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VIDEO: Excuse Me, Professor! Correcting the slant on campus

excuse me professor book coverToo often, the message students get in college is that government is the answer to all social and economic problems. This happens in classes on history, sociology, politics, literature, and even in economics. You can graduate having heard only one narrative: the market has failed, so it must be replaced by all-controlling government bureaucracies.

FEE president Lawrence Reed is the editor of a wonderful collection of essays that address myth after myth. The book is Excuse Me, Professor (buy it from FEE). The essays deal with a huge range of issues that confront students every day. Unless young thinkers have an alternative paradigm in mind, the cause of human liberty will continue to lose the intellectual battle.

In this presentation at the Acton Institute, Reed discusses his new book and why it is an important contribution to setting the record straight. (Talk begins around 4:30 mark.)

Jeffrey A. TuckerJeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

The Muslim Holy War comes to America’s College Campuses

The above posters and stickers were plastered all over five major American campuses in the second week of November – two universities in D.C. and three in Southern California – making fun of local anti-Israel groups, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Muslim Students Association (MSA), pointing out their support for Jew-hatred and violent jihad.

While the identities of those who designed the posters and put them up around the campuses can be neither confirmed nor denied, the responsibility for the campaign was claimed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center here and here. In addition, FreedomPost.us posted a one-minute video with the posters (below) in their story, If You’re A Hamas-Supporting Anti-Israel College In SoCal Or DC, These Posters Are On Your Campus.

The University of California Los Angeles newspaper, THE DAILY BRUIN, responded with an article Offensive posters targeting SJP resurface on campus for third time. The UCLA couldn’t wait to reveal its bias and went for the jugular already in the first word of the title. Rather than attempting to look into the MSA and SJP who like to harass Jews at UCLA, the article offered them the pulpit from which they predictably gunned for the messenger.

SJP outreach director, Ani Der-Grigorian, concluded that the reason SJP and MSA were being grouped together was not their shared hatred of Israel, but Islamophobia. She also complained that UCLA officials have done little in response to the posters and that they “haven’t sat down with us about how unsafe this makes our members feel.” No one bothered to wonder if their own anti-Semitic activities ever made any of the UC Jewish students “feel unsafe.”

The UCLA article states that “Felipe Bris Abejon, SJP education and resources director and first-year political science student, said he was the first to notice the posters on Bruin Walk around 10 a.m., when he found one stuck to the bottom of his shoe.” There was no explanation as to whether the poster stuck to his shoe as a result of repeatedly kicking the wall on which it was displayed, or it crept from behind and attacked the shoe with malicious intentions, but the very fact that it was documented to be stuck to the SJP education and resources director’s shoe is clearly “offensive.”

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In Washington, D.C., The American University newspaper, The Eagle, published a tearful article titled, Islamophobic posters found on campus made Muslim students feel unsafe.

“I had people calling me [on Sunday], telling me that they were legitimately scared,” said Aman Abdelhamid, the president of AU’s Muslim Students Association chapter, who claims she felt “severely troubled” by the posters. “The posters…had really strong implications, really threatening messages.”

One might think that Abdelhamid was “severely troubled” after seeing Palestinian children with knives being raised to stab Jews. Or that she felt shocked and ashamed after learning that her fellow president of a Muslim Students Association, Anwar Al-Awlaki, later became an Al-Qaeda leader and was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike. Against all expectations of human decency, however, it appears that Abdelhamid felt “severely troubled” and “threatened” only because all of the above became suddenly exposed.

The article, which initially dismissed the information in the posters as false, has since been edited and appended this notable correction at the bottom: “An earlier version of this article misattributed the New York Times article and stated that Anwar al-Awlaki was not president of an MSA chapter. He was, at Colorado State.” One might think that would change the entire narrative. It didn’t.

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Ntebo Mokuena, president of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, who personally took down some of the posters while being escorted by the campus police, also made similar statements, claiming that some of the local students “offered to walk with Muslim students who did not feel safe traveling alone.”

No word on whether Jewish students have ever been offered the same aid and comfort during the anti-Semitic events that the MSI and SJP regularly hold on the same American University campus.

Laith Shakir, treasurer of AU’s SJP chapter, posted the pictures of the posters on Facebook, saying that they “spew Islamaphobic hate speech” and that he is glad a Public Safety officer “is currently patrolling the campus, finding and documenting these posters they’ve identified as inflammatory and hateful.”

“Not only is all of the information presented here categorically false,” writes Shakir, “it also propagates an exhausted talking point: if you are (or even just look) Muslim, and you’re involved in campus organization, you must also be involved in a terrorist group. Thus, Muslims and people who ‘look Arab’ are inextricably linked to violent extremism. The promoted hashtag [StopTheJihadOnCampus] isn’t trying to just “stop the jihad” (which, itself, is a nonsensical phrase); instead, it’s trying to eradicate anyone who could conceivably be labeled as Arab or Muslim from organizing on campus.”

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One might think that at a time when unhinged Islamic terrorism is making everyone in America and around the world feel “unsafe,” reasonable Muslim individuals with a conscience, a modicum of decency, and respect for their host country would pause, step back, and abstain from “organizing” anything except the opposition to such terrorism.

One might also think that “organizing” against international Islamic terrorism would take priority over all other “organizing” for any morally upright Muslim activist who claims that “terrorism gives Islam a bad name.”

What should one then make of those Muslim activists who, instead, jump into action and promote their religion by capitalizing on public fears, panic, and confusion, thus riding the tidal wave of terrorism to which they claim they have no connection, while declaring themselves to be the “victims” and complaining about “feeling unsafe”?

An unbiased observer would probably tell them to calm down and get off that wave. That would certainly help you stop feeling “unsafe.” That would also help you stop looking like a lout without a trace of conscience, reason, decency, and respect for your host country.

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RELATED ARTICLES:

Muslim Brotherhood-linked student group rallies not against jihad terror, but against “Islamophobia”

Global Jihad? Never Heard of It: UC Berkeley’s Bazian Still Hyping ‘Islamophobia’

CNN Erases Israel

EDITORS NOTE: This column was originally posted on The Peoples Cube.

Florida: Campus Concealed Carry and School Safety Bills Advance

Bills to remove the prohibition against Concealed Weapons License Holders carrying firearms on college or university campuses were heard in committees in both houses today.

Wednesday, September 16 at 9:00 AM SB-68, Campus Carry by CW License Holders  by Sen. Greg Evers (R- Baker) was heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee House and PASSED by a vote of 3-2.  Republican Senators Bradley, Brandes, and Evers voted in Favor of the bill while Democrat Senators Clements and Gibson voted Against it.

On Wednesday, September 16 at 10:30 AM HB-4001, Campus Carry by CW License Holders by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard in the House Criminal Justice Committee and PASSED by a vote of 8-5.  Republican Reps. Baxley, Fant, Harrell, Latvala, Plakon, Spano, Trujillo and VanZant voted in Favor of the bill while Republican Ray Pilon voted Against it.  Democrats Bracy, Kerner, Pritchett and Watson also voted Against it.

Under this bill, adults 21 years of age or older who have a valid Florida Concealed Weapons or Firearm License will have their rights restored and will be able to carry their concealed firearms on college or university campuses for protection.

A Modest Proposal For Ending Campus Microaggressions

While college students have been touring Europe, saving rainforests, or interning at high-powered government offices, college faculty and administrators have been preparing for the upcoming school year and the biggest problem that afflicts our institutions of higher learning: microaggressions.

Many people are unaware of microaggressions, but they lurk around every corner, in every classroom, dorm room, locker room, library cubicle, coffee shop, cafeteria, and under every tree and shrub on our bucolic campuses.

The journal that reports on everything important on our campuses, the Chronicle of Higher Education, explains microaggressions. This summer, it featured two lead articles on the problem.

The first, an essay, “Microaggression and Changing Moral Cultures” by sociology professors Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, offers a good definition: “Microaggressions are remarks perceived as sexist, racist, or otherwise offensive to a marginalized social group.” And, “even though the offenses are minor and sometimes unintentional, repeatedly experiencing them causes members of minority groups great harm, which must be redressed.”

A fellow University of Virginia sociologist, Donald Black, elaborates: moral cultures are products of social conditions, and “acts of social dominance — such as belittling someone with insults,” are “more offensive in places or relationships where people are relatively equal. Likewise, acts of cultural intolerance. . . .” (The full disquisition is here.)

The Groundbreaking Discovery of Microaggressions

Chronicle reporter Peter Schmidt, in the companion investigative piece, reveals that microaggressions were discovered back in 1970 by Charles M. Pierce, a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard’s medical school.

Those who still have images of the Confederate flag or Playboy centerfolds in their subconscious need special workshops, led by sociology and psychology professors.

In those days, the scourge was limited to “the subtle slights and insults that black people regularly experience at the hands of people who do not see themselves as racist.”

Thirty-seven years later, “a detailed taxonomy” of microaggressions was published in the American Psychologist, with the lead author of the research team and crack scientist Derald Wing Sue, a professor of psychology and education at Columbia Teachers College. In 2010, came the definitive Microaggressions in Everyday Life.

Sue explains that solutions are not as simple as, say, taking down Confederate flags and Playboy centerfolds from faculty office doors. Those who still have images of the Confederate flag or Playboy centerfolds in their subconscious need special workshops, led by sociology and psychology professors.

Most academics, being the placid creatures that they are, go along, accepting such directives as the price they have to pay for being able to work in cut-offs and Birkenstocks. But there are resisters, such as Eugene Volokh, a University of California-Los Angeles law professor, who defiantly writes, “I am going to keep on microaggressing.” No doubt Volokh has a bomb shelter filled with freeze-dried food staples and adorned with a Confederate flag.

The Solution: More Sociology Professors

Perhaps the professor needs a little explaining? Here is something from the Chronicle:

We can better understand complaints about microaggression and the reactions to them if we understand that each side of the debate draws from a different moral culture. Those calling attention to microaggressions have rejected the morality dominant among middle-class Americans during the 20th century — what sociologists and historians have sometimes called a dignity culture, which abhors private vengeance and encourages people to. . . . (This message would best be delivered to Volokh with a trickling water fountain and soft Indian zither music in the background.)

With professors across the land trained in conflict resolution and peace studies, we have hope. Consider the sociology professors’ thoughtful conclusion:

“Surely each side would benefit from a better understanding of the other. Debates might be more fruitful, and relationships on campus more collegial, if we more carefully considered the moral concerns of those who disagree with us. That does not mean the conflict engendered by this moral divide won’t or shouldn’t go on.”
I like that. There can never be too many discussions, meetings, roundtables, training sessions, reports, memos, marches, peace circles, teach-ins, sing-alongs, and group hugs at our institutions of higher learning.

Passing the Microaggression Baton to a New Generation

Here is what is happening in the new frontier of ending hurtful things: Students are reporting microaggressions through such places as the student-initiated Microaggression Project. Others use Facebook. Binghamton University, Brown University, Wellesley College, and Yale University lead the way. Thanks to being properly educated about the “Red Scare,” students are not burdened by misgivings.

Even sweet grandmas need re-education.

Some institutions have followed students’ lead and now have an “institutionalized recognition of microaggression.” Ithaca College has passed a bill “calling for a campuswide online system through which students could anonymously report microaggressions.”

At Fordham University, students describe microaggressions they have suffered in a mug-shot digital photo project. One plaint, about being asked, “So . . . you’re Chinese, right?” made me weep with guilt. Microaggressions can also happen far off campus. They occur when a female student is asked by a female relative if she has met “any nice boys.” Perhaps committees could prepare a brochure for freshpersons to take with them to protect them from such microaggressions from Grandma as the turkey is passed around? Even sweet grandmas need re-education.

There is one safeguard I wished I’d had when I was working as a graduate teaching assistant and being bombarded with microaggressions from freshmen who said they needed “at least a B” to keep their HOPE scholarships: A union contract. The Wisconsin graduate student union contract, for example, protects against microaggressions.

But in that most advanced state, California, the entire university system has issued guidelines to faculty, warning that such statements as “America is a melting pot” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” could be considered microaggressions.

Here, close to where I live and work in a safe space called the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, the local college responds to students’ needs with unequaled dedication. Last December, way-stations in the library assisted students assaulted with the trauma of final exams. One table offered coloring books and crayons, another jigsaw puzzles, another Legos. A bulletin board was set up for sharing tips. One heart-felt Post-It note read simply, “Cry!”

Colleges Target Microaggressions

According to a top-secret memo leaked to me, it appears that Hamilton College committees have put the same diligence into coming up with ways to combat microaggressions.

Imagine what would happen were a student to encounter a menu with fried chicken and watermelon!
The Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion has been toiling away for nigh a year now. The members have presented the initial findings in five areas of needed improvement. They are:

  1. Campus climate: a sense of belonging, with historically marginalized communities not only being tolerated but appreciated. The latter objective will be met with “social belonging/activities over the weekend” and “access to familiar comforts (foods, cultural events, services such as barbers, etc.).”
  2. Bias and microaggressions: eliminating “unconscious bias / ‘isms’” “insensitivity / misunderstandings / misconceptions,” and “anonymous acts of bias/discrimination, especially on the internet and social media sites.”
  3. Student training and education: Diversity programs will also be conducted outside of the classroom.
  4. Faculty and staff training: Mandatory trainings will be conducted at faculty orientations and will include instruction on how to value others. In performance reviews, staff will be evaluated negatively for failing to intervene or missing opportunities to “educate others.”
  5. Diversity issues in the curriculum: Faculty will be required to offer a more diverse curriculum in their classes.

Additionally, diversity trainings, such as “Difficult Dialogues,” Safe Zone Trainings by the Rainbow Alliance, an MLK Winter Book Read, a Division of Student Life training on microaggressions, a training session on acceptable theme party costumes, a transgender issues workshop, and a Ferguson Teach-In, will take place.

Recommendations include recruiting more “staff of color,” collaboration with human resources, Staff Assembly Council, and other campus offices, mandatory bystander student training, diversity training (in addition to current online sexual harassment and Title IX training), redesigning use of common social spaces, and encouraging student groups to involve faculty and staff in their events.

The Price of Comfort Is Eternal Vigilance

I would like to commend this committee for such a visionary, far-reaching list. Who would have thought of “unconscious bias / isms,” sins of omission, and food microaggressions? However, I must warn the good members: unconscious biases deep within the hearts and minds of cafeteria workers could sabotage such efforts. We know from news reports last year the harm done to students when fried chicken and collard greens were served during Martin Luther King Jr. week!

Imagine what would happen were a student to encounter a menu with fried chicken and watermelon! And while faculty certainly have the maturity and cultural awareness to enjoy their margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, our young fragile flowers might think we are stereotyping them with a taco night on May 5.

Let us not allow our students to be traumatized and scarred for life by… Any of the myriad ways microaggressions take place.
The times demand strong action. Let us not allow our students to be traumatized and scarred for life by stereotypical food, looks, refusals to make eye contact, prolonged eye contact, inappropriate conversation starters, smiling too much, or smiling too little—or any of the myriad ways microaggressions take place.

We must put in safety measures on every campus. Let the best and brightest STEM minds come together—as they once did during Sputnik—to come up with a national solution. I challenge fellow American professors to come up with a device that will measure hostilities, unconscious biases, and repressed hatreds, within not only our professoriate, but also the youth, the hope of the future. Stopping microaggressions is too important a matter to be left to chance. Bystanders may not be able to spot them soon enough. The objects of microaggression might be too lost in thought or their iPhones to notice a microaggressive stare or question.

Great scientific minds have come up with such devices for other species, such as our quadruped companions, lest they be tempted by squirrels or cats to run from the safety of yards. If we can make devices that these wear, why not one for our students and faculty? These devices could measure biorhythms, such things as heart rates, pupil dilations, and body temperature. We already, thanks to the U.S. Department of Education and the Gates Foundation, have devices that measure “social and emotional learning” and assess for such things as “grit” and “perseverance.” In fact, the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, which used to test for such irrelevant things as historical knowledge, is now testing for “grit.”

So, whenever a hateful or angry thought would come into consciousness a gentle little tingle would remind the offender, “Do not hate. Do not microaggress.” It would quickly end a hostile stare with a head jerk that would also conveniently alert the object of the microaggressive act that the subject needs further re-education. These devices could even be designed as fashion accessories, as gender-neutral brass chains or with colorful fair-trade beads.

Junior and contingent faculty would benefit immensely from being zapped. No doubt energetic convulsions shaking instructors at the lectern would bring forth healing peals of laughter from students. Humor does so much to ease anxiety. There would be no more concerns about “student engagement,” no worries about students nodding off or web-surfing. Not when lectures are so electrifying.

And we must not forget the “workers.” That lady behind the cafeteria counter would certainly benefit from a gentle shock to remind her that, if watermelon is to be served, it should be in a nice vinaigrette with a little bit of mint.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist.

VIDEO: Preventing Prevent? Challenges to Counter-Radicalisation Policy On-Campus

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) heard from Lloyd Randle, Former Prevent Engagement Officer, Hampshire Constabulary, Dr Usama Hasan, Senior Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, and Rupert Sutton, Director of Student Rights at The Henry Jackson Society.

The speakers discussed the findings of the recent Student Rights report ‘Preventing Prevent: Challenges to Counter-Radicalisation Policy On-Campus’, on-the-ground experiences counter-radicalisation efforts, including the challenges posed by student opposition, and the narratives used by extremists to undermine efforts to challenge extremism on our campuses.

RELATED VIDEO: A team of Highbury College Media students produced this documentary into the world of radicalisation as a global concern and, more concerning, on our doorstep.

Florida: “Astroturf” groups attack lawmakers who support campus carry (+ video)

Anti-gun “astroturf” groups don’t like guns on campus and they’re demanding an apology from two lawmakers who do.  Currently under attack from these fake grassroots groups are Florida Representative Dennis Baxley and Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore.

In this video Astroturf (fake grassroots organizations) is explained at the University of Nevada by Sharyl Attkisson:

At the top of the list of “astroturf organizations” are groups created and funded anti-gun former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to fight the NRA.  They are “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” and “Everytown for Gun Safety.”

sharyl attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson

In a column titled “Top 10 Astroturfers” Sharyl Attkisson writes: 

The whole point of Astroturf is to try to convince you there’s widespread support for or against an agenda when there’s not.

[ … ]

The groups present themselves as grassroots organizations of “mayors, moms survivors and everyday Americans.” They are spearheaded by former New York Mayor and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and former PR professional and mother Shannon Watts. Last year, they announced a $50 million political campaign to try to counter the efforts of the formidable gun rights lobby.

[ … ]

The results of an informal, non-scientific poll identify groups related to Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. as top Astroturf efforts. These groups include Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Everytown, Everytown for Gun Safety, Gun Sense, It’’s Time for Gun Sense in America, Gun Sense Voter, I”m a Gun Sense Voter, Moms Take the Hill and Stroller Jam.

Attkinsson lists the following as the top 10 astroturfers:

  1. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown
  2. Media Matters for America
  3. University of California Hastings Professor Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Dr. Paul Offit
  4. “Science” Blogs such as: Skeptic.com, Skepchick.org, Scienceblogs.com (Respectful Insolence), Popsci.com and SkepticalRaptors.com
  5. Mother Jones
  6. Salon.com and Vox.com
  7. White House press briefings and press secretary Josh Earnest
  8. Daily Kos and The Huffington Post
  9. CNN, NBC, New York Times, Politico and Talking Points Memo (TPM)
  10. MSNBC, Slate.com, Los Angeles Times and Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and Jon Stewart.