Buzz

Ezekiel Edmonds, a science teacher at Royal Palm Beach High School in Florida, has been reassigned to “alternate duty” after an audio recording surfaced of him (allegedly) going on off-topic rants about white people.

The mother of a child in the class became concerned with her son’s complaints about Edmonds — that he “wasn’t teaching science.”

She asked her son for proof, and he provided it — in the form of a clandestine (audio) recording.

“My son’s science teacher does not teach science,” the mother wrote in a letter to former Representative Allen West. “Instead, Mr. Edmonds shows videos about black oppression. He discusses how white people hold black people down, and that blacks should stand up to this oppression. He stirs up racial divisiveness in the classroom.”

The Palm Beach Post reports:

In the recording … a man is heard likening urban gentrification to “what they did in Nazi Germany when they created the ghettos.”

The man also says that ancient Europeans co-opted black religious figures, including Jesus and his apostles, and converted them into white characters for the Christian faith.

School district spokeswoman Kathy Burstein said officials could not confirm whether the recording is authentic, but that officials began an investigation this week after receiving complaints. Edmonds, 43, has been placed on alternative duty, she said.

The mother added in her letter: “Don’t they have to take all of these Common Core tests and pass them? How will this help them? This is an Earth Science Class…this teacher should be teaching Earth Science, not Black Studies. I checked the text book…there is nothing about black oppression in that science text book.”

Read the full article.

h/t BizPac Review.

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IMAGE: Dry Hundred Fear/Flickr

Amid the claims of politically motivated interference via the shuttering of three left-leaning academic centers by the University of North Carolina board of governors, one issue that hasn’t been discussed much is whether the centers’ work will continue in some form.

The leaders of the Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University think it will actually do better without official designation as a “UNC Center.” That, or they’re spinning.

In a joint statement from the center’s directors, biology department chair and the official who leads the “centers and institutes committee,” they say:

The BOG Working Group is not advocating that the activities of the Center be discontinued.  Instead, the question being addressed is whether designation as a UNC Center is necessary to accomplish its mission and is the most efficient mechanism for the activities to be administered.  UNC Policy 400.5[R] recognizes and allows for entities other than UNC Centers that coordinate education, research, and service activities; and these entities can be exempt from the regulations of the Policy, and it should be noted that the changes to 400.5[R] will increase the reporting requirements and subsequently the administrative burden placed on UNC Centers.

Hear that? They’ll actually escape from more bureaucracy. The center will just be redefined as an “other coordinating entity”:

Reconfiguration/restructuring will eliminate the need to comply with the reporting requirements within Policy 400.5[R], as well as the need to be assessed separately for [Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] accreditation.  Thus, we see the recommendation of the BOG Working Group as a potential to decrease administrative burden on the faculty associated with the Center, allowing more resources to be used for direct support of programs.

Was this all a tempest in a teapot?

Read the full statement.

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The Alliance Defending Freedom will try to convince the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at a hearing tomorrow that a Texas school district can’t pick and choose which religious messages it will allow in commercial settings.

The case concerns an organization that tried to buy advertising on the school district’s Jumbotron during football games for a website called jesustattoo.org, which included a video “that shows struggling individuals going to Jesus for help,” according to an alliance press release.

Not only is the Lubbock Independent School District’s understanding of the Establishment Clause deficient, it’s not consistently applied:

The district explained to ADF attorneys that it denied [David] Miller’s request because the district, by its own policies and practices, “is prohibited from allowing religious advertisements with the use of government property based on the Establishment Clause.” Despite the explanation, the district routinely permits various other faith-based, non-school-related organizations to advertise, such asFull Armor MinistriesLubbock Christian University, Sunset Church of Christ’s Just Kids Preschool, and Bethany Baptist Church.

Read the release.

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IMAGE: JesusTattoo.org/YouTube

There’s not much to get excited about in the new version of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, introduced last year in the Senate, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The group praises small improvements in the new version, like removing the word “assailants” to refer to students accused of sexual assault, and notes that at least it doesn’t codify the “more likely than not” legal standard for guilt or “affirmative consent” regime.

But it’s thin on due-process protections, doing nothing to protect students whose schools have “inadequate” or “biased” institutional policies for adjudicating assault claims.

It gives “substantial resources” only to students who make accusations, including a “confidential advisor,” which “potentially” violates regulations implementing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and even Department of Education guidance, FIRE says.

The revised version would require employees handling assault complaints to get training on the “neurobiology of trauma,” which FIRE says “potentially undermines the impartiality of the process.”

The new bill removes the Office for Civil Rights’ financial incentive to fine schools for violations, but would still let the agency drain a school’s operating budget if it finds 100 violations, under the 1 percent fine provision.

Absurdly, it says schools can only cooperate with law enforcement on “alleged criminal offenses” if that aligns with the “victim’s wishes”:

As FIRE argued in our response to [the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators] on the question of mandatory reporting last week, we strongly believe students who have committed violence or pose a serious threat of committing violence should immediately be reported to law enforcement. With limited exceptions, college administrators who witness or receive credible allegations of sexual assault or other violent criminal activity should be required to report such allegations to law enforcement. Mandatory reporting by college officials would ensure that law enforcement was never left in the dark about a potentially dangerous situation.

Read the blog post.

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IMAGE: Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr

Last week, UCLA hosted a workshop titled “Undocumented and Acting Up: Queering Sovereignty in the Immigrant Rights Movement” led by New York University’s Cristina Beltrán.

In it, Beltrán utilized “insights of queer theory to analyze the political practices of undocumented activists, particularly those who identify now or in the past as DREAM activists.”

In other words, illegal immigrants should reject the “politics of shame and stigma” and … come out.

More, from UCLA’s Department of Political Science:

While the practice of coming out has prompted various scholars to note the connections between immigration and LGBT politics, I argue that what is most powerfully queer about undocumented youth activism has to do with its dual critiques of sovereignty, state action, and preventable death. Turning to writings on AIDS by Gil Cuadros and Douglas Crimp, I explore the resonances between ACT UP’s critique of unnecessary fatalities due to government inaction and indifference to the AIDS crisis and the mass deaths occurring along the U.S.-Mexico border. At times characterized as less than human, both “homosexuals with HIV/AIDS” and “illegals” are populations whose death and suffering are disregarded since the communities in question “brought this on themselves.”

In the abstract of her full paper, Beltrán goes on to say that “Both AIDS activists and the movement for undocumented rights have an ambivalent relationship to the state that seeks to expose government failure while trying to enlist the state’s resources.”

Which appears to translate to “the government is to blame for our problems, so give us money.”

Some of Professor Beltrán’s areas of research and interest should not be surprising: feminist theory, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

According to her personal webpage, Beltrán has been a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry Show.”

Read the full workshop abstract. (Includes a link to Beltrán’s full paper.)

h/t to The Daily Caller.

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An op-ed by the USC Daily Trojan’s Nathaniel Haas has been one of the more “popular” articles on that publication’s website over the last few days.

In it, Haas argues that the hypocrisy of “some” campus College Republicans “knows no bounds” … because of some commentary from the group’s Facebook page regarding radical Angela Davis’s speech last Monday.

One of these statements said “[Davis] has no place on our campus and should have never been invited to speak” and had an accompanying graphic which read “Shame on the groups responsible for bringing murderer communist Angela Davis to USC tonight.”

These have since been removed from the College Republican Facebook page.

Haas continues:

The College Republicans hosted Ann Coulter on campus two years ago, a speaker whose bigotry toward race, the Muslim religion and sexual orientation is well known. Viewed in the most positive light, their statements about Davis are blatantly hypocritical. At worst, they are a gross form of offensive character assassination.

The worst thing about arguing that Davis should not have been invited is that it places disagreement with Davis’ opinion on a higher pedestal than a defense of her First Amendment right to express that opinion. Given their devotion to the Constitution, one would expect the College Boat Shoe Club to be extra-staunch defenders of Davis’ right to free speech, but the only support they gave to those seeking to be heard was to their own members:

“It is important that the voices of those students who do not agree with Davis, and her presence on campus are heard!” another Facebook post read.

Haas goes on to compare the group to the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy, and highlights the opinion of the former director of the Black Student Assembly, Ama Konadu, who said the campus group’s statement — that “The African-American students in the USC College Republicans are particularly disheartened that Davis has been branded as a leader in the Black community …” — reminded her of the saying “I’m not racist, I have black friends.”

Konadu went to say “Black Republicans are so prideful in the country and systems that have oppressed our people since day one and that continue to do so.”

The College Republicans released a statement on their Facebook page in response to Haas’s column.

The group notes that their main objection was the use of student fees — which every student pays to the university — to compensate Ms. Davis for her appearance:

Mr. Haas furthered his already false argument by calling into question an event held by the USC College Republicans in which Ann Coulter spoke. We would like to point out that this event was paid for in full by our own club, through generous donations, and from grants. At no point did we ask to University Student Government, the Program Board, or any of numerous student assemblies, all of which are funded by USC tuition dollars, to pay for our event. This is in stark contrast to the Angela Davis event, in which the entire student body was forced into paying for her speaking fees.

They also point out that they removed the aforementioned photo (and graphic) of Davis from their Facebook page due to “numerous comments attacking African American members of [the] club.”

“We felt that these comments were distracting from our official statement expressing our displeasure with Davis’s presence on campus, and with the fact that the student body was forced to foot the bill for her speech,” the statement says.

Read Haas’s full column and the full College Republican statement.

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