College Fix Staff

UPDATED

University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is set to meet with a contingent of Muslim students and others who are upset the coach tweeted his support of showing “American Sniper” on campus and declared he was proud of veteran Chris Kyle.

The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, has been described as a “private dialogue” in an email to The College Fix by campus spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

When news of the meeting first spread to the campus community at large Tuesday morning via an email to several Middle Eastern, North African, Muslim and South Asian student groups, it was relayed that student organizers expected the coach to say he was sorry for offending them.

“In light of the American Sniper screening, several students requested a private meeting with football coach Jim Harbaugh in regards to his insensitive tweet,” stated the email, a copy of which was obtained by The College FixHarbaugh Tweet 2

“Vice President Royster has met this request and scheduled a meeting in which Coach Jim Harbaugh will be issuing a private apology,” student Lamees Mekkaoui, a leader of the campus organization Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, stated in the email. “I would really love to have anyone falling into these identities who felt impacted by Coach Harbaugh’s tweets present for support, especially because this meeting was requested by students.”

A few hours after Mekkaoui sent the email, it was retracted and replaced with a different message.

“I would like to make a correction in my email,” her second email stated. “I made the mistake of assuming that an apology would be issued. However, Coach Jim Harbaugh was simply invited to a private meeting with us in order to talk about the screening of American Sniper and get a dialogue going about how a university leader’s social media can impact campus climate. I take full responsibility for this assumption and I am very sorry for any confusion I may have caused.”

Those emailed the invitation include members of  Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, as well as Muslim, Hindu, Persian, Malaysian, Lebanese, Pakistani and Arab students.

Fitzgerald told The College Fix via email that “Coach Jim Harbaugh agreed to meet with U-M students only to hear their concerns.”

“This private dialogue was scheduled several weeks ago,” Fitzgerald added. “The student organizer mischaracterized the purpose of the meeting in her email to other students. Our understanding is that the student has sent a clarifying email. There will be no apology [from Harbaugh].”

On April 8, Harbaugh tweeted: “Michigan Football will watch ‘American Sniper’! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!” He sent it the same day news broke that the university canceled a screening of the film because it made some Muslim students on campus “feel unsafe.”

Harbaugh’s tweet, which has since been retweeted 32,000 times and favorited 38,000 times, has been credited by some for administrators’ decision to reschedule the movie. Officials reversed the call to cancel the film just hours after Harbaugh’s tweet, describing the original decision to ax it “a mistake.”

The blockbuster – the highest grossing film of 2014 – was eventually shown on campus at its original time and location, packed the multipurpose room, and garnered applause as credits rolled.

But apparently the controversy has not died down.

“Muslim students have almost categorically lost respect for Harbaugh after that tweet,” a Muslim student at the University of Michigan told The College Fix. The student asked to remain anonymous.

“The activists are always lobbying the administration for things like this, but in this case I have a feeling the administration is pulling Harbaugh’s hand,” the student said. “They don’t want the football program attracting controversy, I bet.”

Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to reflect the full scope of those invited to the meeting.

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RELATED: Protest, tension at University of Maryland’s ‘American Sniper’ screening

RELATED: ‘American Sniper’ screening prompts outrage, controversy at UCLA

OPINION

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger made a big wager three years ago: The school could safely “invest” $30 million in developing and hiring faculty whose only qualification was they weren’t white men.

As Roger Clegg wrote at Minding the Campus at the time, Bollinger’s move was arguably illegal: The Supreme Court’s college affirmative-action decision that bears Bollinger’s name only applied to students, not faculty, who fall under an unexamined part of the Civil Rights Act.

Prezbo (as we affectionately call him) recently reiterated what we all suspected: The Ivy League school’s commitment to “diversity” only runs skin-deep.

In a mass email to the Columbia community three weeks ago, Prezbo doubled down on the diversity investment, promising another $33 million for “recruitment, support, and related programs” to fill its professorial and Ph.D. ranks with the right people.

The new money goes toward not just those with the correct melanin levels and chromosomal makeup. Guess who’s the new favored identity group?

Bollinger explains what he’s after further down the email – expanding the diversity of the “Ph.D. pipeline,” or the range of candidates pursuing doctorates in various programs. (The term is also the name of an “underrepresented” minority-focused program run out of Duke University’s business school.)

“New initiatives to be launched include supporting faculty recruitments for LGBTQ scholarship and convening conferences that facilitate and give prominence to issues of race, gender, and sexuality,” Prezbo wrote.

That’s right – you need the correct sexual orientation and gender identity to be worthy of Columbia’s interest now.

“Diversity” means that people who were born heterosexual will have to fight and claw for a stagnant pool of funding.

While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with granting a professorship to anyone for any reason that wouldn’t compromise one’s ability to teach, it could be argued that something is wrong with seeking out a specific demographic entirely for the purposes of boosting one’s own “diversity” quota.

The focus of diversity is not placed on that of ideological, political or religious identifications – things that people choose – but rather on the completely immaterial circumstances of one’s biology.

Is it any more satisfying to suspect you got into Columbia because of who you love, rather than what you look like?

Clearly Columbia’s means don’t match its lofty ends. Bollinger writes:

Our long-term goal has been, and remains, to achieve the critical mass of faculty needed to establish Columbia as a national leader and world center of the greatest scholarship and teaching that can only arise out of a diverse academic community.

Yet the real goal of this initiative seems to be winning hearts and minds superficially, accomplishing “diversity” quickly with something obvious and external.

If Columbia wants to create diversity that intellectually challenges the core assumptions in its student body, it should hire more conservative and libertarian professors in the humanities.

I still hold out hope that, at an institution as intellectually sound and honest as Columbia, the skin-deep “diversity” of our president – himself a champion and scholar of First Amendment rights – will one day sink a little deeper.

The contributor is a student at Columbia University.

Related articleColumbia U Will Practice Discriminatory Hiring

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Law professor Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University wrote a column critical of Islam back in January, sparking a protest against her on campus accusing her of hate speech.

But that has not stopped the scholar, who describes herself as a Republican and Christian, from continuing to speak out on all the pressing issues facing this nation.

In her latest post, she calls it like she sees it regarding the mayhem in Baltimore in a piece headlined: “Stop Making Excuses! Black Protesters Need Discipline, Not Destructive Carte Blanche.”

It states in part:

Giving people space to destroy is an idiotic solution to urban unrest. What these protesting groups need is space to create constructive solutions to societal problems. We must refrain from making excuses for black violence and mayhem, which only enables the harebrained. The foolishness we witnessed during urban protests in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other cities will cease when authorities impose severe penalties on those who take opportunistic advantage of community tragedies. …

If black Americans are to be truly equal, they must be held to the same standards imposed on other groups reacting to similar situations. To this end, violence and vandalism are never acceptable forms of protest in a civilized society. I’m just saying. . .I am sick and tired of this foolishness and what I see as a regression in black America.

Read the full post.

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The Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware is considered the pinnacle of education institutions in the First State.

Some of TH’s notable alumni include TV’s Dr. (Mehmet) Oz, Mike Castle (former Delaware governor and US representative), current US Senator Chris Coons, and law professor Orin Kerr.

The former headmaster of the school, Christopher D. Wheeler, was arrested in 2013 after law enforcement discovered over 2,000 images of child pornography on his computer. This occurred during an investigation regarding alleged sexual abuse of his adopted son. (The abuse charges were found to be without merit.)

Yesterday, he was sentenced to fifty years for the crime.

The News Journal reports:

Wheeler’s sentencing and guilty verdict, which his lawyer plans to appeal, culminated an 18-month investigation that shook the elite private school in west Wilmington.

The sentence was handed down Friday morning by Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis, who had pronounced Wheeler guilty in December.

Prosecutor Abigail Layton revealed the plea bargain offer that Wheeler turned down after the verdict. She said Wheeler would faced the statutory two to 25 years in prison on each of the two counts, with only a minimum of four years behind bars.

Wheeler instead opted for a non-jury trial,which Davis held in September. It lasted only one day, with only the lead state police detective testifying, and ended with separate closing arguments in November.

Wheeler’s attorney, Thomas A. Foley, has said he plans to appeal the verdict. Wheeler has been held in prison since his November 2013 arrest.

Davis rejected Foley’s argument that Delaware law, which requires two years behind bars on each county was “obscene, outrageous.”

Said the judge: “This is a very serious crime. This is the abuse of a child.”

Though never charged with sexual abuse, The News Journal notes that court documents show Wheeler had responded to such an accusation from one of his past accusers (from the late 1970s) thusly: “I did do those things. I am one responsible.”

Read the full article.

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IMAGE: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

‘Stand for free speech or don’t. But do not say one thing and do another.’

USC recently removed pro-life banners showing fetuses in utero from several lightposts on campus. The banners had been hung Tuesday morning, and were taken down Tuesday afternoon, with campus officials calling the initial installation an “error.”

“The banners did not identify an academic event but instead advertised the services of an external organization,” which runs afoul of university policy, officials stated. And yet students did not buy that explanation, as they have seen other banners promoting other causes hung from their campus lightposts as well.

The pro-life community at USC has since expressed heartache over the decision, and many of their peers – even those who are not card-carrying members of USC Students for Life – are on their side. USCPOSTER

One such student is Remaya Campbell, a freshman who has written an open letter to administrators about their recent decision. Campbell, who is involved in many campus groups – the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, the Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, the Daily Trojan, Thematic Option, the Trojan Scholar Society – tells The College Fix “this issue is particularly relevant to me as a freshman Film Production major in the School of Cinematic Arts-a famously liberal environment.”

“Having only just arrived at USC some eight months ago, I find this incident of selective censorship and others I’ve witnessed on campus to be particularly disheartening,” she said.

Here is her letter:

University of Southern California,

I would like to preface this letter by stating that this is neither a personal attack on you or on the administration responsible for the “error” involved with the removal of USC Students for Life’s pro-life themed banners. However, as I’m sure you know, many students from the conservative USC community feel as though the removal of their message is a personal attack on their freedom of expression.

I’m well aware that you have been presented with this issue prior to my composing this message, however I do feel it is my duty and right as a USC student protected under the Constitution of the United States to speak my humble piece.

USC is pointedly vocal about its support of students’ right to free expression, and yet the university’s actions regarding the pro-life banners speaks strictly to the contrary. While there are legal grounds for the removal of the banners based on the university’s policy not to display banners unassociated with a specific campus event, the selective enforcement of this dormant rule would point to a major shortcoming in ethical principle.

I am not asking why the banners were removed—that has already been put in writing. I am asking why, of all the banners, were those that express a conservative viewpoint targeted? I do not expect an answer, but if you could provide feasible reasoning, I would be pleasantly surprised.

So let’s move beyond the façade of “policy” and address the veiled issue at hand: USC Students for Life, and anyone associated with their political and/or moral views—feel personally attacked, and that is a problem no refund can repair.

I live on a campus where conservative views are kept in secret, having been deemed unfit for the public eye and ear. For a campus that prides itself on being “a diverse community based on the free exchange of ideas,” I am feeling curiously stifled—and I’m relatively moderate.

Is it of any concern to you that I feel uncomfortable speaking what I believe aloud? USC places great value upon its name, but does this university value its name over the rights of its students? No matter what eloquent statement is released to the media over this controversy, actions will always speak louder than words.

I understand that your hands are tied; that’s the nature of a “neutral” institution caught between the passions of two extremes. But understand that the removal of those banners was and is unacceptable. Whether or not the banners are replaced, I ask only this: Stand for free speech or don’t. But do not say one thing and do another. That is a trick for the politicians, not the academics. As a university, we can do better.

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If you’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or a “direct descendant” of one, you qualify for free tuition at the University of Minnesota-Morris, one of two schools in the country with such a provision for American Indians.

That’s proving problematic for the school, whose tuition-free tribal population has doubled in the past decade to more than 17 percent and is “expected to grow,” Minnesota Daily reports:

“It’s unusual for families to be able to find a college where Native culture is reflected as much,” said Sandy Olson-Loy, Morris’ vice chancellor for student affairs. “Especially sitting on a campus site that was home to an American Indian boarding school, which really tried to wipe out American Indian culture.”

Federal officials have offered a proposal in the House to “reimburse schools’ tuition waivers for out-of-state Native American students,” who are about a quarter of the tribal population at Morris.

One student getting free tuition says the school isn’t advertising the program enough:

Trey Goodsell, an environmental studies sophomore, is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, whose reservation lies on land in both North Dakota and South Dakota. He said by not paying tuition, he’s avoiding debt after college.

Goodsell is also the co-chair of Morris’ Circle of Nations Indigenous Association. He said the group wants to educate more students about the tuition waiver, which has recently generated a lot of discussion among current and prospective students.

Read the story.

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