Category: Academia

Fairfax Board Member Rails Against The Dangers Of “Excessive Individualism” In High School Graduation Speech

There has been a great deal of controversy over the graduation address of Fairfax County school board member Abrar Omeish to the Justice High School in Falls Church on June 7th. In her remarks to the graduates, Omeish praised a teacher who made social activism part of her class and warned the graduates that they are going into a world filled with racism and white supremacy. However, what really struck an admittedly libertarian chord with me was the third danger that she warned about: “excessive individualism.”  Like free speech, individualism is now being presented as a danger rather than a strength in our society.

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Wisconsin Student Accused Of Arson In Hoax Hate Crime

Viterbo University in Wisconsin has been the scene of protests for months over alleged hate crimes committed on campus.  The police however has charged a student, Victoria Unanka, with what it says was a hoax hate crime involving the setting of a fire in her dormitory. What interested me about the case was the curious combination of criminal charges. She is being charged with both arson and “the negligent handling of burning materials.” Continue reading “Wisconsin Student Accused Of Arson In Hoax Hate Crime”

No, The Second Amendment Was Not Primarily About Suppressing African Americans

The media has given highly favorable coverage to a new book by Dr. Carol Anderson, chair of Emory University’s Black Studies Department, that argues that “[the Second Amendment] was designed and has consistently been constructed to keep African Americans powerless and vulnerable.”  In interviews with media outlets like CNN and NPR Anderson’s theory is not challenged on the history and purpose of the Second Amendment. Like the contested claims of the “1619” project (which posited that slavery was the motivation for the establishment of the colonies), there might be a reluctance by academics to raise the countervailing historical sources out of fear of being labeled insensitive, defensive, or even racist.  However, this is not a new theory and, while there were concerns at the time about slavery and uprisings, the roots of the Second Amendment can be traced largely to England and the fears of government oppression. The point is not to dismiss this consideration for some pro-slavery figures at the time but to put those statements in a more historically grounded and accurate context. Continue reading “No, The Second Amendment Was Not Primarily About Suppressing African Americans”

“Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room

This week, the cancel culture became a royal pain with the removal of the portrait of the Queen by Oxford students at Magdalen College because her image is threatening to some students and “represents recent colonial history.” The decision follows King’s College formally apologizing for sending out an email after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, which showed a picture of Philip opening university’s Maughan Library with the Queen in 2002. Continue reading ““Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room”

“A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy

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We recently discussed the case of Loudoun County teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross who was suspended for speaking against gender policies. In a major victory for the free speech rights of teachers, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ordered LCPS to restore Cross’ position as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School. In a letter, the court found a basis for a temporary injunction to allow Cross to return until Dec. 31 pending further orders of the court. Continue reading ““A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy”

“Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps

Last November, the Santa Barbara City College announced the selection of Joyce Coleman as the new vice president of the School of Extended Learning.  Now Coleman has been put on administrative leave due to a comment made about Japanese internment camps that was denounced as causing “great harm” to the Asian community. The action is particularly notable given Coleman’s own campaign against racism in education.  Coleman, who is African American, has been a prominent voice against racism in society and particularly in education.  She reportedly observed in March in a Zoom event that “There is no such thing as not being racist. Either you are anti-racist or racist.” As will come as no surprise to many on this blog, I believe that Coleman’s statement should be considered protected by free speech and academic freedom principles.  Continue reading ““Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps”

Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe

We recently discussed the racist and violent remarks of New York psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani, who was featured by Yale Medical School. Khilanani launched into a tirade against white people and delivered such remarks as how she often thought of “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.” After weeks of intense criticism, Yale has added a disclaimer to the video. Continue reading “Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe”

“Unloading A Revolver Into The Head Of Any White Person”: Yale Features Violent, Racist Diatribe By Psychiatrist

We previously discussed the ongoing controversies over former Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee, who made highly unprofessional and sensational remarks throughout the Trump presidency. The school eventually got rid of Lee but seems to have found another even more controversial substitute as a speaker in psychiatrist Dr. Aruna Khilanani. The New York-based doctor was invited to Yale School of Medicine in April to deliver an address which turned out to be a violent, racist diatribe, including saying that she often thought of “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.” Continue reading ““Unloading A Revolver Into The Head Of Any White Person”: Yale Features Violent, Racist Diatribe By Psychiatrist”

“I’m Holding Myself Accountable”: California Teacher Cancels Herself As A White Person Teaching Spanish

We have seen in recent years that public attestations of being a racist have become more common among academics. Last year, we discussed the controversy over the acting Northwestern Law Dean declaring publicly to “I am James Speta and I am a racist.” He was followed by Emily Mullin, executive director of major gifts, who announced, “I am a racist and a gatekeeper of white supremacy. I will work to be better.” Recently, Brandeis’ Assistant Deans, Kate Slater, has triggered a similar controversy after declaring “all white people are racists.”  Some have gone further. At CUNY, the Law Dean Mary Lou Bilek cancelled herself for once referring to herself as a “slaveholder” in a meeting in arguing for greater protections for minority students. Now, an Oklahoma State PhD student  and teacher Jessica Bridges has cancelled herself from teaching Spanish because she is white.

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Will Eliminating Standard Tests Really Reduce Racial Disparities In Education?

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the announcement that the University of California will now join the “test-blind” movement and end the use of the SAT and ACT in its admissions decisions. Some have called for the change to increase diversity in the schools, particularly after California voters refused to change the long ban on affirmative action in education under state law.

Here is the column:

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Lafayette Park and The Tear Gas Controversy: A Response To Professor Steve Vladeck

For over a year, I have written and testified about the investigation of what really occurred in the clearing of the Lafayette Park. Much of this debate has focused on the motive behind the federal operation. University of Texas professor and CNN contributor Steve Vladeck is one of those who insisted publicly that Barr ordered federal officers “to forcibly clear protestors in Lafayette Park to achieve a photo op for Trump.”  After I discussed new developments in court over the protests yesterday, Vladeck lashed out to accuse me of being one of Trump’s defenders and a “tear gas” denier in the Lafayette Park controversy.  Since that tweet got traction with some on social media, I wanted to lay out the actual facts on the tear gas controversy. Continue reading “Lafayette Park and The Tear Gas Controversy: A Response To Professor Steve Vladeck”

“It’s Lying to a Child”: Virginia Teacher Suspended After Opposing Pronoun Policy

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We recently discussed a meeting of the Loudoun County school board in which a teacher launched into a diatribe against classic works like To Kill A Mockingbird as racist. Now another teacher is the focus of a national debate after he spoke to the school board. However, teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross has been suspended for speaking against gender policies. Continue reading ““It’s Lying to a Child”: Virginia Teacher Suspended After Opposing Pronoun Policy”

Duck Hunt? University of Oregon Announces Policy On Monitoring Student Social Media and Off-Campus Statements

We have been discussing the expanding monitoring and sanctioning of teachers for their political commentary on social media.  We have also discussed such actions taken against college, high school and grade school students. The Supreme Court is due to consider the issue in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.,  a case involving high school students punished for off-campus activities.  Now, the Board of Trustees at the University of Oregon have approved a vague policy that mandates the monitoring of the social media exchanges and other “conduct” of its students.  For the “Ducks” of Oregon, it could be difficult to judge what language could be deemed disruptive to anyone on campus under the rule.

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Rutgers Law Students Require All Student Groups To Hold Critical Race Theory Or Diversity Programs

We recently discussed the controversy at Rutgers Law School over the reading of the “n-word” from a state supreme court opinion.  Now there is a potentially serious conflict brewing over the right of the student government to demand that all student groups hold at least one event featuring critical race theory or diversity issues. The requirement (for any group receiving more than $250) presents some interesting questions in the conflict between free speech and diversity programs at such schools. Continue reading “Rutgers Law Students Require All Student Groups To Hold Critical Race Theory Or Diversity Programs”

Brandeis Dean Declares “Yes, All White People Are Racists”

Last year, we discussed the controversy over the acting Northwestern Law Dean declaring publicly to “I am James Speta and I am a racist.” He was followed by Emily Mullin, executive director of major gifts, who announced, “I am a racist and a gatekeeper of white supremacy. I will work to be better.”  The public confessions reflect the view that all white people are racist due to their race and privilege — a view contested by some as itself a form of racial intolerance or bias. Now one of Brandeis’ Assistant Deans, Kate Slater, has triggered a similar controversy after declaring “all white people are racists.” Slater is the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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