• Cambridge students given trigger warnings: Shakespeare plays may distress them

    The delicacy of these students pales beside that of theology students at the University of Glasgow. More on that in a minute.

    At Cambridge, one of the “distressing” Shakespeare plays is named perfectly: Comedy of Errors.

    According to The Telegraph (link here):

    English literature undergraduates have been advised that a lecture which focusses on Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors will include “discussions of sexual violence” and “sexual assault”.

    The trigger warnings were published in the English Faculty’s “Notes on Lectures” document, which is circulated to students.  –The Telegraph

    As is so often the case, the warning were included by the ubiquitous bureaucrats and administrations that now attempt to control academic life.

    The best response came from David Crilly, artistic director of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival:

    If a student of English Literature doesn’t know what Titus Andronicus contains scenes of violence they shouldn’t be on the course.

    This degree of sensitivity will inevitably curtail academic freedom. If the academic staff are concerned they might say something students find uncomfortable they will avoid doing it. –David Crilly, quoted in The Telegraph

    The Topper???

    You think the Shakespeare warning is bad?? Oh, you delicate soul.

    Wait for this gem:

    The University of Glasgow alerted theology students that they may see distressing images of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and gave them the opportunity to leave the room. –The Telegraph

    To assist these students, I have xxx’d out the discomforting parts of these images.

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  • Marching into the Past: Self-Segregation as a Natural Outcome of Identity-Group, Victimization Politics

    Brown University will offer segregated student dinners for black, Muslim students (The College Fix)

    The contorted logic is straight out of Orwell’s Big Brother state.

    Separate dining, they say, will promote “racial reconciliation” as the segregated groups discuss common issues.

    It looks like the Muslim group is only for women.

    Private donors are actually paying for this.

    Funds come from Newman’s Own Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation via the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

    Comments:

    Student discussion groups are valuable. Nothing wrong with them. Discussing common issues is good, too.

    Sometimes students want to get together with like-minded people. That’s usually okay, barring some forms of invidious discrimination, but more and more university administrators want veto power over such private associations. That’s dreadful.

    Still, there are some problems with Brown’s new arrangements.

    • Since the students are already paying for meals, I don’t see why any extra money is needed, beyond the symbiotic relationship between do-good donors and the putative oppressed. The donors get to flaunt their virtue, the oppressed their continuing victimhood, even if they are attending a great university where they are clearly welcomed.
    • Does anyone really think that Brown University, one of the most progressive, selective institutions in the country, needs segregated dining to promote “racial and religious reconciliation” on campus? If Brown students are this intolerant, what hope is left for the rest of us?
    • If the students simply want to self-segregate to discuss issues, why can’t they do that already?
    • Sitting together as voluntary groups and organizing such private groups is perfectly acceptable, usually. But there are two problems with Brown’s arrangement.
      1. What would happen if a voluntary group at Brown wanted to exclude blacks or Muslims? That is, what are the boundaries of segregation at Brown these days?
      2. The university is officially promoting this. Inclusion is presumably still voluntary, but it comes with Big Brother’s seal of approval. It shouldn’t.  Big Brother shouldn’t play any role. Let the students do it unless there’s a problem.
    • By the way, do you notice one missing “oppressed victims group?” Hispanics. Know why? Because most Hispanic students see themselves as upward bound and taking advantage of America’s opportunities. For the most part, they aren’t buying into “victimization as a political strategy” on campus. Of course, progressive leaders and teachers in ethnic studies programs hate this attitude, which portends successful social integration. These “leaders” are trying their best to stamp it out. Let’s hope they keep failing.

    The Brown initiative comes as Cal State LA offers segregated housing for black students, while students at Michigan demanded a “no-whites-allowed” space on campus. (College Fix)

  • Who is Ben Shapiro and why is Berkeley treating his upcoming speech like a nuclear attack?

    On Thursday, Ben Shapiro is scheduled to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, which has tried very hard for months to prevent him from speaking.

    Some Background on Ben Shapiro

    Shapiro is a reasonably well-known talk show host with conservative views, multiple books to his credit, and a superb academic record.

    He has strident views, but he is neither a kook nor a (metaphorical) bomb-thrower. (With Antifa rioters throwing real bombs, you have to add “metaphorical” to the Shapiro description.)

    He’s smart and extremely well-educated: As an undergraduate at UCLA, he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. At Harvard Law, he graduated cum laude.  He practiced briefly with a top national firm in Los Angeles before turning to journalism.

    Smears against Shapiro

    The left has smeared him as a “fascist” and a “white nationalist.” He is neither. He is not a Trump supporter and, in private life, an orthodox Jew.

    He has the odd and unhappy distinction of being attacked both as a Jew (by numerous anti-Semites, a group increasingly prominent on the left) and as an Alt-Right White Nationalist.

    His association with Andrew Breitbart, with whom he work for several years, is another lightning rod. Shapiro continued to work with Breitbart.com after the founder’s death but resigned on grounds of principle when the news outlet refused to defend one of its reporters allegedly manhandled by Corey Lewandowski, then-campaign manager for Donald Trump.

    College Speeches

    The left and anti-Israel activists have decided Shapiro should be prevented from speaking on college campuses, including public universities, and the target of physical confrontations when he does try to speak.

    In 2016, protesters form human chains around an auditorium at Cal State LA to prevent him from speaking. (They failed.)

    Later that year, DePaul University banned him from setting foot on their campus. He was banned from participating in an event to which he had been invited. DePaul, it should be noted, is one of the worst offenders against free speech in the country. Their treatment of Shapiro was par for their substandard course.

    When Shapiro appeared on television with a transgender activist, Zoey Tur, he was threatened with physical assault again after referring to Tur with male terminology.

    Cal-Berkeley

    Berkeley is so fearful of Shapiro’s speech that they are closing off nearby buildings on the day of the event.

    They are also–incredibly–offering psychological counseling for Cal students traumatized by the mere thought of Shapiro speaking on campus. That’s a real thing.

    What is also sadly read: anarchists and crazies are likely to show up and riot.

    Comment:

    The willingness to use violence to stop opposing views is a fundamental threat to our constitutional democracy. That willingness is rising, and people of all political stripes need to speak out clearly and forcefully against it. 

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  • Censoring those statues: When YOU do it, you are an uncultured redneck. When I do it, I am respecting diversity

    If you have a long memory, you might recall George W. Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft deciding to change the backdrop at the Department of Justice.

    Initially, when he held press conferences, he stood in front of the Department’s half-nude, art deco statue, “Spirit of Justice.”

    He preferred a more modest, less distracting backdrop, so he had blue curtains installed.

    It seemed a little silly, but harmless enough.

    The national media had a field day mocking him as a cultural cretin.

    “What kind of backwoods idiot is he?” was the view in Manhattan, Cambridge, and the swankier sections of Washington. They deigned to look down their collective noses at him and his kind of people, much as they laughed at Victorians who covered up piano “legs.”

    Typical were the views of always-grating Maureen Dowd (link here):

    A Blue Burka for Justice

    By Maureen Dowd

    New York Times, January 30, 2002

    I had to call Attorney General John Ashcroft recently to ask if he had instructed his advance team to remove naked lady statues and calico cats from his vicinity because they were wicked.

    I know it sounds loopy. But with these guys, you never know. –NYT

    Yuck, yuck, yuck!! Those rubes.

    (Btw, Dowd’s column is not an example of newspaper bias, IMO. You can agree or disagree with her, but she is writing an opinion column, and it is clearly labeled as such. The Times’ problem with bias is not that its opinion columns tilt one way but that its editorial opinions suffuse its hard-news coverage.)

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    Now, the tables have turned, and I await the mockery from the NYT, the Post, and others.

    I suspect I’ll have a long wait.

    Here’s the story:

    Yale University censors ‘hostile’ historic artwork (Link here)

    Officials at Yale University recently censored a stone work of art on campus depicting an armed Native American and Puritan side by side, which has been described as a “hostile” image by the Ivy League institution’s alumni magazine.

    The stone carving was edited to cover up the Puritan’s musket, while the Native American’s bow was left as is, reports Yale Alumni Magazine (link here).

    The decision to censor the carving was made by both head librarian Susan Gibbons and Yale’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces, the latter of which advises President Peter Salovey “on ways to better represent the diversity of the Yale community through the art and other symbolic representations found around campus,” according to the university’s website. –The College Fix, referencing Yale Alumni Magazine

    Did anybody complain or even notice the shocking musket? Nope, no record of any complaints.

    Is Yale unique in such censorship? Alas, no.

    A number of universities in recent years have censored or concealed art on campus. Earlier this year, Pepperdine University removed a Christopher Columbus statue from its grounds while late last summer the University of Wisconsin-Stout moved a painting of Native Americans and French frontier trappers from a public area to a private conference room. The art in these two cases was deemed “painful” and “harmful,” respectively. –College Fix

    I just hope the New York Times doesn’t find out. Surely they will be outraged at this artistic censorship.

    Yeah, sure.

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    Comments:

    1. It is not unexpected that Yale would censor anything it considers politically incorrect. That’s its standard practice today.
      • It encourages the same kind of robust diversity of political opinion you find on the back of a cereal box.
      • Yale sets standards for free and open discourse Google can only aspire to.
    2. Judging from Yale’s abject behavior, and the lack of public criticism, John Ashcroft should have tried a different spin. He should have said the magic words, “This statue is offensive to the vital cause of female equality in the workplace.”
    3. I look forward to Maureen Dowd, New York Times, WaPo, and others attacking Yale’s censorship. So far, crickets.
    4. My own comment, as an alum is simple
      • Free Speech at universities is the most important issue in higher education today.
      • Yale doesn’t just fail on this issue. Under Pres. Peter Salovey and his administration, it sets the gold standard for politically-correct suppression of speech, all in the name of social justice. It is, I’m afraid, a standard made of fools’ gold.

  • J’Accuse: LSU radical students accuse school mascot, a Tiger, of being . . . GUESS???

    LSU Students Accuse ‘Violent’ Tiger Mascot of Being ‘Symbol of White Oppression’, Want it Changed (Heat Street)

    Students at Louisiana State University have started an online petition urging the establishment to change its “Tigers” mascot, claiming it’s the symbol of “white oppression”.

    The petition, which has so far attracted 450 signatures, says the mascot was picked by “powerful white males” in tribute to “a Confederate regiment called Louisiana’s Tigers,” who were “known for their propensity for violence on and off the battle field.”

    “Louisiana State University named their mascot the Tigers, and they named it during the height of Jim Crow South. This was a time when black men feared for their lives, and were treated as sub human. This symbol is the most prevalent confederate symbol in the United States,” the petition’s opening reads, Campus Reform reports. –Heat Street, based on Campus Reform reporting

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    Comment: This is worse than silly. Here’s why.

    Jim Crow laws did real damage for decades.

    People suffered, and brave people fought to overcome those laws.

    They fought for real and important things, from the right to sit at a lunch counter to the right to vote.

    The triviality of this petition and its vacuous rationale mocks those real struggles for civil rights.

  • Yale Limbos Under the Lowest Standards for Free Speech and Integrity. It Honors Students who Bullied Teachers over “Halloween Costumes”

    Remember when a couple of faculty members who supervised a Yale dorm were run out of their position by screaming bullies? (The supervisory position was called “College Master” until recently. That term was dropped because students said it reminded them of slavery. You can’t make this up.)

    Remember what the bullies were so mad about? It was an email from the College Master who gently told them they could choose whatever Halloween costumes they wanted and, if they saw others wearing costumes they didn’t like, they should try to shrug it off.

    Sensible advice? If you think that, you clearly have no moral compass. You are certainly not fit for today’s Yale.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The “Halloween episode” occurred in 2015, and, when the students bullied, Yale’s most senior leaders immediately buckled. The bullies won.

    Now, it has doubled down on its mistake. It has showered the bullies with honor. They were recognized and rewarded for their “exemplary leadership.”

    Yale has awarded them the Nakanishi Prize for the “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”

    You can easily imagine the committee that picked the winners.

    • Burgwell Howard, Chair, Assoc. Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Student Engagement
    • Risë Nelson, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Afro-American Cultural Center
    • Kelly Fayard, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Native American Cultural Center
    • Eileen Galvez, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, La Casa Cultural
    • and so on

    If you think these administrators want to stop the screaming and bullying in the Holy Name of Social Justice, you would be sadly mistaken.

    They have just demonstrated they wish to honor it. They think it “enhances race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”

    If they knew the intellectual heritage of their position–a doubtful proposition–they would trace it to the Frankfurt School of cultural Marxism, which teaches that speech can and should be suppressed for a higher goal, that of staunching the power of existing elites and ultimately overthrowing them, violently if necessary (as it surely will be), to create a better society.

    “Who determines this better society?” you ask. “Who determines who get to speak?”

    “Shut up,” they thoughtfully reply.

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    James Kirchick tells the contemptible story in The Tablet:

    Yale Cements Its Line in the Academic Sand by Awarding the Student ‘Truthtellers’ Who Bullied Faculty

    In 2015, an email over Halloween costume propriety prompted a public debate over free speech and race. Its conclusion is telling.

    The professors being bullied were Nicholas and Erika Christakis, masters of Silliman College at Yale. The low point came when a student mob surrounded Mr. Christakis, not to engage in rational discourse but to demand an apology:

    Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him “disgusting” and shouted “who the fuck hired you?” before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video also—thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websites—brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen,” a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.

    Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus.–James Kirchick in Tablet

    Kirchick has another article on the 2015 episode here.

    Here’s one of the videos, of Shrieking Girl. This is not just a terrible viewpoint, backed not by reason but by emotion.

    It is simply bullying, cloaked in the impregnable armor of victimhood-as-moral-righteousness.

    She yelled “who the fuck hired you?”

    A better question would be to the admissions department.

    The Simpsons captures this zeitgeist perfectly:

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    Comment: This is Boolah Bull Shit. To honor it is worse than disgusting.

    It shows the people who run this university do not understand the most basic feature of a serious educational institution has to be the right to speak and inquire freely and to dispute others’ views through rational discourse, not shouting and bullying.

    That the heads of student affairs and various victims’ studies departments don’t understand this is not surprising. That’s par for the course on college campuses these days. They either agree with the shouting students or don’t want to risk irritating them and imperilling their jobs.

    What’s shocking is that senior administrators at Yale let this continue. Worse, they actually defend their spinelessness with transparently false statements that they support free speech. They don’t.

     

  • NOT APPROVED: “Students for Free Thought” rejected at Lawrence University

    You read that correctly.

    A voluntary student organization at a liberal-arts college was rejected by the student government because some students had watched a movie recently screened by the organization, “Can We Take a Joke?” and answered “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! We cannot.” They said they were “triggered” by it, whatever that means. The story is here at Campus Reform.

    What being triggered means in this case is grabbing an ideological hammer and smashing in the heads of everyone who disagrees.

    Surely, some adults will step in. And they did . . . to help with the suppression.

    In a campus-wide email two days earlier, however, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Kimberly Barrett supportively acknowledged the “understandable anger” that students felt, adding ominously that she was “certain” that the issue would affect the prospective club’s application. –Campus Reform

    Quick Tip: Vice Presidents for Diversity and Inclusion are Kafkaesque creatures. They oppose diversity of thought. They are all about excluding the people they don’t want. They are essentially union-reps for rent-extraction politics on campus, giving special benefits to approved groups and helping them crush others.

    Special moment of Irony: Lawrence University is in Appleton, Wisconsin, the home of Joe McCarthy. They have adopted his tactics of fear and smear. It’s no more appealing from the left than it was from the right.