Jennifer Kabbany - Fix Editor

OPINION

As a mother of a young girl and as a former college student who attended more parties than she should have, and drank more than she should have, I can say advice I’d give my daughter when she heads off to college is: Don’t get wasted!

Now, I’d say that for any number of reasons, including health and safety. But the main reason I’d give it to her is because women are apt to make stupid decisions when they’re inebriated. Does that excuse rape or sexual assault? No. Is it advice that blames the victim? No. Is it good, honest guidance? Yes!

Yet twice in the last month, men who have suggested college women watch their alcohol intake to help avoid getting themselves into situations where they might be assaulted have been completely vilified by militant feminists and misguided college students.

The former president of The George Washington University is one such man. He offered practical advice for college women, saying: “Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. … And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard.”

Another was a male campus columnist for the University of Arizona student newspaper, whose students actually protested him yesterday for encouraging women to drink responsibly along with this advice: “Girls — go out in groups, keep an eye on each other, designate a driver. And bring your common sense.”

These two men were accused of idiocy and “victim blaming.” And thus, the so-called campus rape epidemic has now compelled feminists to defend the right of underage girls to get completely blitzed, as one commentator puts it.

As to the notion that telling women not to get hammered is akin to telling her it’s her fault she gets raped – that’s a logical fallacy. We’re not saying if you get drunk and get raped it’s your fault, we’re saying take proactive measures to avoid it.

But we shouldn’t have to take proactive measures to avoid it, is the common reply, one that was suggested at the Arizona campus rally, for example. We should change men to be docile, respectable creatures.

To the first argument, you’re right – it’s too bad we have to take proactive measures, but this world is an ugly place. So don’t live in denial. That’s not going to help you. To the second argument about the nature of men, hey – women have been trying to change men since the dawn of time and look how well that’s worked out for us.

The bottom line: It’s OK to blame the rapist for raping, and it’s OK to say to a young girl: “Don’t drink too much. For a lot of good reasons.”

I plan to tell that to my daughter at the right time. And I wish, in retrospect, I’d have known and followed this advice as a college student myself.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( Follow Jenn on Twitter at: @JenniferKabbany )

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Global women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was  rejected by Brandeis University as a graduation speaker last May because of her criticism of Islam – which is certainly justified after she suffered female genital mutilation and a forced marriage at the hands of that religion – is again under fire from self righteous campus activists.

Apparently any criticism of Islam is immediately dubbed “hate speech.”

Now she is set to give a talk at Yale University on Monday, invited after the brouhaha at Brandeis by student conservatives at Yale who are interested in hearing her out.

Predictably, the Muslim student group at Yale and its many politically correct supporters have decried the visit and even tried to force the conservative students to limit what Hirsi Ali could talk about, or at the very least have a pro-Muslim speaker on hand who could offer counterpoints.

Really, do Muslim campus guest speakers have to have Jews at all their talks for counterpoints?

At any rate, the controversy has been covered by the Yale Daily News, National Review and other news outlets, and perhaps the best part of these reports are not the articles themselves, but the quips at the end in the comments section. Without further ado, here’s a highlight reel:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her stupid white male Christian privilege.

No surprise that the Muslim student groups are attacking a person who has spoken out against female genital mutilation.

Good lord — this is Yale. I was under the impression that this was an institution where we chose to embrace free speech. Though many students on this campus may disagree with Hirsi Ali’s views on Islam, I would like to believe that as a Harvard fellow, award-winning journalist, and former Member of Parliament, we might all be able to learn something from her.

Once you begin to realize that the Muslim Students Association was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood, then this whole mess makes more sense.

Never, never, never give as much as a millimetre to the totalitarian ideology that is truly Islam.

What’s hilarious is that these supposed “best and brightest” fail to see the hypocrisy in their calling for censorship while saying they’re upholding free speech and diversity of opinion.

The Muslim group wants Hirsi Ali to “…speak only to her personal experiences …” Fine. She could still enlighten with personal experience of genital mutilation and death threats.

The Yale Buckley Program members, who invited Hirsi Ali, have pledged to allow her to speak – despite the protest and without a counterpoint speaker. Score one for Lux et Veritas.

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They wanted to honor their fallen team member. Instead they were forced to remove or modify little memorial crosses off their helmets because someone was “offended.”

Yes, Arkansas State football players were told by campus suits to remove or alter the white crosses on the back of their helmets that honored former player Markel Owens and equipment manager Barry Weyer, who passed away this year.

Even their athletics director called BS on the play. USA Today reports:

[AD Terry] Mohajir said the original idea for the decal came from a leadership committee of players and that wearing it was completely voluntary, which is why he approved it in the first place.

“Any time our players have an expression of faith and wanting to honor two members of the football program, I’m 100% behind them,” he said. ​

He also said in a statement that “I am 100 percent in support of our coaches’ and players’ expression of faith, as well as their choice to honor the two individuals associated with our team who passed away by voluntarily wearing a cross decal on the back of their helmets. Unfortunately, we have received a complaint that use of the cross violates the Constitutional prohibition against separation of church and state.”

A campus attorney “wrote an e-mail to Mohajir saying she found no specific legal cases that addressed crosses on football helmets but recommended that the bottom of the cross could be cut off so that the symbol was a plus sign,”according to USA Today.

Atheist activists strike again, and campus officials are all too quick to fold rather than stand up for the rights of their students. Not to mention, a cross is an international symbol of memory and respect for the fallen – not necessarily always the Christian cross.

Speaking of which, “Owens was shot and killed in January in a double homicide. Owens put himself in harm’s way while attempting to defend his family as two masked intruders broke into his home. Weyer was killed in an automobile accident following the conclusion of the 2013 season for Arkansas State,” NBC reports.

May they rest in peace.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix.

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Long gone are the days when you simply checked the box marking either male or female on college applications.

In today’s world, where sexual desires trump biology and humans are defined by the sexual orientation, it’s not surprising that an elite university would give prospective students a whole essay writing prompt to explain and elaborate on their preferred gender(s), and whether they want males or females – or both – to engage in sexual activity with them. Because that is so pertinent on a college application.

“Duke University has joined a small group of colleges that include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on admissions applications,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “But Duke is doing so in a different way from others, with a short essay, rather than boxes to check. And applicants can use the essay to write about identities beyond sexual orientation and gender identity that they want to share with Duke.”

Granted, this is the same college that raised tuition fees to pay for sex-change operations, so are we really that surprised?

Meanwhile, the LGBT acronym is not even enough anymore. Today it’s grown to: LGBTIQQAA – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual, ally. No wonder a whole essay is needed.

Read more.

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According to one Columbia University professor, the United States’ effort to stop barbarians from slaughtering and beheading people in the name of Allah is the same as Russia invading and taking over a sovereign, Democratic country that is not currently killing people en masse.

As Young Conservatives reported via Truth Revolt:“Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, has officially lost it, claiming U.S. bombing ISIS is equivalent to Russia invading Ukraine.”

That he’s “lost it” is one way of putting it. But the truth is professors such as Sachs actually BELIEVE that the two actions are equivalent – and they teach students that, too.

Professor Sachs told Ronan Farrow on MSNBC that it’s all about a “power game” and that U.S. actions against ISIS break “international law.”

Says Sachs:

And in the Middle East, the United States is bombing. We’re engaged in operations to overthrow a government in Syria. And so the messages that are being sent by both these powers are this is a power game. The United States and its allies are going to do what they want to do militarily in the Middle East. Russia is going to do militarily in Ukraine. Each side stands for principle. Neither side is really respecting international law especially and each side is claiming the mantel of international law.

Watch the video:

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Decades ago, Williams College had a reputation as a preppy, country clubish university, and it was in the midst of this atmosphere that a famed professor at the New England campus, Robert Gaudino, exposed students to the so-called real world.

He’d ship them off – as close as America’s inner cities to as far away as Calcutta – to spend some time getting their hands dirty, so to speak; a process he called “Uncomfortable Learning.”

“He would just put them on a plane and give them a much more viable academic experience confronting the world, the real world, instead of the ‘Purple Bubble,’” said Williams College’s Ben Fischberg, 22. Williams.WilliamsAlumni.Flickr

In the spirit of exposing students to the realities of the real world, Fischberg and two other students started their own “Uncomfortable Learning” effort at Williams earlier this year.

But this time, instead of confronting the problems outside the “Purple Bubble,” the trio of students took aim at issues within their 221-year-old elite university, which – like so many others – has created an atmosphere in which academics and intellectual debate are heavily influenced by left-leaning scholars, and a diversity of opinions – especially conservative ones – do not openly flourish.

It’s a college in rural New England where talk of white privilege and oppression are just as commonplace as at other elite colleges in that region and beyond, but sometimes felt even more so because of the campus’ intimate size. At about 2,000 undergrads, it has fewer students than most mainstream public high schools.

So perhaps launching Uncomfortable Learning took more guts than might be expected at a place like Williams, but the students who launched the endeavor said in interviews with The College Fix that they wanted to add to their education, expand their beloved institution’s horizons, and challenge themselves and their peers to search beyond the echo chamber found today at most colleges.

“There is no learning, without being uncomfortable,” said Williams College student David Gaines at the group’s April 29 event. “One cannot learn and grow without being challenged and made to think.”

With a desire for a more robust college debate than their classroom time produced, Fischberg, along with Gaines and fellow student James Hitchcock, challenged the status quo and formed their student club. The three students emphasized the project was not borne out of a lack of rigor on their professors’ part, but rather a desire for a well-rounded college experience.

ULTRIO-Photo

“We created Uncomfortable Learning out of a desire to push our Williams education further and to challenge ourselves and the Williams community,” Fischberg said. “We aimed to expand the dialogue at Williams on certain issues that was restrained.”

(Pictured from left: James Hitchcock, David Gaines and Ben Fischberg)

Delving into the ‘Restrained’

To that end, Uncomfortable Learning hosted five guest lecturers in the spring of 2014 on topics that were not readily broached within the classrooms.

KC Johnson, a past Williams professor who is now a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, kicked off the parade of highly regarded intellectuals who visited the campus during the school year in his January address titled: “Educating Dangerously: How History is Being Mistaught in U.S. Universities.”

In introducing Johnson, Fischberg told the crowd that he was excited for the launch of Uncomfortable Learning, noting that “we are looking forward KCJohnsonto having speakers who challenge the Williams orthodoxy and promote intellectual diversity on campus.”

Johnson talked about how history professors focus more and more on narrow subject matter that can often be politically charged at the cost of not offering a fuller historical curriculum, often lacking in western and American history.

Renown economist Richard Vedder, a professor at Ohio University and the director of The Center for College Affordability & Productivity, focused his speech on how the federal government is waging a war on work, offering “perverse incentives created by the U.S. welfare system,” Fischberg said.

The talk also explored how lowering the minimum wage would not only benefit the U.S. economy, but minority workers in particular. And many in the audience expressed surprise to learn that the majority of economic studies on the minimum wage support the notion that if it’s raised, it is likely to lower employment.

GregLukianoff.YouTubeScreenshotGreg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, gave a talk on how colleges suppress free speech and enforce draconian and unconstitutional speech codes. One example he gave was Drexel’s prohibition on derogatory laughter, for example.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, author of The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, spoke on how liberals use clichés to prevent debate. He argued that issues such as social justice and microaggressions are tools used by certain groups as values that someone cannot disagree with – unless they are a racist or a homophobe, Fischberg said.

“He pushed us to think about what social justice truly means and why it is problematic when people hide behind euphemisms instead of engaging in debate,” he said.

And finally, the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Needham rounded off the speaker visits with a talk on how Washington is responsive to the desires of large interest groups like unions or big business, but not the needs of the public, Fischberg said.

A Budding Success

Uncomfortable Learning wasn’t exactly embraced with open arms when Fischberg first sought official permission from administrators to launch the club in the winter of 2013.

At first, administrators wanted Uncomfortable Learning to have representation from different student groups on campus, such as a member from the Latino, Black and queer campus clubs, Fischberg said. Eventually Uncomfortable Learning decided to venture forth as an unofficially recognized club.

Over time, as each talk attracted anywhere from 30 to 70 guests, the events starting to gain traction in the Williams community, and students and professors began to openly support the effort. Many people attended the talks and were interested to hear what the speakers had to say. The audience was often very opened minded, surprisingly so, the founders said.

“One of the things I liked about Uncomfortable Learning is it got professors and the administration to come out of the woodwork,” Fischberg said. “Professors would come up to me and say, ‘I think what you are doing is fantastic.’ I started hearing more and more of that.”

“We began to develop a motivated group of supporters who ignored criticism from certain groups at Williams,” he added. “Uncomfortable Learning had a successful trial run at Williams, and is well prepared to capitalize on our success next year.”

Moving Forward

Fischberg graduated in May, and Hitchcock and Gaines, both 21 and seniors, said they have exciting plans to continue the effort this year at Williams.

In interviews with The College Fix, Hitchcock and Gaines said the continued goal of Uncomfortable Learning is not only to “ask the tough questions,” but to encourage their peers to do so as well.

As a new wave of freshmen come to into the “Purple Bubble,” that goal is vital, they said.

“What we hope is that Uncomfortable Learning plays a big role in defining a campus landscape that allows for open discourse and creates a marketplace of ideas,” Hitchcock said.

“It’s not that we are trying to push an ideology,” Gaines added. “Our goal is to bring speakers who will challenge campus norms.”

With that, both Republican, Democrat, libertarian and independent voices will be part of the 2014-15 lineup, they said.

It’s something that can be launched at any campus, and the trio who founded Uncomfortable Learning said their ultimate vision is that such clubs spring up at universities across the nation.

The speaker honorariums at Williams were supported by generous private funding, but that shouldn’t discourage students from trying. As a start, Hitchcock and Gaines said students should try to ask notable alumni at their schools to speak for free or speak if travel and lodgings are covered. They could also ask professors from their own schools with unpopular opinions to speak.

Fischberg said support is there for enterprising students.

“Students interested in creating a chapter of Uncomfortable Learning at their college should reach out to alums and foundations like the Charles Koch Foundation and Young Americans for Liberty,” he said.

It’s worth it, he added.

When Goldberg visited the campus in April, he subsequently wrote about his experiences at Williams:

All of this was against the backdrop of an outbreak of peak collegiate stupidity here at Williams. The school invited Michael Bloomberg to be a commencement speaker. This is hugely controversial on the left. A bunch of students and faculty are furious because Bloomberg supported stop-and-frisk policies in New York. Hence, these kids are passing around flyers comparing Bloomberg to a slave-holder or some such. One professor told me that perhaps as many as 150 members of the faculty might turn their back on Bloomberg on graduation day. And everywhere there is a lot of talk about how Williams is a “white supremacist” institution. Gotta love a thoroughly liberal liberal-arts college being called white supremacist by the very same black kids it admitted for an excellent four-year education. Dumbest. White. Supremacists. Ever.

But Fischberg said things have changed at Williams, for the better.

“The fact is we are now ready to talk about microaggressions and privilege in a way I haven’t heard in the last four years,” Fischberg said. “From my first three years at Williams, that didn’t exists.”

“Students were willing to have dialogues behind closed doors, but students have those conversations in open places now, where they are not stereotyped.”

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( Follow Jenn on Twitter: @JenniferKabbany )

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IMAGES: Main and speakers, YouTube screenshots; Inside, Williams Alumni.

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