Sunday, April 14, 2019

College Students Push University to Cancel Class Taught by Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh has done nothing wrong.  He is the VICTIM of foul slanders

Students at George Mason University are advocating the termination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is scheduled to teach a George Mason law class in England this summer.

Kavanaugh is currently scheduled to teach the class “Creation of the Constitution” to George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School students in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was signed over 804 years ago, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Students on George Mason University’s Fairfax, Virginia, campus who say they are survivors of sexual assault are now banding together to protest Kavanaugh’s right to teach at George Mason.

“As a survivor of sexual assault, this decision has really impacted me negatively,” one female student said at a board of visitors meeting on April 3, according to The College Fix. “It has affected my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty.”

Another female student reportedly told the board: “We are fighting to eradicate sexual violence on this campus. But the hiring of Kavanaugh threatens the mental well-being of all survivors on this campus.”

Yet another female student said that Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegations make her too uncomfortable with his presence on campus. “As someone who has survived sexual assault three times, I do not feel comfortable with someone who has sexual assault allegations like walking on campus,” she said, according to The College Fix.

A petition to “Support Mason 4 Survivors #CancelKavanaughGMU” has been circulating among students and has gained more than 3,500 signatures. George Mason Democrats, a college club, approved of the petition, the Washington Post reported.

The petition is directed to the George Mason University administration and accuses the administration of “a historic amount of institutional negligence on your part to support survivors of sexual assault and the student body as a whole, which has bred a sense of mistrust and suffering within the Mason community and allies.”

The petition calls on George Mason University to “Terminate AND void ALL contracts and affiliation with Brett Kavanaugh at George Mason University.”

Students delivered the petition to the George Mason administration during a protest on April 4. The students marched around campus, some wearing blue tape on their mouths, and defaced a monument, The College Fix reported.

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera said in a March statement: I respect the views of people who disagreed with Justice Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation due to questions raised about his sexual conduct in high school. But he was confirmed and is now a sitting Justice. The law school has determined that the involvement of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice contributes to making our law program uniquely valuable for our students. And I accept their judgment.

Kavanaugh will also be joined in England by Jennifer Mascott, a George Mason assistant professor of law who formerly clerked for him and defended him when he was accused of sexual assault in 2018. “He has acted with the utmost character and integrity,” she told “PBS NewsHour.”


UK: New NUS president has said that she wanted to 'oppress white people' and have an 'Islamic takeover'

The incoming president of the National Union of Students has said that she wanted to “oppress  white people” and have an “Islamic takeover”.

Zamzam Ibrahim, 24, from Greater Manchester, also described the Government’s counter-extremism strategy as “disastrous” and “racist”.

Using the hastag #IfIWasPresident, she wrote on Twitter in 2012: “I’d oppress white people just to give them a taste of what they put us through!” She signed off the message by writing “LMFAO”, which in urban slang is short for “Laughing My F***ing Arse Off”.

Responding to questions online about what book everyone should read, she said: “The Quraan. We would have an Islamic takeover!”

In another question about friendship between men and women, she wrote: “I've had this debate with many friends! Maybe in some cases but Islamically it's incorrect for girls to be friends with a guy anyway! So I'm gonna say NO not the kind of friendship they can have with the same gender there is always boundaries.”

Ms Ibrahim, was elected as NUS president at their annual conference this week, said that her remarks should not be taken “out of context” and they were from a time when she was “struggling" with her view of the world.

She went on: “I was grappling with the deep injustices I could see around me and trying to figure out how I could make the world a better place. I said these things when I was young, impressionable and still developing my personality and opinions.”

Ms Ibrahim  will take over running the NUS from  Shakira Martin, 28,  a self-confessed former drug dealer who did not go to university and once claimed to be more radical than the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

“I have been fighting for liberation, equality and against injustice throughout my time both within and out of the student movement," Ms Ibrahim said.

“I have worked with interfaith, anti-racist and diversity organisations, bringing communities together to foster inclusivity and respect. This work will be at the heart of NUS going forward.”


Toxic American student culture of safetyism poses threats in Australia too

In 2017, a group of angry students at a liberal arts college on America’s west coast took over the school in protest, holding some administrators hostage and even denying them the freedom to use the toilet.

The students were mad about what they perceived as racism on behalf of some faculty staff. The protesters briefly occupied the president’s office to press their complaints.

In one recorded exchange, they demanded he didn’t use hand gestures when he spoke to them because they might be considered threatening. He quickly obliged.

When the story began trickling out, making national headlines, it was confirmation that something strange was taking hold on university campuses in parts of the country.

One professor at the college, Bret Weinstein, who called for open debate about the issues being raised by the students, had to stay away from campus for his own safety and move his family into hiding because they didn’t agree with that suggestion.

He has since left with a payout from the university, and has become the face of a group of educators (there is a growing list) who have been shouted down and forced out of their job by a small group of aggrieved students.

To some, as strange as it sounds, he is a martyr for reasoned debate in the face of aggressive identity politics which dictates ideas must be safe, and never harmful or offensive. This is the age of trigger warnings, safe spaces, and deplatforming those you disagree with.

Jonathan Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has had a front-row seat to what he views as a very problematic cultural shift happening on US university campuses.

“This took us all by surprise in 2014 and 2015, we could not understand what our students meant when they said they don’t feel safe, but now this is common language on our campuses,” he says.

It’s a trend he links to the use of social media among early teens, and the rise in anxiety and depression that it helps breed.

“As this more anxious generation began entering university … we found that many students were acting as though words, books and speakers were not just offensive to them but dangerous, physically dangerous. Leading to requests and demands that authorities protect them.”

Prof Haidt is heading to Australia for the first time in July, where he will be attending academic conferences and giving public talks in Sydney and Melbourne.

While few political cultures are as polarised as the United States, he suspects Australia is downwind of his country when it comes to this rise of so-called safetyism among a minority of Generation Z.

“I know these trends are beginning in Australia, although they’re not as severe as they are in the United States,” he says.

“In part I am coming as the ghost of Christmas future, warning Australians: Don’t end up like us, don’t make the mistakes that we made.

“Our democracy and our universities are in big trouble now. We have a new moral culture that gives us constant outrage and makes its much more difficult to talk openly or make jokes. I hope this doesn’t happen in Australia.”

He understands it as a combination of a new political idea often referred to as safetyism, higher rates of anxiety, and very weak leadership at the upper levels on universities.

“You put that together and you get these explosions,” he says.

Prof Haidt is well known for his work in psychology and morality as the author of popular books, The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind.

When his friend and fellow academic Greg Lukianoff came to him about five years ago worried about student behaviour, it soon became clear there was something that needed exploring.

Lukianoff had used cognitive therapy to treat his depression, and saw this group of students engaging in a way of thinking that he believed would lead them to become increasingly unhappy.

“If students are learning to think in this distorted way, if students are doing catastrophising, overgeneralising, black and white thinking, then it’s going to make them depressed,” Prof Lukianoff warned his colleague.

The pair wrote an article in The Atlantic which struck a chord and became the title of their new book: The Coddling of the American Mind — a play on the title of a 1987 book by the philosopher Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind.

The subheading for the book gives you the thrust of the problem it hopes to address: “How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure”.

While it is only a small minority of students that engage in this type of political posturing, tactics of public shaming and “callout culture” means they are often successful in silencing dissenters.

“These new moral values have incentivised a young generation to link everybody’s words to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or islamaphobia,” he says. Those who don’t tow the party line are at risk of being called out.

“If 1 per cent of people in your town are muggers and they mug 10 people a day, then everyone is going to be careful, and that is the situation we have.”

When discussing the consequences of what he sees as the erosion of robust debate on sensitive topics in the name of student protection, Prof Haidt is fond of quoting John Stuart Mill: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”


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