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Ideas in Exile: The Bullies Win at Yale by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

The student speech bullies have won at Yale. Erika Christakis, Assistant Master of Yale’s Silliman College, who had the temerity to suggest that college students should choose their own Halloween costumes, has resigned from teaching. Her husband, sociology professor Nicholas Christakis, Master of Silliman College, will take a sabbatical next semester.

One of the bullies’ demands to Yale President Salovey was that the couple be dismissed, and a resignation and sabbatical are a close second.

As had been widely reported, Erika Christakis said,

Is there no room any more for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.

At issue are costumes such as wearing a sombrero, which might be offensive to Mexicans; wearing a feathered headdress, which might offend Native Americans, previously termed Red Indians; and wearing blackface to dress up as an African American.

Dr. Christakis’s comment is so obvious that it hardly needs to be said. Students who are admitted to Yale are some of the brightest in the country, and it should not be the role of the University to tell them how, or whether, to dress up at Halloween.

The speech bullies want mandatory diversity training, rules against hate speech, the dismissal of Nicholas and Erika Christakis, and the renaming of Calhoun College because its namesake, John Calhoun, defended slavery.

If America is to be whitewashed of the names of individuals from prior centuries who fall short of the political standards of the 21st century, we will be a nation not only without names but also without a past. The names of our states, our municipalities, and even our universities would disappear. Elihu Yale was a governor of the East India Company, which may have occasionally engaged in the slavery trade. It is easy to condemn the dead who cannot defend themselves. But if we curse the past, what fate awaits us from our progeny?

Not all Yale students agree with the tactics employed by the bullies. Freshman Connor Wood said,

The acceptance or rejection of coercive tactics is a choice that will literally decide the fate of our democracy. Our republic will not survive without a culture of robust public debate. And the far more immediate threat is to academia: how can we expect to learn when people are afraid to speak out?

The Committee for the Defense of Freedom at Yale has organized a petition in the form of a letter to President to express concern with the bullies’ demands. Over 800 members of the Yale community have signed. Zachary Young, a junior at Yale and one of the organizers of the petition, told me in an email, “We want to promote free speech and free minds at Yale, and don’t think the loudest voices should set the agenda.”

Nevertheless, it appears that the loudest voices are indeed influencing President Salovey. He has given in to protesters by announcing a new center for the study of race, ethnicity, and social identity; creating four new faculty positions to study “unrepresented and under-represented communities;” launching “a five-year series of conferences on issues of race, gender, inequality, and inclusion;” spending $50 million over the next five years to enhance faculty diversity; doubling the budgets of cultural centers (Western culture not included); and increasing financial aid for low-income students.

In addition, President Salovey volunteered, along with other members of the faculty and administration, to “receive training on recognizing and combating racism and other forms of discrimination.”

With an endowment of $24 billion, these expenses are a proverbial drop in the bucket for Yale. But it doesn’t mean that the administration should cave. Isaac Cohen, a Yale senior, wrote in the student newspaper,

Our administrators, who ought to act with prudence and foresight, appear helpless in the face of these indictments. Consider President Salovey’s email to the Yale community this week. Without any fight or pushback — indeed, with no thoughts as to burdens versus benefits — he capitulated in most respects to the demands of a small faction of theatrically aggrieved students.

Yale’s protests, and others around the country, including Claremont-McKenna, the University of Missouri, and Princeton, stem from the efforts of a small group of students to shield themselves from difficult situations. Students want to get rid of speech that might be offensive to someone that they term a “micro-aggressions.” This limits what can be said because everything can be interpreted as offensive if looked at in a particular context.

For instance, when I write (as I have done) that the wage gap between men and women is due to the sexes choosing different university majors, different hours of work, and different professions, this potentially represents a micro-aggression, even though it is true. Even the term “the sexes” is potentially offensive, because it implies two sexes, male and female, and leaves out gays, lesbians, and transgenders. The term “gender” is preferred to “sex.”

What about a discussion of the contribution of affirmative action to the alienation of some groups on campuses today? Under affirmative action, students are admitted who otherwise might not qualify. In Supreme Court hearings on Wednesday, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to — to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.”

The majority of students at Yale want an open discussion of all subjects, but the attack on the Christakises have frightened them into silence. Zach Young told me,

If the accusers’ intent was to enlighten and persuade, their result was to silence and instill fear. I worry that because of this backlash, fewer students or faculty — including people of color and those of liberal persuasions — will feel comfortable expressing views that dissent from the campus norms. Why risk getting so much hate, disgust, calls against your firing, just for the sake of expressing an opinion?

Why indeed? The answer is that arguing about opinions is the only way to get a real education. Let’s hope that another university stands up for freedom of speech and offers the Christakises teaching positions next semester.

This article first appeared at CapX.

Diana Furchtgott-RothDiana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is director of Economics21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

VIDEO: Young Frankensteins at the University of Missouri

Radical students at the University of Missouri are turning on the university which created them. They are neo-Frankensteins.

Michael A. Kline from Accuracy in Academia writes:

Most of the coverage of recent college demonstrations has been largely sympathetic to the demonstrators. Indeed, few sources were consulted who would speak any evil of them.

mizzou president tim wolfe

Nevertheless, our November author’s night speaker—William Barclay Allen—saw in them the culmination of a disturbing trend. “I have spent my whole life in academia and I can tell you I have witnessed the deterioration over the course of time,” Dr. Allen, a professor emeritus at Michigan State University, said in November. “It is no longer to be assumed that freedom of speech prevails on a university campus.”

“Instead, there are codes of speech.” Dr. Allen is the former chairman of the U. S. Civil Rights Commission.

“What I am suggesting to you is not that there are outliers, a few extremists who at college campuses especially in elite institutions who the rest of us can look at as perhaps, in their own way, testaments to our virtue because they are so unlike us,” Dr. Allen said. “No that is not the case.”

Read more.

Here is a different perspective on the problem.

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College Demonstrators Aren’t Outliers

MIZZOU STUDENT JOURNALIST: Files Charges Against Prof. Melissa ‘More Muscle’ Click

U. of Missouri professor under fire in protest flap

Why Is There a Protest at the University of Missouri?

The Biggest Bomb Thrower of All

With all the talk about political “civility” directed at the GOP by those in the mainstream media, I find it a bit ironic that their ire isn’t directed at the biggest rhetorical bomb-thrower of them all: President Barack Obama.

It’s time for us all (myself included) to abandon the idea that President Obama is just a good guy supporting bad policies. Having been a Secret Service agent on his protective detail, it is not easy for me to concede this, but it is necessary. I have a personal attachment to Barack Obama, likely developed through years of interactions while on his detail, and despite the litany of disastrous policies emanating from his White House; it has always been tough for me to believe that he is not a “nice guy.”

I can recall a number of television and phone interviews where I forcefully defended the President personally (not ideologically), after which I received a deluge of emails from people upset that I was doing so. After witnessing his latest in a series of low-blow rhetorical attacks on his political opposition, however, I’ve regretfully come to the conclusion that he is simply not the man I thought he was.

I’ve been frustrated and upset at him in the past, for destroying our healthcare system (and cancelling my insurance policy in the process), taxing away any chance of an economic recovery, and for forcing the tentacles of the government deeper into my life and yours; but I’ve always cooled and settled on the idea that while he was an ideologue and poor leader, he remained a generally decent guy. But decent men and women do not stand in front of the world, before the most powerful bully pulpit in the history of mankind, and act and speak as he does.

Attacking political opponents in the Washington DC political cesspool is nothing new or earth shattering but, the rhetoric used by this President to speak about his political opposition is close to unprecedented.

To prove my point, here are some of President Obama’s low lights:

  • On political opposition to the disastrous Iran deal, and a joint opposition letter drafted to the Iranians, President Obama stated, respectively, that hegemonic, Iranian extremists were “making common cause with the Republican caucus.”  And, “I’m embarrassed for them.”
  • On political supporters of common-sense voter ID requirements, President Obama stated, “The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”
  • On political supporters of right-to-work legislation, President Obama stated they are “are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.”
  • On Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s opposition to Trade Promotion Authority, President Obama stated “the truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else.”
  • On Fox News’ coverage of the struggling economy, President Obama stated, “We’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.”
  • On those who oppose his continued attacks on the Second Amendment, President Obama stated, “As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we’ve got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children.”
  • On political opposition to his massive debt and deficits, President Obama stated, “it’s encouraged our enemies, it’s emboldened our competitors”
  • On political opposition to Obamacare, President Obama accused opponents of “exploiting fears instead of getting things done.”

Truth be told, I am an emotional person who takes assaults on our liberties and freedoms personally, and I have been known, on talk-radio, television, and in print, to loudly call out the Left for their three-front war on our future; but I’m not trying to be the “nice guy,” I’m trying to sound the alarm about the danger we are in. So, in going forward, let’s dispense with the mainstream media nonsense about how “nice” of a guy President Obama is and focus on the real man behind the ideology—a man who, I truly believe, is angry, resentful, and bitter towards those who cherish freedom, liberty, and a limited-government which enables the limitless flourishing of individuals.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The feature image is by Carolyn Kaster | AP Photo.

Confronting PC: Some Will Financially and Politically Die

gods not dead movie posterI caught a bit of an interview with conservative actor Kevin Sorbo promoting his movie, “God’s Not Dead” on the Sean Hannity radio show. Sorbo lamented that political correctness operatives continue to bully Americans with little push back. He cited a recent incident in which a little girl was kicked out of school for saying “God bless you” when a classmate sneezed, punished for religious talk in school.

My wife Mary told me about a U.S. soldier who was told by a school never to walk his child to school in uniform again. I am sure all of you could share horror stories of political correctness operatives overruling common sense and bullying people into submission.

Admittedly, I continuously rant about this topic. Folks, while I have evolved into somewhat of a sophisticated responsible adult, my roots are in the hood, the projects of east Baltimore. Living in that extremely tough environment, I knew if you did not deal with (confront) bullies, you would forever be their chump. As a 9 or 10 year old, I detested watching bullies push people around. I still detest seeing snooty intellectual liberal wimps with their big microphones and big stages get away with terrorizing people into submission.

When we were kids, though he was a little wild and crazy, my cousin Jimmy taught me the value of a strong military and how to deal with bullies. Two kids were taking my lunch money. Jimmy got in their grills and threatened to kick their butts. That was the end of that nonsense.

Six foot something high school varsity football star Broadus ordered me out of my seat beside pretty Barbara Jean on the school bus. Had he asked, I would have given him my seat. Even as a four foot something tall seventh grader, I instinctively knew I would lose something inside if I allowed Broadus to order me around. I told him no, I was not moving.

Once off the bus, Broadus began pounding my head into the gravel road. My mom saw the attack from a block away. She began running, but said it felt like she was running in place, unable to get to us fast enough. Incredibly, Broadus and I later became friends.

So yes, I have this “thing” about bullies.

Liberals, Democrats and the complicit MSM have hijacked the word “bully” to exclusively refer to anyone who dares to push back against their aggressive attempts to force their socialist/progressive agenda down our throats. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, Leftists call us bullies when we reject allowing them to bully us. Very clever, insidious and evil.

I worked at a major ABC affiliate TV station in Baltimore for 15 years. Thus, I have witnessed from the inside the MSM arrogant superior mindset which dominated the TV station and their intention to force their agenda on the public. The general consensus at the TV station was that the public was a bunch of yahoos and we were the sophisticated smart guys.

The TV station launched a campaign titled, “Family First”. On the cover of the brochure, I used a silhouette of a traditional family holding hands; father, mother, a girl and a boy. Public Relations axed my cover design claiming it was insensitive and offensive because families come in all configurations, two men, two women and so on. There was no agenda behind me selecting the image other than it worked for the theme of the campaign. I seriously doubted that the image of a traditional family on the cover of the station’s brochure would have sparked mass outrage from the public.

And yet, the PR representative acted as though I was attempting to push my Christian values on the public. She used her authority to bully me into changing the cover design. I later learned that she was a lesbian.

Folks, I realize that I sound like a broken record continuing to write about the Left bullying us into submission. It just sticks in my craw. Allowing them to get away with it is an anathema to my spirit; like allowing Broadus to order me out of my seat. We must push back. We must say no.

In the Clint Eastwood movie, “Pale Rider”, the locals were terrorized by bullies. They asked a mysterious stranger portrayed by Eastwood to lead them into battle against the bad guys. Eastwood consented, but also informed the locals that some of them were going to die tomorrow.

Make no mistake about it folks, confronting evil, pushing back against political correctness operatives is serious business. Our Nemesis are extremely vicious and relentless. They take no prisoners. Just as Eastwood warned the locals, I warn you. In the battle to take back our freedom, some will sacrifice themselves for freedom. They will financially and politically die.

Brave U.S. troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice have shown us that freedom “ain’t” free. Are the fruits of freedom, self-respect and dignity, worth it? Absolutely.

Political Correctness is a horrible destructive cancer eating away at the core of our American culture. The miracle cure is courage.

RELATED ARTICLE: National suicide by political correctness

Daytona Beach, Florida: Black homosexual babysitter rapes 11-year old boy — Caught in the act by father

There are those who believe that homosexuals are benign individuals just looking to be treated fairly. There are those who think homosexuals act responsibly when it comes to their sexual urges to engage in sex with others of the same sex. Well one 18-year old homosexual got his due from a father but not until after he raped an 11-year old who he was babysitting.

Initial reports are that the homosexual abuse has been going on since the victim was 8-years old. The little boy was bullied by the homosexual rapist to keep silent about their sexual activities. This trauma will be forever with the 11-year old.

Raymond Frolander (pictured above) is 18-years old and is a pederast, a lover of little boys. All pederasts are homosexuals. Multiple Florida news outlets are failing to properly identify the rapist as black and a homosexual.

BizPacReview reports:

Daytona Beach father beat an 18-year-old male babysitter unconscious when he returned home to find him sexually abusing his 11-year-old son.

Raymond Frolander was a trusted family friend and neighbor, Daytona News-Journal reported.

According to police, when the father caught Frolander in the bedroom molesting his son, he knocked him out and called 911. Police responded to the call at 1:07 a.m. Friday, according to News-Journal.

[ … ]

Frolander admitted to the abuse, which had allegedly been going on for three years and is being held without bond. Charged with sexual battery, he appeared in court Friday with his face badly beaten and his eyes almost swollen shut.

Video from GlobalNew24:

RELATED ARTICLE: Obama to Sign Order Barring Federal Discrimination against Gays (order contains no religious exemption)

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of Raymond Frolander is courtesy of The UK Daily Mail.

Miami-Dade civil rights complaint against public school whistle-blower dismissed

Cleveland Roberts, III. For a larger view click on the image.

Those who blow the whistle and interrupt the status quo are either met with respect or hostility from others.  In the case of Cleveland “Cleve” Roberts III, the PBS Coach at Miami Norland Senior High School and Trevor Colestock, Library Media Specialist at Miami Norland SHS and a Watchdog Wire- Florida citizen journalist, the whistle-blowing resulted in a civil rights complaint being filed.

Following Colestock’s article on cheating at Norland, Roberts may have been faced with angry faculty and staff members pertaining to his role, along with Colestock’s, of telling Norland SHS teachers Mr. Gant and Mr. Halligan to come forward to the Auditor General of Florida and the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General. On May 11, 2012, Colestock, Gant, and Halligan went to the local Auditor General’s office in Doral and turned over evidence and gave statements about test cheating at Norland’s industrial arts program. Colestock appeared before two special agents of the Miami-Dade OIG on May 15, 2012, and Mr. Gant, and Mr. Halligan before them a few days later, to turn over evidence and give statements. Their efforts resulted in exposing Adobegate and led to the Final Miami-Dade OIG Report issued on August 26, 2013.

After speaking with officials from both agencies, Gant made plans to leave the school (he went to Ronald Reagan Senior High School) and Halligan resigned and retired (he became a full-time minister) because according to Colestock, “they were both afraid of reprisal.” Colestock stayed, managed his library media program, and enforced law and contract as a union steward at Miami Norland SHS until he faced reprisal in the form of “an illegal transfer on October 24, 2013.”

trevor colestock

Trevor Colestock, Media Specialist – Librarian.

Instead of emulating Colestock and exposing the cheating, Roberts may have given in “to fear and terror and proceeded to lie about his role and disparage me [Colestock] in the process via email and at a faculty meeting”, states Colestock. As proof Colestock notes that on September 10, 2013, Roberts sent a letter to all the United Teachers of Dade members at Norland SHS titled “Response to Trevor’s Blog“. Roberts in his letter writes, “Due to the enormous amount of attention that this Testing incident has drawn to the school from the OIG, The Miami Herald, WSVN and Watchdogwire.com;  and because I am mentioned in the online blog I am compelled to make a statement to you.”

Roberts states, “I understand my job as a teacher and UTD Building Steward. I am not an agent for the Office of the Inspector General or the Office of the Auditor General. I do not investigate cases against my colleagues, I do not gather evidence against my co- workers, nor do I recommend that they not receive bonuses that are due to them for their hard work.  I am not a “Watchdog.” That is not my job!! I report incidents!”

Colestock asks, “Does cheating constitute ‘hard work’ and deserve a ‘bonus’? Hear no fraud, see no waste and say nothing about abuses.”

Roberts then went on to directly attack Colestock. Roberts states, “I am deeply disturbed and disheartened to think that a staff member [Colestock] feels that our students are not intelligent enough to pass a test without cheating and that our teachers are not working hard enough in the classroom. Are we not entitled to our monetary bonuses because of an investigation?”

Colestock responded to the Roberts letter as follows:

“As for the allegation of me questioning our students’ intelligence, that is ridiculous. The investigation, and the articles, focus on instances of cheating and its impact on the scores, questioning performance and not intelligence.

We all know, as our students have demonstrated, that when our students study and apply themselves, they are capable of great things-the prime example being our increase in reading comprehension from 17% to 30% over the past two school years.

However, the level of productivity is a great disparity. The increase of passing students from 17 to 452 with scores 175-241 above the national average and completed in 8-22 minutes below the national average, coupled with cheat sheets and student testimony, tells anyone with common sense something is amiss. Moreover, when there are multiple records of unsatisfactory performance and there exists a passing score in 10-20 minutes, that is highly questionable. Put in context with reading levels and various EOC performance, this level of performance is unusual, especially given the presence of cheat sheets and student testimony.

This questions performance, not intelligence. The report and the evidence speaks for itself.”

In his letter, Colestock offered to provide a confirmation email from Roberts confirming his role in advising Gant and Halligan to come forward.

Later that day at the faculty meeting, instead of having a JFK Profiles in Courage moment, which one would expect from the designated building steward who is also an athletic coach and pastor, in which he would have defended his role in exposing test cheating as required by state law and school board policies, he actually apologized for “letting people down,” as the situation “was not handled in-house and made the news,” and offered to resign from being a union steward.

The harassment of Colestock was not finished as another union steward, Mr. Kebony King, crafted a petition seeking Colestock’s ouster as a union steward two days later, which garnered 31 signatures. Apparently some Norland union members, as well as nonunion teachers, took exception to what Colestock did by exposing cheating at Norland SHS, all within Florida state law and Miami-Dade school board policies. The real issue: the teacher’s federal and state financial incentives were in jeopardy due the test cheating at Norland.

On September 19, 2013, Roberts submitted a Civil Rights Compliance complaint against Mr. Colestock claiming that he was “cyber-bullied and cyber-harassed” by Mr. Colestock’s Watchdog Wire- Florida articles. However, on page 15 of the exhibit Roberts contradicts his statement from a month before due to pressure and being exposed. Roberts in his complaint attacks Colestock, Dr. Rich Swier, State Editor of WDW-FL and the Watchdog Wire- Florida website. Roberts checked the “Political Beliefs”, “Retaliation” and “Social and Family Background” boxes on the complaint form. However, Roberts’ attempts to accuse Trevor of politically and racially motivated harassment were squashed when the investigator assigned to review his complaint concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove those claims. Roberts subsequently withdrew his complaint.

Roberts should know, as a pastor and coach, that telling the truth about cheating is not cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment and defamatory in nature.

Unlike Roberts, Colestock gets it as he is fully knowledgeable of Florida contract and law and enforces it accordingly. Colestock understands that union stewards are equal to the principal and that good union stewards ensure that standard operating procedures, as they are equal to management and co-manage the school per the National Labor Relations Act and the Florida Constitution, are compliant with contract and state and federal laws for the well-being of the faculty and staff.

Colestock writes, “To union members in the Miami-Dade school district: As the United Teachers of Dade, by their silence and inaction, backed Mr. Roberts and Mr. King and stood idly by as they and the school district attacked me, an accomplished union steward who exposed test cheating and fraud, over the past two months, do you really expect UTD will protect and represent you in your time of need?   If UTD cannot and will not protect their stewards like me, who can and will they protect?”

Unlike Colestock, Roberts did not suffer adverse actions for his role, although a minor one, in exposing the test cheating at Norland SHS. Roberts complaint against Colestock may have been the basis for the Miami-Dade School District to act against Colestock and move him involuntarily to another school.  Colestock has paid the price for telling the truth. He lost his job, in contravention to state and federal law, for his rightful activities as a concerned citizen, an active and competent union steward and as a citizen journalist.

Colestock was the subject of an attempted transfer on September 16, 2013, which failed, and has been displaced from his job at Norland SHS since October 24, 2013. So exactly who has been harassed – Colestock or Roberts?

Reginald E. Lee, Principal, Miami Norland Senior High School

Colestock still remains displaced from Norland, where he is unable to enforce contract and state laws per his elected position as union steward. The district, as well as Norland SHS Principal, Mr. Reginald  E. Lee, and Roberts, is sending a message to their faculty and community. The adverse actions against Colestock effect those who may be willing to ensure compliance with law and union contract through oversight and quality control measures at Norland. Retaliation is the method to silence those who expose cheating.

“The District created this situation by never addressing the faculty, staff, and students following the release of the Miami-Dade OIG report on August 26, 2013, thereby creating a cone of silence,” states Colestock.

Following his articles on Watchdog Wire – Florida  regarding industry certification exam (Adobe PhotoshopDream Weaver) cheating by teachers as referenced in a Miami-Dade OIG report issued on August 26, 2012, the tepid response by the district administration, and the lack of any response by the Department of Education (all in the context of some quarter million dollars in monetary rewards to staff for the dramatic improvement in test scores), there has been a continuing/ongoing pattern of retaliation against him.

Colestock states, “I have not been critical of students per se, but only of dishonest teachers and dormant administrators, and because students did not share in the distribution of the approximate quarter million dollar award, it seems to be a fair inference that the student response (protests, threats) may likely have been instigated by adults (erstwhile colleagues) who felt criticized or targeted or monetarily threatened by my articles.”

“Because the cash awards for improvement have been distributed, because no colleagues or students have been brought to account, the consequences so far have been visited solely upon me – another involuntary transfer as of October 24, 2013.  The message to students and teachers is that the district is not backing Mr. Colestock and that he is fair game.  The message to the faculty and staff is to avoid emulating Mr. Colestock and what he has done in exposing wrongdoing,” notes Colestock.

The Miami-Dade school district, by their actions, wants teachers to be like Roberts and administrators to be like Principal Lee: keep quiet, look the other way on test cheating and fraud, disparage those who do expose it and go along, get along people. Is that what Miami-Dade public schools have come to?