Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Multiculturalism Run Amuck at Georgetown: What’s Wrong with Slavery and Rape?

Two weeks ago, a professor from Georgetown University publicly rose to the defense of slavery and rape, and not a single major media outlet—with the exception of a blogger on the Washington Post website and a brief posting on FoxNews—has said a word about it. The absence of outrage is not hard to figure out: Jonathan Brown's defense was limited to Islam. 

Brown, a convert to Islam, holds an endowed chair in Islamic studies at Georgetown. The Jesuit-run institution has a wealthy benefactor in Saudi Arabia, a nation which bans Christianity. How sweet.

What did Georgetown get from this arrangement? Money, and a lot of it. Twelve years ago, Saudi Arabia wrote a check to the Jesuit-run institution for $20 million; it went to support the school's Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, run by Brown. And what did Saudi Arabia get from this peculiar "understanding"? Legitimacy.

The fruit from this decayed tree is now apparent. Georgetown now employs a tenured professor who defends slavery and rape, provided the slavemasters and rapists are Muslims. This is apparently Georgetown's idea of diversity. It also shows how phony the school is. Why all the handwringing about Georgetown's ownership of American slaves in the 19th century when it employs defenders of slavery today?

Brown's position was not made in the heat of debate. If anything his comments were well prepared: they were delivered at the Islamic Institute for Islamic Thought. After being criticized by some, he tried to walk it back, offering a lame Tweet that meant nothing. 

"As a category, as a conceptual category that exists throughout states and trans-historically," Brown allegedly said clumsily, "there's no such thing as slavery." It gets better. "I don't think you can talk about slavery in Islam until you realize that there is no such thing as slavery."

It is not certain what Brown would say to slaves in Mauritania and Somalia today—they are owned by their Muslim masters. Would he tell them to stop promoting fake news? Would he tell them that slavery is a mirage? Would he tell them that they are delusional? Better yet, would he switch places with them?

Brown is also incompetent. If slavery doesn't exist in Muslim-run nations, why the need to justify it? "Slavery cannot just be treated as a moral evil in and of itself," he opined. He really means it. "I don't think it's morally evil to own somebody because we own lots of people all around us."

(Who he owns he did not say, but perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center will look into it. Maybe I'll convert to Islam and see if I can buy him. I'll use my credit card—Mastercard for the Master.)

When someone in the audience challenged Brown, he became indignant, as well as inconsistent. "The fact that there was slavery is wrong [thus did he contradict his remark that there was no such thing in Islam]. Okay. If you're a Muslim, the prophet of God ... had slaves. He had slaves. There's no denying that. Are you more morally mature than the prophet of God? No, you are not."

One would hope that all of us are more morally mature than Muhammad. After all, he was not only a slavemaster and an advocate of violence, he consummated his marriage with his bride Aisha when she was nine years old. That's what we call rape.

Speaking of which, Brown went on to say that non-consensual sex—it's called rape—is okay with him, at least if the offenders are adherents to Islam. He took aim at the Western notion of "consent," maintaining that "It's very hard to have this discussion because we think of, let's say in the modern United States, the sine qua non of morally correct sex is consent."

Continuing his defense of rape, Brown criticized Americans for making a big deal about individual rights. "We fetishize the idea of autonomy to the extent that we forget, again who's really free? Are we really autonomous people?" In other words, since none of us are really autonomous, the difference between us and a rape victim is more contrived than real.

Brown and Georgetown would be on the front page of every newspaper in the nation if he had justified Christians enslaving and raping Muslims. It would be the lead news story of the night on television, and the Internet would explode. But because Brown was justifying slavery and rape committed by Muslims—whose real life victims are Christians and Jews—there's hardly a peep.

This is moral relativism gone off the cliff. It is a direct consequence of multiculturalism run amuck. On campuses and newsrooms across the country, the Judeo-Christian ethos and heritage has been slashed and burned beyond belief, the rubble of which is Professor Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University, and the media.


Obama-Era DOE Instructions Disregard SCOTUS Interpretation of Title IX

Is it realistic to expect an institution to “remedy the effects” of a crime committed by a third party? That is what the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work, expects schools to do, regarding rapes committed by students. Given the trauma of rape, it is hard to imagine how a school could do that.

On April 29, 2014, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) told schools they must do this in order to comply with the federal law Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in educational institutions.  In its “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,” it told schools that “imposing sanctions against the perpetrator, without additional remedies, likely will not be sufficient” to comply with Title IX (pg. 25). Instead, when responding to sexual harassment or rape committed by students, the institution must “eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.” (pg. 1, Question A-2).

These instructions from the Obama administration disregarded a Supreme Court decision interpreting Title IX, Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 648-49 (1999). There, the Supreme Court said that “Title IX imposes no such requirements” to “‘remedy’ peer harassment,” and does not even require school officials to “purg[e] their schools of actionable peer harassment,” as long as they make meaningful efforts to end it.

As Yale Law School’s Jed Rubenfeld notes in a recent article, OCR “requires schools to regulate, police, adjudicate, and punish violations ... committed by third parties, namely their students. This is privatized law enforcement” that raises serious constitutional issues. It is particularly strange, because legally, students are not even “agents” of their school, unlike a school’s “officers” or “employees.”

Even if students were akin to employees, OCR’s requirements would be overreaching.  Employers are not always expected to prevent a recurrence of harassment by their employees, much less remedy all the effects of harassment. When harassment is committed by a non-supervisory employee, the employer is only liable if it was negligent. If an employer takes action “reasonably calculated” to deter further harassment, it is not liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, even if harassment unexpectedly recurred or persisted. (See, e.g., Adler v. Wal-Mart, 164 F.3d 664 (10th Cir. 1998) (in which an appeals court ruled that an employer that disciplined most of the harassers, except one that it plausibly viewed as innocent, was not liable even though harassment unexpectedly recurred, because the employer was not negligent)).

The employer is not always even required to impose “sanctions against the perpetrator.”  For example, if the evidence is unclear about whether the accused was guilty, the employer may escape liability even if it declined to discipline that employee. (See Swenson v. Potter, 271 F.3d 1184, 1196 (9th Cir. 2001) (appeals court ruling reversing jury verdict for plaintiff because harasser’s guilt was so murky that employer’s failure to discipline him was reasonable); Knabe v. Boury Corporation, 114 F.3d 407 (3rd Cir. 1997) (appeals court ruling affirming dismissal of lawsuit over harassment where employer refused to discipline alleged harasser due to lack of corroborating witness)).

The Supreme Court has said that schools’ liability for student misconduct under Title IX is narrower than employers’ liability for employee misconduct under Title VII. In its 1999 decision in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 648-49 (1999), it noted both that a Title IX student plaintiff must show “deliberate indifference” by the school to obtain money damages, and also that Title IX  doesn’t give complainants a “right” to second-guess a school’s reasonable decisions about discipline, since there isn’t any “Title IX right” to “particular remedial demands” or “particular disciplinary action,” just because harassment has occurred:

“We stress that our conclusion here ... does not mean that recipients can avoid liability only by purging their schools of actionable peer harassment or that administrators must engage in particular disciplinary action ... the dissent erroneously imagines that victims of peer harassment now have a Title IX right to make particular remedial demands ... courts should refrain from second guessing the disciplinary decisions made by school administrators [who] must merely respond to known peer harassment in a manner that is not clearly unreasonable.”
The Education Department’s 2014 sexual harassment guidance is not the first time it stretched Title IX way beyond its proper meaning. As we previously explained, the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague letter from its Office for Civil Rights also distorted the meaning of Title IX. That letter improperly ordered colleges to restrict the appeal rights of accused students, pressured them to restrict cross-examination guaranteed at public universities by state APA laws, and forced them to investigate off-campus crimes that federal courts said colleges need not investigate or punish to comply with Title IX (See Lam v. University of Missouri (1997); Roe v. St. Louis University (2014)).

The 2014 guidance repeats these improper demands, and takes the demand for investigation of off-campus conduct even further, declaring that “Under Title IX, a school must process all complaints of sexual violence, regardless of where the conduct occurred,” and that “the mere presence on campus…of the alleged perpetrator of off-campus sexual violence” can violate Title IX by creating a “hostile environment.” (pp. 29-30).

This demand for investigations of off-campus conduct flatly contradicts a federal appeals court decision, Roe v. St. Louis University, 746 F.3d 874, 884 (8th Cir. 2014). Quoting the Supreme Court’s Davis ruling, the appeals court noted that “The Supreme Court has made it clear, however, that to be liable [under] Title IX, a University must have had control over the situation in which the harassment or rape occurs,” which is not the case for an “off campus party.”

OCR’s October 26, 2010 Dear Colleague letter about harassment and bullying also wrongly suggested to schools that they had a duty to regulate even off-campus conduct, such as speech on “the Internet.” That ignored OCR’s own past rulings that Title IX does not apply off campus, and does not require that colleges investigate off-campus conduct even when it has on-campus effects. For example, the Office for Civil Rights noted in 2004 that “a University does not have a duty under Title IX to address an incident of alleged harassment where the incident occurs off-campus and does not involve a program or activity of the recipient.” See Oklahoma State University ruling, OCR Complaint No. 06-03-2054, at pg. 2 (June 10, 2004).


International students studying in Australia reach record numbers, Education Department figures show

Figures from the federal Education Department show there were 554,179 full-fee paying international students in 2016, an increase of more than 10 per cent on the previous year.

The higher education sector had the largest share of Australia's international students, with 43 per cent.

Of those the largest numbers came from China and India.

The vocational education sector accounted for 26 per cent of international student enrolments with English Language Intensive Courses attracting 21 per cent.

The schools sector only attracted 3 per cent of the total figure.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the numbers showed the importance of attracting overseas students. "International education is now our third largest export sector generating more than $21 billion of economic activity in Australia, supporting many jobs and providing benefits to both Australian and international students," he said.

"There are real upsides in terms of the jobs that are created, the opportunities for Australian students to study alongside international students and to gain exposure to people from more than 200 different countries who are now studying in Australia."

As well as the data on enrolments, the Government has released the results of last year's International Student Survey.

The survey found 89 per cent of students were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience in Australia.


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