Elite Campuses Offer Students Coloring Books, Puppies to Get Over Trump

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The post-election freak-out on elite campuses is total, and is made all the worse because students on these campuses never meet anyone who disagrees with them.

soaveRobby Soave writes: In the wake of the election, many college students at elite colleges and universities have come down with serious cases of PTSD: President Trump Stress Disorder.

Their inability to anticipate this outcome—the election of Donald Trump—should prompt the Ivy League to consider whether it’s really preparing students for life outside the liberal bubble of campus.

To equip students with the resources they need to refute Trumpism, colleges have to stop shielding them from ideas that offend their liberal sensibilities. They have to stop pretending that shutting down a 200181253-001discussion is the same thing as winning an argument. Silence is not persuasion.

“There were actual cats and a puppy there. The event as a whole seemed to be an escape from the reality of the election results.”

— UPenn student, Daniel Tancredi

Elsewhere, at campuses across the country, students begged professors to cancel classes and postpone exams, citing fear, exhaustion, and emotional trauma. Such accommodations were frequently granted: Academics at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and other institutions told students to take some time to come to terms with what had happened, as if the election of Donald Trump was akin to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

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That wasn’t all. Law students at the University of Michigan were provided with a post-election “self-care with food and play” event, complete with “stress busting” activities like play dough, coloring books, legos, crying-little-girl
and bubbles. Columbia University’s Barnard College offered hot chocolate and coloring. The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution, created a healing space: more coloring books, and also puppies.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

“There were actual cats and a puppy there,” one UPenn student, Daniel Tancredi, told The College Fix. “The event as a whole seemed to be an escape from the reality of the election results.”

One wonders whether some campuses have routinely provided too much of an escape from reality, if the election has reduced their students to tears, play dough, and a whole lot of coloring books.

Read the rest of this entry »


Yale Lecturer Behind Halloween Email Defending Free Speech Resigns 

Yale University have confirmed that the lecturer who sent an email stating that students should not seek to censor Halloween costumes has today resigned from her teaching position.

Richard Lewis reports: Erika Christakis, an expert in childhood education, sent the email as a result of student activist complaints about cultural appropriation and perceived racism on campus. The protests will best be remembered for producing this video where a female student screamed into the face of Nicholas Christakis, husband of Erika and a Bowdoin Prize winning academic, making the bold claim that the university campus isn’t an “intellectual space.” Mr. Christakis shall also be taking a one term sabbatical in the aftermath of the incident.

Why the email generated any controversy is anyone’s guess. Mrs. Christakis asked the question, “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Read the rest of this entry »


40% of Millennials Say Government Should Prevent Offensive Speech Toward Minorities 

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Kerry Picket reports: A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 40 percent of American Millennials (ages 18-34) are likely to support government prevention of public statements offensive to minorities.

It should be noted that vastly different numbers resulted for older generations in the Pew poll on the issue of offensive speech and the government’s role.

Around 27 percent of Generation X’ers (ages 35-50) support such an idea, while 24 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) agree that censoring offensive speech about minorities should be a government issue. Only 12 percent of the Silent Generation (ages 70-87) thinks that government should prevent offensive speech toward minorities.

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The poll comes at a time when college activists, such as the group “Black Lives Matter,” are making demands in the name of racial and ethnic equality at over 20 universities across the nation.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

Some of the demands include restrictions on offensive Halloween costumes at Yale University to the deletion of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s image and name at Princeton University to “anti-oppression training” for employees at Brown University.

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“Woodrow Wilson obviously … had a very ill-informed and ignorant view of race,” 1968 Princeton graduate Eric Chase told Reuters. “But he is a big piece of Princeton history and he should stay a big piece,” noting that it’s a push to “erase history and whitewash it and put something else in its place.” Read the rest of this entry »


Scientists Develop Artificial Skin That May Help Treat Burn Victims

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The artificial skin can be stored at room temperature for a long period of time, which means hospitals lacking facilities to treat patients with severe burns can hold stocks to apply as first aid.

Magdalena Osumi reports: Researchers said Thursday they have developed an easy-to-use artificial skin that acts like a bandage and could be used as a temporary treatment for patients with severe burns until their undamaged skin can be harvested for grafting.

“In tests conducted on mice we managed to speed up the healing.”

— Shigehisa Aoki, associate professor at Saga University

The new technology — which some say could revolutionize the treatment of burns — uses a collagen membrane scaffold to help heal wounds faster, researchers from Saga University and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences told The Japan Times. Their findings were published in the June 4 edition of online medical journal Wound Repair and Regeneration.

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“In tests conducted on mice we managed to speed up the healing,” said project co-leader Shigehisa Aoki, associate professor at Saga University’s Department of Pathology and Microbiology.

The artificial skin can be stored at room temperature for a long period of time, which means hospitals lacking facilities to treat patients with severe burns can hold stocks to apply as first aid. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post: ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Did Not Happen in Ferguson

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Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.

That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.

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Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.

Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?

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The Facts

“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.

On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.

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Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.

Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Read the rest of this entry »


Wendy Kaminer: The Progressive Ideas Behind the Lack of Free Speech on Campus

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How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

Wendy Kaminer writes: Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic? A recent panel for Smith College alumnae aimed at “challenging the ideological echo chamber” elicited this ominous “trigger/content warning” when a transcript appeared in the campus newspaper: “Racism/racial slurs, ableist slurs, antisemitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence, references to antisemitic violence.”

No one on this panel, in which I participated, trafficked in slurs. So what prompted the warning?

“Self-appointed recovery experts promoted the belief that most of us are victims of abuse, in one form or another. They broadened the definition of abuse to include a range of common, normal childhood experiences, including being chastised or ignored by your parents on occasion….”

Smith President Kathleen McCartney had joked, “We’re just wild and crazy, aren’t we?” In the transcript, “crazy” was replaced by the notation: “[ableist slur].”

One of my fellow panelists mentioned that the State Department had for a time banned the words “jihad,” “Islamist” and “caliphate” — which the transcript flagged as “anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language.”

“From this perspective, we are all fragile and easily damaged by presumptively hurtful speech, and censorship looks like a moral necessity.”

I described the case of a Brandeis professor disciplined for saying “wetback” while explaining its use as a pejorative. The word was replaced in the transcript by “[anti-Latin@/anti-immigrant slur].” Discussing the teaching of “Huckleberry Finn,” I questioned the use of euphemisms such as “the n-word” and, in doing so, uttered that forbidden word. I described what I thought was the obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.41dpsNZmcnL._SL250_

[Check out Wendy Kaminer’s book “Fearful Freedom: Women’s Flight from Equality” at Amazon]

Two of the panelists challenged me. The audience of 300 to 400 people listened to our spirited, friendly debate — and didn’t appear angry or shocked. But back on campus, I was quickly branded a racist, and I was charged in the Huffington Post with committing “an explicit act of racial violence.” McCartney subsequently apologized that “some students and faculty were hurt” and made to “feel unsafe” by my remarks.

Unsafe? These days, when students talk about threats to their safety and demand access to “safe spaces,” they’re often talking about the threat of unwelcome speech and Tall-censorship-campusdemanding protection from the emotional disturbances sparked by unsettling ideas. It’s not just rape that some women on campus fear: It’s discussions of rape. At Brown University, a scheduled debate between two feminists about rape culture was criticized for, as the Brown Daily Herald put it, undermining “the University’s mission to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors.” In a school-wide e-mail, Brown President Christina Paxon emphasized her belief in the existence of rape culture and invited students to an alternative lecture, to be given at the same time as the debate. And the Daily Herald reported that students who feared being “attacked by the viewpoints” offered at the debate could instead “find a safe space” among “sexual assault peer educators, women peer counselors and staff” during the same time slot. Presumably they all shared the same viewpoints and could be trusted not to “attack” anyone with their ideas.

How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.

“You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.”

In the 1980s, law professor Catharine MacKinnon and writer Andrea Dworkin showed the way, popularizing a view of free speech as a barrier to equality. These two impassioned feminists framed pornography — its production, distribution and consumption — as an assault on women. Read the rest of this entry »


The Closing of the Collegiate Mind: Ideological Conformity Marches on

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For the Wall Street Journal, Ruth Wisse writes: There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.

Assaults on intellectual and political freedom have been making headlines. Pressure from faculty images-1egged on by Muslim groups induced Brandeis University last month not to grant Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the proponent of women’s rights under Islam, an intended honorary degree at its convocation.

Ruth Wisse‘s book: “No Joke: Making Jewish Humor” (Library of Jewish Ideas) is available at Amazon.com

This was a replay of 1994, when Brandeis faculty demanded that trustees rescind their decision to award an honorary degree to Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In each case, a faculty cabal joined by (let us charitably say) ignorant students promoted the value of repression over the values of America’s liberal democracy.

Opponents of free speech have lately chalked up many such victories: New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prevented from speaking at Brown University in November; a lecture by Charles Murray canceled by Azusa Pacific University in April; Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national-security adviser under the George W. Bush administration, harassed earlier this month into declining the invitation by Rutgers University to address this year’s convocation. Read the rest of this entry »


The Death of Liberalism on College Campuses

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Robby Soave writes:  At universities across the country, liberalism is going extinct. I know what you’re thinking: Surely, he’s joking. Or even, good riddance!

No, I’m not joking. Campus liberalism really is in a death spiral — and this is not happy news.

I witnessed firsthand what passes for “liberal” discourse these days at a guest lecture at the University of Michigan last month. A libertarian student group invited anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz to give a speech to students about her issue and its recent history at the Supreme Court.

Radical activists — many who weren’t even U-M students — repeatedly attempted to hijack the event, talking over and shouting down Gratz at every opportunity. Never mind that that the event was organized exclusively by members of a libertarian club who wanted to hear from a libertarian-aligned speaker; the mob was not going to let anyone express ideas they didn’t like.

Read the rest of this entry »


THE CHILL: Are Universities Breeding a Generation of Aspiring Totalitarians? [VIDEO]

Controversial law enforcement policies such as New York’s ‘stop-and-frisk‘ are a topic of legitimate disagreement and frank, candid debate. The ideal location for a spirited discussion of public policy should be a State University forum, or better yet, an Ivy League college. Unfortunately, Freedom of speech is no longer enshrined, or defended, in Universities (replaced with ‘speech codes‘, restricting free speech’) In fact, I’m not sure the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, civics education, critical thinking, logic, U.S. law, pluralism, freedom of expression, inquiry, philosophy, or tolerance, are taught at American Universities.

Brown University students shout Commissioner Kelly off the stage as he attempted lecture on policing

More than 100 Ivy League students protested the NYPD‘s stop-and-frisk policy and accused the department of discrimination against blacks and Muslims. Kelly had planned a lecture titled Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City but was driven out of the hall as students shouted over him…

More via NY Daily News


Microsatellites – What Big Eyes They Have

By ANNE EISENBERG

Microsatellites - What Big Eyes They Have - NYTimes.com

PEOPLE already worried about the candid cameras on Google Glass and low-flying drones can add a new potential snooper to the list: cameras on inexpensive, low-orbiting microsatellites that will soon be sending back frequent, low-cost snapshots of most of Earth’s populated regions from space.

They won’t be the first cameras out there, of course. Earth-imaging satellites the size of vans have long circled the globe, but those cost millions of dollars each to build and launch, in part because of their weight and specialized hardware. The new satellites, with some of the same off-the-shelf miniaturized technology that has made smartphones and laptops so powerful, will be far less expensive.

The view from high up is rich in untapped data, said Paul Saffo, a forecaster and essayist. He expects the new satellite services to find many customers.

Insurance companies, for example, could use the satellites’ “before” and “after” views to monitor insured property and validate claims after a disaster. Businesses that update online maps for geologists, city planners or disaster relief officials could be customers, too. The images could also be used to monitor problems like deforestation, melting icecaps and overfishing.

And food companies and commodities traders could use the images to keep track of crops and agricultural yields all over the planet, Mr. Saffo predicted.

But the images are also likely to be viewed as the latest mixed blessing by people already apprehensive of Big Brother-like surveillance in their lives.

Read the rest of this entry »