Category: Academics

Rockefeller University Moves To Redesign The “Dude Wall” After Rachel Maddow Remarks [Updated]

We have previously discussed how universities are removing portraits of their founders or their most accomplished figures because they are white males. The latest such example is Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute where neurobiologist  Leslie Vosshall announced that a wall displaying portraits of the winners of the prestigious winners of the Nobel Prize and the Lasker Award must be changed. The problem is that they are the wrong race and gender so a committee is expected to order the design of the wall. The “problem” was identified by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow who gave an award for leading female scientists and derisively referred to the portraits by asked “What is up with the dude wall?” Now the “Dude Wall” will be changed in a move that raises real concerns over the growing trend toward removing historical portraits in colleges to achieve diversity.

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SAT Dumps Controversial Adversity Score Program

David Coleman, the President and Chief Executive of the College Board, has been under steady and rising criticism over his relatively short tenure at the head of the testing organization. After taking control, Coleman immediately moved to implement the most controversial move in the history of standardized testing: an “adversity score” that would supplement the testing scores to benefit students from impoverished areas. Critics objected that Coleman was moving beyond the core function of standardized testing and engaging in his vision of addressing social ills and inequities through testing. Some even objected that it was an effort to insert a de facto affirmative action program at the test score stage. The College Board has now announced that this expensive effort by Coleman will be scrapped. College Board however has indicated that “information” may still be given to colleges, leading some to question whether Coleman is truly yielding on his effort to augment the standardized scores of applicants.

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De Blasio Panel Recommends Total Elimination of Gifted and Talented Programs

Most school systems have gifted and talented programs for students who are substantially advanced in courses and need more challenging material. The programs allow teachers on both levels to offer a more holistic curriculum and it also has served to keep advanced students in the public school system after years of “white flight.” The programs however have a majority of white and asian students. A panel appointed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has now come up with a recommendation to solve that de facto “segregation.” It wants to simply eliminate the gifted and talented program. Problem solved.

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No, It Is Not Racist To Oppose Birthright Citizenship

Below is my column in The Hill on the recent controversy over President Donald Trump’s comments on ending birthright citizenship. The most notable criticism came from Professor Lawrence Tribe who accused Trump of pursuing a racist agenda to “reverse the outcome of the Civil War.” Others have also labeled the effort as racist including media coverage. It isn’t and the underlying constitutional question is unresolved.

Here is the column:

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Muggle College Settles With Wizarding School

Merlin’s Beard! The College of William and Mary has been embroiled in a contract dispute with a wizarding school for years over unpaid lease fees. Unable to show either a binding magical contract or an unbreakable vow, William & Mary decided to settle for a portion of the alleged outstanding claims against Learn Larp LLC for $70,000. That’s dollars, not galleons.

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“We Didn’t See A Single Homeless Person”: Chicago Teacher’s Union Members Fly To Venezuela In Show Of Support

Venezuela is a humanitarian and civil liberties disaster. The repressive regime of Nicolás Maduro has been condemned around the world for its campaign of killings, arrests, and torture with the help of hundreds of Cuban intelligence officers. The free press and any dissent has been brutally destroyed as the nation itself reduced to pre-industrial standards. Beyond Cuba, North Korea, and other authoritarian regimes, Venezuela has few friends . . . . except union teachers from Chicago. The delighted picture above shows the delegation of union teachers who flew to Venezuela in support of one of the most blood-soaked regimes in the world. The picture reportedly shows Richard Berg (Organizer), strike captains Sarah Chambers (Special Education Educator), Valeria Vargas (Math Educator) and Fabiana Casas (English Educator) on Twitter after crowdfunding their trip to Venezuela.

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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 because such assessment interfere with “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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