Monday, October 17, 2016

53% of College Students ‘Feel Intimidated’ When Disagreeing With Their Professors

Slightly more than half (53 percent) of U.S. college students reported feeling “intimidated” when they expressed ideas or beliefs that differed from their professors’, according to a national survey commissioned by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale.

Last year, slightly less than half (49 percent) of college students felt that way, the survey found.

“Freshmen and sophomores in 2016 report feeling slightly more intimidated than juniors and seniors,” the Classroom Intimidation Index found.

However, 51 percent of students reported feeling less intimated by their classmates when they spoke up about controversial issues, compared to 55 percent who felt that way last year, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted between September 17th and 25th by McLaughlin & Associates, which polled 800 full-time undergraduates at four-year public and private colleges and universities across the country.

By a two-to-one margin, students reported their campuses to be “generally more tolerant to liberal ideas and beliefs” (39 percent) compared to schools that were “generally more tolerant to conservative beliefs” (18 percent).

More than a third (38 percent) reported that their schools are “equally tolerant” of both liberal and conservative views.

The survey also found signs that the nation’s undergraduates are becoming more aware of their First Amendment rights, with 84 percent this year agreeing that it is “an important amendment that still needs to be followed and respected in society” - up seven points from 2015.

Conversely, while 17 percent of students said last year that the First Amendment is “outdated and needs to be changed,” only 10 percent felt that way this year – a seven-point decline.

A larger number (82 percent) of students could also identify the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment this year than last (76 percent), the survey found.

The vast majority of freshmen (83 percent) said they support free speech campus-wide, compared to 74 percent of all students and 22 percent who feel it should be limited to “free speech zones”.

The Buckley program’s “mission is to promote intellectual diversity at Yale University”, including “open political discussion and intellectual engagement on campus.”

The program hosts an annual “Disinvitation Dinner” featuring speakers considered too politically incorrect to be invited to speak on the nation’s college campuses, or whose invitations to speak were withdrawn after somebody complained. This year’s winner was former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.


Chaos in South Africa

A set of protests against fees has turned into general riots, with burning of libraries, attempted murder of security guards, and general mayhem. Most universities have just given in and closed, leaving students unable to write their final year's exams

South Africa’s student protests have become scenes of teargas, arrests, and burning buildings

For weeks, learning has given way to mayhem on South Africa’s university campuses. Clashes between students protesting for free education and police have become increasingly intense, marked in recent days by arrests, destruction of property, and the discovery of undetonated petrol bombs on university grounds.

The protests began last year after the government announced a mandatory fee increase at universities. Under the banner #FeesMustFall, demonstrations were relatively peaceful, and students were placated after the proposed fee increase was dropped. So when the government again announced fee increases this September (albeit capped at 8%), students were enraged.

Demonstrations began to take place almost daily at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The unrest spread to other campuses, in some cases becoming violent, and a number of schools closed to avoid further confrontations. Scenes of riot police lining up against stone-throwing students have dominated the news.

In response to the protests, president Jacob Zuma established a task team of eight cabinet ministers, including police, intelligence, defense, and state security. But the task force left out the finance minister and treasury for reasons that are unclear. A government-appointed commission tasked with reviewing tuition at public universities continues with public hearings, isolated from the chaos surrounding universities.

Fees protests continued at universities across the country with private security companies being employed to keep order. Some eight students have been arrested this week by South African Police Services.

On Wednesday (Oct. 12), students arrested in Johannesburg on charges ranging from public violence to assault, appeared in court under heavy guard before being released on bail. On the same day in Pretoria, police fired rubber bullets as a student march through the city center turned violent.

At the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, protesters set fire to the university’s main entrance, the information center and security vehicles. The university opened a case of attempted murder after two security guards were locked inside a burning building. Nineteen other students from the Cape Peninsula University were also arrested.

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban campus, students clashed with police, while in Pietermaritzburg students were arrested for setting fire to a building. At the Vaal University of Technology, south of Johannesburg, students allegedly threw a petrol bomb at police. The University of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth remain closed.

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande and other political leaders from the ruling African National Congress have accused the student movement of becoming politicized, in light of opposition party support for the cause. “This is no longer about fees anymore. This is about trying to cause discontent. It’s about regime change, to be quite honest,” Nzimande told news station eNCA.

Student leaders have come under increasing fire for the violent nature of the protests in some places, and their resolute demands that all fees be waived, and that campuses remain closed until an agreement is reached. Female and LGBTQI students have also accused the movement of reneging on their commitment to inclusivity in the demonstrations.

Talks between the government, university management and student leaders have yet to yield a solution, with neither side willing or able to meet the other’s demands. After nearly a month, an impasse does not appear likely to end soon, with protests only likely to become even more intense.


Australia: Lessons on ‘male privilege’ in $21.8m Victorian schools program

As usual, feminists think that demonizing men will help women.  It is more likely to make men angry and thus hurt women.  But logic and evidence doesn't come into it for feminists.  Only their hatreds matter to them

Victorian students will be taught about “male privilege” and how “masculinity” encourages “control and dominance” over women, as part of a mandatory new school subject aimed at combating family violence.

The Victorian government will push ahead with the rollout of its $21.8 million respectful relationships education program, despite claims the program fails to consider the multiple and complex drivers of family violence, ignores male victims and amounts to the brainwashing of children.

Evidence has emerged the program risks alienating men — by presenting all men as “bad” and all women as “victims” — a point highlighted in a report evaluating a pilot of the program in 19 schools last year.

As part of its broader campaign against family violence, the Andrews government has released a series of new resources aimed at kindergarten through to Year 12 classes designed to complement a “whole-of-school” approach to violence prevention.

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning materials aim to encourage gender equity in relationships and challenge gender stereotypes, which are key drivers of ­violence against women, it is claimed.

While the program refers to “gender-based violence”, the overriding emphasis is on men being the perpetrators of violent acts. Proposed lessons will introduce students to the concept of “privilege”, which is described as “automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups” based on “gender, ­sexuality, race or socio-economic class”.

“Being born a male, you have advantages — such as being overly represented in the public sphere — and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege,” states guidance for the Years 7 and 8 curriculum,” it says.

By Years 11 and 12, students are asked to examine their privilege and ways that “equity” can be encouraged, such as catch-up programs, special benefits or entitlements for those who are not considered privileged.

“An awareness of the existence of male privilege is critical in understanding why there is a need for feminist perspectives, and education on gender at all,” the curriculum guide points out.

It also introduces students to the term “hegemonic masculinity”, which is defined as the dominant form of masculinity in society that “requires boys and men to be heterosexual, tough, athletic and emotionless, and ­encourages the control and dominance of men over women”.

Jeremy Sammut, a senior ­research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, criticised the program, calling it ­“taxpayer-funded indoctrination” of children.

“The idea behind this program — that all men are latent abusers by nature of the ‘discourse’ — is an idea that only cloistered feminist academics could love,” Dr Sammut told The Australian. “A lot of evidence suggests that like child abuse, domestic ­violence is a byproduct of social dysfunction: welfare, drugs, family breakdown.”

Kevin ­Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, said the program was biased and lacked objectivity and balance. “There’s no doubt that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence and more needs to be done,” Dr Donnelly said.

“The royal commission found that 25 per cent of victims of family violence are men and there’s little, if anything, in there that acknowledges the impact of violence on men and young boys.”

Hannah Grant, a spokeswoman for Our Watch, which ­man­aged the pilot and carried out the evaluation, acknowledged there had been tension in some schools and statistics demonstrating the gendered nature of violence often prompted challenging ­discussion. “Feedback suggested that the whole-school briefing had a varied impact within and across schools,” she said.

Education Minister James Merino dismissed concerns over the program. “We will not stand by while one woman in Australia is killed every week through domestic violence,” Mr Merlino said.  “It’s ­astounding anyone could think teaching our kids about respect for other people is a bad thing.”


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