Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Michael Lovell’s UWM Coup: Tosses Out Student Government, Attempts to Punish Dissenting Student
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 2012-2013It 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 CoupFacing 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 ElectionPeople 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 CoupGiven 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 BureaucratWe’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 PowerDeWees 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 ImplementedDeWees 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.
2013-2014So 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 ConstitutionThe 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 ReferendumWhich 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.
PushbackOne 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.
ChutzpahIt 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.
ReprisalHad 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.
PunishmentBecause 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 ThreatSiddique 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.
Saturday, March 02, 2019
Monday, February 18, 2019
Fake Hate Crime Database
Campus bureaucrats love these things, since they are a dandy excuse to add more bureaucrats with “diversity” or “inclusion” or “multicultural” in their titles.
But since the fake hate crimes are indeed crimes, they get investigated. And often they get revealed for what they are.
Fake Hate Crimes DatabaseWhich brings us to “fake hate crimes: a database of hate crime hoaxes in the usa.” It’s a long list of such bogus crimes, together with sources supplying the details.
It’s good to peruse to see how the notion of a “hate crime” has been weaponized by the left. And happily, how often these hoaxes fall apart.
Saturday, February 09, 2019
Marquette’s Case Against Paul Secunda: What Is It?
As we previously discussed, Marquette has suspended and apparently seeks to fire Law School Professor Paul Secunda for an “an inappropriate relationship” with a student.
The suspension and claim of “an inappropriate relationship” were leaked to the Journal-Sentinel. We don’t know by whom, nor what the motive was.
And the fact that the leaker failed to supply more details — leaving the impression that Secunda must have done something terrible — is suspicious. Would more details make his transgression (if it was a transgression) seem less serious?
Was the intention to smear Secunda?
Marquette MumMarquette, when asked by the Journal-Sentinel, simply said:
“Paul Secunda has been removed from his duties, including teaching, at Marquette University as the result of information developed from an investigation that began last May. Marquette will not comment further on the issue at this time.”So an investigation that began in May resulted in him getting pulled out of class two weeks before the end of the semester, throwing into turmoil the final exam and reporting of grades.
That clearly suggests some precipitous move by Marquette. Was the (equally) precipitous departure by Provost Dan Myers in October related? According to the Journal-Sentinel, Myers was “negotiating a resolution with Secunda and then resigned suddenly in October, and Secunda was then suspended from teaching a short time later.” It would be odd if Kimo Ah Yun, new Acting Provost, moved so abruptly upon taking office. In fact, it would be rather disturbing.
What Did He Do?The leaker (but not Marquette) accused Secunda of an “an inappropriate relationship.” That would imply something consensual, since “sexual assault” is sexual assault, and “quid pro quo harassment” (offering some favorable treatment for sex, or threatening unfavorable treatment if sex is denied) is much worse than “an inappropriate relationship.”
But who knows if the leaker was using precise language?
Has Secunda Made Enemies?When Marquette tried to fire us, they were egged on by a collection of leftist faculty, who had a long-standing grudge about our blogging, which had revealed numerous abuses by politically correct types on campus.
But Secunda is a leftist. So shouldn’t that give him some protection?
From some things, yes, but not from everything.
First, the sort of extreme feminism that thrives on college campuses encourages women to feel abused and ill-treated. Sometimes, perhaps, as the result merely of an ill-considered and inadvisable relationship that turned out badly.
Does Secunda have a spurned (or otherwise aggrieved) woman in his past? The other alternative is that the “relationship” was so indiscreet as to provoke complaints to administrators.
Has she (if there is a “she”) threatened to sue Marquette? Secunda’s statement — “I assume Marquette University has chosen to act as it has toward me to protect the University” — might imply that.
And indeed, Cheryl Abbate, the instructor whom we blogged about in 2014, did threaten Marquette with a lawsuit. Marquette’s subsequent attempt to fire us embroiled it in a nasty, protracted and vastly expensive lawsuit which ended in a humiliating defeat before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Enemies Among AdministratorsOne thing that is clearly the case is that Secunda has alienated some campus administrators, and especially Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney. Secunda has been outspoken in believing that Marquette’s law school, in a fancy, expensive new building, should have been improving its standing in national rankings — rankings that have a huge effect on (for example) the quality of applicants and the job prospects of graduates.
A reliable source in the Law School reports witnessing “on multiple occasions” antagonistic interactions between Secunda and Kearney.
In a Law School Faculty meeting, a request was made of Kearney to explain exactly what the charges were, and a motion was made to go into executive session to hear the details. The motion failed.
Kearney made it clear he didn’t want to share any details.
It doesn’t matter too much whether you are on the left or the right when you make things uncomfortable for campus bureaucrats.
We Need More InformationMuch of what we have said is speculation, but it is informed speculation, based on our own experience and observations. In fact, some in the Law School are calling this “McAdams II.”
Secunda is lawyered up — yes, lawyers themselves feel the need to lawyer up. And lawyers typically tell their clients to stay silent, lest they say something to complicate their case.
But we badly need more sunlight on this case. It has been covered in media highly visible in the legal community, including Above the Law, Law.com, Legal Insurrection, and Inside Higher Ed.
It has doubtless harmed his reputation.
We can easily believe Secunda may have done something we would consider immoral, and maybe something most would agree to be foolish or ill-considered.
But that’s not the same as professional misconduct. And given that Marquette has no policy concerning sex between faculty and students, any infraction would have to be obviously and blatantly at odds with some established academic norms to justify disciplining him.
Marquette’s credibility on issues like this is poor. We will have to see some hard — and damning — information before we conclude that his suspension (or any eventual attempt to fire him) is justified.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Anti-Trump Screed on Syllabus of Ken Mayer, University of Wisconsin Professor
First, there was a very badly conducted study of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which claimed it has disenfranchised 2,400 voters in Milwaukee and Dane counties.
When subjected to scrutiny, it was torn apart.
And now we have an anti-Trump screed on Kenneth Mayer’s course syllabus on the presidency. See below.
Trump derangement syndrome has deeply corrupted the mainstream media. Is it now corrupting political science, which has traditionally been a bit more “professional” than disciplines like sociology, which tend to attract undisciplined leftists? It’s not that political scientists don’t have, on average, leftist biases. They do. But they also usually seek to keep their biases in check.
Is Kenneth Mayer a bellwether, merely the forerunner of an increasingly corrupted discipline, or an outlier?
The full syllabus is here.
A lot is conventional, but several random swipes at Trump are inserted. For example:
Can Trump pardon himself? Can a sitting president be indicted? Nobody knows, in part because the questions have never seriously arisen. But we may find out.Then there are readings such as:
Trump is contemptuous of traditional governing practices and famously uninterested in policy details. From what we can observe, there are no policy processes in the White House and what emerges seems largely the result of presidential whims. Trump’s leadership of public opinion is a combination of tweets (many of which can, quite fairly, be characterized as unhinged) and campaign-like rallies in front of enthusiastic supporters. Is this the new standard?
And, finally, we must consider the question of how presidencies end (or are ended). Two presidents have been impeached but not convicted (Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton), and one forced from office (Richard Nixon). Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy. Are we in that territory?
“Hostile Sexism, Racism Denial, and the Historic Education Gap in Support for Trump.”And finally a single reading favorable to Trump:
“How Rural Resentment Helps Explain the Surprising Victory of Donald Trump.”
“Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?”
“For Trump, ‘a War Every Day’,” Waged Increasingly Alone.”
“Breaking Norms Will Renew Democracy, Not Ruin It — Most of President Trump’s alleged transgressions offend against the etiquette of modern liberal governance, not the Constitution.”Mayer, certainly, can structure his course as he wants. But other people can point out that he’s becoming unhinged about Donald Trump.
Leftist Bigotry: the Covington Catholic High School Kids
Of the most culturally deplorable boxes one can check in progressive America in 2019, the boys of Covington Catholic High School have most of them: white, male, Christian, attendees at the annual March for Life in Washington, and wearers of MAGA hats. What’s not to dislike? So when four minutes of video footage emerged online this weekend showing the students appearing to harass a Native American Vietnam veteran named Nathan Phillips, America’s media and cultural elite leapt to judgment.A righteous leftist mob is just a normal day in American politics.
A short video clip of student Nick Sandmann supposedly “smirking” as Mr. Phillips banged his drum in the student’s face went viral, and instantly the boys of Covington Catholic in Kentucky were branded racists.
Best-selling author Reza Aslan tweeted that the high school junior had a “punchable face.” Former Democratic Party chief Howard Dean opined that Covington Catholic is “a hate factory.” GQ’s Nathaniel Friedman urged people to “Doxx ‘em all,” i.e., make their personal information public.
Meanwhile, mainstream news outlets published misleading accounts of what happened based on incomplete information. And pundits on the right and left rushed to demonstrate their own virtue by trashing high school students as somehow symptomatic of America’s cultural rot in the Age of Trump.
Only it turns out there was a much longer video, nearly two hours, showing that almost everything first reported about the confrontation was false, or at least much more complicated. The boys had been taunted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who shouted racist and homophobic slurs. Far from the boys confronting Mr. Phillips, he confronted them as they were waiting near the Lincoln Memorial for their bus.
It also turns out that Mr. Phillips is not the Vietnam veteran he was reported to be in most stories. On Tuesday the Washington Post offered a correction, noting that while Mr. Phillips served in the Marines from 1972 to 1976, he was “never deployed to Vietnam.”
Some of the students did respond to Mr. Phillips by doing the Tomahawk Chop, and it would have been better had they all walked away. But on the whole these teenagers were calm amid the provocations and far less incendiary than the adults who taunted them and the progressive high priests who denounced them.
The new information has people who had so eagerly cast the first stones hastily deleting their tweets. Still, it is telling that some of the most disgusting tweets were the work of the blue-check elites who pride themselves on their tolerance. More surprising is the rush to judgment by those who might have been expected to consider the boys innocent until proven guilty, or at least until all the evidence is in.
On Saturday the boys’ school issued a joint statement with the Covington Diocese saying they “condemn” the students for their actions and were considering appropriate action “including expulsion.” A post on National Review said the boys might as well have “just spit on the cross.” And the March for Life distanced itself from the “reprehensible behavior” of the marchers from Covington.
Many of these early critics have now apologized or walked back their initial condemnations. But these social injustices perpetrated on social media are not so easily redressed. Covington Catholic was closed Tuesday for security reasons.
Most of those who so eagerly maligned these boys will face no lasting consequences, while the boys themselves will always have to wonder, when they are turned down for a job or a school, whether someone had Googled their name and found only half this story. This is an ugly moment in America, all right, but there are few things uglier than a righteous leftist mob.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Unemployment: U.S. vs. Europe
But another thing they don’t like to talk about is unemployment. It is chronically lower in the U.S.
Current unemployment rates among industrialized countries can be found here, courtesy of the OECD.
Of course, comparing a large diverse country like the U.S. to much smaller and homogeneous countries is unfair. It’s like comparing the city of Milwaukee to Whitefish Bay. On about any indicator you can think of, Whitefish Bay looks better, being homogeneous and affluent.
This logic would suggest that the U.S. should be compared to all the countries in the European Union, or at least to all the countries that use the Euro as their currency. That would deprive supporters of European socialism of the opportunity to pick their favorite little homogeneous country to compare to the U.S.
But in spite of this, all their favorite little homogeneous countries fare worse than the U.S. Unemployment, which is 3.8 percent in the U.S., is 6.44% in that paragon of socialist righteousness, Sweden. And it’s 4.87% in Bernie Sander’s dream country, Denmark.
GermanyEven the low number for Germany (which has a highly touted “industrial policy”) conceals a less benign reality.
We see that when we look at long-term unemployment. This is defined as the percentage of those who are unemployed who have been unemployed for twelve months or more.
The data on that are here, and they show that 41.9% of the unemployed in Germany have been out of work for a year or more, while only 15.1% of the unemployed in the U.S. are in this category. The number for the Czech Republic is 36%.
For Iceland the number is a low 9.2%, but for the Netherlands it is 40.7%.
The love of the American left for European socialism is not based on a superior ability of that system to give people jobs. It’s based on the perception that people like them are in power, unlike in the U.S.
Friday, January 04, 2019
Who Now Doesn’t Believe in Evolution?
A lot of the more dogmatic “science” types get all hot and bothered about this, fussing and fuming about how terribly ignorant this is, and how America is a pit of ignorance because of this.
In reality, not believing in evolution is about as bad as believing that a conspiracy killed JFK: not terribly well-informed, but not really harmful. If you don’t believe in evolution, you aren’t going to get a Ph.D. in physical anthropology, but not many people want one of those.
Believing that vaccines cause autism, or that a 70% top income tax rate is a good idea (as airhead Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does), are much more harmful beliefs.
The New Evolution DeniersIn an essay in Quillette, Colin Wright describes a new “cryptic form of left-wing evolution denialism [that] has been slowly growing.”
At first, left-wing pushback to evolution appeared largely in response to the field of human evolutionary psychology. Since Darwin, scientists have successfully applied evolutionary principles to understand the behavior of animals, often with regard to sex differences. However, when scientists began applying their knowledge of the evolutionary underpinnings of animal behavior to humans, the advancing universal acid began to threaten beliefs held sacrosanct by the Left. The group that most fervently opposed, and still opposes, evolutionary explanations for behavioral sex differences in humans were/are social justice activists. Evolutionary explanations for human behavior challenge their a priori commitment to “Blank Slate” psychology—the belief that male and female brains in humans start out identical and that all behavior, sex-linked or otherwise, is entirely the result of differences in socialization.Why do the politically correct leftists want a “Blank Slate” psychology? Because they want to claim that all differences we see in male vs. female behavior (who goes into computer science?, who is willing to work in a dangerous occupation?) are the result of socialization.
The left has always been enamored of social engineering, at least if the engineering is done by people on the left: professors, government bureaucrats, intellectuals.
If there are real, innate average differences between the sexes, that limits social engineering.
This is extremely embarrassing to leftists, because while they are happy to dismiss Christian young earth creationists as a bunch of yokels, it is harder to dismiss the work of Ph.D. biologists. But they do anyway.
Wright goes on:
Sex-linked personality differences are very well documented in our closest primate relatives, too, and the presence of sexual dimorphism (i.e. size differences between males and females) in primates, and mammals generally, dramatically intensifies these differences, especially in traits like aggression, female choosiness, territoriality, grooming behavior, and parental care.Of course, these differences are averages, with considerable overlap between the sexes. For example, men on average are taller than women, but some woman are taller than some men.
But the politically correct leftists want to insist that average differences in behavior (say, women are underrepresented in engineering) are the result of patriarchal oppression.
But is there patriarchal oppression among Barbary macaques?
Repressive Dogma in AcademiaPerhaps the scariest part of Wright’s essay is his account of the virulent opposition to evolutionary biology in academia.
Despite there being zero evidence in favor of Blank Slate psychology, and a mountain of evidence to the contrary, this belief has entrenched itself within the walls of many university humanities departments where it is often taught as fact. Now, armed with what they perceive to be an indisputable truth questioned only by sexist bigots, they respond with well-practiced outrage to alternative views. This has resulted in a chilling effect that causes scientists to self-censor, lest these activists accuse them of bigotry and petition their departments for their dismissal. I’ve been privately contacted by close, like-minded colleagues warning me that my public feuds with social justice activists on social media could be occupational suicide, and that I should disengage and delete my comments immediately. My experience is anything but unique, and the problem is intensifying. Having successfully cultivated power over administrations and silenced faculty by inflicting reputational terrorism on their critics and weaponizing their own fragility and outrage, social justice activists now justifiably think there is no belief or claim too dubious that administrations won’t cater to it. Recently, this fear has been realized as social justice activists attempt to jump the epistemological shark by claiming that the very notion of biological sex, too, is a social construct.Liberals and leftists have long been smugly and arrogantly asserting that conservatives are “anti-science,” pointing to Christian conservatives who don’t believe in evolution, and mainstream conservatives who are skeptical of man-made catastrophic global warming.
Those liberals and leftists need to take a look at the know-nothing subculture in their own backyard.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
It’s a Dirty Job, But Somebody Has to Do It
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Marquette Law School Professor Paul Secunda Suspended Over “Inappropriate Relationship”
A Marquette University Law School professor who might otherwise weigh in as an expert on such issues has been suspended over allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a student.This is rather remarkable, since this completely messes up the final exam and the assignment of grades. When Marquette suspended us in December 2014, they waited until the afternoon after we had posted all the final grades before noon that day.
Paul Secunda, a well-known blogger and authority on labor and employment law, was dismissed from his teaching duties two weeks from the end of this past semester.
According to the article, “Marquette Provost Dan Myers reportedly was negotiating a resolution with Secunda and then resigned suddenly in October. . . .” So why this timing?
Marquette officials declined to discuss specifics of the law school’s concerns. The university only issued this statement:Why the phrase “protect the university?” Is the implication here that some woman has threatened a lawsuit, and Marquette is firing Secunda in order to fend it off?
“Paul Secunda has been removed from his duties, including teaching, at Marquette University as the result of information developed from an investigation that began last May. Marquette will not comment further on the issue at this time.”
Secunda did not reply to requests for an interview, but did release a statement through his attorney, Jennifer Walther:
“I assume Marquette University has chosen to act as it has toward me to protect the University. This does not diminish the great respect I have for this institution and my fellow professors.
“Nonetheless, I cannot stand by idly in the face of what I believe to be an injustice. I have confidence in the process Marquette and the faculty have established to protect tenured professors in these circumstances, and believe I will clear my name at the end.”
We are, at the moment, bereft of facts on the case, and can simply quote from the Journal-Sentinel article “Secunda’s [case] remains mostly the subject of rumors. It has not been disclosed if the student was in his class or whether she filed the original complaint.”
What Would Be the Basis For Firing?We know of no Marquette rule or statute that deals with sexual relationships between faculty and students. There are extensive Marquette statements on sexual harassment, but if the charge against Secunda was harassment, the statement would say “harassment” and not “inappropriate relationship.”
One possibility is that Marquette wants to use the following language from the Faculty Statutes:
Discretionary cause shall include those circumstances, exclusive of absolute cause, which arise from a faculty member’s conduct and which clearly and substantially fail to meet the standard of personal and professional excellence which generally characterizes University faculties, but only if through this conduct a faculty member’s value will probably be substantially impaired. Examples of conduct that substantially impair the value or utility of a faculty member are: serious instances of illegal, immoral, dishonorable, irresponsible, or incompetent conduct.Marquette tried to use this language to fire us, and was soundly slapped down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court noted this section of the Statutes:
In no case, however, shall discretionary cause be interpreted so as to impair the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action.Secunda’s case is different, in that it doesn’t involve free speech as ours did. It might involve some abuse of his position.
But . . .
Marquette has here adopted language from the American Association of University Professors, and a long trail of precedents and statements says it must be interpreted narrowly.
We think Marquette, as a (supposedly) Catholic university has a right to say that all sex outside of marriage is immoral and dishonorable.
But Marquette can’t, all of a sudden, decide it is going to take this position, when it has never said so explicitly. In fact, Marquette has acted very differently. It has explicitly condoned homosexual sex, and provided benefits for gay “domestic partners.”
We know of at least one case in Political Science of a professor (now long gone from Marquette) cohabiting with a graduate student. Nobody made an issue of it. There have to be many similar cases in other departments.
Given that the language of the Faculty Statutes must be interpreted narrowly, Secunda can only be fired if his value has been “substantially impaired.” In today’s lax moral climate, we doubt that any mere consensual sexual relationship meets that standard.
But maybe there was more to it than that.
ConclusionWe are glad Secunda is going to contest this (presumably with the Faculty Hearing Committee), if for no other reason than that the facts will come out, and all can judge whether Marquette has acted properly.
We simply do not trust Marquette to act honestly and forthrightly, and only some sunshine falling on the specifics of the case will allow us to judge.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Ever Higher Tuition at Marquette
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Administrative Bloat at Marquette
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Friday, November 09, 2018
BBC Reporter: Antics Like Acosta’s Help Trump
The East Room of the White House — with its vaulted ceilings, ornate chandeliers and gold curtains — is the closest thing to a throne room the United States has.
When set up for a presidential news conference, as it was on Wednesday morning, it is magisterial. The president is announced, and the doors to a long hallway swing open. He steps onto the podium, towering over reporters squeezed tightly into the wooden chairs before him.
It feels a bit like an audience with a king. And on Wednesday, the king was angry.
Donald Trump held this formal news conference, only the second of his presidency, to respond to the results of the midterm elections. It was, he said, “very close” to a “complete victory” for Republicans, despite the fact that his party lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.
After spending weeks of battering and belittling his political opponents, the president opened by changing his tone and speaking of bipartisanship. When it came time to interact with the gathered journalists, however, the olive branch was replaced by a mailed fist — as it always seems to be.
The president accused one reporter, who is African-American, of asking a “racist” question. He said he’s not “a big fan” of another. And he repeatedly barked at persistent questioners to sit down.
The real fireworks came when CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask a series of questions, culminating with the president accusing him of being a “terrible person,” mocking his network’s ratings and reiterating his own contention that outlets that promote what he considers “fake news” are enemies of the people.
As a reporter for BBC News, I was seated a few rows behind and to the left of Acosta as he questioned the president, who at one point huffily stepped away from the lectern while the reporter continued to talk. The White House would later accuse Acosta of “placing his hands” on an intern trying to take his microphone away — and suspend his press credentials.
From my vantage point, I thought there may have been nonhostile contact between the two — in stark contrast to the obvious verbal hostility between reporter and president. A review of video from the incident corroborates this.
Acosta has a reputation as a dogged reporter, but his time at the White House during the Trump administration illustrates the perils of covering a president who uses dust-ups with journalists as a political tactic.
When the news cycle turns against him, one of the presidents first instincts is to criticize those who report the news. And journalists often take the bait. They’ve spent their whole professional careers dedicated to their craft, after all, and it’s human nature to take such slights and derogations personally — and to talk about them in private and then in print and then on-air for days.
That’s exactly what the president wants. An us-vs.-them debate between Trump and media personalities is friendly terrain for the White House. It feeds into the perception held by conservatives across the country that journalists, who are predisposed to questioning authority, are out to get this president. It diminishes the impact of the stories reporters spend so much time covering.
And as a further complication — and temptation — it also can benefit outlets such as CNN and reporters such as Acosta, who see followings grow, ratings soar and advertising dollars pour in with every new Trump-related controversy.
There’s a mirror to this perception on the left, casting “the media” as some sort of cohesive whole that can stand up to the president — as opposed to a chaotic mass of individuals and outlets, each vying for a small slice of the story.
When people ask me why reporters don’t just walk out when a news conference turns ugly as it did Wednesday, I chuckle. Telling journalists to walk away from a story is like asking them to stop breathing.
Sitting next to me in the East Room was a Korean reporter, perched on the edge of her seat. Her hand shot up every time the president appeared poised for a new question.
“Mr. President, sir! North Korea! North Korea!” she said pleadingly.
Try asking her to give up a chance to get a choice line from the leader of the United States about an issue that is of the utmost importance to her audience.
I like to tell friends and colleagues that covering Donald Trump can feel like falling into quicksand. The more you struggle, the more you fight, the quicker you sink.
Instead, the best strategy — the only way to survive — is to take a deep breath. Find solid footing. And move deliberately. That’s what the story and the audience deserve.
Anthony Zurcher is senior North America reporter for BBC News based in Washington, D.C.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Tuesday, October 09, 2018
Violence and Harassment Against Conservatives and Trump Supporters
But sometimes one side is the violent and unhinged force in American politics.
Just now, it’s the anti-Trump left. Enraged by Trump’s successes — most recently, the Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh — they have been on a rampage, and this has included not merely public temper tantrums, but stalking, harassment, threats of violence and outright attacks.
The ListBreitbart assiduously keeps track of these incidents, and their list now extends to 583 cases (it might be longer when you read this).
Some random entries:
October 8, 2018: Leftist Teacher Tweets: “So Who’s Gonna Take One For the Team and Kill Kavanaugh?”
October 6, 2018: Sen. Collins Flooded with Abusive Tweets Threatening Death, Violence
October 1, 2018: Vandals Hit IL GOP Headquarters With ‘RAPE’ Graffiti
October 1, 2018: Senator Mitch McConnell Badgered At Airport By Anti-Kavanaugh Activists
September 30, 2018: Georgetown prof: White GOP senators in Kavanaugh hearing ‘deserve miserable deaths’
September 25, 2018: CNN Defends harassment of Ted Cruz
September 25, 2018: Ted Cruz and Wife harassed out of DC restaurant
September 10,2018: Broadway Star Carole Cook on Trump: ‘Where’s John Wilkes Booth When you Need Him?
September 6, 2018: Black Trump Fan Booted from Bar for Wearing Trump Hat
. . . and on and on.
It would be unfair to say that the average liberal would do any of these things. But such things are increasingly condoned by mainstream Democrats. The New York Times, for example, has noted that these kinds of attacks have “opened a rift in the party over whether stoking anti-Trump outrage is helping or undermining its prospects in the midterm elections.”
Younger Democrats, the Times notes:
. . . believe that conventional politics are insufficient to the threat posed by a would-be authoritarian — and that their millennial and nonwhite base must be assured that the party is doing all it can to halt Mr. Trump.Thus the bigotry and intolerance of the campus left is increasingly infiltrating the Democratic Party. Only a resounding defeat at the ballot box (or perhaps it will take two or three) is likely to cause liberals to back off of tactics that can only be described as fascist.
UpdateYes, and now Hillary supports the nastiness:
During an interview with CNN on Tuesday, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stated that it’s impossible to be civil with a party “that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” She continued that if Democrats win back one or both chambers of Congress, “that’s when civility can start again.”This is a new level of cluelessness, even for Hillary. The fascist tactics don’t show strength, they show weakness.
Hillary said, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about. That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
Friday, September 28, 2018
Blow Up the Process
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Marquette Faculty Senate Mulling Ways to Silence Warrior Blogger
But it’s necessary to know some context to know what’s going on.
When Marquette lost its legal case against us, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed our contractual right to blog about things at Marquette (including misconduct at Marquette), the university released a truculent statement affirming it was right to try to fire us.
Marquette’s statement included several of the lies they have been telling all along.
The professor used his personal blog to mock a student teacher, intentionally exposing her name and contact information to a hostile audience that sent her vile and threatening messages. Fearing for her safety, the former student teacher left the university, a significant setback to her academic career and personal well-being.Our post on the conduct of graduate instructor Cheryl Abbate was not mocking at all, but rather described how she told an undergraduate that he was not allowed to express opposition to gay marriage in her class since it would “come across as homophobic” and might “offend” any gay students in class.
We did not “expose her contact information.” We linked to her public blog. Had somebody dug around the blog, they could have eventually found her e-mail address, although it was not on the page we linked to. But it would have been much easier to just Google her name.
Abbate received vile messages, certainly, but no threatening ones, as she admitted on her blog.
The difference is not trivial. Real threats are a matter for law enforcement.
Finally, Marquette lied about the reason Abbate left the university.
In reality, she had wanted to leave Marquette for Colorado (a much better Ph.D. program) the year before, but there was no room for her. The brouhaha over our blog post caused Colorado to reach out and offer her admission.
Marquette’s ThreatDoubling down on its position, Marquette promised:
Marquette will work with its faculty to re-examine its policies, with the goal of providing every assurance possible that this never happens again.What policies could that be? The Faculty Handbook, which is incorporated into every contract Marquette faculty have. The language in that handbook is what led the Wisconsin Supreme Court to find that Marquette had breached our contract when it tried to fire us.
And what “faculty” would Marquette “work with” to change the rules and silence (or at least impede) our blogging? The Faculty Senate.
So these entries in the schedule of the meeting look particularly significant:
XI. Workgroups – Dr. Michelle Mynlieff (4:35 to 4:57)
- Consider what to include in “professional conduct/cyberbullying” policy.
- Balance of academic freedom and professional behavior
- Professional behavior/cyberbullying policy committee
- Review of Grievance procedure
And also claim that faculty have rules for “professional behavior” that preclude criticizing people at the university.
How Do We Know?How do we know that this is aimed at us? Because in oral exchanges within the Academic Senate the “McAdams issue” has been mentioned in connection with potential amendments to the Faculty Handbook.
We will see how this unfolds, but unfortunately, academic freedom is in poor hands when it is in the hands of the faculty.
In the first place, the ideological biases of the faculty mean that conservative ideas and people will get little protection. College faculty are the sort who label speech they don’t like “racist” or “sexist” or “homophobic” or “hate speech” or “harassing” or “offensive.”
In the second place, groups like the Academic Senate tend to contain a self-selected bunch of faculty, many of which want to remain in the good graces of the administration.
So we will see what we shall see.