Saturday, April 15, 2017

The sewer of nonsense that is the post-American university - today's edition

Three examples today:

At Brown, the imperative of distorting the natural order trumps usage of proper grammar:

A Wall Street Journal reader forwarded James Freeman a copy of the letter received by the reader’s daughter from Brown University Director of Admissions Logan Powell. The reader, Freeman reports, is still trying to make sense of the letter. The reader’s bright daughter had already received news of her acceptance when a letter arrived that was addressed to her “Parent/Guardian.” 
Freeman reports:
Oddly, the note referred to the accepted student not as “she” but as “they.” Dean Powell’s letter also stated that our reader’s daughter had no doubt worked hard and made positive contributions to “their” school and community. Our reader reports that his perplexed family initially thought that Brown had made a word-processing error. That was before they listened to a voice mail message from the school congratulating his daughter and referring to her as “them.”
Surely you can guess the rest of the story. As a journalist, however, Freeman sought an explanation:
It turns out that the errors were intentional. Brown spokesman Brian Clark writes in an email that “our admission office typically refers to applicants either by first name or by using ‘they/their’ pronouns. While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organizations as a gender-inclusive option.”
In one sense, this particular story has a happy ending. Freeman relates that the reader believes the school “wants to make it clear that only left wing extremists are welcome at Brown. Fine with us — good riddance.”
Like so many others inside the asylum of our elite educational institutions, the powers that be at Brown are out of “their” “minds.” The problem, however, is pervasive among these institutions. These institutions should not become “their” exclusive preserves. There has to be an answer.
The obvious question regarding Clemson is how it is going to hold classes if each student and even instructors has his own sense of how time unfolds:

Clemson University’s ‘diversity education and training” teaches employees that every “cultural perspective regarding time” is equally valid, so it’s wrong to expect people to be prompt.
Clemson is spending $26,945 on “diversity education and training” for its faculty members, Campus Reform reports:
“Clemson President James Clements pledged that ‘all employees will participate in diversity education and training,’ last April, in order to create a more inclusive environment on campus.”
In one slide, employees are taught that tardiness is acceptable because the concept of time is culturally relative. Thus, every culture’s perception of the actual time must be respected - since one “cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”
The slide gives the example of “Alejandro,” who called a 9:00 AM meeting, and teaches that he should not rebuke a group of foreign professors and students who show up late:
“Time may be considered precise or fluid depending on the culture.”
Thus, the slide teaches, Alejandro shouldn’t impose his definition of time on others, because “his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”
A Wellesley  student's editorial makes plain why we call 'em jackboots:

True story: Wellesley used to be a thought of as a good school with bright students.
In fairness, despite all of the attention being paid online today to this fascist anti-fascist excrescence (the paper’s server is overwhelmed with traffic as I write this), there’s nothing in it that you wouldn’t hear on any other campus or in any other campus’s faculty lounge. It’s distinguished by two things, one being the surprisingly poor quality of the writing. Normally when you’re claiming the intellectual authority to reeducate the unwashed and, if need be, to ostracize the unrepentant among them, you proofread your copy to make sure clanging phrases like “We have all said problematic claims” have been safely excised beforehand.
The other distinction is that tirades about “hate speech” usually don’t come with overt threats of “hostility” towards the infidels. They should, since that’s how this nonsense plays out in practice, as Charles Murray could tell you. But there’s still enough of a veneer of intellectualism in apologias for this sort of thought-policing that consequences for the nonconformists are usually merely implied, not recommended.
Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging…
We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way. It is vital that we encourage people to correct and learn from their mistakes rather than berate them for a lack of education they could not control. While it is expected that these lessons will be difficult and often personal, holding difficult conversations for the sake of educating is very different from shaming on the basis of ignorance.
This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted. If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others, then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions. It is important to note that our preference for education over beration regards students who may have not been given the chance to learn. Rather, we are not referring to those who have already had the incentive to learn and should have taken the opportunities to do so. Paid professional lecturers and politicians are among those who should know better.

These places were once the conduits by which an understanding of Western civilization's foundations were transmitted.

There's not doubt that they no longer serve that function, but what other kind of institution is equipped to take up the mantle?

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