Thursday, April 13, 2017
CA: The silencing of Heather MacDonald by college Fascists
Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.
I was the target of such silencing tactics two days in a row last week, the more serious incident at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and a less virulent one at UCLA.
The Rose Institute for State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna had invited me to meet with students and to give a talk about my book, The War on Cops, on April 6. Several calls went out on Facebook to “shut down” this “notorious white supremacist fascist Heather Mac Donald.” A Facebook post from “we, students of color at the Claremont Colleges” announced grandiosely that “as a community, we CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform. We stand against all forms of oppression and we refuse to have Mac Donald speak.”
A Facebook event titled “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascists” encouraged students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’” (My supposed fascism consists in trying to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law-enforcement protection.)
The event organizers notified me a day before the speech that a protest was planned and that they were considering changing the venue from CMC’s Athenaeum to one with fewer glass windows and easier egress. When I arrived on campus, I was shuttled to what was in effect a safe house: a guest suite for campus visitors, with blinds drawn. I could hear the growing crowds chanting and drumming, but I could not see the auditorium that the protesters were surrounding. One female voice rose above the chants with particularly shrill hysteria. From the balcony, I saw a petite blonde female walk by, her face covered by a Palestinian head scarf and carrying an amplifier on her back for her bullhorn. A lookout was stationed about 40 yards away and students were seated on the stairway under my balcony, plotting strategy.
Since I never saw the events outside the Athenaeum, which remained the chosen venue, an excellent report from the student newspaper, the Student Life, provides details of the scene:
"The protesters, most of whom wore all black, congregated outside Honnold/Mudd Library at 4 p.m. to stage the action.
“We are here to shut down the fucking fascist,” announced an organizer to a crowd of around 100 students. The protesters subsequently marched to the Ath around 4:30 while chanting. An organizer shouted “How do you spell racist?” into a megaphone; the marchers responded “C-M-C.”
When they arrived, the protesters were greeted by around two dozen Campus Safety officers and Claremont police officers, stationed at various locations around the building. Protestors ignored the officers (who did not obstruct them) and the makeshift white fences sectioning off areas of Flamson Plaza, enveloping each of the Ath’s entrances with multiple rows of students linking arms. White students were encouraged to stand in front to form a barrier between students of color and the police.
The protesters continued their chants, including “hey hey, ho ho, Heather Mac has got to go,” “shut it down,” and—most frequent and sustained—“black lives matter.” Some of the officers appeared visibly uncomfortable during chant of “from Oakland to Greece, fuck the police.”
Keck Science professor Anthony Fucaloro pushed against and grappled with the crowd of protesters in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the door. Garrett Ryan CM ‘17 brought a large speaker to the Hub’s patio, blasting Sousa’s patriotic march “The Stars and Stripes Forever” to provoke the protesters. A woman who ran up to him managed to steal his audio cable after a brief scuffle, cutting off the music and garnering cheers from the protesters when she returned to the crowd. “It was not well-received,” Ryan told TSL.
Steven Glick PC ’17, the co-editor-in-chief of the conservative Claremont Independent publication, attempted to livestream the protest, but he was swarmed by protesters who blocked his phone.
Several administrators attended the protest and stood to the side. They told TSL that they saw their role as ensuring student safety, but they also sympathized with the protesters’ views.
“Black Lives Matter is really at my heart,” said Pomona Associate Dean Jan Collins-Eaglin.
Of all the chants, “How do you spell racist?” “C-M-C,” was the most absurd. “Racist” CMC is so desperate for “diverse” students that it has historically admitted black and Hispanic students with an average 200-point lower SAT score than white and Asian students. Such racial preferences satisfy CMC’s desire for racial virtue but set the alleged beneficiaries up for academic struggles, if not failure.
Shortly before 6 pm, I was fetched by an administrator and a few police officers to take an out-of-the-way elevator into the Athenaeum. The massive hall, where I was supposed to meet with students for dinner before my talk, was empty—the mob, by then numbering close to 300, had succeeded in preventing anyone from entering. The large plate-glass windows were covered with translucent blinds, so that from the inside one could only see a mass of indistinct bodies pounding on the windows. The administration had decided that I would live-stream my speech in the vacant room in order to preserve some semblance of the original plan. The podium was moved away from a window so that, as night fell and the lights inside came on, I would not be visible to the agitators outside.
I prefaced my speech by observing that I had heard chants for the last two hours that “black lives matter.” I therefore hoped that the protesters were equally fervent in expressing their outrage when five-year-old Aaron Shannon, Jr., was killed on Halloween 2010 in South-Central Los Angeles, while proudly showing off his Spiderman costume. A 26-year-old member of Watts’s Kitchen Crips sent a single bullet through Aaron’s head, and also shot Aaron’s uncle and grandfather. I said that I hoped the protesters also objected when nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee was lured into an alley in Chicago with the promise of candy in November 2015 and assassinated by gang enemies of Tyshawn’s father. The gangbangers’ original plan had been to cut off Tyshawn’s fingers and send them to his mother.
While Black Lives Matter protesters have in fact ignored all such mayhem, the people who have concerned themselves are the police, I said. And though it was doubtful that any of the protesters outside had ever lost a loved one to a drive-by shooting, if such a tragedy ever did happen, the first thing he or she would do is call the police.
I completed my speech to the accompaniment of chants and banging on the windows. I was able to take two questions from students via live-streaming. But by then, the administrators and police officers in the room, who had spent my talk nervously staring at the windows, decided that things were growing too unruly outside to continue. I was given the cue that the presentation was over. Walkie-talkies were used to coordinate my exit from the Athenaeum’s kitchen to the exact moment that a black, unmarked Claremont Police Department van rolled up. We passed startled students sitting on the stoop outside the kitchen. Before I entered the van, one student came up and thanked me for coming to Claremont. We sped off to the police station.
The previous night, I actually succeeded in delivering a talk on policing to the audience who had come to hear it; such heretofore ordinary circumstances are now noteworthy. My hosts, the UCLA College Republicans, had titled my presentation “Blue Lives Matter,” which campus activists viewed as an unspeakable provocation. After I finished speaking and welcomed questions, pandemonium broke out. Protesters stormed the front of the classroom, demanding control of the mike and chanting loudly: “America was never great” and “Black Lives Matter, They Matter Here,” among other insights. After nearly 10 minutes of shouting, one of the organizers managed to persuade some students to line up for questions. The College Fix paper captured the subsequent interaction:
"A black female asked whether “black victims killed by cops” mattered.
“Yes,” Mac Donald replied. “And do black children that are killed by other blacks matter to you?”
At that the room erupted in gasps and angry moans and furious snaps, and the young lady who asked the original question began to yell at Mac Donald, pointing her finger and repeating the original question. . . .
“Of course I care [that black victims are killed by cops], and do you know what,” Mac Donald said. “There is no government agency more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.”
Again, gasps and moans filled the auditorium.
“Bullshit! Bullshit!” a young woman off camera could be heard screaming. Mac Donald continued: “The crime drop of the last 20 years that came to a screeching halt in August 2014 has saved tens of thousands of minority lives. Because cops went to those neighborhoods and they got the dealers off the street and they got the gang-bangers off the street.”
Mac Donald took more questions and at times was able to articulate her points during the Q&A, but was also often interrupted by angry audience members shouting out things such as:
“I don’t trust your numbers.”
“Why do white lives always need to be put above everybody else? Can we talk about black lives for one second?”
“The same system that sent police to murder black lives . . . ”
“You have no right to speak!”
“What about white terrorism?!”
To the inevitable claim that poverty causes gun violence, I responded that if students really believed in that causation, they should be concerned that mass low-skilled immigration was driving down wages for the American poor. That provoked a new chant: “Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here.”
At 8 pm, the organizers decided to end the event, and I was hustled out of the room with a police escort.
To my knowledge, the UCLA administration has not addressed the disruption of my presentation and interaction with students. The Claremont McKenna administration did, however, respond. Two days before my speech, the director of the Rose Institute, Andrew Busch, sent out an email decrying the use of the epithet “racist” “as a bludgeon with which to shut up critics or keep friends in line.” Busch optimistically put matters in the conditional: “If we ever accept that approach we will have taken a giant step toward surrendering freedom of thought and expression”—as if intmidation via the R-word is not already routine on and off campuses. Busch graciously tried to provide a neutral summary of my views and noted that I, too, aim to protect black lives.
A few minutes after I was escorted out of the Athenaeum, a campus-wide missive from Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty Peter Uvin expressed disappointment that people could not attend the lecture, but lauded the fact that the lecture was live-streamed. Uvin, a government professor specializing in development and human rights, went on to establish his bona fides with the social-justice crowd. “I fully understand that people have strong opinions and different—often painful—experiences with the issues Heather Mac Donald discusses. I also understand that words can hurt. And in a world of unequal power, it is more often than not those who have a history of exclusion who are being hurt by words. I support everyone’s right to make this world a better one.” This may not have been the best moment to reaffirm the idea that undergirds such silencing protests: that speech can damage allegedly excluded or marginalized minorities.
The next day, CMC president Hiram Chodosh, a former international law professor, weighed in. He explained the failure to intervene against the protesters: “Based on the judgment of the Claremont Police Department, we jointly concluded that any forced interventions or arrests would have created unsafe conditions for students, faculty, staff, and guests. I take full responsibility for the decision to err on the side of these overriding safety considerations.” Chodosh said that students who violated school policies by blocking access to buildings would be held accountable.
College May Punish Students Who Disrupted Conservative’s Speech
Claremont McKenna College officials have announced possible repercussions for students who protested a conservative speaker’s speech last week.
Protesters successfully blocked students and professors from entering an on-campus building to hear Heather Mac Donald’s pro-police speech, as reported by The Daily Signal last Friday. Mac Donald is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.
In response, Hiram Chodosh, the president of Claremont McKenna College, or CMC, released a statement Friday, saying, “Blocking access to buildings violates College policy. CMC students who are found to have violated policies will be held accountable.”
Joann Young, director of media relations for CMC, elaborated on Chodosh’s statement, telling The College Fix in an email that students could face a variety of repercussions, including “temporary or permanent separation from the college.”
Steven Glick, a senior at Pomona College, one of the five undergraduate institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges alongside CMC, covered the protests as editor-in-chief of The Claremont Independent, an “independent journal of campus affairs and political thought” that is dedicated to “upholding truth and excellence at the Claremont Colleges,” according to its website. The publication receives no school funding.
“I wasn’t able to speak with many of the protesters and about what they were doing,” Glick said. “Several protesters prevented me from conducting interviews by pushing me, putting their hands and clothing in front of the camera, and shouting over anyone who did try to talk to me. Another correspondent from The [Claremont] Independent was threatened with physical violence while he attempted to interview protesters.”
Glick’s interactions with protesters were shared on The Claremont Independent’s Facebook page through Facebook Live.
Glick said it was evident many protesters “had no clue what was going on.”
“They chanted about Palestine for quite a while, which had nothing to do with Heather Mac Donald’s planned lecture,” Glick said. “It seems that protesters simply viewed Ms. Mac Donald as an opponent of progressivism, and felt it apt to chant about any progressive cause they could think of.”
Since CMC is one of eight institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges, many of the protesters were not students of CMC, and some, according to Glick, were not students at all. “Some of the protesters were middle-aged people who were clearly just there to help organize the protest,” Glick said.
When asked how students have responded to the protest, Glick said, “I get the sense that most students were disappointed that the protests led to the cancellation of the event, whether they agreed with Heather Mac Donald or not.”
As The Daily Signal previously reported, Peter Uvin, vice president of academic affairs for Claremont McKenna College, said in an email to students after the incident that he understands that “words hurt” and “people have strong opinions and different—often painful—experiences with the issues Heather Mac Donald discusses.”
Uvin went on to add that he “could not accept” students’ attempts “to make it impossible for her to speak, for you to listen, and for all of us to debate.”
In reaction to the administration’s response, Glick said: "The CMC administration should have had a bigger presence at the protest and told the students what consequences, if any, they would face for their actions. By remaining largely absent from the scene, they effectively gave the protesters a free pass".
Australia urged to use phonics in reading strategy as British schools minister tours country
Amazing that this is still controversial. All the studies show that phonics is a big help
British schools minister Nick Gibb is urging Australia to embrace phonics as part of a national strategy to help children read.
He is here to meet educators, teachers and politicians as the Turnbull Government moves to introduce literacy screening in Year 1 across the country.
Mr Gibb has toured a specialist literacy laboratory at Macquarie University in Sydney ahead of a meeting with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham in Adelaide later this week.
Seven years ago, the UK Government embraced the explicit method of instruction known as phonics at a national level amid concerning national statistics.
Mr Gibb is responsible for English schools.
"We were worried that one in three primary school students were still struggling with reading, the basic building blocks of an education," Mr Gibb said.
"We wanted to make sure that schools were using systematic synthetic phonics in the way they taught children to read, because all the evidence from around the world showed that was the most effective way of teaching children to read.
"So we introduced this very simple check: children reading to their own teacher 40 simple words to make sure they were on track for Year 1 readers."
The idea is being considered by Mr Birmingham, who has appointed an expert advisory panel to give advice.
Phonics highly political in UK amid 'reading wars'
Mr Gibb's tour is being hosted by the conservative think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, which wants Australia to follow the UK example of more explicit instruction in schools.
The so-called reading wars have raged in the UK for more than half a century, and the phonics debate is highly political. The Conservative Government's schools reforms have been controversial.
There is also debate in Australia over the best way to teach reading to children, and while phonics is part of the teaching methods employed, critics say it is mechanical and does not help with comprehension.
Anne Castles is the deputy director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.
The Macquarie University-based centre runs a reading clinic that examines children's cognition.
"The evidence is that a really key part of learning to read is learning the links between letters and sounds — what we might call phonics," Professor Castles said. "And what that allows a child to do is go from those unfamiliar squiggles on a page to the knowledge in their head, because they can sound a word out and get to its pronunciation.
"That's really important for getting children started in reading. It's not the only part of reading instruction, but it's a really important key part and lots of the research tells us that."
Calls for national conversation on phonics
Professor Castles said she supported moves towards more explicit instruction in our classrooms and said a national conversation about how reading is taught would be productive.
"Phonics is certainly not the only thing we should teach in teaching reading," Professor Castles said. "The controversy I think is because some people think that's what's being proposed.
"It's just one very small part of reading instruction, but it's a very important foundational part because that's what gets children on the path to reading independently."
Mr Birmingham's expert advisory panel is due to deliver its report by the end of April.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:55 AM