Marquette Warrior

Monday, May 20, 2019

We Didn’t Want That Investigated!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Union Goons Occupy Marquette Administration Building

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

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

Dear Zilber Hall colleagues:

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

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

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

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

Best, Joel Pogodzinski
Senior vice president and chief operating officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Media Lie: Trump Called Klan Types “Good People”

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Bunny Laid an Egg

Friday, April 12, 2019

Still More: Unionization at Marquette?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More: Unionization at Marquette

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

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Unionization at Marquette?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marquette’s Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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

More From Marquette

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

“Fact Sheet”

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

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

Proposal Before the Academia Senate

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

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

They pretty much deserve each other.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Who Are the Dividers?

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

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

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

Here is the backstory.

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

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

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

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

UWM 2012-2013

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

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

The Coup

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

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

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

The Election

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

Planning a Coup

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

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

We have added emphasis to particularly egregious statements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diversity Bureaucrat

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

The Attraction of Power

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

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

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

The Coup Implemented

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

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

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

2013-2014

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

The New Constitution

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

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

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

The Referendum

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

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

Pushback

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

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

Chutzpah

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

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

Reprisal

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

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

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

Punishment

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

The Threat

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

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

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

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Saturday, March 02, 2019

Never Mind The Chromosomes

Monday, February 18, 2019

Fake Hate Crime Database

It’s the tactic of social justice warriors: fake a “hate crime” and sit back and enjoy the self-righteous hand-wringing over how America is still a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or whatever nation.

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 Database

Which 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.

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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 Mum

Marquette, 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 Administrators

One 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 Information

Much 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.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Anti-Trump Screed on Syllabus of Ken Mayer, University of Wisconsin Professor

UW Madison Political Scientist Kenneth Mayer has been a tolerably reputable political scientist, but has lately gone off the deep end with Democratic partisanship.

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.

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?
Then there are readings such as:
“Hostile Sexism, Racism Denial, and the Historic Education Gap in Support for Trump.”

“How Rural Resentment Helps Explain the Surprising Victory of Donald Trump.”

“Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?”

“Russia Won”

“For Trump, ‘a War Every Day’,” Waged Increasingly Alone.”
And finally a single reading favorable to Trump:
“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.

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Leftist Bigotry: the Covington Catholic High School Kids

From the Wall Street Journal:
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 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.
A righteous leftist mob is just a normal day in American politics.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Not Much Choice

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Unemployment: U.S. vs. Europe

People on the left are always touting European socialism as something the U.S. should emulate. They like to talk about all the goodies socialist governments give out (but don’t like to talk about the tax burden).

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.

Notice something? The U.S. is lower than all countries besides Germany, the Czech Republic, Iceland and the Netherlands.  The numbers vary a bit year by year, and quarter by quarter, so they might be a bit different if you check the link six months or three years from now.

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.

Germany

Even 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.

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Friday, January 04, 2019

Who Now Doesn’t Believe in Evolution?

A fair number of more conservative Christians don’t believe in evolution, and view the Genesis account of the origins of man literally.

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 Deniers

In 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 Academia

Perhaps 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.

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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”

From the Journal-Sentinel:
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.

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.
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.

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:

“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.”
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?

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.

Conclusion

We 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.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ever Higher Tuition at Marquette

Our former student (and now a professor) Kevin Miller is soured on the way Marquette is run. And not merely the incessant political correctness, but also administrative bloat and constantly rising tuition (and rising without the quality of a Marquette education increasing. Rather, the quality of a Marquette education is declining.)

Also regarding the Marquette University #GivingTuesday scholarship fund drive ... When I was a freshman - 1986-87 - the...
Posted by Kevin Miller on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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