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Ryan Lovelace - Butler University

Republican, African-American sociology professor Marvin Scott has felt the need to lead a double life because of his experiences at Butler University.

Many people know Scott for his failed bids as Indiana’s Republican candidate for the Senate and House of Representatives, but those at Butler hardly know him at all or else seem willing to diminish his presence on campus.

“I live a chameleon life. I live one here and I live one for the outside world,” Scott said. “That’s the only way you can survive here.”

Scott said that he counts himself as one of only five Republican faculty members on campus, and noted the stigma attached to his beliefs.

“I guess it’s like someone coming out of the closet,” Scott said. “I came out for what I was all the time: a Republican.”

Scott, an African-American, said he has worked in higher education for 42 years and held many positions including time as the president of historically black Saint Paul’s College in Virginia and vice-chancellor at the Board of Regents of Higher Education for Massachusetts. Scott has taught at Butler for more than two decades in various roles, such as chair of the sociology and criminology department and special assistant to the president.

Scott said that while nearly every liberal arts institution in America faces a vast disparity between the few right-wing faculty members and the many left-wing faculty members, Butler’s leftists stand out.

“I have never run up against such a militant liberal group in all the days of my life,” Scott said.

During his time on campus, Scott said he has faced many incidents of what he identified as “micro insults,” and noted that many leftist faculty members refuse to make eye contact with him.  But some faculty members have acted much more aggressively.

As a prominent Hoosier Republican, Scott said he has kept a photo of himself and former President Bush stashed away in a drawer, but previously displayed it on his desk.

“One of the professors here saw it,” Scott said. “He said, “You don’t know him,” He said, “and that’s a fake picture…” He went running up and down the hall with it.”

But public displays of disrespect are not limited to the faculty.

Scott said Butler president James Danko did not invite him to serve on the newly created Diversity Commission. Danko announced the members of the commission in a campus-wide email in September.

Scott would have seemed an obvious choice for the diversity commission. He almost became the first African-American elected to the Senate from Indiana, fought in the civil rights movement and met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young student returning from a year of study at the University of Allahabad in India. But Scott’s exclusion may have come as a result of his ideology and not the color of his skin.

Years ago, when a Butler faculty government group considered bringing the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to campus, Scott said he and another black professor were the only two faculty members to vote against the measure.

“I said no that we should not celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday,” Scott said. “I said let’s call it Civil Rights Day. I said one of my heroes is John Brown. Thurgood Marshall. I said these are people I’d like to see also honored on that day.”

From Humble Beginnings

Marvin Scott is more than a simple contrarian. In order to understand and appreciate his worldview, Scott’s detractors need to understand his past.

“They think that I am not a part of the black mainstream,” Scott said, “so therefore any insult they issue to me will not be felt by the people they are trying to help. Whatever.”

Scott grew up in a poor household, as one of seven children in North Carolina. Three of those children received doctoral degrees, with Scott earning his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Along the way, Scott worked two shifts a day, seven days a week in a glass factory. As a family man with four children of whom he is very proud, Scott is a Presbyterian who learned his work ethic from his parents.

Scott said his parents awoke every morning at 5 a.m., and his mother worked as a beautician and his father as an electrician and also as a chauffeur.

When Scott drove 123,000 miles crisscrossing Indiana “virtually by myself,” as the Republican candidate for the Senate opposing the incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh, people were not sure what to make of it.

“They said, “Where’s your driver? Where’s your entourage?” I said, “Here he is,” ” Scott said. “And I say, “That’s the way I’ll run government: no fat. Don’t need a driver. I’m capable of driving.”

Many Hoosiers were surprised he came alone and thought that it meant he didn’t have money and couldn’t pull off a successful campaign.

Scott said he wasn’t sanctioned by the GOP establishment and did not receive any money from the Republican Party, but raised $2.5 million and took 37 percent of the vote against the incumbent during his failed 2004 Senate campaign.

The only person who won an election against an incumbent Senator in 2004 was Republican John Thune of South Dakota, the man who followed Scott on stage at the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden.

“I was out in the woods somewhere in Indiana and a woman told me, she says, “I’m voting for Evan Bayh because he’s so handsome.” I said, “Well I’m not a damn duck,” Scott said laughing. “You know give me a break. How do you beat someone that’s more handsome than you are?”

Former President George W. Bush appointed Scott to serve on the National Council for the Humanities in 2008. Scott then lost another election in 2010 as the Republican candidate for Indiana’s 7th Congressional District, which includes the city of Indianapolis in Marion County.

“To get blacks to vote for me in Marion County would be like me trying to win the Powerball—it’s just not going to happen,” Scott said.

Scott said that while he has no plans to run for office in the future, “you never know.” No one has beat a path to his doorstep asking him to run again, he said, but if they do they’ll need to bring money because he thinks it’s a rich man’s game now.

“History will only remember me as the person who ran and almost won, but never won,” Scott said.

Refusing to Stay Quiet

Many Butler alumni remember Scott as a favorite teacher, and he proudly showed letters he has received each year from alumni. Scott said he loves teaching.

But exactly how many students get to meet Scott may depend upon the actions of faculty members who willfully neglect him at every turn.

Last year marked the first instance in Scott’s entire time at Butler in which a professor from the Political Science Department has asked him to speak to a class, he said. That professor has since left the university, but the Political Science Department still remains a few steps away from Scott’s office.

“Wouldn’t you think you had someone who has run for Senate, run for the House of Representatives, wouldn’t you be beating the damn door down to have me come down and at least say something?” Scott said. “That’s the whole issue right there.”

And Scott’s not the only one who has faced such treatment from Butler. In 2010, World Magazine reported that Butler “had a shot at landing U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts as a commencement speaker but voted it down.”

Economics professor Bill Rieber told the magazine that the Faculty Senate missed the opportunity to engage the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States because it had concerns about bringing too many “right-wingers” to campus.

“This was an ideological vote,” Rieber said. “One person said Roberts was not in favor of a woman’s right to choose.”

Scott said he generally does not spend time worrying about the people who neglect to include him because of his opinions, but he did speculate about their motivation.

“Maybe they don’t think I’m smart enough, maybe they don’t think I’m adequate, maybe my politics, you know I could conjure a hundred thousand things,” Scott said. “How does that make me feel at night? I don’t care, because if I cared, I’d have a stroke. I’m not going to let these people get in my psyche. Screw them. Got it?”

Scott said he would turn 70 in March.

“I’m never going to be respected as an academician because half these people don’t know what I do or give a damn what I’ve done. Got it?” Scott said.

Being ostracized eventually led Scott to live a kind of double life–quiet about his political beliefs on campus, while remaining vocal about them elsewhere. Nevertheless, the opposition of leftist academics will not change him, he said.

Scott has also served as radio talk show host on stations in Boston, Mass., Richmond, Va., and Henderson, N.C.

In a forthcoming book, Scott plans to open up about his experiences as a African-American conservative entrenched in the liberal world of academia.

“So I’ve decided to stay here, don’t write any more books, don’t write any more columns, and just wait until I’m out of here and then I’m going to write what I have to say.”

Scott is ready to speak out publicly about his experiences because he is close to retirement and plans to name names in his book.

“They can sue me later, but you know I’m going to say what I have to say.”

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a senior at Butler University.

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When Laura Hollis, a Notre Dame University business and law professor, looks at America’s path forward, she cannot help but see a dead end.

“Many people say to me, ‘If it gets worse than this, I’m not sure we can survive it,’ and I’m inclined to agree with them,” Hollis said in an interview with The College Fix. “It’s never been as bad as it is now.”

Hollis, who in addition to her professorship is a popular conservative columnist and political commentator, is the author of a post-election column titled “Post Mortem” that went viral across America. It was reposted on many websites, spread like wildfire across social media sites, and emailed far and wide, landing in mom-and-pop inboxes across the nation.

In fact, just as recently as Dec. 28, the popular left-leaning political blog Daily Kos posted an “open letter to Laura Hollis” denouncing her piece.

This ongoing whirlwind of a world wide web debate was prompted by Hollis’ Nov. 8 column, which analyzed the state of the union the day after President Barack Obama was re-elected.

It argued, among other things, that: conservatives are outnumbered; they’re losing the culture war; too many Americans are immature, seeking only self-gratification; and the so-called Republican War on Women played a role in the election outcome.

“America is on a horrific bender; has been for some time now,” Hollis wrote. “The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store. … I see the country I love headed toward its own ‘rock bottom,’ and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.”

In an interview this week with The College Fix, Hollis said feedback she’s received from that piece has led her to believe millions of Americans feel as if they have no voice. But the answer, she argued, is not to cower in the corner and give up.

“Speak up,” Hollis said. “Because being polite does not mean being silent.”

First and foremost, the culture war must to be addressed, she said. It’s time to stop worrying about stepping on people’s toes or hurting people’s feelings, she said.

Some Republican and conservative commentators argued after the election the solution to regain the White House, Congress and the country is to become more moderate, acquiesce to the social norms promulgated by the Left.

Bad idea, Hollis said.

“We have to decide we need to change the tone and tenor of culture in the country,” Hollis said. “In order to change the culture, you have to be a part of the culture.”

Take, for example, the alleged War on Women. During the presidential campaign, women’s rights discussions served as a façade for something more sinister, she said. What appeared to be a discourse about access to birth control was really about expanding abortion services and physician-assisted suicide, Hollis said.

“I’m pro-better choice—all choices are not equal,” Hollis said. “If my father is suffering from advanced dementia, I don’t have the right to smother him with a pillow.”

Hollis said advances in science have provided new and startling information about life from conception through natural death that every American should learn. This is one example of the kinds of things that could help turn the culture war tide in conservatives’ favor.

Hollis said “the left” has become politically adept at demonizing people, but it is important for all Americans to understand everyone wants to make things better, she said.

While Hollis’ first point in her “Post-Mortem” work declared Americans who champion free enterprise are outnumbered by those who want free stuff, she said that did not mean throw in the towel.

“No matter where you are, that can be ground-zero for changing things,” Hollis said.

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

Click here to read Hollis’ entire Post-Mortem piece.

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A political science professor at Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices.

The syllabus of the course at Butler, a small Midwestern liberal arts institution in Indianapolis, spells out that students should use “inclusive language” because it’s “a fundamental issue of social justice.”

“Language that is truly inclusive affirms sexuality, racial and ethnic backgrounds, stages of maturity, and degrees of limiting conditions,” the syllabus states, referencing a definition created by the United Church of Christ.

The syllabus of the class, called Political Science 201: Research and Analysis, goes on to ask students “to write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” It is taught by a black, female professor.

In an interview with The College Fix, Jay Howard, dean of Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, denied this practice essentially presumes every student who walks through the door is a racist or misogynist.

He said students must be told not to assume such prejudices because such assumptions are ingrained into the culture and remain there until questioned. With that, a liberal arts education questions these assumptions, and such questions can make for uncomfortable situations, he said.

“Sometimes in order to broaden the conversation and broaden the understandings you’ve got to risk making people uncomfortable,” Howard said. “There’s nothing about a college education that guarantees you won’t be made uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, if you’re never made uncomfortable in your college education, you’re not really getting a college education.”

Howard said the college he oversees does not want students to continue to harbor such assumptions without question, “but neither do we want to exclude the dominant group in society in our attempts to make sure that we’re leveling hierarchies.”

In twenty years, white people will no longer be the majority, but they will still be the largest ethnic group, Howard said. He said using inclusive language would help students prepare for a changing world as America becomes more diverse.

He added that American culture makes speaking inclusively difficult, and the English language is partly to blame.

“Our language doesn’t make it easy to write in ways that are inclusive,” Howard said. “We don’t have a generic singular, I mean we have he and she. There is no pronoun that is gender-neutral there.”

However, not all writing- and language-intensive classes at Butler University mandate students use such “inclusive” language.

Nancy Whitmore, director of the journalism school in the College of Communication, said in an interview with The College Fix that students in her department are encouraged to use diverse sources with a wide variety of opinions, but are not mandated to use so-called inclusive language.

Whitmore said she is unsure what educators in Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences mean when they ask students to write without assuming certain things to be the norm.

“I don’t think I could ever write from a black woman’s point of view because I’ve never been a black woman,” Whitmore said.

Indeed.

My name is Ryan Lovelace, and I dropped that politically correct political science class.

Clearly, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University believes its students were raised as racist and misogynist homophobes who have grown to harbor many prejudices, a stance that is both offensive and hostile to any student’s ability to learn.

As a student at an institution predominantly focused on the liberal arts, I expected to hear professors express opinions different from my own. I did not expect to be judged before I ever walked through the door, and did not think I would be forced to agree with my teachers’ worldviews or suffer the consequences.

Being judged and forced to act a certain way is antithetical to how any institution of higher education should conduct itself.

As a journalism major, I will now strive to avoid the liberal arts college as much as possible, not because the college fails to provide its students with any practical knowledge, but because the college seeks to indoctrinate its students with a hostile paradigm that views people like me—an American, white, heterosexual male from a middle-class background—as evil; whitey-righty need not attend.

Many consider higher education to be in turbulent waters because of rising tuition costs and student loan debt, but students who actually graduate may struggle even more if they view the world as Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences does.

The liberal arts college seeks to include people, but someone will always be excluded, as it is impossible to always include everyone. Furthermore, I’m not sure how to write assuming any other persona but my own. Any attempts to do so would only be offensive to people different from myself.

Lastly, the idea that people have different views from mine is not what makes me uncomfortable. The idea that I must walk, talk and act as the liberal arts college pleases does. I’ll speak as I always have and conduct myself in the way I deem fit. I think paying $40,000 a year should give me that basic right.

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

IMAGE: Goto10/Flickr

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A panel of professors from across the nation converged at Purdue University to discuss immigration and the November election, but the 90-minute roundtable, billed as “nonpartisan,” quickly devolved into an attack against Mitt Romney, Republicans, immigration laws, and even America’s colonial period.

Immigration and the 2012 Election: An Academic Roundtable,” was hosted Sept. 20 by Purdue’s Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion. It included five scholars asked to discuss how race, ethnicity, class and gender shape immigration issues, particularly with regard to the presidential election.

None of the panelists spoke in favor of Republican policies on immigration reform.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at the University of California-Riverside, argued Republican strongholds basically stagnate the free flow of immigrants to those areas through stricter laws and enforcement.

For example, some of the tightest immigration laws hail from Arizona, a state largely controlled by Republican lawmakers, he said.

“The factor that consistently matters is how Republican an area is,” Ramakrishnan said. “Basically, you had a conservative insurrection on immigration well before the Tea Party insurrection in 2009.”

Ramakrishnan said this factor hurts Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as it’s difficult for him to get the support of voters sympathetic to illegal immigration causes.

Underscoring that, Romney also failed to provide a good explanation of his immigration plan at a recent Univision forum, said Lisa Garcia Bedolla, associate professor of social and cultural studies at the University of California-Berkeley.

She said she believes Romney treated Latinos disrespectfully by giving what she contends was a vague answer that skirted the issue.

“I did have a moment as a Latino watching Univision saying like, ‘we’re not that stupid,’” Bedolla said. “Like, you think that you can sort of back pedal around this question, but you’re talking about stuff that’s really really important.”

Ramakrishnan took it one step further, saying at least Romney side-stepped the issue; in most states, Republicans who call for immigration reform are zealous about it, and meet with support from constituents.

“You have many states where…you can go immigrant bash and do just fine,” Ramakrishnan said.

Diane Thomas, president and CEO of the International Center of Indianapolis, echoed that sentiment, noting Indiana is one such state where Republican lawmakers’ immigration reform efforts are met with favor.

For example, she said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lost his seat in large part because of his support for the Dream Act, a bipartisan amnesty proposal for illegal immigrants. Indeed, one of the best ways to get on the front page of newspapers in Indiana is to propose anti-immigration legislation, she said.

Thomas called for more lenient immigration laws, and said the U.S. must follow Canada’s model on immigration or face the consequences. She said immigrants will move to Canada for jobs because they won’t be able to obtain work visas here, and that will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy.

“They’re gonna cream us here if, you know, we don’t get with the program,” Thomas said. “Look at all the international students who are here—you gotta leave and go work in Canada because you’re gonna get a visa you won’t get here. How stupid is that for us?”

Ramakrishnan said he believes even Canada’s immigration laws are too strict. He said all of America should embrace the politics emulated in Chicago, where he believes pro-immigrant, pro-union policies rule the day.

At one point a student asked why President Barack Obama has deported more illegal immigrants in four years than Bush did in eight. Garcia Bedolla largely blamed the previous administration. She said it was caused by the continuation and acceleration of a President George W. Bush-era policy that Obama chose not to stop.

Niambi Carter, assistant professor of African American studies at Temple University, said the problem of immigration is much greater than transgressions or politicians’ flawed policies – it is that America is inherently rooted in injustice.

“We like to treat justice as if it’s something that’s always there, there’s just been momentary slippages in the application of these principles that we supposedly live by, instead of treating them as real problems that are deeply embedded from the founding,” Carter said. “I don’t know how you get a just nation with slavery and Native American rule, I don’t.”

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

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Two senators this week lambasted the way in which public universities track data and called for sweeping reforms, but some questioned whether a more detailed approach might jeopardize students’ privacy.

In a bipartisan show of support, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said they hope to upgrade the way in which universities track information on what individual campuses have to offer, such as job skills, careers created, and information on expected financial outcomes of various academic disciplines.

As it stands, the senators said at a news conference in Washington D.C., the data is tracked on a federal level, offers no streamlined standards, and paints an incomplete picture.

“You’ve really got a system that is failing a lot of families,” Wyden said. “At best, the information that students get today is incomplete.”

The senators said their Student Right to Know Before You Go Act would help replace the U.S. Department of Education’s current system for tracking data at universities across the nation with state-based programs individually configured to give more specified and useful information to students and parents, such as how much debt they may have accumulated by the time they graduate and future earnings potential.

Rubio compared the plan’s requirement for states to produce such information to nutrition labels the government requires on food, which he said gives him the opportunity to decide what he puts in his body.

Not everyone is thrilled with the senators’ proposal, however.

Obtaining detailed information may require unnecessary surveillance of students, said Amy Jones, education policy counsel and senior advisor for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Jones also spoke at the event, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute and New America Foundation.

Jones said she foresaw a nightmare scenario in which the government inspects intimate details about an individual throughout the course of their life, and then mandates that children be raised a certain way based upon information gathered about successful people’s childhoods.

“It’s not enough just to say, ‘Oh, information technology has improved … so, therefore, we don’t need to worry about student privacy,’ ” Jones said. “The issue is that the federal government just doesn’t need to know that much information about an individual person.”

Rubio said Jones misses the point.

“This is not a mandate,” he said. “This is not designed to discourage kids from going to one school over another, or going in to one career over another. It’s simply information that allows us to make wise decisions.”

Rubio said the act would extend those wise decisions to how lawmakers plan to deal with the nation’s debt. Likewise, Wyden noted education reform will be central to the debate about the impending “fiscal cliff,” or the prediction of a greater economic slowdown if the government permits the expiration of tax cuts and some spending reductions.

“After sequestration, the first of many sequestrations to come, we’re going to be living in the politics of scarcity and we’re going to choose between Medicare and college,” said Dr. Anthony Carnevale, director of The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, who also spoke during the event.

Rubio said building an educated and prepared workforce goes hand-in-hand with producing the economic growth necessary to deal with the nation’s climbing debt.

“I think that we have a national interest in insuring that we are producing a workforce capable of fueling [that] kind of economic growth,” Rubio said. “If we don’t grow this economy, we will never get our hands around this debt problem.”

In a joint op-ed published this week in USA Today, Wyden and Rubio continued their efforts to push for the act’s success, in part by dissing annual college rankings put out by organizations such as U.S. News & World Report.

“Too often, these reports … overlook inputs like debt burdens and post-graduation success in finding good-paying, meaningful jobs,” the senators wrote. “ … This is a little bit shocking considering we live in a data driven world. … Yet students don’t have access to data that could help them make real-world decisions about their futures and policymakers are given an incomplete picture when making decisions about how to best allocate tax dollars.”

Fix contributor Ryan Lovelace is a student at Butler University.

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