Thursday, April 18, 2013

Palermo’s Confronts Student Activists in Campus Forum

Something unusual happened on campus last night. Leftist student activists got to confront representatives of a business they have been demonizing, and the business got to respond.

It happens very infrequently on this campus that people on two sides of any debate face off before an audience that gets to hear both sides.

The carnage, in fact, was considerable.

The representatives from Palermo’s Pizza were Chris Dresselhuys, Vice President of Marketing and Tom Branigan, who teaches part time in the College of Communication. They faced a student audience, a substantial portion of which consisted of activists from Youth Empowered in the Struggle, a branch of the leftist, pro-illegal immigration group Voces de la Frontera, which has been trying to force Palermo’s employees into a union.

Also present were two members of the Marquette administration, Vice President for Administration Arthur Scheuber and Vice President for Student Affairs L. Christopher Miller.

Given that the discussion was dominated by questions from student activists, the intellectual level was . . . well, not the most erudite.

Student activists asked the same questions over and over, appearing not to have noticed that they had been answered two or three or four times already. They often rambled incoherently during their stint at the microphone. And they made some absurdly bogus arguments.

One young woman, for example, stated that, since the Palermo’s representative was constantly denying wrongdoing, that indicated that Palermo’s was indeed guilty of wrongdoing!

Franz Kafka, call Palermo’s and place your take-out order.

Scheuber and Miller explained that they had examined all the charges against Palermo’s and found them to be without foundation. Palermo’s had been forced to fire workers who were in the country illegally (or at least, could not prove their right to be in the country to the satisfaction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had audited Palermo’s).

Voces de la Frontera lied to the fired workers, claiming that if they joined a union, their immigration problems would go away.

Chris Piszczek, a member of Voces de la Frontera who approached the microphone in attire reminiscent of Berkeley, Class of 1968, insisted that the mere fact that allegations were made should cause Marquette to want to distance itself from the company.

Piszczek claimed to have been thoroughly immersed  in Catholic Social Thought, with its concern for the poor and the marginalized.  After the event, we asked him whether he thought abortion ought to be illegal, and he responded that “that’s not part of Catholic social thought.”

Miller and Scheuber gave coherent answers to student questions – and indeed repeated them multiple times as questions were repeated multiple times. Miller, unfortunately, pandered a bit to the activist students. Actually, he pretty much kissed ass. He commended the students for their “passion,” when they should have been scolded for their callow, uninformed moral preening.

It’s not clear any minds were changed. The Youth Empowered in the Struggle contingent, easily identified by the applause they gave the standard activist talking points, numbered perhaps 15 students. The rest of the audience was hard to read, but at least one member said it was embarrassing how poorly the student activists fared.

According to the Marquette Tribune:
Marisa Galvez, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and one of those who called for the panel, said the administration still needs to take more notice to the issues students have with Palermo’s as a company.
That’s the standard activist way of thinking: “our position is so obviously right, and our arguments so obviously good, that if somebody doesn’t agree with us, it must be because they are not listening.”

Typically, people are listening, and think you are wrong.

The activists claimed to represent “the students,” but there is no evidence that any majority of Marquette students even know or care about the issue. And if they did, it’s not at all clear they would agree with the activists.

Marquette in 2013

Marquette in 2013 is not Berkeley in 1968, but there are ghettos of leftist activism on campus, particularly around the Center for Peacemaking, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, the Women’s and Gender Studies program, Residence Life, the humanities departments, as well as Sociology and Psychology.

Within these cocoons, critical thinking is not encouraged, and students can luxuriate in a smug sense of righteousness, without worrying too much about complex issues in the real world. Do unions really help workers? Is racism the main problem blacks face? Is anybody who doesn’t think that abortion should be legal sexist? Is anybody who opposes gay marriage a homophobe?

Asking these questions is not encouraged, and indeed not even really allowed. The answers are assumed to be obvious.

Moral Seriousness

By coincidence, yesterday afternoon just a couple of hours before the forum, we talked to a student who is going to serve with Teach for America this summer, working in a poor school in the Mississippi Delta. He won’t bring World Peace, but he is devoting a few months of his life to something that may make things just a bit better for some children.

That’s a morally serious choice. Whining about the evils of Palermo’s Pizza isn’t a morally serious choice. It’s a cheap way to feel self-righteous.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous James Pawlak said...

Simple Solution: Just adopt Mexican law as to immigration and the behavior of foreigners in Mexico.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the forum too. I could not have said this better myself.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I am a senior psychology student, and I take serious issue with your statement that "critical thinking is not encouraged." Do not generalize an entire group of people based off your limited and selective interaction with said group.

1:02 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Do not generalize an entire group of people based off your limited and selective interaction with said group.

OK, tell me what kind of critical thinking has been encouraged in your Psychology courses.

I know of one course that is standard political correctness, "The Psychology of Prejudice."

What courses have you taken that encourage you to question standard politically correct doctrines?

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John McAdams, I encourage you to speak with the Palermo strikers. What do you have to lose? time? I do not believe you will lose time. You have time to post on this blog, come on just take 20 minutes of your 'busy' life to talk to these strikers. Get a different perspective on this issue. Let us be real, Palermo is a business and just like every business in the U.S. they are going to tell the public what they want them to know. They are not going to be telling people a whole truth and state things that will make their company look bad, even though it is. Just like Marquette, there are a lot of things that occurs in this campus, yet many of the students never even hear of these things. Why, because administrators won't let such things be known to the public. Breaking a contract is not an easy thing to do that is understandable. Marquette will obviously lose money and who would want that right? because obviously the $43,000 that costs for each student to attend Marquette isn't important, what is more important are those thousands of dollars that Palermo's gives Marquette. Not so sure on the numbers but I would say it is about $50,000-$100,000. Correct me with the exact number because I honestly do not know. Whatever the amount is, it must obviously be more important than Marquette's own mission statement. “Marquette strives to develop men and women who will dedicate their lives to the service of others, actively entering into the struggle for a more just society. " Struggle for a more just society OR struggle for profit and money.... hmmmmm... Marquette should change the mission statement if it isn't living up to it. These strikers need 'evidence' okay, when that evidence is shown, will Marquette then feel the need to support our community or will money keep talking and as long as MU keeps getting paid who cares right? screw human rights, screw worker rights, screw the right thing to do....
Just because not everyone in this campus is a Political Science major, I do not think it is right for you to basically say that other majors are not doing critical thinking. Let us applaud the criminology majors, the sociology majors, the philosophy majors, the psychology major, etc… do you know what sociology stands for, what they do? They study human society and its origin. They study the development of society, of the organizations and the institutions. It focuses on political economy, on health and military while also focusing on law, religion, culture and social class. EVERYONE has to do critical thinking and if you believe that only political majors are doing so, please get off your cloud and come back to earth.
America will be lead by these students in the future and everyone in whichever career they are pursuing deserves respect. No need to bash out every major in Marquette except for Political Science majors, which if I am not mistaken the majority have a double major in psychology, Spanish, English literature, criminology & law, sociology, etc. I think they have realized that Political Science isn’t enough.

5:36 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I encourage you to speak with the Palermo strikers

Feel free to bring some to campus.

However, have you talked to a representative sample of workers? Or just those that Voces de la Frontera trouts out?

That's the kind of question a critical thinker would ask.

If we really want to know what the workers think, let's have an NLRB supervised election and see whether they choose the union.

What would be wrong with that?

Why won't Voces de la Frontera allow that?

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us be real, Palermo is a business and just like every business in the U.S. they are going to tell the public what they want them to know. They are not going to be telling people a whole truth and state things that will make their company look bad, even though it is.


I just wanted to ask the person that said this if they actually believe everyone who is an owner of a business is just a bad person who exploits people for money or are there any good people out there that own a business?

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your comment, you ask the previous commenter to tell you “what kind of critical thinking has been encouraged in your Psychology courses” and ask “What courses have you taken that encourage you to question standard politically correct doctrines?” – just after mentioning Dr. Oswald’s Psych of Prejudice course. I’ve taken the course, and I can tell you that had you taken the time to learn about the course you would know that there are a number of debates held throughout the semester in which groups of students are divided into teams and take sides on questions like:
Is homosexuality a choice? Is it time to end affirmative action? Is multiculturalism or a colorblind approach more desirable?
In each of these cases Dr. Oswald does not take a side. Rather than bash a course and professor you clearly know nothing about, why don’t you take the time to do a little research. Or keep embarrassing yourself with naïve posts; it’s up to you.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. McAdams,
What kind of scholar bases their opinion on a subject (in this case, Psych of Prejudice) based solely on one disgruntled student’s ramblings? Would you want people to blog about the quality of your courses by citing the students with whom you have disagreed on some issues? I’m sure I could find ex-students who claim you support fascism, but that does not mean it is true.
I gather you have not taken the time to read the syllabus, so you really have no idea what is or is not covered in Dr. Oswald’s course. I have taken the class, so allow me to fill you on. I’ll answer each of the questions you posed to your poor excuse for a source and give a more fair response.
“whether it ever dealt with (1) prejudice against devout and conservative Catholics" No, we did not specifically study anti-Christian bias in America. Can you please provide a study (not an anecdote) that proves there is systematic discrimination against conservative Catholics? We did study different theories and models of prejudice that apply to many forms of prejudice (e.g. Social Identity Theory), and it was made clear that these ideas apply to many types of prejudice, without any insinuation that only “politically correct” victims are victimized.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(2.) prejudice against fundamentalist Christians,
Same as above; provide some evidence that this is a systematic or historical problem in the United States and I will concede that maybe it should have received more explicit attention.
(3) black racism toward whites
Yes, we mentioned that this exists, but it was never described as “justified.” Explaining the rationale of black racists is not the same as saying that this rationale is valid. Of course we focused more on white racism toward blacks, because the evidence is pretty clear that this is a bigger issue in the US today. Whites are not systematically discriminated against the way blacks are, and that’s just the objective truth.
(4) feminist prejudice against men
This is more of a topic in Psychology of Gender Roles, which Dr. Oswald also teaches. Yes, we do discuss how some schools of “feminist” thought go beyond advocating equality and are prejudiced against men. This is not taught as a good thing. Like the previous questions you raised, the broad theories of discrimination we study in Psych of Prejudice are easily applicable to understanding anti-male prejudice.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(5) prejudice against Southerners
Ok, your victimhood complex is getting more out of hand with each question. No, we did not discuss anti-Southern prejudice. Again, care to find some research showing that it is real? I’m from the South, and have lived there much more recently than you have, and I can assure you that Southerners have at least as many negative stereotypes about other regions as vice versa.
(6) prejudice against working class people (As in “All in the Family” or the movie “Joe”)
Yes, the topic of prejudice against the poor was an entire chapter. If your whiny dimwit of a source said this was not covered (as you claim he did) he was either deliberately dishonest or paid zero attention to the course. Either way, I think this question alone proves how baseless your post about Psych of Prejudice is.
(7) prejudice against business executives?
We did not cover business executives per se, but we did mention classism in all forms, including the way a lower economic status can affect prejudice.

12:38 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anonymous,

Looking closely at what you have written, you seem to actually confirm what I wrote about the course. You just make it clear that you buy into the leftist, politically correct slant.

You deny that there is huge prejudice against conservative Christians.

Social class bias is treated as "classism," with the working class as victims, but not of prejudice on the part of liberal elites.

You admit that black prejudice against whites is treated sympathetically: "explained" if not outright approved of.

And as for "bias against Southerners," your only argument is that "Southerners are biased too!"

Finally, you claim I should not accept what one student said about the class. I know the student well, and he's honest and reliable.

Yet you want me to accept what you tell me?

As for the syllabus: I can't find it online, and my student didn't have his. How about sending me your copy, if you have a copy. If you want to remain anonymous, just put a copy addressed to me in campus mail.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


As for discrimination against Southerners, I again asked you for evidence of widespread prejudice or discrimination against Southerners. You again failed to find any. I pointed out that different parts of the country have stereotypes about each other (you yourself are proof of this), but whether these regional differences result in discrimination is a more relevant question, and you have proven incapable of providing evidence for any evidence of discrimination against Southerners.

It is clear that no amount of evidence will change your mind. I blatantly exposed your ignorance in claiming that the class only presents "politically correct" perspectives (half the class argued against multiculturalism, that homosexuality is a choice, or that affirmative action should be ended), yet you ignore this point and keep babbling on without any hard evidence. I challenge you to find any scholarly source showing that discrimination against Christians or Southerners exists, and ideally find something saying it exists on anywhere near the same scale as discrimination against "politically correct" victims like women and blacks. Then and only then will you not sound so ridiculous crying about how tough Southern conservative Christian men have it in this country.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And please don't put words in my mouth or try to nitpick at semantics. No, I never said prejudice by blacks against whites was treated sympathetically just because I used the word "explain." Here's how the dictionary defines the word:
explain |ikˈsplān|
verb [ reporting verb ]
make (an idea, situation, or problem) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts or ideas

In other words, "explain" and "condone" are entirely different words. Not only are you nitpicking at one word (incorrectly at that), but you ignore the rest of what I say on the topic, which is that the rationale of black prejudice toward whites is not justified. It's a psychology course - of course we learn why people think the way they do, but that does not mean it is taught sympathetically. We also learn why some whites are prejudiced against blacks and the frequent reasons given for this prejudice, but that is not justifying the thought process. Really not a hard point to understand, amigo.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. McAdams,
Your ability to read selectively never fails to astound. I notice you completely ignore my first post, in which I give specific examples of debate and critical thinking about issues, including from the side you would describe as not being politically correct. Of course that's easier for you than saying "I did not know that, good for Dr. Oswald for exposing students to both sides."
Next, even if you consider the student you cite to be honest, he is still wrong. I gave specific examples of how that is the case, such as the fact that he did not know there was an entire unit covering prejudice against the poor. And yes, we did talk about the way elites misperceive and hold negative stereotypes against the poor. This includes prejudice by liberal and conservative elites, even if the political ideologies of either were never explicitly mentioned.
Next, you rightfully note that I deny widespread discrimination against Christians. You're right, I do have a hard time believing that a group that is the vast majority of Americans is persecuted, which is why I specifically asked you if you could find a study proving this point. You failed to do so, I suspect because no such study exists. You love thinking of yourself as such a wonk who believes in hard-nosed empiricism, yet you have no problem making an argument without any evidence when it suits your preconceived biases.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thing: No, I will not give you a copy of the syllabus. Not because I am afraid it will discredit my arguments, but because you have shown nothing but a commitment to nitpick, ignore facts that contradict your claims, and take single words out of context (more accurately, you tried to take a word out of context, but you apparently know what "explain" means). I have no doubt you would look through the readings, find the most controversial line you could find, ignore everything else that doesn't fit your narrative, and pontificate on this silly blog about how Dr. Oswald is a lesbian witch abortionist.

10:23 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Then and only then will you not sound so ridiculous crying about how tough Southern conservative Christian men have it in this country.

See? You sneer at the idea that any group and is not a politically correct victim group could be the victim of discrimination.

Discrimination against Christians: Marquette almost threw the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship off campus.

Lots more examples on my blog.

Your sneering at that idea shows you have internalized the politically correct attitudes taught in the course.

4:25 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

And yes, we did talk about the way elites misperceive and hold negative stereotypes against the poor. This includes prejudice by liberal and conservative elites, even if the political ideologies of either were never explicitly mentioned.

But the thrust was that it's those evil conservative Republicans that are prejudiced against the poor, right?

And "the poor" probably means blacks. Prejudice against working class whites (who tend to vote Republican) wasn't something discussed, was it?

4:28 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

One last thing: No, I will not give you a copy of the syllabus.

If you do, I'll post it entire, and unedited. Readers of the blog can see it.

Are you afraid of that?

4:30 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Next, you rightfully note that I deny widespread discrimination against Christians. You're right, I do have a hard time believing that a group that is the vast majority of Americans is persecuted, which is why I specifically asked you if you could find a study proving this point.

Tolerant liberals


Tenured Bigots

Let me guess: next you are going to backtrack and explain that Christians *deserve* to be badly treated, and held in contempt.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you seriously this incapable of admitting you were wrong? You said the course only presents the "politically correct" point of view, then you went silent when informed that there are frequent class debates in which both perspectives are represented equally. You claimed, based on one student's account, that certain types of discrimination are not covered, yet you say nothing when informed that many of these types of discrimination were in fact covered. If you are so fundamentally wrong on these questions, don't you think you might want to step back and admit that you may not know what actually goes on in the classroom? It would be a more respectable position than continuing to make baseless assumptions. No, racism towards whites was never justified as you claimed, just like prejudice against the poor was never described was perpetrated by evil conservatives, and we did specifically talk about prejudice among whites toward working class whites, not just poor blacks. With every assumption you make you are only separating yourself further from reality.
On that note, I want to tell you how little I care for your final comment about how I probably endorse prejudice against Christians. I am a Christian. I chose to be baptized before my freshman year of college. I go to service every week at a church many would consider fundamentalist. I am also a male, and the fact that I do not believe there is widespread discrimination against males does not mean I think men should be treated badly.

8:54 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Are you seriously this incapable of admitting you were wrong? You said the course only presents the "politically correct" point of view, then you went silent when informed that there are frequent class debates in which both perspectives are represented equally.

Send me the syllabus, and I'll pubish it. Let's let all the readers of this blog judge for themselves.

Why are you afraid to do that?

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not "afraid" to send you the syllabus. The reasons I have not are:
1. I have an old paper copy, that's it.
2. Even if I had an electronic copy I would not give it to you because I respect Dr. Oswald and don't think it's my place to have her syllabus published.

If the syllabus is so important to knowing what is taught in the course, why did you not first procure a copy before deeming it appropriate to go on your blog and trash a colleague? You were satisfied with one student's description when it affirmed what you wanted to hear, but now that you are being called out as untruthful the only legitimate source is the syllabus? Did you ask the student you cited for a copy? You're making the syllabus the issue because you cannot bring yourself to publicly admit that you relied on one disgruntled student, never checked his claims, and ended up mischaracterizing a course you know nothing about.

1:41 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You're making the syllabus the issue because you cannot bring yourself to publicly admit that you relied on one disgruntled student

The "one student" was one I knew, and knew to be reliable. And you want me to trust you instead, in spite of the fact that I don't know you, and you are concealing information.

P.S. Is Oswald still showing that gay indoctrination video?

7:40 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

If you only have a paper copy of the syllabus, send me that. I'll make a PDF of it, and it will forever be available to you online.

Hell . . . come by my office. We might have a decent conversation. I don't bite!

All the syllabi of the Political Science Department are online. What does Psychology have to hide?

you relied on one disgruntled student, never checked his claims

I'm offering to check his claims by looking at the syllabus.

7:43 PM  

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