2017-05-14 14:31:37 UTC
MAY 13, 2017 · 7:02 PM
Indoctrination And Intimidation At The University Of Arizona: Who Will Say,
“So What’s The Matter With That?”
I feel the same way, Lucy…
There is a dumb joke in an old “I Love Lucy” episode that this story brings
Lucy is outraged when she reads that there is am all- filly race at the
local race track and misunderstands. Horrified, she erupts, “How long has
this been going on? They’re racing little girls at Churchill Downs!” Ricky
promptly explains why she was being an alarmist.
I hope that somehow the news item’s reporter got the facts wrong or I am
missing something, because this story is far worse than racing little girls,
and nowhere near as funny.
The University of Arizona is accepting student applications for what
administrators call “social justice advocates.” The job requires the
students to “report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence
Life staff,” and pays the student workers $10 an hour. They’re expected to
work 15 hours a week, earning $600 a month in taxpayer funds—this is a
public university—to police their fellow students speech and conduct.
Part of the job description reads:
“The position also aims to increase understanding of one’s own self through
critical reflection of power and privilege, identity and intersectionality,
systems of socialization, cultural competency and allyship as they pertain
to the acknowledgement, understanding and acceptance of differences.
Finally, this position intends to increase a student staff member’s ability
to openly lead conversations, discuss differences and confront diversely
Their #1 job, however, is to report “bias claims” so the student miscreant
involved can face a Star Chamber, or the university equivalent. Such a claim
can be what someone regards as an outright act of “racism,’ which
presumably could include anything from using a racial epithet to saying
Maxine Waters is an idiot, to “microaggressions” like “cultural
misappropriation,” or calling a transgender student by the wrong pronoun.
The social justice advocate’s job will also include “fostering dialogue”
related to “diversity, multiculturalism and social justice”—in other words,
to be a full time left-wing scold— and to “increase awareness of diverse
identities” while “promoting inclusive communities.”
I wonder if being stuffed in a closet or hung on a hook will be considered a
“biased incident” by these paid political correctness snitches? That is,
after all, what would happen to them on a healthy campus. Will they have
little badges and whistles? I think they should get badges and whistles. Or
get a uniform like Rolf at the climax of “The Sound of Music.”
They’re racing little girls at Churchill Downs!
This can’t be real, could it? Campus culture has not become this perverted,
this totalitarian, this nuts, has it? Maybe this is a clever experiment by
the University…sure, that has to be what’s going on. The school wants to see
if students can tell real “1984”-style, Soviet indoctrination tactics and
distinguish them from the lesser, more tolerable outrages the progressives
are trying to use to strangle liberty and free expression in 2017. This is
brilliant! The University wants to know how many student-weasel hybrids will
sign up to spy on fellow students, and the applicants will be required to
take some special training in “The Core Values Of The United States,” “The
Constitution, ” and “How Not To Be A Dick.” Maybe they want to see how long
it takes for a student march on the administration building protesting this
oppression and harassment.
That better be the explanation, but I fear it is not. Just this week, the
Washington Post editorialized that colleges should “make crystal clear that
racist signs, symbols and speech are off-limits.” This is the censorship and
speech-policing that what we once called the liberal side of our political
spectrum has embraced to its disgrace and the nation’s endangerment.
In the same paper, Prof. Eugene Volokh correctly calls the Post’s
exhortation what it is: an attack on free expression and academic freedom on
This is an editorial, the product of carefully considered labor on the part
of a group of people, not an extemporaneous remark; when it says “racist …
speech” (especially right after a sentence talking about political advocacy
during a presidential campaign), I assume it means what it’s saying.
And the editorial’s proposal is an awful idea. At public universities, it
would violate the First Amendment; at private universities, it would violate
many of the universities’ stated commitments to open debate, as well as
basic principles of academic freedom.
1. The Supreme Court has made “crystal clear” that the government may not
discriminate based on viewpoint, even in limited public fora such as
university open spaces (or for that matter even university programs for
funding student speech). Lower courts have consistently struck down campus
speech codes aimed at supposedly bigoted speech. See, e.g., Dambrot v.
Central Michigan Univ., 55 F.3d 1177, 1184-85 (6th Cir. 1995); DeJohn v.
Temple Univ., 537 F.3d 301, 316-17, 320 (3d Cir. 2008); McCauley v. Univ. of
V.I., 618 F.3d 232, 237-38, 250 (3d Cir. 2010); Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi
Fraternity v. George Mason Univ., 993 F.3d 386, 388-89, 391, 393 (4th Cir.
1993); College Republicans v. Reed, 523 F. Supp. 2d 1005, 1010-11, 1021
(N.D. Cal. 2007); Roberts v. Haragan, 346 F. Supp. 2d 853, 870-72 (N.D. Tex.
2004); Bair v. Shippensburg Univ., 280 F. Supp. 2d 357, 373 (M.D. Pa. 2003);
Booher v. Bd. of Regents of N. Ky. Univ., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11404,
*28-*31 (E.D. Ky. 1998); UWM Post, Inc. v. Regents, 774 F. Supp. 1163,
1165-66, 1173, 1177 (E.D. Wis. 1991); Doe v. Univ. of Mich., 721 F. Supp.
852, 856, 864-66 (E.D. Mich. 1989). And in Christian Legal Society v.
Martinez (2010), the Court gave students’ freedom to “express any viewpoint
they wish — including a discriminatory one” as an example of “this Court’s
tradition of protect[ing] the freedom to express the thought that we hate”
(quotation marks omitted). There is no First Amendment exception for “hate
speech” or “racist signs, symbols and speech.”
2. And beyond their unconstitutionality, bans on “racist … speech” would, of
course, extend far beyond just threats or even epithets. Many substantive
claims may be easily labeled racist, in the sense of being generalizations
that express a negative claim about a racial group, whether they are claims
about blacks being criminals, whites being an oppressor race, Hispanic
immigration being bad for the country (ethnicity is generally treated much
like race in legal rules and university policies), and so on. And of course
many other claims are routinely labeled racist as well, even if they focus
not on race but on religion (condemnation of Islam is routinely labeled
“racist”), immigration (calls to deport illegal aliens, or otherwise limit
immigration, are routinely labeled “racist” even if they call for broad
enforcement of the law), foreign nations (harsh condemnation of Israel is
often labeled anti-Semitic, in the sense of being hostile to Jews as an
ethnic group) and so on. Some such advocacy may be motivated by racial or
ethnic hostility, while some might not be; but all such advocacy that runs
against university administrators’ political views would be deterred when
“university administrators” “make crystal clear” that “racist … speech” —
racist in the views of whatever disciplinary committee is making decisions —
Plus of course bans on racist speech would hardly stay limited to speech
that is hostile based on race, or on ethnicity. Naturally there would then
be calls for similar bans on sexist speech, speech critical of particular
religions, anti-gay speech, anti-transgender speech, and so on — and those
would suppress an even broader range of debate.
The Post editorial and the U. of A.’s hired PC enforcers spring from the
same dread sickness in the culture wars. If you encounter someone who
defends this movement, fear them. Rebuke them. They threaten everything
great about this nation.
The odds are also 100 to 1 that they think President Trump firing James
Comey proves that he should be impeached. Just ask them.