Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Orientation Indoctrination: Update

In a previous post, we discussed some of the things that go on during Freshman Orientation. We took particular exception to an exercise called “Take a Stand” which requires new Freshmen to publicly declare a position on some topic – often a topic that is highly contentious. We called the process “Stalinist thought reform.”

We did not have the script of the monologues that students were exposed to before the “Take a Stand” exercise, nor did we have the instructions to Orientation staff people who lead the exercise. The Division of Student Affairs, which we asked to provide them, failed to do so. Our sources were students who had been through the exercise.

This past Tuesday (September 21) we finally met with Jeff Janz, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, and L. Christopher Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs. They defended the program, and gave us access to the script and several sheets of guidelines and instructions given to both discussion leaders and new Freshmen.

The information gives a more rounded picture of the program, but doesn’t change our bottom-line interpretation: students (especially socially conservative students) are being pressured to take certain positions on pain of being singled out for having bad attitudes.

First: the monologues. Courtesy of Jeff Janz, here is a list of the subjects addressed the in monologues:

1. Homelessness/urban issues

2. Alcohol use/abuse

3. Sexual assault/date rape

4. Racial/ethnic diversity

5. Sexual orientation

6. Decision making re: sexual behaviors

7. Depression

8. Body image

Some of the monologues are innocuous enough. Briefing students on problems of “body image” and “depression” is just fine.

The one on “sexual assault/date rape” isn’t quite as politically correct as it might sound. The narrator is a woman with a friend whom she accompanies to a party. Her friend hooks up with a guy, has copious amounts of alcohol, “makes out” with the fellow for quite long time, and then the next morning thinks she might have been raped. She “thinks” she said “no,” but given her drunken stupor can’t be sure.

When the monologue ends, students are informed in an “Interim” [sic] that a woman can’t legally consent to sex when she is drunk. This doctrine does no woman much good, since only a tiny proportion of women who acted so irresponsibly will report the “rape” (or rape, if she really did say “no”). But as a warning about what can happen if you are plastered and fooling around with a guy, this is a worthwhile exercise.

Likewise, another monologue features a male actor talking about the difficulty of resisting pressure to consume alcohol.

Discouraging Illicit Sex – Among Heterosexuals

There is a monologue that discourages illicit sex. The narrator, a woman, has been going out with a guy for a few weeks, likes him a lot, and wonders whether she should “take the relationship to the next level.” Her friends, several of whom have had casual sexual “hook ups” with guys, tell her “go for it.”

At that point a statement is read saying that Marquette, as a Catholic institution, believes in sex only within marriage. There have to have been at least a few smirks at this.

But more compellingly, the voice of the girl’s mother is heard, telling her “your dad and I raised you with really strong values” and “remember where you came from.”

Getting More Controversial

One monologue has the moderator, a white male, talking about “James,” his black roommate. He is at first worried that he might “say or do the wrong thing,” but thinks “people are people,” and the two get along great.

But then his black roommate opens up about some things that bother him. Two women moved their purses when he got on an elevator, apparently apprehensive that the fellow might snatch one of them. In a class discussing Jim Crow laws, students all turn to the student and ask questions, assuming that since he’s black, he’s an expert on all things racial.

The white narrator concludes that “after living with James and watching him get hurt, I could see that race does matter.”

Gay Guy in Chemistry Class

The next narrator, a male, talks about “Jason,” a fellow he met in Chemistry class, who is helping him with his homework. He finds out that “Jason” is gay, and has that confirmed when Jason answers his cell phone and (rather gratuitously) tells him that it’s his “boyfriend” who called.

“Jason” explains to the narrator that he’s unhappy with people saying “queer” or “faggot” to denote homosexuals, or saying something is “gay” when they mean it looks odd.

The narrator talked to his residence hall minister, who “said that the church embraced everyone, that Jesus loved people without passing judgments, and that he should do the same.”

The problem with this, of course, is that the Church does embrace everyone (including, for example, adulterers and racists), but it doesn’t “embrace” them by saying that sin is not sin.

Marquette certainly has an interest in seeing that gay and lesbian students don’t face a hostile environment, but it should never condone homosexual sex.

In fact, Marquette implicitly (but clearly) does condone homosexual sex. Homosexuals are treated as a politically correct victim group to be pandered to, and not a group of people who face temptations they need support in resisting. Interestingly, Freshman Orientation is willing to discourage (if rather tepidly) illicit straight sex (see above), but won’t do the same with homosexual sex!

The narrator in this monologue reports that “Jason” says that it was acceptable to make fun of blacks a generation ago, and that a century ago women were considered “lower class.” The narrator concludes “I am going to have to learn about people who are different from me.”

Translation: if you hold to the Catholic view of homosexuality you just don’t “know enough,” and are like racists or evil patriarchal males who kept women down.

Discussion and “Taking a Stand”

Students are then herded into small groups, and led in a discussion of what they have seen. Then they are required to “take a stand” by responding to a series of questions. They must move around the room, moving toward one side or the other, depending on which side of the issue they take, and how strongly they feel.

Janz has supplied us with the list of questions. The ones actually used will vary, and will never include all of the following. There is neither time nor patience for that.

1. The monologues made me think about issues that I haven’t dealt with before.

2. I feel comfortable living in the city.

3. I would feel comfortable choosing not to drink when my friends are.

4. I feel like race is not an issue in 2010.

5. I would feel comfortable going to the counseling center for help.

6. I would feel uncomfortable if a homeless person approached me.

7. Only women are victims of sexual assault.

8. I know how to react when asked for money.

9. I would be comfortable if I (or one of my friends) dated someone of a different race.

10. Being gay is a choice that people make.

11. People who have body image issues only care what other people think.

12. Because of past oppression, people of color should have more scholarship opportunities.

13. There is no such thing as bisexuality.

14. I feel people who are sexually assaulted bring it upon themselves

15. People do things that they don’t really mean when they are intoxicated.

16. I would not mind having a gay roommate.

17. I can always tell when a person is depressed.

18. People who ask for money are lazy and unwilling to find work for themselves.

19. Being intoxicated is an excuse for me to not take responsibility for my actions.

20. I would feel comfortable living with someone of a different race.

21. People should not use medication to fight depression or other behavioral mental disorders.

22. Only women are concerned with body image.

23. Men who cannot handle stress are weak.

24. College is a time to let loose and party.

To hear Student Affairs bureaucrats tell it, this is all a warm and fuzzy exercise in sharing feelings and perspectives. Janz claims that “students are encouraged not to take a ‘politically correct’ position, but rather an honest reflection of their feelings.” Julie Murphy, who runs the program, claims the purpose of the exercise is to “show students that students come from multiple perspectives and multiple backgrounds.”

People in Student Affairs may actually believe this, but the pervasive political correctness of that bureaucracy comes through both in the instructions given group leaders, and the instructions given students.

Group Leaders

On the one hand, group leaders are told to “be respectful” and levy “no criticisms.” But they are also told to “realize that some people know more than others and that everyone is in a different place concerning diversity issues.” Note the condescending premise here: students who give the “wrong” response are just “less advanced” and “know less” than their more politically correct cohorts and group leaders.

Then there is this stunningly condescending observation: “It’s okay that you come from a small town.”

Suppose a group leader disagrees with a student? The leader is instructed: “confront ideas, not people.” The presumption seems to be that a green freshman who has his or her “ideas” confronted is not going to feel put down.

Suppose a student doesn’t want to face such “confrontation?” He or she is told “please don’t withdraw from the conversation.”

Stay Off the Line

Then when students are told to take a position, they face an environment that is equally threatening – at least, it is if they harbor unapproved attitudes. It might seen safe to stay in the exact (moderate) middle of the room, but students are instructed that “you may not step on the line of neutrality.” Group leaders are told “with each statement have a person from each side share why they feel the way that they do.”

Translation: you may be called upon to defend your position, and if you are on the side of the minority, you are especially likely to be called upon. Thus, no matter how much warm fuzzy rhetoric group leaders use (they are instructed to tell students that “this is a safe place”) it’s a very challenging place for students with politically incorrect attitudes.

One source (a social conservative) who participated in the process told us “because they are freshmen, and because they are a little bit intimidated, I feel a lot of students aren’t standing on the side they would stand on if they were by themselves or were with friends.” And further: “I know when I was a freshman it was very difficult for me to stand on the side that I thought was morally appropriate. . . .”

At the very end, students are instructed to “establish an action plan” detailing “what is your obligation.” Apparently, “my attitudes are just fine and I don’t need no stinkin’ plan” is not an approved response.

Student Affairs Responds

When we raised these concerns with Janz and Miller, Janz reacted like a defensive bureaucrat committed to the program. We pointed out to him that if the distribution of opinions in the “Take a Stand” exercise is lopsided, it pressures and singles-out students on the minority side. He responded that sometimes the distribution ought to be lopsided. He mentioned racism as an example.

(Our response what that we don’t want to pressure racists either, although hopefully we could educate such people.)

But the notion that racism (or homophobia) is behind all politically incorrect attitudes lurks in the background of these exercises.

Ironically, some of the monologues might cause students to take a superficially “racist” position. Consider, for example, the white student who had “James” as a roommate. Starting out as a naïve kid who just thought that “people are people,” he had to deal with the fact that “James” had been hurt, and was sensitive to all kinds of racial slights. He might decide that a black roommate is a challenge he’s not up to, or even that “James” deserves a black roommate who would “understand.”

Chris Miller seemed much more open to criticism of the program, insisting that he would like to hear from students who have felt pressured or coerced. He insisted that “the conservative voice needs to be heard on campus.” He quite readily agreed that students who hold Catholic views on sexuality should not be derided or demeaned.

Miller seems to be much more open and flexible than the former Vice President for Student Affairs, Fr. Andy Thon. Of course, we have toyed with the idea that Miller is neither, but merely much smarter and shrewder. For most purposes, it doesn’t much matter. He’s a much better person to hold the position.

The Ultimate Protection

One thing protects a lot of students from all this: they blow it off. In spite of the fact that this stuff is labeled “mandatory” in the Freshman Orientation program, a fair number of students just skip it.

Until and unless Student Affairs revises the program, stressing useful information and removing coercive charades, that’s exactly what we would recommend.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Word to the Liberals on Tolerance

An article in the September number of The Warrior by Ethan Hollenberger deals with two attacks on the Catholic mission of Marquette and other Catholic institutions: the requirement by a Democratically controlled state legislature that all health plans much pay for birth control, and the recent activism favoring hiring Jodi O’Brien, who is both openly lesbian and scornful of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
The issue for Marquette is whether or not it will follow its moral leader Pope Benedict XVI, a theologian who shares the opinion of Wisconsin’s Bishops. Marquette is a Jesuit University being forced to abandon Catholic teachers to appease non-Catholic employees who have willingly chosen to work at the University.

It seems to me . . . the Left isn’t happy with allowing Marquette keep its Catholic identity. Marquette is always being lobbied to disregard the Church’s moral leaders for a more “progressive” worldview. We see Christian values being attacked in New York City with the building of the Mosque near ground zero. If a person does not want that Mosque built, he is “Islamophopic.” If a person doesn’t want a dean who writes contrary to Catholic values, he is “homophobic.” And, if a person believes the Catholic teaching of abstinence before marriage, not preventing conception, or taking life, he is living in an older time. Folks, the tolerance goes both ways. Progessives, your worldview differs greatly from Catholic teaching, deal with it. Stop forcing Marquette to abandon its Catholic tradition. Finally, walk the talk and tolerate diversity!
Indeed, for way too many liberals, “tolerance” means accepting things they think are OK, like abortion and homosexuality. They can’t conceive of it requiring tolerance of opinions that they disagree with.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fact Checking Wisconsin Politics

A new project from Charlie Sykes, based on things like PolitiFact and FactCheck.

But this one is called PolitiCrap. It’s a vulgar name, but then what could be more vulgar than electoral politics!

It’s a cooperative project among Wisconsin’s conservative bloggers, and it’s the absolute best place to find out whether an ad you’ve seen on the tube is true . . . or whether it’s total crap.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yet Another Liberal Attack on Free Speech

From the Radio Business Report:
Claiming that precious metal peddler Goldline uses conservative broadcast talkers to whip audiences into a frenzy about upcoming financial catastrophe and then sells them gold as a hedge, at inflated prices, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is calling for investigations by the SEC and the FTC. Although several personalities are named, TV/radio talker Glenn Beck is Weiner’s prime target.

Naming names: According to a report released by Weiner, “Fred Thompson, Dennis Miller, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, Monica Crowley and Mike Huckabee are all paid spokespeople for Goldline.” Beck was a spokesperson too, but had to relinquish that role to conform to Fox News policy, but Goldline remains a major advertiser on his FNC program. [emphasis added]

According to the report, “On numerous occasions, Glenn Beck has dedicated entire segments of his program to explaining why the U.S. money supply is destined for hyperinflation with Barack Obama as president. He will often promote the purchase of gold as the only safe investment alternative for consumers who want to safeguard their livelihoods. When the show cuts to commercial break, viewers are treated to an advertisement from Goldline.”

Weiner commented, “Goldline rips off consumers, uses misleading and possibly illegal sales tactics, and deliberately manipulates public fears of an impending government takeover – this is a trifecta of terrible business practices. It’s unacceptable that this company is preying on public fears to sell its products.”
An odd statement, coming from a politician. Those are the people who make a business of “preying on public fears” to get themselves reelected.
The misleading tactics boil down mainly to two, according to Weiner. First, he says that the gold the company sells is marked up 90% above melt value on average, meaning the value of the gold would almost have to double for the buyer to break even. Further, he says salespersons represent themselves as financial advisors, but they are not licensed as such. Weiner believes that is a misrepresentation.

Beck discussed Weiner’s attack on his Premiere Networks radio show, calling it part of a smear campaign engineered against himself and Goldline by the Obama administration. He wondered if other organizations besides those airing conservative talkers, and running Goldline ads, would also be targeted.

Beck also said that his money is where his mouth is on this one. “If my people that do financial advising — because I’m worth — you don’t listen to me for financial advice and that’s why I’ve said don’t — I buy it not as an investment. I buy it as insurance policy. If my people, my advisors would allow me to buy 50%, I’d have 50% of my savings in gold. But they all say that’s nuts. 10%, no more than 10%, no more than 10%. I think I have 15? 15, maybe 20% of mine in gold. From Goldline. Now, you tell me. If I’m such a scam artist, why would I be scamming myself?”

According to Politico, Goldline also responded. Goldline president and CEO Mark Albarian said, “It feels like it’s politically motivated in that neither the Congressman nor anybody from his office ever contacted executives from the company to really ask the important questions that they need to ask to understand this business.” He claimed that Weiner “doesn’t get” the gold business and suggested that the company’s relationship with Beck was the true motivation for the attack.
Goldline, by the way, has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

We don’t think gold is a particularly good investment. Indeed, we would not buy bullion at the melt value (even if we actually had the money to do so). But it’s not government’s job to second guess what investors want to do. If there were actual fraud -- if the company didn’t deliver the product it promised -- government would have a right to intervene.

But just disagreeing about where investors should put their money is a different matter.

It can’t possibly be an accident that Weiner has picked on a company that advertises on conservative outlets. This is simply another case of liberals in government using their power to try to shut up voices they don’t like.

That’s just not consistent with free republican government. Indeed, as government power increases, free speech necessarily becomes more precarious.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Nobama

Bill Maher, Anti-Christian Bigot: More

We have blogged about this fellow before, but he can’t seem to stop spewing out his hatred of Christians.

It’s interesting to compare him to the crackpot “pastor” in Florida who was promising to burn copies of the Qur’an. This fellow got way too much publicity out of it (any nobody can suggest something outrageous and get world-wide media attention, apparently) but he also drew universal condemnation.

Yet Maher continues to be a rather mainstream figure. While most people in the Mainstream Media and among liberal elites don’t hate Christians the way Maher does, they just don’t think his tirades deserve condemnation.

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Debate: Should the Gay Lobby Use the Courts to Impose Gay Marriage on the Nation

Today at Marquette . . .

It’s not a debate about whether gay marriage is good or bad, or whether the Constitution can reasonably be interpreted to require gay marriage, but rather a debate about whether using the courts (as opposed to legislatures) is a good strategy for the gay lobby.

It will be at noon today, in the Appellate Courtroom of the new Law School building.

Arguing “yes:” Laura Beth Nielsen, Associate Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University.

Arguing “no:” our colleague Steve Engel.

We expect it to be a good debate. We know little about Nielsen, but Engel is extremely well informed about gay politics, and we expect him to do a fine job upholding his position.

At first glance, it seems good that there is an actual debate. Most of what goes on at Marquette having anything to do with homosexuality is one-sided indoctrination.

In another sense, however, it continues the pattern of bias, since the debate will assume that gay marriage is a good thing, and merely contest how the gay lobby should go about getting it.

This is the first of a series of events this year at Marquette that will deal with “GLBTQ” issues.

What will follow if this is really a university where all points of view can be heard? A debate on whether it is reasonable to interpret the Constitution to require gay marriage.

And a debate on whether gay marriage is in fact a good thing.

Given Marquette’s track record on gay issues, we are skeptical. But this, at least, should be a good debate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Presidents Who Went Bankrupt

From CNN:
1. Abraham Lincoln

His face may now appear on the penny, but at one time, Lincoln didn’t have a single cent to spare. Lincoln tried many occupations as a young man, including buying a general store in New Salem, Illinois, in 1832.

While he may have been terrific at splitting rails, winning debates, and wearing stovepipe hats, Honest Abe wasn’t much of a shopkeeper. Lincoln and his partner started buying out other stores’ inventories on credit, but their own sales were dismal.

As the store’s debts mounted, Lincoln sold his share, but when his partner died, the future President became liable for $1,000 in back payments. Lincoln didn’t have modern bankruptcy laws to protect him, so when his creditors took him to court, he lost his two remaining assets: a horse and some surveying gear. That wasn’t enough to foot his bill, though, and Lincoln continued paying off his debts until well into the

Lincoln’s not alone in the annals of bankrupt commanders-in-chief, though. Ulysses S. Grant went bankrupt after leaving office when a partner in an investment-banking venture swindled him.

Thomas Jefferson filed for bankruptcy several times, including after leaving office, possibly because he threw around a lot of cash on food and wine.

William McKinley went bankrupt while serving as Ohio’s governor in 1893; he was $130,000 in the red before eventually straightening out with the help of friends. He won the White House just three years later.
This, of couse, has nothing to do with the financial troubles of Christine O’Donnell.

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If You Left A Comment: Apologies

I just accidentally deleted all the comments people have left for the past several months.

I thought the “Published” file of comments was just like a “sent items” file in e-mail: old junk that could be deleted as no longer useful.

It turned out that I was deleting the posts visible on the blog (but from a place that I had never seen before).

I apologize to posters.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You Might Be a Liberal If . . . More

A web classic, the “You Might Be a Liberal If . . .” series keeps expanding. We published one version of it, and now (via Stormbringer) we have more.

You might be a liberal if . . .
  • . . . you know gender is a social construct, but have no idea where electricity comes from.
  • . . . you believe portraying Bush as the Joker is political satire, but portraying Obama as the Joker is racist.
  • . . . if you believe Glenn Beck is an extremist because Keith Olbermann told you so.
  • . . . you think America is a cesspool of fat lobotomized WalMart Jesusbots who have the gall to question your patriotism.
  • . . . you believe in the separation of Church and State; Mosque and State, not so much.
  • . . . you believe that hurricanes are caused by people, and that crime is caused by the environment.
  • . . . you think that treating all people equally, regardless of race, is racist.
  • . . . you burn tons of carbon to attend a global warming conference that only sanctions the cleanest nation on Earth.
  • . . . you believe in having dialog with your opponents, and that they’d better shut up during this dialog.
  • . . . you think everyone would agree with you if they were open minded, and you refuse to listen to any other possibility.
  • . . . you believe that a mosque should be built at Ground Zero, but Jews shouldn’t build apartments in East Jerusalem.
  • . . . you believe that opposing abortion violates right of privacy, but you want to tell people they can’t eat french fries.
  • . . . you believe that immersing a crucifix in urine is fine art, but depicting the prophet Mohammed is insensitive.
  • . . . you spend your day telling people that a border fence can’t work, then drive home to your gated community.
  • . . . you think Sarah Palin was too inexperienced to be VP but that Obama had plenty of experience to be President.
  • . . . you think credit card companies are evil when they lend money, and mortgage companies are evil when they don’t.
  • . . . you think people have too many kids, and that those kids need to pay for your Social Security.
  • . . . you think the Government should be obsessed with race, but no one else should ever mention it.
  • . . . you think subsidies are an entitlement, tax cuts are a gift, and liberty is a controlled substance.
  • . . . you’ve ever worried about the threat of Tea Party violence during a Dick Cheney heart attack thread on Kos.
  • . . . you are running low on Valium this weekend due to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally.

On The Issues for Fall, 2010

We have regularly blogged on the Marquette Law School “On the Issues” series.

We are a great fan of it. It is (first) ideologically balanced, giving equal time to Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. And (second) Mike Gousha, who puts the series together, has the ability to get imporant “movers and shakers” to come and speak.

Here is the schedule for this fall: If the past is any guide, other programs will be added, so regularly checking the series website regularly would be a good idea.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wisconsin Arts Board Restores Funding for Marquette’s Haggerty Museum

We have discussed how the Wisconsin Arts Board, in an act of smug and self-righteous intolerance, refused to fund Marquette’s Haggerty Museum because Marquette refused to hire an outspoken lesbian as Arts & Sciences Dean.

This was back in May.

This morning, the Board decided to provide the funding that was deferred back in May. This according to an e-mail from George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Arts Board.

It’s good that the Arts Board backed down, but the threat of the loss of state funding continues to be an ongoing threat to any institution that challenges the politically correct sensibilities of the Board, or of any similar government entity.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Party in Racine Tomorrow

It’s looking like a fairly major event, with some really good speakers.

The headliner is John Stossel, libertarian journalist and TV commentator.

We spoke at a Tea Party at Winneconne back in July, and it was a hoot. This will be a much bigger operation.

We may or may not be there, depending on how another project goes.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

“Take a Stand” During Freshman Orientation: Stalinist Thought Reform at Marquette

Four years ago we blogged about the tactics used by the Freshman Orientation staff in the Office of Student Development to “train” students who were charged with “orienting” new Freshmen during Freshman Orientation. We described the entire process as a “Politically Correct Boot Camp.”

We have yet to blog about Freshman Orientation itself, but the time has come.

Over the years we have gotten chronic complaints from students who feel that they have been subjected to indoctrination at Orientation. When Adam Ryback, editor of The Warrior, asked us to write a piece on that, we did, and what follows is a somewhat adapted version of that article.

First, we have to note that most of the activities at Freshman Orientation are pretty innocuous. As the schedule shows, most of a student’s time is taken up with worthwhile advising, much of it on academic matters. But then many students skip those events. It’s typically much more fun to hang around, get to know people, spend some time with parents and siblings, and just soak up the atmosphere.

But some of the events are “mandatory.” And one set of mandatory events is quite problematic. It’s called “Marquette: On Stage,” which consists of a series of monologues the stated purpose of which is to heighten the “awareness” of students about certain “social issues” they will face.

We don’t have detailed information on this year’s monologues (something we’ll explain below), but we know lots about previous years, and the program changes only incrementally.

What Is The Nature of the Monologues?

Some of the monologues are innocuous enough: one from an actor playing a student who is pressured to drink when out with friends, another from a woman with “body image” problems, and one featuring a student who has problems with depression.

But some of the monologues are from politically correct “victim” groups. A gay guy complaining that people look at him in a funny way, or a black guy who believes a woman is uneasy when he gets on an elevator with her. Indeed, there are likely to be two or three ethnic minority monologues, each with a grievance.

So how is this biased? Mainly because only politically correct victim groups are presented as facing problems with intolerance and lack of acceptance. There is no monologue from a white student who is derided as the bearer of “white privilege” (something that happens with some frequency at Marquette). There is no monologue from a future cop who has to listen to leftie professors talk about how police are “racist.”

There is no monologue from a student who is demeaned for conservative religious values – perhaps derided for believing that sex outside marriage is wrong or opposing gay marriage. But intolerance of students who support Catholic teaching is indeed a problem on campus.

This past spring, there was a huge uproar about Marquette’s refusal to hire an outspoken lesbian as Arts & Sciences Dean. Just looking at protesting students, one might think that all undergraduates wanted the lesbian dean. But a fair number were silenced by the intolerance of pro-gay students. One Marquette senior complained on an online discussion forum: “Who would post what they actually think as their Facebook status? The answer is sadly very few, because to do so is to be labeled as an anti-gay bigot . . . and a blind follower of an ‘intolerant’ religion,” and further, “fear of labels silences the traditional Catholic voice.”

But there wasn’t a monologue reflecting this student’s plight.

But just having to sit and listen to some student actors representing politically correct groups mouth some standard grievances isn’t that terrible. And one indeed should try to avoid giving offense thoughtlessly.

But it gets much worse.

Take a Stand

Unfortunately, the monologues are just the beginning. Students are then herded into small groups and required to “take a stand.” Students are asked a question about how they feel on some issue, and then required to move to one side of the room or the other, depending on their opinion. Julie Murphy claims the purpose of the exercise is to “show students that students come from multiple perspectives and multiple backgrounds.”

But that’s just not so. The real purpose is to single out and pressure students who have dissenting (non-politically correct) opinions.

Some of the questions are innocuous. Students are asked to agree or disagree with the proposition “I feel comfortable living in a city” or “I would feel uncomfortable if a homeless person approached me.”

But other questions are more politically loaded, such as “because of past oppression people of color should have more scholarship opportunities.” Or “there is no such thing as bisexuality.” Or “I feel race is not an issue in 2009” (obviously, asked last year).

Or “Being gay is a choice people make.”

Think for a moment how biased that last question is. While lusting after one’s same sex rather than the opposite sex may be pretty much fixed at any point in a person’s life, having homosexual sex most certainly is a choice. Yet for the gay lobby, saying that homosexuality is “not a choice” translates as “gay sex is just fine.”

Most of these issues have been addressed in “Marquette: On Stage,” so students know the politically correct answer and disproportionally take the politically correct side. One source told us that “because they are freshmen, and because they are a little bit intimidated, I feel a lot of students aren’t standing on the side they would stand on if they were by themselves or were with friends.” And further: “I know when I was a freshman it was very difficult for me to stand on the side that I thought was morally appropriate. . . .”

So if you are a Freshman and your social attitudes don’t conform to those preferred by the University bureaucrats that run the program, you will likely get put on the spot.

This, of course, has nothing to do with education, which would present both sides of contentious issues and not pressure people. It’s more like Stalinist thought reform.

Marquette Bureaucrats Conceal the Details

Although we have ample sources from previous years, we wanted to actually look at the script of this year’s “Marquette: On Stage,” and see the list of questions put to students during the “Take a Stand” exercise.

But the bureaucrat who runs Freshman Orientation, Julie Murphy, flatly refused – when we contacted her on August 19th – to share the script. Two days after that (and the day after our deadline for the Warrior piece) Vice President for Student Affairs Chris Miller wrote us, explaining that he had been out of town, and saying “I did check into this and I absolutely believe you should have access to this information.” He went on to explain that:
They (Student Development) have a practice wherein they do not distribute detailed programming information prior to the event because it is always subject to change. I believe they did in fact release information prior to an event once and at the last minute cancelled or changed the program. This did not sit well with those who really wanted the event and planned accordingly.
OK, we thought, we’ll get the script and list of questions when Freshman Orientation starts next week.

But they didn’t send it.

Then on August 26th we got an e-mail from Jeff Janz, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. He asked “Did you receive the information you were looking for?” We responded that we had not.

But then instead of sending it, he finally wrote us on September 2, saying “in follow up to our correspondences last week related to orientation activities, Dr. Miller asked that I check in to see if you might be interested in meeting with us to discuss the matter.” He suggested a meeting this coming Thursday or Friday.

Translation: stonewall.

We may or may not meet with Janz and Miller. We have participated in a couple of such meetings before when the Office of Student Development shut up the College Republicans, and they are never productive.

If OSD has a good reason for withholding the details of “Marquette: On Stage” and “Take a Stand,” we would like to know it.

Until they produce some compelling argument, the conclusion has to be that they want to conceal an exercise in indoctrination.

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