Updating Thanksgiving

Jimmy Kimmel’s Thanksgiving Pageant is updated for modern sensitivities.

Crying on campus

Cornell students staged a “cry-in” after Donald Trump won the presidency.

One student said she was “terrified,” reports the Cornell Daily Sun. Trump supporters “are willing to put people down based on their identity,” she said.

Crying and coloring at Cornell.

Crying and coloring at Cornell.

A dorm at Penn offered cats, a puppy, coloring pages and snacks.

Elsewhere in the Ivy League, a Clinton supporter bragged to the Princetonian that she’d spent Wednesday morning crying in her dorm room. “I sat and sobbed and I still have the tissues all over my floor to prove it,” wrote Marni Morse, a politics major. (I think “brag” is the correct word.) Finally, she left for class, still crying, wearing her “Dare to say the F-word: Feminism” t-shirt and her “A woman belongs in the House and the Senate” sweatshirt to feel “stronger.”

This is feminism? She’s not even strong enough to pick up her tissues.

Around the country, professors are delaying exams and offering counseling, reports Reason’s Robby Soave in a meltdown round-up.

At Loyola University and Byrn Mawr College, students demanded that classes be canceled, citing exhaustion, depression, and safety concerns, Campus Reform reported. “A Trump election directly endangers the lives of all students at Bryn Mawr College that are people of color, lgbtqa+, non-Christian, and female,” one student claimed.

Arielle Moore, 19, argues with a Trump supporter during a protest at Texas State. Photo: Jay Janner/AP

Arielle Moore, 19, argues with a Trump supporter during a protest at Texas State. Photo: Jay Janner/AP

“College campuses have created safe spaces to wall students off from the mildest forms of disagreement,” writes Soave. “Too many of them simply had no idea that great numbers of Americans despised their progressive agenda and were eager to strike a blow against political correctness.

Colleges have pushed racial, ethnic and gender diversity but ignored viewpoint diversity, writes Fordham University’s Charles Camosy in the Washington Post.

Today’s college graduates are formed by a campus culture that leaves them unable to understand people with unfamiliar or heterodox views on guns, abortion, religion, marriage, gender and privilege. And that same culture leads such educated people to either label those with whom they disagree as bad people or reduce their stated views on these issues as actually being about something else, as in Obama’s case. Most college grads in this culture are simply never forced to engage with or seriously consider professors or texts which could provide a genuine, compelling alternative view.

Campus progressives have “pushed race-based and identity-group-based classifications,” concludes Soave. They’ve “assailed white privilege,” disparaging people based on their identity. Identity politics backfired.

Non-college-educated whites — still a large percentage of the population — voted as a bloc against the educated elites. Treated as “deplorables,” Archie and Edith Bunker chose the deplorable candidate.

U-Florida offers Halloween costume counseling

Counselors will be standing by around the clock to help University of Florida students deal with offensive Halloween costumes, reports The American Mirror.

University officials advised students to avoid costumes that “reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions.”

offensivehalloween

Students who are “troubled” are urged to e-mail the U Matter, We Care program, phone “a 24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center” or contact the Bias Education and Response Team.

At the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, students were invited to attend a seminar called “Is Your Costume Racist?”

The UWL Hate Response Team has also launched investigations into sidewalk chalk on campus that read “Trump,” “Build the wall,” and “All Lives Matter” because the phrases are considered “hostile,” the Mirror reports.

At the K-12 level, Colorado has banned clown costumes in school because of the “creepy clown” panic.

Update the classics with a PC subtitle

Image result for tom sawyer whitewashing the fenceSuggested title is Tom Sawyer: Lessons in Whitewashing Credit: Norman Rockwell

Add a politically correct subtitle to the book of the week in the National Association of Scholars’ contest.

It’s possible to find up-to-date political lessons in classic literature, NAS argues.

Subtitle a Jane Austen novel to fit modern sensibilities.

Subtitle a Jane Austen novel to fit modern sensibilities.

For example, Crime and Punishment can be seen as the story of a debt-stressed student, driven to mental illness, who kills his lender. Fahrenheit 451 might be subtitled “Projected Earth Surface Temperature in the 22nd Century.”

This week, contestants may pick any novel by Jane Austen and write a new subtitle. NAS suggests: Pride and Prejudice:  Finding Safe Spaces for Queer Folks Under Heteronormative Tyranny. #PCSubtitle @NASorg

I like Sense and Sensibility: The Intersectionality of Internalized Cis Privilege and Frailty.

U-Chicago: No ‘safe spaces’ here

Image result for college free speech safe spaces trigger warnings

Don’t expect “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings” at the University of Chicago, wrote Dean of Students John Ellison in a letter to incoming freshmen. Expect some discomfort.

“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” wrote Ellison. “Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community.”

“Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas and thereby learning to make informed judgments in complex environments,” wrote University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

It’s inspired praise. “It is a sad commentary on higher education that this is considered a brave and bold move,” writes Mary Katharine Ham on The Federalist.

But there’s plenty of outrage, writes Reason‘s Robby Soave.

The New Republic‘s Jeet Heer called Ellison’s letter a “perverse document” that limits academic freedom by telling professors they can’t issue “trigger warnings,” if they choose.

“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education confirmed with the university that its statement should not be read as a ban on trigger warnings,” responds Soave.

Professors are free to warn — or not warn.

Slate‘s L.V. Anderson branded (the letter) “very odd,” while suggesting that the university is further marginalizing students who already feel marginalized.

Activist students should want their universities to treat them as thinking adults — rather than Mommy’s Special Snowflake — Soave argues. If the administration has the power to limit unpopular speech, students lose power.

At University of Georgia, Dr. Naomi Graber defines “safe space” as a place where students can voice unpopular views without risking a lower grade — or ridicule. Her syllabus assures students “they will not be penalized for being ‘wrong’ in discussion sections” and asks them to “challenge ideas, not people.”

UW-Stout hides ‘offensive’ painting


French Trappers on the Red Cedar

Two paintings that offended some Native Americans will be moved from public view at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Chancellor Bob Meyer said the artwork created in 1936 “stood in the way of an effort to create an inclusive and comfortable environment for everyone.”

A painting of French trappers and Native Americans in canoes will be moved to a conference room, where it can be viewed by appointment, while a painting of a fort will be in the university archives, which “provides for controlled access.”

“Rest assured, political correctness played absolutely no role in this tough decision,” said Meyer in a statement.

That’s not funny! 

Political correctness is “an interesting mixing of progressive ideals with fascist tactics,” said Kelly Carlin, daughter of the late comedian George Carlin, at a Foundation for Individual Rights and Education (FIRE) event in Philadelphia.

Joining her were Rain Pryor and Kitty Bruce, daughters of late comedians Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce.

Embedding ‘diversity’ in forestry

Many colleges require all students to take a class that exposes them to another culture: Often they can learn American Sign Language, read gay literature or study jazz, Native American archaeology sites or labor history without focusing on the priorities of social justice advocates.

Few colleges “require individual courses with curriculum designed specifically to foster cross-cultural exchanges,” writes Emily DeRuy in The Atlantic.

Now, some colleges are trying to get professors to embed “diversity” in all classes, she writes. That includes everything from statistics to forestry to engineering.

Hamilton College in New York recently adopted a plan that will require professors across all disciplines to discuss diversity and inclusion in their classes.

St. Edward’s University, a progressive Catholic school in Texas, is revamping a series of standalone diversity- and social-justice-focused courses it has long required in an attempt to urge professors across campus to work such conversations into a wider array of classes.

When Thomas Easley interviews people who want to teach statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), he asks how they’d integrate diversity into the curriculum.

NCSU’s U.S. diversity requirement includes myriad courses that don’t require “interactions between people from different backgrounds,” Easley tells DeRuy. As diversity officer for the College of Natural Resources, he is trying to train professors “to integrate conversations about diversity into curriculum.”

Calculate and catalog valuable forest metrics such as tree height, canopy cover, stem density, and crown area for individual trees in both forest and urban settings. Quantum Spatial has developed cutting-edge methodology that generates forest metrics directly from LiDAR points, which produces an accurate, detailed tree databases for entire study areas. Credit: Quantum Spacial

Foresters can use colors to analyze tree height, canopy cover, stem density, and crown area. Credit: Quantum Spacial

His example is that foresters “need to secure the trust of landowners from all backgrounds, and the process of earning that trust varies depending on who the landowner is.”

So, how much time should a forestry professor spend trying to teach the cultures of the various landowners a forestry graduate might encounter?

I worry about academic freedom. What if a forestry prof thinks students should focus on the diversity of trees, not the diversity of people?

Perhaps the statistics professor could ask students to analyze African-American males’ risk of stroke. Would that be enough? Is it necessary to discuss whether statistics is inherently patriarchal and heteronormative?

Years ago, a Cuban-American told me his father had been a professor of French at the University of Havana when an edict came down requiring all courses to incorporate the thought of Fidel Castro. That was ridiculous in courses focused on French language, literature and culture, the professor said at a department meeting. He served eight years in prison.

Updating the 1st Amendment

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

“Disagreement is not oppression,” writes Nicholas Christakis, the Yale professor accused of not creating a sufficiently safe space for students troubled by insensitive Halloween costumes. “The answer to speech we do not like is more speech,” he writes. Christakis and his wife have stepped down as what used to be known as “house masters.”

At the University of Northern Colorado, two professors were reported to the Bias Response Team for asking students to discuss controversial issues, reports Heat Street.

One professor “asked students to read an Atlantic article entitled The Coddling of the American Mind, about college students’ increasing sensitivity and its impact on their mental health,” reports Heat Street.

The professor then asked his students to come up with difficult topics, including transgender issues, gay marriage, abortion and global warming. He outlined competing positions on these topics, though he did not express his personal opinion.

In a report to the Bias Response Team, a student complained that the professor referenced the opinion that “transgender is not a real thing, and no one can truly feel like they are born in the wrong body.”

The team told the professor to avoid transgender issues.

Another professor told students to pick from a debate topic from a list that included homosexuality and religion. A student complained students were “required to listen to their own rights and personhood debated.”

UO tells students what’s OK to say, write

4 Posters with biased comments crossed out and corrected.
University of Oregon’s Bias Response Team has designed posters showing what not to say.

At the University of Oregon, “thought police” step in when one person’s “constitutionally protected speech has offended” another person, writes Robby Soave on Reason‘s Hit & Run. The Bias Response Team, made up of seven administrators, is fond of staging “educational conversations” and is “not shy about referring its cases to university agencies with more robust enforcement powers.”

The BRT’s annual report lists 85 incidents, including a faculty member’s insulting comment on a blog, a poster that “triggered” bad feelings about “body size” and a complaint about a “culturally appropriative” party.

“Students, faculty, and staff who feel threatened, harassed, intimidated, triggered, microaggressed, offended, ignored, under-valued, or objectified because of their race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, disability status, mental health, religion, political affiliation, or size are encouraged to contact the BRT, writes Soave.

When a student reported that a sign in a dorm encouraging cleaning up after oneself was sexist, the BRT Advocate “empowered” the student to contact Housing staff. “A BRT Case Manager followed up to ensure that the sign was removed, and the program staff had an educational conversation about the issue.”

An anonymous person thought the student newspaper wasn’t providing enough coverage of  transgender students and “students of color.” So “university administrators had ‘an educational conversation’ with student-journalists about what kinds of stories they should be printing,” reports Soave, who finds it “positively Orwellian.”

These “conversations” the BRT sponsors reflect a massive power imbalance between students and administrators, since the administrators appear to have the authority to punish the students.

. . . Would a student in such a situation feel like he could invoke his First Amendment rights without facing reprisals?

“It’s troubling to see the university policing and micro-managing students’ every day interactions,” Azhar Majeed, an attorney at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told Soave. “One can imagine the chilling effects this would have.”

A “swollen campus bureaucracy, empowered by intrusive federal regulation,” has usurped the faculty’s “prerogative to shape the educational mission and to protect the free flow of ideas,” writes Camille Paglia.

“The entire college experience should be based on confronting new and disruptive ideas,” she writes. “Students must accept personal responsibility for their own choices and behavior, and university administrators must stop behaving like substitute parents and hovering therapists.”