Saturday, March 27, 2021

Biden Threatens to Revive Kangaroo Courts in College Sexual Assault Cases

In 2016, Purdue University imposed a one-year suspension on a student accused of sexual assault, forcing him to resign from ROTC and ending his plans for a Navy career. The process that led to those results, Amy Coney Barrett concluded in a 2019 opinion for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, "fell short of what even a high school must provide to a student facing a days-long suspension."

The adjudication procedures that Barrett, now a Supreme Court justice, described as "fundamentally unfair" grew out of Obama administration guidelines that the Trump administration rescinded and replaced with regulations aimed at restoring some semblance of due process. President Joe Biden is now threatening to revive the earlier policy, which encouraged universities to presume the guilt of students charged with sexual misconduct.

The Purdue student, identified as "John Doe" in court documents, began dating "Jane Doe" in 2015. According to John, Jane's behavior became increasingly erratic, culminating in a suicide attempt he witnessed that December.

The couple broke up in January 2016, after John tried to get Jane help by reporting her suicide attempt to two resident assistants and an adviser. Three months later, Jane alleged that John had sexually assaulted her twice.

Although Jane never filed a formal complaint and never testified about the alleged assaults, the university pursued the case on her behalf. John first heard about the allegations when he received a letter from Purdue's dean of students.

At that point, Barrett noted, "John was suspended from the Navy ROTC, banned from all buildings where Jane had classes, and barred from eating in his usual dining hall because Jane also used it." John denied Jane's accusations, citing her continued friendly texts with him after the alleged incidents, offering countervailing testimony, and suggesting that Jane was angry with him because he reported her attempted suicide.

But John never really got a chance to defend himself. University officials, who falsely claimed he had confessed, refused to let him see the details of the charges against him, and they deemed Jane credible without talking to her in person.

Two members of the three-person committee charged with deciding John's fate admitted they had not even bothered to read the investigative report. John was not allowed to present witnesses or question Jane.

The Obama administration promoted such patently unfair procedures by warning universities that safeguards aimed at protecting the rights of accused students could mean trouble under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. In a 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter, the Department of Education told universities to adopt a weak standard of proof in sexual misconduct cases, "strongly" discouraged cross-examination of complainants and required schools that allow appeals to let accusers challenge decisions rejecting their charges.

That advice, coupled with subsequent guidance and intensified enforcement, led to a surge in state and federal lawsuits by students like John Doe, who argued that public universities like Purdue were violating the constitutional right to due process or that private universities like Yale were flouting their contractual obligations. A 2019 review in the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy identified more than 500 such cases, noting that "colleges have more often than not been on the losing side."

In 2017, recognizing the threat to due process, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos withdrew her department's 2011 guidance. In 2020, she issued new regulations that protect the right to cross-examination, allow colleges to raise their standard of proof and prohibit the practice of charging the same official with investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating sexual assault claims.

This month Biden, who played a key role in the 2011 guidance as Barack Obama's vice president, ordered the Education Department to consider "suspending, revising, or rescinding" DeVos' reforms. While critics such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., consider the 2020 regulations "outrageous," the real outrage is the kangaroo courts that universities created under federal pressure.


Addressing Masculinity in Higher Ed

As a lecturer in the humanities, I have had the privilege and challenge of moderating discussions of controversial topics, often based on literary texts. Over the past two years, the number of students self-censoring or not speaking when a topic is seen as “not for them” has increased dramatically. Instead, many of them visit during office hours or write in course feedback to express their concerns about their ability to engage in their own education. In most of these cases, these students are male.

During a class on Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, for example, the discussion moved away from its historical context to what The Second Sex means today and what it has done for feminism. I then noticed that the few men in the class stayed silent unless directly called upon. One female student brought up “mansplaining,” after which none of the men participated in the discussion.

As the professor, I invited them to speak. After some awkward silence and hesitation, one male student, a stellar athlete with a less-stellar academic record, who had been “manspreading” and tensely chewing his pencil, broke down and blurted out that he couldn’t help mansplaining.

He knew he shouldn’t do it but felt that others would think he was dumb if he didn’t. He said he was embarrassed about his intelligence, felt insecure, and was afraid of what others—especially other men—would think of him. He apologized and sat there, waiting for judgment.

This was a memorable teaching moment, precisely because I could see the way in which this student’s vulnerability affected everyone, especially the female student who was the most vocal—and most shortsighted—about the issue. The others acknowledged him and admitted that they all experience moments of insecurity. Once given a chance to express himself, and not be shamed for it, the student relaxed, sat up straighter, and said he felt seen. The discussions henceforth were more collaborative and charitable. The young man in this class wasn’t the problem—the problem was the attitude of those around him.

The idea that we have “failed young men” can provoke anxious defensive reactions from critics afraid that it represents a Trojan horse for silencing marginalized students and shifting the focus back to male students, who are presented as the victims of a new, dominant attitude.

Yet when that defensive reaction happens, especially within academe, we lose sight of the fact that an egalitarian society needs to address all of its members. Denying men, including white men, the right to participate constructively in debates about gender, race, and sexuality creates shame around their identity and frustration that is alienating and ripe for exploitation. The fight is one for dialogue, and most importantly, for listening. Differences of opinion that result in disagreement and discussion are a necessary part of keeping students engaged, rather than passive and angry.

Rewarding and creating space for constructive listening is key.

The young men in my class held back their opinions on a topic they did not have first-hand experience of (that of being a woman in the world). When invited, they expressed their fear, and, in turn, the women in the class listened to them. Both sides left the discussion with a little more compassion for each other and a lot more nuance than what they had walked in with. This fear has been mounting in the last few years I have been teaching.

Previously, personal politics were less of an issue—classrooms were places of discussion where the text was at the center, rather than the speaker. In more intimate groups, it was easier to create enough trust where everyone spoke their mind. In larger groups, there has always been a tension between the young men who overwhelm the discussion and those young men who feel like it is not their place to speak “out of line.”

The increasingly toxic and exclusive intellectual climate in universities is perpetuated among students. Yet much of what happens in the classroom is downstream of what happens in campus culture, and administrations respond in kind (perhaps excessively so, to the detriment of those they are trying to protect). Systemic change of gender relations is critical, but it cannot occur when half of the student population feels they cannot participate in the debate.

That said, patriarchy—a system in which men have the upper hand—still exists. The majority of sexual assaults on campuses are committed by men. Men, anecdotally, overwhelm the conversations, if only because they are taught to be more assertive in their communication, and see this modeled in the fact that the majority of tenured professors are men. But it has been my experience that all of them want to be good students, good men, and good humans.

Some institutions are addressing this issue head-on. Men’s groups such as Evryman and The Good Men Project (places where men can meet and share emotions, not to be confused with men’s rights groups, which are toxic and extremely volatile) are popping up in various forms, indicating that there is a thirst for a certain kind of male bonding and leadership that young men aren’t getting.

As helpful as it is for men to be able to share and offload with their female friends, partners, and colleagues, doing so contributes both to the emotional labor that women bear and the belief that men are not safe from ridicule in front of other men.

Providing groups for young men with wise, calm, and mature leadership is a necessary step toward a healthy society. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Men and Masculinities Center, for example, provides support, resources, and educational sanctions for men in a pro-feminist and collaborative way. Many men have not been taught how to trust other men or hold space for them in an emotionally vulnerable way. It is not the job of universities to help young men find this sort of mentorship, or replace father figures, though often this sort of dynamic can be found when male students flock to older male faculty members. It is, however, the job of faculty to discern when discussions move away from the logic of argumentation and into ideology that hurts everyone.

Several studies have been devoted to providing concrete, actionable developmental strategies and pedagogical tools. Authors of one study demonstrate that ignoring the difficulties men face when adhering to their gender roles serves to reify systematic patriarchy: turning the discussion toward “underrepresented” voices cannot mean shutting these young men out.

Knowing how to engage men in conversations on masculinity and feminism matters because silence doesn’t mean students stop thinking. If viewpoints are taboo, colleges push difficult discussions underground. Young men then lack a moderator and leadership figure, are encouraged to feel that their views are “forbidden,” and stoke the fires of indignation before they even enter university.

Young men need an example of male leadership that “buys in” to the concerns of women and marginalized groups. Male vulnerability should be acceptable and admirable, and honest, open conversations in higher ed can model it.

The question should not be how to move the conversation away from male voices to female ones, but how to frame a conversation in which everyone has a chance at the mic. The “sit down and shut up” method pushes “forbidden” discourse underground.

Universities need to find a way to reward listening as well as talking, and to re-invite men into the conversation. Lecturers must learn to moderate in a way that creates difficult discussions for everyone involved. Involving all students and welcoming their views so long as they engage in open debate, gives students a true education without demanding ideological conformity.


A Huge Victory For Education In West Virginia

As a public finance economist, I’m a huge fan of fiscal reforms such as a spending cap or a flat tax.

But, if asked to pick the reform that would have the biggest positive impact for the United States, I’d be very tempted to pick school choice.

Largely because of the pernicious effect of teacher unions, government schools are doing a poor job of educating children. Especially considering the record amounts of money that’s being dumped into the system.

Which is why I’m very excited that we’re about to see a massive expansion of school choice in West Virginia.

The state legislature has enacted and the governor is expected to sign (fingers crossed!) legislation creating education savings accounts (ESAs) providing $4,600 per child.

These accounts, called Hope Scholarships, will be available to all families with kids in government schools (and every single new kindergarten student). Parents then can use the funds for private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, and a range of other approved items.

The state’s leading think tank, the Cardinal Institute, has a primer on the issue.

ESAs allow parents to apply for eligible students to receive the state portion of education funds into a personal, parent-controlled account. Parents are then empowered to customize an education experience that meets the individual needs of their child, using their account to pay for approved services like tuition, therapy, tutoring, textbooks, and more. …the bill would extend ESAs to students who are enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school… parents will only be able to purchase approved items and services. This makes ESAs as—if not more—transparent than any other form of education spending.

…The key aspect that distinguishes ESAs from vouchers is parent control and customization. Instead of the state sending funds directly from the state to a specific private school, the state instead deposits funds into a parent-controlled account. These funds can then be spent on wide array of approved education services, not only tuition

Corey DeAngelis and Neal McCluskey address some of the hot-button issues in an article for Reason.

West Virginia’s public schools spend an average of $12,644 per child per year, while the estimated amount of funding that would follow the child under HB 2013 would be about $4,600. If the legislation becomes law, public schools would keep large amounts of funding for children even after they left, meaning they would end up with more money per child.

…choice opponents in the state also are claiming that $4,600 is too low to cover private school tuition. But do those same people oppose Pell Grants just because they don’t cover the full cost of attending many universities? …And $4,600 would actually go a long way in West Virginia as the average private school tuition in the state is just $6,068 and the average elementary school cost is $4,890. …The worst thing about anti-school choice myths is that they disproportionately prevent the least advantaged from access to much-needed education options.

Amen to the last point.

School choice should be the civil rights issue of the 21st century since black and brown kids are the biggest victims of the government school monopoly.

I’ll close by observing that teacher unions traditionally have done a very good job of protecting their monopoly. Every time I think a state is poised to make progress on school choice (most recently in Pennsylvania and Colorado), the unions dump tons of money into campaigns so they can maintain their privileges.

Assuming West Virginia’s Republican governor, Jim Justice, doesn’t betray children by unexpectedly vetoing the legislation, the union win streak will have ended.

P.S. There’s international evidence from Sweden, Chile, Canada, and the Netherlands, all of which shows superior results when competition replaces government education monopolies.


Australia: Outrage as young boys are forced to stand in school assembly and 'apologise for rapes committed by their gender' to female classmates

It's a basic principle of natural justice that you are not responsible for the deeds of others

A school has sparked outrage by forcing its young male students to apologise on behalf of their gender to female classmates.

Brauer College in the south-western Victorian town of Warrnambool held an assembly on Wednesday where boys were told to stand up in a symbolic gesture of apology to girls and women.

One parent said her son in Year 7 was left confused about why he had to stage the bizarre apology, where boys were told to say sorry that women are raped and sexually assaulted.

'He said that he was made to stand up and basically apologise... it wasn’t explained properly to the male students what they were doing or why they were doing it,' the mother Danielle Shephard told 7News.

'They really should have made more of an effort to notify the parents.'

In a separate post on Facebook, Ms Shepherd shared another complaint from a parent who called the assembly 'a joke'.

'Wow just wow... this is actually disgusting Brauer College... not at all impressed that you made my son apologise for something he's never done nor considered doing,' she wrote.

A male student also criticised the assembly in a Snapchat post. 'Today at Brauer they made every guy stand up and apologise to every girl for rape, sexual assault,' the student said. 'Guys go through as much s**t as girls do.'

Brauer College Principal Jane Boyle said the apology part of the assembly was 'inappropriate' but defended the school's intentions.

'The assembly included the screening of a video message by Brisbane Boys’ College Captain Mason Black about being proactive in stopping incidents of sexual assault and harassment,' she said in a statement.

'As part of this discussion boys were asked to stand as a symbolic gesture of apology for the behaviours of their gender that have hurt or offended girls and women.

'In retrospect, while well-intended, we recognise that this part of the assembly was inappropriate.'

One mother said on Facebook their son had told her the exercise was simply intended to 'raise awareness'.

'My son explained they stood not to apologise, but to stand in support and solidarity,' another parent wrote.

'You'll find all schools will be teaching consent over the next year - Braeur won't be the only one.'

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino has since moved to make teaching consent compulsory in all government schools from next month.

The initiative previously did not explicitly direct schools to teach consent and instead focused on relationships, sexuality and safety.

From term two, the directive will compel state schools to teach the government's Respectful Relationships training on free agreements.

Brisbane Boys' College is another of several schools in Australia that has been named in testimonies from private and public school girls who say they were either sexually assaulted, harassed or raped.

Thousands of schoolgirls shared their experiences after Kambala School alumni Chanel Contos, 22, launched a petition on February 18, demanding students be taught about consent.




Friday, March 26, 2021

How Equality Act Could Become Classroom Bully With Biased, Unscientific Curriculum

The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings Wednesday on the so-called Equality Act, a piece of legislation unparalleled in its hostility to religious liberty and that elevates sexual orientation and gender identity to protected-class status alongside race, sex, and national origin in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Equality Act also expands the definition of “public accommodation” under federal law, and recipients of any federal funding—such as schools—would be directly affected by the act if it becomes law. It has already passed the House of Representatives.

Plenty of ink has been spilled on the disastrous consequences the Equality Act would have on the administration of school sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms.

But what of the curriculum the Equality Act might force schools to teach? Could it compel teachers to peddle unscientific notions that gender is “fluid,” or that a student’s subjective self-identity is superior to the biological reality of his or her chromosomal makeup?

Unfortunately, due to some legal sleight of hand, the answer is very likely “yes.”

As a general matter, the federal government is prohibited from meddling with school curriculums, something better left to local and state education associations as part of the 10th Amendment’s assurance that the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states.

The federal Department of Education Organization Act states:

No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system … except to the extent authorized by law.

However, federal courts have recognized that in certain circumstances, federal involvement in education is warranted. To remedy past segregation, for example, some federal courts have required schools to remove educational materials considered racially biased, or to expand curricula to include black history. Both are reasonable means to meet the congressional goal of eliminating discrimination against blacks as articulated in the Civil Rights Act.

Those cases stem from a body of law focused on “equity jurisdiction.” Under this principle, once the legal right of an individual (or class of individuals) and a violation of that right have been proven, a federal court’s power to remedy past wrongs is quite broad.

It can include (and has included) changes to curriculums and teaching materials in order to eliminate both actual (“de facto”) and legal (“de jure”) segregation of school students.

In United States v. School District 151 (1968), a federal district court concluded it had the power to decide all issues concerning alleged discrimination in public education, including school board policies, the allocation of faculty and staff, the location and construction of schools, the transportation of students, and the general educational structure and process.

In order to remedy ongoing discrimination, another federal district court judge in Hoots v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2000) “ordered that remedies for the constitutional violation proceed along several fronts … [and] ordered a comprehensive redesign of curriculum and testing, so that the curriculum would be appropriate for heterogeneous, multicultural, detracked classrooms and that the effectiveness of [the] redesigned curriculum would be carefully monitored through proper assessments.”

While—thus far—federal courts have yet to flex their “equity” muscle within the context of LGBTQ students and rectifying ongoing discrimination, the Equality Act would amend Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to give sexual orientation and gender identity the same legal protections as immutable characteristics like race, sex, or national origin. Those have been historically recognized as nothing more than due to an accident of birth, and therefore deserving of heightened protection and stricter analysis.

Now substitute the words “gender identity” for “race,” and there’s nothing to prevent a court from ordering the same kind of equitable remedy—curricular or otherwise—with respect to what a student might argue is a discriminatory educational setting.

Neutral education policies don’t always cut it, either. In Adams v. United States (1980), the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc held that a “racially neutral” assignment plan proposed by school authorities was inadequate, because it failed to “counteract the continuing effects of past school segregation.”

Organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign have cleverly drawn unflinching parallels between LGBTQ and black youths, using the buzzwords of American jurisprudence on anti-discrimination law, likening the struggle of pre-Civil Rights Act segregated blacks to LGBTQ individuals who are themselves segregated and denied equal protection under the law.

In so doing, they’ve teed up a post-Equality Act legal challenge for students whose educational environment isn’t sufficiently desegregated. (That is, it still teaches the “discriminatory” scientific notion that male and female are unchanging biological distinctions.)

In a pre-Equality Act era, educational dissenters—who, like millions of Americans holding faiths that dictate a gender binary and heterosexual marriage as a societal ideal—would have had the right to object to forced action or offensive curriculum pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Indeed, Congress expressly applied the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to all federal law, statutory or otherwise, whether adopted before or after its enactment—including all laws governing education programs, such as Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and the Higher Education Act.

However, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act contains a critical exception: It does not apply if the statute explicitly excludes its application.

As is all too evident now, the Democratic drafters of the Equality Act took careful measures to make sure that under the bill, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could not be used as a shield by the millions of individuals—whether teachers, students, parents, or school administrators—holding sincere objections of conscience based on their religious beliefs.

How about religious schools? Surely, students in parochial schools won’t be subjected to dogma eliminating any recognition of male and female, right?

Wrong again. The Equality Act could very well steamroll propaganda touting the political agenda of sexual orientation and gender identity advocates through the schoolhouse doors if the religious schools accept any funding under federal law.

Take, for example, free and reduced-price lunch programs for low-income students, or admission of students on federally funded scholarships according to Title VI.

Therein lies another Equality Act “gotcha.”

Liberal University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock (in whose class I once sat) has recognized the breathlessly slim religious liberty exemptions that could still be maintained by religious schools post-Equality Act:

Schools would still have the ministerial exception … which should protect them with respect to teachers teaching a religion class, or leading chapel services, but courts have generally held that other teachers are not ministers for purposes of the exception.

Think a federalized sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum would be too hard to implement?

Arne Duncan, secretary of education under President Barack Obama, used a carrot-and-stick funding approach to incentivize states to adopt the Common Core state standards and oversaw development of two testing consortia to assess whether uniform standards were being met. The result? Equivalent teaching geared toward the same outcomes across the country.

The Equality Act doesn’t just rewrite the entire canon of American law on discrimination. It takes a swing at long-standing protections for religious liberty and local control of education.

Just like the bully it is.


Grammar school head issues 'unequivocal apology' and suspends 'RE teacher who showed class Prophet Muhammad cartoon'

The headteacher of a grammar school which suspended a teacher who allegedly showed a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on blasphemy issued a grovelling apology today.

Dozens of furious Muslim parents protested outside the historic Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire for seven hours today and chanted 'shame on you' as they called for the teacher to be sacked.

A West Yorkshire Police officer read out an apology to mothers and fathers from headteacher Gary Kibble, but this provoked even more fury from those gathered as they called the teacher a 'danger'.

Parents have claimed that the teacher, who the school have not named, showed students a cartoon of the Prophet during a religious education class - and had predicted he would face a controversial reaction.

In posts to Facebook, the teacher is said to have accepted that pupils at the co-educational free school would tell their parents about the image before then displaying the cartoon to the class.

An angry crowd first gathered outside the grammar school at 7.30am today, causing the establishment to delay its opening and tell pupils to stay home amid chaotic scenes at the gates.

The parents were still protesting at lunchtime, as police began threatening them with Covid-19 fines and shut a road in both directions. Police later said there were no arrests or fines issued.

It took until 2.30pm for the demonstration to be cleared by police, a spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police confirmed. MailOnline has asked the school a series of questions, including about what images were shown.

Mr Kibble, headteacher of the school founded in 1612 by the Reverend William Lee, said the RE teacher has been suspended, and went on to issue a 'sincere' and 'unequivocal' apology. He called the image 'totally inappropriate' and said the school had 'immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course'.

In a televised statement, he added: 'It is important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs, but this must be done in a respectful, sensitive way. The school is working closely with our governing body and community leaders to help us resolve this situation, and we continue to do so.'

The RE teacher, who lives with his partner a short distance from the school, was not home today and his car was not parked at the property.

A neighbour told MailOnline: 'He's a nice man. I see him go off to school, but not today or the day before.'

He was described by another neighbour as a 'local lad' who studied close to home and decided to teach in the area he was born and raised.

The neighbour said: 'He's a good, honest Yorkshire lad. Likes his rugby and always had a smile for us.'


Silenced by the Sheep: Academia’s New Censorship

The nation’s cultural elites have been gripped by an intense wave of moral panic since the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol. That panic has found expression in higher education in renewed efforts to curtail the speech rights and academic freedoms of the already near-extinct members of the campus community who dissent against woke orthodoxies.

Attempts by activist faculty at Stanford University to curtail the independence of scholars at the Hoover Institution, for instance, reflect this new sense of empowerment. Clearly, the academic left has taken on a mission to eliminate all conservative and classical liberal critique, now described as “mob intimidation,” “harassment,” and “incitement.”

In a new report, titled The New Censorship in American Higher Education: Insights from Portland State University, the Oregon Association of Scholars, the state chapter of the National Association of Scholars, traces the emergence of this “New Censorship” at Portland State University, one of Oregon’s three major research universities.

What should concern Americans about New Censorship, the report argues, is its explicit attempt to redistribute basic freedoms of speech and publication on the basis of “anti-racist” credentials. (And it extends well beyond higher education.) Portland State President Dr. Stephen Percy refers to this policy shift approvingly as a “new status quo” in which fundamental liberties and one’s status before the law are determined by one’s professed zeal for anti-racist activism.

Similar rumblings have been heard in American higher education since the first wave of moral outrage took hold of the academy following the death of George Floyd in May 2020. This is evident, for instance, in the proposal by radical faculty at Princeton for a new commissariat to seek out and crush any research deemed “racist.”

Perhaps one of the few benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has imposed a “digital transparency” on many events that previously took place in secret and now can be recorded using conferencing technology such as Zoom. This is the case with a March 1, 2021 meeting of the Portland State faculty senate, at which an egregious example of the New Censorship occurred. [Editor’s note: The recording of the faculty senate meeting has been removed from Youtube after Portland State officials complained.] The senate passed a resolution banning the criticism of faculty, departments, and programs and also planned additional restrictions on the academic freedoms of the “unwoke.”

The resolution arose because some disgruntled students posted a set of course slides from a mandatory teacher preparation class at the university’s College of Education that amounted to little more than indoctrination and agit-prop for “social justice.” Styling the posting of the slides as akin to the Capitol Riot, activist faculty called for all students and faculty who shared the slides to be punished. The resolution redefines such normal criticism of faculty, teaching, and programs as “harassment” and “bullying,” thus making an assault on academic freedom in the name of academic freedom.

Going further, however, faculty senators agree that the whole concept of academic freedom is little more than a smokescreen for “settler-colonial genocidal” institutions of oppression.

Thus, what is initially presented as a defense of academic freedom rapidly transforms through the group dynamics of revolutionary ferment into a rejection of the concept itself. Since the resolution and the subsequent discussions are endorsed by President Percy and reiterated in a message to the campus community joined by the provost, it is not clear where this leaves the basic institutions of the university nor how administrators are expected to enact this new revolutionary program.

While it is easy to dismiss the follies at Portland State as a late-night comedy in a comedic city, the university has been at the forefront of the emerging New Censorship, and, as a tenured professor with nonconforming ideas, I have been forced to be an unwilling participant in the school’s drive to eliminate free inquiry.

While it is easy to dismiss the follies at Portland State as a late-night comedy in a comedic city, the university has been at the forefront of the emerging New Censorship.
For example, in December of last year, the PSU-AAUP “voted overwhelmingly” to officially condemn my research on colonialism. In a bizarre twist of logic, the PSU-AAUP justified its action by declaring that it “stands for academic freedom” but does “not stand for hostile work environments created under the guise of academic freedom.” In other words, by conducting research according to accepted methods and publishing my findings, I have somehow created a hostile work environment for my colleagues who have repeatedly attempted to censure me.

More important than my personal situation is the way that the basic thrust behind New Censorship rules enacted on my campus by the faculty senate has become pervasive in higher education. Consistent with the denial of liberal equality that has been at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement, this New Censorship abandons once and for all any pretense of reasonable disagreement among viewpoints and ideas on campus, much less in wider society. In a two-step knock-out punch for basic freedoms, the New Censorship first defines all criticism of wokeness as a form of mob violence and incitement and then denies any scope for the communication of unwoke viewpoints, now deemed likewise as acts of incitement and mob violence.

While ordinary Americans get on with their productive lives raising their families, working hard to support themselves, and contributing to their communities, this New Censorship is taking shape in a way that will soon become a fait accompli. The reading of Plato and Dr. Seuss, as well as discussions of voter fraud and uncertainties about climate change, are now being proscribed in the name of wokeness in a mass movement that is finding its foundations in higher education and then moving outward.

This new Oregon Association of Scholars report should enlighten—and perhaps outrage—all those concerned about our intellectual freedoms and the education of the next generation.


UK: The END of school uniforms? Ministers are told traditional attire is 'repressive' and should be abolished to let pupils 'find their own style'

School uniforms are 'repressive' and should be abolished to allow pupils to 'find their own style', ministers have been told.

Peers offered their support to a new law which aims to make uniforms more affordable in England by legally requiring schools to keep branded items, such as blazers, to a minimum and to make arrangements for second hand items to be available.

The Earl of Clancarty told the Lords he supported the proposals to cut costs, contained within the Education (Guidance About Costs of School Uniform) Bill, before adding: 'Better still, get rid of school uniforms.

'They're an outmoded idea, ultimately a repressive aspect of the educational system itself, designed to keep children in line and indeed, in effect, part of the wider educational policy working against a child-centred approach to education. No school has to have a school uniform.

'Nevertheless the Government does not take a neutral stance on this, strongly recommending that schools do have one.

'Moreover, in their guidance, the department states that a school uniform policy 'flows from the duties placed upon all governing bodies by statute to ensure that school policies promote good behaviour and discipline amongst the pupil body'.'

He said his 16-year-old daughter attends a school with no uniform.

Lord Clancarty went on to read a quote from his daughter, in which she said: 'Thank God I don't have to wear a school uniform. I wouldn't be able to express myself every day.'

The independent crossbench peer also said of school: 'It is the right place for teenagers in particular to test out what to wear and find their own style, and that is itself an important part of education.'

Lord Clancarty added he believes uniforms make it 'particularly easy' to identify the poorest children and are 'not a means of levelling up', noting: 'Whereas over 90% of schools in England insist on school uniforms, a much lower percentage of parents - around 67% - are in favour of them.

'There is increasing school uniform scepticism and the Government and schools should listen to those voices.'

But several peers disagreed with the Lord Clancarty. Liberal Democrat education spokesman and former teacher Lord Storey recalled working in a school in a deprived community where the headteacher and governor did 'not believe in school uniform'.

He explained: 'It led to competition for the latest designer clothes, the latest sweatshirts, t-shirts, trainers or whatever it was.

'This created great upset amongst the pupils and those who couldn't afford the latest 'gear', as they called it, often were name-called and bullied.'

Education minister Baroness Berridge said: 'The Government does encourage schools to have school uniform because of how it can contribute to the ethos of the school and create a common identity among pupils.

'As many Lords have said, it is a social leveller so I have to also disagree with Lord Clancarty.'

On the Bill, Lady Berridge said the guidance is expected to be issued to schools in the autumn and they should begin thinking about making changes, with peers calling for a phased introduction.

The legislation would make guidance given to schools about cost of uniform policies legally binding, with the minister saying schools will be expected to limit the use of branded items to low-cost or long-lasting pieces of uniform.

Lady Berridge added: 'The guidance will also provide information to schools about ways they can achieve the benefits of a branded item while also keeping costs to parents low... this might involve the use of sew-on or iron-on logos, amongst other approaches.'

The Bill received an unopposed second reading and will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.

One MailOnline reader said: 'No I don’t think school uniform should be abolished. Coming from a deprived area myself it would put too much pressure with children turning up in designer clothes and those children that can’t afford designer wear would be teased and bullied. Also it’s respect for the school as well.'

Another said: 'I was in a school where we had uniforms but we would occasionally have free dress day. I hated free dress day as it highlighted I was poor. 'While it was noticeable I wore a second hand uniform - I rarely got remarks on it but on free dress day then I had to put up with the teasing.

'At least with a second hand uniform I did not have to worry that I was so poor that I did not own a pair of jeans, or that my style was clothes were really "uncool". 'For those who want to express themselves - you can express yourself after school and weekends but being poor is 24/7.'

Sharing their opinion, another reader said: 'School uniforms were designed to stop the poor being singled out from the rich. It’s all very well being able to express yourself if you’ve got loads of outfits to choose from but if you’re a parent with no money how do you afford different outfits for your children to choose from?

'School uniform allowed me the dignity to blend in and not be singled out. It gave me a cover, a unity, a way to feel equal.'




Tuesday, March 23, 2021

As More Schools Reopen, CDC Now Says Students Can Sit Just 3 Feet Apart

As more schools around the country move toward reopening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance Friday, saying that K-12 students may sit 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet—as long as they wear masks.

That’s regardless of whether the children are in “areas of low, moderate, or substantial community transmission” of the COVID-19 virus, the CDC said.

The previous COVID-19 guidelines of 6 feet of social distancing limited how many students some schools could teach in person. Some schools had to remove desks, provide flexible schedules, and seat students one child per row on buses to accommodate those guidelines.

Some schools also had to stop using lockers and remake schedules for when different grades could move through the halls, where maintaining any distance at all can be difficult.

The CDC said it still recommends at least 6 feet of distance between adults in schools and between adults and students.

The agency’s newest guidance comes a week after it said that children as young as 2 years old in day care should wear masks, “even after child care providers and staff are vaccinated” against COVID-19—despite studies showing that children contract the virus at far lower rates compared with adults.

In its March 12 update, the CDC also urged that each child’s toys at day care facilities be kept separate. “Do not share toys with other groups of infants or toddlers, unless they are washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other,” it said.

Despite outdoor activities being safer than those indoors, the CDC also said that jungle gyms, swing sets, tricycles, and the like “pose a risk for spreading COVID-19.”

“Stagger your use of playgrounds and play spaces by reducing the group size in the play area at one time or remaining in cohorted groups while sanitizing shared objects and high-touch surfaces between groups,” the CDC said, adding that children should be separated—using fences, if necessary—into smaller groups.

The March 12 guidance conflicted in at least one respect with the CDC’s prior statements about vaccines. The CDC had said previously that all vaccines available in the United States are “highly effective at preventing COVID-19,” while the later report said that even if an adult is vaccinated, he or she would still need to wear a mask.

The CDC has told Americans “that vaccines are ‘efficacious and effective’ against ‘asymptomatic infection’ and that they ‘substantially reduce’ transmission risk,” said Doug Badger, a visiting fellow in domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation with expertise in public health.

“Cases among preschool children are rare, serious cases are rarer still, and studies show that children under 10 are unlikely to infect family members,” Badger said. “The risk of transmission is not zero, but it is low.”

“Applying severe restrictions to immunized people poses a greater public health risk—that people will refuse vaccinations,” he said


Surveillance State Schoolrooms

Los Angeles schools have a plan for detailed tracking of all students and teachers.

Just when one might think a union-controlled school system couldn’t get more arrogant and demanding — after keeping the overwhelming majority of students out of schools for over a year — the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) proves one wrong. As a condition of reopening its schools on April 9, each student will be required to have a COVID tracking app called Daily Pass, which will be scanned each day before students can enter the classroom.

This in a state that doesn’t require ID for voting.

“Sort of like the golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka,’ everyone with this pass can easily get into a school building,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner stated during his weekly update on February 22.

Willy Wonka? Try George Orwell, as the level of intrusiveness is breathtaking. The app, developed with support from Microsoft, generates a unique quick response (QR) code for each student and staff member. When an individual arrives on campus, his or her QR code is scanned by a district school-site leader, who takes the individual’s temperature. Provided the individual tests negative for coronavirus, shows no symptoms, and has a temperature under 100 degrees, he or she is authorized to enter a specific LAUSD location — for that day only.

And since a section on the Daily Pass portal also pressures students and staffers to get vaccinated, it will be used to register and schedule appointments, track the stock of vaccines, perform check-in and data capture at the time of those appointments, identify and sort high-risk individuals, and offer waitlists to low-risk individuals along with dashboards to view data. Anonymous data from the app will also be shared by several Los Angeles Unified research and healthcare collaborators, including Anthem Blue Cross, Cedars Sinai, Healthnet, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, and Johns Hopkins University, ostensibly as an effort to create the safest school environment possible.

“The Daily Pass sets the highest standard possible for school safety,” Beutner boasts. “MERV-13 upgraded air filters in every school, COVID testing for all students and staff at least every week and now the Daily Pass — Los Angeles Unified is proud to lead the nation in creating the safest possible school environment.”

Yet despite it all, students will still be required to wear masks, socially distance, undergo regular temperature checks, and endure additional screening and surveillance — because the Daily Pass will not catch people who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Nonetheless, these and other requirements developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) were released by the district in a document titled “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.”

There is also a cartoon video promoting the app. It opens with a child character, Racquel Ramirez, who is fearful about returning to school. “Mom, I’m scared about going back to school,” she says. “I don’t wanna get sick and I don’t wanna get you and Dad sick.” The Daily Pass is then introduced as the solution for “safely going back to school,” and Racquel is shown happily scanning her QR code entrance ticket to enter.. At the end, viewers see Racquel completing her first day back at school and reuniting with her father. “Dad, I have to admit, I was scared at first but then I felt so safe,” she says. “It was so good to be back. Thanks for keeping me safe. I love you so much.”

Mary Holland, president of Children’s Health Defense, believes parents should be concerned. “If data is the new gold, then LAUSD’s new Daily Pass is providing a lot of gold to Microsoft and other institutions,” she said, adding that LAUSD is “compromising the students’ privacy and freedom of movement,” as well as segregating children based on unreliable testing. She warns, “Parents should be asking a million questions and demanding answers.”

They should, but they probably won’t. Whether it is fear of challenging authority, relief at no longer having to keep their children at home, or simply a willingness to travel the path of least resistance, it is far more likely parents will simply abide what amounts to grooming their own children for a totalitarian level of surveillance that government and its Big Tech collaborators are increasingly willing to impose.

“We are moving into a total surveillance state and an entire generation of young people are acquiescing to the police state,” asserts constitutional law attorney John Whitehead. “Privacy as we know it will be deleted and no one will be overlooked.”

He also believes parents should stand against this and demand separate accommodations for those who don’t want their children under constant surveillance. “The government can accomplish many things with a ‘compelling state interest and a pandemic is just that,” Whitehead explained. “But the school needs to provide an alternative for parents who do not want their children to participate in these measures — whether it’s a virtual learning option or a separate building.”

The bigger picture here is hard to miss. The European Union and United Kingdom plan to issue digital “green passes” to serve as vaccination certificates. Tech giants are, of course, seizing the opportunity to help.

If those become widespread, will Americans who are required to show up for work in person eventually be subjected to the same requirements? How about those wishing to go to sporting or entertainment events?

How about those simply shopping for food?

Does anyone still remember the progressive furor surrounding Arizona’s efforts to pass a law allowing local police to ask for the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally? The law was characterized as a “show me your papers” debacle that would ultimately lead to systematic racial profiling.

Nine years later, many of those same progressives are apparently OK with far more intrusive systemic data-mining of Americans, which in this particular case consists of all students 13 years of age and older and all LAUSD employees.

Unless something dramatic occurs, it’s becoming clear that the Baby Boomers will be the last American generation to experience genuine privacy. And while the Age of the Internet is laudable in many respects, the as-yet-unfathomable extrapolations arising from younger generations inured to the tragedy of losing it have yet to be fully realized. Already we are seeing rampant narcissism, historically unprecedented levels of fragility, and de facto addiction to electronic devices. For younger Americans, cyberspace is rapidly becoming more important than life in the real world, even as they leave a trail of social media digital breadcrumbs that enables a burgeoning Cancel Culture.

One capable of ruining the life of anyone who posted an “intemperate” comment, even if that comment is decades old.

For all intents and purposes, LAUSD students and employees are lab rats, with all the attendant scrutiny and data compilation fully intended, all based on keeping people safe from a virus. And when that virus is effectively eradicated?

As George Orwell put it in 1984, “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”


Reassessing the College Wage Premium Payoff

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts within the higher education policy space were projecting that four-year colleges could face a loss of up to 20 percent in fall enrollment. While these predictions never materialized, the political infatuation with college enrollment figures is not a new phenomenon.

Barack Obama proclaimed the orthodox view of college in 2009: Sending every young person to college is necessary to both promote equity and maintain US competitiveness in the world. Under this view, more federal investment to push high school graduates into college is a “human capital investment” that leads to higher lifetime earnings.

However, little research has focused on what effect the higher price and debt burdens of college have had on college wage premiums and job opportunities for graduates.

Studies that observe the college wage premium (the ratio of wages that college graduates make in comparison with high school graduates) find that college graduate earnings significantly outpaced those of high school graduates in the 1980s and 1990s, but have largely stagnated since the turn of the century.

The significance of this stagnation in the college wage premium over the past 15 years is important because this emerging pattern may complicate the orthodox view of college leading to higher lifetime earnings. Over the same 15-year period, the cost of college has grown by more than 50 percent.

That divergence between cost and earnings highlights the importance of choosing a high-earnings-ratio major when enrolling in college (or pursuing an advanced degree) to reap the largest returns on a college investment.

As wage premiums have stagnated, about a quarter of students studying for a four-year degree don’t graduate. Those students are burdened with large debt repay­ments and a lower wage premium—many of them will be financially worse off over their lifetime than high school graduates without postsecond­ary education. One 2016 NBER study notes that “Although higher education may be financially advantageous on average, the flattening of returns as costs have continued to rise suggests that college may be an unfavorable financial investment for rising numbers of individuals.”

One of the overlooked explanations for a shrinking wage premium is rooted in the education-skills mismatch.

In 2016, a World Economic Forum report found that “in many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate. By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.”

The future of work will not be about college degrees—increasingly, it will be about skills.

Evidence of the mismatch between education and work skills can be seen by comparing the share of bachelor’s degrees conferred by selected fields of study with the skills businesses are currently looking for. Business survey data reveal that the skills most in demand are those used by electricians, welders, mechanics, engineers, and IT professionals.

In other words, employers are looking for people with training in skills-specific trades. Meanwhile, many students who graduated in 2018 were general-skills majors, including 8 percent studying social sciences, 6 percent studying journalism, 6 percent studying psychology, and 4 percent studying performing arts.

The top-down push to drive up enrollment rates means that more graduates end up in low-skilled jobs earning low wages, while fewer college graduates get good non-college jobs. (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York defines low-wage jobs as those making $25,000 or less, while good jobs are those that pay $45,000 or higher.)

Graduates who are underemployed do not receive relevant or full-time work experience, so they can’t break into their desired field even if a job opens up. This cycle works to perpetuate underemployment further.

Underemployment among recent college graduates has remained high over the past decade, with between 12 percent and 15 percent of recent college graduates working in low-wage jobs.

Though underemployment remains a notable problem among recent graduates, it doesn’t apply to all students equally.

Majors that emphasize general skills (e.g., liberal arts) have a higher prevalence of mismatch than those that emphasize occupation-specific skills (e.g., engineering). STEM majors continue to provide the greatest payoff on students’ investment and the greatest protection against underemployment, but STEM students still only account for about one-fifth of all undergrads.

While some large companies, such as Google, Apple, and IBM have started pilot programs for high school graduates to work and learn on-the-job without going to college, policy changes could better align college programs and labor market demand. Economist Korok Ray has recently argued that universities need to teach relevant industry skills, encourage students to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, and—above all—embrace risk.

A shift away from the status quo of accreditation would also help. The cur­rent accrediting system focuses too heavily on inputs, such as school facili­ties, equipment, and supplies, while accreditors who certify the ends have largely ignored educational outcomes, such as job suitability, graduate earnings, and employment patterns.

Removing regulations that focus on processes and replacing them with a “chartering model where providers of higher education submit to accountability for outcomes in return for autonomy in developing and running their programs” would compel educators to focus on preparing students for the evolving labor market.

Changes at the K-12 level are needed as well. The Common Core State Standards claim to be about both college and career readiness, but these standards should be re-evaluated in light of a rapidly chang­ing labor market. Unfortunately, the focus been heavily oriented toward college attendance and, by many metrics, has failed to prepare students for work.

Additionally, students should have broader options to pursue vocational education through income-share agreements (ISAs), whereby private investors’ apprenticeship or on-the-job training in exchange for a certain percentage of the student’s future income over a fixed period (e.g., 17 percent over 2 years).

Providing greater legal and regulatory clarity on the status of ISAs would allow for more innovative career training models without putting taxpayers’ money at risk for their potential failures. Such legal clarity would also allow traditional institutions of higher education to adopt ISAs and reduce risk for students, improve available information regarding the value of education, and increase competition between institutions of higher education.

As I concluded in a recent article in Discourse Magazine:

The skills mismatch between college graduates and the labor market is a serious problem. Policymakers need to rethink higher education policies, particularly in relation to the one-size-fits-all federal financial assistance programs, but also in relation to other public provisions aimed at driving up college enrollment rates.

With rapid technological change and an increasingly dynamic and evolving labor market, it is becoming more important for young people to weigh the rising costs of higher education with the stagnating benefits of a traditional college education.

The orthodox top-down approach of increased federal aid and arbitrary enrollment targets will not serve to remedy this problem. Instead, policymakers should approach the issue of stagnation in the college wage premium by better aligning skills with labor market demand.


The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Movement: Tyranny Through Subverting Language

The political left has proven itself to be amazingly incompetent when it comes to governing. Examples abound of nations, states, and cities—even those with tremendous wealth, resources, and other advantages—reduced to nightmare zones of poverty, violence, and corruption. Think of Venezuela, Cuba, California, Detroit, and Baltimore.

Yet, there is one area in which the left excels to a remarkable degree: the attainment of power and advancement of its political aims.

Every year, every month, and every day, somewhere in the nation the left is implementing or proposing some action that will further its agenda. Consider the breakneck speed at which the Biden administration is dismantling its predecessor’s reforms and advancing the “woke” agenda. Instead of concerning itself with how to govern well, the left’s intellectual energies are spent on crafting tactics to exploit the weak spots in our electoral processes, our laws, and our policies. It has a vast array of weapons of its disposal, from Saul Alinsky’s organizing tactics to bureaucratic state encroachments on democracy to the anarchic violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and so forth.

One of the left’s most successful tactics is the manipulation of language. The meaning of words is gradually but deliberately changed to alter perceptions and to enable large policy and cultural changes to occur without much notice.

Academia is especially vulnerable to such linguistic subterfuge, and in the past year, many universities have greatly advanced the radical agenda through “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) policies. To most people who still understand those three words according to their traditional meanings, such policies sound benign or enlightening; many would be open to basing guidelines on them.

However, in the lexicon of today’s left-leaning academic bureaucracies, those words—taken individually or together—have new, specific meanings with a sinister bent.

The traditional definition of “diversity” generally means some sort of variation within a population. But it has undergone several transitions in recent times. First, it has been given a normative spin with connotations of goodness—“diversity is our strength,” for example—that Americans have largely accepted. But more recently, a second twist has occurred: The word “diversity” is now used as a descriptor for preferred demographic groups. An all-black gathering is considered to be diverse, while an all-white gathering is not. “Diverse” can even be used to describe an individual if they belong to the right demographic, a meaning that is completely incongruous and seems to be a contradiction of the word’s original definition.

“Equity” is perhaps the most troubling of the three terms. A Minding the Campus article discusses the etymology of the word; a close synonym of its historical meaning is “fairness.” And we’re all for fairness. But fairness, without context or further elaboration, is an elusive concept. Which version of fairness is meant? Is it based on pure meritocracy? Or maybe a sliding scale that mixes merit with indications of compassion and empathy? Or outright equality of outcomes?

According to the Minding the Campus article, “in the last several decades, and certainly in the last 5-10 years, the term equity has been stretched and twisted” into “a weapon to bludgeon our modern society into denying even the most basic differences between human beings.”

It now means that protected classes of people must have proportionate representation—or better—since “the mere fact that achievement gaps exist” between different demographic groups “is taken as proof that there is some inequity that must be remedied.” Those who use the word equity in this fashion invariably claim that the inequity is not due to the actions of individuals, but due to systemic bias, and that the structure of society or of an institution must undergo drastic changes to eliminate this bias.

Inclusion—once an innocent term intended to mean that all are permitted to attain membership in a group according to that group’s rules—now implies proportionate representation, even if the traditional standards for membership must be relaxed or altered to achieve such representation. Furthermore, it must be remembered that to include somebody in a group with a fixed capacity is to exclude somebody else who would otherwise be included.

When it comes to college admissions or hiring, exclusion of deserving individuals is indeed part of the “inclusion” equation.

But, when these three words are combined to form a policy of employment or institutional conduct today, they carry a meaning far beyond their individual meanings. Together they express an ideological agenda intended to produce equalized outcomes among all demographic groups, to include preferred people and deny those out of favor with the political elite, and to take power from one group and give it to others.

This failure to defend our rights comes from a naïve ignorance of the left’s intentions, or from a lack of will to confront such determined opposition for personal security.
Whenever such policies are put in place—especially if mandatory—they produce additional consequences such as group intimidation, an oppressive workplace environment, and the stifling of free expression. This is especially troubling at institutions of higher education, where standards based on merit and the freedom to pursue truth and to exchange ideas are paramount.

DEI training programs and standards for hiring and promotion are proliferating rapidly throughout academia. Some major universities that have adopted DEI mandates in faculty hiring and promotion are the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Furthermore, while proponents of the ideology behind the DEI push are creating political litmus tests for employment, coursework, and other facets of higher education, the political majority stands around in stupefaction and confusion.

At times, this failure to defend our rights comes from a naïve ignorance of the left’s intentions, or from a lack of will to confront such determined opposition for personal security. But even when the will to push back exists, many governance structures seem poorly constructed to counter the perpetual, incessant, incremental assault on liberty that has been occurring for many decades. For example, it appears at first glance that many of these DEI standards would be unable to stand up to legal challenges.

However, winning such court cases may not prove easy. For one, the DEI supporters appear to have found a “sweet spot” in the legal framework: finding plaintiffs who can prove they have been denied employment or promotion for failure to demonstrate sufficient compliance with DEI mandates will be difficult, and without such plaintiffs, court challenges may lack the standing.

There is also a perverse brilliance in the misleading language used to craft these obviously politicized and one-sided policies, since plaintiffs would first need to prove that the language signifies a political agenda and not merely noncontroversial principles of fairness—no mean feat in a courtroom. Were the policies described in accurate terms, using traditional definitions, the courts would likely stop them post-haste.

In the University of North Carolina system, various campuses have announced DEI training programs and initiatives that are deeply troubling. The second and third parts of this essay will explore several of them in detail.