Here we go again: Those dastardly “microaggressions” are a big concern, this time (again) at Harvard.

Harvard University Dining Services will stop purchasing water machines from the company SodaStream … because it is Israeli.

After all, the school cannot subject students of Palestinian background to possible microaggressions, right?

National Review Online reports:

“These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights,” Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, sophomore and member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, told the Harvard Crimson.

In the meantime, the school will also be removing the “SodaStream” stickers from any of the existing water machines, just to make sure no student has to see one and have a traumatic experience or something.

Currently, the SodaStream’s main factory is located in the West Bank, territory Israel and the Palestinian Authority have long fought over. In October, however, the company announced that it would be moving the factory out of the contested area and into southern Israel.

But apparently that’s not enough — these water fountains are still just too offensive to remain on campus.

The university took this firm and decisive action after the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society complained.

Read the full article.

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IMAGE: Mr.TinDC/Flickr

Harvard’s Cass Sunstein has put forth a paper about “partyism” — the notion that there is “a form of hostility and prejudice that operates across political lines” … much like racism or other “-isms,” but actually more powerful in ways.

The most head-scratching aspect of this new definition is to be found in the paper’s abstract, in which Sunstein posits that Republicans’ infection of “partyism” would lead them to “discriminate against them [Democrats] in hiring or promotion decisions, or in imposing punishment”:

“Partyism” is a form of hostility and prejudice that operates across political lines. For example, some Republicans have an immediate aversive reaction to Democrats, so much so that they would discriminate against them in hiring or promotion decisions, or in imposing punishment. If elected officials suffer from partyism – perhaps because their constituents do – they will devalue proposals from the opposing party and refuse to enter into agreements with its members, even if their independent assessment, freed from partyism, would be favorably disposed toward those proposals or agreements. In the United States, partyism has been rapidly growing, and it is quite pronounced – in some ways, more so than racism. It also has a series of adverse effects on governance itself, above all by making it difficult to enact desirable legislation and thus disrupting the system of separation of powers.

The paper itself uses as examples decision-making regarding academic scholarships and college admissions.

When test subjects (“partisans with strong party affiliation”) were aware of the party affiliation of college applicants, only forty-four percent selected the (academically) stronger applicant. This, compared to seventy-nine percent who selected the stronger candidate when the party of the applicant was not known.

But this begs the question: Who controls academia? Does Sunstein really believe it’s Republicans? On what planet?

In addition, the abstract and paper seem to utilize the concept of “partyism” as an excuse for greater executive branch power — that is, because of the GOP’s “excessive partyism,” President Obama using executive power supposedly has “considerable appeal as ways of allowing significant social problems to be addressed.”

Read the full paper.

h/t to Instapundit.

IMAGE: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

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In case you missed it, there’s a story on Boston.com today that tells the tale of one Harvard professor and the level of douchebaggery he went to to haggle a mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant over a $4 overcharge, an overcharge that by all accounts was an honest mistake by the restaurant.

A flurry of emails, notices to legal agencies, threats and demands for payment plus compensatory damages – over $4 dollars. You have to read the emails to believe them, but suffice it to say, this professor does no favors to Harvard University’s reputation of pomposity.

As Boston.com puts it, “If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a Harvard Business School professor thinks a family-run Chinese restaurant screwed him out of $4, you’re about to find out … ”

Read the article.

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Harvard law students who are too “traumatized” to take their final exams on time aren’t getting full sympathy from the dean of students, the Daily Caller reports.

Ellen Cosgrove wrote back to the students who demanded the school let them “reschedule their exams in good faith and at their own discretion between the period of December 20th and January 15th” because of their mental state following the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

It boils down to, we’ll do anything but reschedule exams.

Cosgrove told student activists:

  • The law school will provide “a space for reflection and support” during exams
  • A specialist will “lead a discussion on how best to concentrate on exams when you are experiencing strong emotions that interfere with your ability to focus”
  • Students can get one-on-one counseling from the university’s counseling services and the campus chaplains (don’t worry, “they do not proselytize”)
  • They can come to Cosgrove’s office to “discuss ways we can support your specific needs during the exam period”

Students were pissed at Cosgrove’s blowoff:

Based on the gravity of this event, we believe a process other than asking individual students to go through the time­-consuming and incredibly stressful process of explaining their individual trauma [should be implemented]. Unless you act now, you will allow the systematic under performance of a great many students of color and allies on this campus on their exams.

Students of color at Georgetown’s law school made similar demands, using the “I can’t breathe” rallying cry from the Eric Garner protests. No word from that school on how it will respond, the Daily Caller said.

This follows on Columbia Law School’s caving in to students demanding postponed exams, and the law school’s student senate offering to get students out of the traumatic task of making the requests themselves.

Read the Daily Caller story.

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It started with Jews in the 1920s and it continues with Asian-American students today, according to a lawsuit filed against Harvard for its admissions policies.

The Project on Fair Representation filed lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, it said Monday.

Both claim the schools are in “blatant failure to comply with recent Supreme Court directives with regard to race preferences” and “are emblematic of the behavior of the vast majority of competitive colleges throughout the country.”

The Harvard suit says it’s “strictly limiting” the number of Asian-American students it admits each year and “engaging in racial balancing year after year.” The UNC suit says that like Harvard, the school is “not in compliance with the new Fisher strict scrutiny requirements” and that UNC itself has admitted in a court filing it can increase racial diversity through race-neutral means.

The plaintiffs are members of a new nonprofit, Students for Fair Admissions, which is reaching out to students who believe they were unjustly “rejected from a competitive university” in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and federal civil rights laws.

The project’s director, Edward Blum, said in the press release that the two suits “are the first of what are expected to be several similar challenges to other competitive colleges that continue to unconstitutionally use racial preferences in admission decisions.”

Harvard has an ugly history of capping certain groups who would otherwise be admitted, the release said:

The “Harvard Plan” itself—and the concept of an admissions system based on a “holistic” review of applicants instead of admission based on academic accomplishment—was formulated for the specific purpose of discriminating against Jews. Harvard’s “holistic review” today is primarily a similar tool to limit the number of Asian Americans it admits each year.

Read the release.

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It’s not just so-called survivors who are speaking out by name about their alleged assaults – it’s those accused of assault.

Former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt, now a Harvard law student, shared his story about how an “informal complaint” by an ex-girlfriend “nearly ruined” his life, in the Boston Globe – and why Harvard’s new policy (blasted by its own law faculty) is so dangerous:

[Yale’s then-newly-created University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct] summoned me to appear and styled the meeting as a form of mediation. Its chairman, a professor with no prior experience handling dispute resolution, told me that I could have a faculty adviser present but no lawyer, and instructed me to avoid my accuser, who, by that point, I had neither seen nor spoken to in weeks. The committee imposed an “expectation of confidentiality” on me so as to prevent any form of “retaliation” against my accuser.

I would say more about what the accusation itself entailed if indeed I had such information. Under the informal complaint process, specific accusations are not disclosed to the accused, no fact-finding takes place, and no record is taken of the alleged misconduct. For the committee to issue an informal complaint, an accuser need only bring an accusation that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct. The informal “process” begins and ends at the point of accusation; the truth of the claim is immaterial.

He goes on to state that Yale pretty much lied to him about the consequences of this “informal complaint” – Witt’s post-graduation job offer was rescinded and his potential Rhodes Scholarship became untenable following an “anonymous tip”:

I cannot begin to describe how exasperatingly difficult it has been to try to explain to people what an informal complaint is and how there was never any evidence — nor any effort made to discover evidence — to substantiate the claim made by my accuser. My summer employer and the NFL certainly couldn’t understand it, and the media flat out didn’t care — the words “informal complaint” were all that was needed to establish my guilt in their eyes.

Read his full Globe op-ed.

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