Category: Academics

American University Holds Training Session On Avoiding Single Standard Grading To Achieve “Antiracist” Objectives

American University has brought in an academic from the University of Washington-Tacoma with a curious mission for an academic institution: to teach academics not to grade on the writing ability of students as opposed to their “labor.” Professor Asao Inoue believes that writing ability should not be assessed to achieve “antiracist” objectives.

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Professor Calls For Throwing Off The Yoke Of Grades As A Tool Of Capitalism

Professor Richard Wolff of the New School is calling for the banning of grades as disrespectful to students and advancing a capitalist agenda. Wolff penned an op-ed entitled “Grades Are Capitalism in Action. Let’s Get Them Out of Our Schools.” I confess that I fail to see the oppressive or disrespectful elements of grading, even though it is the worst part of this job. However, Wolff has a broader objective in denouncing “meritocracy” as a concept and grades as merely an outgrowth of that system.

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Laurence Tribe Calls For the Impeachment Of Trump As A Terrorist And Racist

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has a history of passionate opposition to President Trump and calling for his impeachment, and he continued the trend Sunday by blaming Trump for a pair of shootings that took place over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Others have also placed blame on Trump for the shooting though Tribe goes as far as to declare Trump a terrorist. I have previously disagreed with Professor Tribe on these tweets against Trump and Republicans and this attack appears unhinged and entirely inappropriate for a respected academic.

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Turley Speaks To Alaskan Bar On Free Speech and The Free Press

This morning I have the great honor of delivering a keynote address before the Federal Bar Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is being held at the Hotel Captain Cook and I will be speaking at 9:00 am on the foundations and evolution of both free speech and the free press in America.

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Mizzou Sued Over Alleged Violation Of Legacy Gift

There is a fascinating filing against the University of Missouri this month. Hillsdale College has filed a lawsuit against Mizzou for violating the agreement that it had with 1926 Mizzou graduate Sherlock Hibbs. The filing is a novel arrangement with Hibbs that not only stipulates the academic views of appointed faculty but gives the default (and incentive for monitoring) to a rivaling academic institution. For Mizzou, the lawsuit is the latest controversy over its political leanings, though this is a more academic dispute over economic theory. While admissions appear to have risen at Mizzou (though numbers remain overall down), a controversy over gifts could not come at a worse time.

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“MAGA Teens Are Modern Day Hitlerjugend”: Controversial Mississippi Professor Renews Attacks Shortly After Gaining Tenure

University of Mississippi law professor James Thomas has previously caused a stir with intemperate comments about how conservative senators like Ted Cruz “don’t deserve your civility” and how people should attack them in public. Thomas, who was recently given tenure over opposition at the school, is back in the news by declaring that “MAGA teens are modern day Hitlerjugend [Hitler Youth]. Got a uniform and everything.”

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Oberlin Ordered to Pay An Additional $6.5 Million in Attorneys Fees

We have previously discussed the unprecedented damages awarded against Oberlin College for defaming a small grocery store after the arrest of three African American students for shoplifting. Recently President Carmen Twillie Ambar   refused to apologize to the grocery store and the school assured alumni that it would have no difficulty in paying the reduced $25 million. In other words, the President and school simply shrugged and offered neither apologies or reform, including retaining one of the key officials who facilitated the protests and targeting of the store. Now the direct costs are $31.5 million with an award of attorneys fees and that is not counting the huge costs spent on the defense. The records show that Oberlin’s counsel billed twice as many hours as the victorious team for Gibson’s Bakery.

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Former Case Western Dean Reportedly Leaves Shanghai University After Controversial Appointment

We previously discussed various cases where academics involved in allegations of sexual misconduct have moved abroad to teach at foreign schools. That has triggered a “MeToo” protests at these schools. One of those cases involved a former GW colleague, Ezra Wasserman Mitchell, who changed his name from Larry Mitchell before leaving for China to join the faculty of the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Students reportedly called for an investigation. Now one of those activists in China who opposed Mitchell’s appointment is claiming that Mitchell was fired after the investigation, but the posted comments only indicate that Mitchell’s contract was not renewed. The website however still shows Mitchell as a faculty member. While I have not been able to confirm Mitchell’s departure, it does appear that the controversy is still raging in China since our previous discussion. However, we are no closer in resolving how such cases should be handled.

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Doctoral Candidate At UC-Santa Barbara Faces Protests After Speaking Out Against Transgender Ideology

We have previously discussed the growing intolerance on campuses over those who speak or write from a conservative or opposing perspective. The latest such target is Laura Tanner, a doctoral candidate in its Department of Feminist Studies. Tanner has written against transgender status and ideology. Her tweets have led students and alumni at the University of California-Santa Barbara to demand the termination of Tanner’s association with the university.

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Law Professor: MAGA Hat “Undeniable Symbol Of White Supremacy”

download-3Gonzaga University School of Law Visiting Law Professor Jeffrey Omari has written a column in the ABA Journal that demonstrates the increasingly shrill environment faced by conservative students.  Omari took to the pages of the Journal to recount his almost breathless encounter with a student wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat. Most of us are used to students wearing political hats and teeshirts.  I am always happy to see students with such clothing because it shows that they are engaged and passionate regardless of their views. For Omari, the incident was chilling since he declares the MAGA hats worn by many conservatives to be per se racist symbols. Continue reading “Law Professor: MAGA Hat “Undeniable Symbol Of White Supremacy””

Oberlin President Refuses To Apologize For Defamation Of Grocery Leading To Record $25 Million Award

Formal_Seal_of_Oberlin_College,_Oberlin,_OH,_USA.svgIt appears that not even a record defamation award against Oberlin College will induce any sense of accountability by the school.  After the award was (as expected) reduced from $44 million to $25 million, Oberlin officials said that they could pay the damages without much problem, according to The Chronicle-TelegramPresident Carmen Twillie Ambar  then issued statements that infuriated many by dismissing any responsibility by her college staff or the college as a whole. Indeed, she refused to apologize because she said it might irritate some students.  As I previously discussed, Oberlin has shown how many academics have surrendered control of their institutions and no longer possess the courage to take responsibility for abuses occurring on our campuses. Continue reading “Oberlin President Refuses To Apologize For Defamation Of Grocery Leading To Record $25 Million Award”

For Whom The Bell Tolls: UC-Santa Cruz To Remove “Mission Bells” As “A Symbol Of Racism And Dehumanization”

We have previously discussed the removal university names, mascots, and symbols in recent years in response to student protests, including an effort to replace the GW “Colonial” mascot. I have previously expressed my concerns over the removal of long-held mascots and names in colleges from “the Cowboys” to “Shooter the Fox” to the Aztecs to the “Fighting Sioux” to “Chief Illini” to the “Prospectors” to the “Pioneers.” Now, students have succeeded in convincing the University of California Santa Cruz to remove the traditional California “mission bell” from campus. The bells are part of the the path of the historic El Camino Real, the 700-mile trail that connected the 21 California Spanish missions with hundreds of such bells. Critics insisted the “Deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people.’

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Princeton Professor Declares Trump’s Deportation Plan “Terrorism”

Princeton Professor of African American Studies Eddie Glaude took to MSNBC this week to comment on the announcement of President Donald Trump that his Administration will commence with widespread deportations in the coming week. Rather than address the merits of such a plan or the alternatives, Glaude showed how reasoned discourse has become little more than raw (and in this case unhinged) hyperbole. Glaude declared that the Trump announcement should be viewed as a “terroristic act.” I recently published an article on the trend from academics to advocacy on our campuses. Glaude declared just a week earlier that, with Trump, “we’ve moved beyond autocratic to almost monarchical.” It appears now that he has moved by the monarchical to the terroristic.

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Top Universities Sanctioning Law Professors For Unpopular Clients

I have previously written about the growing intolerance of faculty and students for opposing views and speech. Recently, however, there has been a further erosion in long-standing principles of free speech and academic freedom in the targeting of law professors for representing unpopular clients. Harvard University has been widely denounced for its removal of Law Professor Ronald Sullivan and his wife Stephanie Robinson as “House Deans” after Sullivan agreed to represent former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in his criminal trial. Columbia effectively forced out Columbia University law professor Elizabeth Lederer due to her prior work as a prosecutor in the “Central Park Five” case. It appears that no speech or even the principle of the presumption of innocence is to be recognized in the new realities of higher education.

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Oberlin’s $44 Million Judgment Shows The Cost Of The Trend From Academics To Activism In Higher Education

Below is my column on the record defamation verdict against Oberlin College and its implications for higher education. Obviously, I am quite critical of the actions of the college. What is the most striking aspect of this story is how completely unapologetic the college remains. There is little evidence of objective reevaluation of its actions such as the alleged demand that this bakery give first-time shoplifters from Oberlin a pass. There are three thousand students at Oberlin. There would be little left on the shelves if the word got out of a one-time pass where students could use their free shoplifting trip at Gibson’s.

In the meantime, alumni will be asked to support a college that may have burned tens of millions of dollars in just one incident. How many scholarships could have been granted for $33-$44 million? The annual tuition is $55,000. That is over 750 students who could have received free scholarships. Instead, over a stolen bottle of wine, the college has dug itself into a massive hole . . . and it is still digging.

Here is the column:

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