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The “Old South Ball,” sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Louisiana State University, won’t take place at an old plantation this year due to concerns that it is racially insensitive.

This, according to the frat’s national chapter.

The ball is the frat’s spring formal event where attendees dress up in costumes like those worn in the film Gone with the Wind.

This, some members of the university believe, is offensive.

Tiger TV reports:

“Just going back to a plantation and wearing the clothing of their supposive [sic] ancestors but it’s not a time that was great for everyone,” said [Vice President of Black Student Union Brent] Chapuis.

When contacted, [KA national assistant executive director Jesse] Lyons said less than half of the KA chapters in the nation call their spring formal social events “Old South.” He also said the event does not support the theme of “Partying like its 1865.” He explained that the themed events began after set costumes were left over from the movie “Gone with the Wind.”

Another African American student named Willie Jones went to the fraternity house in person to ask questions about the event.
“I just feel like the Old South Ball is something that’s racially insensitive and if you can’t celebrate something without offending a group of people or minority then you shouldn’t be doing that at all,” Jones said.

Lyons noted that Kappa Alpha is “expected to follow the fraternity by-laws” which include prohibitions on displays of the Confederate flag and uniforms.

Read the full article.

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Have you ever been required to attend a “white privilege” seminar/workshop, or one of its colorfully dubbed siblings like “Courageous Conversations” or “Difficult Dialogues”?

Have you ever wondered just what the very purpose of the whole thing was … and why you had to sit through the vacuous nonsense?

John McWhorter, writing in The Daily Beast this past week, asks “When students are compelled to have ‘White Privilege 101′ classes, we have every right to ask: Why, and for whose benefit?”

To anyone other than a perpetually aggrieved “studies” major, usually the answers are “I have no idea” and “radical progressives.’ ”

To wit:

“This is messy work, but these conversations are necessary,” says Sandra Chapman, director of diversity and community at Little Red School House in New York City. OK—but why? Note that the answer cannot be, “So that whites will understand that they are the privileged … etc.” That makes as much sense as saying “Because!” So I’m going to dare to ask a simple question: What exactly are we trying to achieve with this particular lesson?

McWhorter goes on to note how many progressives complain constantly that “we need conversations on race” (see: Eric Holder, for one), and rightly points out the following:

The fact that this conversation doesn’t lead to all whites bowing down to all black complaints, an outcome tacitly desired by a certain cadre of academics and journalists, does not disqualify it as a conversation.

Emphasis mine. Indeed, that “certain cadre” doesn’t want a real conversation. It wants only what McWhorter says — to give a lecture … and then a capitulation by the target audience.

But if you’re weary of being a punching bag by members of the perpetually aggrieved, you may have a remedy.

Consider: Recently, the president of the University of Oklahoma expelled several members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity due to a video depicting a disgusting racist chant. One of  UO President David Boren’s rationales for the swift action was that the video created a “hostile educational environment.”

This, even though the video was never intended to be viewed by the general public.

But even if it was, say, uploaded to YouTube, since anyone can choose to ignore the moronic recording, the charge of “hostile educational environment” remains specious.

“White privilege” seminars (and their equivalents), on the other hand, are typically a mandate — in an educational or employment setting. Meaning, you know, one just cannot choose to refuse to show up and/or exit when things get farcical.

Former Department of Education attorney Hans Bader says you don’t have to sit there and be racial quarry merely because you’re the wrong hue. And if someone insists you do, you have a legal remedy:

If [the Pacific Educational Group’s Glenn] Singleton inflicts his racist insults on a captive audience of teachers at a training seminar, they may well have a Section 1981 or Section 1983 claim against him for racial harassment. As cases such as Markham v. White (1999) and Ascolese v. SEPTA (1996) show, the amount of repeated abuse required for a hostile training environment claim by a public employee is much lower than for a hostile work environment claim, where isolated racist remarks are not actionable.

Moreover, he may be subject to individual liability for aiding and abetting discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1981. Contrary to Singleton’s racist belief, racism is not a white monopoly, as the federal appeals courts have recognized in holding institutions liable for harassing or mistreating their white employees. See, e.g., Bowen v. Missouri Department of Social Services (2002) (racial harassment of white employee by black co-worker); Taxman v. Board of Education (1996) (school board liable for termination of white teacher).

Arlington County and Singleton should keep in mind that “diversity” training seminars that denigrate people based on their race or gender can give rise to successful harassment lawsuits, such as Hartman v. Pena (1995), which allowed a white male to sue for sexual harassment over an insulting gender-awareness seminar, and Robinson v. Reed (1978), which allowed a woman to sue for invasive questions in a race-relations seminar.

Of course, being who the perpetually aggrieved are, they might try to counter such a legal caution with something out of this playbook since the very concept of the law applying equally to everyone is often anathema to them.

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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Two students at Ryerson University in Toronto were told they could not attend a meeting of the school’s Racialized Students’ Collective because they weren’t … “racialized.”

Trevor Hewitt and Julia Knope were informed that, “because they were not victims of racialization,” they weren’t permitted to remain in order to report on the event for an assignment.

The Ryersonian reports:

“It felt really bad… kind of embarrassing,” Knope said. “If their goal in these meetings was to end racialization then it needs to be something everybody is involved in. If some people are causing the problems, they need to know. Grouping yourself off… is not going to accomplish anything.”

The Racialized Students’ Collective is part of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). Its website states that the group “oppose(s) all forms of racism and work towards community wellness for students,” that they focus on “building an anti-racist network” and “fostering an anti-racist environment through campus-wide services, campaigns and events.”

Knope said while she understands they are a support group for each other and don’t want others there, she doesn’t understand why the events are then listed as public and as an RSU campaign.

“It seemed really ironic to me that the meeting was about racialization and they were prohibiting certain people from entering,” she said.

RSU coordinator Vajdaan Tanveer told The Ryersonian that the Racialized Students’ Collective just wanted “a safe space on campus” where they could talk “openly.”

He also confirmed that Hewitt and Knope were denied attendance merely because of the color of their skin … somehow missing the irony he was referring to an organization dedicated to anti-racism.

Read the full story.

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Just chalk up William & Mary as yet another college establishing a task force to “examine” race on its campus.

President Taylor Reveley wrote in an email addressed to students that “The task force will identify issues related to race relations on campus, engage them on their merits, and encourage meaningful conversation among people with different perspectives, so we can learn from one another and ensure we are a university where everyone is welcome and respected.”

Specific details are lacking, however, according to The Virginia Informer:

Other than this brief statement, the administration has been slow to respond to any questions regarding the Task Force.

Despite the lack of details yet to be announced, students interviewed by the Informer responded positively to the Task Force. Some hope that the Task Force will help educate the community to be more aware of racial insensitivity.

“Oftentimes, acts of racism aren’t understood as racist by the people performing such acts. People can be ‘good’ people but still perpetuate and be racist,” said Pallavi Rudraraju, member of Lambda Alliance and the Asian American Student Initiative, “I think the task force will be great in educating people on racism and how to avoid being racist.”

Oh, I’m sure it will be “great,” Pallavi — for those who like to find “racism” in every campus nook and cranny.

William & Mary NAACP co-president Alexis Foxworth said “I think it is a necessary step to move forward and a forum where all voices, even maverick voices, can be honored and inclusion manifested.”

Unfortunately, history has shown that real “maverick voices” on matters of race at colleges are not permitted.

When you hear terms like “real conversations” and “difficult (racial) topics,” they typically refer to stuff like this.

In other words: One side talks, the other side listens … and accepts.

Read the full Virginia Informer article.

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Two members of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Pete Kirsanow and Gail Heriot, have written to congressional leaders urging them to reject the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights proposed thirty-one percent budget increase.

In their letter, Kirsanow and Heriot note that they “have noticed a disturbing pattern of disregard for the rule of law at OCR,” and “[t]hat office has all-too-often been willing to define perfectly legal conduct as unlawful.”

Though OCR may claim to be under-funded, its resources are stretched thin largely because it has so often chosen to address violations it has made up out of thin air. Increasing OCR’s budget would in effect reward the agency for frequently over- stepping the law. It also would provide OCR with additional resources to undertake more ill-considered initiatives for which it lacks authority. We strongly encourage Congress to take into account this troubling pattern of over reach in deciding whether to support the President’s proposed increases to OCR’s budget.

The letter goes on to reference how OCR has expanded the definition of “bullying” and “harassment” — an “error” which “is entirely unforced”:

No federal civil rights statute requires OCR to undertake such an expansive initiative. Insofar as there is statutory authority allowing OCR to regulate bullying at all, it is much more limited than OCR’s initiative. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 … states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance …” This provision has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to make schools civilly liable for failing to remedy student-on-student sex harassment but “only where [the school districts] are deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment, of which they have actual knowledge, that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it can be said to deprive the victims of access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school.” By analogy, those who advocate federal intervention into bullying argue that a school district that is deliberately indifferent to bullying based on sexual orientation should be liable if the circumstances match those in Davis.

The commissioners also address problems with “racially proportionate” discipline measures.

The College Fix previously reported on a controversial (racial) discipline policy in the Minneapolis Public Schools, which Commissioner Kirsanow said was “legally suspect.”

Read the full letter from the commissioners.

h/t to Hans Bader.

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After a doctoral student suggested getting rid of racial descriptions in crime alerts at the University of Minnesota, the school decided to meet him halfway.

Minnesota Daily reports that the school will be “more selective” in mentioning race in the alerts:

The school will now include suspect descriptions in its alerts only if there is information specific enough to help identify a person or group, according to an email sent to University faculty members, students and staff.

The modified alerts are part of an effort to make the University community feel more comfortable, according to an email from Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock and President Eric Kaler. …

Wheelock, along with University police Chief Greg Hestness, will now decide what to include in the alerts on a case-by-case basis.

This is important because the campus was “hit with a string of violent crimes in fall 2013 — including a sexual assault and an attempted armed robbery — prompting safety discussions among administrators and the campus community,” the Daily says.

Read the story.

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