Jennifer Kabbany - Fix Editor

Cornell University senior Julius Kairey, a conservative student columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun campus newspaper, was viciously smeared last month with fliers spread around the Ivy League university that labeled him a “Racist Rape Apologist.”

His crime? Daring to question stats behind the so-called campus rape epidemic and defending due process for those accused of sexual assault. He also wrote a column titled “Islamophobia and Racism” last spring that ruffled some feathers. And the fact that he writes a weekly conservative column in general makes him a target for radical angst.

The perpetrators of the vandalism have eluded capture or punishment. Meanwhile, Kairey’s latest column, while not specifically addressing the incident, calls out campus liberals – noting “Cornell’s bullies demand tolerance but deliver intolerance; they demand civility but provide incivility.”

Kairey notes:

Political bullies on campus are defined by two characteristics. First, the fervent belief that they stand for the oppressed. As long as you aren’t “privileged” (usually meaning a white, heterosexual, Christian male) they will do whatever is necessary to liberate you from the second-class status supposedly conferred upon you by America’s inherently bigoted society. Second — as far as I can tell — the zealous conviction that as long as these groups advocate for what is “just,” they do not actually have to practice what they preach. They can ask others to do as they say, not as they do.

We see the same recurring patterns. When a controversial proposal one of the groups dislikes is suggested, they decry it as “divisive” and demand that it be defeated, launching vicious attacks against its sponsor. But when a proposal in line with their views is under consideration, any disagreement with the measure serves as proof of how far the powerful will go to prevent their definition of justice from triumphing, further reinforcing their perceived need for change. In the face of an opposing point of view, these bullies insist that the view must be based on illegitimate hatred and bigotry and should therefore be silenced. Yet, they derisively dismiss mainstream American society as racist, sexist and homophobic without feeling a moment of shame for being so condescendingly close-minded. …

Cornell’s radical ideologues usually get away with their hypocrisy because they react with such venomous hostility to anyone who calls them out on it. They only celebrate “speaking truth to power” when they are the ones doing the talking.

The voices of those that have truly suffered, or may come to suffer, from racial and gender discrimination, and other denials of basic human rights, are lost in the din of accusation and demonization. Let me be clear: Some of these bullies truly are victims. Still, they should recognize that that does not give them the right to bully others. All of us would benefit from addressing these important issues in an open, honest and democratic way, leading to the implementation of better policies with the added legitimacy of being supported by the Cornell student body.

As much as some students may not want to live by the same rules they seek to impose on the rest of us, accountability requires something very different. If Cornell’s political bullies ever hope to establish a modicum of moral authority, they might actually have to stand with liberal principles of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom to dissent.

He gave some recent examples from his university to hammer home the point – campus radicals taking over a student government meeting by force last spring to support a campaign to divest from Israel (a protest group that called itself the “Ad Hoc Committee for Student Democracy.” It’s unclear if they saw any irony in that). Kairey also cited a protest against sexual assault on campus last month at which some accused Cornell of corruption and immorality.

Beyond Cornell, it’s commonplace on campuses nationwide for conservative opinions to be shouted down or even silenced as “hate speech,” “intolerance,” “bigotry,” “ignorance,” “racism,” “homophobia” – the Left often labels those who posit ideas they disagree with rather than address the merit of those arguments or engage in discourse.

As Kairey points out – they are the ones who act with “venomous hostility,” and are “condescendingly close-minded” and “political bullies.”

It’s great to see a brave conservative student standing up to this pressure – even in the wake of such a truly hate-filled and slanderous attack against him.

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It’s shocking to think that parents can pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 a year to send their child to college and yet not have the right to find out how their kid is doing in school. But that’s the law.

There’s largely no such thing as back-to-school nights or parent-teacher conferences at colleges because the federal government apparently needs to protect wide-eyed young students from their concerned parents.

“Under the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa, professors cannot speak about the academic performance of any college student without the student’s prior consent,” notes John J. Miller in the Wall Street Journal, adding that because of the law, professors are alsoforbidden to discuss grades with prospective employers. We’re banned from describing classroom habits with potential internship sponsors. And we can’t review test scores with moms and dads. It doesn’t matter who pays the tuition.”

The end result does a disservice to both students and parents. Consider the benefits at a college that does allow such interaction.

“My school is different: Hillsdale College refuses to accept federal aid so it doesn’t have to comply with Ferpa. We also see parents as partners. Meeting them serves the interests of our students and makes me a better professor,” explains Miller, a journalism professor at the small, private liberal-arts university in southern Michigan.

He goes on to describe how he will spend today – meeting with parents in 10-minute intervals at Hillsdale’s annual Parents Weekend:

Think of it like speed dating, except that I’ll hand out syllabi rather than phone numbers, though I’ll hand out those as well, in case parents ever want to call me. I’ll also describe my courses and explain what I hope to achieve. …

After we go over classroom performance, the conversation usually opens up. We discuss the interests and aptitudes of students and what these may suggest about vocations and careers. For a small liberal-arts college like mine, where we not only brag about small professor-student ratios but also believe in their value, these sorts of interactions are an important part of how we accomplish our mission. …

Last year, I met the parents of a promising senior. They told me something that triggered a thought. So I called a professional acquaintance and urged him to meet the student over Christmas break. Today, she is working for him. If Ferpa had regulated parent-teacher conversations on my campus, the encounter that made her current success possible probably would not have happened.

Many of my students grumble about parent-teacher conferences, thinking that they hark back to coddling in elementary school. This is an understandable frustration. At college, students want to taste the freedoms of adulthood, and perhaps even escape the clutches of “helicopter parents” who still think they should sign homework slips.

Yet the occasional overbearing parent is much better than an ever-present nanny state that tries to dictate the relationships between professors and parents from the remote precincts of the Education Department.

Read the full article.

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A conservative activist was kicked off Broward College on Wednesday night after a campus security guard overheard her asking a student if “big government sucks,” a video of the incident posted on YouTube shows.

Lauren Cooley, a 22-year-old field coordinator for Turning Point USA, was at the public university as it hosted a gubernatorial debate between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

She spent nearly 90 minutes there asking students “Hey, do you think big government sucks?” as she worked to find students interested in signing a petition to launch a Turning Point student club on campus, she said in an interview with The College Fix.

Turning Point USA is a national nonprofit aimed at galvanizing students to rally for liberty, small government and free-market values, and is pushing a 10-week “Big Government Sucks” campus activism program this fall.

As Cooley was leaving the Davie, Florida campus she saw a male student and asked him if he thought big government sucked, and at that point she was told by a campus security guard that she needed to go to the “free-speech area,” she said in an interview Friday with The College Fix.

She told him free-speech zones are unconstitutional, and she eventually started to walk away when the security guard said “if you just want to hang around I have a supervisor coming,” a four-minute video taken by Cooley shows.

“I don’t really want to hang around so I think I am going to leave,” Cooley replied. LaurenCooley

“Can I have your name, please, or your identification,” the security guard then asked.

“No, I don’t have to give identification,” Cooley said.

“Well, actually you do,” the guard said back. “On Broward College campus, I am allowed to get your identification. If you don’t you are refusing to give me your identification. I need to call a Davie police officer over here, and we can handle it from there if you like.”

“Am I free or are you going to detain me,” Cooley said.

“I am not detaining you, I am asking for your identification,” he said.

“OK, then I am leaving,” Cooley said, and walked off.

As she did so, the security guard used his two-way radio to give a description of Cooley, and he followed her in his golf cart, the video shows. He eventually asks her to stop, and she asks why.

“What have I done wrong,” she repeatedly asked. When he did not respond, she continued walking. That’s when two police cars rolled up.

“Sir, I don’t know what I have done wrong,” Cooley starts up when a police officer gets out of his car and walks up to her. He replied: “I don’t either but I am about to find out. If you are on this campus and you are asked to identify yourself you need to identify yourself.”

Cooley tells him she left her identification in the car, and the policeman then asked the campus security guard, “What’s the issue with her?” The guard explains she’s been asking students “if big government sucks” and that he pointed her to the free-speech area on campus.

“I can’t talk to students?” she asked the officer.

“No, you cannot,” he replies. “You need to leave the campus now. … If you do not leave you will be arrested for trespassing. … Have a nice day and go on your way.”

“Alright,” Cooley said as she walked away. “Remember, big government sucks.”

“Yeah, I know,” the officer can be heard saying in the background.

Cooley, in an interview Friday with The College Fix, said she was frustrated by the incident.

“Broward College, it’s a public school, I live in Broward County, it’s literally the college my taxdollars go to partially fund,” she said.

She said she has actually been on the campus several times on behalf of Turning Point and this was the first time anything “negative” happened.

“I would speculate this happened because of heightened security for the governors debate, but that just shows the larger your government grows, the quicker your rights are violated,” she said.

Cooley, who has been trained on her rights and how to handle interactions with campus security and law enforcement through Turning Point as well as the conservative organization Leadership Institute, said she believes she did nothing wrong nor violate any law.

“The campus security officer thought it needed to be in a free-speech zone, but it’s ironic because everyone walking into the debate hall was talking about a candidate or something political,” she said.

As a result of this incident, she said her group plans to launch a petition on Change.org to ask Broward College to remove its “unconstitutional” free-speech zone.

Broward College representatives could not be reached late Friday for comment.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. Cooley is a former College Fix student contributor.

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IMAGES: Main, Thomas Hawk, Flickr; Inside – Lauren Cooley, Twitter

A study released Wednesday by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni titled “What Will They Learn?” reports students actually learn very little when it comes to vital subjects such as economics, literature and history.

The study of 1,098 colleges’ and universities’ graduation requirements found that just 18 percent of them require a basic American history course, only 38 percent mandate a literature course, and a paltry 3 percent require a basic economics class. Meanwhile, nearly every school the group looked at had some sort of “diversity requirement,” the report found.

“One wonders what tuition and tax dollars are going toward when most colleges—even public ones—don’t require basic economics, foreign language, American history or even literature,” stated Dr. Michael Poliakoff, director of the What Will They Learn? project. “Are we really preparing our nation’s next generation of leaders when our colleges are failing to ensure the most basic skills and knowledge?”

The study also noted that at the schools that actually do require classes such as history and literature, students are often allowed to fulfill these requirements with silly courses like “History of Rock & Roll” or “Horror Films and American Culture.” Other examples include:

University of Colorado – Boulder: The “United States Context” requirement may be satisfied by … “Wops and Dons to Movers and Shakers: The Italian American Experience,” “Music In American Culture,” “America Through Baseball,” and 41 other courses.

Elmira College: Students can fulfill the “United States Culture and Civilization” requirement with “Mental Illness in the Media” and “Leisure and Marketing in America.”

Bates College: The many “General Education concentrations” may be satisfied by such courses as “History of Electronic Dance Music,” “The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction,” and “Decoding Disney: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Animated Blockbuster.”

Linfield College: Students can fulfill either the “U.S. Pluralisms” or the “Individuals, Systems, and Society” requirement with “The Economics of Star Trek.”

Richard Stockton College: Students can meet the “Historical Consciousness” requirement with “Vampires: History of the Undead.:

Harvard University: “American Dreams from Scarface to Easy Rider” could count for literature credit.

The study did find some schools that actually have respectable graduation requirements. Schools that received “A” grades from the group include Pepperdine, Baylor, Christopher Newport University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Colorado Christian University, Kennesaw State, University of Texas – San Antonio, and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

As for the “Fs” – campuses such as the University of California – Berkeley, Bowdoin, Hamilton, and Kenyon made the list.

“That some of the best-known colleges earn poor marks for general education doesn’t mean they don’t do other things well,” the report states. “But what is clear is that many highly regarded universities enroll some of our nation’s top students and then give them nothing more than a ‘do-it-yourself’ curriculum. The famous Ivy League, for instance, is home to two ‘Bs,’ three ‘Cs,’ two ‘Ds,’ and one ‘F.'”

“… Yale does not require its students to take a college-level math or a dedicated composition course … and Brown has an ‘open curriculum,’ meaning students may take whatever classes they wish, with no requirements at all.”

The study doesn’t just present the problem, however. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni also touts solutions, including calling on boards of trustees and faculty members to develop mandates to ensure students learn the essentials.

But it also advises students and parents to “vote with their wallets.” To that end, they urge parents to compare curriculum requirements at the website WhatWillTheyLearn.com. The website details whether each school requires literature, U.S. government or history, foreign language, mathematics, economics, science and composition. The massive database allows users to shop around for the best schools when it comes to curriculum mandates, and also includes tuition costs and other statistical data on each campus.

The group contends it’s a better measure than other college rankings systems that get so much attention each year.

“Our website does not rank schools, it rates them on objective academic criteria,” the group states. “It grades each school based on the strength of its core curriculum. None of the major ranking systems provides an evaluation of what students are learning. While these rankings look at such issues as the institution’s wealth, reputation, physical facilities, number of Ph.D.’s among the faculty, and alumni giving records, no system other than What Will They Learn? pays serious attention to the curriculum.”

And in the end, ACTA argues, this matters – citing a 2011 Roper Public Affairs and Media firm survey which found “less than half of American adults believe today’s college students are definitely or probably getting their money’s worth from a college education at a public college or university” and “nearly six in ten American adults believe today’s colleges and universities are doing only a fair or poor job of preparing graduates for their future careers.”

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: ACTA

One might think that efforts to end sexual assault on campus would be cheered by all students, left-leaning ones included. Usually they are – unless said efforts are led by white men.

Case in point: A self-described “queer brown woman” and senior at the University of Michigan penned a lengthy rant in the campus newspaper against her school’s administration because the folks leading the campus’ anti-sexual assault campaign are “straight, white, cisgender men” and not enough “students of color” were consulted.

Nowhere in the 2,300-word tirade does she offer one tangible solution to campus rape in a screed that has gone viral with well over 1,500-plus Facebook Likes as of late Wednesday. Here she describes one of the planning meetings:

Where was the representation from Coalition of Queer People of Color? The Black Student Union? Anyone from the historically Black, Latin@, Asian and South Asian fraternities and sororities? Did CSG not realize that sexual assault happens to people who are not white and straight? To men?

… [Student government president Bobby Dishell's] first order of business was to get people talking. Which meant get the straight, white, cisgender men in the room with no ostensible direct connection to the issue talking, throwing around “solutions,” and making assumptions without proper education about the issue.

Thanks for the clarification. I thought evil white men were the ones doing all the raping for the most part, so I appreciate you reminding us that homosexuals and people of color are also involved in this messy rape business. As to the notion that a room full of intelligent people – nevermind their skin color – can’t brainstorm an anti-sexual assault campaign effectively, that’s another matter.

Sexual assault was confused with sexual harassment and some people did not even know what consent really meant, despite using the word profusely.

Well, considering that at the University of Michigan “withholding sex and affection” and “discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex” are officially defined as “sexual violence,” that confusion is understandable.

There was an excruciatingly painful lack of understanding and no substantial amount of research (if any) had been done into the root cause of the issue. In an attempt to depoliticize and de-emotionalize sexual assault, which by its very nature cannot be depoliticized and de-emotionalized, none of the balloon-headed, moronic men overly enthusiastic about “ending rape on campus” had assessed their role and space in a sexual assault awareness campaign. There was no self-awareness, no thought of assessing their own privilege, and no intention of criticizing their own role in rape culture. And there was especially no mention of ideas that helped other communities decrease violence.

Good point. Each man should have stood up, undressed, and said before the entire room: “I am a white man, and I am a privileged rapist.” That would have been a much better way to get the ball rolling, get to the heart of the matter, the “root cause of the issue” – as you say.

Buzzwords such as “Twitter campaigns,” “campus culture,” etc., were thrown around at a dizzying pace with no real substance attached. Representatives from the Athletic Department made sure they ate up half the time by talking about all the great initiatives they were taking to combat sexual assault in, I think, a desperate attempt to stop anyone from bringing up former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons.

… In the weeks following the meeting, lots of heterosexual, white, cisgender men changed their Facebook profile pictures to include the It’s On Us logo; released videos on how sexual assault on campus should totally be stopped, complete with compelling background music and random zoom-ins; and aggressively shared blog posts (written by themselves obviously). Apparently, the karmic laws of social media and the Internet state that publicizing how in support you are of a movement is exactly the same as challenging your own privilege and status as an oppressor in order to affect real change. So, instead of doing proper research, self-educating, and assessing space and power dynamics, these men were on a social media self-promotion campaign, intent on boosting their own image (for future POTUS races, I’m sure). …

How dare these students share a positive message of stopping campus rape when they have penises and white skin!

But at any rate, you judge them by the color of their skin, deciding since it’s white they must have no other motive to stop rape other than political gain. How about their sisters, female friends, future daughters – and a sincere concern for all humanity?

… in celebration of our apparent efforts, we went to a play about rape at a high school that was one of worst-written, misogynistic, heteronormative, atrocious plays I’ve seen. There was absolutely no trigger warning yet the naked body of a rape survivor was shown. There was complete disregard for any type of intersectionality; it excluded male survivors, homosexual instances of assault, and had no acknowledgement of racial dynamics. It neatly categorized high school students into the category of jocks (the rapists), the cheerleaders (the stereotypically “catty” girls who bully the survivor), the survivor and her friend, and the punk emo goth (the outcast voice of reason during the play). The incompetent playwright did not lend the play the gravity, nuance or emotion it required. Despite being based on the Steubenville rape case, there was absolutely no consideration given to the privacy, dignity and humanity of the Steubenville rape survivor. This disgusting play was proof of how much damage is done when people take on serious issues without bothering to educate themselves and do not take into consideration the emotional and social needs of the people who are being impacted. …

Ok, so on the one hand you flip out when a Michigan football player accused of rape isn’t mentioned at a meeting, but when this group of “heterosexual, white, cisgender men” finally do something to get in touch with that whole “self-awareness … assessing their own privilege … self-educating” stuff, you also flip out because they went to a play about white football players’ heinous sexual assaults? Something they could relate to and possibly learn from?

I’m tired of having my voice repeatedly stolen by rich, white, heterosexual, cisgender men like Dishell and Schlissel who claim they care for political reasons but have made it very evident that they do not. I am out of tears, out of cookies to give to privileged folk who sometimes behave like decent human beings, and generally just out of fucks to give.

Yeah, it’s super tough living in America, isn’t it? I have one final message for you:

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Save the planet – pee in the shower?

That’s the idea behind a new “Go With The Flow” campaign at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.

BBC News reports:

… students Debs Torr and Chris Dobson … want the university’s 15,000 students to take their first wee of the day while having their morning shower. Mr. Dobson, 20, said the idea could “save enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 26 times.”

The pair want those taking part to pledge their allegiance on Facebook and Twitter and have offered gift vouchers to the first people to join the challenge. … “Imagine how big an impact it could have if we could get everyone in East Anglia, or even the UK, to change their morning habits. The campaign has been really divisive – people either seem to love it or hate it,” added Mr. Dobson.

…  Mr. Dobson said they had taken advice from a professor and had undertaken online research about potential health risks for people using communal showers.

He said: “As long as the water is flowing there is no hygiene risk as urine is sterile but we would encourage that every person using the same shower consents to the challenge and if not that they don’t take part.”

It’s also a pragmatic timesaver, as The Daily Caller noted.

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IMAGE: Steven Depolo/Flickr