Posted tagged ‘Safe spaces’

Newsletter Distributed on College Campus Calls for Banning Veterans

August 28, 2017

Newsletter Distributed on College Campus Calls for Banning Veterans, PJ MediaTom Knighton, August 28, 2017

A newsletter distributed at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs says veterans shouldn’t be in college:

The newsletter reads as follows:

“A four-year, traditional university is supposed to be a place of learning, of understanding, of safety and security. However, there is an element among us who may be frustrating those goals: Veterans.

UCCS is known for its number of veterans who are full and part-time students. But these veterans of much of the school prides themselves on may be hurting the university.

First off, many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society. This is directly in contradiction to the mission of UCCS. Many veterans utter the mantra that they, “do not see color”. But the problem lies in their socialization into the military culture that is that of a white supremacist organization. They have been permanently tainted, and are no long fit for a four-year university.

Second, many students are frightened by the presence of veterans in their classrooms. Veterans usually have an overwhelming presence in the classroom, which can distract other students. This is usually true for vulnerable individual such as LGBTQQI2SAA, who have been known to be the butt of insensitive jokes made by veterans.

Finally, veterans usually are associated with extremists right-wing groups such as the tea party and the NRA. In order to provide a safe place for all students, extremist right-wing groups must be suppressed on campus. This would include their followers: veterans.

That is not to say that veterans should not be allowed an education. Veterans should be allowed to attend trade schools, or maybe even community college. But, in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.”

Oh, there is so much awful here.

Yes, veterans mock safe spaces. Especially the current batch of veterans who spent time being shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re not sympathetic to the idea that people might need a place to hide for fear of being looked at wrong.

Veterans aren’t mocking diversity in and of itself: after all, the military integrated prior to the rest of the nation, and it’s one of the most diverse bodies in the country. What veterans mock is the idea that diversity matters more than anything else. Something we all learn in the military is that competence matters more than skin color. Everything does. Just treat people as individuals.

I can’t help but laugh at the idea that the military is a white supremacist organization. The entity that named Gen. Colin Powell as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

This newsletter was apparently written in defense of people who are afraid of veterans on campus. I hate to break it to them, but there are veterans everywhere. They’re in almost every business, often succeeding in key roles because of their leadership and selflessness. If you feel unsafe, that’s on you. Because you’re safer with veterans than anyone else.

Further, veterans like myself served to protect these snowflakes’ right to free speech, and this is protected as that. However, make no mistake, none of us care that you’re bothered.

Who May Say what About Whom at Wellesley

April 18, 2017

Who May Say what About Whom at Wellesley, Front Page MagazineRichard L. Cravatts, April 18, 2017

(“All speech with which I disagree is hate speech, factually wrong or both, ipsi dixit.” — DM)

What is the solution to eliminating so-called hate speech at Wellesley? According to the editorial, it is a forced re-education, so that speech transgressors can be shown the light and taught, indeed coerced, to adopt acceptable views. If they cannot or refuse to learn the error of their thought, there will be potential censure and punishment; “if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted [emphasis added]” and “it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions.”

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Something alarming is happening on campuses, fueled by tendentious and morally self-righteous progressive students, and some faculty, who have displayed a shocking disregard for the university’s cardinal virtue of free expression, deciding themselves who may say what about whom on their respective campuses—and purging from campuses those ideas they have deemed too hateful, too unsafe, too incendiary to tolerate or to allow to be heard.

Until now, these champions of the aggrieved have been less than transparent in both their motives and intentions, disingenuously asserting that their efforts to suppress the speech of those with opposing conservative views is done to protect perceived victim groups. Ideas which are contrary to these social justice warriors’ acceptable worldview are dismissed as contemptible—not even worthy of being debated—or are neutralized and debased by designations which characterize it as ‘hate speech’ because it is, depending on the victim groups attacked, racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or homophobic. So sure of their righteousness and ideology are they that they do not even try to hide their preconceived notions and evident bias against ideas they have decided are beyond the pale or unworthy of being given voice.

Feelings, not ideas, are what count; emotionality now trumps rationality.

The defective rationale for the thuggish substitution of the suppression of other people’s speech for what is supposed to be two-sided academic dialogue was just revealed at Wellesley College, where both students and, unusually, faculty publicly articulated the shocking notion that only certain speech is to be permitted—namely, those ideas which promote and support progressive liberal views—and that opposing views, and the conservative speakers who utter them, are not even deemed worthy of being able to share their ideas on the Wellesley campus.

In an astoundingly facile editorial in the April 12th issue of the Wellesley News, the paper’s editors responded to recent debates over free speech on that campus, precipitated, somewhat ironically, by a series of lectures as part of Wellesley’s Censorship Awareness Week, during which one controversial speaker, Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, critiqued the notion that American campuses are awash with sexual assault. In her book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, in fact, Kripnis asserted the view that, “We seem to be breeding a generation of students, mostly female students, deploying Title IX to remedy sexual ambivalences or awkward sexual experiences, and to adjudicate relationship disputes post-breakup — and campus administrators are allowing it.”

That opinion was apparently intolerable to Wellesley’s students, and some faculty, who refused to acknowledge Kripnis’s notions, theories that contradict their preconceived worldview that men are predatory and women have to be protected from them, something she describes as “neo-sentimentality about female vulnerability.”

Alluding to the Kripnis visit, the editorial attempted to distinguish the difference between free speech and what they described as “hate speech,” mistakenly asserting that “Wellesley students are generally correct in their attempts to differentiate what is viable discourse from what is just hate speech,” and that “our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible.”

More ominously, the editors wrote, “Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech.” Why is that? Because, the editorial contended, that “rhetoric” is not protected or allowable speech at all; “it is hate speech.”

Further, in language that would come as a surprise to constitutional scholars, the editorial finally revealed what this approach was all about: it embraced Marcuse’s idea of “repressive tolerance,” where weak, marginalized, victim groups are given access to expression at the expense of opposing thought. “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed,” the editorial fatuously asserted, “not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.” That, of course, is precisely what the First Amendment was not designed to do, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously observed when he said that speech protections are specifically for controversial, unpopular views, “not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

What is the solution to eliminating so-called hate speech at Wellesley? According to the editorial, it is a forced re-education, so that speech transgressors can be shown the light and taught, indeed coerced, to adopt acceptable views. If they cannot or refuse to learn the error of their thought, there will be potential censure and punishment; “if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted [emphasis added]” and “it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions.”

It is one thing when intellectually-arrogant, morally-narcissistic students take it upon themselves to act as current-day Torquemadas and propose speech policies which are contradictory to what any university would normally seek to attain; namely, spirited intellectual debate from opposing views, with the hope that the truth will evidence itself, in Mill’s phrase, after “collision with error.” But this alarming editorial came on the heels of, and seems to have been inspired by, a March 20th email distributed to the Wellesley community by six self-righteous professors (members of the tellingly named Commission for Ethnicity, Race, and Equity (CERE)) in which they rail against “several guest speakers with controversial and objectionable beliefs [who] have presented their ideas at Wellesley.”

According to these progressive professors, “There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley.” How does this imposition show itself? For one thing, they contended, “dozens of students tell us they are in distress as a result of a speaker’s words.” More absurdly, they continued, it is hurtful to students to expect them to confront opposing views with ideas of their own, and this necessity (which, one would think, is the reason a student even attends college) means that students will actually have to engage in dialogue and debate and waste time by countering what these professors have audaciously proclaimed are less than worthy ideas. Students “often feel the injury most acutely and invest time and energy in rebutting the [controversial] speakers’ arguments,” the professors wrote.

The notion that bringing speakers to campus with diverse views can actually lead to a more complete worldview and diversity of thought apparently is foreign to the professors, who are so concerned with protecting the sensibilities of perceived campus victim groups that they condemned those who invited controversial speakers in the first place, who “in their zeal for promoting debate . . . might, in fact, stifle productive debate by enabling the bullying of disempowered groups.”

Most egregious is the suggestion by this group of faculty that speakers be vetted prior to being invited to Wellesley, and that only those with progressive ideologies, acceptable views, be invited to speak. “This is not a matter of ideological bias,” the faculty contended, and then immediately revealed that ideological bias on their part is precisely what will influence who should speak and who should not. “Pseudoscience suggesting that men are more naturally equipped to excel in STEM fields than women, for example,” they declare without the benefit of being neuroscientists themselves, “has no place at Wellesley.”  “Similar arguments pertaining to race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and other identity markers are equally inappropriate,” meaning that any ideas challenging preconceived progressive notions of social justice and oppression will not be welcome at Wellesley.

And in case students are not comfortable with screening offensive speakers “whose ideas would be painful,” the six professors thoughtfully offer themselves as a thought tribunal, writing that, “We in CERE are happy to serve as a sounding board when hosts are considering inviting controversial speakers, to help sponsors think through the various implications of extending an invitation.”

This is, of course, a breathtaking display of pretentiousness and audacity, by both the professors and the Wellesley News editors, who have taken it upon themselves to decide which ideas can be heard and which can, and should, be suppressed—all in the name of protecting the sensibilities of victim groups on campus. That is a dangerous notion, and one that contradicts the primary goal of the university, which is the unfettered exchange of many views in the “marketplace of ideas.”

More importantly, it is not the role of universities to create “safe spaces” in which students are sheltered from any ideas that might challenge their pre-conceived notions; it is not the business of universities to insure that no one’s feelings are hurt. Yale University’s insightful 1974 Woodward Report on free speech affirmed this very point, suggesting that “. . . [a university] cannot make its primary and dominant value the fostering of friendship, solidarity, harmony, civility, or mutual respect . . . It will never let these values, important as they are, override its central purpose. We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox.”

Unfortunately, many on the left believe that their progressive views are virtuous and moral, and those of conservatives are regressive, cruel, and unjust. The moral rectitude of these academics is not only ill-conceived, but startling and offensive. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” observed literary critic C.S. Lewis, who bemoaned exactly this type of individual, “omnipotent moral busybodies . . .  who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

San Diego Schools Forcing Islamic Lessons on All Students, Providing Safe Spaces for Muslims

April 11, 2017

San Diego Schools Forcing Islamic Lessons on All Students, Providing Safe Spaces for Muslims, Truth RevoltTrey Sanchez, April 10, 2017

Thanks to an astonishing 4-0 vote by the San Diego Unified School District, all public school students will be forced to endure religious classes about Islam while Muslim students are protected from bullying with designated safe spaces.

According to The San Diego Union Tribune, it’s all a “part of a multi-tiered approach to combat Islamophobia”:

San Diego Unified School District administrators and teachers will have calendars showing Islamic holidays, students will learn more about the religion in social studies classes and safe places will be created on campuses for Muslim students as part of a multi-tiered approach to combat Islamophobia.

Trustees on Tuesday voted 4-0, with board member Michael McQuary absent, to approve a plan to confront Islamophobia and bullying against Muslim students.

Stan Anjan, executive director of Family and Community Engagement at the district, said elements of the plan will be laid out before the end of the school year with a goal of having it in place at the start of the fall semester.

“It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum,” he said. “We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach.”

One of the first steps in the plan will be to distribute letters to staff members and parents addressing Islamophobia and identifying resources to learn about the religion and fight discrimination. District calendars will be reviewed to ensure Islam holidays are recognized, which Anjan said is important so schools will schedule campus events that also can be attended by Muslim families.

Schools also will review and vet materials related to Muslim culture and history in media centers and provide resources and material for teachers.

Anjan said social studies lessons may include more information on prominent Muslims and their impact on history and other steps to promote a more positive image of Islam.

According to Anjan, curriculum up to this point has been too “Eurocentric” and is making new plans to “diversify social studies curriculum.”

Discipline for students who bully Muslims students is changing, too. Detention is out, with “restorative justice” methods taking its place. That means the bully and the bullied will meet together to “restore their relationship.”

The new plan is the brainchild of a meeting with the Council for American-Islamic Relations which purports that over half of American Muslim students in California are bullied because of their religion. That is twice as high as the national average, The Tribune notes, which also questions the legitimacy of Islamophobia being such an epidemic in the Golden State:

Looking back to November 2015, Superintendent Cindy Marten said Tuesday that the issue of Islamophobia is even more important today.

The district doesn’t have data on how many students are Muslim, but Anjan’s report to the board Tuesday included a breakdown of incidents of bullying for various reasons from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2016.

The report showed seven bullying incidents because of religion, although it did not specific the faith. There were 36 reports were bullying because of race, the largest category, followed by 21 for sex, 11 for LGBTQ identity and seven for disabilities.

Only seven instances of religious bullying with no specific faith attached is no grounds for an entire curriculum change. This has CAIR zeal written all over it.

We’ve already seen during this election that hate-crimes against Muslims have risen at the same rate that fake hate crimes against Muslims rose. Coincidence? But the trustees are convinced that the era of Trump has ushered in hate like America has never seen. Of course, they don’t see their own hypocrisy in singling out Muslim students and calling this program an exercise in diversity.

Trustee Keven Beiser said, “When we create a climate where it’s OK to celebrate diversity and difference, then it makes all of our children safer, not just the children who happen to be Muslim.”

Of all the people at the board meeting, 150 were Muslim. CAIR’s Hanif Mohebia was happy with the turnout:

“If we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bully and anti-Islamophobic program. I’m really happy we’re going toward the right direction. I am excited, but also careful and cautious because the work ahead is something we will all be responsible for.”