Thursday, May 09, 2024

Punishing students because their parents are too successful is unfair and unwise

Leftist discriminatory practices are truly odious and usually futile. An interesting example is preferential admissions of underqualified blacks to medical schools, where they often drop out anyway. But those who stay the distance graduate regardless of any performance criteria. And other blacks know that -- resulting in some blacks refusing to be seen by a black doctor

If you are a strong student at UC San Diego with middle-class college-educated parents and wish to transfer to a “selective major” (engineering, data science, public health), the university isn’t interested in you. A new directive gives one point each for California residency, first-generation college-student status, low income, and a GPA above 3.0—a low bar for “selective” admissions. This is the latest instance of exclusionary practices in the name of “equity.” Merit takes a back seat to socioeconomic status. Your family tree matters more than your academic performance. California has taken a page from the population-classification schemes of now-defunct Marxist regimes.

Proposition 209 bars California universities from explicitly using race as a criterion, but they have spent 30 years engineering their results through holistic admission criteria, the elimination of SATs, and socioeconomic-class proxies.

But California is not alone. Other states and the federal government responded to earlier court challenges by including class in programs that target underrepresented minorities. The federal McNair program offers funding to minority graduate students and non-minority first-generation low-income students. The GPA requirement is as low as 2.50. Low GPA thresholds are needed to reach a significant number of African-American and Hispanic students, whose high–school GPA averages are 2.68 and 2.83, respectively. Asian and white students have GPA averages well above 3.0.

Some observers interpret the addition of class-based preferences as a response to the Supreme Court’s 2023 decision striking down race-based affirmative action. Yet calls for class-based measures date back to the civil-rights era. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed the explicitly color-blind Civil Rights Act into law. That same year Martin Luther King Jr. proposed a “Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged,“ which included the “forgotten white poor.” This was a path not taken. Federal agencies soon threatened colleges and employers with legal action and denial of federal funding if they did not produce racially proportionate outcomes. Corporations and colleges got the message and introduced racial preferences. With some exceptions, the courts upheld this bias until last year’s decision signaled a sharp turn to colorblind law.

Is class-based affirmative action better than race preferences? “Affirmative action prophet” Richard Kahlenberg has long agitated for class not race criteria in college admissions. After the Supreme Court struck down race-based admissions, he took to the New York Times and other liberal venues to advocate admitting more lower-income students from poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods as exemplars who “overcame obstacles.”

Kahlenberg is right that most minorities admitted to elite colleges—like their white classmates—are well-off. Many are the children of immigrants whose families experienced no history of discrimination in America. Swapping class for race would make elite colleges more economically diverse. He’s also right that class-based affirmative action is safer from legal challenge. The courts have accepted class-based policies for more than a century based, for example, on income or the employer’s size.

Yet class-based affirmative action is an illusion. If America had pursued King’s approach we might have avoided six decades of affirmative-action debate. But current practices and an institutional mindset are ingrained and defended vigorously. There’s a reason why Kahlenberg’s quixotic pleas went unheard.

By prioritizing class over academic performance, the practice is a further assault on the social norm that we ought to treat individuals according to their merit and the “content of their character,” not their skin color or parental status. Kenny Xu makes this case in his passionately argued An Inconvenient Minority: The Harvard Admissions Case and the Attack on Asian American Excellence (2022). The assault on excellence affects all of us and weakens America in its competition with nations that don’t hamper the academically gifted.

The law should protect all individuals regardless of their status. Racial discrimination is odious because we can’t change our skin color and it violates our dignity as individuals. Likewise, we cannot change our parents. It is one thing to tax wealthy Americans more heavily than those with lower incomes, but it is another to exclude their 18-year-old children from high-demand majors because their parents are “too successful.” It is unfair and unwise to disadvantage young people simply because they chose the wrong parents.


No, Demonstrations Today Aren’t Like the 1960s

The current demonstrations on college campuses against Israel remind some of the unrest on college campuses during the 1960s.

But the comparison is not a good one.

The unrest of the 1960s was defined by the war in Vietnam and by the Civil Rights Movement. Both had practical, personal impact on young Americans in their own country.

American soldiers were fighting and dying in Vietnam. There was real, life-and-death impact on all Americans, and certainly on young Americans.

The military draft was still operative then. Despite various deferments, including for university attendance, the draft was still a reality and was a looming presence for all college-age Americans. They knew they could be drafted and had friends and friends of friends who were.

The official number of American soldiers killed in Vietnam stands at 58,220.

Although there were legitimate moral concerns about American involvement in this war, the moral concerns were accompanied by young Americans having real skin in this game.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s also had real personal moral impact on all Americans. And youth are always highly sensitive to the moral failings around them.

The reality of segregation and Jim Crow started getting national attention with the Civil Rights Movement, the activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and other, sometimes violent groups.

In contrast to the woke activism of today, which is totally political in character, the movement was led by a charismatic and articulate black pastor and had a religious, moral tone rooted in the Christian church.

Anyone that questions this should read, or reread, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963.

But King’s moral appeal was to an America very different than today.

In 1965, per Gallup, 70% of Americans said religion was personally “very important” to them. In 2023, by contrast, only 45% of Americans say religion is “very important.”

In 1962, per Gallup, 46% of Americans said they attended religious services over the last seven days. In 2023, this was down to 32%.

During this period there were two major wars involving Israel and the surrounding Arab states.

In 1967, Israel prevailed in the Six-Day War, which began with preemptive action by Israel against the Egyptian army mobilized for attack, and subsequent aggression by Syria in the North and Jordan in the East. In 1973, Israel again prevailed against attacks on these same fronts.

In 1967, per Gallup, 45% of Americans supported Israel against 4% who supported the Arab states, with 26% with no opinion. In 1973, 48% of Americans expressed support for Israel versus 6% expressing support for the Arab states and 24% with no opinion.

Support for Israel among Americans during this period was one-sided and clear.

But, again, America today is very, very different.

Our young people in the 1960s understood what personal responsibility is about.

On a national level, in the 1960s, all young Americans faced the reality of military conscription. Today, regarding national obligation and service, there are virtually no demands on our youth.

Now President Joe Biden is even erasing their student loan obligations.

On a religious, moral level, religion then had a much stronger hold on the nation. Religion teaches and inspires a culture where individuals have a sense they belong to and have obligation to something beyond their own egotistical inclinations.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and as religion has weakened and disappeared from our culture, it has been replaced by politics and the welfare state.

The end of it all is we now have a generation of youth insulated from all sense of national and religious and moral personal responsibility.

So now they demonstrate in support of terrorists and against the only free country in the Middle East that shares the very values that made our own country great.


Where are the university vice chancellors?

"Vice Chancellor" is the Australian term for a university CEO. They appear to have no principles other than their own survival in their jobs. They are utter cowards. JANET ALBRECHTSEN below outlines what men of principle would be saying

Australian vice-chancellors have been speaking in platitudes, desperate not to upset anyone. Here is a speech they should give.

We, vice-chancellors who are now trying to manage the pro-Palestinian protests on our university campuses, had this coming. For many years, when it mattered, we squibbed the importance of free speech.

Now, when students side with Hamas, when little children are encouraged and orchestrated to shout “intifada” and “From the river to sea”– both phrases used by terrorists to signal the destruction of the state of Israel – when Jewish students no longer feel safe on campus, we talk a lot about free speech. The chickens are coming home to roost. Chickens is the operative word.

We haven’t taken free speech seriously in the past. We’ve shut down events for apparently controversial speakers for “safety” reasons. Peter Ridd, a celebrated marine biologist, was famously sacked for breaching a code of conduct after he publicly challenged the work of colleagues. Free speech, academic freedom? They didn’t get a look-in then.

Even Malcolm Turnbull couldn’t get through a speech at a university without it being shut down by shouty protesters. We ramble under our breath about free speech when it suits, instead of giving this foundational principle of democracy the full-throttled defence it deserves.

Students who want to be educated, not to mention parents who pay for their kids to get educated at our universities, and taxpayers who fund us, expect us to take free speech seriously always – not just now when we university leaders find ourselves in a bind.

As a vice-chancellor at an Australian university, I am inspired to speak out after reading the weekend address by University of Florida president Ben Sasse. I make no apologies for quoting from his address. When a university leader stands out, it emboldens others to do the same. We need now to speak up for the sake of students who come to university to learn, not to use campus lawns as a platform for performance art.

The more violent American experience is not yet here. Before things get worse, I want our students to understand a few salient points about university life.

But first, I say to other university vice-chancellors, the reason Australians can and do lump Australia’s biggest universities together is that together we have turned our great sandstone universities into homogenous, anti-intellectual blobs. When things have gone wrong, and they have, it’s treated, rightly, as failure across the board.

The University of Sydney is no different to the University of Melbourne. The Australian National University is indistinguishable from the University of NSW. The University of Western Australia is a carbon copy of the University of Adelaide. No university leader of the so-called Group of Eight has had the courage to speak up about the ignorance that has flourished on our campuses, right under our noses.

We won’t fall into the trap of using slogans for either side. We won’t tar all student protesters with the same brush by describing these as encampments of hatred.

To be sure, there is extremism and hatred, in pockets, but the deeper problem is the ignorance that we, as CEOs charged with running these once great institutions, have allowed to flourish.

We have stood silent for years while our lecture rooms became breeding grounds for teaching kids – and they are just kids, with minds not yet fully formed – that the whole world must be divided into two camps: Oppressors and The Oppressed. I have used capital letters deliberately.These categories are now fully formed political projects. No nuance is welcome when considering who are the oppressed and who are oppressors. Whether you call this postmodernism, critical race theory, Marxist class struggle or some variant, our universities have become infested, and infected, by academics and students who view the world through prisms of power relationships.

For some the world is a giant mass of racist power structures. Others say the world can be understood only as organised male oppression. Others point to colonialism as the root of all evil.

There is much overlap. And adherents of this share the common belief that shutting down their opponents is an end that justifies more or less any means. They also believe that once you have identified your oppressed group of choice, you can ignore logic and reason in pursuit of their liberation.

You want evidence? Pro-Palestinian protesters on campus have every right to protest against a brutal war in Gaza. But if facts matter, they should also be the biggest critics of Hamas. This terrorist organisation understood, indeed intended, that invading Israel, killing innocent civilians, raping women at a music festival and beheading babies, would lead to a war in Gaza where innocent Palestinians would die, as innocent civilians have done in every war. Hamas uses its own people as human shields. Hamas steals foreign aid intended for Palestinians to enrich its leaders. Hamas keeps its people in a state of poverty as part of its project to call for the destruction of Israel. If students can’t identify Hamas as terrorists, then something has gone terribly wrong with their education – under our watch.

And ask yourself how those who believe in the equality of women, or the rights of LGBTQ people, can demonstrate in support of Hamas? Living in a tent on the university lawn may address the rental crisis temporarily, but what will it do for the poor Palestinians, let alone the Israelis who live with terrorists on their doorstep?

Instead, too many of our students have been trained in ignorance. Those copying Gaza Solidarity encampments on US campuses should be reading what we are reading: students are being manipulated by extremists who are sharing instruction manuals encouraging militancy and violence. At New York universities last week, almost half of those arrested by the NYPD were not university students.

I want our students to think for themselves, to test what they have heard, what they have read, what they think they believe, to read widely and to listen to people they think they disagree with. If academics at our university don’t encourage students to do that, these teachers need to find another job.

Living in a democracy means rights come with responsibilities. The American student, draped in a keffiyeh for cameras, who demanded food and water for protesters who had taken over a building at Columbia University clearly has not studied history. If you are going to be a revolutionary, remember to pack your lunch. We will not facilitate criminal behaviour by sending in Uber Eats.

Members of the Australian Palestinian community shout slogans at the Palestinian Protest Campsite at University of Sydney.
Members of the Australian Palestinian community shout slogans at the Palestinian Protest Campsite at University of Sydney.
While curing the disease of illiberalism infecting our universities will take time, we will start by treating the symptoms. We have spent too much time worrying about gendered language and other slight offences, and lost sight of what really matters.

As Sasse said, “We’re a university, not a daycare. We don’t coddle emotions, we wrestle with ideas.” As adults, you shouldn’t need written codes of conduct to govern your behaviour on campus. You must now weigh the costs of your decisions and own the consequences. We will defend your rights to free speech and free assembly – but if you cross the line, damage property, hijack buildings or take part in any other prohibited activities, you will be suspended. Those who incite violence will be reported to the police, immediately. We will not tolerate mob rule.

We say this to be clear with you. We mean it. We will hold you responsible for your actions.

We shouldn’t need a written code to explain that a university is committed to free speech and to academic freedom. Yet we do because that’s how far we have lost our way. Students of all backgrounds, cultures and religions should expect to hear things at university that may make them uncomfortable. We must equip students for the real world, where slogans and tent protests won’t get you very far. We need to teach students how to listen, reason, challenge and persuade. These skills will enrich them and the society they step into with their degrees and doctorates. Otherwise, what is the purpose of university?




Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Anti-Israel encampment at fashion college cleared as NYPD arrests dozens of protesters who refused to leave

Antisemitism as a party!

The anti-Israel encampment at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan was cleared away Tuesday evening — after dozens of protesters were arrested for refusing to shut down their rally.

NYPD officers in riot helmets and carrying zip ties moved in on the crowd of hundreds just 10 minutes after announcing that those who failed to vacate the West 27th Street campus would be charged with trespassing.

“Students, students you make us proud!” the crowd chanted as their buddies were hauled onto an NYPD corrections bus shortly before midnight.

Within 30 minutes, a university cleaning crew cleared the encampment, dragging the tents away from the property.

It wasn’t immediately clear if FIT gave the NYPD the go-ahead to arrest the protesters — as Columbia had done on its students twice last month.

Before police moved in, hundreds of protesters played games like Connect 4 and Jenga, drew on the ground with chalk and munched on cookies.

The only strife appeared to emerge when an officer scolded a protester for throwing candy at the crowd, telling her it was dangerous and that it could hit someone in the eye.

“Did I hit anyone in the eye?” she hauntingly asked her friends in front of the cop.

“No!” they jeered back.

Police began monitoring the peaceful demonstration over two hours before swooping in with arrests.

The officers set up barricades in front of the tent city as protesters locked arms in front of the encampment.

Throughout the demonstration, the protesters hurled insults at the officers as they maintained the perimeter.


High school is slammed after student newspaper published 'Hitler had some good ideas' in its overheard on campus page

But shouting to kill all Jews is OK?? Unfathomable

A Sacramento high school newspaper has been hit with backlash after publishing an article saying 'Hitler had some good ideas' in its 'overheard' section.

C.K. McClatchy High School in the Land Park area has been slammed with controversy due to an article published in the student newspaper's spring edition.

The Prospector printed an offhand remark allegedly made by a student, who said 'Hitler's got some good ideas' in a Government class.

After one of the paper's editors heard the shocking comment, it was included in the 'What did you say' section - a feature that states 'some of the weirdest stuff' overheard on campus.

Nine of the 'favorite' remarks were listed, including other items such as 'I would definitely get suspended if I beat up the mascot' and 'I miss my ex. I'm probably gonna stalk him.'

'I may have kissed my cousin,' 'Dammit, I wasted the whole time drawing drugs' and 'Please stop licking my armpits' were several of the other 'favorite quotes' included.

The disturbing Hitler comment was last on the list.

After receiving furious backlash, the paper issued a 'response to 2024 Spring Edition Controversy.'

'The recent release of the spring edition of The Prospector has sparked controversy, and we would like to speak on the matter that involves a column found on page 15 titled 'What Did You Say' which includes anonymous quotes from students here at McClatchy. The quote in question is 'Hitler's got some good ideas.'

'We would first like to express that this quote does NOT reflect our ideals or beliefs; it was included to spark a conversation on how students here choose to use their words. The quote was included along with others deemed inappropriate for school, such as, 'I miss my ex. I'm probably gonna stalk him.'

'The topic of Hitler is, of course, a very sensitive one, especially considering the current political climate. We understand many were hurt and are concerned about the publishing of this quote. We, as a news outlet, believe it is important to bring awareness to the fact that a student on campus felt it was ok to say that in a classroom setting.'

After the inviting those who want to express their opinion on the matter openly because the paper 'want to hear your voices' - the editors were then forced to disable Instagram comments because of 'malicious comments'

'Unfortunately, due to individuals using the comment section to publicly shame and make malicious statements, we have decided to disable our comment section,' an Instagram post stated.

The Prospector's website lists seniors Ivy Hawkins and Ilijah Curtin as editors.

It it is unclear who made the initial decision to include the controversial quote, which editor heard the statement being uttered and who said the disturbing sentence to begin with.

The paper's faculty advisor, Samantha Archuleta said that, although the remark was troubling it was 'important' for them to report it.

Archuleta, writing with her student-editor, Ilijah Curtin, told The Sacramento Bee, 'The discussion before the publication was that the students' intent was to show a variety of overheard statements on campus, from innocuous to harmful.'

The faculty advisor said that the student journalists and the editor that overhead the comment made by her classmate are working on a follow-up story to provide more context.

McClatchy High's principal, Andrea Egan, said in an autodial response to the antisemitic remark sent to parents and the school community on Sunday that she found the comment 'alarming.'

'My primary goal was and is to ensure that our campus is a safe and welcoming community for all students while navigating the complicated free speech issues associated with student publications,' she said in the message.

'I promptly met with the journalism students early the next day to discuss my concerns, and shared with them the importance of exercising good judgment in their editorial decision-making. Words have the power to cause harm.'

Egan also said that she would be organizing a meeting with representatives from a local Jewish congregation to strategize on a response.

Brian Heap, the chief spokesman for the Sacramento City Unified School District, released a a statement saying that the 'highly offensive comment' hadn't been reported to a teacher or administrator before it was published.

'Our principals are first and foremost instructional leaders and, in this capacity, Principal Egan felt that addressing the (journalism) class directly and promptly was an important and necessary teaching opportunity.'


American academia is deeply infected with antisemitism AND anti-Americanism

Minouche Shafik certainly ought to go as president of Columbia, along with all her peers across academia who’ve utterly bungled their “tentifada” occupations, but America’s campus rot runs far deeper.

Note the CCNY staff who pulled a sympathy sickout after City College had its encampment cleared, and the Columbia and NYU profs who formed human chains in defense of the students (and outsiders) grossly violating the schools’ rules.

And, as Charlie Gasparino flags, the way elite colleges have taken vast overseas donations in tacit exchange for shaping their faculties and curricula in opposition to Israel (and America).

Heck, notice that Pritzkers serve on the boards of both Columbia and Harvard — even as the Pritzker family foundation funds multiple groups supporting the “pro-Palestinian protests.”

Mayor Adams is certainly right to stress the role of “outside agitators” in fanning the campus flames, but plenty of “agitators” are deep on the inside, too.




Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Anti-Semitic mobs thrive on old campus hatreds

There is much truth in what Greg Sheridan says below. Where he goes wrong is his attribution of problems to "our society". It is nothing of the sort. "Society" is not uniform or homogeneous. The Left is seriously sick with hatred of everything normal but that does not mean everybody else is.

The Left will eventually mismanage its way out of power, perhaps at the hands of Donald Trump, and the pendulum will swing back, erasing the worst atrocities of Leftism

From Marx onward, the Left have always hated success in others and Israel is a shining example of success -- so hatred of it has long been festering on the left waiting only for even a slight excuse to burst into the open.

The absurdity that the Islamic extremists of Gaza represent "Palestine" has become excuse enough for Leftist hate to burst out. Most Palestinians live at peace with Israel -- in Jordan, in the West Bank and in Israel itself

The widespread intellectual and moral corruption of our universities is one of the most alarming signs of deep sickness in our society.

The universities contribute institutionally to the current madness in several ways. Their leaders are institutionally cowardly. These institutions will throw you on to the street for contesting elements of climate change alarmism, send you on a re-education course if you use the wrong pronoun for someone, get you into mighty trouble if you express the view that a racially segregated study space is not the best way to fight racism.

They will offer students trigger warnings lest they be upset by the prose of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird or even Jane Austen.

But shouting demonstrators harassing Jewish students; screaming for intifada that has meant murderous campaigns against Jewish people, not only in Israel; declaring that Israel is a terror state; calling for Palestine to be free “from the river to the sea”, which can only mean the destruction of the Jewish state; even staff and students supporting Hamas itself, an outfit proscribed as a terrorist organisation under Australian law – that’s all fine because these lions of campus administration have suddenly discovered that, when faced with a violent enemy, they believe in free speech after all.

The great anti-communist academic Frank Knopfelmacher, a collection of whose writings has just been published, once told me the collective noun for vice-chancellors was “a lack of principles”.

In the US, college administrators have been shamed into requesting police action to end pro-Palestinian encampments with their blatantly anti-Semitic overtones. This may have something to do with how badly these demonstrations are affecting Joe Biden politically and contributing to the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency in November. Biden changes his positions entirely according to political convenience. He and Kamala Harris gave a degree of support to the defund the police movement and demonstrations in 2020. They were able to portray much of the civic violence of that period as chaos caused by Trump.

But, combined with his failure on illegal immigration, Biden will suffer tremendously if this campus disorder continues. Middle America hates it. At the same time the hard left, and especially the profoundly ill-educated young people who wouldn’t know which river and which sea they were chanting about but love the idea and romance of faux social revolution, can’t bear Biden’s qualified support for Israel nor his qualified support for law and order.

On this occasion Biden could lose support on both his left and right.

But universities have contributed to this crisis in a much more direct and profound way. And that is through allowing, over decades now, many of their humanities courses to be invaded by critical theory, neo-Marxism and toxic identity politics.

For a long time, Western universities, including Australian universities, have been teaching that our societies are essentially and uniquely evil, that we are colonial, racist, sexist etc.

I was an undergraduate at Sydney University in the mid-1970s and came to the considered conclusion that the courses I was taking were junk. In a human geography class a lecturer informed us that the shining example of “praxis” was China’s Chairman Mao. Even then I knew that Mao Zedong was directly responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of innocent Chinese. How could he be lauded by this lecturer?

In economics, I got to choose between political economy and mainstream economics. Political economy was dominated by pretty crude Marxism. I took classes there because they required no work. As long as in essays you proclaimed how unjust society was, you’d get at least a credit. It was easy but a complete waste of time. Mainstream economics had taken refuge from Marxism in almost pure mathematics. That’s not as objectionable as Marxism but it doesn’t describe reality very well either.

The only possible use of such a university education was to get a credential. Educationally, intellectually, morally, it was utterly worthless.

Many, perhaps most, university humanities and social sciences subjects have been captured by critical theory. Critical theory reduces everything to a shoddy analysis of power structures. It has destroyed much of the joy of studying literature. A friend, a little younger than me, told me he switched from literature, his first love, to philosophy. In literature it didn’t matter whether he was studying Austen or a restaurant menu, it was the same old fifth-rate power analysis, analysis of the allegedly hidden power structure behind the text.

Universities in many cases have thus abandoned the substance and truth of the subjects they allegedly teach. Critical theory is frequently festooned with Marxoid scripturalism and endless self-referential footnoting. But it’s not a complicated intellectual discipline. Really it’s a simplistic conspiracy theory that absolves universities from the hard but rewarding work of exploring human culture in all its richness.

Instead, like all conspiracy theories, it reduces human experience to a simple formula that assigns heroes and villains, in this case on an identity politics basis.

Our moral outrage students and academics are aquiver with hatred of the world’s only Jewish state. Their universities take money from Arab states that outlaw gay relationships, host Confucius Institutes financed by a government that tolerates no dissent at all. But in critical theory, Chinese and Arabs aren’t villains.

Critical theory, this monstrous engine of hatred, is profoundly anti-intellectual, which is perhaps why it thrives at contemporary Western universities, including ours.


Trigger warnings, mental health issues, transgender rights and knee-jerk cancel culture: Welcome to life on university campus in modern Britain

An anonymous academic has lifted the lid on what life is like on university campus in modern Britain, with trigger warnings rife, knee-jerk cancel culture, and lecturers dishing out inflated grades with it impossible for students to fail their course.

Although most students are well-behaved and more interested in eating healthily than 'getting smashed', there is an 'epidemic of mental illness' spreading throughout, The Secret Lecturer reveals in a new book.

Financing issues are causing standards to be 'obliterated' while universities are striking murky million pound deals with 'arms dealers, fossil fuel companies and foreign dictatorships'.

Some lecturers are taking books and films that represent slavery, sexual assault and suicide off the syllabus out of fear they might upset some hypersensitive students.

'But a representation of something terrible is not a moral validation of it — quite the contrary,' they say.

'We're back to that dilemma of needing to protect the welfare of students but also requiring them to recognise that the world is nasty, unfair and violent — and that a good deal of great art reflects that.'

The advances in AI mean and the arrival of Elon Musk's ChatGPT mean plagiarism is virtually 'untraceable', reported The Times.

Even when students are caught out they break down in tears and blame mental distress for cheating, with their punishment being allowed to resubmit their work in the summer.

'Nobody is allowed to fail,' they say as students are now seen as 'customers we can't afford to upset'.

The anonymous author suggests some colleagues are 'bribing' students into giving them positive feedback by handing out over-generous marks.

One colleague is described as 'unapologetic grade-inflater, awarding firsts to submissions that are as coherent as Shane MacGowan after a four-day bender'.

They write about in one course where 67 per cent of students were given first class degrees: 'No way are two thirds of them that smart. I read in our staff bulletin that the same course has been named best of its kind in the country, based on the votes of those same students — any chance whatsoever that grade inflation is a wheeze to ensure that students like us lecturers enough to give us positive feedback?

'Decisions to close departments have been based on such feedback — I dread to think how many lecturers have been fired because they were too honest to bribe students with over-generous marks.'

They bemoan the culture within campuses with 'jaded' lecturers 'underpaid, overworked and on casual contracts'.

On academic standards, they write they 'are slowly being obliterated, though that has more to do with financing than with a slide into "wokery"'.

For two seminars in a row no students turned up with mental health problems leaving some walking around like 'lost souls'.

In terms of transgender rights, students will change their minds based on who they are with 'for if the company they are in at any one time doesn't like their principles, they'll change theirs. Rather than leading thought, they genuflect to the prevailing intellectual and ideological winds'.

They say endless meetings are draining with 'the further up the university hierarchy you look, the thicker people get'.

'It's like a parody of Darwinian selection - survival of the dimmest,' they add.


‘Federal Overreach’: Lawsuit Aims to Stop Biden’s Title IX Rule Change

After the Biden administration released its new Title IX rule on April 19, it took less than two weeks for the Defense of Freedom Institute to file a lawsuit against it.

“We are asking the court to … basically stop the effect of the regulations for a variety of legal reasons,” says Robert Eitel, the institute’s co-founder and president. That’s because the rule change is “simply unlawful,” he explained.

Among the changes to Title IX, the Biden administration is attempting to redefine sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Title IX is an education amendment that was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972 and requires there be equal opportunities for men and women in schools across the country.

Eitel says the Biden administration’s attempt to redefine sex in Title IX is “federal overreach.”

The states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho filed the suit with the Washington-based Defense of Freedom Institute, a conservative nonprofit dedicated to providing policy and legal solutions within the spheres of education and the workforce.

Eitel joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the lawsuit against the Biden administration’s new Title IX rule. He also explains what should be done about the ever-growing issue of student loan debt, and why President Joe Biden can’t legally issue mass student loan forgiveness.




Monday, May 06, 2024

NYU protestors call for 'death to America' and 'long live the intifada' in horrifying notes in their 'Gaza' camp

Sinister pro-Hamas flyers have emerged on the NYU campus amid fears over rampant anti-Semitism and threatening behavior at demonstrations.

Posters declaring 'Death to America' and 'Long live the intifada' have been plastered around the Manhattan college's Gaza encampment, days after over 100 protestors were arrested in furious clashes with the NYPD.

The police force shared images of the fliers on Friday, noting the 'inflammatory literature and signage' observed at the 'illegal encampment.'

It comes as universities across America have struggled to control pro-Palestine protests, with aggressive police crackdowns sparking outrage as arrests have topped 2,000 nationwide.

While New York colleges including NYU and Columbia have continued to see hostile clashes between protestors and police, nearby Rutgers University became one of the first to bring their encampment to a close this week.

On Thursday, the New Jersey institution reached an agreement with protestors on eight of their ten demands, including severing its partnership with Tev Aviv University and creating Arab Cultural Centers on all campuses.

Although conflict at Rutgers' encampment only seemingly extended to counter-protestors chanting 'USA', the NYPD shared images of NYU's campus with more threatening displays of protest.

In one poster, activists called to 'disrupt/ reclaim/ destroy Zionist business interests everywhere', alongside: 'Death to America.'

'Squat or rot! Do what you want!' the poster read. 'Long live the intifada!'

In another flyer, protestors said they had 'enough with de-escalation trainings - where are the escalation trainings?'

'We can choose to learn how to build effective barricades, how to link arms most effectively to resist police attacks, or what type of expanding foam works best on the kind of doorknobs present in our universities,' it said.

'This is not rhetoric - this is an urgent need.'

The poster also took aim at references to 'outside agitators' - or 'professional protestors' - pretending to be students to join the cause, saying that they would actually be welcome to the movement.

'In the eyes of our enemies in the belly of the beast, we are all outside agitators,' the flyer concluded.

The NYPD also shared an image of a separate flyer, which said that 'those who call for peace are chasing a mirage.'

'As for the resistance: strike them everywhere,' it read. 'What kind of life is this that we live in peace with those who abuse our blood and the blood of our children, our men, our sisters?'

'To enemies: The time of calm you sing of will not return... you will not find a truce from us.'

The threatening posters at NYU come as Jewish students at nearby Columbia University shared their terrifying encounters with protestors with

Rory Wilson, a 22-year-old history major, shared his story of how he stared down an anti-Israel mob, which left him 'pinned against the door' and fearing for his safety.

He said: 'After a friend and I worked our way into the heart of the crowd swarming around Hamilton Hall, I looked out at the masked, shouting masses lit by the constant flicker of cameras.

'My adrenaline soared.

'We started pulling back a table propped against the doors and the crowd realized we were not with them.

'They started accusing us of aiding genocide and calling us idiots for risking ourselves for nothing.

'We were pinned against the door. I played contact sports in the past, so a bunch of shrieking Barnard girls half my size didn't faze me, but then a man dressed all in black jumped up beside us.

'He glared through the eye-slit in his mask – and I recognized that he had harassed me several days before, calling me a 'Zionist inbreeder.' I had no idea if he was a student or what he was willing to do.

'He started grabbing me, wrenching at my leg, trying to force me away from the doors. After a brief struggle, he jumped away and the screaming mob returned. Ultimately a friend got me out of there safely.

'Looking back now, I am grateful to God for the chance to have stood against them. Yet I am saddened that the university let the situation devolve into such chaos and intimidation.'


Locks, chains, diversions: How Columbia students seized Hamilton Hall

New York: The protesters occupying Hamilton Hall on the campus of Columbia University seemed ready to stay awhile.

They had a microwave, an electric teakettle and sleeping bags, images distributed by police show. On a blackboard in a classroom-turned canteen, next to the words “Free Palestine” in bubble letters, they had written a chart for occupiers to list their dietary restrictions (two were vegan, one vegetarian).

In another classroom, they made a chart for security duties in two-hour shifts, and listed three Maoist revolutionary slogans as inspiration, according to the police videos.

“Political power comes from the barrel of a gun,” one of the slogans said.

For two weeks, Columbia’s campus had been the focal point of a growing crisis on college campuses around the country. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up tent encampments, held rallies and otherwise attempted to disrupt academic activities in an attempt to force universities to meet several demands, including divesting from Israel.

But the takeover of Hamilton Hall was a new turning point. The university decided to call in police to clear the building - drawing both harsh criticism and praise, and raising new questions about who, exactly, was behind the growing unrest.

The people who took over the building were an offshoot of a larger group of protesters who had been camping out on campus in an unauthorised pro-Palestinian demonstration. On Tuesday night, more than 100 of them – people inside the hall along with others outside on campus and those beyond Columbia’s gates – were arrested.

In the days since, Mayor Eric Adams, police officials and university administrators have justified the arrests in part by saying that the students were guided by “outside agitators,” as the mayor put it. “There is a movement to radicalise young people, and I’m not going to wait until it’s done and all of a sudden acknowledge the existence of it,” he said on Monday.

In an interview, Adams said that 40 per cent of people arrested after the protest at Columbia and another that night at City College “were not from the school and they were outsiders”.

But at Columbia, at least, the percentages appeared to be lower, according to an initial analysis of police data by The New York Times.

On Thursday, Adams and Edward A. Caban, the police commissioner, released a statement saying that of the 112 people arrested at Columbia, 29 per cent were not affiliated with the school. That percentage was similar to the findings of a Times analysis of a Police Department list of people who were arrested that night.

At City College, north of Columbia in Manhattan, 170 individuals were arrested, and about 60 per cent of them were not affiliated with the school, the statement said.

According to the Times analysis, most of those arrested on and around Columbia’s campus appeared to be graduate students, undergraduates or people otherwise affiliated with the school.

At least a few, however, appeared to have no connection to the university, according to the Times′ review of the list. One was a 40-year-old man who had been arrested at anti-government protests around the country, according to a different internal police document. His role in the organisation of the protest is still unclear.

The day after New York City police officers stormed into the building through a second-floor window and rooted out the protesters from Hamilton Hall, new details emerged about both the takeover of the building and the operation to reclaim it. The details revealed a 17-hour-long student occupation that was both destructive and damaging to property, amateurish, but in some respects, carefully organised.

The Police Department list showed that most of the more than 100 people arrested in the sweep of Hamilton Hall and other parts of campus on Tuesday evening were in their late 20s, white and female. The average age was 27; more than half were women.

The records do not specify which people were arrested inside the building. But at least 34 taken into custody on or around the campus were charged with burglary, which is defined by New York law as unlawfully entering a building with intent to commit a crime.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 14 people who had occupied Hamilton Hall and later been arrested appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court. All were charged with trespassing, a misdemeanour.

The occupation began early Tuesday morning, after a group of protesters decided to escalate their efforts to force Columbia to divest from companies supporting Israel.

As hundreds of protesters gathered around Columbia’s central campus, forming a picket, a smaller group carried tents to a lawn on the opposite end of campus from Hamilton Hall, apparently to create a diversion, several witnesses said. At the same time, a second set of protesters approached the building.

A protester who had been hiding in the building after it closed let the others in, according to Columbia officials. Those protesters entered and told the security guard there to leave, said Alex Kent, a photojournalist who entered with them. They then began the process of bringing in supplies and barricading themselves in.

Some of the demonstrators wore Columbia sweatshirts; others wore all black. They also wore gloves, and masks around their faces. They hauled in metal police barricades to help reinforce the doors against entry, according to images shot by Kent.

Kent and the police said that the protesters covered security cameras, and threaded heavy metal chains through windows they had smashed in the building’s French-style doors, securing them with bicycle locks. Protesters carried wooden desks and tables from classrooms to help reinforce the doors. They joined the pieces of furniture together with white plastic ties to make them harder to move, police images show. They secured another door with a vending machine.

They got into a shoving match, Kent said, with a facilities worker who was still in the building, but the worker ultimately left. Outside, a career protest organiser in her 60s, Lisa Fithian — whom Adams later labelled a “professional agitator”— tried to talk down two student counterprotesters who were blocking the throng from further barricading the entrance. The protesters tried to physically remove the two students, who ultimately walked away; Fithian was not arrested.

Police officials had been in regular conversations with Columbia for weeks about how to handle the increasingly entrenched student encampment. Now, university officials were in crisis mode.

The school’s leadership team, including the board of trustees, met throughout the night and into the early morning, consulting with security experts and law enforcement, Minouche Shafik, Columbia’s president, wrote in a letter to the community.

“We made the decision, early in the morning, that this was a law enforcement matter, and that the NYPD were best positioned to determine and execute an appropriate response,” she wrote.

Once police got that call sometime after 11 am, “We had to put together a plan fast,” according to Jeffrey Maddrey, the chief of department, who described the police response during a news conference the day after the arrests.

On Amsterdam Avenue, outside Hamilton Hall, police brought in a BearCat truck equipped with an extendible ramp, so that officers could bypass the barricaded front doors and climb into an upper-story window.

Just after 9:30 pm, a group of officers in riot gear began lining up and then balancing across the BearCat’s platform, one by one. Once inside, police said, some students started throwing things at them.

Maddrey said police decided to deploy “distraction devices”— commonly called “flash-bangs” or stun grenades - that produce a very strong noise and burst of light to temporarily disorient people’s senses. At least eight loud bangs were heard echoing on footage from a police body camera.

Another team of officers entered through the building’s front doors, cutting the metal chains and rapidly dismantling the items blocking the entryway, the body camera video showed.

While city officials praised police for what they said was restraint in clearing the campus, protesters said some officers at the scene had been aggressive with demonstrators.

Protesters and independent journalists posted videos that appeared to show police officers pushing and dragging demonstrators outside Hamilton Hall’s main entrance during the arrests. The Columbia Spectator reported that outside Hamilton, officers threw protesters to the ground and slammed into them with metal barricades. Most journalists had been required by police to leave the area and could not document the scene.

“Students were shoved and pushed,” said Cameron Jones, a student in Columbia’s Jewish Voice for Peace chapter, who was watching from a nearby building. One protester lay motionless for several minutes, and was zip-tied while in that position, Jones said, before she came to and was carried away by police.

“It really seems as though the university, the police and Eric Adams are just trying to save face and not acknowledge the police brutality that happened on our campus,” he said.

Adams said there had been “no injuries or violent clashes” and the Fire Department said no one in Columbia’s immediate vicinity had been transported to the hospital.

During the sweep of Hamilton Hall, one officer fired a single gunshot, according to Doug Cohen, a press secretary for the Manhattan district attorney. No one was struck, and no students were in the area when the shot was fired. It was not clear whether the shot was fired intentionally.

The charges against those arrested ranged from burglary, trespassing and disorderly conduct to criminal mischief, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. More than half of the people arrested at Columbia — those facing less serious charges — were issued summonses and released, or issued appearance tickets. The remaining 46 were arraigned and released without bail.

Some of those arrested at City College were students who had built an encampment earlier in the week in a plaza on the school’s campus.

But they also included people who had joined a protest outside the campus’s locked gates, on a public sidewalk. Many of the people on the police list arrested near City College appeared to be unaffiliated with the school.

On the list of protesters arrested at or near Columbia were a handful of people without clear ties to the university, including one man who apparently lives in the neighbourhood and who was arrested outside, and a woman who describes herself online as a “poet and farmer” who went to college in Vermont.

Attempts to reach several of the protesters on the list were unsuccessful as of Thursday afternoon.

Columbia students received more news Wednesday that their semester would not be returning to normal.

While classes had already ended Monday, the school announced that all final exams and academic activities on the Morningside Heights campus would be fully remote for the rest of the semester.

“It is going to take time to heal, but I know we can do that together,” Shafik wrote.


Yarra Valley Grammar School students suspended over disturbing list rating female classmates

This is hysteria over nothing. We all evalute other people's appearance all the time. Why not discuss it? The behaviour described is not uncommon. It is simply adolescents enlisting their friends in at attempt to get an understanding of females, a common puzzle for males of all ages. And the sense of humour in it has been missed. There is nothing abnormal or dangerous about it.

Four boys from a Melbourne private school have been suspended after a list was posted to social media rating their female classmates.

The shocking list was posted by Year 11 students from Yarra Valley Grammar School in Ringwood onto the platform Discord and was discovered by the school last Wednesday.

It featured photos of female students and ranked them from best to worst as 'wifeys', 'cuties', 'mid', 'object', 'get out' and 'unrapeable'.

The students were suspended on Friday pending further investigation, Nine reports.

Yarra Valley Grammar principal Dr Mark Merry spoke to Nine on Sunday and described the post as 'disgraceful'.

'Respect for each other is in the DNA of this school, and so this was a shock not only to us … but it was a shock to the year level and the boys in the year level that see this as way, way out of line,' he said.

He said he was offended by the final category, and has since reported the matter to police to ensure the list wasn't linked to any criminal offence.

'As a father, I find it absolutely outrageous, disgraceful, offensive. As a principal, I need to make some decisions [about] what we do about all of this,' he said.

'My first impulse and concern is about the wellbeing of the girls concerned. I want to make sure they feel assured and supported by the school.'

'We are going to be consulting the police because the language used could be an inferred threat.'

'I don't think it was, but we need to get further advice on that…I'm hoping it was an appalling lapse in judgment.'

It costs around $30,000 a year to send a student to the elite Ringwood private school, and Dr Merry said the school prides itself on teaching 'respectful relationships'.

'We are well aware of the broader issues in relation to respecting women…we need to really do our best to ensure that young men understand their responsibilities and their boundaries of how they should behave,' he said.




Sunday, May 05, 2024

As IQ scores decline in the US, experts blame the rise of tech— how stupid is your state?

This is just the decline to be expected from declining educational standards. Education does have some influence on measured IQ. In a futile attempt to bridge the black/white "gap" in educational achievement Leftists have extensively "dumbed down" American education

Do all Americans go through a process of dumbening?

IQ scores in the US are on the wane for the first time ever — and experts are saying that technology is to blame.

A report from 2023 revealed the depressing reality — that the average intelligence test score fell from 100 to 98, a dismal, two point decline after a previously uninterrupted 30 point rise that began in 1905.

Test-takers are quizzed on matters of logic, spatial reasoning, visual and mathematical problem-solving and vocabulary. Scores have only been tracked since the beginning of the 20th century.

Now, experts theorize that the problem dates back to the millennium, when Americans began relying more heavily on tech in their daily lives — a reliance that has only grown.

“I do suspect that increased technology use could be playing a role in impacting our nation’s overall literacy levels,” Dr. Stefan Dombrowski, a psychology professor at Rider University, told the Daily Mail.

“It is well known that people who read and write more, generally score higher on IQ tests — of course, this is a chicken/egg scenario,” he explained.

“Do these individuals engage in reading and writing activities more frequently because they are brighter, or do they become brighter…on IQ tests because they read more?”

The data shows there is now a gap of approximately eight points between the smartest state — New Hampshire, with an average IQ of 103.2 — and the least smart, New Mexico, all the way down at 95, according to World Population Review.

Behind New Hampshire are Massachusetts (103.1), Minnesota (102.9) and Vermont (102.2), with North Dakota and Wyoming tied at number five (101.7).

The bottom five in 2024 are New Mexico (95), Louisiana (95.2), Mississippi (95.8), Alabama (96.4) and Nevada (96.6).

According to scientists, the average person ought to be able to score around 100 on an IQ test. Anyone managing 115-130 would be considered “gifted,” while an elite group — labeled as “genius” — will score between 130-145.

Hetty Roessingh, professor emerita of education at the University of Calgary, told the Mail previously that young children are no longer meeting traditional academic benchmarks as they grow up, now that technology has become so widely available.

‘There is a level of academic underachievement, where students are underprepared for college,’ Roessingh said.

The professor said that time spent with devices like phones and iPads means less time for more effective methods of increasing one’s intelligence level.

Adult brains are also at risk, as we spend more time asking Siri and Google for information than we might have previously stored in our brains, the Mail suggested.


Rutgers students counter anti-Israel agitators on campus by waving American flag, chanting 'USA! USA!'

Anti-Israel protesters on campus at Rutgers University were countered by a large group of patriotic students waving an American flag and chanting "USA!" on Thursday.

Video from Thursday afternoon showed a large gathering between the two chanting groups on Voorhees Mall at the New Brunswick, New Jersey, university.

As the anti-Israel group yelled "Free, Free Palestine!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" the patriotic group could be heard repeatedly chanting "USA! USA! USA!"

At a later point during the demonstration, a couple of people within the anti-Israel group began instructing their protesters to link up to form a circular human chain in front of the students chanting in favor of America.

As the people were linking up, a woman within their group came over a bullhorn and said, "We are not protesting. We're not. We have to clean up. We have to leave."

It's unclear what she said after that, but it's likely the protesters were in the beginning stages of taking down their encampment after negotiations were reportedly made with Rutgers administrators.

Before they began breaking down their human chain, the "USA!" chants from the patriotic students surrounding them got louder and eventually turned into the singing of the National Anthem.

Some singing students could be seen holding their hands over their hearts and at least one student was waving an American flag. When they were done singing, the "USA!" chants resumed.

The anti-Israel protesters agreed to end their demonstration by 4 p.m. on Thursday after coming to an agreement with university administrators, according to a statement from Rutgers.

"All students involved will leave the encampment, remove all tents and personal belongings, and clear the mall of all trash. This agreement is contingent upon no further disruptions and adherence to University policies," the statement said.

A variation of eight of the protesters' ten demands were met by Rutgers administrators, according to the statement. The university did not immediately agree to divest from firms tied to Israel and said it would not be terminating its partnership with Tel Aviv University.

Rutgers said it is meeting with its endowment board and will undergo "the review process that is outlined in the university's investment policy."

The university did agree to accept at least 10 displaced Palestinian students to study at Rutgers on scholarship; to create an Arab Cultural Center on each Rutgers campus; to continue its relationship with Birzeit University and to look into student exchange and study abroad opportunities; to continue using the words "Palestine, Palestinians and Gazans" in future communications about the region; to hire a senior administrator with "cultural competency" in Arab, Muslim and Palestinian affairs; to create a feasibility study for the creation of a Department of Middle East Studies; to make sure flags representing all students enrolled at Rutgers are displayed in appropriate areas on campus; and to not retaliate against students, faculty or staff for simply participating in the encampment.

"We are pleased to report that these students have agreed to peacefully end their protest. They have committed to removing their tents and belongings, effectively clearing Voorhees Mall," Chancellor Francine Conway said in a statement. "This process began before the 4 p.m. deadline and is currently underway."

The video ended by showing the anti-Israel protesters taking down and packing up the encampment.


Over half of anti-Israel protestors arrested at the University of Texas in Austin during a protest earlier this week were adults with no ties to the Univeristy

The university issued a statement saying “of the 79 people arrested on our campus Monday, 45 had no affiliation with UT Austin.”

The protesters included a former elementary school teacher, a costume designer, a Palestinian store-owner and interpreter, all of whom were between 30 and 59 and unaffiliated with the university according to the Daily Mail.

Authorities confiscated guns, buckets of large rocks, bricks, steel enforced wood planks, mallets, and chains from protestors, according to the school, which said there had been staff members who were “physically assaulted and threatened.”

In addition, protestors “headbutted” police, hit them with horse poop, and slashed their car tires with knives.

UT President Jay Hartzell had called in state troopers to quell the violent protests on April 24 and make arrests.

“These numbers validate our concern that much of the disruption on campus over the past week has been orchestrated by people from outside the University, including groups with ties to escalating protests at other universities around the country,” the school said.

One of the protestors was 55-year-old Julian Reyes, who seems to be a protest regular in Austin featuring his confrontations with police he calls “micro tyrants” on his YouTube channel, according to the Daily Mail.

Reyes was one of the non-UT affiliated individuals arrested on April 24 for criminal trespassing after he allegedly refused to leave despite a notice to disperse given by police, according to an arrest warrant.

Reyes has been arrested at least nine times. He calls himself the “Lizard King” and was seen being arrested at UT while carrying a lizard.

Arrested Sophia Deloretto-Chudy, 28, is a former third-grade teacher who was fired from Becker Elementary School in Austin for badmouthing her superiors on TikTok over an administrative review of her teaching.