College presidents are resigning or being shit-canned over this

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This topic contains 66 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #51766

    Unseen
    Participant

    Three college presidents gave what they thought were reasonable replies to the question “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate (your institution’s) code or rules regarding bullying or harassment. Yes or No.”

    None of them could answer with a simple “yes” or “no” and instead said it depended on context of if the speech became conduct.

    There is a sense in which speech IS conduct. It’s a subset thereof (“How did he concuct himself?” “He was speaking.”)

    Speech alone can be harassment (I don’t know about bullying) if it creates a hostile atmosphere. We recognize this in the sexual sphere, don’t we, where even compliments constitute harassment (“Those jeans really look great on you, Jenn. You should wear them more often.”).

    Those are some of my thoughts. How about you? The UPenn president has thrown in the towel. Should the others?

    Anyway, Harvard’s

    #51769

    Davis
    Moderator

    I would say any answer than “no” is ghastly. Calling for a genocide against a people (outside of some ill thought absurdity, bad humour or thought experiment) is inciting violence, hate speech and extremely dangerous. I am aghast at her answer. It is at the very least, in the grey zone of anti-semitism, if not symbolic of a lax attitude towards anti-semitism.

    I would say, this is little different than blanket calling members of an entire religion “people of death”, something that still utterly turns my stomach, when I think about it. Both a resistance to calling out hate speech, as well as blanket maligning a whole people with villainous words…comes from the same dark, troubling and insidiously worst part of human behaviour. Glad she resigned.

    #51770

    Unseen
    Participant

    I see I never finished the last sentence in the top post. I think my cat was bothering me for her lunch and that line was below the composition window. So, I should have either deleted the last line of finished it this way rather than going ahead and saving it:

    Anyway, Harvard’s president is responding to criticism with the age old tactic of forming a group to formulate a response.

    #51771

    Unseen
    Participant

    I would say, this is little different than blanket calling members of an entire religion “people of death”, something that still utterly turns my stomach, when I think about it.

    How about referring to Islam as “the Religion of Peace”? You know…when you mean the exact opposite. (No, I’m not saying you do that, but I know someone who does.)

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #51773

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I would say, this is little different than blanket calling members of an entire religion “people of death”, something that still utterly turns my stomach, when I think about it. Both a resistance to calling out hate speech, as well as blanket maligning a whole people with villainous words…comes from the same dark, troubling and insidiously worst part of human behaviour. Glad she resigned.

    If you educated yourself on the tenets and ultimate goals of Islam, you would not be able to say that. You would understand that it is not possible to practice that religion in a Western Democracy where women, gays, atheists and even adulteresses are equal under the law. Atheism, Christianity or Feminism don’t call for genocide. Islam most certainly does. Some fool brought his Pride flag to a Palestinian rally in London. As if there is two-way solidarity, LOL. Liberalism gone wrong.

    #51774

    Unseen
    Participant

    BTW, I hope that no one draws from any of my posts the idea that I harbor a hatred of Jews. I grew up with Jews as classmates and friends. They were friends of the family as well. And nobody makes a better corned beef on rye than a Jewish delicatessen! I can’t say I’ve had a lot of Muslims in my life, though the ones I’ve run into have been pleasant enough. And a goodly number of them were doctors and nurses.

    I have simply observed that in retrospect, for creation of Israel was probably one of the most monumental mistakes of modern times and any animus I have is directed at the Israeli government, not the citizens of Israel, though of course the actions of some don’t help (the “settlers,” for example).

    As for the larger question, “Does Israel have a right to exist,” the philosopher in me has to ask a philosophical question, “Where does a country’s ‘right to exist’ come from?” As an atheist, I can’t say “from God.” What’s left? The United Nations? That would make an interesting topic for discussion.

    Calling for the death of all members of any group is wrong on its face. In the U.S. and maybe other countries as well, it’s covered by a right to speak freely. However, an institution can have rules that overrule rights one has in a publie forum. Your employer can say that you can’t chang “Death to the (fill in the blank)” on their property. They may even fire you if they find you saying it in the public forum because they don’t want it to reflect on them.

    For me, it’s easy to say that these college presidents should have had a far better answer than hiding behind that old apron of “context.” They should have admitted “No” and added something like “Clearly we have failed our Jewish students. When I return, I’ll make sure we’ll have a code covering this, and within days, not weeks or months.”

    #51780

    unapologetic
    Participant

    What is going on on those campuses?
    Shouldn’t these presidents already know the context?
    I don’t see that as bullying. I see it as a death threat.
    Death threats are never acceptable.
    At my local bar, if said in anger, it would be taken seriously. And the bum thrown out.
    I would expect a colledge to over react, even if said as a joke.
    But was there even anyone on campus actually calling for the genocide of Jews?

    #51783

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Fellow Unbelievers,

    I think at this point, we’re going to see a lot more parents send their kids to Community Colleges, Vo-Tech schools, and online universities. They can learn their Humanities on what I call an Eric Hoffer Fellowship.

    Also, I can see more calls to get rid of government-backed Grants and Student Loans for these morally bankrupt Ivy League institutions. These were just subsidies for the upper-middle class and wealthy at the expense of lower-middle class and poor taxpayers anyway.

    The right to express an opinion does not extend to imminent incitement to violence, nor does it mean forcing others to support it or bankroll it.

    #51785

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I have simply observed that in retrospect, for creation of Israel was probably one of the most monumental mistakes of modern times and any animus I have is directed at the Israeli government, not the citizens of Israel, though of course the actions of some don’t help (the “settlers,” for example).

    You know this argument is ridiculous. Pakistan was created the same year as Israel by the colonial Brits, none the less, and millions of Hindus were displaced and yet I have never heard you once complain about it. Jews ARE the only indigenous people of that region who are left there. Name one famous Palestinian from antiquity. You can’t, because there are none. Half the goddam world was redrawn after the world wars, but it’s the Jews who are always different. Only the Jews are supposed to have a war where they only get to punch back with equal force. They are supposed to fight to an even draw and then walk away, unlike every other country that gets to fight to win.

    It IS antisemitism, sorry.

    #51786

    Unseen
    Participant

    You know this argument is ridiculous. Pakistan was created the same year as Israel by the colonial Brits, none the less, and millions of Hindus were displaced and yet I have never heard you once complain about it.

    It was a disaster that cost probably 1.5 million lives all told, but not one that has come to threaten to embroil us in another world war which could make the last one look like a day at the beach. However, it was a world-class fuck-up as well, giving the Hindu (well, non-Muslim) side the better deal in a variety of ways.

    Name one famous Palestinian from antiquity. You can’t, because there are none. Half the goddam world was redrawn after the world wars, but it’s the Jews who are always different.

    Why “antiquity”? Let’s change the ephermeral to the substantive and move to modern times. How about “accomplished Palestinians”? Palestinians who have contributed to and/or improved the world we live in.

    It turns out that there are prominent Palestinians letters and science. Here are some examples:

    Authors:

    Ghassan Kanafani: Renowned author and playwright, known for his works on the Palestinian experience, including Men in the Sun and Returning to Haifa.

    Suad Amiry: Award-winning novelist and architect, whose works explore themes of identity, displacement, and resilience, such as Sharon and My Mother-in-Law and Golda Slept Here.

    Ibrahim Nasrallah: Celebrated poet and novelist, known for his lyrical prose and evocative depictions of Palestinian life, such as Time of White Horses and A Land Without Jasmine.

    Rula Jebreal: Journalist and author, whose books Miral and The Daughter of Gaza shed light on the Palestinian struggle and female experiences.

    Najwan Darwish: Poet and translator, known for her powerful verses and activism on social issues, including Exhausted on the Cross: Palestinian Women Poets at the End of the Century.

    Scientists:

    Hanan Ashrawi: Leading Palestinian scholar and politician, with a doctorate in literature and a prominent role in Palestinian diplomacy and peace negotiations.

    Ali Khalidi: Renowned historian, author of several authoritative books on Palestinian history, including All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Destroyed in 1948 and The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine.

    Edward Said: Eminent literary critic and public intellectual, known for his seminal work Orientalism and critiques of Western representations of the Middle East.

    Omar Barghouti: Physicist and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes nonviolent pressure on Israel to comply with international law.

    Leena al-Hadid: Neuroscientist and physician, whose research focuses on Parkinson’s disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

    #51787

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    Uh, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, so the next World War could just as easily happen there as anywhere. Perhaps even more easily if Muslims more fanatical than Pakistan’s rulers staged a coup or otherwise seized the nukes.

    How did Hanan Ashrawi, Ali Khalidi, and Edward Said get classified as scientists?

    And just what the Hell did Edward say? (I’ve been asking that for years ever since I seen that name. 😁😉)

    #51788

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Davis,

    I would say, this is little different than blanket calling members of an entire religion “people of death”, something that still utterly turns my stomach, when I think about it.

    One can (rightly) call a religious worldview a “death cult” without calling every one of it’s professed adherents “people of death.”

    All of the world’s living religions have beliefs and practices that are anti-mind and anti-human life, but not every professed adherent consistently knows, believes, or practices them. Hence, non-believers can and should treat religionists with respect for their rights and dignity as humans until the deeds of religionists aren’t reciprocal.

    #51789

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Enco

    Get serious.

    India and Pakistan’s disputes are not threatening world peace. Not even India’s and China’s border dispute seems to be threatening that right now.

    #51792

    Unseen
    Participant

    The real reason three university presidents embarrassed themselves before Congress

    From the article:

    Free speech laws generally do not prohibit generalized harassment of a group (like the Jews). They do prohibit targeted harassment of an individual member of that group. So calling for genocide, though repugnant, might be protected speech under the law. This is what the presidents were trying to establish and why they hedged on the lawfulness of calling for an intifada. That view comes fairly close to “free speech absolutism,” or an approach that rejects nearly any constraints on expression.

    But most elite colleges and universities abide by speech codes far more restrictive than what would be allowed outside the campus gates. Controversial speakers are routinely disinvited from giving lectures. Homophobic or racist comments by students or faculty members are punished. Harvard, MIT and Penn, as Republican congresspersons kept pointing out, observe those protocols.

    In explaining their campus policies, the presidents invoked “context.” But on most campuses, a student calling for genocide against LGBTQ people or Asian Americans would be disciplined (and rightly so). No context would spare a student that fate. So why speak of “context” only when Jews are threatened?

    I still do not fully understand why the presidents made the absolutist-friendly arguments they did, given that free speech absolutism is not a popular opinion on their campuses, including the Gen Z students. But perhaps a clue lies in the fact that all were coached (or perhaps overcoached) by the same law firm. It sounded like they were counseled to use similar legal terms, parries and rebuttals.

    Compounding the problem was that they set this legalese within a language I call “university president speak.” It is filled with words like “robust,” “community” and “investments.” It permits modern presidents to advance the most anodyne (and anti-intellectual) reading of the humanly complex situations facing universities today. When professors ask questions about the increase of poorly paid contingent faculty labor or why certain donors are playing such a large role in our curriculum, we are forced to quaff University President Speak.

    Those leaders and their handlers wrongly assumed Congress — not to mention the viewing public — would quaff it, as well. They spoke the language of lawyered-up, untouchable university leaders, while Stefanik and others spoke the language of moral absolutes.

    #51795

    Davis
    Moderator

    Enco, you are wrong for two reasons:

    1. Calling them “people of death” is a blanket attack on them. It is no different when people used to outrageously call Jews “money scroungers”. That isn’t directly calling an invidual a money scrounger, but the harm is still there (hence virulent voilence against Jews for most of European history). Calling them “people of death” is equally as vile as calling Jews “money scrubbers”. If you don’t see that, then you are selectively choosing to oppose one kind of bigotry and approve or not care about another.

    2. Islam is not a death cult. I have lived in a Muslim country (an extreme one) and extensively travelled to many of them. I did not see people murdering each other, eating babies or calling for Jihad. The rate of execution and extreme punishment is no different to that of non-Muslim developing countries. Christian African countries, hindu and Bhuddist ones have just as harsh punishments, are known for flash violent mobs and execution for relatively minor crimes. Again, this is not to say that Islam is not problematic, the cause of a disproportionate amount of violent terrorism in the West and that human rights issues need to be addressed in the West and developing countries. Of course it does. As I said, I was in the closet the entire time I lived in Iran and I was very uneasy with the state of human rights and human treatment. None the less, it was, at most, marginally worse than that of other developing countries I have been to. By your logic, Christianity, Hinduism and Bhuddism are equally death cults if you look at execution statistics, mob violence, sectarian strife in India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Uganda and Sri Lanka.

    You all need to get a grip and check your Islamophobia. It is outrageously hypocritical to, on the one hand rightfully condemn anti-semitism, while on the other hand made utterly vile stomach turning Islamophobic comments (or dismiss them as not bigoted). It is and I am disappointed and sorry you don’t see it. It just shows how much progress we have to make.

    Just as you should be able to express concern with Israeli policies without being labelled anti-semitic, you should be able to express serious concern about Islam without being labelled Islamophobic. What some people are doing here is going far beyond expressing concern, but expressing extreme, exaggerated, harmful blatant biggotry.

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