mfioretti: academia*

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  1. Nothing should be absolute and without reasonable boundaries, not even freedom. In light of this, there are three observable, identifiable ways in which this latest fad of intersectionality is taking advantage of and destroying the rational enlightenment roots of Western academia from within. The approaches are, namely, infiltration, subversion, and coercion.


    The dilution of academic fields is not where it ends however. The promotion of transgenderism as settled science and arbitrary pronouns like them/theirs being used in schools and universities are further examples of subversion. In every Western university (including where I research), the casual usage of made up pronouns is being promoted by a small minority of academics and students. One risks being marked as a bigot if one chooses to question or debate such arbitrary policies. Every university has Marxist and feminist reading groups and departments that essentially control events, doctoral training modules that include methods that prefer non-positivist research, and journal publications wherein the chances of one being censored are higher if he or she dares to question groupthink.

    The third approach involves coercion, or simply the tyranny of minority. A handful of students, instigated by a handful of academics, especially from intersectional disciplines and Marxist-feminist-post-colonial and gender studies backgrounds and departments, now attempt to dictate what can or cannot be taught, discussed, or even debated at a university.
    http://quillette.com/2017/11/06/intersectionality-poppers-paradox
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  2. "I can think of no better way to subjugate women than to convince us that assault is around every corner.”

    as this unexpected revolution unfolds, we should also keep in mind the dangers of creating new injustices in the service of correcting old ones.

    For that, it’s useful to look at how reforms played out on campus, where, unfortunately, many of the Obama administration’s good intentions went awry. Among the principles and polices that have become entrenched at schools—and are now spilling out into the wider world—are the beliefs that accusers are virtually always telling the truth; that the urgency to take action is more important than fair procedures; that we shouldn’t make distinctions between criminal acts and boorishness; and that predatory male behavior is ubiquitous. These beliefs have resulted in many campus cases in which the accused was treated with fundamental unfairness, spawning a legal subspecialty of suing schools on behalf of these young men. Examining what happened on campuses shows where the politics and social rules of interaction between the sexes might be headed—and how to avoid making the same mistakes on a larger scale.

    In 2011, the Department of Education sent a bombshell letter with the bland greeting, “Dear Colleague” to the country’s 4,600 institutions of higher education laying out new rules for how campuses were to root out and punish sexual assault.

    It was the beginning of a concerted effort that radically remade how students could interact sexually, with severe penalties for violating increasingly stringent codes of conduct. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex. Under the Obama pronouncements, college Title IX offices became vast bureaucracies, and students were encouraged to report any perceived violation. The Dear Colleague letter forbade “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” To stay on the right side of federal regulators, many school codes expanded to turn even unwanted flirtation or sexual jokes between students into actionable offenses. New rules known as “affirmative consent” were put in place on many campuses, requiring that partners engaging in any sexual contact get explicit permission, preferably verbal, for each touch, each time. (Affirmative consent on campus has become law in California, Connecticut and New York.)

    "As a much-needed reckoning happens in the workplace, look to college campuses for a note of caution"

    In the final five years of his presidency, Barack Obama’s administration undertook a worthy and bold challenge: the elimination of sexual assault on campuses. In fact, Obama’s team had a much more ambitious goal in mind. Vice President Joe Biden, the point person for the campus initiative, said at the end of his term that the administration was seeking “to fundamentally change the culture around sexual assault”—everywhere. New rules of sexual engagement between college students were written at the directive of the administration, but top Obama officials said they wanted these to be applied in the workplace and beyond. “You’re going to change the workplaces you work in,” Tina Tchen, director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said at a 2016 event honoring campus sexual assault activists. “You’re going to raise your sons and daughters differently.”

    They expected this transformation to take years. But with the daily toppling of powerful men who have committed sexual violations in Hollywood, the media, Congress and more, these changes have become seismic. The silenced have been given voice, and their testimony has resulted in the swift professional demise of perpetrators. Shocking descriptions of the behavior of powerful men have shown that it’s not universally understood that it’s unacceptable to display one’s genitals at work or to sexually abuse colleagues.

    We now have an opportunity for profound reform, for women and men to join together to treat each other with dignity and respect. But as this unexpected revolution unfolds, we should also keep in mind the dangers of creating new injustices in the service of correcting old ones.

    For that, it’s useful to look at how reforms played out on campus, where, unfortunately, many of the Obama administration’s good intentions went awry. Among the principles and polices that have become entrenched at schools—and are now spilling out into the wider world—are the beliefs that accusers are virtually always telling the truth; that the urgency to take action is more important than fair procedures; that we shouldn’t make distinctions between criminal acts and boorishness; and that predatory male behavior is ubiquitous. These beliefs have resulted in many campus cases in which the accused was treated with fundamental unfairness, spawning a legal subspecialty of suing schools on behalf of these young men. Examining what happened on campuses shows where the politics and social rules of interaction between the sexes might be headed—and how to avoid making the same mistakes on a larger scale.

    ***

    Much of the Obama administration’s policy was at the initiative of Biden, for whom the issue of violence against women was career-defining. In 1994, as a senator, he oversaw the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, what he calls his “proudest legislative accomplishment.” When he became vice president, a new position was created under his aegis, White House adviser on violence against women, and he appointed Lynn Rosenthal, a national leader on domestic abuse, to fill it. The administration then decided to focus its efforts on what it said was an epidemic of sexual violence against female students by their male classmates. In 2011, the Department of Education sent a bombshell letter with the bland greeting, “Dear Colleague” to the country’s 4,600 institutions of higher education laying out new rules for how campuses were to root out and punish sexual assault.

    It was the beginning of a concerted effort that radically remade how students could interact sexually, with severe penalties for violating increasingly stringent codes of conduct. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex. Under the Obama pronouncements, college Title IX offices became vast bureaucracies, and students were encouraged to report any perceived violation. The Dear Colleague letter forbade “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” To stay on the right side of federal regulators, many school codes expanded to turn even unwanted flirtation or sexual jokes between students into actionable offenses. New rules known as “affirmative consent” were put in place on many campuses, requiring that partners engaging in any sexual contact get explicit permission, preferably verbal, for each touch, each time. (Affirmative consent on campus has become law in California, Connecticut and New York.)

    Rosenthal later explained why the administration put such focus on the sexual encounters of college students: “We felt it was a problem we could identify, evaluate, study and develop targeted interventions for,” she said at a seminar on sexual assault in January 2015, a few days after leaving the administration. “We also believed that what happens on our college campuses affects our nation. If we get this right on college campuses, we can influence an entire generation.”

    Now, it’s not just an entire generation—it’s the entire nation. No matter whether an accusation is made about violations on campus, in the workplace or on the streets, it is essential that the accounts be taken seriously and the accusers be treated respectfully. But in the debate over campus sexual assault, believing accusers, especially female ones, has become a virtual article of faith. Many Democratic politicians have expressed an opinion similar to the one recently tweeted by California Senator Kamala Harris, regarding college campuses: “Survivors of sexual assault deserve to be believed, not blamed.” As Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote in the New Yorker, wanting to examine the evidence before coming to a conclusion has come to mean being perceived on campus as being “biased in favor of perpetrators.”

    In this national “just believe” the accuser moment, it’s important to remember that part of the power of the recent accusations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and so many others is that they are backed up by meticulous reporting that has provided contemporaneous corroboration and other evidence. Presented with these revelations, the accused themselves in many cases have provided confirmation by acknowledging at least some of their violations. A failed attempt by the right-wing group Project Veritas to persuade the Washington Post to publish the account of a fake accuser of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore demonstrated the power of verifying before believing.

    The complications of “just believe” are illustrated by the saga of Al Franken, who, on Thursday announced his upcoming resignation as a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota. In the past few weeks, he has been accused by several women of unwanted attempted kissing, or touching them on the buttocks or breast while having photographs taken with them. Franken started by issuing a series of tortured apologies, which neither acknowledged that he did the touching, nor categorically denied it. In responding to Leeann Tweeden, a fellow performer who says Franken aggressively kissed her during a rehearsal for a United Service Organizations show more than a decade ago, he said, “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.” He added, “And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed.”

    This made it sound as if either Franken knew he had done inappropriate things and wouldn’t admit it, or he believed he hadn’t but couldn’t say so—proclaiming his innocence would mean casting aspersions on his accusers’ truthfulness. Franken sounded as if he had taken last year’s mandatory Title IX training for freshman at the University of Southern California, where the first piece of advice given to USC students accused of sexual assault is to acknowledge the likelihood that they are guilty, as documented in an article in the conservative outlet Campus Reform: “Admit to yourself that even if you don’t remember the event, or don’t believe yourself capable of hurting someone, that it’s possible that you may have crossed a boundary.”

    In the announcement of his resignation, Franken took a more defiant tone, backing off the admonition to believe his accusers’ version of events. He said he had “wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously,” but that his statements “gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.” So we are left knowing Franken was forced out by his Democratic colleagues, but not knowing exactly what to believe about the charges against him.

    Ironically, Franken has been an ardent supporter of the Obama-era policies on campus sexual assault, policies that have required the creation of an industry to train, adjudicate and litigate Title IX matters. In August, four feminist Harvard Law professors—Gersen, Elizabeth Bartholet, Nancy Gertner and Janet Halley—released a paper, titled “Fairness for All,” writing that the procedures on campus today “are frequently so unfair as to be truly shocking.” For example, “some colleges and universities fail even to give students the complaint against them, or notice of the factual basis of the charges, the evidence gathered, or the identities of witnesses.”

    The Obama administration Dear Colleague letter also required that “interim measures” be taken against the accused, before any adjudication. These can be harshly punitive, resulting in students being removed from certain classes, their movements on campus limited; sometimes they are even banned from school. The case of veteran New York public radio host Leonard Lopate illustrates what such “interim measures” look like in the workplace. On Wednesday, just before he was about to go on the air, Lopate was told he was being suspended because an investigation of “many” sexual harassment complaints against him was underway. He told the New York Times that he was “shocked” and “baffled” and that WNYC “didn’t even give me a clue” about the nature of the allegations. He added, “I am sure any honest investigation will completely clear me.” Indeed, both Lopate and the public are entitled to hear the results of a fair investigation. But surely before being publicly shamed, Lopate was entitled to know what the accusations against him were.

    Statistics on the scale of the sexual assault problem on campuses nationally are controversial. And there are no good numbers about the breadth and nature of schools’ responses. But we do know that since the Dear Colleague letter was issued in 2011, more than 200 civil lawsuits have been filed by the accused, almost all males, against their universities, according to one advocacy group that tracks such suits. And these plaintiffs are getting an increasingly positive response from judges, who often express astonishment at the campus procedures that have been promulgated. In a scathing rebuke of today’s investigation and adjudication processes on campus, the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, a leading Title IX consulting firm, released a white paper in April accusing many Title IX officers of “victim-favoring” and putting students’ “sexual decisions under a microscope.” The paper warned that unless campus processes were reformed, a backlash could “set back the entire consent movement.”

    Democratic politicians in particular have acted with disdain for the rights of accused male students, and with disregard for ending their education and professional prospects. At a 2015 congressional hearing on campus sexual assault, Representative Jared Polis of Colorado suggested that anyone accused of sexual misconduct should be dismissed without any fact-finding at all. “If there are 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people,” he said. “We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty. We’re talking about them being transferred to another university, for crying out loud.” (Polis was heavily criticized and walked back his remarks.)

    Now, Franken and his colleagues seem to have absorbed at least some of that thinking. In his forced farewell, he noted that he was now forgoing his once-promised Senate Ethics Committee investigation: “I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits. That I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome.” Senators had praised the idea of a proceeding that would provide, in the words of Senator Dick Durbin at the end of November, “due process. ” But last week, Durbin called for Franken’s resignation, along with 31 other Democratic senators. Now the public, and Franken’s soon-to-be former constituents, are left to draw their own conclusions.

    In the past few weeks, a number of accused men have disappeared Soviet-style from public life, with the work of some—Louis C.K. and Garrison Keillor, for example—withdrawn from distribution. There has been discussion about whether everyone accused deserves a professional death penalty, or whether there should be a scale of punishment. After all, the violations run the gamut from multiple allegations of rape to unwanted touching. But in a statement on Facebook calling for Franken’s resignation, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand came out against making such distinctions. “While it’s true that his behavior is not the same as the criminal conduct alleged against Alabama Senate candidate » Roy Moore, or Harvey Weinstein, or President Trump, it is still unquestionably wrong,” she wrote. “We should not have to be explaining the gradations between sexual assault, harassment and unwelcome groping.”

    In a New York Times op-ed, actress Amber Tamblyn wrote that making distinctions will mean the cultural change that is happening will stall and bad behavior will win out. So, she wrote, “The punishment for harassment is you disappear. The punishment for rape is you disappear. The punishment for masturbation in front of us is you disappear. The punishment for coercion is you disappear.” (She conceded that some men may be allowed to come back professionally after a period of contrition.)

    This erasing of distinctions between the criminal and the loutish was a central feature of the campus initiatives of the Obama administration and led to many unjustified punishments. “Definitions of sexual wrongdoing on college campuses are now seriously overbroad,” the feminist Harvard Law professors wrote. “They are so broad as to put students engaged in behavior that is overwhelmingly common in the context of romantic relationships to be accused of sexual misconduct.”
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...ual-harassment-college-franken-216057
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  3. How do we engage in work as scholars in the service of northern canons, and, in so doing, can we really admit what took us there? Many of us, operating in homogeneous academic spaces (with some hints of liberal tendencies), conform when that question is bluntly asked.

    As someone who was herself observed and studied under the microscopes by ‘gringos’ in the 1980s, when pedagogues came to ask us what life was like in a war zone in El Salvador, Raquel’s questions especially resonate with me. Both of us have been dispossessed and situated in North American canons that serve particular research agendas. In this sense, we share similar experiences of being ‘read’ according to certain historical criteria.

    Raquel’s voice was impassioned. On that day, we had congregated in the Ruka of Riholi. Facing center and in a circle, we were paying attention to the silence of the elders. Raquel taught us a priceless lesson. After questioning the processes used to realize research projects in Nepal and Jordan, Raquel’s passionate demand introduced a final punch. She showed us that while we may have the outward face of political consciousness, we continued to use an academic discipline to study ‘exotic’ behaviors and, in so doing, were in fact undermining, denigrating and denying lessons of what constitutes cultural exchange from their perspective.

    From these interactions in the field emerge questions that go to the heart of the matter: How do we deal with issues of social compromise in the Humanities? In unlearning? In many cases, academic circles resemble circuses rather than centres of higher learning, wherein a culture of competition based on external pressures to do well motivates the relationship between teacher and student.

    One of the tragic consequences of a traditional system of higher education is working with colleagues who claim to have expertise on the topic of social activism, but who have never experienced any form of intervention. I am referring here to those academics who have made careers out of the pain of others by consuming knowledge obtained in marginalized communities. This same practice of “speaking about which you know little (or nothing)” is transmitted, whether acknowledged or not, to the students who we, as teachers and mentors, are preparing to undertake research studies about decolonizing.

    Linda Smith speaks about the disdain she has for the word “research,” seeing it as one of the dirtiest words in the English language. I couldn’t agree more with her. When we sit down each semester to write a guide to “unlearning’,” or rather a syllabus, we must reflect upon how we can include content that will help to transmit a pre-defined discipline in the Humanities with current social realities. How can we create a space where a student can freely speak his/her mind without fear of receiving a bad grade?

    Today, anything and everything is allowed if a postcolonial/decolonizing seal of approval accompanies it, even if it is devoid of any political urgency. These tendencies appear to be ornamental at best, and we must challenge the basis of those attempts. We can’t keep criticizing the neoliberal system while continuing to retain superficial visions of solidarity without striving for a more in-depth understanding. These are acts for which we pat ourselves on the back, but in the end just open up space for future consumers of prestige.

    The corridors of the hallways in the institution where I currently work embodies this faux-solidarity in posters about conferences, colloquiums, and trips in the Global South or about the Global South that cost an arm and a leg. As long as you have money to pay for your airfare, hotel, meals and transportation, you too could add two lines in the CV and speak about the new social movement and their radical strategies to dismantle the system. You too can participate in academic dialogues about poverty and labor rights as you pass by an undocumented cleaner who will make your bed while you go to the main conference room to talk about her struggles.
    http://racebaitr.com/2017/04/06/how-academia-uses-poverty-oppression/#
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  4. “Stop telling people of color they’re fucking useless,” a female student demands of Weinstein at one point.

    “You’re useless, get the fuck out of here,” she adds, saying “fuck you, you piece of shit” as her peers ask Weinstein for an explanation of his email.

    Weinstein attempts to answer–asking “may I answer that question?”–butthe student protesters suddenly decide that they no longer want his explanation, and respond with a resounding “no!”

    They drove him off campus out of fear for his own safety:

    As a biology professor for 15 years at Olympia’s The Evergreen State College, Bret Weinstein has seen his share of protests, but he’s never been afraid of being on campus until this week.

    “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be on campus,” said Weinstein, who held his Thursday class in a downtown Olympia park.

    An administrator confirmed the police department advised Weinstein it “might be best to stay off campus for a day or so.”

    Demonstrations involving as many as 200 students filled classrooms and the President’s office on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Protesters are upset over what they believe are racist policies at the college, and some called for Weinstein to resign.

    Every one of those students who intimidated that professor should be disciplined, and probably expelled. Every one. Including this nitwit:

    But when student Marissa Parker, one of the protesters, heard Weinstein was advised to stay off campus, she responded, “If he feels unsafe or frightened for two days, he can only imagine what black and brown bodies have feared for years.”

    According to the report from Seattle’s KING television station that I linked to above, Evergreen State officials are considering changing the school’s racial policies in response to the protesters. And look at this — the administration is gutless:
    https://www.theamericanconservative.c...ing-of-bret-weinstein-evergreen-state
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  5. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, who filmed their exploits and posted the videos on social media, have occupied and barricaded the library, shouting down anyone who disagrees with them or shows insufficient passion for racial justice.

    Biology professor Bret Weinstein was berated by dozens of students outside of his classroom Tuesday morning for refusing to participate in an event in which white people were invited to leave campus for a day. Now, he says police have told him to hold his classes off campus due to safety concerns.

    Things are “out of control at Evergreen,” he said.

    “Police told me protesters stopped cars yesterday, demanding information about occupants,” Mr. Weinstein told The Washington Times. “They believe I was being sought. It appears that the campus has been under the effective control of protesters since 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police are on lockdown, hamstrung by the college administration. Students, staff and faculty are not safe.”

    A spokesman for the Evergreen Department of Police Services confirmed the agency had been in contact with Mr. Weinstein. He said officers would be in touch with The Times, but three subsequent phone calls during business hours were not answered.

    A college spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Weinstein’s situation or any of the other activity on campus.

    Evergreen student Blake Vincent said he was participating in the protests and was unaware of any searches for Mr. Weinstein’s whereabouts.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2...te-students-demand-professor-resign-f
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  6. In calling for research papers to be made freely available open access advocates promised that doing so would lead to a simpler, less costly, more democratic, and more effective scholarly communication system. To achieve their objectives they proposed two different ways of providing open access: green OA (self-archiving) and gold OA (open access publishing).

    However, while the OA movement has succeeded in persuading research institutions and funders of the merits of open access, it has failed to win the hearts and minds of most researchers. More importantly, it is not achieving its objectives. There are various reasons for this, but above all it is because OA advocates underestimated the extent to which copyright would subvert their cause. That is the argument I make in this book, and I include a personal case study that demonstrates the kind of problems copyright poses for open access.

    I also argue that in underestimating the extent to which copyright would be a barrier to their objectives, OA advocates have enabled legacy publishers to appropriate the movement for their own benefit, rather than for the benefit of the research community, and to pervert both the practice and the concept of open access.
    https://glasstree.com/shop/catalog/co...access-advocates-underestimated_662/#
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  7. These more ambitious uses of instructional technology don’t fit easily into higher education’s traditional organizational structure, processes, or culture. DIY, on the other hand, reproduces the classroom model of higher education, in which the educator assumes responsibility for virtually all aspects of the student's experience.

    A shift away from DIY to enable other approaches leads, inevitably, to academics working as part of a team for course development and/or relying more heavily on external providers - whether they be vendors, consortia or other entities. Each of these scenarios take us into the provocative territory of faculty autonomy, which is so fundamental to the occupation. Shifting from the one-person, DIY model to one in which faculty play a more narrow, specific role, is not necessarily a threat to faculty, but it has often been perceived that way.

    If, as feared, the shift away from DIY leads to instructional content coming not from the lone instructor but from a team of professionals, either on campus or elsewhere, then the academic may be perceived as being “deskilled”; that is, one of the core functions of the occupation is taken away from the academic and done elsewhere, at least in part. Faculty are hired and rewarded primarily on the basis of subject matter knowledge. If this subject matter knowledge is produced or co-produced by others, the faculty member’s role as expert still remains as core. In addition, the faculty member assumes the role of a “facilitator of learning”.
    http://teachonline.ca/tools-trends/ma...ole-digital-course-development-higher
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  8. Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses. They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times. Fraternities are being unfairly maligned, and men are being demonized by sexual assault investigations. And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.

    Scott C. Johnston, who graduated from Yale in 1982, said he was on campus last fall when activists tried to shut down a free speech conference, “because apparently they missed irony class that day.” He recalled the Yale student who was videotaped screaming at a professor, Nicholas Christakis, that he had failed “to create a place of comfort and home” for students in his capacity as the head of a residential college.

    “I don’t think anything has damaged Yale’s brand quite like that,” said Mr. Johnston, a founder of an internet start-up and a former hedge fund manager. “This is not your daddy’s liberalism.”
    Continue reading the main story
    Related Coverage

    Racial Tension and Protests on Campuses Across the Country NOV. 10, 2015
    With Diversity Comes Intensity in Amherst Free Speech Debate NOV. 28, 2015
    Yale Professor and Wife, Targets of Protests, Resign as College Heads MAY 26, 2016
    At Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, a Heralded Alum, Is Recast as an Intolerant One NOV. 22, 2015

    “The worst part,” he continued, “is that campus administrators are wilting before the activists like flowers.”


    COMMENTS:

    Well, you can't spend decades trying to get a more diverse student body and then be surprised when this newly diverse group doesn't think even remotely like the privileged white guys you used to admit. Nor can you be very surprised when those same privileged white guys decide not to support your newly diverse campus because guess what, these kids don't think the way privileged white guys do. Really, these Universities are the victims of their own success and should be proud that some rich white dudes are disgusted, no matter whether it hurts their already very full pocketbooks or not.

    I'm a relatively young alumna of one of the colleges that belongs to the fundraising organization mentioned here, and I didn't give this year because of the current campus climate. But I don't feel at all represented by the disgruntled alums quoted here. I applaud current students at my alma mater for the work they're doing on racial justice, social class diversity, and fairer policies for trans students.

    What I find toxic is the apparent inability of current students to discuss any of these issues reasonably. On my college's Facebook community, anyone who attempts to sensitively ask a question is inevitably accused of tone policing and then banished entirely. It's ugly enough that I left the community entirely.

    I don't recognize the current college, where dissent isn't tolerated. And I don't believe such a culture can exist side-by-side with a quality academic program. Learning to question one's assumptions should be a dominant part of the college experience. Until I feel like that's possible again at my alma mater, I'm reluctant to give.

    I am an unrepentant liberal, the product of many generations of such politics. But what is happening in schools and on campuses in today's world is appalling. Literary classics are being cut from the curriculum because they make students "uncomfortable." Since when was a good education supposed to provide comfort? History is being obliterated, creating the risk that it will be forgotten, which in turn will foster the risk of repeating it. Trump supporters, for example, are known for their lack of education. If we eradicate history, we will all be forced to join them in the ranks of the illiterate.

    Colleges are abandoning principle in favor of pandering to the students they are supposed to be educating. Heaven help us all.

    I am an Asian lesbian professor of the humanities, and am increasingly weary of my profession because of the ludicrous touchiness and ignorance of many students and faculty. A colleague teaching an LGBT film class was hauled up because two students complained he had failed to issue a "trigger warning" before showing Boys Don't Cry. I have taught Coetzee's Disgrace (which I consider a masterpiece) for several years but am now thinking of dropping it because I perceive several students gearing up to declare that they feel offended. More important, because of the lack of an adequate core curriculum, English majors and even MAs graduate without ever having read a Victorian novel or a Romantic poem. One has to begin every class, whatever its theme, with a potted history lesson, because one cannot take for granted that students know when the World Wars or the American civil war occurred, or when Socrates lived or Shakespeare wrote. But all of them know the laundry list of ideas that should offend them. And all they can really write about is their own limited lives. As one colleague of mine says, the educational system is highly successful - it set out to inculcate self-esteem and it has done so.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/us/...e-protests-alumni-donations.html?_r=0
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  9. “Universities are unlike other institutions in that they absolutely require that people challenge each other so that the truth can emerge from limited, biased, flawed individuals,” he says. “If they lose intellectual diversity, or if they develop norms of ‘safety’ that trump challenge, they die. And this is what has been happening since the 1990s.”

    it’s important to have a frank discussion on campuses about ideological diversity. To me, this seems a liberal blind spot.

    I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

    “Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

    “The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

    “Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?”
    Continue reading the main story

    To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

    The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

    Four studies found that the proportion of professors in the humanities who are Republicans ranges between 6 and 11 percent, and in the social sciences
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opi...=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share
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  10. I’d been asked to write a book about whatever I wanted, and this editor didn’t even know whether I’d written anything before. It didn’t matter. It would sell its 300 copies regardless. Not to people with an interest in reading the book, but to librarians who would put it on a shelf and then, a few years later, probably bury it in a storeroom.

    Most academics get these requests. A colleague was recently courted by an editor who, after confessing they only published expensive hardbacks (at around £200), explained that this was an opportunity for my colleague to enhance his academic record. He was told he could give them pretty much anything, like an old report, or some old articles.

    “I can’t believe anyone would write a book that would be too expensive for anyone to buy,” the colleague told me over the phone. “Just to add a line to your cv.”

    Another colleague, on discovering his published book was getting widespread attention but was too expensive to buy, tried to get the publishers to rush out a cheaper paperback version. They ignored his request.

    These may sound like stories of concern to academics alone. But the problem is this: much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card.
    http://www.theguardian.com/higher-edu...nobody-can-buy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
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