Entries in the Category "Academic"

Overreacting: UIC Bans Handshakes at Graduation

University officials at UIC say they came to the decision to skip the traditional handshaking at graduation ceremonies after consulting their medical center staff and infectious diseases specialists. They felt it was the best way to keep their students and faculty safe from the H1N1 virus.

Read more at CBS 2 Chicago web site

With folks saying that H1N1 flu may not be any worse than the regular cold flu and with only 225 confirmed cases across the country (out of approx 300 million), the decision by UIC may seem to be over the top.

Let's do the traditional handshake but put a bottle of purell on the podium.

UMass Amherst Student Government messing with press censorship

This is news from FIRE - Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on the actions of the UMass Amherst Student Government regarding the stealing and censorship of a conversative student newspaper.

If these actions are true, the student government at UMass Amherst ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Apparently, it all started with the latest edition of The Minuteman, a conservative student newspaper. The edition criticized the Student Bridges organization, which is recognized and funded by the Student Government Association via the mandatory student activity fee, on their budget and their funding practices.

The Student Bridges claims to be a college prep pathway and tutoring program for low-income and minority children. It has been in operation since 2006, but commands a large budget amounting to $172,000. The Minuteman did an analysis of financial expenditure logs obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and found questionable items and alleges that Student Bridges is not providing satisfactory evidence to justify their large budget. It also questioned the leadership of the organization Director, Vanessa Snow.

As a sign of Student Bridges hiding something, the Student Bridges spokesman and SGA Senator Ben Thompson would not discuss the article unless there was "private legal counsel" present.

Obviously, the latest edition would be controversial. As you can see at the video below, you can see Vanessa Snow snatching the stack of Minuteman papers from the student's hands.

As if the theft was not enough, the UMass Amherst Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution demanding that The Silent Majority, the student organization that publishes The Minuteman, publicly apologize to Vanessa Snow for its criticism of her, or else face loss of recognition by the SGA, which would shut down both the organization and the paper.

But what happened next shows that the reputation of this SGA is tainted and their trust questionable.

Student senator Derek Khanna tried to place a resolution on the SGA agenda that would have rescinded the SGA's unconstitutional decree of press censorship. SGA Senate Speaker Shaun Robinson not only refused to hear Khanna's resolution but reportedly threw it on the floor, soon calling the police to eject Khanna from the SGA meeting after Khanna insisted that he be heard. This occurred despite the fact that many Senators wanted to debate the resolution.

Read his account of what happened

Take a look at his proposed resolution

It is clear that there are potential conflicts of interest in the SGA and Student Bridges. The Director, Vanessa Snow, is also a member of the SGA. Did she vote on the passed resolution? Was it proper? What is the relationship between the current leadership of SGA and the Student Bridges group?

These things must be publicly released to the UMass Amherst student body. They must know if the actions of the SGA represent the interests of the UMass student body, and whether Student Bridges has improper influence on the SGA leadership.

UNC Protest Disrupts Tancredo Speech on Illegal Immigration

I wonder if a student can reasonably argue that favoring laws against illegal immigration is equal to racism. If we are protesting against jobs being sent overseas then why are we not protesting against jobs being taken by persons who are not legal in this country?

A UNC student club, Youth for Western Civilization, brought in former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo to speak on opposing in-state tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrants.

It was a bit disconcerting to note the purpose of the club was to be against mass immigration, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. I believe that being diverse and open to various cultures and ethnic groups helps a person's well-being. But still, the topic of the speech deserves debate.

Now let us look at the UNC tuition figures (2006-07). If you are a state resident, full-time tuition is $3,455. If you are out-of-state, you have to pay $18,103.

Would it be possible for North Carolina taxpayers to be upset if illegal immigrants are taking advantage of the in-state tuition rate? It's likely.

I would be upset by that. You could relate that with a non-student being able to buy those expensive office software at an academic discount, or an out-of-town resident buying a resident parking pass. It's called cheating the system.

Anyway, Tom Tancredo could not finish his speech. First, you had two women who stretched a 12-foot banner across the front of the classroom that read, "No dialogue with hate." Both were escorted out of the crowded classroom. Of course you also had 30 protestors yelling in the hallway right outside of it. Then a group of protestors who gathered outside of Bingham Hall were yelling. One protestor pounded on a window of the classroom until the glass shattered, prompting Tancredo to end his speech and leave the room with campus police.

About 200 protesters reconvened outside the building. “We shut him down; no racists in our town,” they shouted. “Yes, racists, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night!”

Chancellor Holden Thorp

“We're very sorry that former Congressman Tancredo wasn't able to speak. We pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard, so I'm disappointed that didn't happen tonight. I think our Public Safety officers appropriately handled a difficult situation.”

Lizette Lopez, Junior, Vice-President of Carolina Hispanic Association

“We are the children of immigrants, and this concerns us. So we would at least like to hear what he has to say if you want to hear what we have to say.”

"We were more interested in an intellectual conversation instead of a shouting match,” she said. “Ironically, the people that are trying to get our voices heard silenced us.”

UNC graduate student, Tyler Oakley, who organized the protest:

“He was not able to practice his hate speech. You have to respect the right of people to assemble and collectively speak.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the academic environment, we are supposed to debate and argue opposing viewpoints. Again, we have seen how one side of a controversial issue decides that any one in opposition are cowards, crazy, racist, or stupid.

What if a speaker was brought onto campus advocating that taxpayer funds should go to help illegal immigrants? Would there be an uproar over that? Would we see the same people protesting? Or not? A double-standard? What if a speaker believing that the 12 million illegals that are in this country should be given a fast-track to US citizenship? Would that cause a protest?

For those individuals displaying their immaturity in oppressing viewpoints that do not agree with them, they should be ashamed. They are, in fact, "intellectually bankrupt." They refuse to listen to any reasonable arguments and their response would be to shout down and stop them by any means necessary. That's their only way. A pity.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

ABC News - WTVD-TV Local Station

NBC17

WRAL.com

Americans for Legal Immigration

Hugging Banned

Local news at Milford, CT reported this weekend that parents at the East Shore Middle School received a letter from Principal Catherine Williams, which said that any touching at all on school grounds — including “hugging” and “horseplay” — could result in “parent conferences, detention, suspension and/or a request for expulsion from school.”

Students have said that they have even been prohibited from “high fiving” classmates in the halls.

NYT Link

See CNN Video

TB NYU Protesters - Accept One-Week Suspension

The now infamous 18 Take Back NYU protesters who were the final holdouts during last week’s occupation — since called the “Kimmel 18” (maybe with too great a hint of heroics) — have been offered a deal from the university which they must decide to accept or reject today. For those who do not accept, suspensions will be retained until they are tried in a judicial hearing where punishments traditionally tend to be more severe.

Estimated financial impact was over $80,000, including the costs of heightened security, minor repairs to the Kimmel Center and disruption to dining services; an NYU security guard physically harmed; and many students inconvenienced.

The deal:

One week of suspension from school and a year of ineligibility for student leadership positions.

Washington Square News Link

Tuition: Present vs Past

It is still crazy to think of how much tuition cost these days. 2009-2010 tuition for undergrads is $35,900! Total estimated expenses for the year is more than $48,000.

For 1995-1996, it was roughly $16,100. Total expenses for an undergrad during that year was around $23-24,000.

Back in the day, students were worried about graduating with debt loads of over $20,000. Today, that figure is higher. 2006 data shows that Case students had an average debt load of $24,098.

NYU Student Protest take over Cafeteria; List of Demands

nyu_protest.jpg

Members of the coalition Take Back NYU! have been occupying the cafeteria of the Helen & Martin Kimmel Center for University Life for more than 24 hours.

CBS News Link

The students are calling for a series of changes, including increased transparency of the school's finances. They want full budget and endowment disclosure, affordable education, and increased student participation in the university's operation.

Tuition at NYU annually is about $50,000, including room and board. Some students told CBS 2 HD they had no idea the cost was so high; they just want to know where their money is going.

While they want budget reform, they also want things which are not related such as 13 scholarships a year provided for students of the Gaza Strip, and to give surplus supplies to the Islamic University in Gaza.

Why should these two items matter to this budget transparency thing? Is there a hidden agenda behind this group, or just another way to get the media to do more increased exposure?

Stick with the main objective of the protest and not these friviolous requests.

* * * * * * *

There are 13 demands overall and they cover students rights, labor rights, transparency of university money trails, support for palestine and palestinian students, and divestment of israel and coca-cola.

In detail:

1. immunity for all student occupiers and back pay for nyu campus employees affected by the action

2. transparency on NYU’s budget and endowments

3. fair labor practices: between nyu and all employees, including renewed labor negotiations between nyu and gsoc/uaw local 2110 (grad student union)

4. responsible spending: the addition of a new “socially responsible finance committee (srfc),” to nyu’s board of trustees, with equal voting rights.

5. divestment: the srfc will investigate nyu investments in war and genocide

6. money and goods to gaza: 13 full scholarships to palestinian students, and that nyu donate excess materials to help rebuild the university of gaza

7. equal access to nyu buildings: including public access to nyu’s main library (one onlooker said, “um, thats what the public library is for”) and priority given to student groups trying to reserve space at the kimmel multi-use, performance center.

Political Correctness has taken hold of Florida Gulf Coast University

That's right! FGCU administrators has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest.

Link

Seriously, students and faculty should disobey and start posting decorations everywhere. Damn PC! Damn the PC!

Was Bush wrong to issue Medal of Freedom to Donna Shalala?

The White House announced today that six individuals will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.

One of these individuals is Donna E. Shalala, a former president of Hunter College and current president of the University of Miami in Florida who was secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton. (NY Times)

(Of course, the NY Times is incorrect about the Hunter College fact)

She was also former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

However, according to the Democracy Project, Donna Shalala does not deserve this award. It is also puzzled why the Bush White House would choose to select her in the first place.

Shalala was the architect of the infamous speech code at Wisconsin which, before it was declared unconstitutional in 1991, was among the most draconian in the nation. She was even declared the "Queen of PC" by education expert Checker Finn.

It has been argued by her supporters that the speech codes was adopted by the university's Board of Regents, and that Shalala was opposed to anything that interfered with the free exchange of speech. Of course, she did not publicly oppose the speech code which was considered unconstitutional.

She also crafted the "Madison Plan" at UW, through which she mandated quotas for hiring minority professors, doubling the number of minority undergraduates, passed an ethnic studies requirement, and opened a multicultural center.

Even at the University of Miami, her administration has worked to clamp down on dissent -- in particular, conservative student groups. She used her influence as President to skew the recognition policy in the Committee on Student Organizations to suppress free speech for the sake of political correctness and liberal thought.

* * * * * * * *

It seems she has been politically adept in creating a consensus throughout her career, yet her authoritarian management policy has created an atmosphere of peer pressure designed to ensure conformity with her views. Yes, she will advocate diversity, exchange of different viewpoints, but ultimately, she will agree with you if only you agree with her views and conclusions.


10 Most Worthless College Majors

Holy Taco gives his take on the 10 Most Worthless College Majors

Is Harvard's endowment just too big?

Case Western Reserve University's endowment is at a respectable $1.8 billion (as of June 2007). If you did not know, an endowment is a gift that is held in perpetuity and invested in a manner that protects the principal from inflation. The investment income would provide a stable funding source for scholarships, professorships, lecture series, and research centers.

In most cases, university endowments are quite important to have. They provide an income stream, promote excellence, and is a secured source since they are held for the financial long-term.

As for spending, universities will try to spend a portion depending on performance, rate of inflation, and other factors. For FY '05, Case's endowment contributed $72.8 million, or 10%, of their operating budget.

* * * * *

But when folks compare Harvard Univeristy, their endowment is at a staggering $35 billion, the largest in the country. While they are enjoying good investment returns and pay no taxes, the school has raised tuition costs, citing rising expenses as the need to keep the fees on the upswing.

Of course, being a Harvard student now costs more than $47,000 per year. Just imagine if Harvard spent less than 1% of their endowment, every student that year would not have to pay tuition, room, and board.

Yes, folks will say that donors will give donations with restrictions; money earmarked for a particular discipline, or for a buildings fund. Others may say that big number may look great, but it is the many funds that make up that number.

But you do have to agree with Financial Adviser Christiane Delessert (link) who believes that "endowments were created to supplement tuition to pay for all of these wonderful things that colleges wanted but could not afford based on tuition alone. They were given tax-free status because the colleges were perceived as being poor and needing help."

If these endowments are performing in double-digits, then we should expect a higher-than-average spending to take advantage. Especially during not-so-good economic periods.

Perhaps alums and other donors should give without any restrictions.

Maybe it would be interesting to know if the endowment managers at Harvard are manipulating the oil price.

Idiotic: 8th Grade Honors Student suspended for buying candy

Update 3/13 - Michael gets his student council post back, disciplinary record cleared

If you can get suspended for buying candy in school, I would like to know the punishment for selling drugs. Is it death by firing squad? Or perhaps 52 weeks of getting a noogie?

Michael Sheridan, an eighth grade honors student at Sheridan Middle School, part of the New Haven, CT school system, was initially suspended for three days and stripped of his title as class vice-president for buying a bag of Skittles from a fellow classmate. He was even barred from an honors dinner event.

A school spokeswoman says the school system banned candy sales and fundraisers in 2003 as part of the district-wide school wellness policy.

The student who sold the candy to Michael was also suspended.

After the incident, Michael's suspension was reduced to one day, but he has not been reinstated as class vice-president.

* * * * * * * * * *

I guess the school's wellness policy was quite literal in saying that all kinds of candy sales were prohibited. How about a slice of chewing gum? Or maybe a square from those Listerine's mouth fresheners? Does it cover freebies too?

However, does the punishment fit the crime? A bag of Skittles means several days of suspension and losing your class officership. Does his name get removed from the honor roll too?

Also, Michael never had any previous disciplinary problems. He has never had detention.

I really fail to see how removing him from student office is connected to buying some candy. He did not abuse his duties or obligations as class vice-president.

I understand the intent of banning candy sales is to get kids to learn about good eating habits and a more balanced nutrition, but not to the point where the school aides are acting like candy-nazis.

* * * * * *

School's argument:

Superintendent Reginald Mayo said Wednesday that Sheridan Middle School principal Eleanor Turner just wanted to keep students safe

"She had concerns about the safety of students carrying large amounts of cash in school," Mayo said. "The question is, was the punishment too harsh? That's something we need to evaluate."

Large amounts of cash??? We are not talking about some big candy-dealing gone beserk.

* * * * * *

District's policy:

It states that "no candy or junk food fundraisers will be allowed on school grounds" and that only healthy snacks will be sold in vending machines.

The policy also prohibits bake sales and other food sales during school hours. The policy does not say anything about students sharing snacks when no money is exchanged.

Honestly, let's stop being candy-nazis and use some decent common sense. How would explain it to a college admissions counselor about that suspension? Yes sir, I was suspended for selling candy. They would be laughing off their seats!

I declare New Haven, CT, the home of the candy nazis. Perhaps you would like to meet the Soup Nazi too.

School Backs Off Punishment (3/13)

The Associated Press is reporting that the school will give Michael his student council post back.

Superintendent Reginald Mayo said in a statement late Wednesday that he and principal Eleanor Turner met with student Michael Sheridan's parents and that Turner decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his post.

Turner said she should have reinforced in writing the verbal warnings against candy transactions.

Now, your common sense has finally kicked in. Perhaps we can even get rid of that zero-candy policy too.

News Links

CNN - Student suspended for buying Skittles at school

CBS News - Conn. Student Suspended for Buying Candy in School

Wikipedia - Soup Nazi

A Double Standard of Tolerance for Janitor at Indiana University

Janitor Keith John Sampson, who works at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis was investigated by the campus Affirmative Action Office for nothing other than reading a book about Notre Dame and the Ku Klux Klan in front of blacks on campus.

Sampson was ordered to stop reading the book in the immediate presence of his coworkers and, when reading the book, to sit apart from them.

Of the book was about how the Fighting Irish defeated the Ku Klux Klan.

I thought we were told not to judge a book by its cover.

Link

38 former Duke lacrosse players to file lawsuit against university

The former players deserve justice, will they get it?

Newsday Link
Bloomberg Link

More than three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players claim in a lawsuit they suffered emotional distress during the since-discredited rape case pursued against three of their teammates.

Attorneys planned to file a federal lawsuit Thursday in North Carolina that accuses Duke University, the City of Durham and several school and police officials of fraud, abuse, and breach of duty for supporting the prosecution of the case. Lead attorney Chuck Cooper said the private university turned its back on the players to protect the school's image.

"These young men want an acknowledgment that they were wronged by institutions and individuals that they trusted to treat them honestly," Cooper said in a statement. "They were victimized by a corrupt investigation that ignored or suppressed evidence that would have cleared them."

Statement from Duke University Attorney in Response to Lacrosse Lawsuit

Interesting analysis of Duke Lacrosse case

The Group of 88 names

Duke Lawsuit Web Site

New Math? A new inconvenience.

Academy again stresses importance of evolution

It is worrying when a 2006 Gallup poll showed that almost half of Americans believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

10,000 years is quite a lengthy period. Did God help increase our life expectancy during that time? Did he decide to give us those technological leaps and bounds in the last 200 years? Perhaps we should ask God to help increase our brain usage to more than 5 percent, or maybe give us the ability to create fire with just our hands.

Did God create that baby? Or was it just normal procreation between a man and a woman?

The attack on evolution as well as other areas of real science has pressured the National Academy of Sciences to issue a spirited defense of evolution as the bedrock principle of modern biology, arguing that it, not creationism, must be taught in public school science classes.

The report called creationism, based on the explanation offered in the Bible, and the related idea of "intelligent design" are not science and, as such, should not be taught.

The academy operates under a mandate from Congress to advise the government on science and technology matters.

"Biological evolution is one of the most important ideas of modern science. Evolution is supported by abundant evidence from many different fields of scientific investigation. It underlies the modern biological sciences, including the biomedical sciences, and has applications in many other scientific and engineering disciplines," the report stated.

Of course it does not help when President George W. Bush said in 2005 that American students should be instructed about "intelligent design" alongside evolution as competing theories. "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said.

There was a time when Nicolaus Copernicus was censored by the Church for suggesting that the Earth revolved about an immobile Sun. The Church called it false and it violated the Holy Scripture since they believed that the Earth was the center of our solar system. Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for following the position of Copernicus and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. Yet Copernicus's theory sparked a scientifc revolution. His work affected religion as well as science, religious belief as well as freedom of scientifc inquiry.

You can note the same parallels of controversy and religious attacks with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

I would not be surprised if you find some Americans still believing that the Earth is still at the center of the universe. But we must be concerned by this. If religion were to dictate the education of science, the advancement of technology will be curtailed, limited, or even in some way banned.

Sounds scary, maybe a bit farfetched, but look at history and you will find examples of our ability to advance science being stopped by the religious establishment.

Link

This almost beats the Miss American contestant on that map question

I thought Europe was a country. Sorry, it's a continent.

I thought France was a country. Fortunately, it is.

Sigh.

No more fuzzy math

What are the folks in the University of Chicago smoking?

Tasered Andrew Meyer Apologizes

Andrew Meyer. You may know him as the University of Florida student who was tasered after persistently questioning Sen. John Kerry during his campus speech on campus. His cry of "Don't Tase me, bro!" made him a somewhat local celebrity for anti-taser activists and the like.

He has finally apologized for his actions. He sent letters to the university, its president, and the campus police department.

"I made the decision to supersede the rules, and for that I apologize," Meyer wrote. "I should have acted calmer and obeyed the directives of the officers. If I had, none of the subsequent issues would ever have arisen."

Meyer, a communications major, said he was taking a leave of absence but would return to school in January. He pledged to Bernie Machen, the Florida president, that he learned from the incident.

"I am a far more reasoned individual than I was a short while ago, and the reasoned response of the university has helped me a great deal," Meyer wrote.

Link

End of SSN as primary identifer

I believe USG passed a resolution back in 1999-2000 about stopping the use of SSN as a primary identifer by the University. Even at that time, some profs stopped using your last four digits of your SSN as a way to find your test exam score.

But really...seven years for official policy to change.

Noose-Hanging at Columbia University

art_columbia_noose.jpgA Columbia University scholar was the target of a racial crime where a noose was found hanging on her office door.

The professor, Madonna G. Constantine, whose specialty is race, racial identity and multiculturalism, stood before protesters at midday and thanked her supporters.

“I am upset that the Teachers College community has been exposed to such an unbelievably vile incident,” she said, “and I would like us to stay strong in the face of such a blatant act of racism.”

At an afternoon news conference, Deputy Inspector Michael Osgood, commander of the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, said, “Right now we have no suspects, but we will go down all investigative pathways.” He ruled out any possibility that Professor Constantine had hung the rope herself.

University President Lee Bollinger faced tough criticism from an audience of student leaders dominated by representatives of campus cultural groups.

Bollinger faced a deeply frustrated and often angry audience, as students accused the administration of being unresponsive and disconnected. At several points, the University President found himself defending and justifying his record on issues such as diversifying the faculty and taking a proactive stance on racial issues.

As usual, the griping and complaining begins. It seems that at a separate meeting, 600 Teacher College students and faculty members got together to air their grievances before Susan H. Fuhrman, the president of Teachers College, and other adminstrators.

“I came here from Virginia,” said one black doctoral student, who did not identify herself. “I’ve been here since 2003 and there has been incident after incident. It’s not so different from the South.”

Now, is she implying that racism at Columbia is much worse than what the media is telling us. Could we see this "long" list of racial incidents at the University? It sounds to me that with all the media attention, everyone can start complaining that everything is not happy in the community.

It is amusing when you got student leaders praising Bollinger on inviting Ahmadinejad one week, then the next week, they are angry at him for not responding fast enough to this hate crime.

In any case, look at the high-profile events that have come to this institution. A speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, invitations to conservative writer David Horowitz, Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, and others. It seems Columbia loves to get press on its polarizing events and incidents. However, should we look at Columbia University as representative of the whole entire college system? Probably not in a high degree.

In addition, there is a doubt on this possible hate crime. According to the NYPD, Columbia University has refused to turn over security tapes from the cameras in the building.

Investigators began asking on Wednesday for tapes from cameras in the building, but have been rebuffed by administrators, said Paul Browne, the New York Police Department's top spokesman.

He said police will have to get a court order to force the school to provide video they believe could crack the case.

"It's unfortunate because it adds a time-consuming step to the investigation," Browne said.

Police are looking into possible leads. They believe it could have been a disgrunted colleague, or a student upset with his or her grades.

Why is the school dragging their heels on this? Why are they not cooperating with law enforcement officers? Could it be that the security tape is some sort of "smoking gun?" Maybe the tape has concrete evidence on a possible suspect or suspects that committed the crime?

You got the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force to ready to help out. Columbia, what's the problem here? Do not delay. Give the tape. Stop giving us a reason to doubt that maybe this whole story is not 100% true.

Fox News report that the school has denied NYPD's statements that they refused to hand over the security video tape. Campus officials state there are no security cameras in professor Constantine's fourth-floor office or in the hallway, only in the lobby downstairs, and are in the process of giving those tapes to authorities.

C'mon here. Now we got NYPD and Columbia pointing fingers at each other. And of course, the Feds are jumping in by opening their own separate investigation into the incident. Maybe we should invite the United Nations too.

Daily News report that the school has agreed to give over 56 hours of tape. Yet, why stonewall the police for more than 24 hours? Why did Columbia suddenly asked the NYPD to get a court order, and by the time the police got it all set up, the university said they did not need to do that in the first place.

* * * * *

Believe it or not. A second racial incident has occurred where anti-Semitic graffiti has been found in a bathroom stall (4th floor of the men's bathroom in Lewisohn Hall). A caricature of a male wearing a yarmulke above a swastika was found drawn in black ink on a bathroom stall door.

Of course, the police would have to analyze the ink to see if it was recently made or it has been there for quite some time, and someone "just discovered" it.

* * * * *

NY Post says Columbia's stonewalling was all because of policy.

The newspaper gives the timeline:

* The noose was found hanging on the doorknob of Prof. Madonna Constantine's office at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

* By 11 a.m., cops from the 26th Precinct were on campus.

* They immediately called in the NYPD's hate-crimes unit.

* The unit swiftly identified seven security cameras as useful to the probe.

Then the stonewalling began.

* When the NYPD requested the relevant tapes, officers were told that the technician who had that responsibility wouldn't be in until the next day.

* By Wednesday afternoon, with no tech in sight, Deputy Inspector Michael Osgood, the hate-crimes squad chief, put in a call to the Teachers College general counsel, Janice Robinson, to expedite delivery. She told him he'd need a subpoena because of "privacy" concerns.

* A subpoena was issued at midnight Wednesday, to no immediate effect.

* At 3 p.m. yesterday, after the Associated Press first reported on the college's footdragging, and with the subpoena in effect, Teachers College announced sweetly that "in the spirit of cooperation, we are giving [the police] everything."

Over $40,000 in student debt

studentloans.jpgLink

Over 77,500 graduating college seniors have more than $40,000 in student debt. The total federal student loan debt in the U.S. is $492 billion dollars.

Back in 1994 or 1995, Case had the highest debt load per student according to the US News & World Report. Of course, we are no longer top, but still, you probably have folks owing quite a lot. 2007-2008 expenses are already over $43,000. Tuition is at $32,800.

A bit of historical comparison. Tuition back in 1995-1996 was like around $16,000 and total cost of education was around $22-23,000.

You also have to feel sympathetic to the medical students, they usually graduate with over $200,000 in loans by the time they are done.

Community college instructor fired for saying Adam & Eve was just a fairy tale

The Des Moines Register reports that a community college instructor was fired because he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be taken literally.

The fired instructor was Steve Bitterman who taught Western Civilization at Southwestern Community College.

The school said it was a personnel issue, but would not comment over the Bible claim.

According to Bitterman, he used the Old Testament in his class to interpret it from an academic standpoint. His class was being telecast to students in Osceola over the Iowa Communications Network. A few students thought the lesson was "denigrating their religion."

"I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasn't given any more credibility than any other god," Bitterman said. "I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there."

Bitterman said he called the story of Adam and Eve a "fairy tale" in a conversation with a student after the class and was told the students had threatened to see an attorney. He declined to identify any of the students in the class.

* * * * *

So after getting a bachelor's and master's degree, how can you still believe that snakes can talk?

It must be magic.

Oh yea, and the earth was created in 6 days. whoopee doo.

Delaware State Shooting

Two students were shot and wounded, one seriously, at Delaware State University today, and the campus was locked down as police searched for a gunman.

Students were instructed to stay in their residence halls until further notice, and nonessential university employees were told not to report to work.

University officials informed students about the shooting with phone calls, a notice posted on the campus Web site and notifications in each dormitory. Holmes said Delaware State had improved the speed of its notifications following the shootings in April at Virginia Tech.

Link

University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, got tasered at Kerry forum


Update 9/19: Times Online UK newspaper gives a great title. Andrew Meyer, the student who begged: 'Don't Tase me bro!', becomes internet star (yuck!)

Mr Kerry has criticised the arrest of Mr Meyer, suggesting that he could have dealt with the heckler himself.

"In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption,” he said.

Did anyone trademark 'Don't Tase me, bro'? I rather want to introduce a new slogan 'Tase me, make me famous' t-shirt.

Andrew Meyer is an idiot, plain and simple. A practical jokster and intent to cause undue publicity just to get his name and face in the paper. Sure, he had the right to question Kerry, but his behavior and attitude were despicable. How can we have civil discourse if Meyer was on a rant?

* * * * *

A protest march, a sit-in, meetings with University leaders...

We all seen the videos. Andrew Meyer, a UF telecommunication senior, was shot with a Taser gun at Sen. John Kerry's forum on the UF campus Monday after he tried to get out of the grips of UF police officers, who were attempting to escort him from the auditorium. When he continued to resist, one of the campus officers used his taser.

At first, it seemed that Andrew Meyer was trying to ask the Senator a question during a Q&A period following Kerry's speech.

It seems that there is more than meets the eye concerning Andrew Meyer. Most of the videos showing the arrest and tasering of Meyer do not show the whole incident which started well before it.

Here are two eyewitness reports:

UF law school student, Justin J. Klatsky

“As much as I concur that this was excessive force, let me remind you what led to this:

Andrew spoke up after the Dean of International Affairs had stated final question. The final question was being asked about Israel, and then Andrew got on the mic on the other side of the room (noting he was next on the mic), and then proceeded to tell Kerry that its not fair not to be able to ask more questions after listening to him for an hour, and the Dean exclusively asking Kerry questions for another 45 minutes, leaving students 25 minutes to ask questions. At that point, the officers try to subdue him, but Kerry sternly told the police officers to back down. Kerry then asked Meyer if he can finish the other question and then proceed to his. Meyer consented. After the last question was answered, Kerry asked Meyer, what is your question. Then you enter the video that has been circulating around, where he asks his question, not before Accent Speaker’s Bureau president, Stephen Blank (in some videos, front row left side of right aisle), signals the AV guys to cut Meyer off. Meyer then was confused what happened, and then was dragged up the auditorium. Meyer kept screaming why is he being arrested. The other videos do not show that Meyer was handcuffed, before he was tasered. I sat in the back row, with this occuring less than 5 feet from me."

UF student Tyler Antar

So I went to the John Kerry town hall forum this morning trying to get students registered to vote. I run a student government organization called Chomp the Vote. Anyway I went inside to watch the event. Senator Kerry took the podium and began delivering a speech about the Middle East, Iraq, dimplomacy, etc. Anyway, after he was done, a university ambassador asked Kerry a few premade questions. Once that was over, Senator Kerry announced he would take questions from the students. There were two microphones placed on each side of the aisle. One on my side and the other on Andrew Meyer’s side. Senator Kerry began answering the student’s questions from each aisle. Eventually it was announced that there would only be a few more questions answered. Since Meyer and I were both in the back of each line, it did not seem likely that our questions would be answered.

However, while Senator Kerry was responding to a student’s question, all of a sudden Meyer rushed to the microphone with cops in pursuit. At that point no one knew what was going on. Could he have a gun, a bomb? Immediately, Meyer began yelling into the microphone that he had been waiting in line forever and that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” Senator Kerry tried to calm the student down by telling him that he would “stay here as long as it takes to get the questions answered.” The police approached Meyer who began taunting them by saying “what! are you going to taser me? are you going to arrest me?!” The police grabbed Meyer, but Senator Kerry asked the
police to let him go and that he would answer his question. Senator Kerry finished answering the other student’s question and then proceeded with Meyer. (*This entire scene is not in any video I can find so far. This is why 2 cops are seen right behind Meyer at the start of some videos*).

Meyer approached the microphone and began to talk about a book he had which stated that Kerry won the 2004 election because of disenfranchisement of black voters and faulty voter machines that produced “Bush” as the winner. He then posed another question about why President Bush had not been impeached. “President Clinton was impeached because of a blowjob, why not Bush?”. The third and strangest question he posed to Senator Kerry was asking him if he was part of the skull and bones society with Bush at
Yale. Meyer’s mic cut off after that, probably because he had mentioned the word “blowjob”. The cops grabbed him, but Meyer was able to get away several times. Eventually more cops were brought in to help subdue Meyer. Meyer continued to resist arrest, scream, curse; however he was enventually subdued by about six cops up around the entrance. As he is on the ground, he is told several times to put his hands around his back. He is also warned that he will be tasered if he does not comply. Eventually he is tasered twice. The video does not show whether he complied or not.

Senator Kerry was trying to answer his question to the audience, mostly the one about faulty voter machines. I am a die hard conservative Republican but I do respect Senator Kerry for trying to soothe the situation as best he could and trying not to escalate the situation. He DID intervene by letting the student at least present his question. I never received an opportunity to ask my question, but when Senator Kerry ended the show after the Meyer incident, he did come off stage to shake hands and give autographs. At that point, I was able to ask him my question, shake his hand, and get a autograph at the same time. Now why couldn’t Andrew Meyer do that?

I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but Andrew Meyer is a former sports writer for the school newspaper The Alligator. In his columns, he has been known to make ridiculous statements in order to gain attention for himself. Was today a publicity stunt?

The video above started when they cut off his microphone.

Another angle, longer video.

This link points to NBC Channel 6 video that shows more before the officers moved in.

Now it would seem that he wanted to get arrested. He wanted the campus police to move in because he was acting in a provocative manner. The officers tried to escort him, and he reacted violently.

According to students and his previous writings, it would seem he loves getting attention for his rants and sometimes unreasonable statements. If you check his web site, he is already milking his 15 minutes worth of fame.

Also, in the police incident report, the officer who actually tasered Andrew Meyer wrote in the report that Meyer later told police, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” In the 12-page report, which gives accounts of the incident from the perspective of eight different officers who were present Monday afternoon, Officer Nicole Mallo writes that Meyer would only resist officers when cameras were present. “As (Meyer) was escorted down stairs (at the University Auditorium) with no cameras in sight, he remained quiet, but once the cameras made their way down stairs he started screaming and yelling again,” Mallo wrote.

Here is a web site with old columns written by Andrew Meyer. It would seem he is in constant need of attention.

Of course, using the taser was not necessary. I really think the 4-5 campus officers can drag him out of the auditorium.

Other accounts showed that Meyer was clearly agitated when Kerry ended the Q&A period. There was approximately 20 people in line for the microphone including Meyer. Kerry answered 8 questions. After that, the rest of the people in line for the microphone went back to their seats, except for Meyer, who forced himself on the microphone and demanded Kerry to let him give his question.

As for freedom of speech, it was clear he wanted to question Kerry all by himself. He was making his rant, and even failed to let Kerry answer his questions, but then he kept on going. It would seem he just wanted the microphone to voice his theories and stories. He did want Kerry to answer, he wanted him and the rest of the audience to listen to him.

Whoever made the call to turn off the microphone realized Meyer was just not going to stop talking.

Didn't he have someone there with a video camera to film him questioning Kerry? It would seem he had a plan to let this whole thing happened. Clarissa Jessup, who was standing near Andrew Meyer, told police that he asked her to film him asking Kerry a question just before he approached the microphone.

Oh, by the way, here's his mugshot:

meyermug.jpg

Here's a more detailed police report

He has been detained for inciting a riot and disrupting a school function at the University Auditorium.

As for his rallying cry "Don't Tase Me bro" - how about "Tase me, make me famous!"

Star Banner - Tasering spurs protest march, sit-in

Colbert mentions about the tasering on The Word segment


College Idiot Example

Bottom line, both former students deserved to be called idiots.

Two former Northeastern University freshmen are facing drug and other charges after prosecutors said one of them leaned out his dorm window on Sunday and loudly told a woman in the dorm opposite his that he and his roomate were selling pot.

Michael Emery allegedly said "If you're looking for weed, my roommate Ferrante has some for sale." (Mistake 1)

Is it possible that he was high or something? Why not pick up the phone and call her and tell her you got some pot to sell?

Well, two plain clothes Boston officers overheard the conversation and made their way up to a second floor dorm room where they arrested Michael and Matthew Ferrante. Funny enough, they left their door open. (Mistake 2)

The officers recovered a total of eight small bags of marijuana packaged for individual resale, a larger bag containing three to four ounces of marijuana, and hundreds of clear plastic baggies. The officers also found a vaporizer, a grinder, a bong, and a glass pipe, each with marijuana residue in or on it, as well as a Triton T2 digital scale… [A] Grey Goose bottle – along with bottles of Malibu rum, Smirnoff Twist raspberry vodka, and Southern Comfort – was also seized. They also found $1,045 in cash.

Outside the window of their room, the students had rigged a pulley system that had been designed to raise and lower items from the room directly overhead. It was not immediately known how the students were using the pulley system, prosecutors said.

The charges include possession of a class D substance with intent to distribute in a school zone, possession of alcohol by a minor, and conspiracy to violate the state's drug laws.

Strangely enough, both have pleaded not guilty. (Mistake 3) They are due back in court on Oct. 24.

As for being Northeastern University students, university spokeswoman Laura Shea said, "They are no longer students here."

* * * * *

Another two for the society drain. I don't know why they decided to plead not guilty. They advertised their drug sale, they left their door open so the officers saw the drug stuff on their table. The two idiots gave them permission to search the room whereby they found other drugs and equip, alcohol, and cash.

Of course we are not sure if both have a prior arrest record. Even if this was a first-time arrest, it deserves serious punishment. They had a drug-sale business going on with the works. If it was a few ounces in a few bags, we could be lenient, but they had much more and the equipment. I really doubt they can get back into Northeastern. I would assume they would argue that it was weed, and not cocaine, heroin, or crack, and the punishment does not fit the crime, but substance abuse is pretty much straightforward, and most schools have a stringent, if not zero-tolerance policy on it.

Looks like community school for the both of them, or maybe not. I bet Ferrante and Michael would not call each other as friends after this.

Eastern Michigan University President Fired for cover-up

Update 7/21/07:
The University has also fired Jim Vice, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Cindy Hall, the Director of Campus Police. It has also placed a letter of discipline in the file of Kenneth McKanders, the university's legal counsel.

The Department of Education issued their preliminary report earlier this month. They found seven "serious areas of noncompliance."

1) Failure to provide "timely warning" in response to homicide investigation of on-campus student death
2) Lack of administrative capability
3) Lack of a timely warning policy
4) Failure to properly disclose crime statistics
5) Lack of adequate policy statements
6) Failure to report all required statistics occurring on public property and in non-campus buildings or property
7) Failure to properly maintain the crime log

Orange Taylor III, the student who allegedly murdered Laura Dickinson was charged with murder and is scheduled to go on trial this fall. He has pleaded not guilty. He is currently in jail without bond.

Please note that this person had a previous record. Eastern Michigian University officers had contact with Taylor at least twice in less than a year concerning three incidents. The calls included the break-in at King Hall, a damaged table in the Pray-Harrold classroom building and a report of a student selling marijuana in the Eastern Estates.

With regards to the incident at King Hall, the police report stated that Taylor was looking for "girls and activity on campus" and noticed lights on at the building. He first tried a locked door and then discovered an ajar window. A staff member discovered him as he pulled himself through a window.

Unconfirmed sources indicated that Taylor was failing in his classes. Questions are now being asked on why this student was not dismissed from the school. A fellow classmate told Ann Arbor News that Taylor was kicked out of his dorm after the marijuana incident.

The evidence so far clearly shows that Orange Taylor III is guilty. Security cameras placed Taylor at the scene of the crime showing him entering Dickinson's dorm through the front entrance, and leaving by the stairs. Court records said his DNA matched seminal fluid found on Dickinson's inner thigh. With this and his previous record, he's guilty. Plain and simple.

* * * * *

CNN reported that John Fallon, president of Eastern Michigan University, has been fired on Sunday due to his involvement in a cover-up surrounding the rape and slaying of a student. The Board of Regents voted unanimously on Sunday to terminate his employment contract. Fallon served two years on his five-year contract.

His dismissal follows an independent law firm investigation and U.S. Department of Education report, both of which found that the 23,500-student public university violated the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to disclose campus security information.

The body of Laura Dickinson, 22, was discovered December 15 in her dorm room. At the time, university officials told Dickinson's parents and the media that she died of asphyxiation but that there was no sign of foul play, despite evidence to the contrary.

It wasn't until another Eastern student was arrested in late February and charged with murder that her family and fellow students learned she had been raped and killed.

The accused student, Orange Taylor III, of Southfield, has pleaded not guilty to murder and criminal sexual conduct charges in Dickinson's death. He is scheduled for trial October 15.

Many in the university's administration were accused of covering up the truth and endangering students to protect the school's image, which has been marred in recent years by tensions with faculty, students and the community.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

This outrageous incident should serve as a wake-up call to other universities and colleges. Students, faculty, and staff should be proactive in making sure accurate and truthful data is provided regarding campus security.

CNN - University president fired after alleged rape cover-up

Chronicle of Higher Education - President Fired at Eastern Michigan U. Over Campus-Crime Scandal

WLOS ABC 13 - University president fired after alleged cover-up of campus killing

MLive.com - Instability at the top beleaguers university

Fox News - Outrage Over Eastern Michigan University's Silence on Student's Rape and Murder

New York Times - University Fires Officials for Concealing Killing

Morals Collide at Boulder High School

The Conference on World Affairs did an April panel session at Boulder High School extolling sex and drug use to high school students as young as fourteen years old!

The talk was called "STDs: Sex, Teens, and Drugs." The four panelists were a Los Angeles psychology professor, a Los Angeles storyteller, a New York community-engagement leader and the director of the Drug Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

Listen to excerpts from the panel discussion (630AM KHOW radio show)

Text transcript of CWA session

The panelists talked about the difficulty of maintaining an erection while using condoms, the naturalness of experimenting with same-sex relationships and why drugs should be legalised.

Quote from Joel Becker, the psychology professor: "I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately. And why I am going to take that position is because you're going to do it anyway."

Another quote: "I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior... Well I don't care if its men with men, women and women, men and woman. Whatever combination you would like to put together."

Quote from Andee Gerhardt, the community-engagement leader with Ernst and Young: "This is about thinking about the choices you're making today and how they're going to affect you over the long haul."

Conference organisers said the participants spoke "candidly and sensibly to the high school audience, providing cautionary information about alcohol consumption, drugs, sexual issues, and teens."

Candidly? Sensibly? Telling folks that long-term sexual relationships are no good. That it is alright for a girl to have sex with a boy, even if the boy does not love her. Another panelist told students to go ahead and try same-sex relationships at an early age. One wanted to use exctasy as part of psychological experiment but he did not have any.

Was it right for the school to allow this discussion to be told to students as young as 14 years old? I would expect such a thing would be presented to college students or high school students (juniors and seniors). Why was the discussion mandatory for all? Ideally, it should have been voluntary.

One student's family complained about the discussion. I really have to assume there are more but they are too afraid to exhibit such an "unpopular" view in front of everyone else. A shout out to Boulder High sophomore Daphne White and her mother, Priscilla, for complaining to the Boulder Valley School Board.

Of course, the school board thought it was inappropriate after the school board president told Priscilla White to stop reading excerpts from the panel discussion. Really? Was it that offensive?

So as a result, school district spokesman Briggs Gamblin stated that Boulder High will no longer require students to attend the panel discussions and will more carefully vet the panels.

Perhaps we should open a new wing of the high school and name it "The Young Brothel Wing."

denverpost.com - School district rethinks policies on CU panels

RockyMountainNews.com - Organizers defend sex talk at Boulder High

Stealing campus newspapers b/c they looked fat

girls_steal_newspaper.jpg

To Chris Calzolaio, junior and sports editor of The Gatepost student newspaper at Framingham State College, it was the perfect picture for the April 27 edition. The photo showed seven female students in the stands at a lacrosse game with their stomachs painted to spell a player's name.

But the girls in the photo did not think so. Over half of the 2,000 copies of the edition disappeared soon after the paper was distributed across campus.

Usually, the campus newspaper would get swiped because of a controversial editorial or cartoon, but because they looked kinda fat in the picture?

The newspaper had to spend an additional $600 to print 500 more copies. Editor Megan Turner wants the culprits to pay for it.

Boston.com - Students find photo hard to stomach, take papers

WHDH-TV - College students: Do I look fat in this picture?

Graduate denied teaching degree b/c of MySpace Photo

On the eve of graduation day, Millersville University student Stacy Snyder was denied a teaching degree because of a MySpace photo. Apparently, one of her instructors found a 2005 photo of her wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic "Mr. Goodbar" cup. Of course, it could be anything in that cup. Yet the caption "Drunken Pirate" caused alarm and her instructor confronted her about it.

Despite her attempt to deleting the photo from her MySpace page, the University decided to grant Snyder a degree in English and not her education degree or teaching certificate.

Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, accused Snyder of promoting underage drinking. Yet, given that she is 27 years old, the photo would make her 25, so she was not even underage at that time. Yet, the school believes it was unprofessional and conduct unbecoming of a teacher candidate.

Stacy is now suing the University for her teaching certificate and seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It would seem unfair. First, it is hard to determine if her photo was promoting underage drinking given that she was of legal age. As to being unprofessional, the photo was not that offensive. I would have expected a topless photo or Stacy doing a keg stand, or pouring alcohol over someone else in a drinking game. Then yes, I would call her conduct unprofessional. It seems that Millersville could have placed some sort of higher moral standard on her graduates. Yet, should one photo such as this determine her future character as a teacher?

What if the photo was of her in a political protest rally? What if she was photographed being arrested at the event? What if she was in a mud wrestling match? Or she was a bridesmaid and was in a food fight with the rest of the wedding group?

Of course, the easiest answer most people would give is "Don't show any at all!"

But I would also wonder if her MySpace blog content was "offensive" too? Also in the rumor mill, she apparently told students at one school where she worked as a student-teacher about her MySpace profile, so that could be a mistake on her part. Yet, anyone would be able to find her MySpace with little difficulty in a short period of time.

URI Student Senate Rejects Punishment for College Republicans

Follow-up to my previous post

Last night, the Student Senate of the University of Rhode Island (URI) rejected the Student Organisations Advisory and Review Committee (SOARC)'s recommendation to derecognise the College Republicans. It concluded that the group did not need to apologise for advertising a satirical white, heterosexual, American male "scholarship."

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) President Greg Lukianoff:

“Preserving the College Republicans’ recognition and revoking the demand for an apology is the only acceptable decision that the Student Senate could have made. Everyone following this case seemed to understand that no public governing body may lawfully compel speech. We are relieved that the Student Senate finally came to that same realization.”

Basically, the Executive Committee voted 6-5 against the bill before it reached the Senate floor. Instead of an apology, the College Republicans would need to give explanations for their intentions to the approximately 40 students who applied for the "scholarship."

FIRE Press Release

NYU College Republicans try again....more protests

After the Minutemen debacle protest last year, the College Republicans try again by inviting Chris Simcox of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.

The protest this time was slightly more "polite." The black protestor which was swearing quite a lot is Chester Asher, a NYU graduate student. He was escorted out by NYU security.

The Villager - Students shout, but don't cross line vs. Minutemen

It's always amusing to find the leftist and pro-immigrant protest a panel discussion that features both sides of the issue.

Was Cornell President playing politics with VT?

I think this story is a bit "delicate" to remembering the Virginia Tech victims.

VTSkorton.jpgCornell President David Skorton:

"We are one," said Cornell President David Skorton. "We are one community, one people, one planet. We are here today to affirm that oneness ... We are here to bear witness to the passing of the 33 members of our family at Virginia Tech University who have met an untimely and terrible fate."

And, he said, "We are here for all of those who are gone, for all 33. We are here for the 32 who have passed from the immediate to another place, not by their own choice. We are also here for the one who has also passed."

He added that those present were there to "join with our friends in the Korean and Korean-American communities for we are all one family, most especially today we share the same sorrow and the same need for comfort and reassurance."

Before the service, the bells of McGraw tower rang 33 times, once for each of the victims.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Was President Skorton afraid of some backlash against Korean-Americans? Cornell is way up in NY! Some sort of racial guilt? How can one person be considered a representative of an entire ethnic/racial group? Was his shout-out just to make the Korean students feel more safe? Don't worry my friends, Skorton has absolved you from the naughty actions of Cho.

Come on here, the students of Cornell are much more smarter than that. Or perhaps they are all brainwashed and think if some white or minority person is shooting up a public place, everyone of that race or grouping is more likely to commit the same thing. Ridiculous!

Cho is not part of "the family." He killed 32 people in cold blood, we cannot forget that fact. I am sure we are sympathetic to his situation, but we cannot place Cho on equal footing with his victims.


How to destroy a conservative student group from within

Reported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) student club at Central Michigan University (CMU) was targeted by certain elements in their student population in an attempt to force its own dissolution.

YAF is a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at CMU described in its constitution as “a conservative non-partisan, non-sectarian voluntary educational organization.” Apparently, the CMU student government attempted to de-recognise the group last February, but failed. In response, students from various liberal student groups began attending and disrupting YAF meetings. Some individuals created a Facebook group entitled "People who believe the Young Americans for Freedom is a Hate Group." In that group, members supposedly shared messages suggesting ways to get YAF expelled from CMU. One post encouraged members to attend YAF meetings, vote students opposing YAF's mission into board positions, and thereby forcing the group's dissolution.

The YAF emailed their Student Life office if they could deny membership to individuals who publicly disagreed with their group's purpose. In response, the office stated that the non-discrimination clause of the RSO Manual, says that "[a]n RSO may not discriminate in its membership criteria or leadership criteria on the basis of…political persuasion…."

FIRE contacted CMU President Michael Rao reminding him that denying political or ideological student groups the right to associate with students who share the group’s beliefs violates the freedom of association afforded to all CMU students. It also pointed out that CMU allows religious student groups to choose their membership based on shared beliefs, resulting in an inconsistency regarding the policy for secular student groups.

With FIRE's assistance, CMU announced that they would implement a new policy extending the rules for religious student groups to all belief-based student groups.

Update: SFSU College Republicans will not be punished

Update to my previous blog entry on the SFSU College Republicans being charged with a formal complaint to inciting violence and creating a hostile environment with the burning of Hamas and Hezbollah flags.

The University announced on March 19th that the College Republicans will face no punishment for hosting an anti-terrorism rally at which participants stepped on makeshift Hezbollah and Hamas flags.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) President Greg Lukianoff said, "We are relieved that SFSU has come to its senses and recognized that it cannot punish students for constitutionally protected expression."

SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan gave the good news to FIRE saying that "the Student Organisation Hearing Panel (SOHP) unanimously concluded that the College Republicans organisation had not violated the Student Code of Conduct and that there were no grounds to support the student complaint lodged against them."

FIRE Press Release on this matter

WorldNetDaily - Students who 'desecrated Allah' acquitted

The Golden Gate - Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty

FrontPageMag - Free Speech--But Only for Our Enemies

All Charges Against Duke Lacrosse Players Dropped!

4/11/07

DUKE LACROSSE CASE: ALL CHARGES DROPPED ACCORDING TO N.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Thank goodness! Again, people should stop from jumping on the lynching bandwagon in the beginning of this debacle. I wonder how many regretted going against these three former Duke students.

* * * * * * * *

The long running debacle is almost over. Several sources have revealed that assault and attempted kidnapping charges still pending against Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y.; Dave Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md.; and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Falls, N.J., will soon be dropped.

This ridculous hubbub started when Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong last year indicted the three former players with raping an exotic dancer hired to perform at an off-campus lacrosse party on March 13, 2006.

As such, the arrests caused much racial tension on campus, and resulted in the firing of Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler and the cancellation of last year's spring season. Seligmann and Finnerty were suspended (Evans had already graduated by the time the story came out), and Duke began a rigorous review of how alcohol on and around campus is treated.

Will this be made into a TV movie?

Will Mike Pressler file a lawsuit against Duke U for unfair dismissal?

Will we re-think the way white-on-black or black-on-white crime is committed?

This event unnecessarily damaged racial relations on campus. Will students, staff, and other folks who were against the players say they were mistaken and sorry?

College Republicans on trial at San Francisco State University

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports that San Francisco State University (SFSU) is putting the College Republicans student group through judicial action for hosting an anti-terrorism rally at which participants stepped on makeshift Hezbollah and Hamas flags.

The problem is that the flags, made to look exactly authentic, had the name of Allah written in Arabic script. It was not done on purpose. The Arabic script is clearly found on these flags. The University has alleged that this sort of action was an attack on Allah himself. A student also filed a complaint against the group alleging "attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment" and "actions of incivility."

FIRE has asked the University to call off the hearing. It has argued that "SFSU has a duty to uphold the First Amendment rights of all of its students, even if their expressive activity offends the religious sensibilities of some." The University has responded it will continue to investigate the complaint "to give all parties the confidence that they will be heard and fairly treated by a panel that includes representatives of all the University’s key constituencies."

* * * * * * * * * *

Was it an attack on Allah and the religion, or a protest against two groups, Hezbollah and Hamas, known for their terrorist activities and connections? Is there a difference between burning the American flag versus a Hezbollah or Hamas flag?

Obviously, it would be a clear distinction of an attack on the religion if the group members made flags with just the word "Allah" in Arabic script and stepped on them and burned them.

When Hezbollah and Hamas members are buring Israeli flags, are they targeting the country itself or the Jewish faith, or both?

A person burning any one of these flags should be intepreted as a protest against the terrorist organisation itself, not the religion.

It would seem the College Republicans at SFSU will be sanctioned given that their student government has already condemned their actions, and the hearing board may already be biased against them.

Even the ACLU is siding with FIRE on this. Despite the need to promote tolerance and nondiscrimination, the civil rights group still believes the First Amendment must be upheld. Any sanction by the University at the group will be a violation of freedom of expression.

Here are the flags

Hamas

Hamas_flag.jpg

Hezbollah

Hezbollah_flag.jpg

NYU College Republicans' "Find the Illegal Immigrant" Causes Uproar

2007_02_illegalim2.jpgIt is well known for NYU's College Republicans to stage controversial and provocative events guaranteed to receive local and national coverage and anger the liberal left campus groups and organisations.

Today, the student group is sponsoring a contest called "Find the Illegal Immigrant" - a mock hunt for a student posing as just that. It is to be held in Washington Square Park (NYC) from 11AM to 2PM. The student posing as the illegal immigrant will wear a name tag saying so. Other students will try to find him or her, playing the part of border patrol agents and wearing nametags that say "INS," referring to the former Immigration and Naturalization Service.

College Republicans president and CAS junior Sarah Chambers said, "The event will open up both vocally and physically the issue of illegal immigration. That it's not right to come here illegally while others are waiting to come here legally and receive free health care and jobs that undercut wages of American workers and people that are living here legally."

As usual, reaction from student groups such as ACLU at NYU, the College Democrats, and several multicultural clubs was far from pleasing. The groups plan to organise a protest, and they expect several hundred to attend.

College Democrats president and CAS senior Nora Toiv said, "The event is offensive because by playing a game like this, you make light of a real-life situation. To ridicule what is often a very traumatic experience is hateful."

Senior Democratic senator from New York, Charles Schumer, said in an event yesterday promoting his book, "Positively American":
What I really find obnoxious - and that's how I'd describe what the College Republicans are doing - is it dehumanizes [illegal immigrants]," the senator told WSN during a question-and-answer session after his speech. "A person who's making a dollar a day in Oaxaca, who risks their life to come and make two dollars an hour here in America, is not to be ridiculed. It's not to be despised. So what I think they're doing is obnoxious."

Toiv said the College Democrats' largest objection to the event is in the way it has been presented.

Protesters from the various other groups will be carrying signs and handing out pamphlets stating "No one is illegal" and calling the event "completely unacceptable."

The event has already garnered attention from national media such as CNN, Fox News, NPR, and talk radio.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Due to incidents with the Minutemen event last year, Toiv wants to make sure the protest is done peacefully. If a riot breaks out again where students are injured, it will make the protestors the assailants and their protest would fail. I am sure some radical leftists would point to the Republicans' event as a catalyst, but they have the right to stage the event, no matter how offensive it could be. Likewise, other groups can protest the event, but if they cause a riot, it's their fault.

I really doubt that this event can be construed as racist. Illegal immigration is a major problem on voters' minds. I have no problems with people legally coming into this country to work and receive education and benefits. I only have a problem when they try to sneak around the guards, use faulty documentation to get into this country, and not paying their fair share.

It is not about focusing on any one particular ethnic group. There are Asians, Mexicans, Latin and South American, Cubans, and even Europeans that try to get into our country through illegal means. This issue must be faced head on.

How can this be any different? If you sneak into a Dave Matthews concert without a ticket and get caught, you get kicked out and possibly get arrested. You did not have the proper papers to attend the event, so it is justified for security to remove you from the venue.

If you come into country without proper documentation, the law enforcement agencies have the right to deport you. This is simple logic.

The College Republicans' event is helping revive this debate because the Democrats, the ACLU, and the other groups refuse to do so. Yep, it's a publicity stunt. It is guaranteed to generate coverage and debate. I think they ought to cancel the event because their PR stunt has been a success.

As with Schumer's comment, it is true that there are people who risk their lives to come to this country to enjoy a better life, but does it excuse them from the ones that come to this country legally? Is he telling me that it is better for an illegal immigrant to come into this country and get a better deal to benefits and citizenship than a legal immigrant? Has anyone asked immigrant advocates about the opinions of immigrants who have legally entered this country?

I have also ventured across the blogosphere and everyone is pretty much accusing the College Republicans for being racist. (Example) How can this be racist? This blogger called himself an intelligent, active, and anti-racist person calling on others to protest this event. We really love to say that's racist because it generates an automated reaction from the populace. In this blog, you have to question if those photos are true. Did they come from a Minutemen rally or a Nazi protest?

Here's one student's take on it.

The slogans "No one is illegal" or "World without borders" are nonsense words. You can not say these words as absolutes. I bet that most people signing up to protest were told word of mouth by organisers who are against the event and are willing to call it racist just to increase the turnout. Somehow people just fail to stand back, do some research on it, look at the viewpoints on why the CR club is doing this event and why people are against it, and make an informed decision. Ahh, the power of the mob at work.

The national media attention is pretty much overkill. It's like this event is not the first of its kind.

In any case, I applaud NYU for allowing this tasteless event to be held. This helps support our freedom to free speech especially politically incorrect speech. We should not let those individuals who want to redefine free speech to make it acceptable to their agenda.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NYU officials released a statement explaining why the college is allowing the game. Spokesman John Beckman writes:

"At universities, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas – even difficult and unpopular ideas – is a key mission. We hope the debates will be conducted with respect and civility, and will be driven by an impulse to provoke thought rather than anger. Illegal immigration is a totally appropriate topic for debate, though this event seems principally calculated to produce outraged reaction rather than dialogue.

"Our inclination is always to support free speech. Just as one group of students will conduct this so-called 'game,' others will be protesting it. At a university, this is exactly the kind of outcome we hope for from engaged students and scholars."

Student Party Correctness

Today, political correctness is known as the life blood of sensitivity to every ethnic, religious, and geopolitical group across the spectrum. Any persons that do not follow the supposed saint of "diversity" are considered to be ignorant, lacking respect or even racist.

The over-regulated rules of what's appropriate and what's not is being challenged by students who feel society has become too engrossed with it. They could be the most tolerant generation in years, and they are basically telling the rest of us to "lighten up."

It is true that some things are definitely inappropriate, but do we blame them for being racist, ignorant, or just doing a stupid thing? Over the last several months, there has been outrage at student parties and incidents across the nation that have involved racial overtones.

At Trinity College and Whitman College, there were parties where students showed up in racially offensive costumes or blackface. At Texas A&M University, students made a racist video portraying three students demonstrating crude racial slurs, including slave-to-master relationships while wearing blackface makeup. A fraternity at Johns Hopkins University was suspended after a "Halloween in the Hood" party displayed a fake pirate skeleton hanging from a noose. At Tarleton State University, Clemson University, and the University of Connecticut held "gangsta" parties. At Macalester College, students held a "politically incorrect" party where one student was costumed as a Ku Klux Klan member and another wore blackface with a noose around his neck.

So where do you draw the line? What's funny and what's wrong? What's entertaining and what's offensive?

Fraternities hold parties with themes like "golf pros and tennis hoes" or sex reversal parties where guys dress up as girls and vice versa. Go to a halloween party hosted by a downtown nightclub, and you will see people dressed up as gangstas, but girls dressed up as slutty cheerleaders, or guys dressed as a penis? Is that just very crude humor?

How can these be different from what we see in the media? Steven Colbert routinely mocks politics and religion. Some of Saturday Night Live's "funniest" skits make fun of homosexuals, ethnic and religious groups. Is there a national boycott for the film "Borat" for its horribly politically incorrect ways? It got an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay instead. Or Family Guy's making fun of Osama bin Laden's terrorist speech to America?

Most were perplexed when Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington got criticised by the press and sent to counseling after supposedly uttered a slur about a cast member's sexuality. Now you got Tim Hardaway saying he hates gay people. I guess he's off to counseling too.

Obviously, wearing blackface or a KKK outfit is really offensive, but is it likely that the person was being racist about it or trying to act stupid? But complaining about people wearing "gangsta" outfits? Could it be possible a person wearing a "Al Capone" costume may be trying to make fun of blacks? Or a person wearing a kung-fu outfit is offensive to Asians? I guess costume stores would need to remove "Aunt Jemima" from their catalog list too. Maybe we can get really serious and prevent students from dressing up as pilot or a soldier, it could offend our war veterans out there.

I also find it unfortunate that certain people out there would declare that racism is abundant and widespread at the school where the incident takes place. It is very amusing when after one or two costumes are found to be insensitive and offensive, the accusers would start saying it is a sign of racism and it has been happening on campus for years, and administrators and student leaders have been ignoring it. It's all a coverup, they cried! They see a pirate skeleton hanging from a rope, and to them, it's a lynching. Perhaps we should ban Pirates of the Caribbean.

So people want to speak up and complain, hold your forums and meetings. Go and share your feelings and explain your viewpoints and misconceptions. Then we can move on more smoothly.

Racism Accusations Fly at Daily Princetonian newspaper

After finishing the unjust gambling post and about to hit the bed, I did a refresh of Yahoo.com web site, and of course, I noticed the "Princeton newspaper stirs racism accusations" link. I kinda figured what could it be. Another cartoon making fun of a religious or ethnic group? A bad joke column. Some Op-Ed about a controversial article on some minority figure?

Well, it turns out to be a bad joke column. The Associated Press article basically talks about the Daily Princetonian issue which included a column that closely resembled Jian Li, an 18-year-old Asian man who filed a civil rights complaint against the university last summer after he was denied admission.

In the controversial column, "Princeton University is racist against me, I mean, non-whites," the author "Lian Ji" mocks the school with broken English and uses several racial stereotypes for his rejection.

The beginning of the article began with, "Hi Princeton! Remember me? I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score. Ring bells?.... Just in cases, let me refresh your memories. I the super smart Asian. Princeton the super dumb college, not accept me."

The rest of the column consists of "Ji" boasting about his extracurricular activities and racial reasons on why Princeton said no to his college application. There is one sentence about doing a better job in student government, another jab at Yale... sort of.

The content was quite satirical, but I think the humor kinda fell out by the fifth paragraph.

Well it seems that some students and alumni were not quite fond of it and are accusing those who wrote it of racism. Strange enough, the Editor Managing Board also has an asian editor on its team. They released an editor's note on the controversial column. "Using hyperbole and an unbelievable string of stereotypes, we hoped to lampoon racism by showing it at its most outrageous," the note said. "We embraced racist language in order to strangle it. At its worst, the column was a bad joke; at its best, it provoked serious thought about issues of race, fairness and diversity."

The real Jian Li was not happy with it either. He is currently attending Yale University. He said, "I think the article was extremely distasteful. Whoever decided to publish it showed an extreme lapse of judgment." Also, his complaint against Princeton for bias on his admission last year remains under investigation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ok, truthfully, I find it a bit unfortunate that Jian Li chose to file a complaint against Princeton for not accepting him. The acceptance rate at this prestigious Ivy League school is 10.9 percent. For the Class of 2010, Princeton offered admission to 1,792 of 17,563 applicants. It also noted that of the 1,886 valedictorians who applied, only 17 percent were admitted!

Having a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT does not lead to automatic acceptance. There are many applicants like yourself (Jian Li) who have perfect grades, participated in student clubs holding leadership positions, or did some sort of noteworthy project that was mentioned in some local newspaper that did not get in. Forty-four percent of the ones that got accepted were of minority status. How can you file a civil rights complaint based on all of these facts?

Having achieved acceptance and enrollment at Yale University does not confirm your reasoning that Princeton should have given you admission. So if you got accepted at only one Ivy League school, should you whine and complain to the rest of them for not giving you the pleasure of attending their school?

Do I detect some hint of an ego trip here? Do I have to imagine you trying to apply for a job at some financial firm, and then start throwing racial bias if you did not get to work at Prudential, JP Morgan Chase, or Morgan Stanley? I can see it. A civil rights letter attesting that since you got into Goldman Sachs, the rest of the investment banks should offer you a job too.

I went and checked the civil rights compliant Jian Li made to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. He racked up the maximum 2400 points on the SAT I, and 2390 on the SAT II subject tests in physics, chemistry, and calculus. He also was denied admission to Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Office for Civil Rights initially rejected Mr. Li's complaint due to "insufficient" evidence. Mr. Li appealed, citing a white high-school classmate admitted to Princeton despite lower test scores and grades. The office notified him late last month that it would look into the case.

This is where I draw the line. Obviously, there is bound to be another applicant with a lower test score and grades and getting accepted to Princeton. Who knows... it could be one of Li's high school classmates. Honestly, what if it was a student that got a 2200 on the SAT, and also had high grades but a bit lower than Li's, is that really "strong evidence" for racial bias?

His complaint seeks to suspend federal financial assistance to Princeton until the university "discontinues discrimination against Asian-Americans in all forms by eliminating race preferences, legacy preferences, and athlete preferences." Legacy preference is the edge
most elite colleges, including Princeton, give to alumni children. The Office for Civil Rights has the power to terminate such financial aid but usually works with colleges to resolve cases rather than taking enforcement action.

Hmm, it looks like he wants to show that he is not doing it just for the Asian-Americans, but for the rest of the minorities. Maybe he wants to show that it is not all about him.

I did not find the joke op-ed column funny. It was really terrible. If this was a standalone column and you were reading it for the first time, you would have felt sympathetic for Jian Li. However, if you add in his civil rights complaint against the University for racial bias, he sounds more of a sore loser.

But was the column racist? For myself, the ability to determine whether the content was just satire or an attack on a specific ethnic group has been blurred by what we see in the media today. We laughed at Dave Chappelle's rendition of black culture as well as Borat's Kahzah impersonations. If a member of a ethnic or religious group makes fun of it, it is considered to be tolerable. If a member of a group makes fun of a different group, it's not tolerated. So the point is not whether the column was racist or not, it's to decide whether the people writing up the column were being stupid or not.

If this was an Onion article, Asian-American groups at Princeton would have criticised the editors' performance in using broken English. "Me would have done good better," they cried!

Some would privately tell everyone else - "So Jian Li got into Yale, well we did not get accepted there, so we had to go Princeton. Lucky him."

Sure, the column did not help smooth over things, but the reaction afterwards is just unnecessary. The evidence lies in a joint statement by the top editors and leaders of the Asian-American Students Association published in the campus newspaper on Monday saying they were all “frustrated that this episode has led some to believe that Princeton is an unwelcoming place for Asian-American students.” They said such an impression is “not validated” by their own experiences.


NY Times - At Princton, a Parody Raises Questions of Bias

Ten Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses

Link

Whoa....

1) Occidental College's The Phallus

2) University of California-Los Angeles's Queer Musicology

3) Amherst College's Taking Marx Seriously: "Should Marx be given another chance?"

4) U PENN's Adultery Novel

5) Occidental College's Blackness (Feminist New Black Man)

6) Universty of Washington's Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration

7) Mount Holyoke College's Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism

8) University of Michigan's Native American Feminisms

9) Johns Hopkins University's Mail Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context

10) Cornell University's Cyberfeminism

11) Duke University's American Dreams/American Realities

12) Swarthmore College's Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism

Dishonorable Mentions

UC-Berkeley's Sex Change City: Theorising History in Genderqueer San Francisco

Cornell University's Sex, Rugs, Salt & Coal

Hollins University's Drag: Theories of Transgenderism and Performance

UC Colorado-Boulder's Introduction to Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Literature

Swarthmore College's Peace Study in Action

Swarthmore College's Renaissance Sexualities

Oberlin College's She Works Hard for the Money: Women, Work, and the Persistence of Inequality

Hollins University's Lesbian Pulp Fiction

Black Duke University Professor Resigns from Race Relations Committee

Dr. Karla Holloway, Professor of English and Law at Duke University, has resigned from the university committee on race relations in protest against Duke's decision to readmit two of the accused lacrosse players back on to campus.

Her official statement:
“The decision by the university to readmit the students, especially just before a critical judicial decision on the case, is a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship. I could no longer work in good faith with this breach of common trust.”

Holloway, who is black, had agreed to head one of the four committees formed by Duke President Richard H. Brodhead late last spring. She says she’d hoped to improve the racial climate on campus after a Black exotic dancer accused members of Duke’s men’s lacrosse team of rape and racial slurs — prompting a media frenzy and nationwide accusations of racism against the university and its students.

Diverse Online article

Durham-in-Wonderland blog on the Duke/Nifong case

It would seem some have welcomed Holloway's departure. Her comments have not been fruitful in the past nine months such as below.

With regards to male athletes:
“The ‘culture’ of sports seems for some a reasonable displacement for the cultures of moral conduct, ethical citizenship and personal integrity,” reinforcing “exactly those behaviors of entitlement which have been and can be so abusive to women and girls and those ‘othered’ by their sports’ history of membership.”

To those that defended the lacrosse players:
Those who defended the players targeted by Nifong? They believed that “white innocence means black guilt. Men’s innocence means women’s guilt.”

To the women's lacrosse players who supported the male players:
She denounced their “team-inspired and morally slender protestations of loyalty that brought the ethic from the field of play onto the field of legal and cultural and gendered battle as well.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Such a strange with human nature. It does wonders when most of the student body, professors, staff and administrators initially supported the women, and placed the presumption of guilty on the Duke lacrosse players.

Now with the case falling apart and the dropping of rape charges, the administration is doing an about-face. Support among the student body and professors have switched sides to the lacrosse players. Even with the kidnapping and assault charges, the evidence is pretty weak, and it is very likely that the three players will see all charges dropped against them. Now some profs and students are blaming those that thought the players were guilty.

Then all we have left are the individuals who are so steadfast confident that the lacrosse players are ultimately guilty and that the black exotic dancer is now the target of some big-schemed conspiracy.

Quite an unfair debacle. That's human behaviour.

Congrats to Caltech!

A round of congratulations go to Caltech. Not for their brainy students or for some breakthrough in some academic or science field. For their basketball team.

On Saturday, the Beavers won their first NCAA basketball victory since 1996. They defeated Bard College of NY by a score of 81-52. This ended their run of 207 consecutive NCAA Division III losses.

What's next for this team of smart and intelligent players? To end another bad record. 245 consecutive defeats in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, and this one goes back almost 22 years!!

The California Institute of Technology has about 850 students.

Good luck to them!

CNNSI Link

Update: Columbia President Charges Student Protestors

The New York Times has reported that Columbia University has notified students that were involved in disrupting a program of Minutemen speakers in early October that they were being charged with violating rules of university conduct governing demonstrations. The University has not released how many students were given notice.

Possible sanctions include disciplinary warning, censure, suspension, and dismissal (a bit less painful than the word 'expulsion'). Mr. Bollinger noted, as president, he is the "final avenue of appeal for those found to be in violation of University Rules."

Most likely the students involved with be given light sentences due to the political nature of the incident. If the University cracks down on the protestors, then liberal and socialist groups would respond negatively. If he does not do anything, he would have condon violent behaviour in suppressing controversial speakers. It's a shame really.

If there is concrete evidence such as video and certified statements by witnesses, a censure should be placed on the student's record. Detention or community services without any negative blot on their record is just an empty punishment.

Of course, there should be harsher punishments for non-Columbia students who try to incite violence at their events. Banning them from campus is not enough. If they show up on campus again, criminal action should be swiftly taken.

The Columbia Spectator article (dated 12/22/2006) also indicates that the notified students were charged with "simple" violations of the Rules of University Conduct. The next level of violation would have been labeled "serious."

The University also decided to move all student groups from the jurisdiction of the Student Governing Board (SGB) to Student Affairs.

A Sense of Humor: Required for Student Govt Officers

Apparently, the USC (University of South Carolina) Vice President was not happy when he returned back to campus to see his office a target of an April Fools' prank. He initially assumes the staff uses student activity funds to pay for the balloons, but students happily payed for them out of their own pockets. He then accuses them of using the oxygen tank in the closet to blow up the balloons. Last, he declares that if the balloons were not cleaned up from his office, he will take photos of the prank and will use them to cause some major problems.

One will surmise that he will tell the student newspaper about the lack of seriousness among the staff at the USC student govt office. But of course, due to the closeness of the date, April 1, his efforts would be futile.

Thus, as a reminder to student government officers, it is best to have a sense of humor. As we have seen from this video, the officer has shown his "true feelings" to everyone. Come on now, you are serving as Student Body Vice-President and President of the Student Senate, there's a time to be serious, and there's a time to take everything in stride.

He is currently serving his first year in law school at USC.

Related Link

Here's a Up Close & Personal with the officer off their student newspaper (dated 9/18/2006)

Immigration Protest at Michigan State Law School

What is the best way to stifle free speech or an opposing view on a touchy subject such as immigration? Use violence.

Last Thursday, protestors attempted to block a speech by Republican Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo on the subject of illegal immigration. They pulled a fire alarm prior to the speech. Than there were at least three incidents where students sponsors (members of the Michigan State University College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom) were attacked by them too.

According to Tancredo in an e-mail: "One was spit on, one was kicked, and one was punched. Tires were also slashed."

The Congressman leads the group that opposes legal status for illegal immigrants. Here's a YouTube video of Tancredo being introduced at the speech:

Here's another video when the fire alarm is pulled:

In addition to using loud shouting, they carried signs reading "Ignorant Racist." It was reported that about 40 people attended the lecture.

DenverPost - Tancredo protesters turn violent

Of course, Fox News - Hannity & Colmes carried the news:

Mob Rule on College Campuses

Cinnamon Stillwell's article about Mob Rule on College Campuses (off SFGate.com)

America's college campuses, once thought to be bastions of free speech, have become increasingly intolerant toward the practice. Visiting speakers whose views do not conform to the prevailing left-leaning political mind-set on most campuses are at particular risk of having their free speech rights infringed upon.

While academia has its own crimes to atone for, it's the students who have become the bullies as of late. A disturbing number seem to feel that theirs is an inviolate world to which no one of differing opinion need apply. As a result, everything from pie throwing to disrupting speeches to attacks on speakers has become commonplace.

Conservative speakers have long been the targets of such illiberal treatment. The violent reception given to Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, an anti-illegal immigration group, at Columbia University in October is a recent example. Gilchrist had been invited to speak by the Columbia University College Republicans, but was prevented from doing so by an unruly mob of students. What could have been mere heckling descended into yelling, screaming, kicking and punching, culminating in the rushing of the stage and Gilchrist being shuttled off by security.

The fact that the rioting students could be heard yelling, "He has no right to speak!" was telling. Apparently, in their minds, neither Gilchrist nor anyone else with whom they disagree has a right to express their viewpoints. In any other setting this would be called exactly what it is -- totalitarianism. But in the untouchable Ivy League world of Columbia, it was chalked up to student activism gone awry. While condemning the incident, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has yet to apologize to Gilchrist or to conclude the supposed investigation into the affair. In other words, mob rule won the day.

Bay Area PC Intolerance

Such behavior is certainly not limited to East Coast universities. Last February at San Francisco State University, former liberal activist-author turned conservative activist-author David Horowitz had his entire speech shouted down by a group of protesters. Composed primarily of students and other members of the Spartacus Youth Club, a Trotskyist organization, the group stood in the back of the room shouting slogans and comments at every turn.

Even this was not enough to warrant their removal, so Horowitz and his audience, which included me, simply had to suffer through the experience. Horowitz, whose speech centered on his Academic Bill of Rights, took on his critics and attempted to engage them in dialogue, with varying degrees of success. But those who actually came to hear him speak, whether out of sympathy for his views or out of a desire to tackle them intellectually, were unable to do so fully because of the actions of a few bullies.

It is not only conservative speakers who are at risk of having their free speech rights trampled upon on American college campuses. Those who dare criticize radical Islam in any way, shape or form tend to suffer the same fate.

In 2004, UC Berkeley became the locus for bullying behavior during a speech by Islam scholar Daniel Pipes. I was witness to the spectacle, one I'll never forget. Members of the Muslim Student Association and other protesters formed a disruptive group in the audience, shouting, jeering and chanting continually. They booed loudly throughout and called Pipes everything from "racist" and "Zionist" (which in their minds is an insult) to "racist Jew" -- all because Pipes had the audacity to propose that moderate Muslims distance themselves from extremist elements in their midst; that in tackling terrorism authorities take into account the preponderance of Muslim perpetrators and that Israel has a right to exist peacefully among its neighbors.

This was hardly the first time that UC Berkeley students had espoused hostility toward speakers with "unpopular" views or those hailing from "unpopular" countries such as Israel. Nonetheless, it was a wake-up call for many in the audience who had not yet experienced first-hand the intimidation of the mob.

Muslim Reformers Silenced

Recently, reformers from within the Muslim world itself have been on the receiving end of such treatment. Whether it be the work of student groups or faculty, insurmountable security restrictions and last-minute cancellations have a strange way of arising whenever such figures are invited to speak on college campuses.

Arab American activist and author Nonie Darwish was to speak at Brown University earlier this month, when the event was canceled because her views were deemed "too controversial" by members of the Muslim Students' Association. Given that Darwish is the author of the recently released book, "Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror," such claims are hardly unpredictable. Like most Muslim reformers, Darwish must overcome the resistance within her own community, aided and abetted by misguided liberal sympathizers, in order to get her message across.

Darwish was born and raised a Muslim in Egypt and later lived in Gaza. It was during this time that she had several experiences that led her to reject the anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism with which she was indoctrinated as a child. She eventually emigrated to the United States and has since dedicated her life to exposing the ways that hatred and intolerance are crippling the Muslim world and leading to violence against non-Muslims.

Her pro-Israel views led to an invitation from the campus Jewish group Hillel to speak at Brown University. Unfortunately, the very same organization later backed out, fearing that their relationship with the Muslim Students' Association would be harmed by the experience. But if such a relationship is based on mutually assured censorship, then it's hardly worth preserving. In the end, all of Brown's students missed out on what would undoubtedly have been a thought-provoking experience.


Word has it that Brown University has re-invited Darwish to speak, no doubt in response to the furor, so perhaps students will have that opportunity after all.

Terrorists Recant

Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist turned Christian convert and outspoken anti-jihadist, fared slightly better at Columbia University in October. Shoebat is the author of "Why I Left Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam." He was invited to speak by the Columbia College Republicans, along with former Lebanese terrorist Zachariah Anani and former Nazi Hitler Youth member and German soldier, Hilmar von Campe. All three have renounced their former anti-Semitic views and dedicated themselves to exposing radical Islam in a no-holds-barred fashion.

They managed to give their presentation, but the turnout was greatly impacted by last-minute changes to security policies implemented in the wake of the Jim Gilchrist debacle. As a result, 75 to 120 people who had RSVP'd for the event were turned away at the door because only Columbia students and 20 guests were allowed to attend. An e-mail sent out 3 hours before the event was the only forewarning, and as one would expect, most of those planning to attend didn't receive it in time. The event had been widely advertised in the blogosphere, and those denied entry were not only greatly inconvenienced but also greatly disappointed.

Members of student groups who had boycotted the event were much cheerier at the prospect of a low turnout. A post at the blog for the Blue and White, Columbia's undergraduate magazine, expressed eagerness for "pretty pictures of empty chairs." Unfortunately, they got their wish, to the detriment of open discourse at Columbia.

Illiberal Mob Rule

It's a sad state of affairs indeed when the figures of moderation and reform that many who call themselves liberal or progressive should in theory support are instead shunned in the name of political correctness. For how can one expect to promote progress while helping to stifle the voices at its heart?

People such as Shoebat and Darwish, who literally risk their lives to call attention to a grave threat to all our rights, are the true freedom fighters of our day. But far too many accord that label to those who choose to effect political change by blowing themselves up in a crowd of civilians or by randomly lobbing rockets into homes and schools or by promoting hatred of other religions. By excusing such behavior and simultaneously helping to suppress reformers, liberal student groups are in fact aiding the very totalitarian forces they claim to oppose. They have in effect become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

It would be nice if we could look to our colleges and universities as the bearers of progress, but at this rate it seems an unlikely prospect. If we are to truly promote an atmosphere of intellectual openness, respectful political debate and the free flow of ideas on campus, then we must stem the tide of thuggery, bullying and intolerance that threatens to subsume future generations.

Otherwise, we cede the day to mob rule.

Brown University Re-Invites Nonie Darwish

Nonie Darwish, born in Egypt and raised as a Muslim, is the author of "Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror." She was invited by the campus Jewish group, Hillel, to tell Brown students about the radicalism she grew to despise in her own culture.

With Muslim organisations on campus calling her "too controversial," Hillel cancelled the event. It was afraid that it would upset its "beautiful relationship" with the Muslim community.

Brown's women's center also backed out of co-sponsoring the event despite that it agrees about Darwish's concerns about the treatment of women. It would seem that Darwish was not going to also condemn Israel for shooting Arab women used by terrorists as human shields, or for insufficiently protecting Israeli Arab wives from their husbands.

Darwish says "Speaking out for human rights, women's rights, equality, or even peace with Israel is a taboo that can have serious consequences" in the Arab world. She argues that her own community - in the Middle East and in America - is hostile to criticism, even from Muslims. She claims that after 9/11, many in Egypt believed that it was a "Zionist consipracy."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

According to Michael Graham's blog, Brown University has re-invited Nonie Darwish.

(See Hillel's statement on the event)

It would seem that Hillel sole sponsorship would shown a bias against "radicalism" in the Islamic world. If Jewish students brought in a speaker that criticises Islam, then it would hurt relations. They argue that it will be the same case if a Muslim group brought in a speaker that demeaned Judaism. So instead, the University will sponsor the event since it will provide the proper academic context for all.

Are we declaring that in order to criticise ourselves, we must bring in a speaker from our own group, not a different one? Or does it seem that speakers that set Islam in a negative light are barred? Could it be that Darwish is a Zionist consiprator trying to destroy Islam? It does not look that way. She wanted to show how Islamic women are treated. Is this different compared to how American women were fighting for their right to vote, equality in pay, and their failed attempt for a constitutional ERA amendment? Or how women were treated in historic times in general?

If you want to purchase the book, it is available at Amazon.com.

Note that because of her book, she has been declared an "infidel" in parts of the Muslim world. It is very likely that she cannot return to Egypt without being harmed.

Hmm, interesting to note that no article mentions about Nicole Darwish on the Brown Daily Herald.

The Blogosphere List Speaks!

Not Talking Back

Dean's World

Don Singleton

Issac Schrodinger

Pajamas Media

Kesher Talk

The Natural Truth

Related Articles

New York Post - Dissent Crushed

UCLA student tasered

Appropriate use of force? Video shows he was "shocked" five times with the taser.

According to UCPD, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, refused to produce his BruinCard ID on request and was asked to leave the CLICC Computer Lab in Powell Library.

In a campus police report, the incident began when community service officers, who serve as guards at the library, began their nightly routine of checking to make sure everyone using the library after 11 p.m. is a student or otherwise authorized to be there.

Campus officials said the long-standing policy was adopted to ensure students' safety.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have called for an independent probe to make sure the case's "civil rights aspects" are taken seriously.

I can understand about questioning the use of the Taser on Tabatabainejad, but was this a "racial profiling" incident? Absolutely not. It's probably more about a campus police officer being trigger-happy with his taser.

According to one UCLA student, random ID checks are standard procedure in Powell Library after 11PM, to ensure the safety of students. The checks are performed by Community Service Officers (CSOs), not UCPD officers. CSOs are UCLA students hired by UCPD to aid in security and service activities.

Mr. Tabatabainejad was the subject of a very ordinary, very standard ID card check by his own students. He failed to produce an ID. He was requested to leave multiple times before campus police were called in.

CAIR should not misinterpret this incident as a sign of Muslim insensitivity at UCLA.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Associated Press is now reporting that Tabatabainejad has claimed he was singled out by the UCPD officer because of his Middle Eastern appearance. His attorney, Stephen Yagman (a high-profile civil rights lawyer), plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the U.S.-born student.

That's one way to paint himself as a victim, not of police brutality, but of systematic discrimination because he is Middle Eastern. Being asked for your student ID is a routine task to ensure the right people are allowed in the computer lab during late hours. How it is linked to the Patriot Act, I do not know.

I think it is right for him to question the appropriate use of force, but playing the race card? So if I am for routine ID checking to promote safety, am I being racist?

I have to wonder if Tabatabainejad is just paranoid and thinks everyone is against him.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Interviews a Daily Bruin Reporter on the incident:

Daily Bruin TV has a video article on it:

NBC4 TV:

More evidence against UCPD Police: they "threaten" students that were trying to crowd them as well as those that asked for their badge numbers.

Related Articles

Daily Bruin - Community responds to Taser use in Powell

LA Times - A third incident, a new video

Stanford Daily - Op-Ed: Why I don't trust the police (Interesting to note that the ID requirement is considered to be trivial and meaningless to the author)

Daily Trojan - UCLA tasering demands tough investigation

Shocking Citizen Journalism

Library Journal - Taser Incident in UCLA Library Sparks Outrage, Investigation

11/27/06 Update

Since the taser incident on the 14th, here are some updates.

hotair.com has a current UCLA student stating that the ID policy in Powell is a normal thing and that the tasered student had too many chances to leave the library without incident and became agitated when confronted.

He also found it odd that his fellow students were so quick to organise rallies and protests against police brutality. It seems that this was the first ever incident involving a UCPD officer on campus in quite some time.

Iran denounces the assault on the Iranian-American student at UCLA?!?!?!?!?

Indybay.org already made up its own mind on the incident.

Interesting read by vivekmittal.com

ABC 7 Local Los Angeles has identified the officer that tasered Tabatabainejad

Safety of taser in doubt after UCLA incident - Yale Daily News

Post Chronicle: The Weak After: UCLA Shock...

Houston Chronicle: Too quick to use tasers?

Orange Coast College Student Trustees Ban Pledge of Allegiance

american_flag.jpgAt Orange Coast College in California, student leaders went ahead and banned the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

According to Reuters, the move was lead by three recently elected student trustees, who ran for office wearing revolutionary-style berets and said they do not believe in publicly swearing an oath to the American flag and government at their school.

Jason Bell, the student trustee who proposed the ban stated "That ('under God') part is sort of offensive to me. I am an atheist and a socialist, and if you know your history, you know that 'under God' was inserted during the McCarthy era and was directly designed to destroy my ideology."

He also said "Loyalty ought to be something the government earns through performance, not through reciting a pledge."

Called the flag salute "irrelevant to the business of student government." Also said nationalism is something that divides people.

The line drawn over patriotism and religion has infuriated some of their classmates -- prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.

"America is the one thing I'm passionate about and I can't let them take that away from me," 18-year-old political science major and College Republicans President Christine Zoldos told Reuters.

"The fact that they have enough power to ban one of the most valued traditions in America is just horrible," Zoldos said, adding she would attend every board meeting to salute the flag.

The OC Register has more.

Author's Opinion

The underlying vote only affects their student trustee meetings. I would assume that most colleges and universities do not have any requirement that students should recite the Pledge at the start of classes. Most student governments do recite or acknowledge the Pledge or American flag at their meetings.

One of their main concerns was the phrase "under God." We all know the 2002 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the recitation of the pledge to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling on procedural grounds.

Bell's claim that the "under God" phrase was offensive to his atheist and socialist ideology seems quite selfish. One has to ask if their election platform included a ban on the Pledge at their government meetings. In any case, the decision is a symbolic one at best. They did not ban the use of the Pledge at other student group meetings. I would expect most groups would just ignore their proposed motion if they tried it.

Perhaps he can start throwing away his money since "In God We Trust" is stated on it. Who knows, maybe him and his socialist colleagues will ban the flag from their meeting room or not have the flag or the national anthem displayed at any student government ceremonies.

Since it is a student-run organisation, the college is not getting itself involved. As part of our democratic process, I would be sure that the next student government elections, the socialist trustees will be voted out of office.

11/15/06 Update

A nice socialist view at the Workers World

Prejudiced patriotism by the LA Times

Is the Pledge of Allegiance misapplied to force indoctrination? Some have said that the Pledge is a hypocritical example. Or could it be that it is an easy target to attack? Who knows if the trustees would push to ban the American flag from their meetings...

Georgetown U joins Columbia in Mob Rule

It would appear that suppressing free speech is happening at Georgetown University. Chris Simcox from the Minutemen was invited to speak at their campus. After about 10 minutes into his speech, someone turned on the fire alarm.

Of course there were protestors outside the event, and they all cheered when the fire alarm went off.

Chris Simcox is the head of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, which has engaged in civilian patrols of the US border with Mexico.

Georgetown student group: GU Students United Against Racism, Hate and Violence says while it recognises Simcox's right to free speech, he shouldn't be on their campus.

Hmm, kinda defeats the purpose of having the right to speak your mind.

Update 11/02/06

thehoya.com - Disruption Minimal as Immigration Activist Speaks

Thanks to youwishyouwerejessiesgirl's comments. I wonder if Ryan was trying to galvanise conservatives about another free speech suppression incident. A look at the Minutemen Civil HQ web site shows no mention about any major incident occurring at Georgetown.

I am glad Simcox finished his speech, and there was at least a polite debate of his views. It would seem that protestors just do not want to think of him as a regular guy, but as a racist, insensitive person, but I would guess they are just reading off the pamphlets and flyers given to them.

To note here, the person who commented was attending the lecture, and the Georgetown undergrad Ryan was outside.

Free Speech Debate Continues at Columbia U

As noted in the Columbia Spectator, the Student Affairs Caucus adopted a resolution addressing the Minutemen incident which will be sent to the full University Senate for approval.

Some students have objected to this resolution because it is disproportionately directed towards disciplining the protestors and not the Minutemen and their supporters.

One attendee from the Law School Senate open forum on the resolution quoted "This whole veneer of protecting free speech kind of betrays [the Senate's] true intentions ... they should also be passing something that says we support our Latino students' right to be here without being attacked."

Another stated "I don't really see anything of substance in this [resolution] ... is everybody allowed to come here? Are we going to be cool if the KKK is stomping through campus?"

One student suggested that controversial speakers should be balanced by inviting a guest with an opposing agenda, in order to "create a forum for debate, as opposed to a stifled situation where one side is spewing out one particular view and creating a hostile environment."

/ Soapbox on

It would seem a good part of the student body are sympathetic to the International Socialist Organisation and Latino Caucus' right to stage a disruptive protest. They have continued to reason that they are the victims, and the Minutemen and their supporters were the instigators. This is based on the knowledge that a Minutemen supporter (outside the Columbia community) had kicked a protestor in the head. By this violent act, they believe that everyone should focus their efforts on the Minutemen group for their "dangerous" behaviour and the College Republican student organisation for their lack of control. For them, they would applaud themselves for using their "aggressive" passive disobedience in bringing out the true nature of the Minutemen.

Who knows if certain students within the governing bodies are looking for some excuse to de-recognise the Columbia College Republicans group. It would seem the logical step to stop a group from bringing controversial speakers on campus.

The idea of bringing an opposing speaker "to create a forum for debate" is supposed to be used for actual debate events and competitions. Why should groups, liberal and conservative, have to bring an opposing speaker for a lecture event? If we want to debate, then stage an actual debate or arguing competition. Even if this idea is implemented, I would want to see a pro-choice student group invite a pro-life speaker and vice versa. I want to see a capitalist speaker invited to an ISO event and vice versa.

Furthermore, the idea is somewhat unoriginal. So because of this Minutemen event, this student suddenly had a vision of bringing opposite speakers to a controversial lecture. My god, I am sure I did not think about that before! I am quite sure that none of the liberal or Democratic groups had problems about bringing their own speaker and suddenly this idea appears after a conservative group bring theirs. Quite an example of hypocrisy.

Of course I support that criminal procedures should be taken if the identity of the Minutemen supporter is discovered. But I will ask that indentifiable student protestors that rushed the stage be penalised too. Despite the so-called "hostile" speech by Stewart and Gilchrist, the protestors limit themselves to heckling and protest chants. Rushing the stage crossed the line. It is quite simple.

/ soapbox off

Jon Stewart has his say with the Columbia protestors:

Jon got it right.

Update 10/26/06

Jim GilChrist writes commentary for CNN


Dartmouth Afraid of Active Alumni?

In Wall Street Journal's Opinion section, a Dartmouth alum, talks about an attempt by the University and the Alumni Governance Task Force to re-write the alumni constitution in response to the election of three recent alums (including the author of the WSJ editorial) to the Board of Trustees.

It seems that the intent of these three recently elected alumni board trustee members to make Dartmouth a place of high academic standards, maintaining the importance of freedom of speech on campus, and the need for the institution to strive to remain the best undergraduate program in the country has scared the current establishment.

Each of the three alums utilised the petition mechanism to get onto the board. Each gathered thousands of signatures to get their name on the ballot, and they each defeated the other official candidates for the open position.

In response, the 9-person Alumni Governance Task Force, proposed a new alumni constitution that would force petition trustee candidates to announce their intentions before the nominating committee announced the official slate. This would allow the committee to game each election by choosing its candidates to split the opposition vote. Balloting on this new constitution, which is open to all 66,500 alumni, began in mid-September and will continue until the end of this month.

An example of where the current education establishment is afraid of change and are willing to take steps to maintain the status quo.

WSJ Opinion Journal - The Dartmouth Fracas

Second Try Fails at Columbia University

Universities and colleges should take note on the actions made by Columbia University and learn from their mistakes. Part of me feel somewhat sympathetic to this institution, but how can you defend such actions? It just keeps on getting better and better.

Once again, the Columbia University College Republicans hosted another controversial event featuring two ex-terrorists and a former Nazi (Walid Shoebat, Hilmar von Campe, and Zak Anani respectively) yesterday evening. Persons that were interested in attending the lecture needed to RSVP to the conservative student group to get the paper invitation for access.

At approximately 4:45 in the afternoon, Jewelnel Davis, the advising officer to the Student Governing Board rescinded all the invitations.

It is the decision of the advising office to Student Governing Board groups that at tonight’s event sponsored by the Columbia College Republicans, hosts to the Walid Shoebat Foundation, attendance will be limited to the invited speakers and their staff, CUID holders, and 20 invited guests. You are receiving this email to inform you that unfortunately, your RSVP to tonight’s event cannot be accepted.

Sincerely,
Jewelnel Davis
University Chaplain
Associate Provost
Director of the Earl Hall Center

This decision certainly did not please the College Republicans:

From: Chris Kulawik (President of College Republicans)

This was a decision of the administration - the CRs wanted to allow
all individuals with RSVPs. Please join us in directing complaints
to Earl Hall and the Columbia Admin. This is not the first time
they have done something like this.

All my thanks,
Chris

The result of rescinding all those invitations:

shoebataud.jpg

More pictures and multimedia clips can be found at Atlas Shrugs.

Approximately 125 people were refused entry into the event. About 77 people who has reserved tickets through the RSVP method were disinvited. College Republicans apologised to the speakers for the actions made by the University. Each speaker criticised the lockdown and railed against what they considered to be further encroachment on the freedom to speak and assemble.

Here is a film (made by whataretheysaying) of a Columbia representative pantomiming sympathy to a group of people who were apparently friends of Walid Shoebat. Although the she could have opened the door and talked directly to them at any thime, she chose instead to do this odd mime routine. Her audience was not impressed. Note the her hostile little wave to the camera, and her smile as Shoebat's disappointed friends leave.

Later, the Columbia rep stepped out and stated that the students and the College Republicans were to blame for the mixup (False statement!).

Behind the Scenes politicking

It would seem that several student groups at Columbia University wanted the Walid Shoebat event to be sparsely attended. The Hillel Center did not even posted the event on their online calendar. Through word of mouth, some groups were planning on boycotting the event entirely. According to one BWOG source, they wanted "pretty pictures of empty chairs. Forty people attend, and the thing collapses." This would not be surprising since a lot of criticism in the blogosphere and the mainstream media have been directed at the protestors at the Minutemen event. Could this be some sort of "payback" at the College Republicans for embarrassing them?

Flyers Plastered to the Muslim Students Association prayer room door

According to the Walid Shoebat Foundation, they did not tell anyone to post that flyer over there. Either they are lying, or perhaps someone else must have "planted" those flyers to set the speakers up. One must consider all perspective views on this.

One Editorial to Sum it all up

Wall Street Journal - Opinion Journal - Too Controversial for Columbia

Now I can imagine Columbia liberal economics students burning WSJ papers for being facist.

Related Blogs

Kesher Talk - Columbia U trying to avoid embarrassment, cont.

Hot Air - Disgrace: Columbia bars public from Walid Shoebat lecture at last minute

Michelle Malkin - The State of Campus Debate: Colgate vs. Columbia

Official Statement by University President Lee Bollinger Released on the Minutemen Protest

Click here

The web page also lists other official releases from various governmental groups and student groups.

I cannot help but notice the Black Student Organisation taking a potshot against the Minutemen and the College Republicans. Essentially they blame the College Republicans for the whole thing.

Interactive Periodic Table

Useful interactive periodic table, which offers all manner of information about the elements obtained simply by mousing over the panels.

Minutemen Protest at CU (Follow Up)

Spanish-language news station Univision has video footage on the melee that ended the Minutemen speaking event last Wednesday night at Columbia University.

The video shows a man wearing a blue baseball cap kicking a protestor during the chaotic rush to the stage. This act, according to protestors, supports their claim that violence was being perpetrated by the Minutemen and their supporters.

Karina Garcia, CC '07 and political chair of the Chicano Caucus, was one of the students on stage stated that she saw protestors being hit and kicked as they tried to climb onto the stage, and one friend was kneed in the stomach.

Another unidentified man was seen trying to tear down the white banner held by several students.

Columbia Spectator - Kicking Visible in Univision Footage

From the video footage, I would definitely agree that the Minutemen supporter should be arrested for assaulting a fellow protestor. However, I cannot support the protestors' arguments that the violence was all the fault of the Minutemen, the College Republicans, and their supporters.

Who rushed the stage? The protestors. They knew by thrusting the environment surrounding the Minutemen, supporters, and security guards into a more hostile atmosphere, physical violence would occur. How can they explain a person trying to take away their banner was an act of violence? They shove and the supporters shove back, and the protestors cry foul, saying they are the victims, and what they were doing was self-defense?!? Ridiculous!

Next, the campus newspaper critcises the media for resorting to sensationalism over the Minutemen protest. In particular, they targeted Fox News for their "unbalanced" coverage of the event. Yet when their editorial mentioned that other controversial speakers such as Norman Finkelstein and John Ashcroft met with peaceful protest, did they also compare the amount of security that were present at those events? Probably not. One would assume that if the amount of security available at Ashcroft's lecture was same for the Minutemen, it was likely that no serious disruption would have occurred.

They argued that the media failed to take into account that the whole student body is not crazy as the protestors that rushed the stage, the provocative actions of the speakers, and the alleged involvement of the College Republicans during the melee.

I am sure most will realise that the whole entire student body are not dedicated to violence and suppressing free speech. Discussing the provocative actions of the speakers is subject to interpretation. Sometimes in order to get the message through, being straightforward and blunt is the best way. If people cannot tolerate such messages without resorting to the use of physical violence, how can we argue in this society? There was supposed to have been a Q&A after the Minutemen speeches. This would have provided a great opportunity for some of the protestors to try to argue the Minutemen's plans. College Republican involvement in the melee should be taken as part of a larger picture. It would seem there was shoving and one or two acts of violence that occurred among their side, but to me, you want the media to concentrate all their efforts on them instead of the protestors. From what I have read, you stated that the protestors went too far. That's pretty light criticism as far as I can tell.

Explain to me how it goes when a group of protestors rushes the stage, should the speaker, the College Republicans, and supporters just let them on and do nothing?

* * * * * *

Columbia University Senate's student affairs committee unanimously passed a Resolution on Free Speech.

The statement is intended to establish a policy for future conflicts over free speech. Encompassing the rights of both speakers and protesters, the statement says, in part, that "the Student Body of Columbia University has a right to invite speakers with varied points of view to campus, and it is unacceptable within our community, to take away someone else's right to express their opinions and viewpoints. ... The Student Affairs Caucus stands behind the principles of free speech on campus, and demands that the Columbia University Community stand firm in our commitment to allow all views to be heard."

Much of the deliberation centered on Wednesday night's events, when student protesters rushed the stage, leading to a brawl and cutting short the speech of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-illegal-immigration Minuteman Project.

* * * * * *

Columbia Spectator - Protestors Hold Press Conference

Late this morning, about a dozen undergraduates who protested last week's speech by Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist convened a press conference with representatives from the National Lawyer's Guild. The students, many of them members of the Chicano Caucus and the International Socialist Organization, defended their actions.

Karina Garcia, CC '07 and Chicano Caucus political chair, said Monday that she and the other protesters had not intended to stop Gilchrist from speaking when they unfurled a pair of banners onstage, but she defended their actions.

"We are sure that if the Ku Klux Klan came to campus, African Americans would be there to protest," Garcia said. "So would we."

(Lesson 1 - Use an obvious example to support your actions)

Martin Lopez, CC '09 and a native of Southern California, identified himself at the conference as the individual who is shown being kicked in the head in Univision video footage of the event. Pressed by a crowd of reporters to describe the incident, Lopez pointed to a series of grainy black-and-white printouts hanging behind him, which showed a frame-by-frame sequence of the attack.

"I am fearful for the immigrants on that southern border if Gilchrist supporters were able to bring violence into a prestigious university," Lopez said.

(Lesson 2 - Use the "victim" as part of your sympathetic message.)

Basically, they are providing an argument that they were victims of overzealous violence conducted by the Minutemen, College Republicans, and their supporters, and that their rush to the stage was actually "peaceful."

It was unfortunate for Lopez who got injured during the melee. I just find it unsettling to see these people use this press conference to paint themselves as the victims.

O'Reilly Factor was in Chicago and they discussed the Columbia incident:







Intellectual Savages at Columbia

Today's Hotair.com by Michelle Malkin








(Firefox Users: Looks like the embedded code does not work properly, click here to view the clip)

The Examiner - Editorial: Columbia University brownshirts stomped on First Amendment

I would be happy to offer a place for the opposite side on this post. Just send me the link.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Historical Perspective - May 16, 2002 article about Peace in the Middle East Rally at San Francisco State University where Palestinaians and their supporters cornered Hillel students after the rally ended.

Mob Rule at Columbia

In a follow-up to my previous article about the Riot at Columbia University (free speech under fire), mob rule is pretty much the answer to people who are opposed to their "undisputed" position.

As an example of comparison, a conservative speaker was invited by Democracy for America at Macalester College to participate in a panel debate about the war in Iraq on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

No one disrupted the panel debate and no one chased the conservative speaker from the dais. (Frontpage Magazine) Even though the audience was unenthusiastic about his point of view, no violence occurred.

Unlike Columbia University...

* * * * *

It is actually interesting to note one point made by Captain's Quarters in his article.

The purpose behind the use of Arabic in their "No one is ever illegal" banner

You kinda expected only Spanish and English, so why Arabic? Jim Gilchrist and his Minutemen are patrolling the border between the US and Mexico, so English and Spanish would clearly be the most obvious choices. Was this a cheapshot directed at discrimination being used against Arab immigrants? Or is there a hidden agenda behind there?

In our academic institutions, students, faculty, and staff learn different viewpoints. We should learn to accept them at face value even though we may disagree with them.

The Chicano Caucus, the African-American Student Association, and the International Socialist Organisation were bent on making their voices loud using easy slogans to denounce and criticise. They did not care if the rest of the audience wanted to at least listen to the founder of the Minutemen Project. They probably think that allowing this individual on campus was too much for them and they had to react in a violent way.

It is also quite ironic for this to happen at Columbia since this is where the most prestigious school of journalism is located.

I would even suggest to Princeton Review to install a "Suppression of Opposing Viewpoints" category. Columbia University would certainly acheive top spot there.

We also should go back to one junior student, Ryan Fukumori, who stated that the Minutemen "had no right to be able to speak there."

Remember the Constitution? Remember the First Amendment? Remember the phrase "the right to free speech?" I will leave it out there for that person to retract his illogical statement.

Kulawik, president of Columbia College Republicans, believed "we wanted to hear views we don't usually hear at Columbia. I'm quite ashamed of the university and my peers. I expected them to listen and ask tough questions."

They did listened, and instead of tough questions, they responded with tough action.

We are the victims...

In a NY Times article, senior Columbia student Monique Dols (History) mounted the stage in protest and unfurled a banner. “We have always been escorted off the stage and the event continues,” she said, adding that this time the protesters were attacked.

“We were punched and kicked,” she said. “Unfortunately, the story being circulated is that we initiated the violence.”

Obviously, since security guards and event organisers were trying to remove you from the stage and you resisted. What a wonderful excuse to paint yourself and everyone else who rushed the stage as the victims.

Author's Note

This clearly does not mean the whole entire student body and faculty at Columbia University are in favor of suppressing opposing viewpoints with violence. However, the student body should look at this event and reflect. They should realise not to let ultra-fringe type groups dictate their thoughts and actions. The Student Council at Columbia should take action to show that they do not support this type of protest and that constructive debate should be upheld.

Thank you.

Los Angeles Times - Minuteman Founder Forced from N.Y. Stage

TigerHawk Blog - Interdicting speech at Columbia

Fox News (Talking Points) - O'Reilly Interviews Marvin Stewart (Minutemen) about Columbia protest

UCLA's Daily Bruin criticises disruption in their editorial

NY Sun - Violence at Columbia

The Chronicle - Anti-Immigrant Speaker Greeted with Brawl at Columbia U.

The Harvard Crimson - Ivy Infusion: Columbia's Battle of Lexington

NY Post - Columbia's Speech Thugs

Finally, the major newspapers are covering it:

Washington Times - Crazy at Columbia

New York Times - Columbia Investigating Protests That Stopped Speaker

New York Times - Silencing of a Speech Causes a Furor

San Jose Mercury News - Mayor criticizes Columbia students who stormed stage

NY Post - Columbia Prez Talks Tough

Narco News - Free Speech Threatened at Columbia University

* * * * *

Now, the College Republicans at Columbia are adding more fuel to the fire. The NY Sun is reporting that they will host two ex-terrorists and a former Nazi at their next lecture event next week. Scheduled for October 11, it will feature a former Palestinian Liberation Organisation terrorist, Walid Shoebat, a former Lebanese terrorist, Zachariah Anani, and a former member of the Hitler youth and Nazi soldier, Hilmar von Campe.

Mr. Shoebat runs an eponymous organisation, the Walid Shoebat Foundation, which "cries for the justice of Israel and the Jewish people." It opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

US Newswire - Two Ex-Terrorists, Former Nazi to speak at Columbia U

Riot at Columbia University (Free Speech Under Fire)

Got your attention? Good. The one thing I appreciate about our democracy is the ability for people to argue to opposing viewpoints without consequence. No matter if we are offended or insulted by another person's arguments on any controversial issue, they do have a right to express that opinion, and vice versa.

Apparently, this was not the case at Columbia University. According to the powerlineblog.com, the College Republicans sponsored a lecture by Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project.

Moments after Gilchrist took the podium, students from the International Socialist organisation, and other unaffiliated individuals stormed the stage. It is alleged that the Columbia Public Safety officers did nothing to stop them from getting on stage. It was all captured by CTV's Natalie Yammine on tape. Here's another report by the New York Sun on the event.

The students than unrolled a banner that read, in both Arabic and English, "No one is ever illegal." As security guards closed the curtains and began escorting people from the auditorium, the students jumped from the stage, pumping their fists, chanting victoriously, "Si se pudo, si se pudo," Spanish for "Yes we could!"

Mr. Stewart, another member of the Minuteman Project, was African-American and the first speaker before Gilchrist. Protestors interrupted his speech by calling him a racist, a sellout, and a black white supremacist.

One fellow Columbia junior student, Ryan Fukumori, said "These are racist individuals heading a project that terrorizes immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border. They have no right to be able to speak here."

“The way that we reacted is just what we want him to realize. We do not accept racism in New York or anywhere else, but that’s the reaction that he gets from New Yorkers and I hope that he gets the message,” said one student.

(So New Yorkers get violent if they don't like something.)

“There’s a disconnect between their message and what they actually do and that’s what I have a big problem with,” added another student.

(Easy, the patrolling the border aren't they?)

“He has a history of being aligned with white power forces and racist forces throughout the U.S.,” said one protester.

(Do you have his KKK membership card?)

“Minutemen are not a legitimate voice in the debate over immigration,” added another. “The Minutemen are a group of racist vigilantes who stand on the border with their rifles and call it open hunting season on anyone with brown skin.”

(They are starting to patrol the US-Canadian border too. Are they still racist if they are targeting French and other nationals?)

In response to the actions of the protesters, Columbia College Republican President Chris Kulawik, stated the student protesters "rush to vindicate themselves with monikers like ‘liberal' and ‘open-minded,' but their actions, their attempt to condemn the Minutemen without even hearing what they have to say, speak otherwise. On campus, the Republicans' flyers advertising the event were defaced and torn down.

The college newspaper, Columbia Spectator has more.

Conservative journalist Michelle Malkin has more.

Members BWOG attended the event and did a real-time blog commentary as the events unfolded. (Link)

The NY Daily News reports

NY1 News reports

The Gothamist - Minutemen Insanity at Columbia

Quando.net - 1st Amendment Right? What 1st Amendment Right?

Redstate - Minuteman Founder attacked at Columbia University

Here are some groups that spread the word about the Minutemen lecture:

Flactivist - Notice

Columbia Spectator did a previous article on groups that prepared for the protest - Link

Posting on Google Groups - Link

A.N.S.W.E.R. - Link

O'Reilly Factor (FoxNews) - Talking Points 10/05 - O'Reilly gives his opinion on the protest at Columbia

Bad News in Coverage

So far, I have not seen the Columbia protest mentioned on CNN.com, ABCNews.com, MSNBC.com, news12.com, starledger.com, or USAToday.

Related Links

Columbia College Republicans Web Site

Chicano Caucus Home Page

The Minuteman Project

* * * * * *

According to the Rules of University Conduct at the University:

The Rules of University Conduct (Chapter XLI of the Statutes of the University) provide special disciplinary rules applicable to demonstrations, rallies, picketing, and the circulation of petitions. These rules are designed to protect the rights of free expression through peaceful demonstration while at the same time ensuring the proper functioning of the University and the protection of the rights of those who may be affected by such demonstrations.

The Rules of University Conduct are University wide and supersede all other rules of any school or division. Minor violations of the Rules of Conduct are referred to the normal disciplinary procedures of each school or division ("Dean's discipline"). A student who is charged with a serious violation of the Rules has the option of choosing Dean's discipline or a more formal hearing procedure provided in the Rules.

bwog20004.jpg

Press Release by the Chicano Caucus on the riot:

On behalf of the Chicano Caucus Executive Board, I would like to clarify for the Columbia community any misunderstandings that may have arisen from tonight's chain of events. While we were the chief organizers of the protest outside Roone Arledge, we were not responsible for any of the actions that led to the termination of the event. It is unfortunate that the series of events escalated to a point of violence. We feel that it is important to discuss and bring to light important issues concerning immigration, though they should be done in a peaceful manner. While we do not agree with Mr. Gilchrist and his organization's views, we respect everyone's right to freedom of speech and regret that his opinion was not heard.

Sincerely,
Adhemir Romero
Chicano Caucus President

* * * * *

Press Release by Members of the International Socialist Organisation:

We celebrate free speech: for that reason we allowed the Minutemen to speak, and for that same reason we peacefully occupied the stage and spoke ourselves. Our peaceful protest was violently attacked by members of the College Republicans and their supporters, who are the very same people who invited the Minutemen to our campus in the first place. The Minutemen are not a legitimate voice in the debate on immigration. They are a racist, armed militia who have declared open hunting season on immigrants, causing countless hate crimes and over 3000 deaths on the border. Why should exploitative corporations have free passes between nations, but individual people not? No human being is illegal.

* * * * *

Robert Hornsby, a Columbia spokesman, said the university "deplores the disruption that took place."

Statement released by Columbia University

Note: Yet, later today, the University has decided to put the entire blame for the riot on the College Republicans for bringing a controversial group on campus. It is very likely the group will be punished, not the groups which stormed the stage and caused the violent confrontation. Strange enough, according to some eyewitnesses, security at the event was not sufficient.

Party for Socialism and Liberation Spin it their way

In their latest stab at the day's events, they alleged that Minutemen thugs attacked their members who stormed the stage to disrupt the speech. Quite a way for them to spin them as the victims when they are the ones who stormed the stage in the first place as a show of violent protest.

Author's Opinion

I do have to wonder if the protestors knew the exact objective of the Minuteman Project. Did they do enough research? Or did they instead just listen to the tirade of other students or unaffiliated individuals without evidence? Causing 3000 deaths at the border is pretty far-fetched, and I would not be surprised if anyone attempted to get evidence supporting that fact, they would be called a racist.

The Columbia University student government should pass a resolution condemning the violence that took place at the event, the administration should take action to prevent similar reactions from occurring in the future, and the protest groups involved should apologise for their actions and lack of responsiblity. I find the response by the Chicano Caucus to be unworthy of an apology. Their mention that the actions were "unfortunate" shows that they knew violence would be the end result and did not do enough to restrain their members and other protest groups.

The International Socialist Organization knew what would happened when they sent two of their members on stage to unfurl the "No one is ever illegal" banner.

The obvious intent of the protest is to disrupt Mr. Gilchrist's speech. It is that simple. They knew by advertising the event publicly, it would allow other individuals to attend and cause undue violence.

Question 1: Is it even possible to consider that members of the Minutemen could be pro-immigrant but anti-mass immigration?

Question 2: Are the Minutemen really are racists? How can ensuring a secured border relates to racism? If you catch someone going through your back fence, are you a racist?

Question 3: A protestor stated that "the Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration." You telling me that the International Socialist Organisation is legitimate? That's absolute bollux!

Question 4: Protestors are demanding full rights for immigrants. Please define "full rights." They would need to pay taxes, right? They would need to actually obey our laws, right?

Columbia University alumni should contact the University President to note their disgust at the way the administration handled the event. Every other alumni and student at every institution should register their displeasure too.