UVA’s Troubled Campus Culture

James Ceaser recently became the first UVA professor to publicly speak out regarding the deeply unhealthy climate on his campus, exposed by the publication of the now-discredited Rolling Stone article alleging multiple gang rapes at the school. (The sole source for each of these allegations appears to have been “Jackie.”) Ceaser lamented how few people on campus appeared to care about the truth, and instead bowed to the passions of the mob. Events on campus have suggested, Ceaser perceptively observed, that “far from being an end in itself, the truth on our college campuses is now treated as a mere instrument of combat. It is wielded with feigned righteousness when it promotes a preferred cause and then abandoned when it produces the opposite result. In the end, this is the sad message that universities now convey.”

Over the last several weeks, Ceaser has been a voice in the Charlottesville wilderness. The actions of President Teresa Sullivan’s administration—joined by an array of professors and, most disturbingly, by the student newspaper—have provided an almost textbook example of Continue reading

U. Michigan Liberals Can’t Take a Joke

Simple Justice

This post is about the month-long uproar at the University of Michigan triggered by a satire of liberal thought by a conservative Muslim student, Omar Mahmood. As a result, he was fired by the Michigan Daily and the door to his apartment was pelted with eggs and covered in obscene graffiti.

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When I read Omar Mahmood’s parody, Do The Left Thing, I was rolling on the floor. The kid is good. I mean, he has it.  Oh sure, no doubt he was going to rile up all the folks who bleed with every papercut, but that’s the point of satire.  Piss them off. Make them think. It’s a great change of pace from wallowing in feelings of misery.

That Mahmood was met with the whine of the tenderhearted, his satire created a hostile environment at his other paper, was par for the silliness course.

And until recently, he enjoyed writing for both of the campus’s newspapers: the institutional, liberal paper, The Michigan Daily, and the conservative alternative paper, The Michigan Review.

After penning a satirical op-ed for The Review that mocked political correctness and trigger warnings, The Daily ordered him to apologize to an anonymous staffer who was offended and felt “threatened” by him. He refused and was fired.

Frankly, Continue reading

The University of Michigan Vindicates Chris Rock

One of the most revealing statements of 2014 was made by comedian Chris Rock, who told interviewer Frank Rich that he no longer appears on college campuses because “everything offends students these days.” (Read about that here.)

In case you think Rock was exaggerating, a recent incident at the University of Michigan shows how correct he is.

Omar Mahmood is a junior, majoring in literature and anthropology. His religion is Muslim. He also happens to dislike the pervasive “Help, I’m an oppressed victim” mindset he finds on campus and had the unmitigated gall to write a satirical Continue reading

No Free Speech at Marquette

Marquette University, the Jesuit school in Milwaukee, has shot itself in the foot again. Weeks ago in a “Theory of Ethics” class, philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate listed several possible topics of discussion, but said one of them –gay marriage—could not be addressed because any opposition argument would offend homosexual students, and besides society has already agreed that gays can marry. This is a strong pattern for the campus left: topics they want to talk about (e.g., the Keystone pipeline, abolishing fraternities) are discussed endlessly, even in classes where the topics have little or no relevance. But topics they don’twant discussed are banned as “already settled” or as harassment.

Did Marquette overrule Abbate and say that gay marriage can certainly be discussed in class?  Or that Catholic Continue reading

Jackie’s Story and UVA’s Stalinist Rules

The collapse of the Rolling Stone rape story had an important byproduct—it showed the stunning unfairness of UVA’s proposed new sexual assault policies.  UVA’s proposed guidelines, like those of many colleges, are heavily pitched toward accusers, minimize due process and all but ensure that key evidence will not come before the university, especially if that evidence might contradict the accuser’s version of events.

By now, thanks to excellent reporting from the Washington Post and Slate, we know that Jackie has told three (mutually contradictory) versions of the alleged assault. As a result, few people beyond the most doctrinaire ideologues could believe that Jackie’s case should have ended with UVA vindicating her.

But what if, instead of speaking to Rolling Stone’s Sabrina Erdely, Jackie had bided her time, and filed a complaint under the proposed new procedures? Would this non-credible accuser have been able to persuade the university to brand one or more of its students a rapist? The preponderance of evidence says yes. In this respect, Jackie’s case offers a terrifying perspective Continue reading