Posts Tagged ‘colleges and universities’

A question about the Title IX campus crackdown

Some prominent scholars and many civil libertarians have been up in arms about the recent federally driven incursions on due process rights of those accused of sex-related offenses at colleges. Faculty, when their rights are adversely affected, have begun suing. Which raises a question: “Why has not one single major university president brought a legal challenge against [the Dear Colleague] letters?” [Coyote]

New AU student? Report for your oppression training

American University, in Washington, D.C., according to this document from last month, “is undertaking an ambitious plan to modernize the general education experience” with the assistance of a task force whose Nov. 30 report “outlines a dramatically different approach to liberal arts education,” one that includes “sustained attention to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

The draft of “Reimagining General Education: Toward a New AU Core Curriculum” envisages the following changes:

* All first-years would be obliged in their second semester to take a one- or three-credit course in oppression studies. Sample content: “Students will explore how historical violence, such as the early slave trade and genocidal conquests, shape the contemporary experiences of marginalized groups and struggles for human rights. Class materials will consider how entrenched systems of inequality marginalize some groups and privilege others.” (The draft text describes this as a three-credit course, but at another point says that whether it will be for one or three credits is yet to be determined.)

* “If budget allows,” “all students living on campus” will be housed with the cohort of students with whom they have taken the series of mandatory courses culminating in the oppression course. They will live under upper-class “mentors” and it is envisaged that “student support teams” will emerge from each cohort under the supervision of the mentors.

I wonder whether they will wind up calling these mentored support teams “block committees for the Defense of the Revolution.”

FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) reminds us, citing a University of Delaware episode, that dormitory mentoring in oppression studies goes back a while. Meanwhile — more or less unrelatedly, except that at a higher level it is most certainly related — per this University of Louisville law faculty anecdote, a colleague who told students on the final day of class to “think for yourselves” and that multiple political viewpoints should feel welcome at the school was promptly hauled to account [Russell L. Weaver, Courier-Journal] (& Robby Soave, Reason)

Schools roundup

  • Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
  • “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
  • Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
  • About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
  • Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
  • No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
  • Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]

Campus climate roundup

  • “What student protestors should learn from bygone free speech fights” [Conor Friedersdorf]
  • You’d expect Oberlin students to have some of the very best demands and you won’t be disappointed [Blake Neff/Daily Caller, my earlier Storify on student demands around the country] “Soon enough, microaggression monitoring was on the table” at Occidental College, and secret snitches will help [Scott Greenfield] President of Washington, D.C.’s American University responds to student demands. tl;dr version: “How high?
  • Diversity means cracking down on religious colleges that discriminate based on church dogma. Right? [Scott Greenfield] Human Rights Campaign huffs and puffs about (perfectly legal) religious-college Title IX exemptions [Washington Post, HRC] Canadian judge: B.C. provincial law society wrongly barred accreditation for conservative Christian law school [Globe and Mail, earlier]
  • Just out: “Free Speech on College Campuses” issue of Cato Unbound leads with Greg Lukianoff (“Campus Free Speech Has Been in Trouble for a Long Time”), with responses to follow from Eric Posner and Catherine Ross;
  • The year in campus hysteria [Ashe Schow/Examiner]
  • Feds’ diversity bureaucracy has engaged in epic power grab in past couple of years, Congress’s omnibus spending bill rewards them with 7 percent funding hike [PowerLine, Bader and earlier, Schow/Examiner]
  • “ACLU Silence Enables Campus Anti-free Speech Movement” [Nat Hentoff; related, Emily Ekins]

U.S. Chamber’s “Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2015”

Here. Their winner is the monkey-selfie case, and it, like five of the others, has been covered here before: aunt sues nephew for careless hug, cop spills free coffee on lap and sues, thrown roll at Missouri restaurant, California woman allegedly used fake medical records and pictures “from the Internet” to bolster McDonald’s coffee-spill case, and Washington bank robber injured while fleeing scene.

The four others:

4. Pennsylvania Nursing Student Fails a Course Twice and Sues the School for Not Helping With Anxiety
5. Two New York Women File $40 Million Lawsuit Over ‘Like, Five or Six Scratches’ They Received From a Gas Explosion Blocks Away
6. Colorado Inmate is Suing the NFL for $88 Billion Over the 2015 Cowboys’ Playoff Loss
7. Florida Woman is Suing FedEx for Tripping Over a Package Left at Her Doorstep

Our coverage last year of their 2014 list is here.

Schools roundup

The media, and the task of covering the Supreme Court: a mismatch?

The Washington Post humors the super-silly liberal fantasy of impeaching Justice Scalia for discussing the affirmative action mismatch argument, an argument that 1) was briefed by lawyers in the case at hand, Fisher v. University of Texas; 2) has come up in the Court’s earlier racial preference jurisprudence and been endorsed by fellow Justice Clarence Thomas; 3) has been aired extensively in places like the Washington Post itself without the ceiling caving in. [Valerie Strauss, Washington Post “Answer Sheet”]

Of course the Washington Post itself would be a better newspaper if its writers on relevant beats took the time to read the paper’s own Volokh Conspiracy, which this week has been hosting a series of guest blog posts by Prof. Rick Sander, best known proponent of the mismatch theory.

Some have questioned whether Scalia was proceeding down a path irrelevant to the Court’s eventual ruling on constitutionality. Here is one possible source of relevance, per James Taranto’s discussion: “Kennedy, unlike Scalia and Thomas, endorsed [in an earlier university racial preference case] the premise that those benefits [specifically, educational benefits obtainable from greater diversity] constitute a “compelling interest” that would justify preferences if the other components of the strict-scrutiny test can be met.” Kennedy’s approach leaves open the possibility that this constitutional justification could be refuted by an empirical showing that the net benefits add up to less than a “compelling interest.”

Feds push sensitivity training at community college level

Under federal pressure, the new compulsory chapel — sorry, the trend toward requiring students to complete sensitivity and diversity sessions — is moving beyond four-year institutions to community and technical colleges whose student bodies are typically more commuter than residential [Graham Shaw, Pope Center] More on diversity and sensitivity training and the doubtful evidence of its actual effects here, etc.

December 9 roundup

  • Judge Posner cites a Cato amicus brief: Cook County sheriff can’t browbeat Visa and MasterCard into dropping business with sex ad site [Ilya Shapiro, Eugene Volokh] And Daniel Fisher speculates that Posner’s thoughts on how far law enforcers can push around private actors on First Amendment-related subject matter (but without filing charges against them) might carry over to Eric Schneiderman’s ExxonMobil climate-advocacy inquisition [Forbes]
  • “How To Blog: A Primer (And Not A Boring Primer, Either)” [Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use]
  • What the campus protests are about: power [Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard]
  • Eric Turkewitz draws a connection between the debate on guns and my recent work on redistricting, and Ken White at Popehat has more on the debate on guns;
  • Vibrations from “ridge-like” BMW motorcycle seat said to have had unwanted stimulative effect on male user [Marin Independent Journal]
  • Why are Republicans not moving to block Department of Justice settlement slush funds “funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups” that in some cases route dollars “back to programs that congressional Republicans deliberately stripped of funds”? [Kim Strassel, WSJ]
  • What happens at CLE stays at CLE: doings get wild at a famous mass torts seminar in Las Vegas [Above the Law]