How Universities Limit Free Thought

On Sunday The Weekly Standard posted an article about some recent events at Duke University’s Divinity School. Paul Griffiths is an English-born possessor, whose specialty is Catholic theology. His resume includes writing ten scholarly books and co-authoring or editing seven others. His resume also includes teaching stints at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The article quotes an email Professor Griffiths received in February:

On behalf of the Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee, I strongly urge you to participate in the Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training planned for March 4 and 5. We have secured funding from the Provost to provide this training free to our community and we hope that this will be a first step in a longer process of working to ensure that DDS is an institution that is both equitable and anti-racist in its practices and culture. … We recognize that it is a significant commitment of time; we also believe it will have great dividends for our community. … Duke Divinity School will host a Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training on March 4 and 5, 2017, 8:30—5 pm both days. Participants should plan to attend both full days of training.

Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort” (REI). Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.”

In response to this email, Professor Griffiths sent out the following email:

I exhort you not to attend this training. Don’t lay waste your time by doing so. It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show. Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual. (Re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history; I hope you’ll keep that history in mind as you think about this instance.

The Professor’s email drew the following response from Elaine Heath, dean of the Duke Divinity School:

It is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements–including arguments ad hominem–in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree. The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution.

Dean Heath requested a meeting with Professor Griffiths, but that meeting was never successfully scheduled. Later Professor Griffiths was banned from faculty meetings (therefore prevented from voting in faculty affairs) and banned from future access to research or travel funds (things included in his letter of appointment).

The harassment of the Professor continues:

In early March, Griffiths hears by telephone from Cynthia Clinton, an officer of the OIE, that a complaint of harassment has been lodged against him by Portier-Young, the gravamen of which is the use of racist and/or sexist speech in such a way as to constitute a hostile workplace. A meeting is scheduled for 3/20/17 between Griffiths and representatives of the OIE to discuss this allegation. Griffiths requests from the OIE a written version of the allegation, together with its evidentiary support, in advance of the scheduled meeting. This request is declined by Clinton on behalf of the OIE, as appears typical for these proceedings. Griffiths then declines the 3/20/17 meeting, and sends a written statement to the OIE … (a copy of that statement is here).

Professor Griffiths has tendered his resignation to Duke. What a shame. According to the Duke University website, the total cost of a student spending a year at Duke is about $70,000. I wonder if parents know that they are sending their children to school that does not allow diversity of opinion.

 

 

Duke Raises Its Student Fees–But Not Because Of Educational Expenses

On Tuesday a website called Campus Reform posted an article stating that Duke University has raised its student fees by 0.3 this year. The increase was put in place to cover sexual reassignment surgery for students. There is a limit of $50,000 on the coverage of the surgery.

The article reports:

The official plan is in-line with a Student Government Resolution passed last March that called upon the school to cover sex change operations. The school previously covered mental health care, hormone therapy and breast augmentation and reduction surgery to students who wished to change their gender.

There are 37 universities in America that cover sex change operations, according to TransgenderLaw.org. Emory University is the only other college in the Southeast, besides Duke, to offer sexual reassignment surgery to students.

What in the world is going on in our universities?

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How Americans Are Misled By The Dominant Media

The American Thinker posted an article today detailing how the dominant media manipulated the American public in its reporting of the killing of Trayvon Martin. The article gives a very specific and detailed account of the techniques used–I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article, although I will try to sum it up here.

The article cites the basic narrative:

The Trayvon narrative can be summarized as follows: a black child was walking innocently through a gated community after buying some candy at a store, when a white racist stalked and murdered him for no reason but his color.  The police, who are also racists, let the white man go free.

This narrative is similar to those used in previous racial disinformation campaigns:

  • 1987 – White racists have raped a young black girl and left her in a trash bag.
  • 1996 – White racists are burning down black churches across the South.
  • 2005 – White racists at Duke University have raped a black woman.

Like the Trayvon narrative, the earlier narratives were untrue.  However, they remain widely believed as a result of the massive media coverage used to bring them to national attention.

The article also points out that in the news coverage of the events in Florida Trayvon Martin was referred to as Trayvon and George Zimmerman was referred to simply as Zimmerman. The article also points out that when the media reported that Trayvon Martin was killed in a gated community, readers (and listeners) were left with the impression that it was an upper class white neighborhood, when in truth it was a mixed-race middle class community. The words you use to describe something as basic as a neighborhood can add a whole other dimension to a story. That is what was done here.

Creating unnecessary racial tension is not smart. People who are neighbors are quite capable of living in peace if allowed to do so. The kind of reporting we have seen in the death of Trayvon Martin is not helpful to anyone.

 

 

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