Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

by Liberty Chick & Adam Baldwin  ~  at BigJournalism.com

Police warn UC Davis protesters

UC Davis protesters encircle police to prevent them from leaving. Police issued multiple warnings to those in the path to clear access. Just prior to the pepper spray, Officer Pike gives a final warning to each protester, "Do you understand that if you stay here when the police squad comes, you will be subject to the use of force?

On Monday, students, faculty and supporters at the University of California, Davis, attempted a mass general strike to protest tuition hikes and to demand the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after police pepper-sprayed eleven protesters who blocked a public access way at an #OccupyUCDavis event on November 18th. Students maintain it was Chancellor Katehi who requested the police remove the Occupy encampment and clear access to the facility.  The incident sparked a firestorm of media all across the world and has become a viral phenomenon, and now even an Internet meme.

We stand behind those calling for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation.  But not for the reasons they might think.

The events of UC Davis and the way in which the pepper-spray was handled has set a number of dangerous precedents.  In the setting of academia, the rights of the majority of students are being trampled on to appease the tyranny of a minority.  Further, the very system of law and order and its public servants instituted to protect the rights of the public at large have been undermined by incompetent leaders, unable to withstand the growing pressure of a noisy minority and the corrupt media that supports it.  Most importantly, propaganda has established a foothold that is now stronger than ever, and far more dangerous than the short-term effects of pepper spray.

Over the last week, we have seen the media pick up the UC Davis story and run with it, always highlighting the same twenty seconds of one Officer Pike, methodically pepper-spraying eleven “peaceful protesters,” as onlookers gasp and scream in horror and dismay.  The public was almost undivided in its immediate condemnation of the act.

But just as Winston Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” Perhaps in this case, it’s not so much a lie, but a lot of omissions.

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by Adam Baldwin and Liberty Chick

UPDATE: UW-Stout has retreated.  “…Therefore, UW-Stout has reconsidered its decision to remove the two posters from outside the professor’s office, meaning he can display them if he so chooses.”  Popehat has the analysis.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of America’s most sacred freedoms and our public universities often among its staunchest defenders.  But at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UWS), it seems this sacred freedom is in the eye of the beholder.

UWS theater professor Dr. James Miller is relatively new to the short-lived, now cult hit TV series “Firefly.”  Some of his students are loyal fans and asked Dr. Miller to check it out for himself. He liked it enough to hang a Firefly poster on his office door. Given its remote location in the theater wing, where mostly only theater students would see it, who would have expected the poster to cause such a firestorm?

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports:

On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Joss Whedon’s sci-fi series Firefly and a line from an episode: “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter notified Miller that she had removed the poster because it “refer[s] to killing.” After Miller replied, “respect my first amendment rights,” Walter wrote that “the poster can be interpreted as a threat.” Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: “If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct.”

In response to Walter’s censorship, Miller placed a new poster on his office door on the 16th. The poster read “Warning: Fascism” and mocked, “Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets.”

Walter escalated the absurdity. On September 20, she wrote that this poster, too, had been censored because it “depicts violence and mentions violence and death” and was expected to “be constituted as a threat.” She added that UWS’s “threat assessment team,” in consultation with the university general counsel’s office, had made the decision. College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Raymond Hayes then scheduled a meeting with Miller about “the concerns raised by the campus threat assessment team.”

Read the rest here at BigHollywood

Apparently, the Big Labor-related death threats aren’t limited to Wisconsin.  Or to lawmakers.

This following email is just in from our friends at The Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

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“The Mackinac Center for Public Policy received numerous death threats and bomb threats in the aftermath of national publicity about a Freedom of Information Act request it sent to three public universities.

The messages were left on the Center’s voice mail Thursday night and early Friday morning, but it is unclear at this point if one or two women were responsible for the threats.

Mackinac Center President Joseph Lehman said the Mackinac Center has contacted law enforcement about the threats.

“We, along with the authorities, are doing everything necessary to protect ourselves,” Lehman said. “No threats will prevent us from showing the public how universities spend tax dollars.”

There were five messages left containing death or bomb threats. Four of them appear to be from the same caller. A fifth message was from a woman who left a death threat and, unlike the previous caller, left her name and indicated she lived in a neighboring state. It was unclear if the second caller was the same as the first caller.

A female voice said:

“Scotty Walker is dead. So are you. We know where you live.” The woman then recited the Mackinac Center’s address and said, “We are coming up to destroy you.”

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[original post 7/24/2010]

Andy Stern has just gained yet another job.  Earlier this month, Stern also accepted a position on the Board of Directors for SIGA, a producer of anti-viral and biological warfare defense products.

But this job seems to have some policy teeth, with a think-tank title akin to Media Matters or the Center for American Progress, and it comes with perhaps some welcome company as well.

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From The San Francisco Chronicle:

Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, is joining Georgetown University’s public policy school as a research fellow.

Stern, 59, retired in May after building his union into one of the largest in the labor movement and increasing his own influence with President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers.

Stern will coordinate research at Washington-based Georgetown on wage reform, labor policy and retirement security, according to an announcement on the school’s website.

Stern of course maintains his position as an adviser on Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, a post to which Obama appointed him in February of this year.

This announcement comes only weeks after the announcement that Ed Montgomery, who has been serving in the White House as both a member of President Obama’s Task Force on the Auto Industry and as the Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, will leave the Obama administration to take over as Dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.  As very active leaders in the labor movement, both Mr. Montgomery and Andy Stern certainly know one another, and have shared visits at the White House for such activities as Obama’s White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth.

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[original post 6/13/2010]

And so we begin to hear some feedback from the liberal side, including direct comments from one prominent member of the “Cry Wolf” project.  On the Inside Higher Ed website Friday, founder and editor Scott Jaschik addresses Big Journalism’s Academia-Gate series in his post, “Who Is Crying Wolf?”

Some prominent liberal academics are soliciting short essays from faculty members and graduate students to document a pattern in American history of major social advances being opposed by conservatives who “cry wolf” about the impact of proposed reforms. The campaign — known as the “Cry Wolf Project” — hasn’t been officially announced. But conservative bloggers obtained some of the solicitations of essays and published them this week, along with considerable criticism.

A series of posts on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism Web site have called the program “Academia-Gate” and suggested that the effort is inappropriately political. The creators of Cry Wolf, meanwhile, say that what they are doing is awfully similar to the ways that right-leaning scholars have used academic work to advance their causes over the years.

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Jaschik acquaints readers with the members of the “Cry Wolf” project coordinators and the details of the request for proposals.  He then goes on to cite from a couple of BigJournalism’s posts in the series:

One post on Big Journalism noted that those involved in the project are sympathetic to organized labor, and that many influential academics are serving on the advisory board. “This is what our higher education system has become – a publicly funded amplifier of progressive ideology,” says the post by Patrick Courrielche. “If this Cry Wolf program were just limited to a few faculty members at a limited number of universities, it would be of little concern. But the project reaches into some of the most prestigious public and private schools of higher learning in the U.S., including MIT, Yale, Harvard, USC, Columbia, Rutgers, UC Santa Barbara, University of Pennsylvania, and President Obama’s alma mater — Occidental College.”

Liberty Chick, the blogger who started calling Cry Wolf “Academia-Gate,” described her concerns this way: “What’s far more dangerous is that the ideological academic, in his capacity as a professor, actually possesses the power to control. The power to influence students’ minds, to mold the students’ way of thinking to embrace their own power-hungry desires and believe in it as ’social justice’ — this is a frightening weapon. Via union solidarity, this weapon is shared with the mobilizers, the janitors and cafeteria workers who agitate the students with various demands against the university after ideologically minded professors have indoctrinated them to hear every grievance as a call for ’social justice.’

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[original post 6/10/2010]

A fixed fight: The Influence of Labor Unions in Academe. Part One is here.

In the academic world, employees are very often public employees. This means that they are also very often union employees. At all levels. This includes everyone from janitors, to dormitory housekeepers, cafeteria workers, clerical staff, and computer techs, to even the graduate assistants and professors. While the salary gap between a cafeteria worker and a senior professor may be huge, the solidarity of the unions is a powerful magnet that creates an unbreakable bond amongst them.

Unions are fond of bashing capitalism with seething rhetoric, decrying the economic system as irredeemably corrupted by greed and racism and classism. But the ideology they themselves embrace is itself driven by the same ugly characteristics they profess to detest. Except in their case, power is the motivating force, the passion that drives them.

The burning desire for the power to control your life is the tie that binds the union service worker to the academic intellectual. It is this common fabric that connects the union janitor more closely to the ideological academic intellectual than to his working-class counterparts beyond campus.

What’s far more dangerous is that the ideological academic, in his capacity as a professor, actually possesses the power to control. The power to influence students’ minds, to mold the students’ way of thinking to embrace their own power-hungry desires and believe in it as “social justice” – this is a frightening weapon. Via union solidarity, this weapon is shared with the mobilizers, the janitors and cafeteria workers who agitate the students with various demands against the university after ideologically minded professors have indoctrinated them to hear every grievance as a call for “social justice.”

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[original post 6/9/2010]

Yesterday’s story on the “Cry Wolf” project has exposed a dangerous pretense that has been prevalent, yet well disguised, for some time in our institutions of higher learning. It’s an important post.  A small committee of professors and academic professionals, normally held in high regard, have blatantly betrayed the trust of the public and quite possibly smeared the reputations of all colleges and universities nationwide.  By soliciting “paid activists” to create research papers that are intentionally designed to silence opposing viewpoints, they have undermined the political system and manipulated the governmental policy making process.  And in the meantime, they’ve also implicated all of academia in the manufacturing of their propaganda.

It is an abuse of their power, and an abuse of the institutions they represent.  It is appalling and repellent.  Perhaps even against their employers’ rules or the industry’s ethical code. Consider it an ominous warning — this will have a dire impact on our political and economic system in the future, if we remain apathetic in the face of such a rhetorical and intellectual assault.

college

In fact, both the rhetoric and the intentions demonstrated in Peter Dreier’s email are a classic example of much of what is wrong with today’s educational institutions: hypocrisy, bias, recklessness, and a blatant disregard for differing beliefs and viewpoints.

As Americans, we place an enormous amount of pride in the quality of our nation’s system of higher education.  In our country, colleges and universities have long been the bastions of research, the sources to which we turn for information that is expertly developed; for data that is honestly mined, analyzed, reviewed and responsibly published by noted researchers so that individuals, business people and policy makers can make well-informed decisions.

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[original post 6/6/2010]

A new hard-hitting documentary entitled, “The Lottery,” from director Madeleine Sackler premieres tomorrow, for one night only, in theaters across the country.  The focus of the film is the battle for the future of our nation’s children over education.

“In a country where 58% of African-American 4th graders are functionally illiterate, The Lottery uncovers the failures of the traditional public school system and reveals that hundreds of thousands of parents attempt to flee the system every year. The Lottery follows four of these families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance of a better future.”

And at the core of that battle is a network of special interests; a coalition of community groups, labor unions, and politicians, all working together to hold onto power and control, while losing sight of the children; the future of our country.

The inner workings of such a web are little known or understood to most, even to some of those close to the system.  To understand how powerful this network is, first you need to be extremely observant.  And then, you need to go right to the source.  Within no time, many of the issues that stand in the way of reforming our public education system become as clear as the most perfect of ocean waters on a sunny day.

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[original post 4/28/2010]

I’m thinking SEIU may need to hire itself a new communications consulting firm.  Am I the only one confused by this messaging conflict?

To protest Illinois state budget cuts, thousands (which in lefty stats must mean 10, as in ten people) took to the steps of Illinois’ state capitol building, demanding the Governor shut down the state house.  They chanted, “Shut it Down Now. Shut it Down Now”.

Then, at the same protest, they marched and chanted outside, “Save Our State.  Save Our Schools.”

I don’t know which it is they’d like the Governor to do – shut down the state, or save it?

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[original post 4/18/2010]

I don’t usually engage in snarky posts, but every once in a while, I need a little snark to put a ridiculous situation into perspective.  So please indulge me for the next three minutes…

It’s a good thing the government’s taken over the student loan industry.  Now our precious young college students will receive every opportunity to spend hours learning in the college classroom, enlightening their minds and enriching their lives.

Oh wait, no, that’s not how that “free money” is spent.  Why use our hard earned tax dollars for an education when you can waste our money and spend that time instead on becoming a pawn in someone else’s propaganda?  Why not abuse the money that’s been confiscated from our paychecks at a time when we so desperately need it and instead enjoy the benefits of union indoctrination on your college campus?

sodexo

So let me get this straight.  Students all across the country have suddenly all taken a collective interest in the economic performance of their university’s cafeteria?  So, instead of attending classes like grateful students excited to learn, they’re sitting in the middle of a busy intersection at a red light, arm in arm, donning their SEIU-provided purple shirt, blocking traffic and taking cops away from important things – like responding to emergencies.  And last week, 20 were arrested for doing this at Ohio State University.

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