• When “I’m Offended” Spells the End of Free Speech

    I recommend Ira Wells’ wonderful discussion, “The Age of Offence: The Politics of Outrage and the Crisis of Free Speech on Campus”,  in the Literary Review of Canada.

    As Wells observes, the assault on free speech at Canadian universities is similar to that in the US:

    An increasingly sensitive and fine-grained vocabulary for registering and opposing forms of sexism, racism, ableism and religious intolerance has undeniably been developing within higher education. Recent events in Canadian universities suggest not only that freedom of speech does not include the freedom to offend, but that those who position themselves as “offence takers” currently hold the balance of power at all levels of campus politics. –Ira Wells

    One example: A professor who directs a major institute at McGill University in Montreal had the temerity to suggest that Quebec suffers from the lower levels of trust among residents than other provinces. The Québécois, who apparently do not trust the polling data, cried foul. The professor was stripped of his directorship before you could say “merde.”

    The problem is that “being offended” is a proposition that cannot be rebutted. It is, after all, your subjective emotion (or, rather, it is one you say you feel, perhaps sincerely, perhaps not).

    If you couple that subjective feeling with the proposition that “the offended must always be shielded from talk that bothers them,” then you have arrived at speech suppression.

    You have accomplished that feat in two easy steps. “I’m offended” + “I must be protected against offense” = “You must shut up.”

    Sometimes, there is an intermediate step:

    “I’m offended” + “I am from a special group” + “People in special groups must be protected against offense” = “You must shut up.”

    In these cases, which are common on college campuses, only approved victims groups are allowed to be offended.

    So, Palestinian students can be offended by anyone who thinks Israel should exist. But there is no symmetry. Israelis cannot be offended by apologists for terrorism (or, rather, they can be offended but no administrators care). Believe it or not, that is actually how many campuses operate.


  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . .Monday, Dec. 26

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ The Future of TransportationThe Washington Post has a story saying that Elon Musk’s super-fast hyperloop is not so far away as a practical option. The article offers no real evidence of the technological breakthroughs needed to achieve those 750 mph speeds. But it makes another very interesting point:

    By 2020, self-driving cars will have progressed so far that they can drive safely at speeds as fast as 200 mph in their own partitioned lanes on highways. In these circumstances, the commute to Los Angeles from San Francisco would take only an hour and a half — without the need to catch a connection to a [hyperloop] supersonic pod. –Washington Post

    ◆ Trump and the Composition of Federal Courts. The focus, understandably, has been on how Trump will handle the Supreme Court vacancy. But, notes the WaPo, the incoming president has over 100 vacancies to fill on federal district and appellate courts, which will allow him to have a powerful impact on the judiciary very quickly.

    ⇒ Comment: Yet another devastating legacy Harry Reid left for his Democratic Party. Until Reid blew up the longstanding Senate rules, these nominations could have been filibustered, which would have forced the majority party to look for nominees with some bipartisan support. No more. Reid pushed through the “nuclear option,” so his thin majority could push through Obama’s nominees. Now, with the Republicans in charge, they will use their majority to fill all those vacations but one of those vacancies with conservative jurists. The one remaining exception is the Supreme Court, which still requires a supermajority vote.

    ◆ Bullies at chic liberal arts college Student at prestigious liberal-arts college called “white supremacist,” “fascist,” and more by cyberbullies at her school. Her crime was asking for a shared ride to a Trump event. She was distraught enough by the harassment to call the suicide hotline before dropping out of Bryn Mawr college, a all-women’s school with strong Quaker roots. (Philly.com)

    ⇒ Comment: If you believe the school will do anything to the bullies, then you still believe in the tooth fairy.

    ◆ Christmas in North Korea: Kim Jong Un orders country to celebrate his grandmother on the holiday. (Fox News)

    ⇒ Comment: If you leave out any cookies, Kim will come down the chimney himself and eat them. Then kill you for having cookies.



  • I Wish They All Could Be California Girls….and other phrases deemed sexual harassment

    ◆ “Singing a Beach Boys’ tune got me punished for ‘sexual misconduct’,” says University of Kentucky professor (Lexington, KY, Herald-Leader) (link in bold above)

    Headlines do not much stranger, nor our country’s laws and their interpretation by our hypersensitive universities.

    ◆ To quote from the news article (which abbreviates University of Kentucky as “UK”):

    Under Administrative Regulation 6:1, Discrimination and Harassment, UK’s Title IX coordinator ruled that the song, “California Girls,” included “language of a sexual nature” and was somehow offensive, though no victims were identified. –Lexington Herald-Leader

    ◆ Dumb doesn’t get any dumber.

    ◆ Why was the professor singing? A perfect innocent reason.

    The occasion for the song was the closing ceremonies for an inaugural Education Week at a Chinese university as part of a UK program. I taught a class, “Storytelling: Exploring China’s Art and Culture.”

    For my Chinese students, I sang a song to teach the many differences in Chinese and American culture. The Beach Boys riff was one of three takeoffs of popular songs (Sting, Wizard of Oz) that I sang in my closing remarks.

    ◆ Did any student complain? No

    ◆ Did the professor have a problematic record? No. No complaints in 30 years of teaching.

    ◆ Would the university even tell him what he was accused of? No. They denied his request.

    ◆ Did he have any due process rights? No. The university told him he had none at all.

    ◆ Was he found guilty? YES. Here is what the professor says:

    I was convicted without trial of inappropriate behavior, which never occurred, with two women students. They wanted to defend me, but they were never interviewed by university officials. –Prof. Buck Ryan in the Lexington Herald-Leader

    The university told him that, if he didn’t like it, he could try suing them.
    To add to the irony, Prof. Ryan directs the University of Kentucky’s First Amendment Center.
    ◆ University of Kentucky officials refused to confirm the rumor that a student who hummed Donna Summer’s 1975 hit, “Love to Love You Baby” was put to death by public stoning. The stoning was supervised by the University’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
    ◆ And now, I risk my academic career to post this wonderful, exuberant tune.


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Tom McCauley
     for this story





  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Wed., Dec. 14

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Abortion laws and court cases have moved back to the front burner. They will be a prominent issues in vetting a Supreme Court nominee, and they have been prominent recently in Ohio, where a lame-duck GOP legislature put two bills on Gov. John Kasich’s desk. He signed one, which bans abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother’s life. He vetoed one that would have banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat was heard. The Columbus Dispatch reports, noting that 21,000 abortions were performed in Ohio last year, but only 145 after 20 weeks gestation.

    ◆ Congress cannot agree on how to investigate Russian hacking. (Washington Post)

    ⇒ A blue-ribbon commission could avoid such wrangling and think about how to protect future elections. My article making that argument is here at Real Clear Politics.

    ◆ A Saudi woman tweeted a photo of herself without a hijab. Now, the police have arrested her.  (Washington Post)

    ◆ Asian markets expect the US Federal Reserve to raise interests, which will raise the dollar, as well. (Reuters)

    ◆ China warns Trump over Taiwan. (AP) 

    Comment: My sense is that threatening Trump doesn’t work well.

    ◆ Reed College (Oregon) dean “ashamed” after gay leftists shout down and shut down a speech by the director of a sympathetic film about a transgender boy. The bullies’ objections: (1) a non-transgender person was cast in the lead and (2) the director hoped to make money from the film.  (Legal Insurrection blog)

    Comment: First, the dean’s state is a solid one. Kudos. Second, if the college does not impose serious punishments on these bullies, then the statement is hot air. Third, Reed has spent years fostering this climate of “social justice vigilantes,” and the adults there should reflect on the toxic sense of moral entitlement it has wrought.




  • Tufts students reject free speech, fearing it might be “unsafe”

    Another University Tosses Out the First Amendment

    ◆ Tufts University is competing with DePaul to see which can suppress student speech most effectively.

    ◆ Tufts made an impressive bid for first place when the students joined the administration in an effort to suppress their own speech. They win the “Stockholm Syndrome” award for embracing them own abject submission.

    ◆ The student’s rationale was as predictable as it is banal: some speech could hurt feelings. In the hyperbolic logic of PC students, hurt feelings = “unsafe.” 

    freedom-of-speech-tufts-parody-300px-no-margin  The College Fix reports that one student introduced a free-speech resolution to the student government, where it lost 26 to 0 with two abstentions. Read that vote count again. Resolutions before the North Korean Communist Party pass with lower percentages.

    Student Jake Goldberg’s free speech resolution called for an end to campus anti-free speech rules at Tufts, including vague administrative provisos that crack down on the “use of nicknames,” “hurtful words,” “bias-fueled jokes,” “comments on an individual’s body or appearance,” “innuendos of a sexual nature,” “gender bias,” and dozens more similar examples cited in the measure.

    But the Tufts Student Senate recently voted 26 to zero with two abstentions to reject the proposal, with some senators saying free speech actually endangers students, and that free speech protections make administrators’ jobs impossible. –The College Fix

    ◆ It is unclear why Goldberg wanted to hurt other students and make them feel unsafe. Several members of the student government suggested he might be a witch but noted that his status could only be determined after the traditional Massachusetts test: dunking.


    ◆ Fortunately, when the student government met, every putative victims group on campus came forward, announced they were “feeling unsafe on campus,” and won unanimous support.

    Their injured feelings are understandable since Tufts is considered one of the most brutal, oppressive environments outside the walls of Folsom Prison.   unsafe-student-at-tufts


  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, Nov. 4

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    comey-labeled-200px-margins-on-left◆ Reports that Pres. Obama and his key adviser, Valerie Jarrett, are furious at FBI director James Comey and want him out. (NY Post)

    Comment: I’m not surprised they are furious. And they may well be right that Comey made a mistake with his public announcement. The Director has a 10-year term, but the Federal Courts have ruled that the President has the power to fire him. That said, it would be political malpractice of a high order for the president to fire Comey. It would be a repetition of Nixon’s order to fire Archibald Cox, setting off mass resignations at DOJ. If Obama fired Comey, it would look like an attempted cover-up (as the Nixon firing did) and it would immediately open the floodgates of leaks within the FBI.  (Charles Lipson comment)

    hillary-huma-and-weiner-in-envelope-300px-no-margins◆ CBS reports: FBI finds emails related to Hillary Clinton’s State Department tenure on laptop shared by Huma Abedin and her estranged (and strange) husband, Anthony Weiner. (CBS News)

    nyu-logo-joke-large◆ Prof. Michael Rectenwald: “Here’s what happened when I challenged the PC campus culture at NYU” (Washington Post) I commented on this earlier. Outrageous political witch hunt at NYU, led by Rectenwald’s colleagues in “liberal studies” and the NYU administration..

    theo-epstein◆ The professional who built the Chicago Cubs team: Theo Epstein. After the cheering for Chicago Cubs’ championship players subsides, the cheering for Theo will continue. He is the head of baseball operations for the Cubs, after playing a similar role for the Boston Red Sox.  This photo from CBS Sports says it all.

    ◆ Washington Post has a major story on the conflict between Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin. On her last day in office as Sec. of State, Hillary Clinton wrote Pres. Obama a memo on how to handle Russia’s leader. The essential point: be firm.

    It was harsh advice coming from the administration’s top diplomat, and Obama would ignore key parts of it. But the memo succinctly captured a personal view about Putin on the part of the future Democratic presidential nominee: a deep skepticism, informed by bitter experience, that would be likely to define U.S.-Russian relations if Clinton is elected. Her lasting conclusion, as she would acknowledge, was that “strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.” — Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post

    ◆ Today in Stupid Criminality: Idiot Steals Cop Car, Streams Chase on Facebook Live (Gizmodo)


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Terrell May and Gerard Einhaus
    for the Theo Epstein story ◆
    ◆ Robert Lieber and Michael Lipson for the NYU story.
    ◆ Lori Greenberg for the Stupid Criminal story

  • NYU Professor Tweets Against PC Culture….Deemed “uncivil” and possibly crazy….Doomed

    Colleagues said he was “uncivil” because he disagreed with them

    ◆ Michael Rectenwald, 57, is a professor of liberal studies at NYU.

    ◆ Liberal–in the sense of free speech–is the last thing other NYU professors of liberal studies want. Rechtenwald knew that when he opened a Twitter account to discuss the problems at NYU, so he chose to be anonymous. No matter. The PC Police discovered that this mild-manner Clark Kent really came from another planet, and they brought kryptonite to kill him.

    The NY Post explains what happened (link here):

    Rectenwald launched an undercover Twitter account called Deplorable NYU Prof on Sept. 12 to argue against campus trends like “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings” and other aspects of academia’s growing PC culture.

    He chose to be anonymous, he explained in one of his first tweets, because he was afraid “the PC Gestapo would ruin me” if he put his name ­behind his conservative ideas on the famously liberal campus. ….

    But the Twitter feed soon sparked a “witch hunt” by the growing army of “social justice warriors,” he said.  –NY Postpc-bully-university-large

    ◆ The hunt intensified after he published a letter opposing NYU’s strong stance against Halloween costumes that don’t pass their political muster.nyu-logo-joke-large

    ◆ Eventually, the bastards found him.

    The same day that letter was published, Rectenwald was summoned to a meeting with his department dean and an HR representative, he says.

    “They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health,” Rectenwald told The Post. …

    “I’m afraid my academic career is over,” he said . “Academic freedom: It’s great, as long as you don’t use it.” –NY Post

    ◆He has been accused of “incivility” by colleagues (in the ironically-named “liberal studies” department). He has been damned by the Deans and HR department. And now he is placed on leave, his academic future in grave doubt.

    ◆ Alas, at NYU, if you tweet about freedom of speech and oppose PC culture, you are deemed uncivil and possibly crazy. No wonder Prof. Rechtenwald compared his travails to the Salem Witch Trials.univ-committee-for-the-promotion-of-virtue-and-prevention-of-vice-300px-no-margins


    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for this story:
    ◆ Prof. Richard Landes
    , a friend of free and open discourse and foe of agitprop
    ◆ Seth Charnes

  • PC Language Police attack courageous professor, who won’t bow down to them

    Professor Jordan Peterson refuses university’s order to use “ze, zim, and zer” instead of “he” and “she”

    The University of Toronto is now attacking him, full bore.

    jordan-peterson-u-of-toronto-labeled-250px◆ The University of Toronto is one of the world’s top universities. Like so many of its peers, it has not only succumbed to political correctness as a rigid ideology, it has decided to enforce that ideology on its faculty.

    Younger, untenured faculty are completely at the mercy of the university’s administrators and department heads–the social justice vigilantes. Tenured faculty are less vulnerable. Unfortunately, many are actually members of the vigilante posse. Many–but not all.

    ◆ At Toronto, prof. of psychology, Jordan Peterson (his personal website here), is independent minded. Formerly a prof. at Harvard and now at Toronto, his works on the psychology of religious belief have had a major impact in their field. So, when this senior scholar was ordered by his university’s Social Justice Vigilantes to use “ze, zim, zer” and other politically-charged neologisms instead of “he” and “her,” he told them NO.

    ◆Administrators, clad in the armor of social justice and self-appointed moral superiority, will not be rebuffed.

    ◆Canada’s major paper, the National Post, reports:

    Prof. Peterson will not use these new cant words. He will not be ordered by the university, or pressured by activists, to take their words and put them in his mouth. He goes further and insists that it is an abandonment of academic freedom, and freedom of speech more generally, for the university or others to insist or attempt to mandate such a practice. He has made three videos arguing his case. He points out the ideological forces, the “political agenda” behind “language politics,” and correctly argues and identifies that there is far more at stake in this instance than some local gripe about grammatical commonplaces on a single campus.  –Rex Murphy, writing in Canada’s National Post [my bold]

    ◆ No bureaucrats, including those who run universities, tolerate pushback. They hold all the administrative power and make their decisions by fiat. So, naturally, they are doing whatever they can to crush Prof. Peterson. So far, he has “received from his university two letters of reprimand and warning,” write Rex Murphy, who adds that the warning “is a most miserable document, in content, tone and misdirection. And, coming from a university, it is also simultaneously shameless and utterly shame-worthy.”

    ◆ Just how lunatic are the University’s charges? They speak for themselves. According to the University of Toronto’s letter of warning, because Prof. Peterson has the bravery to use “he” and “she” instead of their made-up words,

    Some students have been the target of specific and violent threats, including threats of assault, injury and death against them individually and as members of the trans community. We trust these that these impacts on students and others were not your intention in making (the controversial remarks). However, in view of these impacts, as well as the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code, we urge you to stop making these remarks. —University of Toronto letter of warning to Prof. Peterson.

    This is left-wing McCarthyism. It’s the spirit behind the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, where a limitless sense of moral superiority and unfettered power go unchecked.

    All praise to a courageous professor, Jordan Peterson. “He is a brave man,” as Rex Murphy says. “May his stamina and courage hold.”

    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Michael Lotus
     for this news about Prof. Peterson

  • College Crazies Enter the “Salem Witch Trial” Phase

    The stories keep piling up, straining credulity.

    I used to ask, “Where is the adult supervision?”

    Finally, I realized, “The adults are actually encouraging this.” By adults, I mean university administrators and every professor of anthropology, gender studies, critical race studies, Native American studies, etc.

    They not only think all this craziness is fine. For many, it is the culmination of their political dreams.

    Quick tip for outsiders: any university body with the word “diversity” or “inclusion” will try to wipe out all speech that does not agree with its viewpoint, label it racist, persecute anyone who dares oppose them, and do it all in the name of social justice. Diversity of opinion is the last thing they want. Inclusion means only more slots for particular groups. Believe me, it does not include Chinese-Americans.

    These university administrators and faculty are the modern equivalent of Calvin’s rule in Geneva, but without his playful sense of humor.

    And now for today’s storytime.

    ◆  What would be the most Orwellian response to a student who protested a university’s “Orwellian Speech Police”?

    1984-ministry-of-truth-excellence-award-large⇒ Here’s the answer: Deny him permission to post any flyers protesting the University’s Orwellian Speech Police Policy.

    Well done, University of Wisconsin-Madison!! You win the Ministry of Truth Award for what you did to Daniel Dropik and his posters. (Jason Morgan at The College Fix) The university has a major new program to stamp out all offensive words (which they alone will determine, of course).

    Comment: Am hoping comrades implement new 5-year university speech plan successfully and produce all tractors needed for collective.


    Here’s another winner: Prof. David Seidemann, who teaches at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, was ordered to change his syllabus to eliminate his rule that class deportment and effort would count for 10% of the grade. See if you can guess why? No matter what you guessed, you are wrong. No sane person would even dream of this one. Here is the Kafka-esque description from Reason Magazine:

    salem-witch-trial-award-university-division-300px-no-marginsUniversity administrator expressed three grievances about the syllabus. First, and most quizzically, the grading portion of the syllabus suggests sexual harassment. It reads, “Class deportment, effort etc……. 10% (applied only to select students when appropriate).” …Seidemann told me in an email that his department chair said “the 10% section could be construed as a prelude to sexual harassment,” and had to be changed at once. This order apparently came from the Director of Diversity Investigations and Title IX Enforcement. In the course of Seidemann’s interactions with the director, he realized something quite stunning: there was no record of anyone actually complaining about the syllabus. The university had apparently launched this investigation on its own. …The professor refused to meet with the Director of Diversity Investigations, preferring to talk via email so that the conversation could be documented. This eventually caused the director to abandon the investigation: the matter is now officially closed, according to Seidemann. The professor is pleased with the result, but little else. –Daniel J. Mitchell, Foundation for Economic Education, writing about an article in Reason

    ⇒ Bottom line: counting student effort and participation as part of the grade is considered a prelude to sexual harassment by the Diversity Investigation and Salem Witch Trial Police

    ◆ Social Justice Warriors have finally discovered a reason to hate the Vagina Monologues. See if you can guess?

    ⇒ Here’s the answer: It implies–with obvious prejudice–that you need to have a vagina to be a woman. (Heat Street)

    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Jeffrey Varasano
     for the story on Wisconsin-Madison’s speech police
    ◆ Timothy Favero for the story on Brooklyn College’s syllabus, where asking for student effort is considered a prelude to sexual harassment.
    ◆ Clarice Feldman for her discovery that vaginas are in no way associated with women. This December, she will receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery.

  • Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition at the University of Tennessee–but it shows up anyway

    True story.

    The lab instructor tells her class, “if you can’t remember my name, just make up one.”

    The student cannot, so he makes up a plain-vanilla name: Sarah Jackson.

    What happens next tells you what happens when

    • universities have unfettered power over students,
    • those universities give “Social Justice Warriors” on the faculty and in the administration carte blanche to terrorize students
    • students have no rights to a fair hearing (much less due process), and
    • bogus claims of sexual harassment begin to crowd out legitimate concerns about coercion, violence, rape, intimidation, and other truly awful behavior.

    That’s the toxic mix that slimed a student for writing the horrendous words, “Sarah Jackson.”

    For writing those two innocuous words, in response to a teacher’s invitation to make up a name

    1. The professor gave him a ZERO on the test.
    2. The appeal to another faculty member sustained the ZERO.
    3. Then the University of Tennessee started an investigation against the student for sexual harassment simply for writing the name “Sarah Jackson.”

    Go ahead, see if you can possibly guess why writing “Sarah Jackson” would set off these fireworks? Any guesses?

    I didn’t have a clue myself. None at all. See if you can guess!spanish-inquisition-comes-to-u-tennessee-400px

    After all, hundreds of thousands of people have the name “Sarah Jackson.”

    So does a Canadian lingerie model, as it happens. Apparently she does some nude modeling. I’d never heard of her. Most people haven’t, and that seems to include search engines.

    I couldn’t find her on Wikipedia (although I confess it’s not a top site for research on lingerie and nude modeling). The only “Sarah Jackson” who did show up in Wikipedia is a Canadian sculptor who died in 2004.

    The actress/model’s picture (I guess it is her) shows up in a Google search, but she is clothed and the IMDb site lists her as an actress and names a few of her films. I wouldn’t have realized she was sometimes a nude model unless the well-informed faculty at the University of Tennessee told me. One must admire the thoroughness of their research. I only hope it is publishable. Of course, these internet search hits would show nude models more prominently if they are part of your internet-search history. That, of course, could never, ever, never be true for the good folks who run the Spanish Inquisition and Auto-da-fé for Students at the University of Tennessee.

    To give you some inkling of how truly moronic the professor and lab instructor are, I want to give you the freshman student’s polite request and Dr. William Deane’s reply.


    Now, let’s see if Bill Deane’s ex cathedra decision makes any sense.

    First, I looked US listings for “Sarah Jackson” on LinkedIn (since the student was in an American university). It turns out that 1,856 Sarah Jackson’s are registered with Linked In. In my humble opinion, the Spanish Inquisition at the University of Tennessee should immediately report these 1,856 people for violating Title IX. I would hate to think any might be admitted to study there, much less teach. It is inconceivable that so many people–all of them women–can persist in keeping their names when it is obviously such a manifest assault on other women. Have these women no sense of decency?

    But, oh the humanity, when you search Google for “Sarah Jackson.” Despite the distress that name causes, there are 116 million hits. This is a true humanitarian catastrophe–and a devastating, perhaps irreversible blow to women’s equality at the University of Tennessee. I urge Cardinal Deane to take immediate, severe action.


    Perhaps it is a name used only by actresses and lingerie models and not by professors or others working at universities. Nope.


    ⇒ Of course, it is the University of Tennessee’s teachers and sleeping administrators who should be ashamed. What they are doing to this innocent student is a college version of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition. It’s just that they are doing it in the name of “Social Justice” and “Gender Harassment” instead of Counter-Reformation Catholicism. The moral superiority, instant judgments, and unfettered power are the same.

    These professors need a little adult supervision. The Title-IX zealots here should be sanctioned for their abuse of power and unbelievably bad judgment. Any guesses the name of the department investigating this incident? “Office of Equity and Diversity.” They will spend a week or so meeting with everyone, including the surely-petrified freshman, to determine an outcome. This case should take 25 minutes and should have been completed immediately. Why so slow? Answer: Because it is a bureaucracy and is not designed to help students (or faculty).

    Quick side-note: if you think the Office of Equity and Diversity in any university is designed to include diversity of viewpoints, then you still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

    Who should step in and fix this shambles? The Dean who handles geophysical sciences should do so. If he/she/zie doesn’t, then the Chancellor, Jimmy Cheek, or Provost, John Zomchick, should. If they don’t, then the board of trustees should hire new people to run this university. The board is chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

    If these people have a sense of academic integrity, or simple fair play, they should step in immediately and remedy this injustice. And they should punish those who dealt it out. (That never happens in any university or in any bureaucracy tasked with policing itself. Never. Look at the Duke University faculty who falsely pilloried the lacrosse team. Nothing happened to them. None that I know of have apologized or publicly recanted their cruel misstatements. Some are now administrators, in positions to continue doing harm.)

    ⇒ It may seem ridiculous to make a huge case out of a minor quiz in one class. But it represents something larger: the Social Justice Warriors using unchecked power to coerce and punish students arbitrarily. That must stop. It might as well start with “Sarah Jackson.” 

    Meanwhile, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is on the case. Thank goodness for them.


    The information in this post came from several sources. Thanks to

    FIRE and its article on this incident by Tyler Coward

    Total Frat Move and its article on this incident

    ♦ Knoxville News-Sentinel for their news story