Uncommon Sense

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Bari Weiss resigns from the New York Times because of its bias

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

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Conservatives should have the same free speech rights at Colin Kaepernick

original article: Christian Artists Should Have The Same Free Speech Game As Colin Kaepernick
August 30, 2017 by James Gottry

In case you haven’t been following the news, the NFL, or the little blue bird I like to call Tweety, Colin Kaepernick is trending. Again. But this time it is not for kneeling on the field during the national anthem. It is because he is not even on the field during the national anthem.

If you’ve missed the off-the-field action, here are the highlights.

  • March: Kaepernick opts out of the final year of his contract with the 49ers.
  • April – present day: No NFL team signs Kaepernick.
  • August 23: More than 1,000 people rally outside NFL headquarters in New York, demanding that Kaepernick be signed by the start of the regular season next month.
  • August 24: Two bars in Chicago announce their TVs are on the fritz they will not show any NFL games until Kaepernick is signed.

Throw in Michael Vick saying Kaepernick should cut his hair to “be presentable,” then Vick apologizing and saying “his Afro has nothing to do with him being signed,” and Jim Brown arguing that Kaepernick should be an activist or a football player but not both, and we’ve got ourselves a good ‘ol-fashioned controversy. (Not that conflict has been missing from the news cycle.)

I love it. NFL teams are free to sign Kaepernick, not sign him, or offer him a discount on season tickets. Those who don’t agree with Kaepernick’s views are free to cheer his current unemployment, wave a flag, or whistle the national anthem all the way home. Fans of Kaepernick are free to fly to New York and protest outside the NFL, burn a flag, and decry the injustice of it all. And yes, two bars in Chicago are absolutely free to pursue a new demographic by playing Lifetime movies on Sunday afternoons.

It’s the beauty of America. The beauty of freedom of speech and conscience. And yes, the beauty of learning to co-exist with people who think differently than you.

Now, Let’s Join Another Game in Progress

In Colorado, Jack Phillips is facing a very different set of rules. Like Kaepernick, Jack took a principled stand in relation to his career. Jack is a cake artist and decided years ago that while he would serve any individual who came into his shop, he would not accept invitations to create certain custom cakes. Cakes with alcohol in them, and cakes that promote atheism, racism, or indecency were on that list. So were cakes that were anti-American. So if you want a flag-burning cake for your Kaepernick protest, Jack is probably not your guy.

It turns out, no one cared too much if Jack declined an invitation to make a cake with alcohol in it, or a flag-burning cake, or a Halloween cake. If they did care, they voted with their wallets and took their business elsewhere. That’s fine with Jack, because he doesn’t want to force anyone to believe what he believes; he does, however, want that courtesy to go both ways. He wants true tolerance, the kind where we can co-exist with people who think differently than we do. Sound familiar?

No problems there. But there’s another type of cake Jack doesn’t design: cakes for same-sex weddings. That’s the one that has Jack scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. Because when two men entered Jack’s Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked that Jack design a wedding cake for their same-sex ceremony, Jack politely told the couple that he would gladly sell them anything in his store, but designing a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage was not something he could do.

So why is Kaepernick’s situation playing out in the court of public opinion while Jack’s is playing out in the Supreme Court of the United States?

When the couple left Jack’s shop, they had a range of options. Among other things, they could have applauded his free exercise of conscience based on his sincerely held religious beliefs (unlikely in this situation, though not unprecedented). They could have held a rally imploring Jack to change his views, or they could have voted with their wallets and taken their business elsewhere (which they did).

But they took an additional action, one we haven’t seen in the Kaepernick situation. The men asked the government to punish Jack for attempting to live peacefully according to his views, and—when offered the power to interfere—the government obliged.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that Phillips’s decision to live by his conscience was unlawful and ordered him to re-educate his staff, file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years, and create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings if he creates wedding cakes at all. That’s why Jack finds himself preparing to go to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to protect free speech and religious freedom for all people.

Too Many Men on the Field

The day after the news broke that Chicago bars were announcing their plans to nix NFL games, attorneys for Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib, were in a courtroom in Phoenix, Arizona. As I’ve written before, they also face something Kaepernick does not: government interference and punishment.

Meanwhile, Barronelle Stutzman is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will hear her case, and this 72-year-old grandmother stands to lose everything. She is also the victim of government interference and punishment.

If you disagree with Jack, Brush & Nib, and Barronelle, then write a letter to the editor, attend a rally, and otherwise express your beliefs. Raise a flag, burn a flag, but don’t give the government the power to throw a flag.

If the government can force a Christian cake artist to design and create a cake for a same-sex wedding, it can force a Muslim singer to offer her services for an Easter service, or a liberal speechwriter to draft speeches for a conservative candidate, or a pro-gun control T-shirt designer to create shirts for the National Rifle Association that say “more guns are the solution.” That kind of government blitz on conscience should alarm all of us, no matter where we stand on the individual issues.

After the New York rally, Kaepernick tweeted, “My faith always has been and always will be in the power of the people!” He’s right. And when it comes to free speech, the government belongs on the sideline. We the people can handle it.

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Teachers abuse authority to bash Trump, but student recordings are ‘disruptive’

original article: Professors ranting about Trump in class? Court order could protect students who record them
May 26, 2017 by JEREMIAH POFF

The burden is on the school to show recording is disruptive

With increased scrutiny on students using technology to document what happens in the classroom and on school property, a federal judge has recognized broad rights for students to make recordings on school grounds.

If other judges agree with the logic of the order, which pertains to a Maine middle school, college students will have the green light to legally record their professors’ political comments in the classroom, a First Amendment expert told The College Fix.

The case, Pollack v. Regional School Unit 75, involves two parents who sued their school district because it wouldn’t let their autistic son bring an audio recording device to school. They wanted to find out why the 18-year-old, who has “very limited expressive” abilities, came back from school crying and bruised.

The parents cited a 2011 precedent from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Glik v. Cunniffe, that affirms a person’s right to record public officials who are working in public, including police making an arrest.

Like a person who records police to expose the excessive use of force, the son’s parents wanted to “expose wrongdoing” against him in class. (The 1st Circuit’s precedents are binding on the Maine district court.)

MORE: Professor tells students: Trump’s election an ‘act of terrorism’ (VIDEO)

District Judge Nancy Torresen instead chose an older, narrower and more familiar precedent that governs the First Amendment rights of students in a public school setting.

Under the Vietnam war-era Tinker standard, a school cannot stifle the speech of students unless the speech creates a “substantial disruption or material interference with school activities.”

Tinker “takes into account the unique features of the school environment and it allows schools to restrict expression—even based on viewpoint—where the schools can forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities or collision with the rights of other students,” Torreson wrote.

The school district tried to argue that the recording device did infringe on student activities and privacy, and it didn’t even bother addressing Tinker in its first motion to dismiss the case.

When the parents cited Tinker as their second choice, the school district responded that “Tinker does not apply because the privately-owned electronic device policy is content-neutral, and Tinker is limited to cases involving content and viewpoint-based restrictions on speech,” Torreson summarized.

The judge told the school district it must reconsider the parents’ request under the Tinkerstandard.

“Even if I bought the District’s argument that the policy is content-neutral, the Plaintiffs have also alleged that the District has applied its policy to [the student] in a viewpoint-based manner” because officials feared the scrutiny from being recorded, and they had earlier allowed the autistic student to wear a GPS device, Torreson wrote.

Federal judge says students have the right to record at school unless officials can show it’s disruptive by The College Fix on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/349479257/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-ZuaAbp4f83EX6JwXJvWp&show_recommendations=true

The new danger: Waive your right to record or get out?

While seemingly unrelated to the rights of student journalists, the implications of this order could extend to “newsgathering” by students, Student Press Law Center Executive Director Frank LoMonte wrote in a blog post.

LoMonte told The Fix in an email the judge’s order could be a “really interesting opening” for student journalists in both secondary and postsecondary institutions.

It is a “very logical application” of Tinker “to apply to gathering news as well as publishing news,” he said: “That makes perfect sense since gathering information is a necessary prerequisite to sharing it, but it’s rare that a court has been asked to rule on the right to gather information in the school setting.”

The Fix asked LoMonte how the order could affect a situation like what happened at Orange Coast College, where a student was suspended for recording his psychology professor ranting about Donald Trump’s election as an “act of terrorism.”

LoMonte said “if the Pollack case becomes accepted as the standard, you will see students successfully asserting a First Amendment right to record in the college classroom as well.”

MORE: Student who recorded prof’s anti-Trump rant suspended

But he was less sanguine about whether that First Amendment defense by students would hold up as consistently in a college classroom, as opposed to a public school where children’s presence is required by law.

“The college classroom is arguably a little different because taking any particular class is optional – nobody’s compelled to be there – so if a professor were to say that waiving the right to record is a required prerequisite to taking the class, it might hold up,” LoMonte said.

Orange Coast College’s trustees withdrew the sanction in response to a public backlash, but the professor was not disciplined for using class time inappropriately or “bullying” students who support Trump, as the student’s lawyer (below) argued she had done.

Torreson’s order could be quite useful for students trying to demonstrate wrongdoing by officials, LoMonte wrote in his blog post, citing a student who recorded another student being slammed to the ground by a police officer in a South Carolina high school.

“The student who shot that nationally publicized video was threatened with serious disciplinary charges – charges that, under the Pollack ruling, would be subject to challenge on First Amendment grounds.” LoMonte wrote.

Regional School Unit 75 did not respond to a Fix email query Wednesday, and its voice mailbox was full.

MORE: College rescinds suspension of student who recorded professor’s anti-Trump rant

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Academia is lost

original article: The Left is forcing Christians out of colleges. That’s actually good news for conservatives
May 10, 2017 by Robert Oscar Lopez

In the eighth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus Christ makes two statements in rapid succession. They encapsulate in a few phrases wisdom to cure many Christians of the anxieties that afflict the conservative movement. In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A few lines later, Jesus adds, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Academic Casualties

My Twitter feed has exploded in recent weeks, with plentiful panic about the pitiable state of free speech on college campuses. Big cases—big because they both worsen and reveal the deep structural wounds caused by the purge of Christian and conservative professors—played out this week: John McAdamsAnthony EsolenRebecca TuvelPaul McHughCarol SwainKeith Fink, and Paul Griffiths.

I know of other professors, and of people who know of still others, who are in similar purges but who have to stay silent because of confidentiality gags. Then you must account for all the adjuncts like Mary Grabar who never got tenure-track jobs, earlier exiles like John Zmirak who got out of the academy for better lives, and the many conservatives in grad school who sold their souls to liberals, ran out of the hallowed halls screaming, or were chased out by the usual mobs of screeching race hucksters, homofascists, feminazis, climate-change cabalists, and Marxophonies before they could get their doctorates.

When the dust settles on this sandstorm, there will be many, many, many, many academics on the list of casualties. Seven in one week are but the tip of a big iceberg untouched by global warming.

Okay, the Time to Stay Calm is Over, Conservatives!

We don’t know how many conservatives the liberal academy is surgically removing in what can no longer be denied or ignored for what it is—a concerted putsch. This is the big political story of our era: money, propaganda, conspiracies, corruption, fraud, sex, lies, and hidden bodies.

This is bigger than McCarthyism, and way more expensive. It has involved financial corruption, tuition-based price-gauging, nepotism, and conspiracy to use publicly funded charities (universities) to advance one political party and stifle dissent. Besides persecuting political opponents, academia has corrupted research, knowingly spread profligate falsehoods (especially about sex, gender, and race), and defrauded millions of college graduates who went into debt for an overpriced education that left them dysfunctional, unemployable, mentally unstable, and brainwashed.

We have witnessed a criminal transfer of wealth from hard-working poor and middle-class families to fund managers and university administrators swimming in a deluxe swamp of untaxed endowments that are not being used to advance the common good.

Save the Evidence-Because It’s Really Bad for the Left

The left perpetrated this and must be held accountable, not only through shaming and a thorough accounting for the history books, but also, through some kind of massive restitution. The liberal corruption of academia coincided with enormous increases in tuition and student debt (discussed in my book).

Some estimates of student loan debt range between one and two trillion dollars, but this does not count all the money funneled into university tax shelters, which are not being taxed, and all the payments to colleges for tuition, books, fees, and other expenses, in exchange for a faulty product people were forced to buy through false advertising and a crooked credentialing system. A massive part of the nation’s economy—and of countless families’ budgets—went into a black hole of waste, creating a drag on our country’s economic growth and productivity, which nobody has yet fully theorized. And the people who did this were insufferably smug and completely wrong about everything, on top of all that. (Who will do a study on this when all the economists are paid by or scared of universities?)

Several months ago, when I came out with a book on higher education called “Wackos Thugs & Perverts,” people thought the title was outrageous. Now, as Berkeley has seen three riots and three guest speakers blocked by politically correct outrages, the harsh title seems almost too gentle. Isn’t there something deeper going on?

Everything is getting worse every day. Remember when it was only conservatives who saw their freedom crushed and they were generally deemed deserving of such treatment? I remember. I remember when even conservative watchdogs thought lots of us who came forward with stories were just loonies because why else would so many people in the academy think we were crazy?

At last, some who caviled are now realizing what is afoot. The AAUP responded to my SOS calls in 2014 with unworried emails, saying there was no tenure or academic-freedom issue there. They had the usual routine down, which they use, presumably, when being forced to deal with a kook: “My job is to make you go away, here’s a cookie; this gentleman with the holstered Taser and a security badge will see you out the back way. Good afternoon, Sir.” Now the AAUP is actually starting to sweat (too late to help me, of course—I left that job.)

But Conservatives Need to Get Serious

We can’t get it twisted, though; large numbers of conservatives were either complicit with the racket or contributed to it by their own foolishness. In 2015, I remember trekking to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican lawmakers about academic freedom, with the explicit aim of alerting them to the Higher Education Act and provisions therein, which would enable them to intervene in persecution cases like mine.

After months of trying to get appointments, my friend and I arrived to be told no lawmakers could meet with us, but instead two charming twentysomethings would greet us in their dungarees and flats, with mugs of coffee and yellow legal pads, the pages of which I am sure did not survive five minutes after my departure. These were interns or clerks or something—I wasn’t quite sure.

They told me they were concerned and keeping watch over academic freedom, mostly by reading stories about Laura Kipnis. Prof. Kipnis was a liberal Northwestern professor who wrote a column defending the practice of professors sleeping with students, and alluding to an ongoing rape investigation with dismissive comments about the (unnamed) accusers. As a result of this, the individuals who had raised the rape charges filed a Title IX retaliation charge against Prof. Kipnis, which resulted in her being investigated for two months and then cleared of all charges. I asked the Hill interns, “are you aware of other cases, for instance conservatives opposed to homosexuality, where people were actually investigated for years and then lost their jobs?”

They replied something to the effect of, “I am sure such cases exist.”

My friend stepped in to say, “It would be a very sad thing if you guys diddled around talking about academic freedom while Dr. Lopez, who’s been under investigation for 9 months already, had to leave his job in California, and nothing got done about this. Think of all the others who will lose their jobs.”

The writing could not have been darker on the wall than it was on that day. But the Hill interns said I should email them with any updates (I did, with no response) and they would keep an eye on things and let the appropriate lawmakers know they met with me. My friend and I got phone calls with various staffers over the next year, with nothing other than repetitive references to the case of Laura Kipnis. “We sent a letter to Northwestern about Laura Kipnis’s case,” one told me. I responded, with growing unease, “great! She seems a great lady! But she was cleared of all charges and has a job. Do you think you might send a letter to my college?”

“We don’t want to make things worse,” they said.

“You need hearings!” I was screaming like a crazy person screaming, “soylent green is people!” My dean, who would be named the head of the Clinton Global Initiative on campus and got elected to be president of the National Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences (which is interesting since she is dean of neither arts nor sciences), methodically loaded up my personnel file with reprimand letters and procedural annoyances until at last I decided the only fate worse than losing tenure at Cal State Northridge would be having tenure at Cal State Northridge. But as I was on my way out, I had some consolation that finally Congress was going to hold hearings about academic freedom.

The “hearings”

Professor Robert George, distinguished with his grey locks and gleaming spectacles, appeared before Congress alongside a bunch of his students and a leftist who was told he could not hang up Bernie Sanders posters at Georgetown.

They spoke about the importance of free thought and exchange of ideas, etc., etc., etc., while I proceeded to pull out most of my hair screaming at the wall, “this is it? These are your hearings? These people aren’t about to be fired. When will we talk about defunding the colleges and subpoenaing all the creepy Medusa figures in the administration who keep landing millions of dollars in grants and harassing conservative Christians until they leave?”

Get ready for the death toll-but stop diddling

On many campuses that pushed out conservatives, the routine was frighteningly similar. Well aware of FIRE and other groups devoted to academic freedom, the administrators had learned, by a few years ago, that they could not attack conservatives by openly repudiating their conservatism. They either frame them for some unrelated procedural violation (falsifying files if they have to), or else drag them into a complicated investigation that they know will not survive an academic-freedom challenge, but will likely lead to the victim breaking a rule like confidentiality, notification, disclosure, or non-retaliation.

Because this was how the system worked and still works, countless people live now under investigation, facing certain ousters. They are hostages but we do not know where they are, since they are cowed by confidentiality rules, gag orders, and the observation that courts are siding with liberal oppressors.

Reality Check

If you want to save academic freedom, be aware of some hurtful truths.

First, conservatives dropped the ball. Nothing they’ve done worked and if they don’t try new approaches, this will become even worse.

Second, no painless strategy can fix this. You love homecoming, reunions, the football games, and the friends you made in college. You may have nostalgia for all you learned and the warm professors who guided you into adulthood. But those charms chain you to an oppressive system that threatens our democracy.

Universities are utterly hostile to your values and to God—even the vast majority of religious colleges. They got this bad because they rely on a steady stream of money that has never slowed or stopped, no matter how outraged the nation became. The only strategy that will work will be financial. The federal government must cease all public funding for colleges and universities, save for trade or vocational programs and seminaries (which are vocational). Our nation’s debt matches, roughly, the enormous amounts of cash that this corrupt system has funneled out of the functioning economy into their twisted Wonderland of emotional torture, sexual depravity, and fiscal recklessness.

People you love in the university system will experience pain if this system is to be fixed. Grants, backing of student loans, and tax exemptions on donations must all cease. Forget the conservative refrain of local and state control—the federal government got thoroughly entangled in all this and must take the lead. These are not non-profit charities so that loophole smacked of fraud from the beginning. In the case of most Catholic colleges, the non-profit status actually constituted charities fraud since the church has not yet reversed its stance on chastity yet these Catholic colleges not only fund homosexual social groups but even persecute people who defend Biblical sexuality on their own campuses.

Were such a strategy pursued, we would see massive job losses, the abolition of tenure, the closing of many struggling colleges, and cuts in pay. The wasteful and parasitic administrative class would have to go, causing painful unemployment to possibly millions of people who have made their living off the fat of this monstrous system. So many good people with good intentions would be hurt in the process. For that we must grieve.

But I left my job and quit tenure. It can be done. The universities and their workers brought this infernal crisis on themselves. They had adequate warnings and have no excuse for why they let the situation get this far.

Let go of “academic freedom”

Lastly, you must realize that this is not about academic freedom in the way we have discussed it thus far.

If you are truly conservative, your end goal is not a state of academic freedom, which would imply a situation in which all ideas are expressed and allowed on campus forums, and nobody is blocked from or suffers retaliation for their statements. Such a world would lack all discernment. It would be without virtue, without distinctions, constantly doubting its morals, and incapacitating the triumph of any position over others even in matters of grave importance. It would be demonic.

If you are conservative, and especially if you are Christian, what you seek is the Truth. The Truth is from God and exists as wisdom un-darkened by confusion and sinful thoughts. The Truth is not only what is, but what is right. With our imperfect minds, we cannot rush to decide what Truth is. We cannot censor competing views, except when we can show certainty. But academic freedom within such a system is a means to an end, a tool to build our monument to the Truth. In debates eventually we must acknowledge Truth where it lies, not remain uncommitted.

The left became horrendous because the left was wrong. Their prescriptions about improving race relations did not work because they were wrong. They were wrong about homosexuality and now we see the falsehoods of the LGBT movement growing more arrogant and multiplying as people who were celebrated for their errors now see further false affirmations as their entitlement, and Truth as an attack on their fragile sense of self.

The Truth is on our side. Now as we see all of higher education declare war on Truth, and on us because we championed it, we have nothing to lose. Do not hide behind caveats of academic freedom, as if all we want is to be given a chance to speak, a slush fund to bring Ann Coulter for a speech, a seat on a panel beside people peddling lies—that is not what we want. We want the left to stop lying. We want to proclaim the Truth so people see it, and stop listening to the left, and start listening to God. If this means that academia crashes and turns into ruins of a lost past, do not be mournful. Rejoice, for God has given us victory. Do not worry for tenure or being published somewhere prestigious or stuffing your resume with awards and grants. God gave you legs to walk and a tongue to shout His Word from the rooftops.

Academia is lost. We will never get our desks and library carrels back. Harvard will not ask us to speak what we know from behind a podium with a brilliant seal while the future leaders of America applause and smile. We have won our freedom. Enjoy it.

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Replace the word ‘Bible’ with any other Holy book and this Professor would be fired

original article: Audio: student forced to stop reading Bible before class
April 27, 2017 by Anthony Gockowski

A Northern Arizona University student was recently asked to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of one of his classes.

Northern Arizona University student was recently asked to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of one of his classes, according to audio obtained by Campus Reform.

In a recording of the February incident, provided to Campus Reform by Kevin Cavanaugh for Congress, Mark Holden explains the situation to History Department Chair Derek Heng, who had been called in by the instructor, Dr. Heather Martel, after Holden had refused her request that he put his Bible away.

Holden tells Heng that he had arrived early to his U.S. history course and, as usual, used the spare time to read his Bible, but claims that Martel had objected to the routine because she didn’t want to see a Bible in front of her.

“So Prof. Martel says that she doesn’t want you sitting in front of her because you put, you know, a Bible out, right?” Heng can be heard explaining to Holden, adding that while he doesn’t “know what the dynamics [are] going on in the classroom,” the “real key is to make sure that, you know, the class is able to go on and that you are in the classroom.”

“So she doesn’t want me in the front because I have my Bible out?” Holden responded for clarification, to which Heng responded by inquiring as to why Holden had his Bible out in the first place.

[RELATED: College argues that preaching the Gospel is ‘fighting words’]

“No, I think she, I mean, well why do you have your Bible out anyway?” Heng asked, with Holden clarifying that he was “just reading before class” and that the class hadn’t “even started yet.”

Nonetheless, and despite Holden’s protestations that class wasn’t going to begin for “another five minutes,” Heng concluded the conversation by again asking Holden if he would put his Bible away.

“So, will you, will you, will you, put your Bible away?” he asks, to which Holden replies that he always puts his Bible away once class begins, stating that he only reads the Bible “before class” and always makes sure to stow it away “before class starts.”

[RELATED: Clemson evicts man for praying outside free-speech zone]

Prior to the Bible altercation, Holden had been accused by Martel of violating the school’s policy on disruptive classroom behavior for an encounter in which Holden challenged Martel’s views on cultural assimilation.

Holden told Campus Reform that he had cited news reports about two Muslim immigrants who erected a sign declaring that the Koran gives them the right to commit rape, saying he used it as an example of a case in which cultural assimilation might be desirable.

According to an email that Martel sent to Holden explaining the violation, Holden had allegedly interrupted the class multiple times and “made a scene,” only stopping after a classmate intervened.

“Then you raised your hand for most of the rest of class. When I acknowledged that I saw your hand but stated we would be hearing from your classmates instead as you had already had your input, you said in a loud voice: ‘You work for me. I pay your salary,’” Martel alleged in the email, though neither she nor Heng responded to Campus Reform’s requests for elaboration on the matter.

Martel then sent out a second email about the altercation, not just to Holden but to the entire class, outlining “steps to re-instate [sic] civility in the classroom” and declaring emphatically that “hate speech” would not be tolerated.

[RELATED: Criticizing Sharia is ‘hate speech,’ Georgetown students say]

“It’s a systemic problem, not just at this university, but across the United States in the restriction of free speech,” Holden told Campus Reform, revealing that he eventually withdrew from Martel’s class.

As Holden sees it, most college professors are “pushing an ideology on students and any opposition to this is refuted and slashed.” While there may exist students “who want to speak up,” they don’t “feel that they can because of fear about their grades,” he elaborated, noting that conservative-leaning professors face similar concerns in relation to keeping their jobs.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox weighed in on the matter, telling Campus Reform that “public universities are supposed to serve as a marketplace of ideas, and Christian students are not second class citizens on their tax-funded campuses.”

“By singling out a student’s religious views for discriminatory treatment a professor not only violates the First Amendment, but also disserves the very purpose of a university,” he added.

Campus Reform contacted both Martel and Heng, offering them the opportunity to address Holden’s characterization of the events and offer their own perspectives, but neither responded in time for publication.

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Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

original article: Upside-down Down Under
April 12, 2017 by Kay S. Hymowitz

Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.

This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”

Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.

Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.

How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.

It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.

Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.

That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.

Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.

In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.

Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?

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Some Muslim countries want UN to crack down on online “blasphemy”

original article: Muslim countries to raise online sacrilege at UN
March 26, 2017 by Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of ambassadors of the Islamic countries with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the chair has decided to raise the issue of blasphemous content on social media in the United Nations.

The meeting was convened by the interior minister on one-point agenda i.e. to discuss the blasphemous content on the social media and how to effectively raise voice of the entire Muslim world against the madness unleashed against Islam and holy personalities in the name of freedom of expression.

There was unanimity among the participants that the entire Muslim Ummah is united to protect the sanctity and dignity of the religion and Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

It was decided that a comprehensive strategy paper encompassing all legal and technical aspects would be circulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs among the ambassadors of the Muslim countries which they would be sharing with their governments to evolve the future plan of action.

FORMAL REFERENCE

It was also decided that a formal reference would be sent to Secretary General of the Arab League (AL) and Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), raising the issue of blasphemous content on social media and how such a tendency had been hurting the sentiments of the Muslims across the world.

The meeting decided that after response is received from the governments of Islamic countries, the matter would be taken up at the level of United Nations besides looking into legal options available to follow up the matter legally in the courts of the respective countries from where such content was being generated.

The interior minister pointed out that distortion of religious beliefs and sacrilege of holy personalities of any religion is intolerable. He said that no law permits showing disrespect or distortion of any religion.

BIGGEST VICTIMS

He said it was unfortunate that the Muslims, being the biggest victims of terrorism, were being portrayed as the perpetrators. He said the Islamic Ummah must strive together to impress upon the international community to shed off Islamophobia. The minister said that distortion of any religion is also another form of terrorism that the international community must acknowledge.

He said that sections of the Western world must get out of double standards about Islam and the Muslims. On the one hand, they have laws against any kind of distortion or disrespect towards any religion and, on the other hand, the most revered personalities of Islam are being ridiculed.

The ambassadors appreciated the minister’s initiative for highlighting the issue and taking a lead role towards finding a solution to the issue. They agreed in principle with the strategy identified by the interior minister.

The ambassadors and envoys present the meeting represented UAE, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Qatar, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Maldives and Brunei Darus Salam.

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Wellesley College thinks offending students harms them and infringes on their liberty

original article: Wellesley College Professors Say Offensive Speakers Like Laura Kipnis ‘Harm’ Students and Shouldn’t Be Invited
March 22, 2017 by Robby Soave

Six professors at Wellesley College sent an email to members of campus imploring the community not to invite controversial speakers who might upset certain students—speakers like Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis, the noted critic (and victim) of the Title IX bureaucracy.

The professors’ statement is incredible. If their position was accepted by the college, it would demolish the entire foundation of higher education.

“There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley,” wrote the professors in their email.

To be clear, they are saying that extending a platform to any speaker whose ideas might be disliked by some member of the community is essentially a violation of the member’s rights. Remedying this injustice requires not inviting such speakers and ignoring the rights of campus members who might actually like to hear a contrary perspective for once.

The professors go on to lament that the harms to students—”harm” being synonymous with offense in this instance—could have been avoided if only the people inviting controversial speakers had comprehended the likelihood of offense being given, and not moved forward with the invitation on that basis.

“The speakers who appeared on campus presented ideas that they had published, and those who hosted the speakers could certainly anticipate that these ideas would be painful to significant portions of the Wellesley community,” wrote the professors. “Laura Kipnis’s recent visit to Wellesley prompted students to respond to Kipnis’s presentation with a video post on Facebook. Kipnis posted the video on her page, and professor Tom Cushman left a comment that publicly disparaged the students who produced the video. Professor Cushman apologized for his remarks, but in light of these developments, we recommend the following.”

Before we move on to the recommendations, consider what these professors are doing: they are ceding total power to students who claim to be victimized by opinions they don’t like. In their view, it is inappropriate for members of campus to invite a speaker whose views are not accepted by 100% of the student body. It is also inappropriate for a university professor to tell students that they are misguided about something.

If an institution of higher learning actually surrendered on these two issues, there would be no point to continue operating. There would be no point to having classes at all. Students would be paying for their own affirmation, rather than any kind of education.

The email continues:

First, those who invite speakers to campus should consider whether, in their zeal for promoting debate, they might, in fact, stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups. We in CERE are happy to serve as a sounding board when hosts are considering inviting controversial speakers, to help sponsors think through the various implications of extending an invitation.

Second, standards of respect and rigor must remain paramount when considering whether a speaker is actually qualified for the platform granted by an invitation to Wellesley. In the case of an academic speaker, we ask that the Wellesley host not only consider whether the speaker holds credentials, but whether the presenter has standing in his/her/their discipline. This is not a matter of ideological bias. Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example, has no place at Wellesley. Similar arguments pertaining to race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and other identity markers are equally inappropriate.

Third, faculty and administrators should step up in defense of themselves and all members of the Wellesley community. The responsibility to defend the disempowered does not rest solely with students, and the injuries suffered by students, faculty, and staff are not contained within the specific identity group in question; they ripple throughout our community and prevent Wellesley from living out its mission.

Emphasis mine. It’s amazing to watch the professors insist that they are not ideologically biased, and then proceed in the very next sentence to engage in bias against a specific ideological position—a position that I suspect is wrong, but is certainly worth discussing at a university campus if someone wishes to argue the opposite. As Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker once said about this very issue, “Perhaps the hypothesis is wrong, but how would we ever find out whether it is wrong if it is ‘offensive’ even to consider it?”

The professors who wrote this email—who wish to serve as gatekeepers of permissible discourse on campus, and urge the Wellesley community to self-censor in the name of emotional comfort— are Diego Arcineagas, Beth DeSombre, Brenna Greer, Soo Hong, Michael Jeffries, and Layli Maparyan. Their email was recently publicized by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which strongly objected to its contents.

Kipnis objected, too. As she told FIRE:

“I find it absurd that six faculty members at Wellesley can call themselves defenders of free speech and also conflate my recent talk with bullying the disempowered,” Kipnis told FIRE in an email. “What actually happened was that there was a lively back and forth after I spoke. The students were smart and articulate, including those who disagreed with me.”

“I’m going to go further and say — as someone who’s been teaching for a long time, and wants to see my students able to function in the world post-graduation — that protecting students from the ‘distress’ of someone’s ideas isn’t education, it’s a $67,000 babysitting bill.”

If the faculty will not re-assert that the purpose of a liberal arts education is to actually teach students Enlightenment liberal principles—including the paramount value of unfettered free speech—the campus free expression wars are truly lost. Given this email, and given the behavior of so many faculty members at Middlebury College, it is difficult not to be pessimistic about the fure of freedom on campus.

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Middlebury showed us how colleges today punish blasphemy

original article: The Dangerous Safety of College
March 11, 2017 by Frank Bruni

The moral of the recent melee at Middlebury College, where students shouted down and chased away a controversial social scientist, isn’t just about free speech, though that’s the rubric under which the ugly incident has been tucked. It’s about emotional coddling. It’s about intellectual impoverishment.

Somewhere along the way, those young men and women — our future leaders, perhaps — got the idea that they should be able to purge their world of perspectives offensive to them. They came to believe that it’s morally dignified and politically constructive to scream rather than to reason, to hurl slurs in place of arguments.

They have been done a terrible disservice. All of us have, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with what education really means and what colleges do and don’t owe their charges.

Physical safety? Absolutely. A smooth, validating passage across the ocean of ideas? No. If anything, colleges owe students turbulence, because it’s from a contest of perspectives and an assault on presumptions that truth emerges — and, with it, true confidence.

What happened at Middlebury was this: A group of conservative students invited Charles Murray to speak, and administrators rightly consented to it. Although his latest writings about class divisions in America have been perceptive, even prescient, his 1994 book “The Bell Curve” trafficked in race-based theories of intelligence and was broadly (and, in my opinion, correctly) denounced. The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled him a white nationalist.

He arrived on campus wearing that tag, to encounter hundreds of protesters intent on registering their disgust. Many jammed the auditorium where he was supposed to be interviewed — by, mind you, a liberal professor — and stood with their backs to him. That much was fine, even commendable, but the protest didn’t stop there.

Chanting that Murray was “racist, sexist, anti-gay,” the students wouldn’t let him talk. And when he and the professor moved their planned interchange to a private room where it could be recorded on camera, protesters disrupted that, too, by pulling fire alarms and banging on windows. A subsequent confrontation between some of them and Murray grew physical enough that the professor with him sought medical treatment for a wrenched neck.

Middlebury isn’t every school, and only a small fraction of Middlebury students were involved. But we’d be foolish not to treat this as a wake-up call, because it’s of a piece with some of the extraordinary demands that students at other campuses have made, and it’s the fruit of a dangerous ideological conformity in too much of higher education.

It put me in mind of important remarks that the commentator Van Jones, a prominent Democrat, made just six days beforehand at the University of Chicago, where he upbraided students for insisting on being swaddled in Bubble Wrap.

“I don’t want you to be safe, ideologically,” he told them. “I don’t want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity.”

“You are creating a kind of liberalism that the minute it crosses the street into the real world is not just useless, but obnoxious and dangerous,” he added. “I want you to be offended every single day on this campus. I want you to be deeply aggrieved and offended and upset, and then to learn how to speak back. Because that is what we need from you.”

The liberalism that Jones was bemoaning is really illiberalism, inasmuch as it issues repressive rules about what people should be able to say and hear. It’s part of what some angry voters in 2016 were reacting to and rebelling against. And colleges promote it by failing to summon a rich spectrum of voices.

“Certain things are not to be discussed,” said John McWhorter, a Columbia University professor who teaches linguistics and philosophy, speaking of a rigid political correctness that transcends college campuses but that he is especially disturbed to see there. Campuses are supposed to be realms of bold inquiry and fearless debate.

Reflecting on Middlebury, he told me, “Anybody whose approach to ideas that they don’t like is just to scream bloody murder has been failed in their education.” It hasn’t taught them that history is messy, society complicated and truth elusive.

Protests aren’t the problem, not in and of themselves. They’re vital, and so is work to end racism, sexism, homophobia and other bigotry. But much of the policing of imperfect language, silencing of dissent and shaming of dissenters runs counter to that goal, alienating the very onlookers who need illumination.

It’s an approach less practical than passionate, less strategic than cathartic, and partly for that reason, both McWhorter and the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt have likened it to a religion.

“When something becomes a religion, we don’t choose the actions that are most likely to solve the problem,” said Haidt, the author of the 2012 best seller “The Righteous Mind” and a professor at New York University. “We do the things that are the most ritually satisfying.”

He added that what he saw in footage of the confrontation at Middlebury “was a modern-day auto-da-fé: the celebration of a religious rite by burning the blasphemer.”

The protesters didn’t use Murray’s presence as an occasion to hone the most eloquent, irrefutable retort to him. They swarmed and swore.

McWhorter recalled that back when “The Bell Curve” was published, there was disagreement about whether journalists should give it currency by paying it heed. But he said that it was because they engaged the material in detail, rather than just branding it sacrilegious, that he learned enough to conclude on his own that its assertions were wrong — and why.

Both he and Haidt belong to Heterodox Academy, a group of hundreds of professors who, in joining, have pledged to support a diversity of viewpoints at colleges and universities. It was founded in 2015. It’s distressing that there was — and is — even a need for it.

But according to an essay in Bloomberg View last week by Stephen Carter, a professor of law at Yale, the impulse to squelch upsetting words with “odious behavior” is so common “that it’s tempting to greet it with a shrug.”

“The downshouters will go on behaving deplorably,” Carter wrote, “and reminding the rest of us that the true harbinger of an authoritarian future lives not in the White House but in the groves of academe.”

I wouldn’t go that far. But I worry that in too many instances, the groves of academe are better at pumping their denizens full of an easy, intoxicating fervor than at preparing them for constructive engagement in a society that won’t echo their convictions the way their campuses do.

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University presidents more concerned with climate than free speech

original article: University presidents nationwide refuse to sign ‘Intellectual Freedom Commitment’
March 10, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

Zero presidents have signed it; all refuse

In November 2015, as racial protests engulfed the University of Missouri and students issued demands nationwide, Peter Wood thought the rocky campus landscape was ripe for higher education leaders to affirm their commitment to intellectual and academic freedom.

With that in mind, the prominent scholar penned a “College and University Presidents’ Intellectual Freedom Commitment.” However, campus leaders completely rejected it.

“Zero, absolutely zero” presidents have signed on, Wood said in an interview, but the president of the National Association of Scholars isn’t giving up on his mission.

Wood’s efforts initially began in the fall of 2015, as the Mizzou protests garnered national attention and ousted university leaders, spurring students nationwide to make demands at their respective campus.

At that time, Wood saw a number of conservative commentators responding with “very aggressive statements” about the need to preserve freedom of speech on campus. While he didn’t disagree with them, he thought “something a little bit more thought through about what kind of actions could and should be taken to preserve the intellectual freedom” might be needed.

MORE: It might be time to defund colleges that suppress free speech, scholar writes

Wood initially published in January 2016 a 30-page document entitled “The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom.” He shared it with several thousand university presidents and trustees, but received little feedback.

“It certainly did not hit home,” Wood said.

That led Wood to develop the “College and University Presidents’ Intellectual Freedom Commitment,” a single-page, 340-word document he describes as less historical and philosophical and more of a “definite pledge.”

The document states “that intellectual freedom is the foundation of higher education.” It calls in part for the protection in academia to raise questions, analyze claims, express doubts and to argue for and against conclusions.

The commitment acknowledges intellectual freedom often results in controversies and public scrutiny.

“With that in mind we believe it is important from time to time for the leaders of colleges and universities to affirm strongly the principle of intellectual freedom,” it reads.

College and University Presidents’ Academic Freedom Commitment by The College Fix on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/341416284/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-LbyqKpDThhST7eAmM6jh&show_recommendations=true

The model for enlisting higher education leaders to sign on to such a cause comes from the progressive left, Wood said.

He pointed to the success of the “American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” which was brought forth by a dozen college leaders in 2006. The group worked with climate advocacy groups like Second Nature, ecoAmerica and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to push the pledge forward. By the end of 2007, the commitment had more than 300 signatures and eventually more than 650 institutions committed to it.

Wood hoped to have the same success. He reached out to university presidents one by one. Could he enlist campus leaders?

“The answer is a big flat no. I can’t,” he said.

Wood said it appears college and university presidents have moved so steadfastly to the left that they’re “much more interested in mounting the resistance to the rule of law and to President Trump than they are in protecting the rights of their own students and faculty members.”

However, that’s the negative way to look at the lack of signatories.

“The positive way is that the time has not yet come when they are really ready to commit themselves to this,” he said.

However, the fight for intellectual freedom on college campuses hasn’t stopped with Wood. It’s expanded outside academia. Wood pointed to model campus free speech legislationdeveloped by the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Additionally Wood and his organization, the National Association of Scholars, are working on proposed changes to the federal Higher Education Act.

MORE: Public colleges that threaten free expression would face steep penalties under model bill

However, Wood isn’t giving up on his intellectual freedom pledge. The potential legislation might spurn campus leaders to act on their own.

“As they begin to notice that their states and federal government are about to move into this territory, they may well begin to think that voluntary and self-regulation might not be a bad idea and could stave off these external authorities,” Wood said.

He also noted that recent riots at UC Berkeley over the appearance of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos “revived public interest in the topic and that opens up another chance.”

Wood isn’t discouraged by the original lack of response.

“I expect that everyone of these fights is going to be hard and I understand that higher education is now pretty much a wholly owned subsidiary of the progressive left,” he said.

While there are conservative scholars and conservative institutions, Wood said it doesn’t particularly help him in getting them aboard given they’re a small demographic ignored by the mainstream.

It’s the larger demographic Wood wants to reach.

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“My hope is to make this a mainstream thing,” he said.