Marquette Warrior

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Marquette: Intolerant Leftist Tearing Down Posters for Conservative Speaker

Campus leftists at Marquette, like their cohorts on virtually every other campus in the nation, can’t tolerate views with which they disagree, so when the Young Americans for Freedom invited conservative spokeswoman Rachael Campos-Duffy to campus, what happened was not surprising.

Members of the organization posted flyers advertising the event all around campus. This is the flyer:

Nobody familiar with the campus political scene will be surprised with what happened next. At least one campus leftist went around tearing down the posters, and then went on Instagram to brag about it.

Click Image to Enlarge
The person in the Instagram post is unidentified, but we hope someone is able to identify him, and report him to Student Affairs.

Unfortunately, Student Affairs has a record of very lenient dealings with leftist students who vandalize things.

When members of the feminist group Empowerment vandalized an anti-abortion display mounted by Marquette Students for Life, the vandals received a mere slap on the wrist. The guilty students were required to write a three page paper explaining how they had how they had “acted irresponsibly.” One student on the panel refused to do that, saying “it’s finals week.” So did one other student. Both were put on university probation for a semester. Not suspension, but mere probation.

We will see what comes of this, but the odds are that campus bureaucrats don’t think ripping down a poster advertising a conservative speaker is a big deal. Had the speaker been a leftist, it would play out very differently.

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Friday, August 09, 2019

Media Doubles Down on Trump/Charlottesville Lie

You Can Hear it if You Really Want To

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Racism, “White Supremacy” and the Official Narrative

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hillary’s E-Mail Server: Getting the Facts Straight

OK, this is rather old news. But it’s never too late to get the facts straight, even on an old issue.

What advantage was there to Hillary Clinton in putting e-mails on her own server?

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Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Did it the Easy Way!

Hispanics Favor Census Citizenship Question, Deny Trump “Too Tough” on Immigration

For the left, anybody who wants to control the border must be a racist. And Donald Trump’s desire to ask about citizenship status on the 2020 Census is also racist.

Of course, white leftists pride themselves on being very sensitive to racism. But what do Hispanics, the “racial group” (actually not a racial group, but let’s play the game) think?

The Center for American Political Studies at Harvard asked them, in an online poll that included 2,182 respondents, including 282 Hispanics.

Not Very Politically Correct

Asked “Should the census be able to ask whether people living here are us citizens?” Sixty-seven percent of the entire sample said “yes,” and only 33% said “No.”

But even a majority of Hispanics said “yes:” 55% did, as opposed to 45% who said “No.”

Even More Politically Incorrect

The survey also asked “Do you think President Trump is too tough, too lenient or just right in dealing with illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the border?”

Among the entire sample, 42% said “too tough,” 24% said “too lenient,” and 34% said “just right.”

But among Hispanics, the results were very similar: 46% said “too tough,” 30% said “too lenient,” and 24% said “just right.”

Thus Hispanic opinion was a bit more polarized, with 4% more saying “too tough” but also 6% more saying “too lenient.”

Bottom Line

Taken at face value, both Hispanics and the entire sample show a majority favoring Trump’s policies, or policies even more strict.

But it is a well-known artifact in polling that, when given three alternatives, people tend to choose the middle option (“just right” in this case). It seems “safer.” But this only applies when people don’t have a strong, clear opinion.

If the nation’s Hispanics were convinced that Trump’s policies are too harsh, or that asking about citizenship is a racist attack on their group, nothing would prevent them from expressing that.

We have yet another case where the white Social Justice Warriors and their pet ethnic activists don’t represent the group they claim to.

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Bladensburg Cross: Victory for Religious Freedom

From the Family Policy Alliance, a press release about the Supreme Court and the Bladensburg Cross:
Last week the Supreme Court released a 7-2 opinion that not only protected a 94-year-old World War I war memorial that is in the shape of a Cross, but it also took major steps to secure religious freedom for all.

What happened?

As a way of memorializing those who died defending freedom in World War I, a 40-foot Latin Cross was erected in Bladensburg, Maryland in 1925. The Cross stood relatively unmolested until several years ago when a group of atheists decided that merely viewing the Cross was offensive.

The Fourth Circuit ruled that the cross was an unconstitutional means of “government establishing a preferred religion” under an arbitrary legal test known as the Lemon test. The arbitrary nature of this test was highlighted in 2005 when the Supreme Court issued rulings on two different sets of religious monuments or displays on the same day and came to opposite conclusions.

What did the Court say?

In last week’s opinion, the Supreme Court not only reversed the decision of the Fourth Circuit in order to save the Bladensburg Cross, but it also took a hard look at the Lemon test. The Court spent the majority of its opinion discussing all the problems with the test itself. Justice Gorsuch further pointed out in his concurring opinion how it hasn’t been useful in deciding anything having to do with deciding whether government is “establishing a state religion” – not when it comes to religious displays, mottos, monuments, religious accommodations, religious subsidies or tax exemptions, religious expression in public schools, regulations of religious speech, or interference in internal church affairs.

So how would the Court have us deal with these sorts of challenges going forward?

Essentially, the Court will presume the constitutionality of long-standing monuments and traditions based on our history. This is a much simpler and much clearer way to deal with these issues.

Justice Gorsuch eloquently extended and clarified the Court’s rule this way:

“What matters when it comes to assessing a monument, symbol, or practice isn’t its age but its compliance with ageless principles. The Constitution’s meaning is fixed, not some good-for-this-day-only coupon, and a practice consistent with our nation’s traditions is just as permissible whether undertaken today or 94 years ago.”

What does this mean going forward?

It opens a lot of doors to proactively advance legislation that protects our timeless history and beliefs. Prior to the Court’s recent ruling, when we worked on religious liberty legislation, we were inevitably asked about the Lemon test – which was normally just a way to try to kill whatever bill we were working on.

Now Lemon can’t be used as a threat to your religious liberties. We can work on laws that protect student and educator rights in schools, doctors’ religious conscience beliefs, tax exemptions for religious organizations, religious displays, and internal church decisions without the threat that the Court will arbitrarily use Lemon against the expression of our faith in these realms.

This decision could spell the beginning of the end of ridiculous lawsuits that certain groups who are bent on removing any reminder of God from our culture bring against many small towns or groups they view as vulnerable.

We are thankful for the Court protecting religious freedom in this case, and we look forward to working with state legislators and allies to advance policies that allow religious freedom to flourish for all.
Those hostile to religion (and this increasingly includes Democrats) tend to take the position that the Constitution requires anything invoking the Christian religion must be sanitized from the public square.

Of course, Judaism or Islam are different matters. The National Menorah on the White House Ellipse has never been particularly controversial.

But Jews and Muslims vote Democratic. Christians vote Republican.

But banning anything religious, while allowing anything not religious, and even allowing things contrary to a lot of people’s religious convictions (such as funding abortions or flying the gay pride flag over a state capital) is to discriminate against religion.

Which frankly, is what a lot of people want to do.

But not a majority of the current Supreme Court.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Paul Joseph Watson: Politically Correct Prudes Aren’t Funny

Friday, June 14, 2019

Another Bogus Racial Grievance

Yes, it’s the “Central Park 5,” five thugs who attacked a jogger in New York’s Central Park, raping her and beating her nearly to death.

Now a Netflix documentary claims they were coerced into confessing. The notion is supported by the fact that one of the guilty thugs, not before linked to the crime, has come forward, been linked to the crime by DNA, and claimed to be the only offender.

But the evidence shows that the five were clearly guilty.

Some of the facts the Netflix documentary will not tell you:
[Attacker] Raymond Santana confirmed his accomplices’ testimony. “He was smackin’ her, he was sayin’, ‘Shut up, bitch!’ Just smackin’ her…I was grabbin’ the lady’s tits.”

[Attacker] Kharey Wise admitted that this “was my first rape.”

Melody Jackson, whose brother was friends with Wise, corroborated Wise’s claim. She said that while Wise was incarcerated at Riker’s Island, he told her by phone that although he didn’t personally rape Meili, he is guilty of having restrained her legs as Kevin Richardson “f**ked her.”

Even more telling is that Melody Jackson relayed this exchange with Wise to the authorities only because she believed that it would assist Wise’s defense. Evidently, she thought (ludicrously) that insofar as Wise admitted to not having forcefully penetrated Meili himself, this would somehow exonerate her friend.

While Santana was in a police vehicle and before he had even been arrested, he abruptly shouted out that “I had nothing to do with the rape!” He added that he had only fondled her “tits.”

At this juncture, the police weren’t even aware that [victim] Meili had been raped.

Two friends of his informed authorities that the day after the attack Korey Wise told them that he and the other four of the Central Park Five were responsible for beating and raping Meili. And when a detective presiding over the case and a prosecutor took Wise back to the blood-soaked scene of the crime, he said that he knew that she had been bleeding. But because it was dark, he had been unaware of just how much blood she had lost.

Thus, he attested once more that he had been present the night Meili was bludgeoned.

Wise also informed police that a person whose name he thought was “Rudy” stole Meili’s Walkman radio. Her radio had been stolen—only at this point, the police had been unaware of this.

Kevin Richardson also told someone that he and his friends had raped a woman.

Tellingly, Richardson was able to show investigators exactly where the attack on Meili occurred. So too did Santana direct them to the location of the crime.

Ann Coulter reminds us of but another inconvenient fact that puts the lie to the narrative that the CP5 confessed to these crimes because Big Bad Blue Men scared them into doing so. “Far from trembling and afraid…the suspects were singing the rap song, ‘Wild Thing’ for hours in the precinct house, laughing and joking about raping the jogger. One of the attackers said, ‘It was fun.’”

One of the other many teens who had been out “wilding” and who was among the ten or so kids to have been arrested that night relayed to the police that he heard Santana and another male teen laughing over having made “a woman bleed.”

Another one, prior to being questioned, told police that he knew “who did the murder.” This is proof that, at the very least, the pummeling that Meili endured was witnessed by multiple people and that its severity was such that it was assumed it was fatal.
People naïve about DNA testing in 1989 might assume that the lack of DNA evidence against other suspects exculpates the Central Park 5. But it does’t. Such testing was vastly less sophisticated in 1989, and assaults that today would leave usable DNA all over the place didn’t in 1989.

Fits the Narrative

As with the case of Michael Brown, or the Covington Catholic Kids, people quickly adopt and fail to question a narrative that fits their preconceptions.

The idea that huge numbers of innocents blacks are locked up because of racist cops and prosecutors is a narrative many love. It gives them a glow of warm self-righteousness.

But the idea that there is a problem of crime and violence in the black community isn’t so nice. It’s good for the ego to be the defender of poor, oppressed black people. It’s more complicated if the problems come from within the black community.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Harvard Caves to the Mob

Monday, May 20, 2019

We Didn’t Want That Investigated!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Union Goons Occupy Marquette Administration Building

We’ve blogged on the attempt of the Service Employees International Union to unionize adjunct (non-tenure track) faculty at Marquette.

Today, the campaign escalated. A somewhat bland e-mail sent to some Marquette employees alludes to what happened:
From: Bontempo, Jessica On Behalf Of Pogodzinski, Joel
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 7:21 PM
To: Pogodzinski, Joel
Subject: Zilber Hall Lobby Activity
Importance: High

Dear Zilber Hall colleagues:

We know many of you are aware that some non-tenure-track faculty and graduate students occupied the lobby of Zilber Hall today to bring attention to their effort to form a union. Acting Provost Ah Yun met with this group multiple times today and committed that Marquette would follow the law with respect to any union organization and election activities.

To ensure business operations can continue as usual if protestors [sic] choose to occupy the Zilber lobby for multiple days, we have taken the following steps:

• Protestors will be asked to stay in a designated area of the lobby to ensure elevators, stairwells and pathways into offices are kept clear.
• Access to the fourth floor elevators and stairwells will require MUID badge access, which has been granted to all Zilber Hall employees. If for some reason your MUID is not working, please contact Chris Gatzke in MUPD . . . .
• If a meeting scheduled on the fourth floor includes an individual who is not a Zilber Hall occupant or ULC member, they will have to be met on the first floor and brought upstairs by someone with MUID badge access to the fourth floor.
• MUPD will have a presence in the Zilber lobby – please contact MUPD if you need assistance.

We know that some of you were confused or felt unsettled at certain points during the day, and we are hopeful that the above measures will alleviate the stress and provide assurance that the safety and security of our colleagues is of utmost importance. Thank you for your patience and your dedication to Marquette.

Best, Joel Pogodzinski
Senior vice president and chief operating officer

Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Acting provost and executive vice president for academic affairs
A more blunt assessment of the situation comes from a source in Zilber Hall:
The professional SEIU goons occupied parts of Zilber this afternoon and demanded the provost’s time. He agreed to meet with them. Apparently (see below) that wasn’t enough. What a surprise! Prior to their meeting(s), the pro-SEIU goons were chanting and pounding in the stairwells. The whole building was shaking. I’m sure they’re proud of that. But their point?

I had a meeting that required me to take the steps after they had moved out of the stairwell and into their meeting. Mud ALL OVER the steps. Clearly deliberate. Do they realize they just added a huge extra task to the poor cleaning crew’s duties? Do they care? Of course not.

Now we employees — and MUPD — are supposed to accommodate them as they lay about the Zilber lobby disrupting university security resources in their zeal to secure more tuition dollars for themselves. That’s social justice!

This is the absurdity of the Left attempting to accommodate its own Frankenstein monster.
This kind of behavior is a good reason for Marquette to oppose unionization. It is true that if the union gets majority support, Marquette has pretty much no choice but to recognize the union. The exception would occur if Marquette claimed an exemption from labor law on the grounds that it’s a religious institution. Given the dubious nature of the school’s “Catholic mission,” such a claim would reek of hypocrisy.

Marquette could, however, make it clear that certain bad consequences might follow from unionization. For example, if a union increases the costs of hiring adjuncts, or imposes rigidities in the use of adjuncts, fewer adjuncts will be hired.

So Marquette doesn’t have to roll over and play dead in the face of the campaign.

We have little faith that Marquette will act in a principled way, but perhaps the mere threat of higher costs and less flexibility in hiring will cause them to oppose the union. But we would not want to predict.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Media Lie: Trump Called Klan Types “Good People”

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Bunny Laid an Egg

Friday, April 12, 2019

Still More: Unionization at Marquette?

An e-mail, apparently sent to all faculty, from the SEIU:
Dear Marquette Community,

Today, non-tenure track faculty and grad workers, surrounded by tenure track and tenured faculty, undergrads, community allies, joined together to ask the Lovell administration for a fair process to form our respective unions. Just last week the administration said in a letter to non-tenure track faculty said they would respect “the lawful right of employees to decide whether they wish to be represented by a union.” Today we delivered letters signed by hundreds of contingent faculty and grad workers calling on the administration to live up to their words and Marquette’s Catholic social teachings by remaining neutral and by granting us a fair process.

Please add your name here to stand with us, as we move forwards towards improving teaching and research conditions.

Marquette Non-Tenure Track Faculty & Graduate Worker Organizing Committees
Clicking on the link to sign the petition does not allow one to see who has signed it, but does show the sort of rhetoric the union is using.

For example:
Despite Marquette's social justice mission and a massive endowment many grad assistants and non-tenure track faculty currently are on short term contracts, receive sub-standard wages, and lack quality lack health care.
Of course, what is “substandard wages” is a matter of opinion, and the notion that everybody should be on a long-term contract is absurd, given the need to add (or sometimes cancel) sections of classes on relatively short notice.

As for “quality health care:” it is absurd to think that somebody who is hired to teach a section or two of a course in a semester should get the very expensive health care plan that full-time Marquette employees do. These people can go to the Obamacare exchanges, or (if they are that poor) enroll in Badgercare.

The point about the massive endowment is a good one, although it’s not clear it should be used to pay adjuncts above the market wage, rather than to hire more faculty (including adjuncts) to support smaller classes, or to fund research at Marquette, which would have the effect of increasing the prestige of Marquette and thus the value of graduates diplomas.

Or, for example, devoting more money to scholarships, allowing either or both (1.) allowing more students from poorer families to attend, (2.) bidding for particularly bright and capable students.

But of course, it the choice is more money for adjuncts, or more bureaucratic bloat at Marquette, the choice is obvious.
No one — including professional academics at a top university — should lack basic job protections, healthcare or livable wages.
Sounds good, until you notice that “basic job protections” means you can’t be laid off even if they don’t need you anymore.

“Livable wages” sounds good, until you notice that if you pay them more, you are likely to hire fewer of them, increasing class sizes. Many adjuncts have other (full-time) jobs, and make a “livable wage” elsewhere. Graduate students typically borrow money to make it through graduate school. That’s fair enough, since they are getting training and a credential that will get them a higher income the rest of their lives.
. . . we ask Marquette University to adopt the high-road practices of Catholic social teachings, and not obstruct our contingent academics as they exercise their fundamental human right to organize, to better their work conditions, and raise educational standards for the entire community.
There is little reason to believe unionization will raise educational standards. By imposing rigidities on Marquette’s use of temporary and part time instructors, it’s likely to harm educational standards.

What it most likely will improve is the financial situation of the SEIU. But that, after all, is the point.

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More: Unionization at Marquette

A tweet from the SEIU pushing the unionization cause at Marquette:

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Unionization at Marquette?

Yes, the Service Employees International Union is attempting to unionize non-tenure track teachers at Marquette.

“Non-tenure track” means people who are hired on a semester by semester basis to teach one or two courses. They are paid a few thousand dollars per course. They have the title “Adjunct.”

A few are hired as essentially full time faculty, but only for a semester or a year, with no promise of being rehired.

“Tenure track” people have a full time job, usually earning high five-figures or low six-figures to teach (typically) four courses per year.

If you are an old-time labor leftist, adjuncts are an oppressed proletariat. If you are a free market person, you note that nobody forces anybody to take an adjunct job. Adjuncts don’t have to attend committee meetings, or department meetings, or deal with advisees.

More importantly, they don’t have to face “publish or perish” as tenure-track faculty do. They generally have a Master’s degree, rather than a Ph.D. This means they have taken a bunch of graduate courses in their discipline, but not written a dissertation.

Marquette’s Response

Marquette has responded with an e-mail to all faculty from Acting Provost Kimo Ah Yun. It’s pretty negative on the whole business. Quoting:
Dear faculty:

Recently, several Marquette faculty members have notified university leadership about union solicitations they have received from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. We understand that SEIU representatives have approached non‐tenure‐track faculty members as they exit their classrooms, seeking signatures for authorization cards. Please know that Marquette has not divulged the names, contact information or class schedules of our non‐tenure‐track faculty, and that no faculty member is under any obligation to speak with a union organizer or respond to their outreach if they do not wish to do so.

Non‐tenure‐track faculty who sign the SEIU authorization cards are not just showing support for the union. In fact, they are giving the union the right to represent them in negotiations with the university. The goal of the SEIU – which typically represents health care, cleaning and security employees, not academics – is to secure signatures from 30 percent of our non‐tenure‐track faculty members so that the National Labor Relations Board is required to conduct an election. It is important to note that if the SEIU secures signatures from more than 50 percent of our non‐tenure‐track faculty, then all non‐tenure‐track faculty at Marquette will be unionized without an election. We encourage all nontenure‐ track faculty to read the SEIU authorization cards carefully and know what you are agreeing to.

As a leading Jesuit, Catholic university, Marquette affirms the Catholic belief, echoed by Pope Francis, that the dignity of each person includes the right to fulfilling and life‐sustaining work. Our strong preference is to maintain a direct working relationship with our faculty—without a third party intermediary that may not understand our university, our mission, or our guiding values. This direct working relationship — one built on a long history of mutual respect and direct dialogue — is one of the many reasons Marquette is such a unique and rewarding place to work. [emphasis in original]
Given that Catholic Social Teaching has always strongly supported unionization, it’s a bit amusing to watch the chief academic bureaucrat at this supposed Catholic university squirm when faced with an actual attempt at unionization.

As for the “long history of mutual respect and direct dialogue:” this is patent nonsense. Adjuncts are hired when needed, and let go when needed. The only “dialogue” is when a department chair calls them up and offers them a job, with some room for negotiating schedule and (maybe a little) room for negotiating compensation.

Just as with any business hiring part-time or temporary employees.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

But the sanctimonious rhetoric grates. In fact, it nauseates. As does the pious rhetoric about “mission” and “guiding values.”

More From Marquette

Our current operating model of utilizing a mix of tenure‐track and non‐tenure‐track faculty helps control costs, maintain flexibility and offer our students unique perspectives, while at the same time ensuring we are providing the highest quality transformational education at a price that is competitive with our peer universities.
Translation: we don’t want to have to pay more for the services of adjuncts. This from an administration that has produced a massive amount of bureaucratic bloat.
Having a union would mean that wages, hours and working conditions for non‐tenure‐track faculty would be determined through collective bargaining between the SEIU and the university administration, rather than handled through our shared governance system. If the union succeeds, our faculty will be legally divided into two separate groups.
Of course, faculty are divided into two separate groups. This is another statement that borders on the bizarre.

“Fact Sheet”

At the bottom of the e-mail is a “Fact Sheet” making more anti-union arguments. Some examples:
If the SEIU gains the right to hold an election and prevails, non‐tenure‐track faculty members who are eligible to vote cannot opt out of union representation. Non‐tenure‐track faculty would be subject to whatever terms may be agreed upon for the entire bargaining unit of non‐tenure‐track faculty members, regardless of whether or not they voted in an election to organize a union, or how they voted. Individuals cannot choose whether to be a part of the bargaining unit represented by the union. [emphasis in original]
There is no way to know whether the wages, hours and conditions of employment for the non‐tenure‐track faculty bargaining unit would change or remain the same, because everything would be subject to the negotiation process. If non‐tenure‐track faculty members elect to have the SEIU represent them, SEIU is free to trade away existing benefits enjoyed by the faculty in exchange for terms important only to the SEIU. For example, unions often want a Dues Check‐Off Clause, which requires an employer to deduct authorized dues from an employee’s paycheck and remit them directly to the union. In fact, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has specifically stated, “In the give‐and‐take of bargaining a union is free to give up items important to employees in exchange for dues check‐off clauses.” (La‐Z‐Boy, 281 NLRB 338 (1986)) [emphasis in original]
These, in fact, are good arguments. But then:
If SEIU is elected to represent non‐tenure‐track faculty, shared governance will be replaced by collective bargaining. The SEIU would become the sole representative for everyone in the designated bargaining unit. There are currently many avenues available today for non‐tenure‐track faculty to enhance their experience at Marquette by communicating with and working directly alongside senior leadership. If the SEIU is representing non‐tenure‐track faculty, however, Marquette would not be able to vary from the terms of the union contract to address a non‐tenure‐track faculty member’s particular circumstances or preferences.
The notion of “shared governance” is a big joke. It just means that a self-selected bunch of activist faculty in the Academic Senate mostly do what the Administration wants. Adjuncts are not a part of it.

But rarely, the Academic Senate will take an action adverse to the campus bureaucrats.

Proposal Before the Academia Senate

The following is up for consideration of the Academic Senate:
Proposed UAS Statement on Faculty Unionization Efforts

“In keeping with Catholic social teachings, the members of the University Academic Senate ask that the president, our university administration, and tenure track faculty refrain from sending emails either discouraging or encouraging unionization or initiating joint action either discouraging or encouraging unionization. Our non-tenure track faculty colleagues should be allowed to freely and fairly decide on unionization without coercion in either direction. The members of the University Academic Senate are pleased that Dr. Kimo Ah Yun recently communicated with the university that Marquette will recognize Marquette’s non-tenure track faculty union if they should win an election or hit majority support. We echo that and in keeping with Catholic social teachings, call on the administration to bargain a fair contract in good faith if our non-tenure track colleagues proceed with unionization.”
How will all this turn out? We don’t know. But given that we have a very low opinion both of labor unions and of the Marquette Administration, we aren’t rooting for either side.

They pretty much deserve each other.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Who Are the Dividers?

Michael Lovell’s UWM Coup: Tosses Out Student Government, Attempts to Punish Dissenting Student

A recent Op-Ed in the Madison Capital Times, coauthored by this blogger and one M. Samir Siddique, highlights an issue which may soon be before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Can a student who defied then University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell and was disciplined for doing so be reimbursed for the legal fees that were necessary for his vindication?

And “defied” here means nothing more than taking seriously Wisconsin statutes about student governance and Constitutional guarantees of free speech and association

Here is the backstory.

People at Marquette are used to the notion that student government doesn’t have much real power. It mostly just does what the administration wants. But the reality in the University of Wisconsin system was, until very recently, supposed to be quite different.

Wisconsin State Statute 36.09(5), passed in 1973, states:
The students of each institution or campus subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the president, the chancellor and the faculty shall be active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development for such institutions. As such, students shall have primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services and interests. Students in consultation with the chancellor and subject to the final confirmation of the board shall have the responsibility for the disposition of those student fees which constitute substantial support for campus student activities. The students of each institution or campus shall have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in institutional governance.
This provision was amended in 2015, but it was in effect in when students on the University of Wisconsin campus clashed with the Chancellor Michael Lovell.

And what do you suppose happens when those students, organized as a student government, decide they want to exercise these powers in a way Lovell doesn’t like?

The chancellor simply dismisses the elected student government and installs a bunch of toadies that will give him what he wants. Yes, that sounds just like politics under a military junta, because it is just like politics under a military junta.

UWM 2012-2013

It all began in the 2012-2013 school year. A big issue was “segregated fees.” These are mandatory fees collected from students and earmarked for services to students, such as the Klotsche Center, campus speakers, health services, and so on. Chancellor Lovell wanted to use a large block of these fees for a new student union, and the student government was demanding input on the facility. Frustrated by the response of the administration, the student government eventually voted against building a new union. But there were other conflicts too, including control of Student Affairs staff, control over campus programming, and just how 36.09(5) would be implemented.

In April of 2013 student elections were held, and the student government representatives who were elected included a large number of those who had been most assertive during the past year.

The Coup

Facing this resistance, UWM officials then recruited two people from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to do an “investigation” of the election. They produced a list of supposed electoral “violations” that allowed Lovell to kick out the elected student representatives.

Closely reading the report of the Whitewater officials suggests the election was unfair to the party (People of Change) that opposed the incumbent party (Allied Student Voice), but the unfairness looks to be more the product of the disarray typical of undergraduate student organizations than of any nefarious machinations. The report did recite some unsubstantiated charges, such as the claim that the People of Change party’s place on the ballot was denied because of an intentional lack of a quorum at the meeting that had to approve it. The Whitewater bureaucrats (Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin and and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Thomas Rios) were terribly naïve if they believed that student organizations always get a quorum.

Indeed, in a comprehensive response to the report, the students note that:
The Senate has failed to reach quorum on several occasions and this proposed special meeting (February 17th) was scheduled with the least amount of notice respectively.
The Whitewater bureaucrats, who of course would identify with UWM bureaucrats rather than students giving their colleagues at the Milwaukee institution trouble, seem to have reached the conclusion they obviously were supposed to.

The Election

People of Change had to wage a write-in campaign, but there is little doubt that the incumbent Allied Student Voice had stronger support. Election turnout was 12.9 percent (huge by the standards of UWM student elections) and many of the ASV candidates were incumbents, who had already proven their ability to win a student election. Further, as attorney Gary Grass (an attorney who later came to represent the students) explains:
The winning party recruited a full, diverse slate of Senate candidates and did the kind of vigorous promotion and campaigning that typically wins elections. Their opponents were at a slight disadvantage because voting for them required actually typing a name, but the real difference was that they did not put in anything remotely close to comparable effort. They had hardly any candidates on their slate, so they had a very small crew. They were a freshly invented new party with no record or history. It was not the lopsidedness of the result that proved the violations made no difference. It was the lopsidedness in organization and popular support.
Further, the report by the UW-Whitewater officials did not recommend that the election be thrown out, but rather merely listed from process improvements that should be made going forward. But in a dictatorship, you sometimes have to make do with a transparent pretext.

Planning a Coup

Given that the elected representatives had been kicked out, who was then going to be the student government?

A leaked recording shows Chancellor Lovell discussing (plotting, actually) the future course of events with one Anthony DeWees, who was the Chief Justice of the Student Court. Also present were Michael Laliberte, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Tereza Pelicaric, President of the Student Association, and Nik Rettinger, Vice President of the Student Association.

We have added emphasis to particularly egregious statements.

Lovell explained the need for an “interim body” to govern until new elections could be held. DeWees notes that “there isn’t elected officials” [sic] to fill student government offices, but there is the court, and “we’re still there.” Lowell prompted saying “it would be great if you all adopted what the court’s saying” and DeWees said “Essentially the Court’s going to say ‘this is what we’re doing.’” Pelicaric responded with “we can’t do it any other way because those people that are in the Senate need to go away.”

Some discussion about choosing people to constitute student government followed, and DeWees noted that “essentially this group would operate through the court so it would be subject to the court’s review.”

Lovell noted a problem might be “students that are just . . . complete animosity to the administration, and some of those officials are still around.” He then said “what I wanted to ask you was is there a way we can minimize people who may be trying to inflame the relationship [between students and the Administration] and not have them be part if this.”

DeWees responded “That’s what I’m getting at with the Court. The Court is going to do this stuff.” And further “those people that . . . they don’t really have a role.”

After some further talk, the discussion turned to the assertive student activists – the ones who had defied Lovell and been reelected in the overturned election. Laliberte, talking to DeWees and Pelicaric, noted that “I think there are people who don’t reflect your values, and want to do what we need to do. Even if they want to be involved, here is your opportunity to say they’re not welcome at the table. So you don’t have to include everybody, so keep that in mind.”

And further, if you are “moving ahead” on something and people disagree, “People who can’t align themselves with that way of thinking won’t be able to participate.”

Diversity Bureaucrat

We’re pretty confident that, when speaking publicly, Laliberte mouths all the politically correct clichés about “diversity” and “inclusion.” Here he is revealing the dirty little secret about “diversity” bureaucrats: they want to exclude anybody with a different opinion.

The Attraction of Power

DeWees observed that “We know what needs to be changed. We’ve never been able to do it, the three of us, because of the other people. So this gives us an opportunity to involve the people who want to work on changing the stuff to make it better.”

Laliberte then asked “what do you do, what do you all do, with the people you don’t want. Who want to fight . . . who want to say ‘the Administration is trying to screw us over?”

DeWees responded by saying the court, given its constitutional power, could handle the issue.

The Coup Implemented

DeWees was allowed to appoint the student government. He proceeded to appoint a new group – dubbed a “Board of Trustees” – favorable to the UWM administration. Members of the old student government were excluded, in spite of their experience and record of winning elections. He issued a series of “Emergency Orders” in response to an imaginary case, “Lovell v. SA” which suspended the constitution and bylaws, set budgets, established new election dates, set up an interim legislature, whose decisions were subject to his final approval, and so on. This “Board of Trustees” was effectively controlled by Lovell. It was told it must completely reorganize itself before any new election would be accepted by him. When the first Chair of the group was not sufficiently “cooperative” with the administration, he was thrown out. The Board of Elections was changed to include faculty (in spite of statutory language – see above – demanding that students have a responsibility to organize themselves).

While people who know little about academia might assume that faculty would defy the administration, in reality faculty are inclined to give administrators (who control salaries, promotions, grants, teaching loads, and so on) what they want.

Some members of the new “Board of Trustees” quit, recognizing it was a sham.


So far, so good for the UWM administration, which had a pliable student government. But whenever there are elections, there is always the possibility that troublemakers will win, so the administration proceeded to seek a new student government constitution.

The New Constitution

The key point was to shift power away from those (potentially) pesky students into the hands of more pliable campus bureaucrats. First, a faculty member and an administrator were required to serve on the Election Commission. Then, power was shifted to the Student Association Professional Services office. While these staffers are paid out of student fees, they are basically bureaucrats controlled by the Chancellor. They have the power to (for example) veto checks going out.

In a nod to political correctness, certain constituencies were given “set aside” positions as “advocacy senators.” – for example a Women’s Advocacy Senator and a People of Color Advocacy Senator. There was (of course!) no White Male Advocacy Senator, nor any Christian Students Advocacy Senator.

So how do you get the new constitution approved? You have a referendum among students.

The Referendum

Which is what the administration did. But of course, just as any military junta knows how to rig an election, so do administrators at UWM.

Students were asked to vote on the new constitution during the first six days they were back from winter break – and doubtless preoccupied with beginning of semester tasks. It was not hard to vote, (if you were already signed up for classes; those still enrolling were disenfranchised entirely) and multiple e-mails went out encouraging students to “Vote Yes,” but none of them suggested that there was anything controversial about the ballot question. One video from the new (appointed, not elected) Election Commission linked to a slick animated video showing how (supposedly) great the changes were. The new constitution won, getting 242 votes in favor, with 59 votes against. This out of over 27,000 students. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but enough for the UWM administration to declare victory.


One M. Samir Siddique, an elected senator in the “uppity” student government of 2012-2013, decided to fight back. He helped organize a group of students who wrote a new draft constitution that gave students back the power they had lost, and went out to get signatures to support it.

His group got over 1,300 hundred signatures. Siddique was himself elected President of the new student group formed under the new constitution. He then demanded recognition from Chancellor Lovell, and submitted budget recommendations – approved by his organization’s Senate – to the Board of Regents concerning budgeting of segregated fees.


It might seem that Siddique had a lot of chutzpah to form a rival student government, not recognized by the university, and claim it to be legitimate. But Wisconsin State Statute 36.09(5) – see above – explicitly says that student have a right to “organize themselves.” That seems to explicitly rule out campus bureaucrats telling them how to organize.

And of course, the simple constitutional rights of “petition” and “free association” gave Siddique and his cohorts the right to do what they did. UWM, being a public institution, is fully bound by the Bill of Rights.


Had campus bureaucrats simply refused to recognize the unofficial Student Association, and ignored their attempts to influence policy, that would be one thing.

But instead, they set out to punish Siddique, finding him guilty of “Disruption of University and University authorized activities,” “violation of university rules,” and “false statement or refusal to comply.” Reading the “decision letter” shows that what Siddique did was claim to head the legitimate student government at UWM. His organization called itself the “UWM Student Association,” which the university claimed was too much like the official, university recognized “Student Association at UWM” and thus somehow violated a rule. But they could not identify the rule. Yes, there was room for confusion, but if you are claiming to be the legitimate student government, then some permutation of “student association” is necessary.

Essentially, Siddique expressed opinions that campus bureaucrats didn’t like.


Because of the what the “decision letter” called “the harm that has been caused through confusion within the campus community” (the “harm” being merely the result of his challenging the administration and sitting student government) Siddique was ordered to undergo eight hours of community service, and to stop claiming to be the head of the “student association at UWM” (while in reality he had been claiming to be head of the “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Association”). Worse, the Decision letter demanded that Siddique send an e-mail (to be approved by UWM Assistant Dean Freer) to members of his group, saying that the group is not the recognized student government at UWM (which was never controverted), and does not have a right to make recommendations concerning segregated fees, recommending student appointments to committees, or representation of the student body (from Siddique’s perspective, a lie).

The Threat

Siddique was told that if he failed to comply with these demands UWM would refuse to allow him to register for the Fall, 2014 semester, de facto expelling him. Further, with a “conduct hold” on his transcript, he was unable to transfer. But he found an aggressive lawyer (one Gary Grass) who went to court and on Aug. 29, Judge Glenn Yamahiro issued an order temporarily forbidding UWM disciplining Siddique.

Faced with de facto expulsion, Siddique did draft and submit the compelled statement, but Yamahiro’s order came in time to save him from having to disseminate it to his supporters.

Afterwards, the University agreed to place no hold on his records, then to drop the compelled statement, then still later to change the decision to “no violation occurred.” Siddique graduated from the university in the Spring of 2015, and is now a third year law student.

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