Miscellaneous Articles


Thomas J. Espenshade & Alexandria Walton Radford, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life, 2009

Miscellaneous Articles


Stalinism lives — in the CSULB Women’s Studies Department
by Kevin MacDonald
The Occidental Observer, 2008-11-21

The Women’s Studies Department at California State University–Long Beach
finally put out a statement on my work.
I say “finally” because a long list of other departments
put out statements last Spring,
culminating in a resolution by the CSULB Academic Senate
that quotes from these statements.

After awhile, the statements by the departments have a familiar ring.
The general plan is something like:
We strongly believe in free speech and academic freedom,
but we deplore
MacDonald’s shoddy scholarship and
his bigoted, racist, anti-Semitic conclusions.

The Women’s Studies statement is in line with this,
but it does depart a bit from the script.
It is worth commenting on because
it reveals quite a bit about the state of the academy.

The statement starts with an unabashed assertion that
the purpose of the Women’s Studies Department is leftist political activism:
The field of Women’s Studies is committed to
the creation and promotion of research and teaching
that challenges
racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and related bigotries
that undermine the possibility for all populations to exist free from
discrimination, deprivation, hostility, violence and marginalization.
Women’s Studies is dedicated to analyzing and critiquing social institutions
that support or promote oppressive conditions
against any targeted populations.
Informed by feminist methodology and feminist theory,
the core mission of Women’s Studies is to
promote positive social transformation that
eradicates the full range of bigoted institutions that
prevent people from realizing the highest possibilities for their lives.

The media has at times pointed out
the tendency for professors to be on the left.
But this goes well beyond that.
Their whole purpose is
social transformation in the direction of a leftist utopia.
(See also their webpage.)
This is Antonio Gramsci’s march through the institutions with a vengeance.
And it shows that people like me
who see value in the traditional peoples and culture of the West
have a very long way to go.
The culture of the radical, transformational left
is thoroughly ensconced in the university,
dominating entire departments in the social sciences and humanities.

This culture of the left is constantly spouted in classrooms by
professors such as those in the CSULB Women’s Studies Department.
At the same time that students are inundated with
politically correct propaganda from the left,
every attempt is made to silence professors who have different points of view.

My troubles on campus began when
the SPLC pressured the university about my writing and associations.
A major concern was that I was teaching things in my child development course
that contradicted the SPLC’s positions
on issues like race differences in intelligence.
It didn’t matter that my views and what I taught
were entirely consistent with mainstream research
and with what my textbook says.
Their point of view was that MacDonald should not be teaching any course
where he might be spouting opinions disapproved by these arbiters of truth.

And the university went along with the SPLC:
I had to agree to stop teaching race differences in intelligence
or they would not allow me to teach the course.

And no one at the university from top to bottom had any problem with that.
Leftist hegemony indeed.

The Women’s Studies statement goes on as follows:

Women’s Studies rejects any claims to
a natural, biological or essential basis for social hierarchies
that impute lesser or greater social value to designated populations.
As such,
the mission of Women’s Studies and
the ethical and political impulse of feminism
stand in direct contrast to
the fields of socio-biology, evolutionary biology
and by association, the work of Professor Kevin Macdonald.

[It seems to me that that “As such” is a non sequitor.]

In other words,
they know the truth and are entitled to act on the basis of this knowledge.
It’s the same philosophy as the Spanish Inquisition
or Stalin’s show trials for intellectual deviation.
Such a statement should be astounding in any academic environment,
but there’s nary a peep from my colleagues.
When I went into academic research I was under the naïve impression that
truth is not supposed to be assumed but sought after.
What we find now is that

entire fields are rejected out of hand
because they might yield inconvenient results.

If the results conflict with their political agenda,
they can be safely rejected out of hand.
No research needed.

This should be underlined and repeated.
The Women’s Studies Department is not really going after me.
They are going after any academic discipline that they see as
producing or likely to produce inconvenient results.

Indeed, they go on as follows:
Challenging Professor MacDonald’s work
in isolation from the fields of study that grant him legitimacy
runs the risk of individualizing him and his research
as exceptional and unsupported by the academy.
This is not the case.
Professor MacDonald works in fields
that are considered to be legitimate by academic standards,
and unfortunately, research into
the genetic basis for
the social value of racial and ethnic groups, women and homosexuals
continues under the auspices of many fields of study.

The problem is not “shoddy research.”
The problem is that the research has academic legitimacy
and continues to appear in scholarly journals
and in books published by academic publishers.
Obviously, this must not be allowed to continue.
They conclude by asking a series of questions:
What are the social, political, intellectual and academic conditions
that enable racially supremacist research
to be conducted, funded, and legitimated in today’s academy?
What do we do in our fields of study to counter racially supremacist ideas?
How do we shape our research and teaching to undermine
the social conditions that make racial supremacy possible?
How does our work contribute to
transforming the academy and the larger society to
counter racial supremacy and bigotry?

Their last question is key:
“How does our work contribute to
transforming the academy and the larger society to
counter racial supremacy and bigotry?”

In their ideal world,
entire academic disciplines would be proscribed—expunged from the academy—
if they produce results that conflict with their dogmas.

It’s just like in the USSR.
When the results of genetic science conflicted with Lysenkoism,
so much the worse for genetics.
Purge the academy.

The academic left is now in charge.

When the left was on the defensive during the McCarthy era,
they were strong advocates of free speech and academic freedom.
Now that they have the power, there’s a very different tone.

Indeed, as noted in a TOO editorial,
the left has been strong supporters of “hate speech” laws in Europe and Canada,
and these same forces have advocated getting rid of tenure at universities.
When that happens, I’ll be the first to go.
And no one at the university—least of all Women’s Studies—
will lose any sleep over it.

Kevin MacDonald is a professor of psychology at
California State University–Long Beach.


Trudie Pert on Princeton
by Kevin MacDonald
The Occidental Observer Blog, 2010-04-05

Trudie Pert’s current TOO article (Post-Genome Princeton)
illustrates once again that
all of our elite institutions are essentially enemy-occupied territory.
Princeton’s president, Shirley Tilghman ...
doubtless feels morally superior as she champions Black causes,
investing millions of dollars in faculty and facilities for the Black Studies Department
and admitting Blacks with an average of 230 points less on the SAT than Whites.
She is also doing her best
to absolutely eliminate White males from high-profile positions.
My favorite is
making a woman dean of the School of Engineering
even though she is not an engineer.

Non-Jewish Whites are vastly underrepresented as students
by a factor of around 4,
while Jews are overrepresented by a factor of around 5
(unusually low for an Ivy League University).


How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others
By Russell K. Nieli
Minding the Campus, 2010-07-12

How To Get Into College
by Steve Sailer
VDare.com, 2010-07-15

[This is an extensive quote from Nieli’s 07-12 post,
together with a little added commentary by Sailer.]

Jewish overrepresentation at elite universities explained
by Kevin MacDonald
Occidental Observer Blog, 2010-07-16

[Kevin MacDonald adds his views to
the discussion of university admission bias started by Russell Nieli,
and adds some remarks about Jewish favoritism in such admissions.]

The Roots of White Anxiety
New York Times Op-Ed, 2010-07-19

In March of 2000, Pat Buchanan came to speak at
Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Harvard being Harvard, the audience hissed and sneered and made wisecracks.
Buchanan being Buchanan, he gave as good as he got.
While the assembled Ivy Leaguers accused him of
homophobia and racism and anti-Semitism,
he accused Harvard — and by extension, the entire American elite —
of discriminating against white Christians.

A decade later, the note of white grievance that Buchanan struck that night
is part of the conservative melody.
You can hear it when Glenn Beck accuses Barack Obama of racism,
or when Rush Limbaugh casts liberal policies as an exercise in “reparations.”
It was sounded last year during the backlash against
Sonia Sotomayor’s suggestion that a “wise Latina” jurist
might have advantages over a white male judge,
and again last week when
conservatives attacked the Justice Department
for supposedly going easy on members of the New Black Panther Party
accused of voter intimidation.

To liberals, these grievances seem at once noxious and ridiculous.
(Is there any group with less to complain about, they often wonder,
than white Christian Americans?)
But to understand the country’s present polarization,
it’s worth recognizing what Pat Buchanan got right.

Last year, two Princeton sociologists,
Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford,
published a book-length study of
admissions and affirmative action
at eight highly selective colleges and universities.
Unsurprisingly, they found that
the admissions process seemed to favor black and Hispanic applicants,
while whites and Asians needed higher grades and SAT scores to get in.

But what was striking, as Russell K. Nieli pointed out last week
on the conservative Web site Minding the Campus, was
which whites were most disadvantaged by the process:
the downscale, the rural and the working-class.

This was particularly pronounced among the private colleges in the study.

For minority applicants,
the lower a family’s socioeconomic position,
the more likely the student was to be admitted.
For whites, though, it was the reverse.
An upper-middle-class white applicant
was three times more likely to be admitted
than a lower-class white with similar qualifications.

This may be a money-saving tactic.
In a footnote, Espenshade and Radford suggest that these institutions,
conscious of their mandate to be multiethnic,
may reserve their financial aid dollars
“for students who will help them look good
on their numbers of minority students,”
leaving little room to admit financially strapped whites.

But cultural biases seem to be at work as well.
Nieli highlights one of the study’s more remarkable findings:

while most extracurricular activities
increase your odds of admission to an elite school,
holding a leadership role or winning awards
in organizations like
high school R.O.T.C., 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America
actually works against your chances.

Consciously or unconsciously,
the gatekeepers of elite education seem to incline against
candidates who seem too stereotypically rural or right-wing or “Red America.”

This provides statistical confirmation for
what alumni of highly selective universities already know.

The most underrepresented groups on elite campuses
often aren’t racial minorities;
they’re working-class whites
(and white Christians in particular)
from conservative states and regions.

Inevitably, the same underrepresentation persists
in the elite professional ranks these campuses feed into:
in law and philanthropy, finance and academia, the media and the arts.

This breeds paranoia, among elite and non-elites alike.
[Note the bias in using the word “paranoia” to describe the reaction.
Legitimate concern, growing into anger, seems entirely appropriate.
What if the underrepresented group was, for instance, Jews?
Can you imagine the screams of outrage from Jewish groups?
Or if you have a historical mind, why imagine it?
Just remember it.]

Among the white working class,
increasingly the most reliable Republican constituency,
alienation from the American meritocracy
fuels the kind of racially tinged conspiracy theories
that Beck and others have exploited —
that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Marxist
hand-picked by a shadowy liberal cabal,
that a Wall Street-Washington axis
wants to flood the country with third world immigrants,
and so forth.

Among the highly educated and liberal,
meanwhile, the lack of contact with rural, working-class America generates
all sorts of wild anxieties about what’s being plotted in the heartland.
In the Bush years, liberals fretted about a looming evangelical theocracy.
In the age of the Tea Parties,
they see crypto-Klansmen and budding Timothy McVeighs
everywhere they look.

This cultural divide has been widening for years,
and bridging it is beyond any institution’s power.
But it’s a problem admissions officers at top-tier colleges
might want to keep in mind
when they’re assembling their freshman classes.

If such universities are trying to create an elite
as diverse as the nation it inhabits,
they should remember that there’s more to diversity than skin color —
and that both their school and their country might be better off
if they admitted a few more R.O.T.C. cadets, and a few more aspiring farmers.

[Yep, to the PC trash (of various colors) that makes up the “elite”,
diversity has a restricted meaning.

As to the importance cross-fertilization of attitudes and experiences,
a particularly glaring example of cluelessness is due to
the expulsion of ROTC from Ivy League campuses since circa 1970.
As a result, the “elite” really is clueless as to
the concerns of those who are out there fighting the wars for which they voted—
in particular, on the current issue of
what the impact of having homosexual commanders is going to be
on the subordinates of those commanders.]

Why Are Professors Liberal?
by Kevin MacDonald
TOO blog, 2010-10-28

Anthropology a Science? Statement Deepens a Rift
New York Times, 2010-12-10

Anthropologists have been thrown into turmoil
about the nature and future of their profession
after a decision by the American Anthropological Association
at its recent annual meeting
to strip the word “science” from a statement of its long-range plan.

The decision has reopened a long-simmering tension
between researchers in science-based anthropological disciplines —
including archaeologists, physical anthropologists
and some cultural anthropologists —
and members of the profession who study race, ethnicity and gender
see themselves as advocates for native peoples or human rights.


Until now, the association’s long-range plan was
“to advance anthropology as the science
that studies humankind in all its aspects.”
The executive board revised this last month to say,
“The purposes of the association shall be
to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects.”
This is followed by a list of anthropological subdisciplines
that includes political research.

The word “science” has been excised
from two other places in the revised statement.

The association’s president, Virginia Dominguez of the University of Illinois,
said in an e-mail that the word had been dropped
because the board sought to include anthropologists
who do not locate their work within the sciences,
as well as those who do.
She said the new statement could be modified
if the board received any good suggestions for doing so.


Peter Peregrine, president of the Society for Anthropological Sciences,
an affiliate of the American Anthropological Association ...
attributed what he viewed as an attack on science to two influences within anthropology.
One is that of so-called critical anthropologists,
who see anthropology as an arm of colonialism
and therefore something that should be done away with.
The other is the postmodernist critique of the authority of science.
“Much of this is like creationism in that
it is based on the rejection of rational argument and thought,” he said.

Dr. Dominguez denied that critical anthropologists or postmodernist thinking
had influenced the new statement.
She said in an e-mail that she was aware that science-oriented anthropologists
had from time to time expressed worry about and disapproval
of their nonscientific colleagues.
“Marginalization is never a welcome experience,” she said.

[There are some real issues here.
To phrase it as an exercise in “marginalization” is to trivialize the issues,
turning them into some touchy-feely psychology.
But what do you expect from left-wing social scientists?]

Anthropology Group Tries to Soothe Tempers
After Dropping the Word ‘Science’

New York Times, 2010-12-14


Social Scientist Sees Bias Within
New York Times, 2011-02-08

SAN ANTONIO — Some of the world’s pre-eminent experts on bias discovered an unexpected form of it at their annual meeting.

Discrimination is always high on the agenda at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference, where psychologists discuss their research on racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities. But the most talked-about speech at this year’s meeting, which ended Jan. 30, involved a new “outgroup.”

It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.

“Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”


[Yep, these PC social scientists truly inhabit a realm of
denial,deceit, ideology, and agenda.
There is also strong evidence that they and the PC community in general
hardly scruple from framing up and lying about the politically incorrect,
when that is the only way they can defame their ideas.]

Gains, and Drawbacks, for Female Professors
New York Times, 2011-03-21

The tyranny of good intentions at U.S. colleges
by Michael Barone
Washington Examiner, 2012-11-28
by Michael Barone

Colleges have free speech on the run
By George F. Will
Washington Post, 2012-11-30


Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm
New York Times, 2014-05-17

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Should students about to read “The Great Gatsby” be forewarned about “a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence,” as one Rutgers student proposed? Would any book that addresses racism — like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or “Things Fall Apart” — have to be preceded by a note of caution? Do sexual images from Greek mythology need to come with a viewer-beware label?

Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as “trigger warnings,” explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.

The warnings, which have their ideological roots in feminist thought, have gained the most traction at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the student government formally called for them. But there have been similar requests from students at Oberlin College, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, George Washington University and other schools.


Here at the University of California, Santa Barbara,
in March there was a confrontation when
a group of anti-abortion protesters held up graphic pictures of aborted fetuses
and a pregnant professor of feminist studies tried to destroy the posters,
saying they triggered a sense of fear in her.
[Fear of what?
That the anti-abortion protesters would harm a pregnant woman?
I've heard of some anti-abortion protesters harming abortion clinics,
and doctors who perform abortions,
but never heard of them harming pregnant women.
That would seem to be against everything they stand for.
It sure sounds like she just uses supposed fear as an excuse
to suppress other people's speech.
I.e., the paranoia of the politically correct.]

After she was arrested on vandalism, battery and robbery charges,
more than 1,000 students signed a petition of support for her,
saying the university should impose greater restrictions
on potentially trigger-inducing content.
(So far,
the faculty senate has promised to address
the concerns raised by the petition and the student government
but has not made any policy changes.)


At Oberlin College in Ohio, a draft guide was circulated that would have asked professors to put trigger warnings in their syllabuses.
The guide said they should flag anything that might “disrupt a student’s learning” and “cause trauma,” including anything that would suggest the inferiority of anyone who is transgender (a form of discrimination known as cissexism) or who uses a wheelchair (or ableism).

“Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism,
cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,”
the guide said.
[Radicalism on campus.]
“Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic,
and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.” For example, it said, while “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe — a novel set in colonial-era Nigeria — is a “triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read,” it could “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”


Colleges become the victims of progressivism
by George F. Will
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2014-06-06


The Coddling of the American Mind
by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
The Atlantic, 2015-09

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities.
A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.
Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress.
In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her.
In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach.
“I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said.
A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue).
Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.
For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American.
Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response.
For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.


By Editorial Board
idsnews.com (The Indiana University student newspaper), 2015-10-11

If there’s one thing on everyone’s mind after Alpha Tau Omega’s atrocious video and its subsequent suspension, it’s that there’s a serious need for change on this campus.

If you’re a hermit who hasn’t glanced at any form of news or social media, you’re in for a surprise. The University suspended IU’s ATO chapter, and the national ATO office revoked its charter after a video surfaced of a confirmed member performing a sexual act on an exotic dancer in front of 
almost half the fraternity’s members.

No one’s arguing that this isn’t a serious situation and if they are they’re probably the type of person who attends an event like the one ATO has now become infamous for.

But the reaction from our University is just a little too late, and we’d be seriously surprised if IU were able to turn this problem around.

In fact, if you talked to some students on this campus a good number would tell you they aren’t surprised this happened, and at ATO no less.

Hazing is bad enough and it’s no stranger to IU’s greek system, but it’s a wonder why the administration — and its critics for that matter — don’t call it what it really is.

Any type of sexual act that involves persuasion, peer pressure or cohesion
is deemed sexual assault.

Talking a person into sex is "sexual assault"?
Think they would apply that standard to, say, lesbian seductions?
Or do they only apply such utterly draconian, not to say absurd,
expansions of the definition of sexual assault
to heterosexual acts?]

ATO passed hazing by a long shot with this video.

And if our school’s administration thinks this is an isolated incident or the result of a “few bad apples,” they’ve got another thing coming.

ATO received more than its fair share of warnings to get it together.

The greek organization made national headlines in 1992 after forcing pledges to drink copious amounts of alcohol to induce vomiting. This hazing landed a sophomore in the hospital with an almost deadly .48 blood alcohol content. The pledge luckily survived.

We thought they would learn their lesson after that train wreck but, unfortunately, ATO doesn’t take second chances seriously.

The Editorial Board has come to an impasse, where we have to do 
something we absolutely hate to get the point across: use a cliché.

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. IU is partly at fault for letting an organization get to this level of recklessness and maltreatment.

A report of sexual assault was filed in 2013. Speculations about a “Ménage Tau” party ATO plays host to every year — where “body shots, threesomes and much more magic follows” — were printed in 2013 by brobible.com.

Reports of sexual assault, battery, alcohol violations and even a man falling off the three-story house have plagued the fraternity since its temporary 
suspension in 1992.

The time for an ATO redemption has come and gone. But the rest of this school still has a fighting chance.

If we want to learn anything from these events, it’s that inaction from our administration or action that comes too late isn’t going to cut it.

You want to fix this, IU? Start by holding every single person present during the filming of that video 

Free speech is flunking out on college campuses
By Catherine Rampell, Opinion writer
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2015-10-22

Women, sexual assault victims, people of color, transgender students. College campuses have created “safe spaces” for all sorts of marginalized groups. But in the process, one member of the campus community has lost precious real estate.

Free speech.

There have of course been complaints about censorship and political correctness on the nation’s campuses for a while now. High-profile speakers — Christine Lagarde, Condoleezza Rice — have been disinvited from or otherwise pushed out of commencement addresses, thanks to students who didn’t want to hear what they had to say. Comedians have sworn off performing at colleges because they say students can’t take a joke.

Even President Obama has decried illiberal tendencies in liberal arts settings, fretting that college students are “coddled and protected from different points of view.”

These threats to free speech peaked this week at Wesleyan University, a top-flight school in Middletown, Conn., where the student government voted to cut funding for the 150-year-old campus newspaper after it published a conservative op-ed.

In September, sophomore Bryan Stascavage — a 30-year-old Iraq veteran and self-described “moderate conservative” — wrote an opinion column for the Wesleyan Argus, the student newspaper. In it, he criticized the Black Lives Matter movement — not the movement’s mission or motivations, but its tactics and messaging, particularly those of its more anti-cop fringe elements.

The essay was provocative, but it contained neither name-calling nor racial stereotypes (the usual hallmarks of collegiate column calumny). It was no more radical than the conservative commentary you might see on mainstream op-ed pages such as this one.

That didn’t stop all hell from breaking loose.

Within 24 hours of publication, students were stealing and reportedly destroying newspapers around campus. In a school cafe, a student screamed at Stascavage through tears, declaring that he had “stripped all agency away from her, made her feel like not a human anymore,” Stascavage told me in a phone interview. Over the following days, he said, others muttered “racist” under their breath as he passed by.

The Argus’s editors published a groveling apology on the paper’s front page. They said they’d “failed the community” by publishing Stascavage’s op-ed without a counterpoint, and said that it “twist[ed] facts.” They promised to make the paper “a safe space for the student of color community.” This self-flagellation proved insufficient; students circulated a petition to defund the newspaper.

Stascavage had gone to Wesleyan on a scholarship for veterans, and he was aware of the school’s ultra-lefty reputation before his arrival. (It was the inspiration for the 1994 film “PCU,” or “Politically Correct University.”) But he said that reputation didn’t put him off. In fact, he’d specifically sought a community that might challenge his views.

“I knew if I remained in my echo chamber of moderate conservatives, I wouldn’t experience any growth,” he said. “I thought, if I’m around people with extremely liberal ideas, I’ll be constantly challenged and countered, and my views will either change or become sharpened.”

In short, he hoped to have the sort of constructive dialogue that college is supposed to nurture. Instead, he found sparring partners who wanted him silenced.

Discouraged, Stascavage began researching how to transfer to Liberty University, which he thought might prove more hospitable. The conservative campus had just welcomed Bernie Sanders, after all.

But the Wesleyan administration soon reached out and promised that it had his (and the newspaper’s) back; the school’s president even issued a statement titled “Black Lives Matter, and So Does Free Speech.” Note that typically the censorship threats that student journalists face come from authority figures like these school administrators; peer-on-peer muzzling seems to be a relatively new phenomenon, said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.

Still, the outrage raged.

Finally, on Sunday, the student government voted unanimously to halve funding for the newspaper and redistribute the savings among four campus publications (including, possibly, the Argus, subject to a student vote). This measure is allegedly intended to reduce paper waste and promote editorial diversity.

As someone who once wrote inflammatory columns for school newspapers, I find this thinly veiled retribution deeply saddening. Not just for sentimental reasons, and not just because student papers serve an important watchdog function unlikely to be filled by, say, the school music blog.

Crippling the delivery of unpopular views is a terrible lesson to send to impressionable minds and future leaders, at Wesleyan and elsewhere. It teaches students that dissent will be punished, that rather than pipe up they should nod along. It also teaches them they might be too fragile to tolerate words that make them uncomfortable; rather than rebut, they should instead shut down, defund, shred, disinvite.

But the solution to speech that offends should always be more speech, not less.

Some videos from a 2015-11 controversy at Yale:

[Mirror] Yale students demand administrative action on racial controversies
(12:53; posted by Daniel Page on 2015-11-06)

An excerpt from the above video: Yale Silliman College Master Christakis stands up to Cry-Bullies
(1:54; posted by Daniel Page on 2015-11-06)

On American campuses, freedom from speech
by George F. Will
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2015-11-13

Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, dealt with the Crisis of the Distressing E-mail about Hypothetical Halloween Costumes about as you would expect from someone who has risen to eminence in today’s academia. He seems to be the kind of adult who has helped produce the kind of students who are such delicate snowflakes that they melt at the mere mention of even a potential abrasion of their sensibilities.

Salovey gave indignant students a virtuoso demonstration of adult groveling. With a fusillade of academia’s cliches du jour, he said the students’ “great distress” would be ameliorated by “greater inclusion, healing, mutual respect, and understanding” in the service of — wait for it — “diversity.” But of course only diversity that is consistent with the students’ capacious sense of the intolerable.

Salovey said he heard their “cries for help.” The cries came from students who either come from families capable of paying Yale University’s estimated $65,725 costs for the 2015-16 academic year or who are among the 64 percent of Yale undergraduates receiving financial aid made possible by the university’s $25.6 billion endowment. The cries were for protection (in the current academic patois, for “a safe space”) from the specter of the possibility that someone might wear an insensitive Halloween costume. A sombrero would constitute “cultural appropriation.” A pirate’s eye patch would distress the visually challenged. And so on, and on.

Normal Americans might wonder: Doesn’t the wearing of Halloween costumes end at about the time puberty begins? Not on campuses, where young adults old enough to vote live in a bubble of perpetual childhood. Which is why Yale was convulsed by a mob tantrum when, as Halloween approached, a faculty member recklessly said something sensible.

She said in an e-mail it should be permissible for someone to be a bit “obnoxious,” “inappropriate,” “provocative,” even “offensive.” She worried that campuses are becoming places of “censure and prohibition.” And she quoted her husband, master of Yale’s Silliman College, as saying “if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended.” Aghast, one student detected “coded language” that is “disrespectful,” and others demanded that the couple be evicted from Silliman.


America’s higher education brought low
by George F. Will
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2015-11-25

University of Missouri professor Melissa Click confronts a journalist in Columbia, Mo., this month. (Mark Schierbecker/Associated Press)

Give thanks this day for some indirect blessings of liberty, including the behavior-beyond-satire of what are generously called institutions of higher education. People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by their negative examples, what intelligence is not.

Melissa Click is the University of Missouri academic who shouted “I need some muscle over here” to prevent a photojournalist from informing the public about a public demonstration intended to influence the public. Click’s academic credentials include a University of Massachusetts doctoral dissertation titled “It’s ‘a good thing’: The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon.” Her curriculum vitae says she has a graduate certificate in “advanced feminist studies.” Advanced. The best kind.

University of Missouri law students, who evidently cut class the day the First Amendment was taught, wrote a social media policy that included this: “Do not comment despairingly [disparagingly?] on others.” A grammatically challenged Ithaca College professor produced this cri de coeur regarding the school’s president: “There have been a litany of episodes and incidents during [his] tenure here which have led to frustration because, when brought to his attention, the view of the protesters is that he has been unresponsive.” Symptomatic of Ithaca’s intellectual flavor is another professor, who says agriculture is “capitalist, racialized patriarchy.”

The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, an irony-free campus, declared the phrase “politically correct” a microaggression. The master of Yale’s Pierson College said his regrettable title reminds distressed students of slavery. Wesleyan University’s student government threatened to cut the school newspaper’s funding because it published a column critical of campus leftists. Wesleyan created a “safe space,” a.k.a. a house, for LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf---, Polyamorous, Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism).

A Washington State University professor said she would lower the grade of any student who used the term “illegal immigrants” when referring to immigrants here illegally. Another Washington State professor warned in his syllabus that white students who want “to do well” in his “Introduction to Multicultural Literature” should show their “grasp of history and social relations” by “deferring to the experiences of people of color.” Another Washington State teacher, in her syllabus for “Women & Popular Culture,” warned that students risk “failure for the semester” if they use “derogatory/oppressive language” such as “referring to women/men as females or males.”

The University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, worried that students might be uncomfortable with gender-specific pronouns (“he,” “she,” “him,” “her”), suggests gender-neutral noises (“ze,” “hir,” “xe,” “xem,” “xyr”). The University of California system’s sensitivity auditors stipulated that “hostile” and “derogatory” thoughts include “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “America is the land of opportunity.” The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point’s list of racial microaggressions includes “America is a melting pot” and “There is only one race, the human race.”

Some Johns Hopkins University students proclaimed themselves microaggressed by the possibility of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus. (Chick-fil-A’s chief executive defines marriage as Barack Obama did until 2012.)
Mount Holyoke College canceled its annual production of “The Vagina Monologues” because it is insufficiently inclusive regarding women without vaginas and men who, as the saying goes, “self-identify” as women. “Gender,” said a student, “is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions,” and the show “is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Writing in the University of California at Berkeley paper, two geographically challenged students objected to a class featuring Plato and Aristotle and other “economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States).” A branch of the University of California at Irvine’s student government passed a resolution against the display of flags. Written by a student in the School of Social Ecology ( “transformative research to alleviate social inequality and human suffering”), the resolution said flags are “weapons for nationalism” and “construct” dangerous “cultural mythologies and narratives” and “paradigms of conformity” and “homogenized standards” and interfere with “designing a culturally inclusive space.”

Students on Columbia University’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board suggested trigger warnings for persons who might be traumatized by reading, say, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” wherein some myths portray bad sexual behavior. But a feminist blog warned that the phrase “trigger warning” itself needs a warning attached to it because it might remind people of guns. But, then, the word “warning” might [substitute word for “trigger”] fright.

So, today give thanks that 2015 has raised an important question about American higher education: What, exactly, is it higher than?

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