Ryan Lovelace - Butler University

As a student journalist, I received lots of hostile feedback ranging from people calling me a “piece of s—,” to the more creative “you wouldn’t make a good pimple on a journalist’s a—hole.” But the greatest hostility I’ve experienced came my way after the publication of an opinion piece here for The College Fix about indoctrination in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at my alma mater, Butler University.

A political science professor used her syllabi 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.” I explained that I thought being judged before the class even began and being forced to act in such a way ran against the mission of every institution of higher education.

The article soon went viral. Talk radio show hosts discussed it on air and it got picked up all across the Internet at places such as The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today.” Then Sean Hannity did an entire segment on it for his primetime Fox News television show.

Soon thereafter, Butler University President Jim Danko sent out a campus-wide email titled “Affirming our Guiding Principles,” in which the president took care to explain that “inclusive language is encouraged and supported at Butler University.”

“Unfortunately, some responses we have received from individuals not associated with Butler University who read the article online have targeted various individuals at Butler in ways that have involved personal (verbal) attacks and hateful language,” Danko wrote. “We have taken care to ensure the safety and well being of those on our campus who have been the recipients of these responses.” Danko never contacted me, nor anyone involved in the editing or production of my article to my knowledge, to see if the hateful attacks extended in more than one direction.

Soon after Danko’s campus encyclical, I was called in for meetings with a professor, a department head, multiple college deans, and the provost of the university.

The Limbaugh Factor

Some of these meetings arose after Rush Limbaugh mentioned the story for a brief moment on his radio show. Rush may be the foulest four-letter word for some at Butler University, where people would mention his name to me in a hushed tone as if he were “He Who Must Not Be Named” from Harry Potter.

And while students and professors used his name as an obscenity, insult or punch line, his listeners reacted differently. One Butler alum and loyal Limbaugh devotee wrote the president and copied me on an email explaining that she was saddened to hear my story on his show, and relayed her own similar experience at Butler 32 years before.

“My sociology teacher at BU had called me a middle-class-brat when I wrote of my value system (work/pay/reward) growing up in southern Indiana,” the alumna wrote. “That part-time professor loudly pronounced his judgment on me in night class with his holier-than-thou reasoning, making me feel like a small freshman–I did not dare come back with a rebuttal.  I was frozen.  It was demeaning. … Thankfully, I had the power of perseverance and made it through the class AND pharmacy school.”

Soon after Rush discussed my story, more than 110 professors had drafted and disseminated their own critique of my work via an all-campus listerv.

“Support for such a view of education, as manifest in the criticism the professor and Butler University received in response to the piece, reminds us that we are all, professors and students alike, navigating in a challenging cultural moment, one that would define education as a commodity and dismiss efforts to establish inclusivity as “political correctness” rather than a worthy educational endeavor,” the letter explained in part.

The faculty then staged an “inclusivity teach-in” to protest my opinion and its existence on campus. I was not invited to the “inclusive” campus gathering and did not attend. According to The Butler Collegian’s Twitter feed, at least one professor called me a racist, while others questioned my character and one attendee suggested I had “plagiarized the syllabus.”

One student told me about his experience at the ‘teach-in’ without realizing I was the author of the piece in question (I waited until after he told me about his experience to let him know I was the author). The student explained that attendees at the event suggested I would “burn in hell” and “did not deserve to have any friends.” The student said he had attempted to speak out against the personal attacks against me as shameful, but was cut off by a member of the faculty.

Having learned of the planned rally just hours before it began, I decided to head to the gym—I figured it would be the last place I’d find any angry feminist professor.

Eventually the hostility directed at me seemed to subside as final exams fast approached. But as soon as the next semester began, the university continued its response to my article, even as I was off-campus completing a semester in Washington, D.C.

University Officials Double Down

As a response to my article in The College Fix, the university brought back “Founder’s Day.” The Founder’s Day event took place at the on-campus Starbucks and included readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, a speech by Frederick Douglass, and other speeches, according to The Butler Collegian. An associate professor told The Collegian such action was necessary because “the school needs a reminder of its values following the article written by Ryan Lovelace last year for The College Fix.”

But the Founder’s Day event did not conclude Butler’s response to my article. Instead, Butler continued to reward those who openly attacked me and my point of view. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awarded a $1,000 prize to a student who entered the LAS essay contest writing against my work. The contest asked students to respond to the prompt, “Primed to Serve, a Benefit of a Liberal Arts Education,” and the winning student submitted an entry titled, “Bologna and Blogs: A Student’s Journey Towards Actualizing The Purpose of His Higher Education.” In the essay, the student framed the situation surrounding my article as “A professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences came under attack by a student.”

This student’s opinion was hardly new. Butler University’s website housed multiple blog posts by the same student about the situation titled, “Fixing College?” and “Fix College: The Real Problem is the Student.” The College Fix’s editor responded to the Butler University blog posts here.

While the university sponsored, rewarded, hosted and promoted content and programming that viewed my existence and thinking as reprehensible, I decided not to respond fearing retribution. The College Fix defended my article and helped me evaluate the situation, while some professors, students and friends at Butler advocated on behalf of allowing me to continue as a student at Butler. I am grateful for all of the support that I know allowed me to continue pursuing my college degree.Having graduated in May, I now feel comfortable explaining that my article was not written or meant as an ad hominem attack on any course, professor, or syllabus. Instead, my critique was directed at the Liberal Arts experience I encountered at Butler University.

I could have written about many other classes. A Spanish class I took screened a film portraying Che Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary, as a young man who fought to help the sick and impoverished. While the rest of the class did not appear to share my reaction of disgust, I suspect a similar film romanticizing Adolf Hitler’s life as a struggling painter in a German language class would have elicited a stronger reaction against such vile propaganda.

In another class, a professor called me into his office because he was displeased that I submitted a homework assignment that did not share his beliefs and concern for the trees being chopped down in the Amazon. He proceeded to lecture me for half an hour about why the class materials he selected were unbiased.

And I could continue with several other examples, but I chose to highlight the syllabus of a political science class in my article because it was a concrete example of bias in the Liberal Arts curriculum that could not be brushed off as an isolated anecdote or hearsay.

Standing Firm

I had hoped my article would encourage decision-makers on campus to consider the values of “inclusivity” and “diversity” as less about race, sexuality, and identity and more about welcoming contrasting points of view. I hoped Butler would listen to students with differing opinions and present multiple ways of thinking in the classroom without first evaluating students’ ethnicity or socio-economic background. This never happened at Butler. But it happens every day at The College Fix, where students offer opinions and uncover stories that campuses are unwilling, or else unable, to consider and cover.

Despite a few ups and downs, I enjoyed my time at Butler University and will always love being a Bulldog. Ultimately, I benefited from attending Butler—where I learned to speak up for my beliefs, even when those beliefs were unpopular—and I hope others will benefit even more so. I hold out hope that Butler will improve because I know many friends, teachers, and parents who have a vested interest in making Butler a better place to learn.

Ryan Lovelace is a 2014 graduate of Butler University. He was a 2013 College Fix Summer Fellow, and has recently been named the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review Institute.

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INDIANAPOLIS – The dog didn’t eat my homework. The dog was my homework.

During the fall of my senior year at Butler University, I spent two hours each Wednesday walking dogs, petting cats and collecting a college credit.

The “Wagging, Walking and Wellness” course satisfied two core curriculum requirements for me: Physical Well Being and the Indianapolis Community Requirement.

The Physical Well Being requirement of Butler’s core curriculum is a basic PE requirement most students have had throughout grade school and/or high school. While other Butler Bulldogs were sweating through such courses as “Israeli Dancing,” “Buda Kai,” and “Spinning,” I spent my time at a local humane society shelter playing with dogs and cats.

The Physical Well Being page on the university’s website described the Wagging, Walking and Wellness course I took as “designed to foster life-long habits of good health and multidimensional wellness by integrating physical activity, civic awareness, and community service. Emphasis will be on personal and social responsibility for optimal quality of life.”

In order to fulfill this requirement, our class wrote journal entries and a paper, took an online quiz, created a public service announcement or wrote a letter to a public official, and volunteered at the shelter. During our time volunteering we were instructed on how to properly interact with the animals and took turns at various stations.

Cat2Some students would spend most of their time with the cats. There were multiple cat rooms where students could relax with cats that had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, with healthy cats, or cats that needed to “de-stress” and learn to play well with others.

Dogs were taken for walks around the shelter’s grounds, brought out to the kennels to play with tennis balls and chew toys, or petted and fawned over in the puppy room. We picked up their poop, helped mop their urine if they got excited indoors, and fed them doggy treats for being good boys.

Along the way, I only almost let one dog slip away—texting while dog walking is a real hazard, as the humane society reminded our class via email. In this instance, my canine companion managed to momentarily break free when my dog-walking partner attempted to hand me the leash while both of us were texting. The small dog, whose physical appearance strongly resembled Max from the Grinch, sensed his chance at real freedom and made a break for it. I did manage to chase down the dog, mostly because the dog could not get too far on just three legs.

My impeccable service to Indianapolis’ mostly four-legged residents satisfied the Indianapolis Community Requirement I needed to graduate. The university’s website defines the requirement as “a course that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community.”

Butler’s updated list of ICR-approved courses appears to apply this definition quite liberally, including such courses as “The Politics of Alice Walker” and “Occupy the University.”

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the novel, “The Color Purple,” and is well known for her left-wing activism. She gained attention for her remark to Foreign Policy, “I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world [Middle East]. And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.”

The Spring 2013 course listing for “Occupy the University,” explained the course in greater detail saying, “What is the mission of the university? Is it the narrow mission of job training, or profit? Or is it the more complex democratic mission of fostering critical citizenship? With business majors at an all-time high of 22 percent of undergraduates and increasing numbers of administrators (with upwardly mobile salaries) drawn from the business sector, are we witnessing the corporate takeover of academia? With most college grads unemployed or working jobs that do not require a college degree and carrying an average of $25,000 in student loans, does it even make sense to go to college anymore? In the face of expanding class sizes, the adjunctification of the tenure track, austerity measures, and assaults on academic freedom, does it make sense to be a college professor anymore?”

The course listing continues to explain that the course will answer these questions, remain “True to feminist form,” and examine “the ways in which current practices generate and perpetuate privilege and oppression, rather than social justice.”

Wagging, Walking and Wellness does not lecture students about the futility of a college education or the importance of social justice.

The popular class has provided many Butler students with an alternative course that satisfies multiple core curriculum requirements—just for playing fetch.

Ryan Lovelace is a 2014 Graduate of Butler University. He was a 2013 SFPA/College Fix Fellow at The Weekly Standard.

(Images: Dog-Ivan Mlinaric WikimediaCommons / Cat-Ryan Lovelace)

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Butler University has awarded endowed scholarships on the basis of race and gender, The College Fix has learned.

Butler removed the listing of all endowed scholarships, totaling approximately $2.4 million, from the university website before the 2013-2014 school year after inquiry from a parent of a prospective student.

The Scholarships

The “race-conscious” scholarships Butler has offered include scholarships that are only awarded to African-American students, an award limited to “a female student of Hispanic descent,” an award limited to “a woman of Indian descent” (unless Butler cannot find one) and an award that declares, “Preference will be given to Caucasian undergraduates enrolled in the College of Business.” The whites-preferred scholarship was created after the benefactor’s wife died in 2002, according to literature from Butler’s College of Business.

Roger Clegg, president and counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity who worked as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan and Bush administrations and held the second highest position in the Civil Rights Division, said Butler’s status as a private institution does not impact the legality of the scholarships in a state such as Indiana.

“What’s relevant is the federal law,” Clegg said. “And the federal law applies essentially the same way to both public universities and private universities because private universities all get federal money, except for two, which you know [are] Grove City and Hillsdale.”

As a private institution that accepts federal money, Clegg said, Butler is prohibited from racial discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the Supreme Court has ruled is coextensive with the Constitution in banning discrimination.

“If the university is involved, either in funding the scholarship or in choosing the recipient, then I think that you would have a hard time justifying a scholarship that is racially exclusive,” Clegg said.

Melissa Smurdon, the director of the financial aid office, said the advancement office works with donors to create the endowed scholarships.

“It may be as simple as you can say—what college the student is in or, in the case of larger awards, they might be able to say college and another preference—one brown eye and one blue eye or something like that, which can make [it] hard to find the students,” Smurdon said. “Then there are, some of the larger awards, larger endowments or endowed accounts, have a little more leeway on what criteria they establish.”

Smurdon said the financial aid office then administers the aid to students. She said her office awarded scholarships to students of different races based upon students’ answers to an optional question on the admission application.

The Legalese

“Frankly, your messages caught us a little off guard,” wrote Tom Weede, then vice president of enrollment management, in a letter responding to the multiple inquiries from the father of a prospective Butler student, who lives in Northern Virginia with decades of journalism and media experience under his belt.

The father first contacted Butler University’s Office of Financial Aid via email to inquire about the legal and moral reasoning behind the race- and gender-based scholarships in the fall of 2012 and received no response.

The father then sent another message to which Smurdon replied on November 16, 2012, “Your emails have been referred to others on campus who can more adequately address your questions.  Due to university business travel and the upcoming holiday, they may not be able to respond to you for a short time.  We request and appreciate your patience.”

Receiving no explanation during the month after the father’s initial inquiry, he wrote again to Smurdon on December 10, 2012, saying in part, “My son recently commented that if it takes more than a month to explain something, maybe it is something you shouldn’t be doing!”

On January 18, 2013, Weede emailed the father and attached a letter containing an explanation of sorts.

“[A]lthough race-conscious scholarships can be awarded under current law, the circumstances under which they can be awarded are relatively narrow,” Weede wrote after acknowledging Butler had consulted counsel. “Accordingly, sufficient concern exists currently to justify Butler’s re-evaluation of its current race-conscious scholarship offerings. During that process, we will be pulling down those specific scholarships from the University’s website and will discontinue offering them until such time, if ever, we are able to confirm their legitimacy and legality.”

In his letter to the curious father, Weede also wrote that Butler would examine its “gender-based scholarships,” and added that Butler would carefully watch and consider the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case about the affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Texas, as part of its re-evaluation of the endowed scholarships in question.

“I think that they’re [Butler University] to be applauded for doing that because I think these scholarships are illegal, you know particularly the ones that are racially exclusive, and I think that the ones that are not racially exclusive but still racially preferential also raise legal problems,” Clegg said. “And you know the Supreme Court in its Fisher decision said that you’re not supposed to be engaging in racial discrimination unless you conclude that there really is no other way to accomplish whatever end it is that you’re trying to accomplish, except through racial discrimination. So I think that needs to be part of the re-evaluation process too.”

Weede noted that the father’s inquiry represented the first time anyone had questioned the scholarships, and said, “We appreciate not only the manner in which you have communicated with us, but also your efforts to provide an education for your son. You are to be commended.”

Weede left Butler University in December 2013 in order to “pursue other opportunities,” wrote Butler president James Danko in an email, according to The Butler Collegian.

Smurdon said she had “no idea” whether his handling of this situation played a role in Weede’s departure. She also said she did not know why her supervisor left the university, or whether he was asked to leave or chose to leave.

“I don’t know that anyone even if institutional, HR [human resources], or president or anyone knew, I don’t know that they could comment,” Smurdon said. “So, I don’t know.”

Danko did not respond to an interview request for this story, and would not provide comment to The Butler Collegian about Weede’s departure at the time he left the university.

Smurdon told The Collegian in January 2014 that prior to Weede’s departure she would provide status updates to Weede who would then have a regular meeting with the president. After he left, Smurdon had regular meetings with the president, provost and vice president of marketing and communications regarding financial aid and enrollment management.

Smurdon said she never talked about the removed scholarships in her discussions with the president, provost, or vice president of marketing and communications.

Smurdon said the race- and gender-based endowed scholarships questioned by the father are inactive.

She said the inactive scholarships did not disqualify people from consideration for dollars because most of the endowed scholarships are not additional aid. The scholarships are included in an entire financial aid package awarded by the university.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Butler replaced these scholarships with “unfunded dollars,” Smurdon said.

“This is where it’s hard to explain,” Smurdon said. “It’s all one pool. So as I said you didn’t get additional [money] if you got an endowed scholarship. An endowed scholarship helped create the aid package. So if we didn’t have those then the university used unfunded dollars or what’s also known as discount.”

The “unfunded dollars” may appear as a “Butler grant” or a “Butler award” on a student’s financial aid statement, she said.

“It’s discount dollars. It’s not real dollars,” Smurdon said. “It’s saying, just as you described, you’ll pay less because we’re giving you this award.”

Butler’s vice president of finance and administration Bruce Arick declined to comment for this story, including how Butler replaced the funding for the removed endowed scholarships in an email saying, “I believe you have met with Melissa Smurdon on this topic.  I don’t have anything further to add, so we do not need to meet.”

Arick is the signatory on the Form 990 prepared by “BKD LLP” and provided to the IRS titled, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.” The form is used by government agencies to prevent organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status. The signatory certifies “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return, including accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete. Declaration of preparer (other than officer) is based on all information of which preparer has any knowledge.”

On Butler’s 2012 Form 990, under the section labeled “Schools,” “Part I,” question five, part d, asks, “Does the organization discriminate by race in any way with respect to…Scholarships or other financial assistance?” Butler answered, “No.”

When asked whether the answer Butler provided was correct, Smurdon answered, “I don’t know.”

Arick did not return request for comment on Butler’s answer provided on the Form 990.

Butler’s first-ever general counsel, Claire Aigotti, was named to her position in June 2013. She did not return request for comment.

Shari Richey, vice president for advancement since October 2012, did not return request for comment. The advancement office worked with donors to establish the criterion for the endowed scholarships that have since been rendered inactive.

Clegg said it’s not necessarily a good thing for the re-evaluation process to be conducted in public.

“I think that for both public and private universities, if they’re afraid of getting sued—which they should be—they probably want to be circumspect about some of the re-evaluation at least while it’s ongoing,” Clegg said. “But, I mean, obviously once the process is finished, if the criteria for the scholarships has changed, of course that should be announced.

“Sometimes it’s easier for a university to do ISthe right thing, if it can do the right thing quietly because unfortunately sometimes civil rights organizations on the left will put pressure on the university not to award the scholarships on a non-discriminatory basis.”

Stumbling Onto Landmines

The father explained how his son first discovered this matter in an email, saying, “We simply stumbled across the whole thing searching the web, talking father/son…about schools and how people pay for college.”

“[E]ven if an endowed scholarship with a requirement made sense when it was endowed, it may well not be so even a few years later,” the father said. “It’s kinda like [a] landmine laying active after the war ends.”

A self-described libertarian-leaning progressive, the father said he thinks, “[A]ll these decisions should be simply neutral, though I can understand the need for colleges to exercise their judgment as [it] regards admissions and aid. I do, however, resolutely reject the notion that they ought [to] engage in overt discrimination, still worse that they should permit others to do so on their campus.”

Clegg said he thought Butler made the right decision to re-evaluate its discriminatory scholarships.

“I’m glad that Butler has discontinued these scholarships and I’m glad that they are reevaluating them and I hope that they conclude that the scholarships should not be made available on a racially discriminatory way,” Clegg said. “What they should do is not discontinue the scholarships; it’s simply make them available to students without regard to race or ethnicity.”

Ryan Lovelace is a 2014 graduate of Butler University.

(Image: Flickr.a2gemma)

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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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(Image Source: WISH)

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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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IMAGE: Dave Hosford

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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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