Monday, November 16, 2015
THE CURRENT CAMPUS UPHEAVALS: A ROUNDUP OF NEWS AND COMMENT
Parading their superior wisdom to the adult world is something students have always done, no matter how shallow or conventional their "wisdom" in fact is. And that takes the form of "protests" against adult authority. But the Left are so fully in charge of the universities and colleges that there is little of a concentional sort to protest about. So nowadays they pick on tiny things and demand the impossible. There HAS to be something to protest about that will draw attention to themselves. Their "protesting" will give them warm feelings of righteousness and heroism for many years to come
Southern California College Dean Resigns Amid Racial Issues
The dean of students at a small Southern California college resigned Thursday after protests linked to racial concerns on campus.
Mary Spellman, who held the position at Claremont McKenna College since 2010, announced her resignation in an email to students.
"I believe it is the best way to gain closure of a controversy that has divided the student body," she wrote.
"I hope this will help enable a truly thoughtful, civil and productive discussion about the very real issues of diversity and inclusion facing Claremont McKenna, higher education and other institutions across our society," Spellman added.
Student protesters had demanded her resignation amid complaints that her office wasn't doing enough to deal with the concerns of students of color and others who felt marginalized.
Last month, Spellman responded to a college newspaper piece by a Latina student discussing her concerns by saying that Spellman would work to help students who "don't fit our CMC mold."
"This was her decision. She did not consult with anyone in the administration before making her decision," college spokesman Max Benavidez said.
However, "it was the right thing to do given the situation," he said.
Spellman's decision also follows Monday's resignation of the University of Missouri's president and chancellor in the face of racially tinged protests.
The liberal arts school east of Los Angeles has a high academic reputation and around 20 percent of its students are international students. School figures showed that as of last fall, the campus had 1,325 students, including 57 African-Americans, 180 Hispanics and 137 Asians.
Last April, about 30 students wrote to President Hiram E. Chodosh to say they felt excluded and among other things asked for a mentoring program and more diversity in hiring.
There also were tensions over a photo that appeared on social media showing the junior class president with white women who were wearing false mustaches, sombreros, ponchos and holding maracas at a Halloween party.
Spellman's resignation came a day after the school president announced the creation of new "leadership positions" on diversity and inclusion in student and academic affairs.
White students at the University of Missouri say that they were asked to leave the 'black healing space' and meet in a different room during a school protest of racist incidents on Wednesday night.
The Daily Caller reports that supporters of a group called Concerned Students 1950 in charge of the protest movement at the school assembled at the school's student center for a meeting after a planned protest march was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Activist Steve Schmidt tweeted on Wednesday that white student activists were asked to leave the room.
‘#ConceredStudent1950 is dividing into seven groups,They're asking white allies to leave #ConcernedStudent1950,' he tweeted.
Reporter Jared Koller of KOMU-TV news said that there were six meeting groups for black students and one meeting group for whites.
The Daily Caller reports that Johnetta Elzie, a national Black Lives Matter activist said the divided groups were intended to create a 'black-only healing space.'
'Black only healing space for the students to share, decompress, be vulnerable & real. #ConcernedStudent1950,' the activist tweeted.
On Friday at least 100 people marched from the University of Missouri's black culture center through areas of Greek housing and to the heart of the Columbia campus in response to threats of violence against black students.
Shelbey Parnell, one of the original 11 organizers of Concerned Student 1950, says the aim was ‘reclaiming’ campus and showing that racism has no place at the university.
The student who launched a hunger strike to oust former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe helped lead students in chants and a dance in Jesse Hall, a main campus building.
New Interim Chancellor Hank Foley joined students in the chanting while arm-in-arm with Missouri Students Association President Payton Head. Students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City participated in the demonstration.
Black student groups have been complaining for months about racial slurs and other slights on the system's overwhelmingly white flagship campus in Columbia.
Former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned this past week.
Their departures followed one student Johnathan Butler’s hunger strike and protests by others who criticized the administration's handling of racial issues.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will step down at the end of the season because of health reasons.
Pinkel and the Tigers announced the decision Friday afternoon and noted Pinkel had been diagnosed with lymphoma in May. The stunning move comes days after his team threatened to boycott Saturday's game against BYU over concerns about racial strife on campus. Pinkel supported his players.
Graduate students also marched and spoke against administrators. Some hope to unionize.
The statement says student demands won't go away ‘simply because new men hold the key positions of trust’ at the university.
A racist incident took place October 24, when a swastika, scrawled in feces, was found in a dorm bathroom and weeks later a student threatened to shoot black students at the school.
The former Missouri University of Science and Technology student who's charged with threatening a school shooting has turned himself in to authorities.
Attorney Scott Rosenblum said Friday that 19-year-old Tyler Bradenberg of St. Louis is jailed in Phelps County. Rosenblum says Bradenberg will plead not guilty to one felony count of making a terroristic threat.
The probable cause statement says Bradenberg admitted under questioning to using his personal cellphone Wednesday to post on the app Yik Yak that ‘I'm gonna shoot up this school.’
Missouri S&T spokeswoman Mary Helen Stoltz says GPS spoofing technology was used to make it appear the post was made from Rolla, although it actually was made from St. Louis.
On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon named a community development official with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.
Nixon said in a news release on Friday that Yvonne Sparks will fill a vacant seat on the board, which oversees the university's four campuses. Her appointment must be confirmed by the Missouri Senate.
The system's flagship Columbia campus has been facing racial strife for the past few weeks, which led the resignations of President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
If her appointment is approved by state lawmakers, Sparks would be the second black member of the 9-person governing board. St. Louis businessman David Steward is currently the only black curator.
Sparks is the reserve bank's assistant vice president and community development officer and serves on numerous boards in the St. Louis area.
She would represent the First Congressional District with a term that would end January 1, 2021.
Boston students get on the bandwagon
Hundreds of students at Boston-area colleges joined those at other campuses nationwide in demonstrations Thursday to support black students at the University of Missouri, where recent student protests over racial discrimination have led to the resignation of top officials.
A large crowd of Boston College students and faculty clad in black gathered on the Chestnut Hill campus for an afternoon “blackout” to symbolize their solidarity with Missouri students.
The Twitter account “Eradicate BC Racism” posted photos of the students raising their fists in unison with the hashtags #BCBlackOut and #BCRacism.
At Emerson College, students and faculty showed solidarity at a demonstration at the college’s Cultural Center.
Nathaniel Charles, 20, organized the event with friends from EBONI, Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interests, where he is the secretary.
After the head of the University of Missouri stepped down, demonstrations have cropped up at Ithaca, Smith, and Claremont McKenna.
“We had a space with black paint where students could come and get three lines painted on their cheeks representative of the Mizzou Tigers, showing our support for their ferocity,” said Charles, who is a junior from Malden studying writing in film and TV.
Charles said about 50 people attended. Those who couldn’t make it used Sharpie markers and eyeliner to draw the lines on their faces, posting photos to social media.
“I think that there is work to be done anywhere,” he said, of improving racial sensitivity.
Similar demonstrations have been held this week at colleges across the Northeast, including Yale University, Smith College, and Ithaca College. On Thursday, students at Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond; Loyola University in Chicago; and campuses at the University of California held rallies.
Boston University students have planned a demonstration at 3 p.m. Friday at Marsh Plaza, on the campus. By Thursday evening, nearly 800 students said on the event Facebook page that they would attend and 1,000 more said they were interested in going.
Some students said Thursday they face daily instances of casual racism and insensitivity, subtle slights called microaggressions.
‘‘It’s more the daily microaggressions than the large situations,’’ said Akosua Opokua-Achampong, a sophomore at Boston College. ‘‘Those also hurt.’’
Ben Carson: Colleges Are Being ‘Too Tolerant’ Of ‘Infantile Behavior’
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson responded to recent incidents of unrest at the University of Missouri and Yale University saying that society is being “too tolerant” in accepting what he called student-activists’ “infantile behavior.”
“This is just raw emotion and people being manipulated…by outside forces who wish to create disturbances,” Carson told Megyn Kelly during an interview on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” on Wednesday.
Protests over alleged racial insensitivity boiled over this week at Mizzou as well as at Yale, Carson’s alma mater. Tim Wolfe resigned as president of the University of Missouri on Monday after coming under fire from activists who accused him of failing to properly respond to several racially-tinged incidents. Activists at Yale were upset over Halloween costumes they deemed offensive.
Carson said that the response from students marks a “very dangerous trend,” one he didn’t experience even during his time at Yale, which spanned the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“When we get to a point where a majority can say ‘I don’t like what you’re doing, that’s offensive, and therefore I have a right to violent toward you or deprive you of rights because I don’t like what you’re doing,’ that really goes against the grain of our constitutional rights,” Carson said.
He was responding to an incident that took place on Mizzou’s campus on Monday. There, students mobbed and harassed journalists who were trying to cover protests on campus. The students sought a “safe space” to celebrate Wolfe’s resignation.
At least two professors helping organize the event — a husband-and-wife named Richard Callahan and Melissa Click — actively blocked the journalists. Click called for “muscle” to prevent one from recording the event while also grabbing his camera.
Kelly also asked Carson about an email sent from University of Missouri administrators on Tuesday informing students to call the police if they hear any offensive language from fellow students.
“What are we doing to tomorrow’s generation?” Kelly asked.
“We’re being a little too tolerant, I guess you might say, accepting infantile behavior,” Carson responded.
“The officials at these places must recognize that and have the moral courage to stand up to it, because if they don’t, it will grow, it will exacerbate the situation, and we will move much further to anarchy than anybody can imagine,” Carson warned.
James Woods Goes Off on Missouri Professor Melissa Click: 'Numbskull...Nut Job on the Left'
Actor James Woods is not impressed with Melissa Click, a faculty member at the University of Missouri. The university has been the focal point of protests over the last several days, with students claiming that the campus suffers from racism. In an incident November 9, Click was videotaped trying to prevent someone from videotaping a protest. "You need to get out!" Click says. Then, turning to some students, she says, "Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!"
On November 11 - Veterans Day - Woods took to Twitter to criticize Click. The actor posted a picture of Click next to one of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and wrote, "Imagine how long the nut job on the left would last in the country run by the nut job on the right?" Woods also tweeted a picture of men in combat, writing that "these guys gave their lives...So this numbskull could do this." Below the second sentence is a picture of Click trying to remove a person who is filming her at a protest.
Click has apologized and resigned the courtesy appointment she had with the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She remains an assistant professor in the Department of Communications. According to a university bio, "Her work in this area is guided by audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy," the bio states. "Current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children's television programs."
The ‘Yale snowflakes’: who made these monsters?
These little tyrants are the bastard offspring of older radicals
Video footage of Yale students losing the plot over a faculty head and his wife, who said everyone should calm down about Halloween, has caused much head-shaking in liberal circles. And it isn’t hard to see why. The head’s crime was that his wife sent an email suggesting academics and students should chill out about ‘culturally insensitive’ Halloween costumes. It’s okay, the email said, to be a ‘little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive’ on this one day. For his wife issuing this mildest of rebukes to over-sensitive over-18s, the head was accosted by a mob of students insisting the email made them feel unsafe. When he told the crowd that he thinks university is about providing education, not a ‘safe home’, they screamed at him to ‘step down!’. ‘Who the fuck hired you?!’, the most unhinged of the students cries.
It’s unnerving, odd, a terrifying snapshot of the new intolerance. We could see the culture of ‘You can’t say that!’ in all its swirling, borderline violent ugliness. It wasn’t a whispered or implied ‘You can’t say that!’, of the kind we see all the time in 21st-century public life, in response to people who criticise gay marriage, say, or doubt climate change. No, this was an explicitly stated ‘You can’t fucking say that, and if you do we’ll demand that you be sacked!’ That it was stated at Yale, and in response to a bloody email about Halloween, has added to the hand-wringing among liberals, who want to know what’s gone wrong with the new generation.
Okay, fine. It is indeed interesting, and worrying, that students are so sensitive and censorious today. But I have a question for the hand-wringers, the media people, academics and liberal thinkers who are so disturbed by what they’re calling the ‘Yale snowflakes’: what did you think would happen? When you watched, or even presided over, the creation over the past 40 years of a vast system of laws and speech codes to punish insulting or damaging words, and the construction of a vast machine of therapeutic intervention into everyday life, what did you think the end result would be? A generation that was liberal and tough? Come off it. It’s those trends, those longstanding trends of censorship and therapy, that created today’s creepy campus intolerance; it’s you who made these monsters.
Over the past year, there has been growing concern in the media with the campus crazies who demand trigger warnings on books (lest their content induce PTSD), who cultivate Safe Spaces in which no bruising word may be uttered, and who try to crush everything from Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (it makes female students feel unsafe) to talks by Germaine Greer (she makes trans people feel unsafe). From Jonathan Chait’s New York essay in January, which bemoaned the return of PC to the Western academy, to the current eyebrow-raising over the Yale snowflakes and their cavalier attitude towards ‘the crucial liberal tradition of free speech’, an anti-PC backlash has emerged, with 40-plus observers looking with horror at the foot-stomping Stalinists of the younger generation.
But there’s a problem with this backlash: it tends to treat this campus tyranny as the handiwork of a new generation. In the words of Todd Gitlin, there is a new ‘generational norm of fragility’. The New Statesman goes further, claiming today’s intolerant yoof are ‘rebelling against their parents’ generation and its liberal deification of free speech’. Excuse me? What liberal deification of free speech? The older generation – including some of very people going pop-eyed over the Yale snowflakes – has been chipping away at free speech for decades. And in the process they nurtured the world we now inhabit, in which words and images are seen as dangerous and our sense of self-worth is viewed as so fragile that we must squash anything, or idea, that threatens it.
The weepy students who think everything from ‘racist’ costumes to racy novels could cause them ‘mental harm’ did not invent the idea that words damage us and thus must be controlled. In Britain, and across Europe, we’ve seen the spread over the past 40 years of hate-speech legislation that punishes ‘insulting’ or ‘grossly offensive’ commentary about minority groups. On campuses, this has manifested itself as a student-led No Platform policy in Britain, which first expunged racists and Zionists and was later applied to Islamists, sexists, tabloids and Eminem’s music. In the US, the modern turn against free speech manifested itself in the scourge of campus speech codes, which spread across the nation from the late 1980s, and which described everything from racist speech to ‘inconsiderate laughter’ as contributing to the creation of a ‘hostile environment’. In the words of one of the academics who wrote one of the speech codes – they were mainly the work of academics, not students – certain forms of speech are ‘assaultive’ and can cause ‘severe psychological trauma’ (1). That was said in a book tellingly titled Words that Wound, in 1993, before today’s snowflakes were born. And we wonder why youth see books, speakers and songs as forms of assault. That idea has been seeping through the academy, from the top down, for more than 20 years.
Meanwhile, radical politics has, for 20 years or more, largely been about banning ‘harmful’ things. Whether it’s leftists demanding the shutting down of neo-fascist bookshops, feminists calling for bans on porn or Page 3, or gay-rights groups agitating for the censorship of homophobic black music, being radical has weirdly come to mean smashing or hiding offensive material. But the idea that a pornographic movie turns men into rapists – a staple of New Feminist thinking – is equally as mad as the notion that a critical email about Halloween could ‘harm’ students. In both cases, mere images or ideas, a film of some sex or a stream of words, are imbued with the extraordinary power to warp minds and souls, to alter atoms, as if people are putty and imagery is all-powerful. And yet some of the same people who think nothing of trying to extinguish porn now look in horror at the Yale snowflakes who want protection from words.
Closely related to this institutionalisation of censorship has been the relentless rise of the therapeutic outlook. This new view of humanity eschews the old John Stuart Mill attitude – which celebrated self-government, the ‘firmness and self-control’ of the individual – and replaces it with a view of individuals as weak, threatened, easily damaged by horrible happenings, cutting words: ‘scarred for life’. On campuses in Britain and the US, this autonomy-slamming outlook could be seen in the spread of wellbeing classes, an obsession with student stress, the introduction of ‘therapy dogs’ (seriously), and various other measures designed to stroke allegedly fragile students’ sense of self-worth rather than let them negotiate life’s ups and downs for themselves. If they think of themselves as weak, so weak they cannot read an email, that really isn’t surprising: we have been telling them they’re weak for 20 years.
The Yale snowflakes are pathetic, yes. But what’s even more pathetic is the ridicule of the snowflakes by the very generation who created this world in which words are seen as wounding, judgement is considered harmful, and everyone is treated as fragile. Having claimed for 30 years that offensive discussion, or porn or racist newspapers, create a ‘hostile environment’, can the older generation really be surprised that students are now setting up Safe Spaces? The Safe Space is the logical solution to the notion that words and images cultivate a ‘hostile environment’.
Mercifully, most students are still quite sensible. They don’t cry when they get an email or balk from reading offensive novels. That Yale mob was small. But the sensible students will have to wage war, not against their more pathetic fellow students, but against the vast illiberal, autonomy-demeaning ideologies that emerged in the late 20th century under the watchful eye, and often with the enthusiastic backing, of today’s tut-tutters over censorious campus life. They should rise up, not so much against the snowflakes as against the critics of the snowflakes, who shamelessly mock students who can’t handle an email while avoiding their own moral culpability in the creation of the unhinged, unfree climate currently crippling daring thought and open debate across the Western world.
Snowflakes or Fascists?
There was a much-beloved quote circulated among leftists, often attributed to Sinclair Lewis, that “when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” In light of recent episodes of mob action on American campuses, the quote needs updating: When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in “diversity” and demanding “safe spaces.”
Demand is the key word. It marks the essential authoritarianism at work here. At the University of Missouri, students “demanded” that (now-former) university President Tim Wolfe write a “handwritten” letter of apology acknowledging his “white, male privilege.” Among his alleged sins was apparently not doing enough to shield so-called “marginalized students” from feeling upset after a black criminal, Michael Brown, was killed by the police officer he had assaulted. Another sin was driving away when a mob surrounded Wolfe’s car at homecoming festivities. Wolfe has since apologized, groveled (“my apology is long overdue”) and resigned. Good riddance.
Events at the University of Missouri were a perfect American storm: the confluence of fascistic student and faculty behavior, viral rumors of white racism and the almighty dollar. That’s right, the dollar, because as an American university administrator, you can offend every principle enshrined in the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, you can make a mockery of higher education by offering courses on Martha Stewart’s whiteness or “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but don’t mess with the football team. That’s where the real power resides. When the black football players threatened to boycott this weekend’s game against Brigham Young, the university president had to go.
There has been some tut-tutting, even among liberals, about modern university students' hypersensitivity. But let’s not kid ourselves — though it is couched in the language of safety, what these little snowflakes want is repression. Brenda Smith-Lezama, for example, is vice president of the Missouri Students Association. Asked about efforts on the Missouri campus to “muscle” student journalists away from a public event, she offered a view that would make Castro proud: “I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here,” she told MSNBC.
An ideological fellow traveler at Yale screamed obscenities at a faculty member. That alone ought to be enough to ensure her dismissal from the college — or at least some degree of punishment. But no. Background: Erika Christakis, a professor’s wife and a lecturer in childhood education, had written an email suggesting that students should be able to use their own judgment about Halloween costumes. On such mighty issues do our finest minds now cogitate. Students confronted the professor on campus. One student screamed that it was the faculty’s job to “create a place of comfort and home” for students (comfort, that is, being defined as insulation from challenging ideas). He demurred. “Then why the f— did you accept the position?” she bellowed. “It is not about creating an intellectual space!”
Congratulations, Yale, and Missouri, and American academia in general, you’ve succeeded in undermining the ethic of free inquiry, disinterested scholarship, and certainly anything like decent manners.
The target of that vulgar outburst has now executed a full kowtow. He invited students to his home and prostrated himself: “I care so much about the same issues you care about. I’ve spent my life taking care of these issues of injustice, of poverty, of racism. I’m genuinely sorry … to have disappointed you. I’ve disappointed myself.”
Yeah, we’re all disappointed in you, fella. As for the screamer, she’ll suffer no ill effects, and is probably already fielding job offers from MSNBC.
The truth is that universities are and always have been ripe environments for absolutism. Students — brimming with self-righteousness, unaware of how easily violence can spread, stimulated by the scent of blood in the water — have provided the shock troops for most totalitarian movements.
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.
Stop Paying for College
I have a proposal: Let's turn the whole damn campus into a "space of healing."
Such "spaces," we learn in Rich's excellent column on the Mizzou mau-mauing (to be read in conjunction with similarly insightful columns by Kevin and our friend Roger Kimball on last week's Yale mau-mauing), are what university administrators failed to "create" so the coddled children could grieve over ... well ... everything.
As always, there are pretexts aplenty - purported racial insults (you'll have to forgive me - or not, who cares? - if I won't believe these incidents happened as described until that is convincingly proved) and, of course, the killing of a teenager who was attacking a police officer right after knocking off a convenience store. Speaking of Michael Brown, Columbia Law school students who claimed to be too "traumatized" by the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer he attacked were permitted to postpone their exams - evidently, a classroom with a test placed on the desks is no longer a "safe space" on the American campus.
Can we please stop pretending that this is anything other than what it is? As an institution taken over by the hard Left, "higher education" simply wants to confiscate more of our money and obliterate any remaining vestiges of meritocracy. The agitators know that if they agitate enough, no matter how trifling the pretext, they will get concessions.
So let's stop paying for it.
Let them have the "safe space." Let them figure out how to keep the "spaces of healing" without the support of the society they want to destroy - once they've squeezed the last thin dime out of it.
The university is a terrible deal for the country and for too many students. It is no longer a center of learning and the promotion of reason. It is a cauldron of hard Left indoctrination and victim narratives where reason no longer has a home. I believe in free expression, so I don't favor the coercive shutdown of such places (in the way that they would favor shutting down, say, National Review). But I don't believe we should pay for them or pretend that they are something they are not.
What I am saying is not controversial for anyone who believes deeply in education. As the invaluable Glenn Harlan Reynolds has been pointing out for years (see, e.g., The New Schooland The Education Apocalypse), there are viable, economical alternatives to the nigh-obsolete four-year campus model of higher education. Whatever worthwhile remains at today's colleges, these alternatives - especially online education - can provide it better and much cheaper.
Shifting from the campus to the Internet can eliminate the universities' administrative bloat - the billions of public dollars progressive politicians sluice through the system to underwrite hard Left thought police in sinecures ostensibly devoted to "diversity," speech regulation, campus "community responders," etc. It can give parents and students more choice and more excellence since online education would weed out lots of the mediocrity - and worse - that dominate the campus. And the pressure of competition would dramatically improve whichever of today's schools survived the transition.
As Professor Reynolds explained yesterday at his Instapundit blog on PJ Media, the transition is already happening. Mizzou's football squad apparently thinks threatening to boycott a game is better publicity than losing the game (as they've been doing regularly this year). But the real story is that more students today take at least one course online than attend a college with a varsity football team. There are more undergrads taking at least one online class than the combined number of graduate students in Masters and PhD. programs.
It is past time to accelerate the transition. The best way is to stop paying for our own destruction.
Posted by jonjayray at 2:03 AM