PC Police-ism

In re the matter of Professor Richard Ned Lebow, of King’s College London, and Professor Simona Sharoni, of Merrimack College and a member of the International Studies Association, the ISA’s Executive Committee has spoken.

I demur from the ISA’s politically correct (if ever there were an oxymoron, here is one) position, in particular their Item 7.

7) … Although you explained that your comment was intended as a joking reference to an old, cultural trope, your email was not apologetic and PRR (and eventually ExComm) found that it was marginalizing and trivializing Prof. Sharoni’s reaction to your comment and that it was an attempt to intimidate her….

A Necessary Start

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is on the verge of issuing actual rules (not “guidance” letters) directing the way in which colleges and universities must handle accusations of sexual assault.  These rules will include

  • the right of every survivor to be taken seriously and the right of every person accused to know that guilt is not predetermined
  • both the alleged victim and the accused would be able to inspect and review all evidence
  • All Title IX hearings would include cross-examination, which could occur in-person or by live stream, with campus adjudicators allowed to observe the demeanor of witnesses as they assess credibility

Race and College Admission

During final arguments in the civil suit against Harvard over its use of race in its admission decisions, Harvard’s lawyers insisted that

plaintiffs had to prove admissions officers were motivated by racial animus….

This is a disingenuous argument, though. Racial animus isn’t necessary to get a disparate impact ruling.  With disparate impact established in the courts, for the time being, it’s clear that racial animus doesn’t have to be proved in Harvard’s bias case, either.

The Harvard lawyers weren’t through, though.

Harvard’s lawyers said race is only used as a preference among the most competitive applicants, in the same way exceptional musical talent can make a difference in admissions.

Right Answer, Wrong Dissent

The Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the State’s charter schools last Thursday.  The question before the court was whether those charter schools were violating the State’s constitution by receiving funding from the State’s lottery facilities.  Writing for the court, Justice Mary Yu wrote in plain words,

Charter schools are not rendered unconstitutional just because they do not operate identically to common school[.]

She expanded on that in addressing the plaintiffs’ argument that the charter schools lacked voter control, holding that, as The Seattle Times paraphrased her,

Discrimination

The discrimination suit against Harvard is underway, and the first day produced some interesting claims.

William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s admissions dean since 1986, defended the policy [of favoring some applicants over others on the basis of race] by saying the letters to white students in more rural states help the school recruit from areas where students may be less aware of Harvard.

This is nonsense. If student awareness were the goal, instead of sending letters to favored individuals, Harvard would advertise, would communicate with the junior high schools and high schools of those rural areas.

A Quality of Education

A Harvard junior has had the effrontery to write an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that’s critical of Harvard and its admission practice.  In the piece, he cited a criticism he gets when he’s rude enough to comment on campus.

How can you be against affirmative action? That’s racist[.]

What a sad commentary this is on the quality of education available at our colleges and universities, especially one that pretends to superiority. Plainly, Harvard, et al., are teaching nothing of logic or history, only bald ideology. Any program that carries race (and gender, as affirmative action programs do) as criteria for admission, or any other gain, is by design racist (and sexist). And, this racist and sexist design was built in at the origin of affirmative action programs, including Harvard’s.

College?

I’ve written before about whether college is for everyone.

Some empirical evidence appears in a Wall Street Journal piece about last week’s unemployment number.

Peerfit Inc is growing, adding 80 staffers to its original 20 in just the last year and increasing their wages 5%-10% in the same period.  CEO Ed Buckley has noted the difficulty in finding “good people.”  Then he added this kicker:

When we first started, everyone we were hiring had a four-year college degree.  Now the skill set [of vocational hires] is sometimes even sharper than their counterparts coming out with a four-year college degree.

“Value-Charged”

A panel, the Texas Education Agency, that is “advising” the Texas State Board of Education wants to deprecate matters related to the Alamo and its defense by a band of heroic Americans (yes, I used those two terms.  Both of them).

The 7th grade social studies curriculum used to teach the defense of the Alamo currently uses the phrase siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there.  This panel told the SBOE to use only siege of the Alamo.  “Heroic,” they insist, is “value-charged.”

College Admissions and Diversity

Harvard is claiming that it needs to select preferentially for race in its admissions in order to achieve its student body diversity goals.

…it has tried alternatives to race-conscious affirmative action to diversify its undergraduate student body, but such efforts would harm both the diversity and academic strength of the class.

This is nonsense.

“Affirmative action” programs, giving preferential treatment as they do (however small the preference is claimed to be) to persons based on their race (and/or sex in most other such programs), are fundamentally racist. More broadly, when there are limited classroom seats (let’s say) discriminating in favor of one group—whether by race or by merit—necessarily discriminates against other groups: those not preferred.

Non-Merit Discrimination in College Admissions

The non-merit discriminants that colleges and universities use—Harvard comes to mind—center on race, ethnicity, and gender.  The Trump administration has moved to reduce that reliance on bigotry for admissions (ironic word, that), and the Left is crying race.

Anurima Bargava, ex-President Barack Obama’s DoJ head of “civil rights enforcement” (an ironic title), insists that the rollback of regulations authorizing racism and sexism in determining who will be admitted—and who will be barred from admission—is

a purely political attack that benefits nobody.

The rollback benefits those being discriminated against without harming anyone else. But the Obama administration’s politics of divisiveness and…identity…considered those people to be nobodies; that’s why the policy discriminated.