Sunday, January 28, 2007

What’s in the Water In Michigan?

My frequent harangues on the dangers and pervasiveness of liberal domination of our schools and colleges may make some of my readers think that my own experiences as a conservative college professor in a liberal college environment have made me overly sensitive to this poison. I assure you that the extent of the degree to which a ‘hate America’ curriculum and the harassment and silencing of students and faculty who disagree with the leftist party line has reached the point where it completely dominates American upper education.

A few recent examples tell the story: the Harvard University president forced to resign because he suggested there might be (might be) some innate differences between men and women; the bodyguards that conservative speakers feel are required when invited to speak at college functions; the physical intimidation of the Minuteman speaker at Columbia; the reaction of faculty, administration and students to the accused students at Duke; the denial of Islamic terrorism by student groups at hundreds of colleges; and now, the fine example being set by the University of Michigan and Michigan State:

Dec. 18, 2006
Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: More campus thought police (Excerpt)

Another example of political correctness run amok
“The agents of political correctness who police the nation's college and university campuses generally use shame and scorn to beat down free expression deemed offensive by the tiniest minority.

But sometimes, institutions aren't content to merely marginalize those who fail to embrace a worldview that emphasizes the rights of groups over those of individuals. Rather than engage these free spirits in open debate in a classroom setting -- isn't that what college is all about? -- administrators seek to re-educate these malefactors on the proper way to think.

Michigan State University has taken the multicultural mantra of indoctrination to a new extreme. Students whose speech or behavior is deemed inappropriate for a university setting are ordered to complete, at their own expense, the school's Student Accountability in Community Seminar.

This program bills itself as an "early intervention" for those who take "any action of obscuring, concealing, or changing people's perceptions that result in your advantage and/or another's disadvantage." In other words, any behavior that might make someone feel bad. Seminar participants have included students who've argued with professors or cracked offensive jokes -- constitutionally protected free speech.

Once enrolled in the seminar, students are forced to complete written questionnaires about their behavior, sometimes several times, until an instructor believes the student has taken "full responsibility" for his actions. If a student refuses to enroll in the seminar, the university won't let the student register for classes, a de facto act of expulsion….”

November 23, 2006
The University of Michigan vs. The People
By Steve Chapman (Excerpt)

“After the votes were counted on election night, there were lots of gracious concession statements by losing candidates thanking their supporters, offering to work with the winners and paying tribute to the virtues of democracy. Then there was Mary Sue Coleman, who was having none of this.

The day after Michigan's citizens voted to ban the use of racial and gender preferences by public institutions, the president of the University of Michigan gave an embittered speech telling them to take a long walk off a short pier. Her message was that the school would do "whatever it takes" to delay, frustrate and circumvent the clearly expressed will of the public. She could have been more succinct if she had merely repeated the words of Dick Tuck after losing a California state senate race in 1964: "The people have spoken -- the bastards."

Coleman has been a staunch champion of the idea of correcting racial discrimination by practicing racial discrimination. The University of Michigan's admissions policies have the effect of accepting many black and Hispanic applicants who would be rejected if they were white or Asian-American.

Until the Supreme Court ruled it illegal, the formula automatically gave 20 points (out of 100 needed for acceptance) to anyone from an "underrepresented" minority group. A perfect SAT score, by contrast, was worth only 12 points. Though it struck down that approach, the court agreed to let the school employ race as a "plus factor" in a program aimed at assuring "diversity" in the student body. Double standards in the pursuit of what amount to racial quotas were allowed to continue.

But it turns out that was not the last word. Opponents of racial preferences responded to the Supreme Court decision by offering a state constitutional amendment, Proposal 2, to outlaw this kind of discrimination. On Nov. 7, it was approved with the support of 58 percent of the voters.

Coleman exudes contempt for these people, accusing them of opposing "a community that is fair and equal for all." She said California's 1996 ban on racial and gender preferences "has been a horribly failed experiment" that "we cannot, and will not, allow to take seed here in Michigan." And she assured her campus audience that she would not be bound by the intentions of the voters: "We will find ways to overcome the handcuffs that Proposal 2 attempts to place on our reach for greater diversity."

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