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Left-fascists at University of Buffalo shut down discussion of Radical Islamic threats

Last night I appeared at the University of Buffalo at the invitation of the courageous students of Young Americans for Freedom, who have to put up with this Left-fascist thuggery on a daily basis, while I left Buffalo this morning. I say I “appeared,” because to say “I spoke” would be exaggerating a bit. Rather, I started a few sentences, made a couple of points, in between being screamed at by Leftist and Islamic supremacist fascists who think they’re opposing fascism.

The Spectrum article below is not that bad a report from the campus newspaper, showing the Left-fascist opposition to the freedom of speech, with a few exceptions: I am not a “self-proclaimed expert on radical Islam,” as I have never proclaimed myself an expert on anything, and my work stands or falls on the basis of the evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah, history and current events. Nor do I ever speak about “radical Islam,” which is a Western construct that does not exist in the Islamic world. And I didn’t call the fascists “uninformed fascists”; although they are indeed uninformed and think they know a great deal more than they actually do, I didn’t use that word. Finally, the reporters Ashley Inkumsah and Sarah Crowley wrote that I was “unphased” by the screaming fascists, when I was actually “unfazed.”

That said, I am grateful to Ashley Inkumsah and Sarah Crowley for a generally accurate report. Note the claims of victimhood trotted out yet again by the Muslims quoted in the article. They have hoodwinked the University of Buffalo Left-fascists into thinking that it’s “Islamophobes,” rather than jihad terrorists, who are killing people around the world. And that is one thing I said last night, although it is doubtful that the fascists heard it: the guy holding the sign “Queers Against Islamophobia” and any feminists in the audience have no idea what they’re enabling. By shutting down any discussion of the motivating ideology of the jihad threat and consigning it all to the realm of “hatred” and “bigotry,” they are only enabling that threat to grow, and one day, they may very well experience the consequences of their actions firsthand.

Meanwhile, UPD Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle “wished more university staff were present at the event to contain the disruptive crowd of students who were unable to get in.” This is disingenuous in the extreme. There were hordes of disruptive students who got in with no problem. What’s more, Schoenle overruled a plan that his subordinates had agreed to with my security team, that hecklers and screamers would be asked to be quiet and then escorted out. Schoenle actively aided and abetted the Left-fascist destruction of the event. Write him, courteously and politely, and remind him of the importance of the freedom of speech as the foundation of any free society, and the dangers of aiding and abetting Left-fascist thuggery for the future of any free society, at gws3@buffalo.edu. Also Tom Tiberi from Campus Life should was supposedly there to assist in making the event successful, but just stood by and did nothing while the Left-fascists screamed their abuse. He’s at tiberi@buffalo.edu. Remember: all messages to Schoenle and Tiberi should be polite, respectful, and courteous, sticking to the facts and calling them out for their malfeasance and allowance of Left-fascist thuggery.

Below the student paper article is the article from the Buffalo News, which is worthwhile only for capturing one thing I said: “The attempt to silence someone who has a differing viewpoint was a ‘quintessentially fascist act, and you are manifesting it in a wonderful way tonight,’ said Spencer.” There is also this: “Spencer frequently discusses terrorism by Muslims as being religiously motivated, an argument that has put him in the cross-hairs of American Muslims who say his interpretation of Islam is dangerously inaccurate and perverts their faith.”

Those American Muslims have a big problem on their hands, because in reality, I have no interpretation of Islam at all, but only report on how Muslims interpret it, which all too often involves justifications of and exhortations to violence. They are avid to silence me because they don’t want Americans to know how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify hatred, violence, and supremacism.

And so the University of Buffalo Left-fascists abundantly signaled their virtue by screaming at me for an hour and a half. What have they accomplished by doing so? Will the jihad threat thereby go away? Alas, no.

“A campus divided: Robert Spencer’s visit met with chaos and opposition from UB community,” by Ashley Inkumsah and Sarah Crowley, The Spectrum (University of Buffalo), May 2, 2017:

Students and faculty piled into Knox 109 to both hear Robert Spencer’s speech and protest his appearance.

Robert Spencer couldn’t speak for more than 30 seconds without students shouting and cursing at him on Monday night.

Spencer planned to speak to students about “the dangers of jihad in today’s world” but constant heckling from the crowd made it near impossible for him to complete a full sentence. Spencer, a self-proclaimed expert on radical Islam, runs a website called Jihad Watch.

Students called Spencer things like a “Nazi, “Trump Jr.” and a “pseudo-intellectual,” and most of his hour-long speech was inaudible. Spencer seemed unphased [sic] as students shouted over him and he responded, calling the crowd “uninformed fascists.”

Students who were anti-Spencer and pro-Spencer attended the event. In the end, many students left feeling little had been accomplished for either side.

“I think what ends up happening in debates like this where there’s different people who feel very strongly about different things, instead of seeing the other side’s perspective is they strengthen their own perspective,” said Fiza Ali, senior finance major.

Hundreds of students and faculty were unable to get into Knox 109, which only fits 200 people. University Police said the room reached its full capacity and letting more people in would be a fire hazard.

Students banged on the door chanting “let us in” as UPD struggled to contain the rowdy students. The officers were flustered and visibly unprepared for the unruly crowd. Two officers searched their phones to find laws to cite to students about why they couldn’t get in.

But many people weren’t surprised with this outcome.

When Spencer’s visit was announced it immediately caused a firestorm across the university and posed questions about the implications of free speech.

Although Student Association did not pay for Spencer to speak, thousands of students and faculty petitioned for SA to remove its logo from flyers about Spencer’s visit and many demanded his visit be canceled all together. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) invited Spencer for the club’s first official event.

Despite the outcries of discontent from the UB community, Spencer still spoke. He entered Knox 109 to a swarm of boos and middle fingers from the crowd.

Spencer held a thumbs up with a grin on his face and took his phone out to record people booing him.

“I was invited to speak whether you like that or not,” Spencer said.

When Spencer agreed to debate anyone, he was met with a roaring applause.

Students asked him a wide range of questions, such as, what the central tenets of Islam were, what measures the military should take to defend against terrorism and if white men contributed to U.S. terrorism.

Midway through every answer, someone interrupted.

YAF Chairwoman Lynn Sementilli repeatedly asked students to quiet down as they interrupted Spencer while he tried to answer questions.

Before Spencer’s speech, Muslim Student Association held a peaceful sit-in as students gathered on the ground floor of Knox Hall. Roughly 80 students and faculty members showed solidarity for Muslims while some prayed.

“This is our narrative, our voice being stripped from us, and we demand to take it back,” said MSA President Samiha Islam. “Spencer and his followers have never been impacted by Islamophobia, we have. More Muslims have been harmed and killed by ISIS than any other group in the world. We vociferously denounce terrorism at every junction, hundreds of times publicly and privately and declare this is not what Islam represents.”

Kadija Mohammed, a sophomore undecided major, said she was disappointed that the university allowed Spencer to speak.

“I was shocked that there weren’t any moves by the school to stop him from coming, considering he’s banned from the U.K., like you have to be pretty bad to be banned from the U.K., if the queen doesn’t want to see your face, that’s a bad day,” Mohammed said.

Spencer spent a large portion of his speech reading from the Quran.

He read a part of Quran about gays and lesbians that referred to them as “adulterers,” and the crowd erupted in boos and cursed at him.

Sementilli said she expected the crowd to ask “tough questions,” but didn’t expect the crowd to impede on the dialogue.

“They are responsible for their own actions obviously we can’t control what anybody does,” she said. “It would have been nice if they would’ve been more respectful to the speaker and participated in a more productive dialogue.”

Both Luciana Sena, a senior legal studies major and Jared Armitage, a junior political science major, feel conservative perspectives aren’t heard on campus.

“It’s kind of an ongoing discussion here with the more conservative or Republican groups on campus that our free speech is often suppressed and I think that we saw that here today by not allowing one side of the discussion to speak,” Sena said.

UPD Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle wished more university staff were present at the event to contain the disruptive crowd of students who were unable to get in. He said the university will try to hold future potentially chaotic events in bigger venues like the Student Union Theater or Alumni Arena.

“Overall, well nobody got hurt, the points were heard on both sides so from that perspective so from that point of view it went OK,” Schoenle said.

“Controversial speaker at UB shouted down, heckled,” by Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News, May 1, 2017:

It wasn’t Berkeley or Middlebury, by any stretch.

But controversial speaker Robert Spencer was repeatedly shouted down and heckled at the podium Monday inside a University at Buffalo lecture room, as he tried to give a talk on “Exposing Radical Islam: The Dangers of Jihad in Today’s World.”

Two hundred people, most of them clearly opposed to Spencer’s point of view on Islam, sat in on the talk, while another 100 or more people were kept outside the room by university police due to fire code limits inside.

University officials and police had been on alert for the potential for significant demonstrations, in light of recent havoc at other campuses across the country over conservative-leaning speakers like Spencer, an author whose books on terrorism have been widely criticized by Islamic groups as anti-Muslim.

Spencer used a microphone during his talk but was frequently drowned out by shouts and chants to let more students inside. Some students called him a Nazi, while others yelled for him to shut up.

Spencer at times pulled out his cellphone to record the boisterous crowd. The attempt to silence someone who has a differing viewpoint was a “quintessentially fascist act, and you are manifesting it in a wonderful way tonight,” said Spencer. “What you have in this room besides the manifestation of fascism is a very interesting phenomenon in that I would doubt that any one of you has read a single thing I’ve written.”

Students began showing up to demonstrate against Spencer nearly two hours before his talk.

Tension had been building on campus since the conservative student group Young Americans for Freedom announced Spencer’s visit in April.

One of the aims of the group, which has had a chapter at UB since February, is to bring conservative-minded speakers to campus.

Within days, graduate student Alexandra Prince circulated a petition condemning Spencer as a “notorious Islamophobe and hate monger” and urging that student fees not be used to give him a platform on campus for hate speech.

Spencer frequently discusses terrorism by Muslims as being religiously motivated, an argument that has put him in the cross-hairs of American Muslims who say his interpretation of Islam is dangerously inaccurate and perverts their faith.

Spencer is part of a speaker’s bureau organized by the national Young Americans for Freedom Foundation, and he frequently talks on college campuses at the invitation of local YAF chapters….

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Grade Inflation Eats Away at the Meaning of College by George C. Leef

The Year Was 2081 and Everyone Was Finally Above Average.

Every so often, the issue of grade inflation makes the headlines, and we are reminded that grades are being debased continuously.

That happened in late March when the two academics who have most assiduously studied grade inflation — Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy — provided fresh evidence on their site GradeInflation.com that grade inflation continues.

The authors state, “After 30 years of making incremental changes (in grading), the amount of rise has become so large that what’s happening becomes clear: mediocre students are getting higher and higher grades.”

In their database of over 400 colleges and universities covering the whole range of our higher education system, from large and prestigious universities to small, non-selective colleges, the researchers found not one where grades had remained level over the last 50 years. The overall rise in grades nationally has brought about a tripling of the percentage of A grades, although some schools have been much more “generous” than others.

Or, to look at it the other way, some schools have been much better than others in maintaining academic standards. For instance, Miami of Ohio, the University of Missouri, and Brigham Young have had low grade inflation. Why that has been the case would be worth investigating.

In North Carolina, Duke leads in grade inflation, followed closely by UNC. Wake Forest is in the middle of the pack, while UNC-Asheville has had comparatively little.

But why have American colleges and universities allowed, or perhaps even encouraged grade inflation? Why, as professor Clarence Deitsch and Norman Van Cott put it in this Pope Center piece five years ago, do we have “too many rhinestones masquerading as diamonds?”

Part of the answer, wrote Deitsch and Van Cott, is the fact that money is at stake.  “Professors don’t have to be rocket scientists to figure out that low grades can delay student graduation, thereby undermining state funding and faculty salaries,” they observed.

It might surprise Americans who believe that non-profit entities like colleges are not motivated by money and would allow honest academic assessment to be affected by concerns over revenue maximization, but they do.

But it is not just money that explains grade inflation. At least as important and probably more so is the pressure on faculty members to keep students happy.

History professor Chuck Chalberg put his finger on the problem in this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Chalberg writes about a friend of his who had completed her Ph.D. in psychology and was working as a teaching assistant to a professor and graded the papers submitted by the undergraduates “with what she thought was an appropriate level of rigor.” But it was not appropriate, she soon learned. The professor “revised nearly all of the grades upward so that were left no failures, few C’s, and mostly A’s and B’s.”

Had she underappreciated the real quality of the work of the students? No, but, Chalberg continues, “the students thought that they were really, really, smart, and would have been quite angry and thrown some major tantrums if they got what they actually deserved.”

Thus, giving out high but undeserved grades is a way of avoiding trouble. That trouble could come from students who have an elevated and unrealistic view of their abilities and will complain about any low grade to school officials.

It could also come from their parents, who have been known to helicopter in and gripe to the administrators that young Emma or Zachary just can’t have a C and if it isn’t changed immediately, there will be serious repercussions.

Another possibility is that faculty will give out inflated grades to avoid conflict with those school administrators.

Low grades affect student retention and at many colleges the most important thing is to keep students enrolled. Back in 2008, Norfolk State University biology professor Stephen Aird lost his job because the administration was upset with him for having the nerve to grade students according to their actual learning rather than giving out undeserved grades just to keep them content. (I wrote about that pathetic case here.)

Could it be that students are getting better and deserve the higher grades they’re receiving?

You’d get an argument if you ran that explanation by Professor Ron Srigley, who teaches at the University of Prince Edward Island. In this thoroughly iconoclastic essay published in March, he stated, “Over the past fourteen years of teaching, my students’ grade-point averages have steadily gone up while real student achievement has dropped. Papers I would have failed ten years ago on the grounds that they were unintelligible … I now routinely assign grades of C or higher.”

Professor Srigley points to one factor that many other professors have observed — students simply won’t read. They aren’t in the habit of reading (due to falling K-12 standards) and rarely do assigned readings in college. “They will tell you that they don’t read because they don’t have to. They can get an A without ever opening a book,” he writes.

We also have good evidence that on average, today’s college students spend much less time in studying in homework than students used to. In this 2010 study, Professor Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks found that college students today spend only about two thirds as much time as they did some fifty years ago. That’s hardly consistent with the notion that students today are really earning all those A grades.

On the whole, today’s students are receiving substantially higher grades for substantially lower academic gains than in the past.

Grade inflation is consistent with the customer friendly, “college experience” model that has mushroomed alongside the old, “you’ve come here to learn” college model. For students who merely want the degree to which many believe themselves entitled, rigorous grading is as unwelcome as cold showers and spartan meals would be at a luxury resort. Leaders at most colleges know that if they don’t satisfy their student-customers, they will find another school that will.

Exactly what is the problem, though?

Grade inflation could be seen as harmful to the downstream parties, the future employers of students who coast through college with high grades but little intellectual benefit. Doesn’t grade inflation trick them into over-estimating the capabilities of students?

That is a very minor concern. For one thing, it seems to be the case that employers don’t really pay much attention to college transcripts. In this NAS piece, Academically Adrift author Richard Arum writes, “Examining post-college transitions of recent graduates, Josipa Roksa and I have found that course transcripts are seldom considered by employers in the hiring process.”

That’s predictable. People in business have come to expect grade inflation just as they have come to expect monetary inflation. Naturally, they take measures to avoid bad hiring decisions just as they take measures to avoid bad investment decisions. They have better means of evaluating applicants than merely looking at GPAs.

Instead, the real harm of grade inflation is that it is a fraud on students who are misled into thinking that they are more competent than they really are.

It makes students believe they are good writers when in fact they are poor writers. It makes them believe they can comprehend books and documents when they can barely do so. It makes them think they can treat college as a Five Year Party or a Beer and Circus bacchanalia because they seem to be doing fine, when they’re actually wasting a lot of time and money.

Dishonest grading from professors is as bad as dishonest health reports from doctors who just want their patients to feel happy would be. The truth may be unpleasant, but it’s better to know it than to live in blissful ignorance.

This article was originally published by the Pope Center.

George C. LeefGeorge C. Leef

George Leef is the former book review editor of The Freeman. He is director of research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

On the ‘White Privilege’ movement

We close out the year with more protests and demands than ever, as our intellectuals engage in more and more “conversations” about race.

The protests spilled over to restaurants and shopping venues, even as Americans celebrated Christmas.  The incubators are the schools and college campuses, where students are taught about injustices invisible to the common man.  Textbooks offering lessons for deep classroom discussion include the sociology textbook, Color Lines and Racial Angles, published by Norton.  It includes such thought-provoking gems as “Asian American Exceptionalism and ‘Stereotype Promise,'” “The Fascination and Frustration with Native American Mascots,” “White Trash: The Social Origins of a Stigmatype,” and “Thinking about Trayvon [Martin, of course]: Privileged Responses and Media Discourse.”

Another gem from the once esteemed textbook publisher is Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Centurywith offerings from professors in various fields, such as biology, history, anthropology, sociology…and education, with a contribution by Bill Ayers’ choice for Obama’s Secretary of Education, Linda Darling-Hammond.  The Obama education transition team leader and developer of one of the two national Common Core tests offers her thoughts on education in an essay titled, “Structured for Failure: Race, Resources, and Student Achievement.”

At the K-12 level, materials for sensitizing students to oppression abound.  There is  (Re)Teaching Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice.  Curriculum materials on “teaching the ongoing murders of black men” are also readily available at Rethinking Schools.The George Soros-funded Teaching for Change also has some incendiary curriculum materials for the tykes.

White Privilege: All these materials are intended to instill an understanding of “white privilege,” which arose as more obvious methods such as slurs and discrimination disappeared.  White privilege is a kind of unconscious superiority that must be reviewed constantly–replacing the Puritan scouring for sin.  To gain an understanding, students can read “Beyond the Big, Bad Racist: Shared Meanings of White Identity and Supremacy” in theirColor Lines textbook.

The common wisdom in academe is that all white people are racist because they have white privilege.  An exponent of this theory, George Yancy, was recently hired by Emory University to teach philosophy.  His letter to “White America” appeared on Christmas Eve in the New York Times. Following in the footsteps of Ta-Nehisi Coates, a MacArthur Genius Grant winner and National Book Award winner for his stream-of-consciousness racial complaint in the style of James Baldwin, Yancy invoked James Baldwin.

“Dear White America,” wrote Yancy, as he set out to berate her,

I have a weighty request. As you read this letter, I want you to listen with love, a sort of love that demands that you look at parts of yourself that might cause pain and terror, as James Baldwin would say. Did you hear that? You may have missed it. I repeat: I want you to listen with love. Well, at least try.

Yancy, here, managed to combine demand and insult.  No doubt, millions of white masochistic Americans did just that: they tried very, very, very hard to listen, with love (as difficult as it is for them to grasp the concept).

This man who occupies an office once occupied by a real philosopher, continued,

We don’t talk much about the urgency of love these days, especially within the public sphere. Much of our discourse these days is about revenge, name calling, hate, and divisiveness. I have yet to hear it from our presidential hopefuls, or our political pundits. I don’t mean the Hollywood type of love, but the scary kind, the kind that risks not being reciprocated, the kind that refuses to flee in the face of danger. To make it a bit easier for you, I’ve decided to model, as best as I can, what I’m asking of you. Let me demonstrate the vulnerability that I wish you to show. As a child of Socrates, James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, let me speak the truth, refuse to err on the side of caution.

Now, the Dissident Prof has taken some classes in philosophy, but never has she heard a professor declare himself a “child of” any historical figure, much less of such a disparate triad as Socrates, James Baldwin, and Audre Lorde.  Furthermore, they told their students that philosophy is the love of wisdom and that according to Socrates, the beginning of wisdom comes with the admission of ignorance.

Professor Yancy, however, declares that he speaks the truth, or at least a truth that does not hold back, has no doubt.

Lest anyone get the impression that Professor Yancy feels himself in any way superior to White America, or to anyone else, he confesses his own sin of sexism, or male privilege.  But then again that must mean he is superior because he confessed his privilege.  So unless you, White America, confess the privilege that Professor Yancy says you enjoy (because he knows), you are guilty.

Richard WrightRichard Wright I will not claim to be a child of Richard Wright, just someone who, in spite of her white privilege, read and taught (at Emory) his autobiographical account of a show trial put on by the American Communists in the 1930s.  Wright got entangled with them in his efforts to break into writing.  The poor soul who is the target, his friend Ross, is NOT a privileged white American, but a black American, one of many targeted and exploited by the communists.

Wright is asked to come to the trial so that he might “learn what happened to ‘enemies of the working class.'”

The following day, a Sunday, Ross is confronted by his accusers.  Over the course of three hours, the accusers describe “Fascism’s aggression in Germany, Italy, and Japan,” “the role of the Soviet Union as the world’s lone workers’ state,” and the “suffering and handicaps” of the Negro population on Chicago’s South Side and the relation to “world struggle.” The direct charges against Ross are made, with dates, conversations, and scenes.

Then it is time for Ross to defend himself:

He stood trembling; he tried to talk and his words would not come.  The hall was as still as death.  Guilt was written in every pore of his black skin.  His hands shook.  He held on to the edge of the table to keep on his feet. . . .

“Comrades,” he said in a low, charged voice.  “I’m guilty of all the charges, all of them.”

"TheGodThatFailed" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia“TheGodThatFailed” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via WikipediaIn a similar manner, those of us benefiting from “privilege,” must confess as we are blamed for such things as the “school to prison pipeline” and the deplorable conditions on the South Side of Chicago.  Those who wish to be in the good graces of those like Professor Yancy must confess these over and over and over.

Fortunately, there are still a few legitimate philosophy professors around, such as Jack Kerwick, one of the contributors to the Dissident Prof collection, Exiled.  Kerwick, who keeps a very busy schedule teaching, also is a frequent contributor to such sites as Townhall and American Thinker.  Those who have enjoyed his application of logic to the issues of the day can now enjoy his razor sharp analyses in a new collection, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front, where he tackles such topics as Immigration, Academia, Religion, and Race.  As a matter of fact, I think George Yancy should read it.  I cannot think of anyone who would benefit more.

A couple reminders: The deadline for public comment on the U.S. Dept. of Education’s “family engagement” plan is Jan.4.  The deadline for 2015 charitable contributions is Dec. 31.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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.

REPORT: Student Opposition Undermines UK Counter-Radicalisation Policy

A new report reveals the extent of extremism on UK university campuses.

Across British universities, the government’s counter-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, is being prevented from functioning effectively due to widespread student opposition, reveals Preventing Prevent? Challenges to Counter-Radicalisation Policy On Campus. This is in part influenced by the narrative of extremist groups targeted by the policy, with over 40 student union leaders signing an open letter attacking Prevent organised by the pro-terrorist group CAGE on 11 July.

Recording over 100 on-campus events hosting speakers with extreme views or a history of involvement with extremist organisations each year since 2012, Student Rights’ latest report shows the alarming reach of extremism on UK campuses. The report also highlights how a number of those convicted of terrorist offences have passed through Britain’s higher education institutions.

By providing an in-depth analysis of Prevent and the criticisms levelled against it, the publication shows that the strategy is frequently misunderstood by those who oppose it and in fact uses a range of targeted and accountable measures that could effectively curb the influence afforded to extremists in the UK.

Further findings include:

  • Student Rights logged 132 events in 2012, 145 in 2013, and 123 in 2014. The speakers featured have suggested that there is a Western war against Islam; supported individuals convicted of terrorism offences; expressed intolerance of non-believers and/or minorities; and espoused religious law as a method of socio-political governance – opposing democracy in the process.
  • Despite this evidence, student activists have claimed Prevent is a racist policy; that lecturers spy on students; that vulnerable people will be stigmatised; and that the expression of controversial ideas will be suppressed.

The report also seeks to provide policy makers and practitioners with a set of recommendations which can ensure that civil society actors who seek to challenge extremist influence on our campuses are supported, and that universities and student unions are aware of their responsibilities to those vulnerable to radicalisation.

Rupert Sutton, Student Rights Director, commented:

“The evidence presented in this report shows that extremism on university campuses remains a serious issue while the dominant narrative is one which draws on extremist campaigning to undermine attempts to challenge the problem.

As such, it is vital that the government works to increase support for those challenging extremist narratives about Prevent, and that any guidance for university staff addresses fears driven by these narratives.

Universities should be the best place to challenge extremist ideas, yet at present this is simply not happening – something that must change if we are to successfully oppose on-campus radicalisation”.

Preventing Prevent? Challenges to Counter-Radicalisation Policy on Campus is available to download here

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a protester with her face painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag chants during a pro-Gaza demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in London. Photo credit:REUTERS.

#Take Back Our Kids

Our nineteen fifty something station-wagon was loaded with Mom, Dad, big fat Aunt Nee (300 lbs ), myself and four younger siblings. Aunt Nee raised my Dad; his surrogate Mom. Our family was excited about spending a hot summer day at Carr’s Beach, Maryland. I had no idea at that time that it was the only Maryland beach open to blacks.

Before hitting the road to the beach, the ritual included riding from our black suburban community into Baltimore city to pick up Aunt Nee and stopping down “Jew Town” to purchase corned-beef and a bread that the adults loved. I did not get a sense that my parents calling it Jew Town was meant in a derogatory way. It was simply an area of Baltimore filled with Jewish businesses that sold great food.

As a matter of fact, most of the corner stores in black neighborhoods were owned by Jews. Blacks purchased items without cash, put on their account. Store owners would log items in their book; no bulletproof wall and turn-style between the Jewish store owners and their black customers.

We always had a wonderful time at the beach and rode home exhausted. Dad’s car was not air conditioned. Looking back, I wonder how on earth did we endure; three adults, five kids, food and beach supplies stuffed in a hot station-wagon. And yet, all my memories of family days at the beach bring a warm smile to my face.

Mom was a great cook. Two of mom’s weekday dinner menus stick out as favorites. One was mom’s hot homemade biscuits with butter and King Syrup. The other was collard greens with cornbread dumplings. We kids were clueless about the economic component surrounding these meals. We simply enjoyed them, never feeling deprived.

Wednesday nights were prayer service at the storefront church in Baltimore city where dad was assistant pastor. On the way home, there was a corner bakery right before we crossed over the Hanover Street bridge. Whenever dad unexpectedly pulled over to purchase a dozen donuts, it was an exciting family treat.

As the eldest, I remember my parent’s lean years more than my siblings. One Christmas, I was extremely excited receiving a secondhand bicycle. Years later, Santa delivered new bikes for my younger brothers and sister.

Dad was among Baltimore City’s first black firefighters and mom worked part-time as a custodian at a high school and a domestic for white folks.

My point is we did not have what kids have today. And yet, we enjoyed the little things. We did not feel deprived. Mom and dad always found a way to get us whatever we needed. I remember wearing my new suit for 6th grade graduation looking at my friend Martin wearing a suit a few sizes too small. My three brothers, sister and I were happy.

The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). While my siblings and I had our individual periods of rebellion, like the prodigal son, we defaulted back to our home training; our parent’s principles and values.

Today, the Left is aggressively usurping authority over your kids, ripping parenting out of your hands.

Decades of allowing liberal indoctrination to go unchallenged has produced a generation of youths who believe in the name of “fairness” that no one should have more than anyone else (income inequality). Needs and desires are now declared to be rights (government entitlements). In our quest to prove our tolerance as conservatives, we allowed the Left to steal our kid’s minds.

Youths are idealistic. Once liberalized guilt-ridden youths are led down the road of trying to make life fair, the consequences are far reaching. For example: Pressure from students is forcing colleges to make all campus restrooms “all gender”. An Oregon High School created gender-neutral restrooms for transgender students.

In case you have not noticed, the Left has zero tolerance for anyone daring to disagree with their far left radical liberal agenda. They punish and even seek to criminalize opposing points of view. How long will it be before our kids are reporting their parents to authorities after overhearing them express an opinion out-of-step with that of the Left, government and the mainstream media?

Folks, it is time that we take back our kids from Leftist’s indoctrination.

Though “#Bring Back Our Girls” won rave reviews from liberals, sadly, it did nothing to free the 200 girls kidnapped and made sex slaves by Islamic extremists. A year later, the girls have not been returned.

I wish to implement, #Take Back Our Kids. I am calling all parents to closely monitor their local school administrators and school boards, confronting them when necessary. Home schooling is a great option. We can no longer sit back and passively allow the Left to totally control the thinking and beliefs of our kids. We must #Take Back Our Kids.

The Brownshirts Are Back — And They’re In Our Universities!

Over at PJ Media, I ask why we must keep repeating the mistakes of history.

It is not news that virtually all American universities are decidedly leftist institutions. Few Americans, however, are aware of how inhospitable they have become to free inquiry and free discourse, and how hostile they are to anyone who stands up for Western values and against the global jihad – as some recent developments illustrate.

What is happening in American universities today has a clear historical parallel.

In his seminal history The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard J. Evans explains how, in the early days of National Socialist Germany, the universities became centers of Nazi indoctrination in which students collaborated with stormtroopers (brownshirts) to terrorize dissenters:

It was above all the students who drove forward the co-ordination process in the universities. They organized campaigns against unwanted professors in the local newspapers, staged mass disruptions of their lectures and led detachments of stormtroopers in house-searches and raids.

Let’s take those one by one.

1. “It was above all the students who drove forward the co-ordination process in the universities.”

At Eastern Michigan University last Friday, two showings of the film American Sniperwere scheduled. But during the first, four Muslim students, Ahmed Abbas, Layali Alsadah, Jenna Hamed, and Sabreen Dari, climbed onto the stage and began to denounce the film, which many Islamic supremacists have complained is “Islamophobic” because it depicts Islamic jihad terrorists in a realistic manner. They were briefly arrested, but managed to get the second showing canceled.

Student Body President Desmond Miller offered some airy double talk:

“The conversation we had wanted to make sure student safety was at the forefront. We wanted to make sure whatever happens, students would be safe. The second part of it, which is actually just as important as the first part, was making sure we have a very serious dialogue about the movie and the propaganda associated with this movie.”

Sure, let’s have a “serious dialogue” about the movie while not showing the movie in question.

2. “They organized campaigns against unwanted professors in the local newspapers…”

There are precious few professors that today’s new brownshirts would care to campaign against, so they turn their fire toward campus speakers. David Horowitz spoke at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Monday, whereupon Manzoor Cheema, “Co-founder of Muslims for Social Justice,” wrote a letter to the campus newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, saying that it was “distressing” that Horowitz had spoken, and “especially distressing in the wake of Chapel Hill tragedy where three Muslim youth were murdered.”

Did Horowitz applaud or condone the murder of those students? Of course not. Were they even murdered because they were Muslim? No.

But Cheema wasn’t going to let facts get in the way of his defamation; he added:

“Horowitz has supported work of such virulent Islamophobes as Robert Spencer, who was cited 162 times by the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik.”

Do I call for mass murder, or any kind of crime? I do not. Am I any more responsible for this psychopath’s murders than the Beatles are for the murders of Charles Manson? Even less so, for Manson claimed to have gotten his orders to kill from Beatles songs, while Breivik never says that he was inspired to kill by anything I wrote, and he wasn’t.

Cheema, however, doesn’t care to discuss these matters rationally, and doesn’t want his readers to do so, either. He just wants to sling enough mud at Horowitz that such invitations will not be extended again to those who deviate from the politically correct line.

The same day, the Daily Tar Heel ran two other letters denouncing Horowitz, and (of course) none supporting him.

3. “…staged mass disruptions of their lectures…”

Here again, it would be hard to find a professor that today’s Nazi thugs would want to silence, so they do it to campus speakers. Here (and embedded above) is video of me trying to speak at Temple University in April 2012.

Such occurrences are rare, however, because it is rare that a speaker with views that run counter to those of these glassy-eyed, indoctrinated cultists gets invited to speak at a university at all. And if one is invited, then the Leftist/Islamic supremacist machine kicks into gear to suppress the forbidden ideas. When he learned that my colleague Pamela Geller was invited to speak at Brooklyn College, Ibrahim Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fired off an email to four Brooklyn College officials, with the subject line “Is Brooklyn College Really Hosting the Nation’s Leading Islamophobe?”

Later, with a sneer of cold command, he followed up with another…

Read the rest here.

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Five Lessons K–12 Can Learn from Higher Ed by Jenna Robinson

Colleges aren’t perfect, but they can be instructive for the public schools.

U.S. colleges and universities don’t get everything right. On the whole, they’re overpriced, operationally hidebound, and ideologically stagnant. Despite those problems, American higher education does some things very well—well enough that students from around the world still choose to come to the United States to get advanced degrees.

Primary and secondary schools could learn a lot by taking a close look at some of the best practices in higher education. The underlying difference is that higher education behaves more like a free market, where individual choices and actions determine the outcome.

Here are five things that universities gets right:

1.  Students learn at their own pace. When a student gets to college or university, she arrives with a cohort of other students. They’re mostly the same age, and they’ll probably all take English 101 within their first year on campus. But that’s where the class structure ends. After English 101, students all go their own ways, taking classes to suit their particular talents and interests. Entrance exams mean that students enroll in the math or foreign language courses commensurate with their skills. And if a student flunks differential equations or organic chemistry, he doesn’t have to be held back a whole year. He moves on with the rest of his courses while he retakes the one problem class. There are even classes like “economics for non-majors” that allow students to explore a subject without taking difficult prerequisites or learning complicated methodology.

In K–12, students advance in lockstep with their peers. Students must learn all subjects at the same speed. Special talent in math or language doesn’t result in early promotion to the next level. Until students reach late middle school or early high school, they are expected to learn at exactly the same rate as their peers. And adherence to social promotion (which is allowed in half of U.S. states) means that all students advance from one grade to the next, regardless of achievement. This practice occurs despite the evidence that retaining students who fail their courses generates better outcomes for those students.

2.  Students and parents have skin in the game. Paying tuition affects parents’ and students’ behavior in two ways. First, they shop around for the best deal—not necessarily the cheapest school, but the school at which they can get the most bang for their buck. Second, paying tuition motivates students to care about their educational success (or lack thereof). No one wants to see their hard-earned dollars go down the drain—and scholars have found that this is true for money spent on higher education, particularly as a student approaches graduation. Loans, savings, and money earned from working are better motivators for students to stay in school than scholarships or grants.

If students fail their elementary school courses, they don’t have any financial stake in that failure—at least, not until very far in the future. And parents can’t easily make comparisons to tell whether they’re getting any bang for their buck. Thus, they don’t have strong incentives to hold schools and teachers accountable. More importantly, parents who send their children to public schools can’t take their education dollars elsewhere. Even if one student leaves, the school district will quickly fill her spot with someone else.

3.  Professors are required to have degrees in their field. Community college and university departments only hire professors and lecturers with degrees in the subjects they teach. Professors teaching Introduction to American Government at State U. can be expected to have a Ph.D. in political science—probably with a concentration in American politics. They also research in that same field, keeping abreast of the latest scholarship on their topic. Professors are experts in their own discipline when they enter a classroom to teach undergraduates.

In K–12 schools, many teachers have degrees in education and have spent more time studying pedagogy than the subject they teach. In many states, teachers are even rewarded with raises for getting advanced degrees—regardless of whether that degree is in their field. But the success of programs like Teach for America makes it clear that an education degree can’t substitute for good subject knowledge.

4.  Students can attend any school for which they’re qualified. College students aren’t “zoned” for particular schools. Even public colleges and universities don’t limit applications to students from certain area codes (although they often cap out-of-state enrollment). This system means that every student who chooses to go to college must weigh the costs and benefits of each option and make a decision about where to apply and attend; they cannot simply rely on a default option. Because students can choose where to attend, colleges compete to offer students what they want: good graduation rates, tuition discounts, face time with professors, and opportunities for extracurricular activities. The importance of U.S. News and World Report’s yearly college rankings is a testament to the power of education consumers’ choices.

In stark contrast, a large majority of students in most public school districts simply attend the school for which they’re zoned, and few students consider charter, private, or home-school options.

5.  Professors are paid as individuals, not as a collective. University professors in demanding fields, with unique or extraordinary talent, or with impressive resumes are paid more. Thus, the mean salary for a professor of engineering is $117,911 annually, while a history professor earns $82,944. Instructors, who do no research, earn less than tenure-track professors, who are expected to publish. Moreover, professors are evaluated on their merits when they are up for tenure. How many journal articles have they published? How good (or bad) are their student evaluations? Have they performed any administrative, advising, or outreach work to the satisfaction of the committee? University teachers receive no credit for simply sticking around for a requisite amount of time.

In K–12 public schools, however, “longevity pay” accrues to all teachers who continue to show up. Schools award tenure, in most cases, simply for teaching for a certain number of years without getting negative reviews. Most tellingly, teacher pay is rarely based on individual merit. Teachers receive raises en masse, sometimes for school performance and sometimes just because it’s a good budget year.

Higher education is by no means perfect. But by allowing some market processes, it has avoided the worst failures of the public school system. Politicians and K–12 educators should take heed.

ABOUT JENNA ROBINSON

Jenna Robinson is director of outreach at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.