Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Boys can wear skirts to school under UK's new uniform policies

The United Kingdom has introduced a new "gender neutral" policy under which boys will be allowed to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers in schools. Eighty eight schools, including 40 primary schools, across the country have welcomed the new rule and are encouraging students to wear what they want, irrespective of their gender.

The move that has been funded by the country's government aims to be more open to school children, who are going through a gender identity crisis.

"We welcome all efforts to support young people on trans and gender identity issues and ensure that they feel happy, welcome and accepted at school, and it's encouraging to see this move," a spokesperson for Stonewall, an organisation campaigning for equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people across Britain, told The Independent.

"No trans person should be forced to present in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. When this happens, it can be deeply damaging, particularly for young people," the spokesperson added.

In January, the 170-year-old private school Brighton College, had moved to omit the dress code for transgender students. Richard Cairns, headmaster of the boarding and day-pupil school, said, "This change follows requests from a small number of families. It ties in with my strong personal belief that youngsters should be respected for who they are.

"If some boys and girls are happier identifying with a different gender from that in which they were born, then my job is to make sure that we accommodate that. My only interest as headmaster is their welfare and happiness."

Birmingham's Allens Croft School is said to be the first state primary school to adopt the "gender neutral" policy.

The chairwoman of the ATL teaching union's equality and diversity committee, Julia Neal, said there should be no space for "gender identity prejudice" in education.

"It's about senior management teams and governing bodies understanding that there are a lot of facilities in schools that are separated — changing rooms and toilets and uniforms are very gender-specific.

"If there is gender fluidity they need to understand the importance of gender-neutral facilities. And they need to understand how pupils want to be referred to, as he or she. It's a delicate area," she said.


AEI Panel: Marxists outnumber conservatives in social sciences

An AEI panel discussion last Wednesday, titled “The Close-Minded Campus? The Stifling of Ideas in American Universities,” focused on the scarcity of conservative professors and students in the social sciences, with the panelists noting that conservatives are outnumbered in the field even by self-proclaimed Marxists.

The event featured professors Joshua Dunn of the University of Colorado, Jon A. Shields of Clermont McKenna College, and Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University; and AEI scholars Frederick M. Hess and Christina Hoff Sommers.

Dunn and Shields, authors of the book Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University, revealed that their study, conducted in preparation for the book, showed that the close-mindedness of university toward conservative ideas depended on the field of study.

“Among undergraduates, for example,” said Shields, “the politics of undergraduates is among the best predictors of their major. So, conservatives tend to gravitate into the natural sciences or into economics, and liberals tend to gravitate toward the humanities and social sciences.”

About 18 percent of social scientists in the United States self-identify as Marxists, compared to only about 5 percent who identify as conservatives, Dunn and Shields reported.

The panel believes that this is a great loss for conservative students and professors.

“That’s work conservatives need to do more of,” Teles said of the field of sociology. “I think this is another case where the absence of conservatives in sociology is very deeply problematic for conservatives because a lot of those kinds of methods and insights definitely improve the quality of conservative thought and analysis.”

The problem, they said, is that liberal policies are driving away both conservative professors and students from American universities.

Moreover, as conservative students face opposition like violence and censorship on college campuses, the university atmosphere has made it difficult for such students to concentrate on their academic studies.

Sommers elaborated on that point, referencing the “culture of paranoia” that has been growing on liberal campuses because administrators have “empowered some very neurotic people on campus, and risk-averse lawyers and deans are going along with it.”

Teles agreed, saying that there is the problem of “the growth of academic administration,” which he thinks “almost everywhere is a kind of plague . . . [a] new administocracy.”

The panel also discussed whether or not students and professors should pursue work in the academic world or in traditionally liberal fields of study. Despite the miniscule numbers of conservatives in the social sciences, the panel offered a few solutions to colleges and universities.

Sommers believes that “some university should declare itself a safe space for open debate . . . and dispense with trigger warnings” altogether. Safe spaces and trigger warnings, she pointed out, target and single out conservative students.

“There is a fallacy at the heart of this theory [of liberalism],” she said, “which is that ostensibly it’s trying to discourage sexism, racism, classism, but to discourage it, it practices them . . . And it’s almost an excuse for bullying.”

Shields then suggested an exchange program for professors, through which conservative colleges like Hillsdale College would be able to “export” professors to liberal universities like Amherst College, and vice versa.

“Hillsdale would certainly be more of a culture shock to an Amherst [professor],” Hess joked.

Teles proposed that intellectual conservative students entering academia should find a mentor to guide them.

“To be a good conservative”, Teles said, “. . . somebody needs to tell them what to read, what sort of activism is appropriate to engage in, which is true of going into any kind of field. You need to have mentors to look up to to tell you, ‘here’s how you’re supposed to behave.’”

Ultimately, the panel agreed, more intellectual conservatives are needed in all fields of academia, not just in economics, business, and the natural sciences.

Students and professors should not be afraid if they “want to pursue lines of inquiry that are rooted in conservative assumptions or values,” Hess asserted, adding that fields like sociology and other studies should not be dominated solely by liberals, because conservative ideas are so essential.

“Should we discourage conservatives from going into academia?” Shields asked. “The university may feel very closed at times, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an institution that’s beyond reform or change.”


DePaul President Capitulates To Outraged Anti-Milo Students, Tenders Resignation

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider has announced his plans to step down from his role as the President of DePaul University following pressure from radical left-wing activists in the wake of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ recent visit to campus.

Holtschneider came under fire in late May for the University’s handling of a lecture given by Yiannopoulos, which was interrupted and shut down by DePaul students. Despite Yiannopoulos being threatened by one of the protesters, DePaul administration, under Holtschneider’s direction, refused to allow security to intervene during the event.

In response to the backlash over the mishandling of the event from students, alumni, and the general public, Holtschneider issued a lukewarm apology but failed to apologize to Yiannopoulos. As a result of the incident, the University’s Facebook page received a barrage of negative reviews and complaints, which dropped the school’s average rating overnight to below two stars out of five.

The apology only caused more problems for Holtschneider, however. The DePaul Black Leadership Coalition, representing black students and faculty members on campus, have put relentless pressure on the President ever since he apologized to the college Republicans, and called for his resignation. After attempting to placate them with a grovelling statement backtracking on his previous apology, Holtschneider has now revealed that he intends to resign.

In his resignation letter, Holtschneider claimed this decision is the best for the University moving forward. “I believe, therefore, it’s best for DePaul if I step aside in the summer of 2017 so that a new leader can assist the institution to name and ambitiously pursue its next set of strategic objectives.”

Holtschneider also claims that this decision was made several months ago, as part of a transition plan for the University.


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