Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reason.com: Occidental Professors Voting to Give Students Power to Report Them for "Microaggressions"

Has this man been thinking bad thoughts?
Mod: Things just keep getting wackier over at Eagle Rock's very own Occidental College. Apparently if you are some 19 year old beta-twerp whose daddy can afford to send you to this $63,000 a year academy for those who couldn't get into something Ivy League, among the advantages of your rarefied economic strata will now be the privilege of informing upon any of your professors guilty of what you will have chosen to believe are "microaggressions." And who enabled this remarkably mad slide into political correctness run completely amok? Believe it or not the groveling professors of Occidental themselves. Which raises the following piece of delicious irony. Will obnoxious local political meddler Peter Dreier, who teaches at Occidental, soon find himself dragged before a student conducted thought crime kangaroo court for just about anything they might desire? The following comes to us from the website Reason.com, and can be accessed in the original by clicking here.

Occidental Professors Voting to Give Students Power to Report Them for Microaggressions - Would also mandate diversity training In recognition of their complicity in “structural racism and oppression” at Occidental College, the faculty will vote on a resolution that mandates diversity training, requires all academic departments to make racial sensitivity a component of in-class instruction, and allows students to “report microaggressions” between students and professors.

The proposal, dubbed the “Plan of Action,” was created by Occidental’s Faculty Council, which governs academic affairs on campus. Reason obtained a draft of the proposal, which will be presented to the entire Occidental faculty at a meeting on Tuesday. From its introduction:

We recognize and are inspired by the leadership of Oxy United for Black Liberation and their call for widespread institutional changes in the culture of the College. We affirm that Black lives matter and also affirm the broader ideals of social justice to which their call speaks. We recognize that the structural racism and other forms of oppression of the College violate our commitment to ensuring equity and excellence in our educational programs for all of our students. We also acknowledge that our collective inaction as a faculty body makes us complicit in the failures of the College to make our Mission a lived reality. For this we apologize for failing you, our students.

The Plan of Action seems to be a response to recent protests on campus; students occupied the administrative center and vowed not to leave unless Occidental President Jonathan Veitch agreed to resign. They also want Occidental to hire more professors of color and fund new diversity initiatives.

The students will get many of the things they want, if the full faculty body approves the Plan of Action. The resolution would mandate diversity and ally training for all faculty, beginning in January 2016. “We empower the Dean of the College to ensure compliance,” the plan reads.

The plan also obligates professors to place a much greater emphasis on topics relating to race and ethnicity—even if they don’t teach subjects that call for much examination of social or cultural issues. “All departments must incorporate issues of cultural and racial identity and diversity in their curricula,” the plan reads. Does all departments include mathematics? Physical sciences? I imagine that it does.

Perhaps most worrying, the plan calls for a microaggression monitoring system that would allow students to report faculty members for offending them. The plan explains that this is necessary to correct “power imbalances between faculty and students.” But students will have too much power if they are granted the right to be safe from microaggressions—which are, by their very nature, subjective and relatively inconsequential. How are professors supposed to teach if they have to worry about being reported and investigated for unknowingly saying the wrong thing to a student?

In an email to Reason, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education President Greg Lukianoff expressed numerous free speech concerns about the resolution. Here is FIRE’s statement, lightly edited:

We are troubled by the new proposed faculty resolution at Occidental College as it requires speech policing, substitutes academic freedom and judgment with top-down ideological commitments, and stifles diversity of opinion in the favor of imposed orthodoxy.

Given that microaggressions can be unconscious and often exist in the eye of the beholder, the call to “address and report” professors' microaggressions creates a bottomless pit of speech policing.

Mandatory diversity training of all faculty puts even seasoned professors in the position of being told what ideological assumptions they should or even must have. Academic freedom requires professors to follow their own research where it takes them regardless of the opinions of paid consultants.

Finally the requirement that all professors, even hard science professors, incorporate “issues of cultural and racial identity and diversity in their curricula,” violates basic tenets of academic freedom and scholarly independence.

FIRE vowed to challenge the proposal if it is adopted by the faculty.

Neither Occidental College, nor Faculty Council Chair Anthony Chase, immediately responded to a request for comment.

Mod: The above cited "Plan of Action," created by the not especially brilliant and rather obsequious Occidental Faculty Council, can be accessed by clicking here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

32 comments:

  1. Is flipping someone off in public considered a micro aggression and is there a statute of limitations for when it occurred? Do micro aggressions only apply to students and not include the general public? These are important things to know.

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    1. Maybe there is an ideological bias.

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    2. I think it depends on who you are pointing the finger at.

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  2. It's just ain't easy bein' white like it used to.

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    1. Being white is a microaggression in itself. There really is no good way out of this.

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  3. After I looked at that picture the song "Froggy Went A-Courting" got stuck in my head.

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  4. I didn't realize Leonard Maltin was tenured at Oxy.

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  5. What happens to professors found guilty of having committed microaggressions?

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    1. I am not sure the menu of punishments has been established yet. Though I hear they are looking at the Chinese Cultural Revolution model. A duncecap plus a sign hung around the offending professor's neck, all while taking a donkey cart ride around the campus, would be educational.

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    2. http://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3v47utDC81r4tfq9o1_1280.jpg

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  6. Hiring faculty primarily based on their ethnic identity will produce some interesting results.
    Teaching skills, publishing history, innovative ability demonstrated in research? Nah - won't matter much.

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  7. What an embarrassment for Occidental. Used to be a good school.

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    1. Remember the President attended Occidental many years ago. Was it a good school then?

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    2. He transferred to Columbia.

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    3. According to this account he left Occidental to sober up.
      http://www.wikicu.com/Barack_Obama
      Barack Obama CC '83 is the 44th and current President of the United States. A former US Senator from Illinois, he is the first African-American and the first Columbia graduate to hold the nation's highest office.
      Obama is the first attendee of Columbia College and the first graduate of any Columbia school[1], to occupy the Oval Office. Obama was also the first Columbia College alumnus to be nominated by a major modern party ticket, and the first CC alum to be a major party nominee since the Federalists nominated DeWitt Clinton in 1812.
      He is the second Columbia alumnus to win a Nobel Peace Prize, after Nicholas Murray Butler in 1931. Theodore Roosevelt also won a Peace Prize, but is not formally an alumnus.
      Obama maintains a somewhat distant relationship to Columbia today. While he has turned down invitations to official Columbia events and appeared to deemphasize his Columbia years in the course of his campaign, Obama has sent personal notes to alumni of his class and is a donor to the university.
      Obama transferred to CC from Occidental College, which is even more rarely mentioned by the President, in the fall of 1981. At Occidental, Obama wrote, he had been into partying and drugs. He hoped the move to New York, where the cold weather would force him to stay inside and read,[2] would put him on a more serious track.

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    4. 11:39, obviously it wasn't the school for him - he was only there briefly.
      It's a real shame that Oxy has become known for a marginal association with a President, and now, with a total sell out to the most fortunate protesters in the world.

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    5. So funny. The professors are scared to death of the students. When I was in college it was just the opposite.

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  8. These students enjoy a level of privilege that exists in very few places in our world.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Four letter words are a microaggression.

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  10. No one is forcing those spoiled brats to go to Oxy. How many of them are receiving school based financial aid or scholarships? If it is such an awful place, they can always go somewhere else. Those brats will not be missed.

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    1. I agree with you 10:32, but unfortunately, Oxy has such a flimsy idea of its own value that it gave up on its own best attribute: intelligence.

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  11. Occidental may have just ended its career as a respected school known for its independence and elegance of thought.

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  12. Any parent with an ounce of common sense and a spine would tell their son or daughter that they are no longer going to pay Occidental College tuition and that if that son or daughter wants to continue to attend that school, why I guess they are going to need to figure out how to pay for it themselves.

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  13. You would hope that after having spent a quarter of a million dollars on a 4 year education at Occidental your child would be employable.

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  14. What kind of job can one get with a degree in Human Ecology? and, as an employer, would you hire one of the Whitney Oxy grads?

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    1. What kind of job can one get with a degree in Human Ecology? Chipotle chef.

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  15. Off topic, but now that it's December, who is running for City Council? I believe there is an election next April and December is the month to pull candidate papers.

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    1. Capoccia and Harabedian will run for reelection unopposed. They have effectively neutralized the one potent issue in Sierra Madre, which is mansionization. This will allow them to run with no real opposition and work for the big utility tax hike that will fund their greedy union allies. A move that will eventually bankrupt the place, but not while they're still in office. Sure its corruption. But who would ever put their butt on the line to stop it? Most residents here will never grasp it. They're just too damn stupid.

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    2. Have heard yes and no from both. Actually I think it is selfish not to let their supporters know what their plans are.

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    3. They need to get the tax hike apparatus up and running first. Then they will announce that they will be running for re-election. Not because they want to, mind you, but because the financial situation is so dire they have no choice.

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  16. This is the best City Council we've had in the 30 years I've lived in Sierra Madre. While I don't always agree with J & J, I hope they will both run again. If you don't like the UUT, vote no - again! As far at Oxy, I agree, we students used to be afraid of the professors. We marched, sat-in protesting some real issues, and I used to be appalled that today's students don't seem to care. This, however, is totally nuts!!!

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