Buzz

At Citizen Kentucky’s Constitution Day event at the University of Kentucky last Wednesday, write-in US Senate candidate Robert Ransdell managed to get mike time to spew his anti-Semitic views.

Ransdell, a “self-described pro-white candidate,” calls his 2014 platform “With Jews We Lose.” He says current American policies “favor Israel” over its own interests, and claims there’s a bias against whites in media crime coverage.

He was invited to speak by a student who helped organize the event, but that student has not been identified.

The Kentucky Kernel reports:

As of Wednesday night, it was unclear if organizers of the event had known Ransdell’s platform.

First Amendment Center director Mike Farrell said that he needed to speak to professor Buck Ryan, the Citizen Kentucky project director, before commenting.

Ryan was not available to the Kernel for comment.

“Constitution Day is not about politics, it is a celebration of the principles of the Constitution,” wrote UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson in a statement released by the university Wednesday evening. “All speakers are asked to focus on those principles. Unfortunately, Mr. Ransdell included his political beliefs and platform in his comments. Many of those in attendance felt his comments were inappropriate, especially for an audience that included high school students. The University of Kentucky was not aware of the content of his remarks prior to him speaking and does not condone or endorse any political platform or agenda.”

Students from a local high school were in attendance during Ransdell’s talk, much to the dismay of one of its teachers, James Miller.

Miller finds it hard to believe the university didn’t know in advance about Ransdell’s politics. At the very least, he says, there should have been notice about who was going to speak:

“It has been my experience that people like Robert Ransdell take every opportunity to talk about their poisonous, hateful ideas,” Miller said. “So for the university to pretend that … no one could have predicted he’d say this stuff is naïve at best.”

“I guess a better question is, ‘Why didn’t UK give us the names (of the speakers)?” Miller said. “Unless the point was to catch students off-guard.”

Ransdell ended up having his microphone cut during his speech.

Read more here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: ByMrTinDC/Flickr

{ 0 comments }

A sociology professor at the University of Delaware is set to resign at the end of this academic year following accusations that he offered a female student a “top grade” in return for sexual favors.

Correspondingly, hundreds of students protested the school’s harassment policy on Friday, demanding more transparency and accountability in such matters. Delaware Online reports:

The gathering, which was attended by more than 300 students and teachers, started at Memorial Hall. Most of the event’s attendants sat on the building steps facing the Green, while others stood or sat near the building.

“End the silence. End the shame,” UD students and faculty chanted as the event started. The chants, however, silenced as one of the organizers, Sage Carson, spoke up and began asking for people to give their stories on sexual harassment and assaults.

For more than 90 minutes, student after student stood and spoke out about incidents that they had endured. They also urged for changes in the school’s policy.

… The matter began when Eric Tranby, a professor in the sociology department, was accused by a student in May of offering her a top grade in exchange for sexual favors.

UD Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs Matthew J. Kinservick said Friday that the professor was on administrative leave and Tranby’s resignation would formally come at the end of the academic year.

“He will not be back to campus,” Kinservick said. “I can’t talk about the reasons for that.”

The unnamed student said “there was no transparency in the school’s policy,” and that she had no idea what was going on with Professor Tranby until she read about in the UD student newspaper.

Delaware already has a harassment policy, which covers that for which Tranby is accused. Nevertheless, UD officials said “they were proud their students held the rally and wanted their voices to be heard.”

Read the full article here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: US Army RDECOM/Flickr

{ 0 comments }

By enacting an undefined “bullying” policy, 48-hour preregistration requirement for student demonstrations and other speech-chilling policies – and breaking its vow to “fully comply” with its First Amendment obligations to students – James Madison University has lost its stellar rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The group downgraded JMU to “yellow light” from its previous “green” rating for excellent speech protections, saying the school failed to heed “several warnings” from the group over the past two years – despite the university’s general counsel promising a policy review last November:

For example, the term “bullying”—left wholly undefined by JMU—could prohibit a wide variety of offensive but protected speech. And the university’s “Right of Expression” policy, which requires students to register any speeches or demonstrations at least 48 hours in advance, impermissibly interferes with students’ ability to hold a spontaneous demonstration in response to unfolding events. 

A full list of JMU’s policies affecting speech can be found at its “spotlight” page on the foundation’s website. One of them bans “telling sexual or dirty jokes” or “rating” other people’s “sexual activity or performance.”

Read the full blog post here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: NoFreeSpeech/Flickr

{ 0 comments }

Check it: Wake Forest isn’t just about academics. It has recently started a program for the well-being of students and staff that “goes beyond academic performance and into physical, spiritual and other realms.” The News Observer reports:

The school launched the initiative, called Thrive, on Friday and has hired a director of well-being, who starts work next month. Thrive includes eight markers of well-being: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

The initiative is something more than trying to ensure students, faculty and staff are happy, said Penny Rue, vice president of campus life at WFU. It’s about trying to help students find meaning and purpose, not happiness.

“We’re looking for something a little deeper than that,” Rue said.

The initiative “demonstrates the university’s commitment to people as whole people, not just their intellectual development,” said Malika Roman Isler, who begins her job as Wake Forest’s first director of well-being Oct. 1.

No word on Ms. Isler’s “well-being” salary.

Wake isn’t the only campus to set up such an initiative. Since 2009, for example, George Mason has had the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

However, Jane Gruber of the University of Colorado Boulder’s “positive emotion and psychopathology laboratory” offers a warning about Wake’s program: “As human beings, we encounter a lot of different situations in our everyday life, and not every situation calls for promoting well-being or fostering happiness.”

Read the full article here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: chris/Flickr

{ 0 comments }

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a response to a forum question at Tufts University this past week, said she thinks it’s fair to compare the actions of Israel in Gaza … to those of Nazis during the Holocaust. The Weekly Standard reports (my emphasis):

“Eva Moseley, I’m not a student, I’m not an alumnae, but was in faculty life. I was also a Holocaust refugee and I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them,” said the activist.

“I think that’s fair,” Senator Warren responded.

“You recently said that you believe that Israel has the right to self-defense,” the activist continued. “Do you also believe that the Palestinians have a right to self-defense?”

“Of course. So, and the answer is yes. The direction we ought to be moving is not toward more war. The direction we need to be moving, as I said, I believe we need to move to a two-state solution where both peoples can be secure and safe within their own borders. So, I’m there,” responded the senator from Massachusetts.

Video of the exchange:

The questioner, Ms. Moseley, is a signatory to a petition which calls Israel’s latest Gaza response “The Latest Chapter In More Than A Century Of Zionist Colonialism, Dispossession, Ethnic Cleaning, Racism, And Genocide — Including Israel’s Very Establishment Through The Uprooting And Displacement Of Over 750,000 Palestinians.”

Read the full article here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Zeevveez/Flickr

{ 0 comments }

The most baffling interactions with campus bureaucrats always seem to happen on Constitution Day.

The Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Pennsylvania State University got a crash course in the art of parsing campus regulations Wednesday while distributing copies of the Constitution and informing students about Penn State’s speech code policies.

According to Young America’s Foundation spokeswoman Ashley Pratte, writing at Breitbart, the students were manning a table in one of 12 free speech zones on campus. Then a security official told them to take down the table (apparently that’s not allowed even in a free speech zone).

Then the students started filming.

The official brought two more people from the college with him, one of them from Student Affairs, where they explained to Davis that she needed to reserve the space. She asked why she would have to reserve the space since it is a “designated free speech zone.” The college representatives told her she could go inside and discuss the policy. However, when she did, the officials hurried away.

Pratte continues that the chapter has tabled in the same location with no prior problems – but this time the group “was highlighting Penn State’s ridiculous speech code policies.”

Penn State blog Onward State names the official and says the school bans “unregistered structures.” Regarding that official’s curt declaration that “You are in violation of our policy. It is really very simple,” the blog remarks: “Policies that are only justified by the fact that they are, in fact, policies are usually never good…”

Read the full Breitbart story here.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

{ 0 comments }