Brown university is the subject of intense criticism in the wake of a documentary from one of its graduates on the evisceration of free speech on campus. The elite school has followed the same course of other schools in declaring speech or symbols “micro aggressions” and allowing students to prevent speakers from appearing on campus or addressing other students. The film by Rob Montz is scathing and embarrassing as he shows students successfully barring people from uttering opposing views or shouting down a man because he is a white heterosexual.
We previously discussed how Turkey’s rising dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was likely to use the failed military coup to complete his objective to become a virtual dictator (backed by Islamist parties). That dire prediction appears to be fast becoming true with a roundup of thousands and the declaration of a state of emergency. Turkish academics have also been banned from leaving the country. Of course, Erdogan has offered his usual Orwellian rationization for the three-month state of emergency as necessary to protect civil liberties by suspending them “to eliminate the threat to democracy in our country, the rule of law, and the rights and freedom of our citizens.” With that, and the support of his Islamist allies who passed sweeping new powers for the budding Sultan, Erdogan suspended civil liberties in Turkey. In the meantime, women have reportedly avoided the streets because of being targeted by Erdogan’s Islamist supporters.
Some of us have been critical of the changes brought by State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby in the death of Freddie Gray. As we have seen in past high-profile cases, the prosecutors over charged the case against various defendants with very little evidence. The result has been a series of acquittals. Now, my GWU colleague Professor John Banzhaf III has taken that controversy to a new level with the filing of complaints seeking disbarment with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission against Mosby, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe. He alleges that these prosecutors knowingly brought charges without a sufficient evidentiary basis.
We have been discussing the effort of protesters to strip universities of references and images connected to segregation or slavery, including the names of Framers. Now, a dishwasher has taken it upon himself to smash a stained-glass window at Yale University because it depicted what he considered a racist scene. What is interesting is that, even though Corey Menafee was fired, Yale was already planning to remove the windows as part of a new initiative to remove such images.
We have seen students rise in protest over what they believe is “cultural appropriation” in schools offering yoga or students wearing dreadlocks or serving Mexican food. Now students at Oberlin are fighting to stop the school from offering students sushi. Now, with the support of celebrities and alumni like actress Lena Dunham, the students have denounced the practice and want the school to stop students from eating sushi as “insensitive” to Asian students. The sushi controversy arises at the same time that Oberlin has seen the protests from students demanding sweeping changes to the faculty and curriculum as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a sad statement of our times that common complaints about bad college food must now be stated in the language of racial or cultural victimization. It is not undercooked rice (a complaint by Oberlin students) but the appropriation of their culture or a “micro aggression” as it was labeled in 2015 at Oberlin by students.
On Wednesday morning, I have the honor of appearing before Committee of the Judiciary in the United States House of Representatives. The hearing entitled “Examining The Allegations of Misconduct of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen” will address the options facing Congress in addressing alleged misconduct by Commissioner Koskinen. The hearing will start at 10 am in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. My testimony is linked below.
Almost a year ago, the legal academy was shocked by the murder of Florida State Law Professor Dan Markel at his home. The police have now arrested Sigfredo Garcia, 34, and Luis Rivera, 33, and they have been indicted in the murders. The investigation is clearly not over. The police are suggesting that this was a contract killing tied to Markel’s divorce from his wife and former law professor, Wendi Adelson. The couple has two children.