Thursday, October 29, 2015

“Bluebloods” on Campus Social Justice Warriors

Not all network TV is liberal propaganda. Example: a recent episode of “Bluebloods” that has a campus feminist playing the victim. It starts with a campus leftist wanting some fellow student punished for unkind (but perfectly legal) messages posted on the campus message board.

Would campus leftists do this? Absolutely. As The Volokh Conspiracy records:
A large coalition of advocacy groups has asked the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to pressure colleges to (1) punish students for their speech and (2) block student access to certain Web sites — especially sites such as Yik Yak, which allow students to anonymously post their views.

Now, some of the speech that the groups mention consists of true threats of violence, including threats of attack and even rape. Such speech is constitutionally unprotected. (Indeed, some of it — threats against people for speaking, for instance, in support of feminist causes — itself attempts to suppress speech.) It is rightly criminalized and can certainly be punished.

But the letter goes very far beyond just calling on universities to punish threats. Here are some other examples of speech that the coalition points to:
  • “[S]uccessive invidious comments targeting African-Americans, such as ‘Their entire culture just isn’t conducive to a life of success. It just isn’t. The outfits. The attitudes. The behavior.’”
  • “Another comment” that said “Slavery was the worst thing to happen to this country, bringing them over here . . . ugh.”
  • A statement that “I would be completely ok with Clemson being an all white school. Except for football.”
  • A statement that “The only thing niggers are good for is making Clemson better at football.”
  • A statement that “Jesus I hate black people.”
  • A comment saying, “Guys stop with all this hate. Let’s just be thankful we aren’t black.”
  • Statements “target[ing] Indian students and East Asians, referred to as ‘chinks,’ in addition to LGBT students, Mormons, and women.” ”[S]tudents post[ing] dozens of demeaning, crude, and sexually explicit comments and imagery about three female professors.”
All of this speech, offensive as it may be, is protected by the First Amendment. (There is no “hate speech” exception to First Amendment protection.) But despite that, the coalition is arguing that the speech should be restricted precisely because of the viewpoints it expresses, and the offense and “hostile environment” that those viewpoints cause.
The first statement seems to us a perfectly reasonable comment about ghetto culture, and the penultimate one accepts the notion of white privilege and says “stop the hate.” Wanting Clemson to be segregated is certainly a racist comment, but is probably just hyperbole from students unhappy with being berated for being white and being told to “check your privilege.”

But as Volokh says, all are constitutionally protected.

A Bogus Hate Incident

“Bluebloods” then goes further by including in the plot something that frequently happens on college campuses.

Yes, campus activists have often staged racist incidents in order to provoke more “diversity” initiatives.

So what we have here is the reality of contemporary college life. Social Justice Warriors really believe that any expression of opinion they dislike should be made illegal and punished. And since they believe the end justifies the means, they will stage fake incidents to promote their cause.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Modern Art Mistaken (?) for Trash, Thrown Out

From Newser:
(Newser) – Art often imitates life—but sometimes it does so so convincingly that it’s mistaken for the subject rather than art. And so it was in Italy over the weekend, when cleaning staff at the Museion modern art gallery in Bolzano, Italy, mistook the modern art installation “Where are we going to dance tonight?” by Milanese artists Goldschmied & Chiari as actual trash and, well, tossed it, reports the Local. In this case the roomful of bottles, cigarette butts, glitter, shoes, confetti, and even clothing were cleaned up the morning after the opening. “We told them just to clean the foyer because that’s where the event on Friday night had been,” the gallery curator tells Alto Adige. “Evidently, they mistook the installation for the foyer.”

Mashable reports that the art, which the gallery calls a “site-specific work staging the scene after the end of a party: the perfect metaphor for the [1980s],” isn’t even visible until the museum is closed, allowing viewers the more immersive experience of peering in on a wild party’s aftermath when it is cloaked in darkness. Curators say the installation will be restored promptly. This has happened a few times—including a Damien Hirst collection of beer bottles, coffee cups, and stuffed ashtrays that was thrown out in London in 2001. (The modern art market is hot.)


We have no beef against modern art per se, but are rather put off by the pretension of artists. Artists who are not very smart seem to believe their bizarre creations should be taken as cogent comments on modern society. Nonsense.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Feminist Factoids

Activism on Behalf of Adjunct Faculty at Jesuit Universities

This came in our e-mail (and presumably, in the e-mail of the rest of the Marquette faculty):
Dear Friend

This week is Campus Equity Week. On campuses across the country, instructors are highlighting the inequities that exist on our campuses and advocating for faculty voices as the solution. Equity is part of Jesuit values. That is why we are bringing our petition demanding a voice on our campuses to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).

Have you signed the petition?

We will be delivering the petition next week and will call upon Father Sheeran, S.J. to support just employment policies on all Jesuit campuses and help facilitate a national discussion with Jesuit school faculty about the need for improved working conditions and student learning conditions.

Add your name to the petition today, and if you’ve already signed, circulate this link to your social network.

Thanks,

The Faculty Forward Network Team
OK, what in the world is that about?

One has to click on the link to find out. It’s about adjunct faculty.

The text of the petition explains:
There are over 218,000 students and 20,000 faculty members at 28 Jesuit institutions across the United States. Once a middle-class job, nearly a majority of college and university faculty are now working part-time for very low pay, isolated from colleagues without job security, benefits or even office space. Jesuit institutions are no different, in fact, more than half (53 percent) of instructional faculty at Jesuit colleges and universities are now non-tenure track.

Because of these striking contradictions between Jesuit mission and practice, faculty and students across the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities have been organizing for inclusion and a voice in the campus community, improved working conditions and job security -- all in service to students and the rich traditions of Jesuit social justice. While some Jesuit institutions like Georgetown have chosen to embrace their mission and allow faculty a voice in the educational decision making, other institutions like Seattle University have chosen to hide behind their religious association to deny faculty their fundamental right of free association in pursuit of justice, standing in stark contrast to the fundamental mission of Jesuit education.
Uh, oh!

That last part of the give away. Faculty Forward is a front for the Service Employees International Union. Their real agenda is to unionize college employees, and they seem to aim at the most vulnerable, those adjuncts, graduate students, and so on.

So that is what is lurking behind that “social justice” rhetoric. The real agenda is not to give faculty a voice, but to give union activists a voice.

Adjuncts

The rhetoric about adjunct instructors does touch on a real issue in higher education, notwithstanding the self-interested union agenda behind this campaign.

The simple fact is that having courses taught by adjunct faculty is cheap. Getting a course taught by an adjunct costs in the low to middle four figures. Getting four courses taught by a new tenure track hire costs in the mid- to high five figures (or more in some disciplines). So the temptation to have a lot of courses taught by adjuncts is huge.

Exploited?

We don’t much sympathize with the notion that adjuncts are exploited. Nobody forces anybody to work as an adjunct. Adjuncts are not expected to publish, nor do the sorts of things (committee work, advising, etc.) that regular faculty do. The job is just going into the classroom and teaching, typically teaching a class one has taught multiple times before with little new preparation needed. Usually, the sections are not large, since large sections are usually taught by tenure track faculty with teaching assistants.

Most adjunct faculty have other jobs, and are merely making some spending money doing something they rather enjoy.

Further, some departments with a large load of “service” courses (required courses that huge numbers of students take) have to use adjuncts, since there is no way to pay for tenure track lines to cover all the necessary sections. (And many tenure track faculty would not like to do the vast majority of their teaching in freshman level courses.)

Also, faculty get grants, fellowships, and so on, and therefore go on leave. So somebody has to be hired to fill in for the absent faculty member.

A Quality Issue

But having said that, a college that relies too much on adjunct faculty is providing a second-rate education. Often you can hire adjuncts who are good teachers. Political Science at Marquette now has a group of adjuncts who are excellent teachers. But in the past, we have had one or two disastrous situations.

Further, with excessive use of adjuncts, students lose the opportunity to take particular faculty members for both freshman and advanced courses, to develop a relationship with one or a few professors, and to ask for recommendations from faculty who know them well.

Finally, with excessive use of adjuncts, the administrative overhead (committee work, student advising, etc.) gets concentrated upon very few faculty. One can reach a point where one group of people are doing the vast majority of teaching, and another is keeping things running.

So would-be freshmen looking for a school would be well advised to check out the use of adjuncts at each of the schools they are considering.  If the number is quite large, the quality of education is questionable.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Politically Correct Insanity: Roundup of Recent Cases

From The College Fix:
— referring to supporters of Thomas Jefferson as “defending slave owners” and accusing them of “white privilege”
— ditching a career fair booth for the Border Patrol because it might offend “students in the country illegally”
— black dildos are proof of racism
— a “mad scientist”-themed college party was deemed offensive
— a college “language guide” advises against using terms like “mailman,” “policeman,” and “man-made”
— saying “emotional injury” is sufficient to prohibit “unpopular” speech
— complaining about a Mexican-themed event so much so that it gets canned, but other similar events didn’t bother you?
— using a non-existent “racist” event to advocate for $1 million for more … diversity
— and, most recently, banning anything USA/Donald Trump-related, not to mention the colors red, white and blue … because of “negative connotations.”
What the politically correct left doesn’t understand is that, while they can have considerable success bullying and shutting up expression that they don’t like, they are creating an intellectual climate where anybody who is an independent thinker will rebel against them and their leftist politics. They are guaranteeing, in other words, that the most intelligent and critical-minded people are going to be conservative or libertarian.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Yik Yak: Enemy of Campus Political Correctness

Given the stifling political correctness that prevails on most college campuses, and the fact that a dissenting opinion is likely to be met with bullying (if not actual official punishment), it’s not surprising if conservative students keep their heads down, and are afraid to speak up.

But one type of social media allows them to speak up anonymously. Yik Yak allows student in a particular geographic area or at a particular school (say: Marquette) to speak up and dissent from the intolerant orthodoxy.

Naturally, the politically correct leftists don’t like this. For example, they label posts that fail to show sufficient respect for their proclaimed grievances as “racist.” This has happened at Claremont College, and here at Marquette.

At both Marquette and Claremont, the the vast majority of “racist” tweets were not racist at all. They just disagree with the activists.

Not surprisingly, campus leftists and college administrations want to put an end to this. As an article in The College Fix explains, “Campuses ‘symbolically’ ban Yik Yak as battle over app rages.” Some colleges have blocked Yik Yak from their college Wi-Fi networks. Of course, this isn’t very effective, since students can connect via the cell phone infrastructure.

In this, college campuses resemble authoritarian nations, in which the party in power tries to censor and block communications that the regime dislikes, but technology keeps undermining the effort.

And yes, contemporary U.S. campuses are the nearest thing in American society to foreign authoritarian regimes.

Update

Students used Yik Yak to pan, and kill a required environmentalist indoctrination course at Eastern Michigan University. Interestingly, the faculty union demanded that students who posted nasty tweets about the course should be tracked down and punished. They were not.

Further Update

Of course, the politically correct want politically incorrect voices silenced, and nobody is more intolerant of politically incorrect speech than feminists. Thus we have the following from the The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Seventy-two women’s and civil-rights groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to enlist the federal government in pressuring colleges to protect students from harassment via anonymous social-media applications like Yik Yak.

The groups have sent the U.S. Education Department a letter calling for it to treat colleges’ failure to monitor anonymous social media and to pursue online harassers as a violation of federal civil-rights laws guaranteeing equal educational access.
What do they mean by “violation of federal civil-rights laws guaranteeing equal educational access?” They mean people are allowed to criticize feminists!

The article in the The Chronicle of Higher Education has some of the offending posts, and all of them clearly fall into the category of constitutionally protected speech, directed against the a campus Feminists United club. The list is below:



Calling feminists “feminazis” or “femicunts” is grossly uncivil, but it’s no worse than calling Republicans “Republithugs” which leftists do all over political discussion groups and comments sections on the Internet.

Likewise, suggesting sending the feminist women off to an all women’s college where there are no men and no non-feminist opinions to tolerate is a jib against feminists. But implying that feminists hate men and are intolerant of other opinions is no worse than claiming that Republicans hate the poor, which liberals do all the time. In fact, it’s closer to being factual.

The Yik Yak posts, in other words, are not threats, and not even hate speech directed toward women as a group, but political taunts directed at people with particular opinions.

But feminists think they represent women generally, and they think that criticizing them is hate speech directed against all women. In other words, feminists think their political opinions are privileged, and nobody should be allowed to criticize them.

And they want government to punish anybody who does.

Which is to say that they (or at least the campus activists among them) are nasty authoritarians.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marquette’s Attempt to Fire Warrior Blogger

New from The Wisconsin Interest. There is no breaking news here, but rather excellent background and commentary on Marquette’s attempt to fire this blogger over a post that exposed a Philosophy instructor who said she would not allow arguments opposed to gay marriage in class because they would be “homophobic” and would offend any gay students in the class.

Some quotes from the article:
So McAdams finds himself at the center of what is shaping up to be one of the most unusual academic freedom cases in the country. Even in an era of rising political correctness — trigger warnings, speech codes and the battle against “micro-aggressions” — the decision to fire McAdams nearly stands alone. As far as anyone knows, no other major university has tried to fire a tenured professor for something that he wrote on a blog. “I have spoken to experts across the country,” says Richard Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and himself an adjunct professor of law at Marquette. “No one does this.”
Further:
Even though he had poked the bear for years, he [McAdams] admits that he did not expect the administration to take such a draconian step. “No,” he says. “Because, it’s never happened before. Usually protections of academic freedom are pretty strong.

“I mean, Holocaust deniers routinely have their academic freedom protected,” he says. “9/11 truthers routinely have their academic freedom protected. There’s a guy in Florida who believes that the Sandy Hook massacre was a government operation to gin up support for gun control. He’s been widely denounced. Fair enough. But no one has tried to take his tenure away from him.”
...
Marquette, however, seemed oblivious to the implications of its decision to fire a tenured professor for something he had written. In a masterpiece of academic doublespeak, Lovell issued a statement insisting that the attempt to fire McAdams had nothing to do with academic freedom:
“The decisions here have everything to do with our guiding values and expectations of conduct toward each other and nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, or same-sex marriage. ...”
And then . . .
The case also drew the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “If Marquette can fire a tenured professor for criticizing a fellow teacher on a blog, then tenure at Marquette is worthless, as are freedom of speech and academic freedom,” declared Executive Director Robert Shibley. “While this is more than likely just an excuse to get rid of McAdams, the fact that McAdams’ supposed offense was criticizing a teacher for squelching dissenting opinions in class only makes Marquette’s utter contempt for dissenters more obvious.”
Further:
McAdams has no doubt that the move is in retaliation for his past criticisms. “Sure,” he says, “it is absolutely retaliation. I think they were terribly, terribly offended at how uppity McAdams was, how insolent McAdams was and ‘How dare he criticize us?’ I think it may be it’s a little bit of arrogance that says, ‘Who the hell does McAdams think he is?’”

He also thinks the decision reflects Marquette’s parochialism, by which he means Lovell’s “failure to understand the norms that prevail in secular academia about things like academic freedom. I doubt the administration at Madison would have done this.

“In other words, I think they are unsophisticated about this. They think they can invoke something like ‘Catholic mission’ and get away with things that a state school or even a secular private school would not try to.”
By all means, read the entire article.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Truth About Scandinavian Socialism

It seems Democrats have come out of the closet as socialists, proclaiming their faith in European socialism. Of course, they don’t invoke socialism in Greece, or Italy, or France or even the U.K. It’s Scandinavian socialism they always cite. But the notion that it should be imported to the U.S. is naïve.

From Jeff Jacoby:
Liberals have had a crush on Scandinavia for decades. “It is a country whose very name has become a synonym for a materialist paradise,” observed Time magazine in a 1976 story on Sweden. “Its citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest living standards. . . . Neither ill‑health, unemployment nor old age pose the terror of financial hardship. [Sweden’s] cradle-to-grave benefits are unmatched in any other free society outside Scandinavia.” In 2010, a National Public Radio story marveled at the way “Denmark Thrives Despite High Taxes.” The small Nordic nation, said NPR, “seems to violate the laws of the economic universe,” improbably balancing low poverty and unemployment rates with stratospheric taxes that were among the world’s highest.

Such paeans may inspire Clinton’s love and Sanders’s faith in America’s socialist future. As with most urban legends, however, the reality of Scandinavia’s welfare-state utopia doesn’t match the hype.

To begin with, explains Swedish scholar Nima Sanandaji, the affluence and cultural norms upon which Scandinavia’s social-democratic policies rest are not the product of socialism. In Scandinavian Unexceptionalism, a penetrating new book published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, Sanandaji shows that the Nordic nations’ prosperity “developed during periods characterized by free-market policies, low or moderate taxes, and limited state involvement in the economy.”

For example, Sweden was a poor nation for most of the 19th century (which helps explain the great wave of Swedish emigration to the United States in the 1800s). That began to change as Stockholm, starting around 1870, turned to free-enterprise reforms. Robust capitalism replaced the formerly agrarian system, and Sweden grew rich. “Property rights, free markets, and the rule of law combined with large numbers of well-educated engineers and entrepreneurs,” Sanandaji writes. The result was an environment in which Swedes experienced “an unprecedented period of sustained and rapid economic development.” In fact, between 1870 and 1936 Sweden had the highest growth rate in the industrialized world.

Scandinavia’s hard-left turn didn’t come about until much later. It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that taxes soared, welfare payments expanded, and entrepreneurship was discouraged.

But what emerged wasn’t heaven on earth.

That 1976 story in Time, for example, went on to report that Sweden found itself struggling with crime, drug addiction, welfare dependency, and a plague of red tape. Successful Swedes — most famously, Ingmar Bergman — were fleeing the country to avoid its killing taxes. “Growing numbers are plagued by a persistent, gnawing question: Is their Utopia going sour?”

Sweden’s world-beating growth rate dried up. In 1975, it had been the 4th-wealthiest nation on earth (as measured by GDP per capita); by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. By then, Swedes had begun to regard their experiment with socialism as, in Sanandaji’s phrase, “a colossal failure.”

Denmark has come to a similar conclusion. Its lavish subsidies are being rolled back amid sharp concerns about welfare abuse and an eroding work ethic. In the last general election, Danes replaced a left-leaning government with one tilted to the right. Loving Denmark doesn’t mean loving big-government welfarism.

The real key to Scandinavia’s unique successes isn’t socialism, it’s culture. Social trust and cohesion, a broad egalitarian ethic, a strong emphasis on work and responsibility, commitment to the rule of law — these are healthy attributes of a Nordic culture that was ingrained over centuries. In the region’s small and homogeneous countries (overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and native-born), those norms took deep root. The good outcomes and high living standards they produced antedated the socialist nostrums of the 1970s. Scandinavia’s quality of life didn’t spring from leftist policies. It survived them.

Sanandaji makes the acute observation that when Scandinavian emigrants left for the United States, those cultural attributes went with them and produced the same good effects. Scandinavian-Americans have higher incomes and lower poverty rates than the US average. Indeed, Danish-Americans economically outperform Danes still living in Denmark, as do Swedish-Americans compared with Swedes and Finnish-Americans compared with Finns. Scandinavian culture has been a blessing for native Scandinavians — and even more of one for their cousins across the ocean.

No, Scandinavia doesn’t “violate the laws of the economic universe.” It confirms them. With free markets and healthy values, almost any society will thrive. All socialism does is make things worse.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Election Finance and Free Speech

A talk to the Federalist Society in Madison, Wisconsin, on August 26, 2015 by Hans von Spakovsky. It’s about how liberals have tried to stiffle speech.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Politics and Science

Liberals like to claim that conservatives are “anti-science,” but in fact both Republicans and Democrats will reject science when they find it ideologically uncongenial. Stossel discusses fracking, genetically modified organisms, vaccines, global warming and other issues.

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fiscal Crisis at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

From an e-mail widely circulated among faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  The author is anonymous, but our sources say the analysis resonates among the faculty of that institution.  Indeed, the UWM faculty is up in arms about what is happening.
Dear UWM Department Chairs,

At your discretion, please forward the message below to your departmental faculty and teaching staff. This message details the root causes of our institution’s current structural deficit.

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you anonymously to relay some of the analyses that have been assembled in recent months through activity of the Natural Sciences Executive committee. This committee was formed to respond to the rapidly deteriorating state of the College of L&S [Letters and Sciences] and UWM budgets. The analyses were undertaken using the campus and system databases of expenditures particularly those data available from the office of institutional research and from IPEDS [Integrated Post Secondary Data System] data. Despite any counter argument that may be offered in response to this message, these data are objective and as accurate and telling as any available. While it is common to be selective and promote notions that most benefit those who undertook the analysis, this did not occur in this instance. These are trends and numbers that describe the causes of the current dire financial state of this institution.

The overall assessment is that UWM is poorly administered and has no galvanizing vision. Our administrators control the lines of funding and have distributed funds in a rather haphazard manner, largely within their own ranks, in response to numerous individual and group solicitations. These numerous relative small affirmative fiscal decisions attempt to appease the solicitor(s) without incorporating long-term enrollment and funding revenue considerations into any strategy. This has resulted in a large expansion of positions and unit costs that have greatly exceeded UWM’s revenue streams. If such an expansion had not occurred a large fraction of the current 38 million dollar structural deficit would not have accrued. It is important to remember that this deficit is independent of recent state reductions in funding.

Some fraction of the data for this analysis is available from Professor Kyle Swanson’s website: [here]. We all owe Kyle a debt for his relentless acquisition and analysis that has exposed the true costs at UWM. Trends many of us have long suspected to exist now have thorough objective analyses behind them.

Some of the dominant trends or conclusions are as follows (in no particular order):

1) Academic units consistently get handed budget cuts, yet overall expenditures on salary increased by $17.2m (7.3%; +85.2 FTE [Full Time Equivalent]) from 2011 to 2015.

2) Instructional FTE has increased by 116 (2080 to 2196; 5.6%) despite a 9.1% decrease in in the number of credit hours offered. Teaching academic staff FTE has increased 14.7% (589 to 676 FTE), while faculty numbers have fallen from 836 to 808 FTE.

3) Limited Employees (administrator types) are multiplying, as there are 27 more FTE in Fall 2015 compared to Fall 2011. The overall pay pool increased by $3.7m, or 23.4%.

4) Faculty and support staff in academic units are routinely ignored for salary equity considerations or simply told that no monies for raises or merit are available. However, it is starkly obvious that if you want a career path at UWM, it is best by some considerable margin to be in the administration. Average pay within the administration has increased by 11.2% over the prior four years (numerous administrators have received 30% or greater increases over this period). It appears that being able to set the budgets is a primary corrupting influence.

This is indelible, our administrators should no longer be seen as the stewards of our institution’s budgets. Whether they realize it or not (and I suspect they do not) they have become the primary drain on our threadbare resources at the expense of our core functions.

5) If you examine only non-instructional UWM employees earning greater than $80K per year, salaries have increased on average by a staggering 9.5% per annum since 2011. In addition the university has added 45 FTE in this salary category in the last four years.

6) Total expenditures on non-academic activities have expanded greatly since the 2010 Goldwater report that suggested UWM had a lean administration. This seems to have been a call-to-arms in terms of non-academic expenditures. During the last 5 years UWM has increased the percentage support spending from ~30% of the budget to almost 38%. This accounts for the bulk of our current $38 M structural deficit.

7) Despite the proliferation of support (and to a lesser extent instructional) positions and the rapid growth rate of administrative salaries none of the core issues facing the university have abated. Our student retention numbers have not changed and our average time to graduation is vastly too long. The reason for this is that only at the interface can these trends be influenced, yet all of the efforts (PASS, advising, the bloat in Student Affairs etc) and expenditures designed to correct these trends have been centralized, out of the instructional departments .

The Remedy

The remedy proposed by the Chancellor is almost beyond comprehension and indicates the depth of the problems we face. Yet another massive unruly committee manned by the very individuals benefiting from the current budgetary debacle; 18 of the 24 members of this committee report either to the Provost or to Robin van Harpen. These are hardly the people likely to make the only decision that can save this institution: Support activities (ie administration) must be confined to an unchanging percentage of total revenues (30% is a suggested healthy number), such that the only way these costs can expand is when the University as a whole prospers.

Instead what we hear (admittedly as rumor) is that teaching support positions are the primary initial target of budgetary cuts. The individuals that teach a large fraction of our high enrollment service courses (at very low cost). That is, the instructors who enable our campus scholarly activities by keeping faculty teaching at a level conducive to research. Eliminating a significant fraction of these positions will see research on this campus come to a precipitous halt as faculty fill the ranks at the expense of their research programs.

In an effort to rally a collective sense of outrage, I would like to remind you all that there are only two groups of employees at UWM that en masse add to the bottom line, these are faculty and teaching academic staff. They are the only individuals able to bring money to the institution, yet this group has been ignored and I would argue maligned by current administrative actions. Instead of being seen as the institution’s primary resource we are regarded as a difficult group of subordinates. I will submit that the apparently unending expansion of non-academic functions is highly unlikely to solve our current budgetary state. We exist at the whim of high-cost, short-sighted administrators that are for the most part inept at grasping the state of the institution or understanding that its prime functions are, education and research.

Our future is being decided in open meetings held in the regent’s room on Wednesdays from 3-5 - I suggest we all attend.
Those of us who prefer the private sector to public near monopolies, and who are associated with a private sector institution (like Marquette) might be tempted to feel a bit of schadenfreude.

That would be very badly misguided.

The simple fact is that the pathologies that afflict UWM can be found at Marquette.  An excellent piece of investigative journalism from the Marquette Tribune in 2014 discussed the issue.

Marquette, an older, better established and moderately prestigious institution can perhaps better tolerate their ill effects, but they make Marquette much inferior to what it ought to be.

Some key passages from the letter above:
The overall assessment is that UWM is poorly administered and has no galvanizing vision. Our administrators control the lines of funding and have distributed funds in a rather haphazard manner, largely within their own ranks, in response to numerous individual and group solicitations.
And then:
Average pay within the administration has increased by 11.2% over the prior four years (numerous administrators have received 30% or greater increases over this period). It appears that being able to set the budgets is a primary corrupting influence.
Further:
If you examine only non-instructional UWM employees earning greater than $80K per year, salaries have increased on average by a staggering 9.5% per annum since 2011. In addition the university has added 45 FTE in this salary category in the last four years.
And then:
During the last 5 years UWM has increased the percentage support spending from ~30% of the budget to almost 38%. This accounts for the bulk of our current $38 M structural deficit.
In sum: administrative bloat. And a lack of concern for the people who do teaching and research.  De facto, this is a lack of concern for students. Common in all academia.  And certainly at UWM, and at Marquette.

Note that the assessment that in 2010 that UWM had a lean administration.  We doubt this was true in an absolute sense, but may well have been true in a relative sense (compared to the bloat at other institutions).  But then the bloat ramped up.

Who was Chancellor of UWM from 2011 until 2014?  Michael Lovell.

Note:   Professor Kyle Swanson has not responded to our requests for comment.

Update

More information: one thing noted by Arts & Letters faculty at UWM is the plethora of “programs” that are often marginally viable, don’t serve the core mission of the institution, and drain away resources. This, unfortunately, is what one would expect from university administrators. There is a big incentive for them to have “initiatives” on their résumés. That sounds impressive, and by the time it becomes obvious that the initiatives did not work out so well, the administrator is probably gone, having moved on to another institution (probably to a more desirable position, due to the “initiatives” he or she had implemented).

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Obama and Doctors Without Borders


Feminist Harpies at Oxford (and on Facebook)

Surfing around The Spectator (U.K.) we happened on any article titled “Oxford’s new feminist hit squad.” It’s a group of bullies on Facebook whose reach extends into the Oxford student body, having the ability to marginalize those with even mildly politically incorrect attitudes.

The Spectator euphemistically calls the group “Country Living,” and it can indeed be found on Facebook.

It’s a closed group, but one need not be able to see the posts to see how intolerant the people running it are. From the group description:
Welcome to the Facebook group loosely affiliated with the Oxford University-based feminist zine (also online here http://cuntrylivingmagazine.tumblr.com/)! smile emoticon Anyone is free to join and contribute, but please take some time to read the guidelines first.

This is intended to be an intersectional, sex positive online space in which we can challenge patriarchy and share our experiences of oppression.

When commenting please bear in mind that in this space the voices of those who are typically marginalised and oppressed in wider society are prioritised. New members of the group, especially cis men: please take some time to read the posts and conversations here before participating.

This group is intended to be as safe a space as possible. Healthy debate is welcomed, but we do not want members of the group to feel threatened and/or marginalised and/or shouted down by people who do not have an understanding of oppression. No one is under any obligation to educate anyone else, especially if their experiences are being attacked or questioned. Just taking some time to read the threads is an educational experience in itself.

Please listen to accounts of lived experiences, reassess your view in light of responses from oppressed and/or marginalised people, and apologise if you offend/upset people with your views. If you are ignoring/talking over individuals with first hand experience of oppression, you will be warned about it. If you ignore that warning, you will be removed from the group. Derailing threads with #notallmen and so on is counterproductive and will result in a warning. Hateful and oppressive language will result in immediate removal from the group. Because this is a safe space, it’s also important that members don’t question the validity of an account of abuse and/or harassment.

If anyone here feels unsafe or threatened on here, please tag one of the admins (Georgiana Jackson-Callen, Nicole Antoinette, Alyson Cruise or Shaina Yang) in the relevant post or message one of us — we will do everything we can to rectify the situation.

If you believe that material you are posting may be triggering, please use a trigger warning (you can find advice on how and when to use those here: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Trigger_warning) For sensitive material that is not triggering, please provide a brief content note (you can find advice on those here:

http://trigger-warning-guide.tumblr.com/triggers) If you’re not sure whether something needs a content/trigger warning, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Helpful guides on privilege: http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146, http://www.robot-hugs.com/privilege/, http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2014/02/4-ways-push-back-privilege/

How to respond when you’re called out on something: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/called-out-acknowledging-oppression/

Privilege list: http://privilege101.tumblr.com/post/5988512297/list-of-privileges-permanently-in-progress
The message to people who don’t agree with the extreme views here: shut up. This being a Facebook group, the administrators do have the power to shut up opinions they don’t like.  But they are working to extend that power over all of society.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan

From Fox News Watters’ World:


Let’s try an experiment. How about readers of this blog look at the video and post their reactions as comments.

Eventually, we will post our own reaction as an update.

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Democrats Don’t Especially Like America

From the Gallup Organization, the results of a question that asked “How proud are you to be an America extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, or not proud at all?” Gallup then tabulated the percentages in each group who said “extremely proud.” The results are presented below:


Democrats are 21% less likely to feel “extremely proud” than are Republicans. Gallup did not provide tabulations for liberals and conservatives, but had they done so, the cleavage would doubtless have been wider.

So why are Democrats less patriotic? They would insist they are most sensitive to the social injustice that they consider an endemic part of American life. This is just a rationalization. What liberal Democrats don’t like about America is that they have less power than they think they should. Being elitists, they are resentful that ordinary Americans — people who oppose abortion, gay marriage, gun control and so on — contest with them for power, and on a much more equal basis than they would like.

The classic statement of this elitism came from Barack Obama, who said:
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. . . . And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Yes, these bitter clingers have too much power.

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Saturday, October 03, 2015

Supposedly Racist Tweets at Claremont College Aren’t

A bunch of black students staged a “black lives matter die-in” at Claremont College, apparently taking over a public space and inconveniencing students who just wanted to get some food or get some studying done.

A fair number of students were unimpressed with the demonstration, and said so on Yik Yak.

How did the black students respond? By calling the tweets “racist” and making a video reading some of them.

Of course, there was nothing racist about the tweets unless you think that any dissent or failure to be supportive is racist. Check out the supposedly racist statements.



This, of course, exactly parallels tweets Marquette students posted in response to a “diversity” demonstration that blocked traffic on Wisconsin Avenue. In that case also, a lot of Marquette students were unsympathetic, and said so on Yik Yak (Facebook login required to view page). Good for those Marquette students.

Note to leftist students: get out of your little politically correct bubble and face the fact that a lot of people disagree with you. And the vast majority of people who disagree with you are not racist, they just don’t buy your arguments.

The little world you live in, pampered and coddled by university bureaucrats and leftist faculty, isn’t the real world that exists off college campuses. Your college experience is teaching you things that don’t transfer well into the real world. The tweets responding to your antics are a dose of that real world, and if you stubbornly insist on demonizing the people who post them, you are marginalizing yourself.

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Plight of the Campus Religious Believer

From the Intercollegiate Review:
If you’re an orthodox believer at a mainstream college, you don’t need me to tell you that you feel like an oddball, maybe even besieged. Your professors and most of your peers would treat your most deeply held beliefs with condescension and probably horror, if they knew about them.

So what should you do about it?

If you had asked my advice even a few years ago, I would have told you to be the turd in the ­liberals’ punchbowl. When I was an undergraduate in the 1980s, I did everything in my power to challenge leftist orthodoxies. I saw offending liberals as a key public service, which I dubbed “insensitivity training.” I relied on, and fought for, the principle of free speech.

That’s long gone on campuses now.

My advice today? Grit your teeth, do your reading, make some friends, get your degree, and then make like Lot fleeing Sodom: never look back.

Sounds depressing, right? Well, I do have some good news, as you’ll see.

Big Mother Is Watching You

Colleges are much less tolerant than they were even back when I was in school. Instead of welcoming free, vigorous debate designed to prepare people for adulthood, many campuses are turning the classroom into a “safe space” where infantilized pseudo-victims can wallow in their phantom pains for four long, pricey years before the college dumps them into the real world and sends the bill. The tenets of your faith, if you stood up for them, might count as “microaggressions,” “trigger words,” or even “harassment.” Citing free speech won’t get you far on most campuses nowadays.

If your creed is anything like mine, it is by any contemporary secular standard “homophobic,” “transphobic,” “patriarchal,” “sexually repressive,” and opposed to “abortion rights.” There is no way to airbrush any orthodox mono­theist religion, especially biblical or ecclesial Christianity, to make it acceptable to secular progressives. It would take full-on plastic surgery, and you saw what that did to the Episcopal Church, Bruce Jenner, and every Jesuit college.

As someone who delighted in debating professors and students in and out of the classroom, it pains me to recommend a “covert-ops” approach. But the battlefield has shifted, and you are now deep behind enemy lines.
And what to do about this?
So keep your head down, and keep your faith. That last part can be difficult when peers and professors attack your religious beliefs as “retrograde” or “reactionary.” But you can do it. You can do it even if your campus ministry soft-pedals any supernatural aspect of your religion, privileging instead some social justice activism. If that’s the case, go find a local church and pray with the grown-ups at a faithful congregation. You may spot fellow students there. Befriend them.

You can also find like-minded students in organizations like the ISI-affiliated group on campus, Young Americans for Liberty, College Republicans, or your campus pro-life club. Maybe even a Greek organization, if those haven’t been banned from your campus. Their meetings could be a “safe space” for you.
It’s not quite as bad as this essay makes out, although anti-religious (or at least anti-Christian) intolerance can be pretty bad.

But:

Some institutions are better than others. A useful (but perhaps a bit dated) ranking of schools by religious commitment can be found here.

Sometimes the students are not as biased as the professors. At Marquette, for example, students apparently split about equally in voting for Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke.

Some majors are better than others. Expect a lot of leftist indoctrination in the humanities, the social sciences (except economics and perhaps political science), communications and education. Other majors are better, although you will have to take some courses in those most biased departments.

Plot out your path carefully. You will indeed be in enemy territory.

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The Academic Left’s Hatred of Israel

From Real Clear Politics an essay about the academic left and its hatred of the state of Israel.
What has happened on campus, aside from the well-documented suppression of pro-Israel views, is the formation of a durable coalition opposed not only to Benjamin Netanyahu and specific Israeli policies but to Israel itself. The coalition is composed of the two fundamental groups on all elite campuses: the self-professed “victims” and the self-flagellating “guilty.” One of the main purposes of orientation week is to sort students into one of these two groups and to educate them in their assigned roles.

The guilty are all students from comfortable backgrounds, except those from approved minorities. These middle-class students are, by definition, “oppressors.” They can expiate their sins by pleading guilty and showing they want to remedy the mess their families have made of America and the world. Their own special movement is environmentalism and “safety” on campus, which goes beyond the legitimate goal of ensuring all students’ physical security to include suppressing views they don’t like. Those views, they say, make them “feel unsafe.” Deans of students, who care not a whit about free speech, happily rush in to protect them. But the main way middle-class students can wash away their sins is to back the movement-du-jour of the “victims’ groups.”

There is no shortage of opportunities. There are all sorts of self-designated victims on campus, each vying for the coveted position as “the most terribly oppressed by America.” Among international students, the undisputed winners are the Palestinians (and Muslim students in general). They are glad to have others’ support as long as no one challenges their status as the No. 1 international victims group.
But why does the left hate Israel? The author (Charles Lipson) goes on to explain:
The left hates Israel’s military strength and its willingness to use it for the same reasons it hates American power. As right-thinking cosmopolitans, they would never approve such brutality. Obama captured this perspective in a Freudian slip. “Whether we like it or not,” he explained, “we remain a dominant military superpower.” The left doesn’t like it. They don’t like it in America, and they don’t like it in Israel. As for Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea brandishing military threats, well, let’s not think about that. The threats may vanish from their minds, but they still threaten everybody else with working synapses.

Not only is Israel powerful, the left (like the Muslim world) sees Israel as a remnant of Europe’s crimes: imperialism and the Holocaust. University faculties are preoccupied with imperialism and post-colonial legacies, which they blame for many of the world’s ills. They see Israel through that lens, as a colony of white settlers in an Arab-Muslim region. They blithely ignore the Jewish people’s age-old connection to the land, its continuous presence there, and its central religious significance. And they ignore how many Israelis were driven out of Arab countries, which have become virulently anti-Semitic.

The combination of Israel’s religious heritage, its nationalism, its prosperity, and its unapologetic self-defense combine virtually everything loathed by secular, cosmopolitan intellectuals. That’s why Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech offered such a tepid “defense” of Israel’s right to exist. Israel was needed, he said, because Jews needed somewhere to go after the Holocaust. That is the view of the average professor of French literature: Israel is the bastard child of Europe’s crimes.
This kind of mentality is common at Marquette, reflected (for example) in the “Israeli Apartheid Week” sponsored by several offices at Marquette.

A few years ago, Manresa sponsored a conference on “peacemaking” which included a panel titled “Jews of Conscience: Voices for Justice and Peace, Hope and Obligation.” What sort of Jews supposedly had a “conscience?” Those who oppose Israel. The people on the panel compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and justified Palestinian terrorism.

Then there was a virulent 2005 Arab Heritage Celebration, which rather than celebrating the cultural heritage of Arabs, attacked Israel.

“Catholic” Marquette, in other words, is no better than the average secular university. Indeed, Marquette is the average secular university.

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