Sunday, February 28, 2016
Texas universities prepare for legal firearms on campuses
And the faculty are paranoid -- but that could be good. It might make them more careful about spouting Leftist BS
It was the kind of rhetoric that seemed out of place at an institution of higher learning. "Be careful discussing sensitive topics." "Drop certain topics from your curriculum." "DO NOT confront a student."
But such advice was not part of the debates about issues of race, class, and sexuality. At the University of Houston, educators were being warned about triggers — by peers struggling with how to teach when a Texas law takes effect Aug. 1 to allow students who are licensed to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Dispensed in a PowerPoint, eye-raising bullet points advised faculty not to "make provocative statements" or "cute signs" about the campus-carry law, and to "only meet ‘that student' in controlled circumstances." They advised faculty not to ask students about their "CHL" — concealed handgun licensing status — and not to "go there" if they "sense anger."
The bottom line: "It's in your interest and the university's interest to be very guarded and careful about this issue."
The advice came as part of a discussion at the 42,000-student state university organized by the president of the central campus's faculty senate, Jonathan Snow.
"It's a terrible state of affairs," Snow, a professor of isotope geochemistry, told the Chronicle of Higher Education. "It's an invasion of gun culture into campus life. We are worried that we have to change the way we teach to accommodate this minority of potentially dangerous students."
Snow is one of many educators in Texas critical of SB 11, passed last year. In a time when mass shootings are becoming commonplace, the legislation inspired one University of Texas professor to quit his job.
"With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law," economics professor emeritus Daniel Hamermesh wrote to the university's president last year. "Out of self-protection, I have chosen to spend part of next fall at the University of Sydney, where, among other things, this risk seems lower."
Legislators, however, sought to protect the Second Amendment rights of college students.
"I just feel that the time has come for us to protect the men and women of Texas who are carrying concealed on our campuses," Republican state Representative Allen Fletcher, the bill's House sponsor, said.
The slide show, which the University of Houston told the Chronicle of Higher Education it had not endorsed, came as a working group on the campus-carry law debates how it should be implemented this summer.
"While the university president may not generally prohibit license holders from carrying concealed weapons on the campus, the law gives public universities some discretion to regulate campus carry including designating certain areas on campus where concealed handguns are prohibited," a statement posted by the university's police department reads.
Among the questions in a survey posted by the department: "Should the University provide handgun storage space for individuals who reside on campus?"
Anger as British competition aimed at getting girls interested in science is won ... by a BOY
A science competition aimed at inspiring girls to get involved in science subjects has been won by a boy, sparking fury on social media sites.
EDF Energy's 'Pretty Curious' programme was launched with the intention of attracting young girls to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
But it has been slammed after the winner of the campaign's competition was revealed to be a 13-year-old boy.
The company defended the decision, claiming the competition was opened up to all 11 to 16-year-olds in 'the interests of fairness'.
However, after extending the competition to both genders, it kept the same website and branding as the all-girls scheme.
'Following last year's #PrettyCurious programme, which aimed to inspire girls about careers in STEM, EDF Energy launched a social media competition open to all children called the #PrettyCuriousChallenge,' the company said in a statement.
'We had a number of girls and boys taking part in the challenge to create a "connected home" product resulting in three female and two male finalists. The winner was selected via a public vote based on the merit of their idea.'
Twitter users were quick to jump into the fray.
Computer scientist Dr Sue Black OBE, said: 'Congratulations to the winner - but I'd love to hear from EDF how the winning solution meets their stated aim for the competition.'
She added: 'It is taking me a bit of time to work out how this result will change girls' perceptions of Stem.'
One Twitter user said: 'Imagine giving girls in tech comp a name like #PrettyCurious & that not being the worst thing about it, bc a boy won! Good 1.'
Another said: 'Why on earth have a gender-neutral competition as part of an all-girl STEM campaign? Or that name! #prettycurious.'
A third wrote: 'When they called a tech competition for girls #PrettyCurious, the whole thing should've been set on fire.'
But the reaction to the announcement hasn't been entirely negative, with some commentators arguing it won't discourage girls getting into STEM subjects.
'To those criticising the idea that a contest to promote females in STEM would have a male winner, I ask: is allowing a girl to win by default really a way to promote girls in STEM?' wrote Ciara Judge, winner of the Google Global Science Fair 2014, on her blog.
'There is no worse feeling on earth than feeling like your success is because of your gender, or feeling like to token female and I have been in that situation more times than I care to count.'
She added: 'Us girls have more grit and determination than to just give up because we don't win a competition… Please give us more credit than that.'
The 'Pretty Curious' campaign was launched with the aim of 'sparking the imagination of young girls, inspiring them to stay curious about the world around them and continue pursuing science-based subjects in school – and in their careers.'
But it is not the first time the campaign has come under fire, with critics also claiming that it has a 'sexist' name when it launched in October.
'I hate this presumption that STEM stuff needs to be girlified to appeal to female people,' wrote Emily Schoerning PhD, Director of Community Organising and Research at the National Center for Science Education.
'This strategy appears to show interest in girls and women while in fact making sure we wear a nice pink badge at all times, drawing attention to our gender over and above our achievements as human beings.'
She added: 'Do we really need to explicitly extend the objectification of teenage girls into the STEM fields? No.'
Women make up just 14.4 per cent of the Stem workforce – around 1 in 7.
Why Have Universities Been Overtaken by Mob Rule?
Student groups have asserted control of many university campuses across America. Without even resorting to force, they have successfully compelled the resignation of presidents and administrators, the firing and hiring of faculty, and drastic changes to university curricula, among other things.
University after university gives in to these demands, or at least pretends to do so. Only a few university presidents or administrators have spoken in defense of their own institutions or universities in general.
The former rulers of universities cannot defend themselves because they no longer understand the university’s purpose. Rather than ordering young minds, administrators have been ordered to resign. Having become convinced that universities service non-intellectual ends like multiculturalism, social justice, and pre-professionalism, presidents and administrators have little authority outside bookkeeping, job-placing, and safe space-creating.
They have forgotten that among the university’s highest purposes is preserving reason and free inquiry and making this spirit respectable to the public at large in a regime too often disposed to worship the power of public opinion and utility. Where else could this spirit live in our republic? In the mindlessness of popular culture? In fact, presuming that the mind requires protection for free inquiry, the institution of tenure makes sense only in this view. Tenure was not always understood as a sinecure for conference-going and activist data-mining.
Intolerance for free speech among student groups reveals their disregard for reason. Any opposition to or skepticism of their cause is met with anger, threats, and possibly physical harm. This is because free speech honors man’s rational faculty, presuming it is the genuine commonality among human beings. But if one considers oneself as primarily belonging to an aggrieved group, one shares feelings with that group alone, and of course common enemies.
Looking to Europe, one sees how free speech can decline. There, the power of the law is leveraged in favor of the loudest, angriest factions against those speaking freely. In America, for now, free speech is controlled by public opinion only through shame, rather than force.
The Progressive pieties connected to social justice have contributed to the current anarchy. Progressivism has undermined the universities because it doesn’t believe in liberal education. Liberal education’s ends are independence, freedom, and self-rule, while progressivism points toward learning what properly to hate and overcoming it. Most universities do not question the puzzling formulation “social justice”—they teach the methods and the temperament to bring it about.
As such, progressive pieties often foreclose respect for humility, decency, and honest inquiry. Rather than persuading the mind, they command and shame it. Liberal education to the contrary requires a spirit of reverence aiming to liberate the mind from prejudice—the prejudices of birth, public opinion, one’s own distorted and inflated opinions of oneself—in preparation for citizenship.
The societal implications of these doctrines are great, for our regime’s justification is rational. We cannot know about natural rights through feeling. We cannot understand the Constitution through feeling. We cannot understand the necessary habits of character to sustain regime through feeling.
If the standard of reason is denied, how then does one judge justice other than by succumbing to the loudest, angriest voice? Justice judged by intensity of feeling means the angriest have the highest claim to rule, a standard unbecoming of a civilized nation.
Moreover, these doctrines undermine the very thing that created the conditions for their existence. By constantly flirting with the idea that free speech should be silenced, the factions behind these doctrines are prepared to take away rights from others. What therefore happens to individuals if, goaded on by these own doctrines, a new barbarism emerges that cares little about freedom of speech and therefore about protecting universities, which are in effect their safe spaces?
The perspective of anger is incapable of understanding our nation’s needs and its common good. Neither is it capable of creating productivity, decency, self-respect, or political freedom. A public whose passions are its sole animating feature is unsuited for rule by laws.
Australian PM calls snap review of Safe Schools LGBTI program
Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi says the partyroom shares concerns of parents who want schools to teach their children ‘reading, writing and arithmetic'.
Malcolm Turnbull has ordered a snap review of the $8 million taxpayer-funded program aimed at teaching schoolkids about sexual orientation and transgender issues to avert a split in Coalition ranks erupting in parliament.
The independent review, which will report in March, was condemned by Labor, the Greens and the Australian Education Union as a “capitulation” to the Coalition's conservative wing.
Several government MPs were yesterday mounting a campaign to kill off the Safe Schools program being run in 495 schools, but The Australian understands a Senate motion demanding the Prime Minister withdraw the remaining $2m in funding was pulled after agreement was reached between Education Minister Simon Birmingham and the Nationals Barry O'Sullivan.
Senator Birmingham, who has defended the program, said: “It is essential that all material is age appropriate and that parents have confidence in any resources used in a school to support the right of all students, staff and families to feel safe.”
He has written to education ministers asking them to confirm parents are being consulted prior to schools introducing the scheme.
Last night, no decision had been made on who would conduct the Turnbull review.
The controversial teaching manual, All of Us, includes a role-playing exercise in which children as young as 11 are encouraged to imagine how it would feel to live in a same-sex relationship.
In one lesson, on transgender experiences, children are asked to imagine losing their genitalia.
The AEU's federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said the program was working well.
“A majority of young LGBTI people report bullying and 80 per cent of those say that it happens at school,” she said. “All young people should be able to feel safe and supported at school.”
The Greens spokesman on LGBTI and marriage equality, Robert Simms, said opposition to the program was based on the “absurd idea that simply by talking about differences in sexuality or gender identity you're going to recruit people”.
Coalition sources told The Australian severalMPs expressed concern in the partyroom about the scheme, including senators O'Sullivan and Cory Bernardi as well as Andrew Nikolic, George Christensen, David Fawcett and Jo Lindgren.
The key Coalition champion for same-sex marriage, Warren Entsch, told The Australian there were problems with the program that should be addressed.
He backs extra support for gay and transgender schoolkids, however, “some of the terminology and the references there should be avoided. I can understand why people have raised concerns”.
Mr Nikolic said he believed parents needed to approve of the material before it was taught to their children.
“Young kids are being told their gender is not defined by their genitalia and only they will know if they are a boy or a girl," he said.
Senator Bernardi said the Coalition partyroom shared concerns of parents who wanted schools to teach their children “reading, writing and arithmetic” rather than “indoctrinating them with a radical political and social agenda”.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said while former prime minister Tony Abbott had sacked Senator Bernardi for “offensive comments” Mr Turnbull was now indulging him with a review.
Senator Bernardi presented a petition to the Senate with 9499 signatures calling on the government to remove funding for the program.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:42 AM