Fix Features

political correctness

Yes, intelligence tests like the SAT and the IQ test really do measure something substantial and consequential, argue David Z. Hambrick and Christopher Chabris in a new article for Slate.

The SAT does predict success in college—not perfectly, but relatively well, especially given that it takes just a few hours to administer. And, unlike a “complex portrait” of a student’s life, it can be scored in an objective way. (In a recent New York Times op-ed, the University of New Hampshire psychologist John D. Mayer aptly described the SAT’s validity as an “astonishing achievement.”) In a study published in Psychological Science, University of Minnesota researchers Paul Sackett, Nathan Kuncel, and their colleagues investigated the relationship between SAT scores and college grades in a very large sample: nearly 150,000 students from 110 colleges and universities. SAT scores predicted first-year college GPA about as well as high school grades did, and the best prediction was achieved by considering both factors. Botstein, Boylan, and Kolbert are either unaware of this directly relevant, easily accessible, and widely disseminated empirical evidence, or they have decided to ignore it and base their claims on intuition and anecdote—or perhaps on their beliefs about the way the world should be rather than the way it is…

Read the full story.

What do you think? Are intelligence tests unfairly criticized for reasons of political correctness? Or are some of the common criticisms justified?

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A college student in Canada recently apologized for forwarding an email that included a short, fake video of President Barack Obama angrily kicking open a door after a press conference.

The spoof, which first appeared several years ago on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has since gone viral, was included as a .GIF image in a weekly email McGill University student Brian Farnan, vice president for internal affairs for the school’s students society, sent around to his peers in the fall.

According to Farnan, the .GIF image “was intended to bring a humorous tone to the email and use President Obama’s frustration with the press conference in question to mimic the frustration students feel when confronted with midterm examinations.”

But the joke caught the ire of the campus leaders, who launched an investigation, reports William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection.

“That got him in trouble with the thought police, who filed a complaint against him with SSMU’s Equity Committee, which enforces an expansive Equity Policy banning a broad range of supposedly ‘oppressive’ conduct,” Jacobson reports. “Although the SSMU process does not appear to be public, we do know the end result, Farnan issued a public apology for engaging in microaggression.”

“Despite the innocent intentions influencing my decision to use this particular image, I have come to recognize the negative implications of adding the .GIF image within this given context,” Farnan wrote in a Jan. 27 public mea culpa.

Jacobson argues the Equity Committee at McGill University, a public research institution in Montreal, is akin to “speech codes at many U.S. universities, where what matters is the subjective offense of the complainant.”

Watch the original Tonight Show spoof:


h/t: Legal Insurrection

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What’s scarier than Obama’s vision of unlimited government power? How about a Halloween mask with his face on it?

Apparently, that’s the conclusion the Jennie Stuart medical center in Kentucky reached. After an employee came to an office costume party dressed up as the president, complete with a mask bearing the commander in chief’s likeness, the company apparently decided that this was–you guessed it–RACIST!!!

Fox News reports that they sent the entire company, all 750 employees, to diversity training!

Did you know that we have a president who is off-limits for even the mildest forms of mockery such as a Halloween costume might entail?

Excuse me, but I’m pretty sure people have been wearing masks of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for decades. No one ever seemed concerned about this. I don’t think any company ever went into panic mode and ordered hundreds of employees into diversity training.

Now, because it’s Obama, wearing a Halloween mask depicting the president is racist?

Unless there’s some element to this story that I’m not getting, there’s nothing remotely racist about it. Instead, it seems we are witnessing yet another example of the stiffing political correctness that characterizes our present age.

Of course, this all has to do with the taboo on “blackface” performance. Prominent in the early twentieth century, in a typical “blackface” performance, white stage performers would paint their faces and mock blacks with unflattering skits and musical sketches, mocking their physical appearance or demeaning blacks’ intelligence. Something like that–we can agree it’s racist and worthy of scorn. But that’s a mile away from wearing a Halloween mask with the face of the president of the United States on it.

You see, when you agree to become the President of the United States of America, leader of the free world, etc, you are implicitly agreeing to become the target of a great deal of criticism, scorn, and–yes–mockery. I don’t know whether the guy who wore the mask at his company party loves or hates Obama, but either way–the idea that no one can wear a mask of the president to a costume party in this country without drawing out legions of racial grievance police is, in a word, ridiculous.

The president, whatever his skin color may be, is a public figure. In fact, he’s the most public of all public figures. As such, wearing a Halloween mask with his face on it ought to be a right of free speech. In this context, it also ought to be seen as evidence that he is being treated–for better or worse–just like white presidents have been treated. That’s the very definition of equality.

What could be more non-racist than that?

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook. / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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Ohio State president Gordon Gee left his position abruptly this week, after controversy mounted over a joke he made, referring to rival university Notre Dame as, “those damn Catholics.”

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State president Gordon Gee abruptly announced his retirement Tuesday after he came under fire for jokingly referring to “those damn Catholics” at Notre Dame and poking fun at the academic quality of other schools.

Ohio State called his words unacceptable and said it had placed Gee on a “remediation plan” to change his behavior.

Gee, 69, said in a teleconference that the furor was only part of his decision to retire, which he said he had been considering for a while. He said his age and the start of a long-term planning process at the university were also factors.

“I live in turbulent times and I’ve had a lot of headwinds, and so almost every occasion, I have just moved on,” he said. Gee explained away the abrupt timing by saying he was “quirky as hell” and hated long transitions.

He also said he didn’t regret the way he conducted himself as a higher education leader.

“I have regrets when I have said things that I shouldn’t have said, but I have no regrets about having a sense of humor and having a thick skin and enjoying life,” Gee said.

According to a recording of a Dec. 5 meeting obtained by the AP under a public records request, Gee, a Mormon, said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten athletic conference because “you just can’t trust those damn Catholics.”

 


What do you think? Was this a legitimate controversy, or just another case of political correctness run amok?

Read the full story at ESPN.com

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If you are looking for a good laugh when it comes to campus news, check out The Daily Caller’s inaugural “College Stupidity Awards” – which chronicles “the 20 stupidest, most outrageous and most cringe-worthy campus moments of  2012-13.”

The awards run the gamut, from “Dartmouth College: Most likely to let the terrorists win” and “George Washington University: Most prone to commit crimes against soda,  Catholics, U.S. News and World Report, and Mount Rushmore” to “Columbia University: Most demented, homicidal faculty” and “Northwestern University: Most delicious multicultural blowback, con queso.”

Many of the stories the list highlights have been broached here, among the 2012-13 annals of The College Fix, but the article summarizes them in a clever, lighthearted way, allowing us to laugh and shake our heads at the absurdity of it all.

We should note, the article was penned by former College Fix editor Robby Soave, so hey – he knows what he’s talking about.

Check it out by clicking here.

Click here to Like The College Fix on Facebook /  Twitter: @CollegeFix

IMAGE: Courtesy of The Daily Caller

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At Northwestern University over the weekend, a few students tried to organize a party with a “Spirit Animals” theme: “Come celebrate spring quarter with NBN this Saturday at our annual spring party! Theme: Spirit Animals. Everyone has a kindred spirit animal , so come sport your cat ears, wings, and unicorn horns with us.”

But, wouldn’t you know it, someone got offended.

Someone posted a complaint on the group’s Facebook page:

“Ack, please don’t make this the theme. It’s culturally appropriative and could cause some trouble.”

Immediately, the group caved and cancelled the “spirit animal” theme. That’s the kind of almighty instantaneous power that the ultra-PC crowd holds on college campuses.

And just in case you’re wondering what “culturally appropriative” means in the first place–it means, basically, that it’s not politically correct for white kids to “appropriate” the images, ideas, words, or themes of a favored minority group–in this case, presumably, Native Americans. Not even for an innocent and celebratory purpose.

That’s what happens when political correctness takes hold.

Our campuses today are overrun by PC-police who tell others what the can and cannot say, do, or think. “Cultural sensitivity” becomes a big bludgeon to squash the free speech rights of others, and to turn innocent, insignificant ideas into thought crimes.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Facebook /  Twitter:@NathanHarden

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