Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

milleryoungincident2 We have been following the controversy surrounding the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Younga with pro-life advocates on campus. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women. Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, filed complaints and Miller-Young was charged with criminal conduct including Theft From Person; Battery; and Vandalism. To the surprise of some of us, faculty and students rallied behind Miller-Young. She remains employed as a faculty member. Miller-Young initially pleaded not guilty but later entered a guilty plea with an apology. She has now been sentenced to sentenced to three years of probation, 108 hours of community service, 10 hours of anger management, $500 in restitution and a small fine. While her actions (and absence of serious university punishment) remain highly disturbing, some of the letters written on her behalf raise new questions over the commitment of University of California faculty to free speech and core academic principles. Miller-Young has been defended by faculty as the victim of a media campaign to portray her as “an Angry Black Woman” and her seemingly happy demeanor on the videotape has been dismissed as a “mask” that she wears as part of a “cultural legacy of slavery.”

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

dubuque-schools-logoBeginning this school year, Dubuque, Iowa public school students in middle and high school are to be required to wear heart rate monitors to determine their activity levels in gym class. The heart rate will apparently be part of the grade they receive.

In an almost unbelievable new standard of measuring grades, the public school district in Dubuque believes that their cardio-vascular knowledge is of such expertise, that they can fully translate it somehow into a measure of a student’s progress.

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dJZiSXft_400x400There is a controversy at the University of Illinois over the right of faculty to express views on social media outside of their positions. Steven Salaita had already been offered a tenured position in the American Indian studies program on the Champaign-Urbana campus and was just waiting for approval by the university’s Board of Trustees, usually a perfunctory stage. However, Salaita posted strongly anti-Israeli sentiments after the start of the recent war in Gaza. After those postings, he was informed that the university was rescinding its offer due to opposition on the board.

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planecaseEun-jong Lee, 47, a visiting professor of Human Ecology Design at Cornell University has been arrested after he allegedly groped a sleeping woman’s breast on a flight from Tokyo to Newark, New Jersey. He has been charged with abusive sexual contact, a felony carrying a maximum two-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.

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milleryoungWe recently discussed the controversy surrounding a confrontation between Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, and Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young. Miller-Young was then charged with criminal conduct including Theft of Person; Battery; and Vandalism. While initially pleading not guilty, Miller-Young has now entered a no contest plea to charges to the three misdemeanors. Despite the videotape of the incident and violation of both criminal law and presumably university regulations, Miller-Young remains employed at the university.

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Seal_of_the_California_State_UniversityTriceratops-skull-Zachi-Evenor-002There is a controversy at the California State University where scientist Mark Armitage claims that he was fired for his creationist beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Armitage recently published a paper where he suggested that soft tissue that he found in a triceratops suggested that the animal died no more than 4000 years ago rather than the common view putting extinction at 65 million years ago. The school is investigating his claim of religious discrimination.

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I have received a fair number of emails over the debate last week featuring my views on executive power on the Senate floor. The debate concerned the growing fight over immigration and I have been asked by journalists if I believe that the President is also violating the Separation of Powers with the suggestion of unilateral measures in the area. I am indeed troubled by the suggestion of a new round of unilateral actions by the President. However, the details are still unclear.

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mark_landisnewAccounting Professor Mark Landis has been arrested in a bizarre alleged crime where the San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco professor taped students using his San Francisco apartment’s bathroom.
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s11_4787Republican state Sen. Alan Hays really really liked the film “America.” So much so that he wants to make viewing the film by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza required viewing for all students. Hays seems entirely unaware of the inherent conflict in responding to what he views as the dangerous influence of liberal views by seeking the mandatory viewing of conservative views.

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UW-Madison_logo.svgLee Hansen, a professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, has caused a stir in academic with an article entitled “Madness in Madison” with the John William Hope Pope Center for Higher Education, a North Carolina-based think tank. The article quotes at length from a UW-Madison guideline entitled Forward Together: A Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence that refers to equity in grading and also references how minority students should be allowed into special programs or high-demand majors. The broad language raises concerns with faculty like Hansen over how professors are supposed to achieve these goals and whether they will be evaluated based on such guidelines. Hansen is a well-respected economist with a long and impressive academic history.

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1405809806000-Dan-MarkelFlorida State law professor and leading blogger legal Dan Markel died on Friday from an apparent gunshot wound at his home. Markel, 41, was a popular professor at Florida State University College of Law and the founder of Prawfsblawg, a popular legal blog. All such deaths without witnesses (called “unattended incidents”) are investigated as possible homicides. UPDATE: The police are saying that Markel was “targeted’ and murdered.

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220px-Naiad1If you are a creationist and believe that the Earth is just 5000 years old, stop reading now. However, for the rest of humanity there is a very very cool study out on a teenage girl named Naia. Naia is now nearly 13,000 years old. Her skeleton was found in an underwater cave system in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. She is believed to a key link to North Americans who first settled in this continent. (No, she did not look like Naiad of the painting by John William Waterhouse but I like the painting so the researchers will have to forgive me).

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220px-The_ProcuressThe criminalization of prostitution has always been an anomaly in the law when compared to sex on camera for the adult entertainment industry. Libertarians question why consenting adults should not be able to agree to such arrangements since they can have as many lovers for free as a form of protected conduct. For those who have argued for legalization of prostitution, a recent study by Baylor University’s Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah of the University of California, Los Angeles may give them something of a boost. The study found that, for the years when prostitution was effectively legal in Rhode Island (but not street walking), both public health and public safety substantially improved with a drop in rape and a drop in the rate of gonorrhea among women.

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Badge_of_the_Riverside_County_Sheriff's_DepartmentThe video below has been released in a lawsuit over a highly disturbing case where a Riverside undercover officer befriended a 17-year-old boy with autism and convinced him to buy pot for him. They then arrested him and added him to their list of drug war statistics. Before the arrest, in addition to autism, their son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome and anxiety disorders.

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240px-John_Wayne_-_1961UnknownWe have previously discussed the absurd growth of trademark and copyright claims in this country. Now, John Wayne’s descendants have had to go to court to seek the right to continue to use the legendary actor’s nickname, “Duke,” over the objections of Duke University which now claims to own the word “Duke.” The University has objected to a line of alcoholic beverages by the family called “Duke.” They appear to be using the line from the Duke’s character Wil Anderson in The Cowboys (1972) “I wouldn’t make it a habit of calling me that son.”

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