We have been following the investigation of the murder of Florida State Professor Dan Markel – a case that has cast suspicions on the family of his ex-wife and fellow professor Wendi Adelson. Much of this suspicion has been drawn to Adelson’s brother and that suspicion has been magnified with a new and bizarre disclosure that Charlie Adelson paid for half of a breast enhancement surgery for the girlfriend of one of the accused killers.
Police have been investigating the death of Ronald Bettig, 56, an associate professor of media studies, who was found at the bottom of a cliff at a quarry after felling 80 feet. They have now arrested Danelle Geier, 32, who lived with Bettig as well as George Ishler Jr., 39, who was charged with first- and third-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault and evidence-tampering.
The University of Houston has offered the latest example of how free speech is being rapidly eradicated on our campuses. Rohini Sethi, vice president of the university’s student government association, was given a 50-day suspension from her student government post for saying “all lives matter” on social media. She has now been told that the suspension will be lifted after she publicly apologized and agreed to attend cultural events.
The Round Rock Independent School District appears to have found a cheap way to improve the test results of its students . . . it eliminated all Ds. That’s right, a D will now be a C. While insisting that it is merely following other schools, the move is a laughable recognition that the district cannot actually improve performance so it will instead artificially improve grading.
There is a new controversy at Claremont Colleges where a housing advertisement specifically barred white students from living in an off-campus house. Karé Ureña (PZ ’18) posted a housing offer for People of Color only and added “I don’t want to live with any white folks.” There has been a rising objection, particularly from conservative students, that there is a double standard on campuses and that, in this case, the school would never tolerate a student barred blacks or Hispanics from applying for housing. Indeed, off-campus housing at Tulane University was recently the scene of students tearing down a display viewed as racist without any sanction from the university. Some (even CNN commentators) insist that African-Americans or people of color cannot be racist by definition. For example, CNN Political commentator Marc Lamont Hill has maintained that black people lack the “institutional power” necessary to “deploy racism.”
My friend Professor Eugene Volokh raised an interesting case out of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where the commission reinstated what many would consider a facially invalid harassment lawsuit over a worker wearing a simple “Don’t Tread on Me” cap. The cap was claimed cited as “racially offensive to African Americans” because “the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a ‘slave trader & owner of slaves.’” It is a bizarre case but the concern over the fluid standard for such cases was magnified by a response to Gene from Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman who added that a worker “Saying at work that ‘Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because women shouldn’t work full-time’” could also be a legitimate basis for sanctions.
We previously discussed the controversy surrounding Oberlin Professor Joy Karega, who has attracted fervent criticism for her social media comments including blaming Israel for the 9/11 attacks. In a move that will magnify the free speech issues discussed earlier, Karega has been suspended with pay as assistant professor of rhetoric and composition.