Friday, April 07, 2017
Hungary’s attack on Soros-backed university
It's in Budapest but has its credentials from New York, deliberately avoiding Hungarian government regulation. It is a big source of anti-government and Leftist agitation
An authoritarian nationalist regime in Hungary is threatening a renowned international university in Budapest. Legislation introduced last week by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban would fundamentally alter the legal status of Central European University and could force it to shut down or leave the country.
As CEU’s president for seven years until last summer, I marvel at what the university has become. In just 25 years since its founding, the university has grown into a bastion of free inquiry and an engine of opportunity for its 14,000 alumni in countries around the world, most of whom are the first members of their families and communities to achieve graduate-level education.
The university was created in 1991 to rekindle academic freedom in Central and Eastern Europe after decades of totalitarian suppression. It has focused on the social sciences and humanities, whose deep intellectual traditions and creative contributions in the region were badly twisted by fascism and communism.
CEU today is uniquely international. Its 1,600 masters and doctoral students come from 107 countries, with no dominant nationality. Its international faculty is drawn from 30 countries and the most prominent universities in Europe and the United States. Its students are competitively selected from across the globe, and it gives scholarships to 90 percent of its students.
In a very short period, the university has reached a level of excellence that places it near the top of international graduate education. The Times Higher Education review ranks the university’s international and political studies programs among the best 50 in the world. It has been awarded the highest number and largest amount of external competitive research grants of any university in Eastern Europe, and among the top five in all of Europe.
Ironically, by attacking CEU, the Hungarian government is undermining a major contributor to academic and economic life in Hungary. There is no arguing with the numbers. The university receives no funding from the Hungarian government, but contributes millions annually in employment, services, and taxes to the Hungarian economy. The university’s largest national group of students is from Hungary, and they receive more than 200 scholarships each year. Forty percent of the faculty and much of the staff is Hungarian, and leading Hungarian academics are attracted from abroad to return to their country to teach at CEU.
The international university has close ties with other Hungarian universities and the cultural community of Budapest. Last year it completed construction of a $37 million campus in downtown Budapest, further cementing its commitment to Hungary.
Why, then, has Viktor Orban decided to attack the university? The short answer is politics. Elections will be held in Hungary in 2018, and Orban’s self-proclaimed “illiberal democracy” needs a “liberal” bogeyman to be this year’s political target of its authoritarian nationalism.
CEU was founded with a generous grant from George Soros. The Hungarian government, having previously focused its political attacks and crippling regulatory restrictions on fleeing refugees, independent courts, and free media, is now aiming at Soros and the civil society organizations he has supported to advance democratic open societies.
On Friday, the Hungarian prime minister took a page out of Donald Trump’s protectionist playbook, accusing CEU of “cheating” by unfairly competing with Hungarian universities and issuing “fake” degrees without the authority of an international agreement between Hungary and the United States. Orban’s accusation is false. The university is operating under a formal agreement signed in 2004 between then Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy and Governor George Pataki of New York state, where the university is chartered in the United States.
In response to the Hungarian government’s attack on CEU, the US State Department on Friday issued a statement opposing “new, targeted, and onerous regulatory requirements” that would “negatively affect or even lead to the closure” of the university, which has “strengthened Hungary’s influence and leadership in the region through its academic excellence and many contributions to independent, critical thinking.”
The Northwestern University Rape Outbreak That Wasn't
Campus feminists whipped up a Category-5 frenzy over sexual assault allegations at a Northwestern University fraternity in February. But last week, the school's Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin was forced to muster up her best impression of "Saturday Night Live's" classic foot-in-mouther, Emily Litella.
Picture Telles-Irvin squinting and grimacing sheepishly as she wrote an update on her breathless bulletin "that four female students attending an event at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house were possibly given a date-rape drug, and two of these students believed they were sexually assaulted."
Before I reveal the substance of her update, let me note that shrieking protests ensued after that initial alert. Tears flowed. Demands escalated. Northwestern's student government association called for SAE's suspension. The Chicago Tribune's headline on the brouhaha screamed "crisis." The Chicago Sun-Times' headline blared that "nerves are raw." Local TV stations spread panic over "date rape drugs." On behalf of the university, Telles-Irvin condemned "any such conduct in the strongest possible terms." The school offered support for "survivors."
But the hysteria was all based on anonymous phone calls. There were no actual victims, no witnesses and no physical evidence or electronic evidence or any other kind of evidence that any such an event involving any such women ingesting any such drugs or suffering any such sexual assaults ever occurred.
It was left to Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis, author of the new book, "Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus," to publicly caution against premature witch hunts. (Kipnis was the target herself of a social justice mob inquisition after penning an irreverent essay assailing oppressive campus sexual behavior codes, Title IX litigation run amok and "infantilized" student snowflakes.)
"If we've learned anything from the unraveling of Rolling Stone's now-retracted story about an alleged rape and cover-up at a University of Virginia frat a couple of years ago, it's that we need to slow down the rush to judgment until we're in possession of sufficient verifiable information to form solid conclusions," Kipnis warned eight weeks ago.
"If we fail to do that, we're guilty of what the commission that later investigated the Rolling Stone story excoriated as 'confirmation bias' — that is, forming conclusions in advance of the facts to justify our biases," she added. "I certainly hope we get updates as the investigation continues," she concluded, "but leaping to action — especially in the absence of verified (or perhaps even verifiable) complaints — is at best a failure of due process, and at worst vigilantism."
Indeed, as K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. document in "The Campus Rape Frenzy," the federal government and virtually all colleges and universities have "mounted a systematic attack on bedrock American principles including the presumption of innocence, access to exculpatory evidence, the right to cross-examine one's accuser, and due process" in the name of eradicating "rape culture."
Unfortunately, Kipnis is in the minuscule minority of the sane and responsible at Northwestern. When one brave student senator, who is an SAE fraternity member, stood up for the "rights of the accused" during debate over a resolution to condemn the "pervasive culture of sexual misconduct" on campus, he was chastised for his "privilege" and castigated for "victim-blaming."
And now for the denouement.
After a "prompt and thorough" investigation, Patricia Telles-Irvin revealed last week, "(n)o disciplinary action or further investigative action related to the reports of sexual misconduct will be taken at this time." Did investigators ever track down the anonymous callers who leveled the allegations that smeared the fraternity's rep and convicted its members in the court of public opinion? Will false accusers ever be held accountable? We'll never know. The case of the Northwestern rape outbreak that never happened is closed. Poof!
Now, instead of admitting the whole thing was a hoax, Northwestern is scouring the targeted fraternity for "other potential violations" of campus codes to justify putting them through hell in the first place. Victimized again.
Why any mom would pay to send their son into this anti-male maelstrom is beyond me. I'd ask famous Hollywood lefty Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose son plays basketball at Northwestern (and is an SAE member, I'm told), what she thinks of toxic "rape culture" zealots targeting innocent men on campus. But she's apparently too busy modeling her militant feminist pussyhat on Instagram to take notice.
Happily never after: 'Gender bias' fairytales facing the chop in one Australian State
"Children as young as four years old can show signs of sexist behaviour". They sure can. But it is inborn. Even mothers of toddlers will often refer to their son as "my little man" -- indicating a recognition of sex-specific behaviour even at that young age.
Much loved fairytales and toys are at risk of being chopped from Victoria’s public schools after they were accused of promoting gender stereotypes.
The Respectful Relationship program wants the likes of Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel analysed and compared to modern stories that challenge gender norms.
The program argues that traditional tales can create unrealistic standards as well as a "sense of entitlement in boys and lower self-esteem in girls".
Children are set to play a decisive role in what gets the chop too, acting as "fairytale detectives" to compare the roles of male and female characters in their favourite stories.
It’s a message that is set to go begging on the young audience, according to one Melbourne teacher. "I would rather be teaching them how to read, write and count," the teacher told News Corp. "We really don’t need to crowd out the curriculum with this social engineering."
The controversial program, which claims children as young as four years old can show signs of sexist behaviour, was introduced on the advice of the royal commission in to family violence.
"Men are supposed to be strong and brave and women are supposed to be beautiful and need rescuing by men," children are taught according to the study.
"If a man or woman does not fit this description, they are usually made out to be the ‘baddies’ or the villain — like a witch or an evil prince."
The program also encourages discussion of "gender bias statements" such as "good morning, princess", "boys don’t cry" and "girls can’t play with trucks".
The concept has so far been met with heavy criticism, with many insisting it is unethical to subject children to such political discussion at such a young age.
"My concern as an educator is, there is no real balance in the program. It is pushing a cultural left argument," Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr Kevin Donnelly said.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:57 AM