Harvard

You’ve heard of the “Greatest Generation?” Contemporary college students may become known as the “Hypersensitive Generation.” (Or, the “Lamest Generation.”)

A new study by Harvard’s Voices of Diversity project discovered that “women and minorities still face prejudice and discrimination,” but usually manifested as “microaggressions.”

But, of course!

Researchers conducted interviews and surveys with students at four colleges and — get this — “students at each school reported instances of discrimination.”

Huff Post College reports:

These are microaggressions — subtle digs and biases — that permeate the culture. They could include something like a man rolling his eyes when a woman speaks, or people not wanting to be in study groups with those of different races.

Students said they also notice that white male students are called on in class more often than other students.

“I have to stop and think sometimes, ‘Are they being racist? Or, is that just how they act? Or, are they just not being friendly because they’re having a bad day?'” Raymond, an African-American respondent, said in the report.

Students often do not want to call people out for microaggressions for fear of losing friends or creating more hostile environments, the report says. Students also don’t always know which institutions at their schools they can report these instances to.

There have been many studies that show this type of everyday discrimination hinders academic performance.

“Can you imagine taking an exam when you’ve got all this turmoil inside?” Caplan said.

The study found that women and minorities are made to feel like they do not belong on the campus — for example, that they only got in thanks to affirmative action. Anthony, an African-American senior at the Ivy university, said he notices “a slight raising of the eyebrows, or eyes following you in the dining hall.”

Women “are made to feel like they do not belong” …? Like, how?  They’ve made up fifty-seven percent of the college population since 2000.

Yet, this is somehow immaterial to study lead author Paula Caplan.

“When you get into one of these high-status universities, and you’re a woman, you are made to feel so lucky to be there,” Caplan said. “But you look around, and guess what? A vast majority of the professors are still men. They’re still white men.”

There’s also a lack of diversity in course materials. Outside of classes about women or different cultures, you’d be hard-pressed to find course materials written by anyone other than white men, respondents in the study said.

“It’s not that there’s anything wrong with what white men say,” Caplan clarified, “but when there’s nothing on the syllabus by anybody who’s in the group you are in — either in race or sex — with that absence, you don’t have role models, you don’t have people who were treated in similar ways.”

Only on an American campus can one feel “out of place” despite being part of the majority — because “someone like you” didn’t author some of your course materials.

The study recommends the establishment of “a mandatory class about the effects of discrimination and stereotyping in its most modern form.”

Why stop there? Why not recommend that there be a proportionate racial/ethnic/gender distribution of faculty, staff, student population and syllabus materials?

Of course, that would mean cutting back on the number of female students on campus. But we all know that would be anathema.

Read the full article.

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As reported by The College Fix this past weekend, Harvard Dining Services had decided to cease doing business with the Israeli company SodaStream.

However, the college’s administration has put a halt to that.

“Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy,” Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber said.

Boston Magazine reports:

That [Harvard Dining Services] decision, which was discovered only yesterday by Garber and university President Drew Faust, after The Crimson published an article online, was out of bounds, according to the administration.

“As President Faust has indicated to members of the Harvard community who have made inquiries, she and I both learned of this issue from today’s Crimson,” Garber said in a statement. “She has asked staff to get to the bottom of how these conversations started, and to learn more about where matters currently stand.”

HUDS backtracked their decision, which was based on input from members of Palestinian student groups, and admitted their mistake.

“We value and regularly seek input on a wide range of issues from members of the community who use HUDS facilities. In this instance, we mistakenly factored political concerns raised by students on a particularly sensitive issue into a decision on soda machines,” said Crista Martin, a spokesperson from HUDS, in a statement sent to Boston. “As the President and Provost have made clear, our procurement decisions should not be driven by community members’ views on matters of political controversy.”

Read the full article.

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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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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.

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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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