any way. They are not my opinions, the opinions of the provost, or the opinions of university leadership.....

    Vanderbilt University is committed to diversity, inclusion, and freedom from discrimination.  Ensuring that our campus is a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment for every member of the Vanderbilt community has been, and will always be, our top priority."

Zeppos did not address whether or not the university planned to investigate allegations of discrimination made against Swain. According to the petition, those allegations include:

    "Firstly, Professor Carol Swain has failed to clearly separate her role on her Facebook page as a “Public Figure” from the Vanderbilt name, creating a situation in which the public may misconstrue her as speaking on behalf of the University. We want to make it clear that Carol Swain in no way represents our alma mater, regardless of the fact that she teaches here.

    Secondly, there have been several instances in which students have contacted Professor Swain to hold an intellectual debate with her, and in return, she has resorted to name-calling and posting their personal contact information on her public page. In many cases, students claimed this led to public shaming, intimidation, and/or harassment by her followers.

    Additionally, several students who claim to have taken Professor Swain’s class(es) have expressed concerns that minority students enrolled in her class(es) – especially those who are LGBTQIA+ and/or non-Christians – expose themselves to unfair assessment in-class and may receive lower grades than their peers simply because of their identities. At a University that prides itself on fairness, diversity and inclusion, these allegations are entirely unacceptable if true.

Swain, who is currently on sabbatical, called those allegations “lies” and said she “earned the right” to call herself a professor on Facebook.

“They don’t own the word professor,” she said. “Professor is a word, and I’ve earned the right to call myself a professor.”

Swain did admit to paraphrasing a “threat” she received from a student via Facebook and said she shared a link to that student’s public Facebook on her own page. Swain has since deleted that post.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, but the student contacted me,” Swain said. “My point in showing it was to show the level of disrespect and what I have to put up with at Vanderbilt University with this person saying I was a disgrace.”

“It’s something that has changed in the student body, that they think they can control what people do, not just inside the classroom, but outside the classroom,” Swain said.

While she’s strong in her views, Swain said the situation has taken a personal toll. “It hurts more to be attacked because the students have been my life. That’s, to me, the sole reason why it’s been so distressing on a personal level.”

But if it causes people to look at the “attacks” on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, Swain says she’s “not sorry about it.”

“I’m very concerned about what’s happening across the nation, and I believe university administrators have lost control and that they’re making a serious mistake when they give into students using those 1960s, 1970s protest strategies,” she said.

After the University of Missouri president was forced to resign earlier this week over his handling of cases involving discrimination, protests have spread nationwide. Vanderbilt University is among a group of colleges and universities facing student protests over alleged incidents of racism and other types of discrimination.


Liberal Professor's Choice Words for Student Fascists

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal Clintonista stalwart, appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox program to discuss the suppression of free speech sweeping the nation’s universities. He isn’t thrilled with the movement and didn’t offer kind words. Instead, he heavily criticized the students' childish antics. From the interview:

    “These are the same people who claim they’re seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity, diversity of ideas. They may want superficial diversity of gender or superficial diversity of color, but they don’t want diversity of ideas. We’re seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses. I don’t want to make apologies to the 1930s, but we have to remember that it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime.

And these students are book burners. They don’t want to hear diverse views on college campuses. … It’s the worst kind of hypocrisy. They want complete freedom over their sex lives, over their personal ives, over the use of drugs, but they want mommy and daddy dean and president to please give them a safe place [to] protect them from ideas that may be insensitive and maybe will make them think. … If you’re going to be a college administrator or a professor, if you have tenure, you have to speak back to the students, you have to call these things what they are: double standards, hypocrisy, bigotry, McCarthyism, and the fog of fascism is descending quickly over many American universities. We have to fight back against these students.”

On that last point, commentator David Harsanyi echoes Dershowitz’s perspective. He writes:

    “The thousands of other University of Missouri students … could have held a counter-protest against dimwitted fascists cloistered in safe spaces. Where are those student groups? Why was there no pushback from those kids — and really, there was none as far as I can tell, at either Missouri or Yale — against the bullies who want administrators fired for thought crimes? It can mean that students are too intimidated, too uninterested or not very idealistic about these freedoms. None of those things bodes well for the future.

    "And where is the faculty, those brave souls who value the freedom to debate and champion sometimes-controversial ideas when mobs of students are making wild accusations against their school without any real evidence? Where are they when students shut down conservative, libertarian or not-progressive-enough Democrats from speaking at their schools?

Fellow commentator Mona Charen, meanwhile, gets to the crux of the problem:

    "During what liberal academics praised as the ‘idealistic’ 1960s, American students (sometimes armed) seized buildings, held a dean hostage, looted research files and committed promiscuous vandalism. Nazi students (egged on by professors) ‘cleansed’ Heidelberg and other universities of Jews and others. Russian universities became incubators for radicals who took their ideas into the streets. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s faithful pupils subjected their teachers to ’re-education' and even occasionally cannibalized them.

    "Students are natural radicals. The job of academics in a free society that hopes to remain so is to instill respect for freedom of thought and expression. Our problem is that many of the students who were burning professors' research notes in the 1960s are now on the faculty.”

We’re reaping what we’ve sown.


UK: Two teachers in 'Trojan horse' school face lifetime ban for feeding pupils 'diet of Islam'

Two teachers from a school linked to the 'Trojan horse' scandal could be banned for life after a hearing found that they 'fed pupils a diet of Islam' which 'stifled their development'.

Inamulhaq Anwar and Akeel Ahmed exercised 'undue religious influence' on children at Park View Academy in Birmingham, a disciplinary panel ruled yesterday.

Pupils were never taught sex or relationship education, according to officials, and were 'immersed in orthodox Islamic doctrine' - which could leave them vulnerable to being groomed by extremists.

Anwar, 34, and Ahmed, 41, were 'generals' in the campaign to enforce Islamic discipline in the school, according to the Birmingham-based panel.

They were found to have implemented 'an undue amount of religious influence in pupils' education', and could now face being the first British teachers to be banned from the classroom permanently.

A total of 11 other staff at Park View and Oldknow Academy face charges of misconduct over the 'Trojan horse' affair, which allegedly saw teachers conspire to introduce hardline Islamic teaching to schools in the West Midlands.

Yesterday, a National College of Teaching and Leadership disciplinary panel chose to accept the evidence of a staff member that Anwar and Ahmed were central figure in Park View's religious indoctrination programme.

The panel said that pupils were 'fed a diet of Islam' which had in turn 'stifled their development as normal teenagers'.

It also found that the conduct of the two men tended to undermine tolerance and respect for the faith and belief of others.

Chairman Mark Tweedle said that the teachers were 'guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct' which 'may also bring the profession into disrepute'.

He said that the claims were 'in no way concerned with extremism', but added: 'Pupils raised in a predominantly Muslim community and immersed in orthodox Islamic doctrine at school are more likely to feel isolated and inadequately prepared for the world as they grow up.

'As such they are more likely to be vulnerable from the actions and inferences of others who may exploit any sense of alienation.'

Mr Tweedle said the panel had found that 'Park View was leading the way in the introduction of Islamic practice - perhaps more so than in other British state schools.'

Among the allegations found to have been proven were the claim that Ahmed and Anwar 'reformed the school curriculum to exclude proper teaching of sex and relationship education, use of contraception and safe sex'.

Mr Tweedle went on to say that 'pupils' development was being stifled and they were not being allowed to develop likes normal British teenagers'.

The panel concluded: 'This omission meant the relevant boys were not being fully informed as to how to keep themselves safe [from STDs] and meant they were not being prepared for life in modern Britain.'

Mr Tweedle said both teachers had also failed to afford pupils the chance to 'explore different cultures and form their own views'.

Ahmed organised religious assemblies where boys were segregated from girls, and encouraged prayer during the school day through posters, a call to prayer on the school's loudspeaker system, and direct reminders to teachers.

Separately, Anwar was also found to have breached proper recruitment procedures at Park View's sister school Nansen Primary, in hiring a personal acquaintance as deputy headmaster.

Park View was placed in special measures by Ofsted after the 'Trojan horse' allegations came to light, and it has since been renamed Rockwood Academy.

Ahmed and Anwar will be told what sanctions they will face at a later date.


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