Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yale president grows some balls

In an email Wednesday Yale’s President and the Dean of Yale College affirmed their support of Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika despite activists calling for their resignation.

“Both Nicholas and Erika Christakis remain committed to serving the college, and we fully support them in these efforts. They are exceptional teachers and scholars, with a longstanding and deep dedication to undergraduates,” wrote university President Peter Salovey, and Dean Jonathan Holloway.

Student group Next Yale had previously issued a list of demands which included the, “immediate removal of Nicholas and Erika Christakis from the positions of Master and Associate Master of Silliman College.”

The uproar against the Christakises started after Erika sent an email which questioned guidelines for Halloween costumes, writing:

"Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition."

Nicholas, a sociologist and physician, wished to defend his wife and attempted dialogue with students. But he was met with vulgar screaming and a student asking, “Who the f*ck hired you?”

It is unknown how Yale will respond to other protester demands that include, “abolish the title ‘master.’”


Campus zealots hound student out of lectures and bars with shouts of 'rapist' after he dared to question the effectiveness of rape 'consent workshops'

A student has been driven out of lectures and bars with shouts of ‘rapist’ after he dared to question the effectiveness of ‘consent workshops’.

Second-year George Lawlor, 19, fears for his future at Warwick University after being ostracised and bullied for challenging a student union drive to hold rape awareness sessions.

Writing in a blog, he argued that the overwhelming majority of people ‘don’t have to be taught to not be a rapist’ – and that men inclined to commit the crime would be unlikely to attend such a workshop.  He added that he found his invitation to one of the sessions ‘incredibly hurtful’.

But in the latest example of politically correct intolerance in universities, the student faced a fierce backlash from radical feminists. He was attacked on Twitter and Facebook by student activists branding him a ‘rapist’ and ‘misogynist’.

Mr Lawlor, who studies politics and sociology, fears the furore will affect his academic work – and his future career.

The abuse was so bad that he stopped going to lectures. He told the Daily Mail: ‘I was expecting a reaction, but I was not prepared for just how horrible it was. I remember putting it online and told a few people, who were … saying there would be a backlash.’

In the piece, ‘Why I don’t need consent lessons’, Mr Lawlor said he ‘loved consent’ but that organisers were ‘pointing out the obvious’ and ‘thinking they’ve saved the world’ by making men listen to lectures about rape.

He posed with a sign reading, ‘This is not what a rapist looks like’, to highlight that most right-thinking people know where the boundaries are. But he was called ‘classist’ and ‘racist’ by people who thought he was commenting on what the physical appearance of a ‘typical’ rapist was.

The article was covered on news sites in the US, all over Europe and in Australia.

Mr Lawlor said Warwick student paper The Boar ‘got all their writers together to gang up’ on him with two one-sided articles. Others deleted him as a Facebook contact and sent abusive messages.

He added: ‘In real life, the bus to university was the worst … I heard people talking to each other saying, “I really want to hit that kid”. Walking through campus, people would go silent as I walked past. It was really scary … it got really nasty.’

He said that when he ran in student union elections, someone wrote on his Facebook page, ‘I want to give this guy minus one vote’, followed by another user adding, ‘I want to give this guy minus 100 per cent oxygen’.

Mr Lawlor added: ‘There was one guy messaging me on Facebook for over a week, calling me names like racist, rapist … I’ve stopped going to lectures and seminars because of the perceived threat.’

He said he was driven out of a bar in Leamington after some students overheard his friend mention his name. ‘These six guys just crowded round me and started shouting at me … calling me a rapist, a misogynist, and threatening me … I had to get out of there,’ he said.

Mr Lawlor suggested his ordeal will have a chilling effect on other students. He said many had told him they agreed with the article but were afraid to back him publicly.

‘It’s all part of this no-platforming agenda, where they try and create “safe spaces” … but no-one ever thought to question whether I was in a “safe space”,’ he said. ‘People were calling for me to be expelled. You’re only allowed to talk about certain issues, it seems.’

He added: ‘When you search my name all you find is my name next to the word “rapist”. If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer you don’t want to risk having this sort of reputation … so there’s a fear that stops people talking freely.’


As David Starkey is the latest to be banned by our politically correct universities... Britain's students: the new fascists?

When you hear the word ‘university’, what image comes to mind? Dreaming spires? A sun- dappled quad? The brightest of Britain’s youth strolling about, minds wide open to new ideas, controversial theories, different ways of thinking?

Think again. Britain’s universities have changed. They’ve turned from citadels of intellectual inquiry into sprawling camps of conformism, where anyone who dissents from what is decreed to be the correct thought processes will be cast out into the academic darkness.

Our colleges are now stuffed not with bright-eyed students keen to discuss any ideas, however radical, but proselytising zealots who will hound off campus anyone that offends their politically correct sensibilities. They spend their time constantly on the lookout for thinkers or books or even pop songs that blaspheme against their right-on ideology.

They are what you might call the student Stasi, and I have discovered for myself what it is like to be on the receiving end of their self-righteous ire.

A year ago, in November 2014, I was due to speak at Oxford University in a debate about abortion. But a gang of fuming student feminists had other ideas.

They said it would be offensive to female students to have ‘a person without a uterus’ — what most of us call ‘a man’ — talking about abortion. Such a discussion would harm their ‘mental safety’, they claimed. So they set up a Facebook page littered with expletives which demanded that the debate should be called off.

It was like an online mob jumping up and down with pitchforks.

The Facebook furies threatened to turn up to the discussion with ‘instruments’ — and they didn’t mean musical instruments — to ‘disrupt’ it. The irony of them threatening the physical safety of a university meeting in the name of defending their own ‘mental safety’ was lost on these alleged bright young things.

Even more depressing than this ludicrous protest was the fact that Oxford’s university management kowtowed to the hysteria and cancelled the debate.

This week, Britain’s other great seat of learning, Cambridge, showed that it is likewise happy to spurn those who hold what are considered to be the ‘wrong views’.

Following complaints about the inclusion of the scabrous but brilliant historian David Starkey in a video promoting Cambridge, Starkey was banned from taking part. The short film features famous Cambridge alumni talking about how life at the university changed them, as part of a £2 billion funding drive.

Students at Cardiff University demanded that the leading feminist Germaine Greer should be ‘No Platformed’ — in other words banned from being able to speak in public — because they objected to comments she had made about transgender issues

Starkey was banned from taking part in a short film promoting Cambridge featuring famous alumni talking about how life at the university changed them, as part of a £2 billion funding drive

But the potential appearance of Starkey — known for his robustly un-PC views — caused a hissy fit among both student union officials and lecturers. They were signatories to an open letter which called the historian ‘a man who has a well-documented and undeniable history of racism and sexism’.

Now this isn’t Bernard Manning we’re talking about — it is one of Britain’s best-loved historians, who has enlightened millions about the Elizabethan era. He also regularly injects spark and sass into grey TV shows like Question Time.

No DOUBT one of the comments the university has taken offence at — like an ageing Duchess clutching her smelling salts — was his observation after the London riots of 2011 that ‘the whites have become black’.

To explain his point, he went on to talk about the pernicious influence of what he called the ‘destructive, nihilistic gangster culture’ which he said ‘has become the fashion’ in our inner cities.

He has also expressed withering views in the past on ‘pretty girl historians’ — and this is his reward, ostracised by his own university.

Thankfully, some of Starkey’s fellow historians are agitating for his place in the video to be reinstated, and are fuming against Cambridge’s capitulation to the self-appointed censors. But I don’t suppose they will do much good. These illiberal students will brook no opposition.

In the year between my being banned from the Oxford abortion debate and the shameful traducing of David Starkey at Cambridge, barely a week has passed without students screaming for the censorship of things that ‘hurt’ them. They even call for ‘safe spaces’ where they can go without feeling threatened either intellectually or physically.

Students at Cardiff University demanded that the leading feminist Germaine Greer should be ‘No Platformed’ — in other words banned from being able to speak in public — because they objected to comments she had made about transgender issues.

They insisted that Greer’s belief that men who have sex-change surgery do not become real women, has ‘no place in society’. What tyrannical arrogance to think they should be the arbiters of which voices should and should not be heard.

In the end, Greer’s lecture went ahead this week, but not without a gang of placard-waving students outside insisting that her words are ‘harmful’.

In September, the student union at Warwick University banned the Iranian-born secularist and critic of Islamism, Maryam Namazie. They said that her views would upset Muslim students.

This is a woman whose family escaped Iran in the hope that in the West they’d be free to say whatever they please. Yet Warwick students behaved like little ayatollahs themselves — affronted by the sight of a woman who has the gall to criticise Islam — and sought to shut her up.

Following a public outcry, she was re-invited — but when students resemble the finger-wagging rulers of Iran, you know there’s something rotten on campus.

Last month, the colourful feminist Julie Bindel was ‘No Platformed’ by the student union at Manchester University. Why? Because ten years ago, in the Guardian, she penned an article criticising transgenderism — blasphemy in the eyes of the self-elected guardians of accepted thought.

(She wrote: ‘I don’t have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women.’)

It isn’t only different or daring thinkers who are silenced by censorious students. At the end of last year, Dapper Laughs, a perma-tanned Cockney comic, was banned from performing at Cardiff University. Student officials claimed that his jokes ‘dehumanise’ women and are therefore ‘inappropriate’. Among the thought police, the word ‘inappropriate’ signals that something is wicked, and must be stopped. Sometimes, this student intolerance crosses the line from sinister to surreal.

More than 30 student unions in Britain have banned the American singer Robin Thicke’s salacious smash hit song about seduction, Blurred Lines, claiming that it makes female students feel unsafe.

Last year, a DJ at a student bar in Oxford accidentally played Blurred Lines, causing a student official to leap up and unplug the sound system, like a nun at a school disco tut-tutting over the Rolling Stones.

Other student unions have banned lads’ mags, tabloid newspapers, even sombreros: they claim it is ‘cultural appropriation’ — whatever that means — for middle-class white kids to don Mexican hats.

Some student unions enforce these ‘No Platform’ policies not only against neo-fascist parties, but also against UKIP — which was banned at the University of East Anglia. Equally, it can be difficult for Israel-supporting students to hold discussions on some campuses because the prevailing attitude among many students and academics is pro-Palestinian.

Recently, the student union at University College, London, banned a Nietzsche reading group, fearing that it would inculcate students with Right-wing ideas.

Friedrich Nietzsche is, of course, a giant among 19th-century philosophers, and widely studied. Yet exposure to his views was deemed to be too dangerous. Nothing is safe: not famous feminists, popular historians or cheeky stand-up comedians. Everything they find distasteful must be expunged.

Such intolerance reached its nadir when students at Goldsmith’s College in London and also at Cambridge recently burned the newspapers of Far-left groups that they find offensive. Now, burning literature has dark, disgusting historical echoes.

The word ‘fascist’ must never be used lightly. But to destroy with fire words you don’t like? That is fascistic, and the very opposite of the freedom of thought that should prevail on 21st-century campuses.

As we have seen, the New Fascists, and the academic apologists who cave in to their censorious demands, frown on alternative thinking and seek to eradicate dissenting thought.

The end result is a narrow dogma in which only one world view can prevail. But a university banning freedom of thought is like a hospital giving up on medical treatment — an abandonment of its very reason to exist.

David Starkey must be reinstated in that Cambridge video. But we must go so much further: the freedom to think and debate — and, yes, to rile and offend — must be reinstated on every campus in the land.


Public University Joins LGBT Radicals in Targeting Professor Who Thinks Kids Should Have Mom, Dad

Kim Davis. Aaron and Melissa Klein. Barronelle Stutzman. Robert Oscar Lopez?

For many conservatives, the first four names—Americans who have faced state-sanctioned discrimination for trying to live in accordance with their religious beliefs about marriage—bring strong opinions about America’s deteriorating state of religious liberty.

However, it is Lopez who may be America’s most persecuted pro-family advocate—even as some pro-family and conservative leaders have declined to take up his cause.

Last year, the radical Human Rights Campaign (HRC) targeted Lopez–an associate professor of English and classics at California State University Northridge (CSUN)—as part of the so-called “Export of Hate” because of his international advocacy on behalf of children and against redefining marriage.

A bisexual man raised by lesbians, Lopez told The Daily Signal in 2014 that the HRC’s efforts have left him feeling “completely isolated,” as well as “having to worry every time I leave my home—and my wife is there with the newborn—and not knowing whether I’m going to get killed, it’s really hard.”

This past June, things got worse for Lopez: He found out that CalState administrators had spent eight months building a case against him for the crime of giving students an optional assignment to present at the Reagan Library, as well as for allegedly retaliating against students who disagreed with his conservative views on family and the rights of children.

In October, the newly tenured professor—a status earned just two years ago—was found guilty of retaliation against a student. This is a decision that could lead to his dismissal.

“The Office of Equity and Diversity first claimed that I discriminated against a heterosexual female student and a gay male student by offering them two options to fulfill 20 percent of a course grade,” Lopez told The Daily Signal in a recent e-mail. He added:

    One option was to write ten responses to the reading, an assignment I currently give out in all my classes. The other option was to prepare a research exhibit and display it at an all-day conference at the Reagan Library; it was the Reagan Library option they found ‘harmful’ because they were exposed to and had to sit next to conservatives while they ate and listened to lectures.

That conference was called “Bonds That Matter” and promoted traditional views on marriage and family.

“The gay male student was exposed as a fraud early on. That left the heterosexual woman, whose claims were subjected to a long and expensive investigation that ultimately ended up vindicating [me],” explained Lopez.

While the initial investigation revealed no wrongdoing, the campus is now claiming that Lopez retaliated against a student who reported him to the university—something he says is bunk because the student in question received an “A” in his class, she was not entitled to an award administrators claim he prevented her from getting, and “all the ‘evidence’ supporting the complainant’s retaliation claim was undocumented memory.”

Zero of three CalState administrators contacted by The Daily Signal about their targeting and persecution of Lopez responded to requests for comments. However, a spokesperson who was forwarded the e-mail told The Daily Signal that the university has done no wrongdoing in its investigation.

“CSUN is fully committed to upholding academic freedom and free speech, as well as the right of our students to bring forth concerns. Any investigation resulting from student complaints follows established CSU protocol and is conducted on the basis of determining whether or not there has been a violation of university policy,” said spokesperson Carmen Chandler.

In a disposition given to Lopez, the university claims that he was investigated only once charges were formally filed in May, by students who were graduating. However, the disposition also notes that “the facts surrounding [a female student’s] allegations … were similar to the allegations made” by two students “about the conference just days after it took place on October 3.”

Lopez says this means the investigation started last year—in violation of the campus’ policy to complete investigations “no later than 60 working days after the intake interview,” with a 30-day extension if necessary.

“We take issue with the accuracy of the allegations currently circulating relating to this investigation, but as this is a confidential personnel matter that involves confidential student information, we cannot discuss or disclose the details,” said the campus spokesperson.

Why is Lopez being targeted by university administrators? Lopez says it “is a complicated question,” and that he “faced resistance at the university due to my service in the U.S. Army Reserves, my prior work with national security, and my authorship of a 2011 book called ‘The Colorful Conservative.’”

Lopez, who says his view that “children have a right to a mother and a father” especially angered some liberal activists, thinks that outside groups may have worked with his students. “There was a mix of their own intense rage at me over my views and the real political pressure applied to them by outside groups,” he explained, saying that he has “no real gripes against the students, because I know they were weaponized by off-campus groups.”

Lopez says the latest charges may simply be administrators attempting to save face. In a letter to the university, his lawyer accused administrators of making a “purely political and ideological attack on Dr. Lopez for holding—and exposing his students to—ideas about children’s right[s] in the context of family and reproduction which are apparently unpopular at [CalState].”

Lopez considers the right to natural parents—a life circumstance he was denied growing up—so important that he and several other people raised by same-sex couples filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of children…and against redefining marriage. He has also publicly criticized IVF, a process some same-sex couples use to have children, saying it denies children the right to natural parents.

This month, CalState’s targeting of Lopez finally received the attention it deserves, with stories by Campus Reform, The Daily Caller, and other outlets, including a link from The Drudge Report. Lopez said he hopes that “the conservative movement can find a way to fight for people like me.”



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