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You Can't Read That!:

An employee of a public university was disciplined for engaging in "racial harassment" for reading a book called Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. Apparently, the fact that the book had the phrase "Ku Klux Klan" in its title was enough to set the regulatory gears in motion. Paul Secunda has the details at Concurring Opinions.

While this book is actually a story of opposition to the Klan, I should note that in my view, even if the employee had reading a pro-Klan book it would be unconstitutional for him to face legal liability or punishment by the government merely because his choice of reading materials offended his coworkers.

Steve2:
Makes me wonder what they do about World War II-history books with hakenkruzen on their covers.
3.5.2008 9:48pm
Anderson (mail):
42 USC 1983, anyone?

Suing the bastards is the only way to prevent this kind of thing in future.
3.5.2008 9:54pm
The General:
Just wait until Obama or Clinton get elected and we get the cabinet-level Department of Affirmative Action. Then we can see this on a grand scale.
3.5.2008 10:06pm
whit:
seriously. i am not one of those "sue happy" people, but this stuff is just getting ridiculous. a quick trip to www.thefire.org has umpteen examples of the thought police doing stuff like this.

how many people sue for stuff like this and are they successful? it seems like this needs to happen more. merely an apology is not enough to redress an incident like this, in my opinion. people need to take an affirmative step, fight back, and see that those who abuse people's civil rights are punished. maybe when the U's start taking big monetary hits, they will be a little more cautious about stomping on people's rights in the name of PC.
3.5.2008 10:19pm
PaulK (mail):
It's actually a good book, too -- I got it for my father for Christmas.
3.5.2008 10:23pm
p3731 (mail):
What makes you think this actually happened?
3.5.2008 10:30pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
hes entire punishment was being told to read it out of their presence-stupid punishment

but its hard to see what the damages would be in a 1983 suit unless he was fired or told he couldnt got there anymore
3.5.2008 10:33pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

42 USC 1983


I know the Trojans took it to the Golden Domers this year, but don't you think you're exaggerating a little?

Are you sure the complaint was about the KKK part of the title? I figured some drunk Paddy was just complaining about stereotypes ("Fighting" Irish).
3.5.2008 10:38pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
just to clairfiy-i mean its stupid hes being punishied at all not stupid punishment
3.5.2008 10:39pm
Truth Seeker:
Makes me wonder what they do about World War II-history books with hakenkruzen on their covers.

He was disciplined because he offended hypersensitive blacks (who didn't realize or didn't care that it was anti-Klan; the mere word on the cover caused hissy-fits).

In the brave new PC world oending Jews is not as serious.
3.5.2008 11:04pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"What makes you think this actually happened?"

I'm always respectful of skepticism, so I will answer your question. I trust FIRE. I have spoken with their president, and I have followed their activities for years. They do the job the ACLU should be doing and used to do. Unfortunately that organization has degenerated into a mouthpiece for political correctness. This disappoints me as I used to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU (as well as the NAACP). I hope FIRE keeps up the good fight, and I will support them as long as they do.
3.5.2008 11:05pm
whit:
and i am sure that harvard would have also meted out the same punishment if somebody was offended because a person was reading the vagina monologues, angry white men, or some screed by bell hooks

riiight
3.5.2008 11:29pm
whit:
correction: stupid white men,not angry white men
3.5.2008 11:45pm
Washingtonian:
Hate to think what might have happened had he been in a Joseph Conrad phase and was reading "the N----- of the Narcissus", one of the great Conrad stories and one of the great sea stories in literature.
3.5.2008 11:53pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
The original NOVU article linked to at FIRE has two letters in PDF format. The first, from November 25th 2007, directs Sampson to read the book apart from other employees. The second letter, from February 7th, 2008, essentially drops the whole matter, albeit with a vague sort of CYA caveat. The NOVU article reports that Mr. Sampson received a third letter on February 21, 2008, but the contents of that letter are not known.

The FIRE article links to the NOVU article but does not mention the second letter.
3.5.2008 11:54pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Hate to think what might have happened had he been in a Joseph Conrad phase and was reading 'the N----- of the Narcissus', one of the great Conrad stories and one of the great sea stories in literature."

You don't have to imagine--consider the problems that have arisen with assigning HUCKLEBERRY FINN to junior high school students.
3.5.2008 11:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Amazon lists seven books with "KKK" in the title. One is If It Takes All Summer: Martin Luther King, the KKK, and States' Rights in St. Augustine, 1964
3.6.2008 12:01am
Pedant:
On this and other web sites carrying this story, we see the expected string of comments blaming it all on the bad old liberals - as if the right had no history of hypersensitivity, book-banning, and general thought-control efforts of its own. Allow me to assure the conservative commentariat that most card-carrying ACLU liberals like me would also find this episode as absurd as you do.

What's really going on here is less PC run amok than something more banal and at the same time more insidious: the typical cravenness of university administrators in response to pressure and their quest for peace at any price. They sanctioned the guy because they figured not to do so would lead to people screaming; when people started screaming about the sanction, they withdrew it. If a white worker complained about someone reading the words of Louis Farrakhan on a break, they would probably not do anything at first - not necessarily out of PC-ness, but out of a calculation that to discipline the worker would make more people scream than not to discipline him (or her). If that calculation proved to be wrong, they would simply change course (as they did here). The problem is not PC-ness; the problem is the unwillingness to stand up for any principle at all.
3.6.2008 12:05am
Elliot123 (mail):
Amazon lists eight books with "nigger" in the title, including:

Nigger - The Strange Career Of A TroublesomeWord by Randall Kennedy

Nigger - An Autobiography by Dick Gregory and Robert Lipsyte
3.6.2008 12:11am
Blue (mail):
Pedant nails it--the alternative to defending the guy was to prompt a more public campaign about the "racist" from the offended black workers.
3.6.2008 12:12am
whit:
"On this and other web sites carrying this story, we see the expected string of comments blaming it all on the bad old liberals - as if the right had no history of hypersensitivity, book-banning, and general thought-control efforts of its own"

rubbish. nobody with any sense of history would deny that conservatives have a history of doing such things (heck, i'm libertarian, thus i concede it with glee :) ).

the point is what is happening NOW. this reminds me of the tired argument you get from cultural relativists regarding radical islam vs. christianity/judaism/buddhism/etc.

when you point out that the latter religions don't see frequent examples of riot, rape, pillage, murder, etc. in regards to criticism of their religion, they always say "yea, but..." and bring up stuff like the inquisition, etc. well, yea. one group of people still haven't gone through any sort of reformation, and one group of people (in large #'s) still treat apostasy, criticism of their religion, etc. as offenses worthy of death. there IS a distinction.

again, the issue is what is happening NOW

there was this little thing called the berkeley free speech movement, etc. where the left wanted to protest the actions of the right in suppressing expression. that was then. the left overwhelmingly is in charge in the academy these days and their record on stifling speech is awful. it's also especially ironic since back in the day, they claimed to be the ones fighting for freedom of speech, then once they were firmly entrenched in power, they became just as bad, or worse (worse, imo) than the right ever was.

you show me an example where the right is doing this crap, and i'm just as critical. but it's rare. i've read dozens of cases at FIRE, and it's nearly always conservatives that are attacked. there was the affirmative action bake sale thang, for example. there was even the case of the liberal professor who was found guilty of vandalizing an anti-abortion display put up by pro-life people. simply put, these leftist ninnies don't even believe in free speech. they believe in the right of oppressed groups (iow, non-whites) not to be offended, and the right of them to be protected from ideas, words, and things that offend them. you can't miss the irony of rich white liberal kids trying to squelch out speeches by the likes of ward connerly by calling him a "racist".

the point is that this behavior is wrong. it's wrong whether it's done by the left or right. and right now, it's overwhelmingly done by the left, and almost always victimizes the right. i haven't seen examples of conservatives stealing hundreds of copies of leftwing student newspapers, for instance.

again, what matters is that we fight injustice. "yeah, but" protestations about what misguided conservatives used to do is nifty, but irrelevant.

they were wrong when they did that. but let's deal with the world we have, not the world we used to have
3.6.2008 12:39am
Doc Rampage (mail) (www):
Pedant's argument is self-refuting. If this was, as he claims, an instance of "the typical cravenness of university administrators", then this does not mean that it was not caused by "PC run amok". Quite the opposite: it is because PC has run amok that the university administrators are afraid of it.
3.6.2008 12:54am
Germanicus:
Whit: About three times a year, I read another story about a group of parents who are working hard to ban a book because it uses the word "testicle", or because it contains some reference to homosexuality. Conservative censorship is alive and well.

Pedant's account of why this sort of thing happens is dead on. Principled liberals still oppose this sort of censorship, and every single democrat I can think of would surely think this story is appalling. This sort of thing happens because of lazy, stupid, conflict-avoiding administrators.
3.6.2008 1:05am
Harry Eagar (mail):
If I were reporting this story, I think the first question I would ask would be: Were the complainants capable of reading any part of the book other than 'KKK'?
3.6.2008 1:20am
Brian K (mail):
every single democrat I can think of would surely think this story is appalling.

*nods in agreement*
3.6.2008 1:23am
Brian K (mail):
About three times a year, I read another story about a group of parents who are working hard to ban a book because it uses the word "testicle", or because it contains some reference to homosexuality.

don't forget harry potter. (if you're board read some of the comments, they're hilarious)
3.6.2008 1:32am
Brian K (mail):
err..."board" should be "bored"
3.6.2008 1:35am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Whit, one word: evolution.
3.6.2008 1:35am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Next we'll have to ban William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for use of forbidden words. Newspeak is here. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Welcome to the boot-heel.
3.6.2008 1:48am
Brian K (mail):
I wasn't aware the PTC was liberal. The FCC certainly takes them seriously.

The MPAA rating process results in tons of self-censorship in order to get the desired rating.

wow...i never knew coming up with examples of censorship at the hands of conservatives was so much fun.
3.6.2008 2:14am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

hes entire punishment was being told to read it out of their presence-stupid punishment

but its hard to see what the damages would be in a 1983 suit unless he was fired or told he couldn't got there anymore

He also received what sounds like a letter of reprimand. Whether or not it was formally a reprimand, it asserted that he used "extremely poor judgment" and was insensitive to his fellow workers. People shouldn't have to put up with that.
3.6.2008 3:18am
Zubon (mail) (www):
Germanicus is on point. The American Library Association keeps a list of the books most often banned or challenged (challenged = someone tried to get it banned).

The have a collection of lists, including the most frequently challenged books, or you can get that list by year, type, institution, or initiator. Note that most reported challenges are by parents against school libraries, so the results will reflect that.
3.6.2008 8:23am
FantasiaWHT:
Zubon, that list is really bizarre. Some of them I can understand why people would challenge them (although I wouldn't necessarily agree): the sex books, anarchist's cookbook, etc.

But Roald Dahl??? Shel Silverstein??? How to eat fried worms? Judy Blume?

That's just depressing
3.6.2008 8:54am
Simon Dodd (mail) (www):
What makes it even more egregious is that IU carries that very book in its library. Presumably, Watkins and Charleston will be firing off a letter to the library reprimanding their "disdain and insensitivity" for carrying a book "which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic ... related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of ... Black [students]." Let the book burning begin.
3.6.2008 9:22am
Simon Dodd (mail) (www):
Germanicus:
Principled liberals still oppose this sort of censorship, and every single democrat I can think of would surely think this story is appalling.


I can give you at least one Democrat who should spring to mind who won't think this story is appalling. The author of the letter to Sampson, Charleston, is IUPUI's "affirmative action officer," a member of the American Association for Affirmative Action, and is quoted as saying that "[a]ffirmative action is something that benefits all individuals, not just minorities." What odds will you give me that she's a registered Republican?
3.6.2008 9:42am
Temp Guest (mail):
Experiment for those who do not believe the left/liberals are constantly engaged in censorship: Go to the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts and ask for a current best seller with a strong conservative slant. When the book proves unavailable, ask a clerk or manager if the bookstore has a policy of censoring such books. (They will deny this and feign shock at the very insinuation of such an illiberal stance. The more literate may even quote Voltaire on the subject.) Repeat experiment until you are convinced.

(The argument that these books do not sell well to their customer base is contradicted by sales of these books in nearby bookstores.)
3.6.2008 10:10am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
What's really going on here is less PC run amok than something more banal and at the same time more insidious: the typical cravenness of university administrators in response to pressure and their quest for peace at any price. They sanctioned the guy because they figured not to do so would lead to people screaming; when people started screaming about the sanction, they withdrew it. If a white worker complained about someone reading the words of Louis Farrakhan on a break, they would probably not do anything at first - not necessarily out of PC-ness, but out of a calculation that to discipline the worker would make more people scream than not to discipline him (or her). If that calculation proved to be wrong, they would simply change course (as they did here). The problem is not PC-ness; the problem is the unwillingness to stand up for any principle at all.


And since the PC are most inclined to screaming, best at putting on embarrassing media circuses, and most likely to be given an uncritical pass by the media, they are the ones the craven administrations cave too, and it winds up being PC that gets enforced.

I don't really care whether the universities and employers who enforce PC are doing it out of cravenness or sincere belief.

I just want them to stop.
3.6.2008 10:13am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Note that most reported challenges are by parents against school libraries....
Which makes it mostly a discussion about the allocation of limited taxpayer resources intended for the use of children.

And therefore completely irrelevant to a discussion about adults at a university being allowed to read their own books.
3.6.2008 10:16am
Hoosier:
Pedant and Co.: You simply cannot divorce this problem from the overwhelming liberalism that prevailes at our universities. Let's stipulate that the Right has had it's own problems with censorship of free expression. But at colleges today, the craven administrators cave in on one side, but hold reasonably firm on the other. At this university, you may diplay/assign/perform/show materials offensive to Catholic students (The largest single religious group among students). You may not, it would appear, do the same with Muslims.

Right and Left: Both have their problems with free expression. But the side that you are on ideological *strongly* influences which side one caves into. And the overwhelming numerical bias in favor of leftism/liberalism among the faculties further influences the direction of the cave-in.

Would "most Democrats" be appalled by these sorts of things? I can't prove it, but I suspect that they would. Standard-issue Democrats are taken as among the "conservatives" on the faculty. (A colleague who writes books lauding FDR and the New Deal is one of my department's alleged "conservatives.") Meanwhile, there's no end to faculty complaints about being "forced" to vote for that right-winger Evan Bayh yet again.

I'm not a Democrat. But one of the most serious errors university faculty make is to assume that the average member of the Democratic Party is as far to the left as the average Sociology professor. I suspect this is what motivated the late Bill Buckley to say that he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

Semi-relavent experience: As a "newly-minted PhD," I taught at a small Catholic college with what some refer to as a "conservative profile." I saw no overt action on the part of the administration to shut down any sort of freedom of expression. But I believe that was, at least in part, the result of an overly-scrupulous concern for how the college was perceived by the wider world of academically demanding liberal arts colleges in the region. Not necessarilly by principle.
3.6.2008 10:32am
Hoosier:
[Let's just pretend I proofread that post before sending it, shall we?]
3.6.2008 10:34am
Immolate:
Book bannings are peer-to-peer censorship. What happened here was authority coming down on one person who is not in authority. There is a massive qualitative difference that would require willful ignorance to miss. It isn't academic. It's the difference between a barfight and Rodney King.

I don't know if the motivition in this case was political correctness run amok or a reflexive avoidance of grievance mongering, but either way, even if we could except either behavior, the accused didn't do what he was accused of doing, and the first problem is that those involved refused to listen long enough to understand that they were mistaken.
3.6.2008 10:36am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
That's why I read on my handheld these days. No one can tell what you're reading.
3.6.2008 10:46am
ejo:
the guys who are the hosts here are professors yet they still seem shocked when these types of things happen. is there some variety of Stockholm syndrome that affects profs and makes them unable to see the PC atmosphere at their own campuses?
3.6.2008 11:05am
whit:
"If I were reporting this story, I think the first question I would ask would be: Were the complainants capable of reading any part of the book other than 'KKK'?"

maybe so. but i suggest they may have had difficulty spelling it.
3.6.2008 11:22am
Harry Eagar (mail):
No doubt almost everyboy here would agree that the worker can read the book, or The Fiery Cross or Muhammad Speaks or whatever he likes.

But I suspect this could have been a management problem, not a legal problem, that wasn't managed well.

That's why I asked whether the complainants could read the book.

Their 'refusal to listen' is a common reaction among illiterates, who are (with reason) suspicious that literares are trying to put something over on them.

The next step is that, first persuaded that somebody is reading a racist book, second they fear that everyone is snickering at them because it really is a racist book and they are being fobbed off with a phoney story that it is antiracist.

It takes a really skilled manager to work around one of these situations, because illiterates are often very defensive about admitting that.

A college is about rhe last place I'd expect to find that kind of management, not because the managers are leftists but because they have never learned to deal with illiterates.
3.6.2008 11:26am
whit:
"the guys who are the hosts here are professors yet they still seem shocked when these types of things happen. is there some variety of Stockholm syndrome that affects profs and makes them unable to see the PC atmosphere at their own campuses?
"

when i was in college, i worked on the program board (concerts, speaking events, etc.)

our program board had no problem scheduling events for, among others, angela davis. they also wanted to get susan sontag but she was not available iirc. the former has said plenty of "hateful" stuff, but who cares because she is a leftist.

as for sontag...

"She was attacked for visiting Hanoi during the Vietnam war and declaring "the white race is the cancer of human history"; "

but when we tried to bring sam kinison to concert we were told he was not acceptable because he used "bigoted hate speech."

iow, make fun of minorities (kinison makes fun of everybody), especially if your a white guy, and it's unacceptable hate speech for our campus. otoh, a person who refers to whites as "the cancer of human history" is a-ok.
3.6.2008 11:27am
Floridan:
Obviously, no one should be prevented from reading anything they want.

I'm guessing, howewver, that the basis for the complaints had less to do with the subject matter than the cover illustation, which contains two burning crosses.

While I think that, in this case, this is not reason enough to discipline the reader, I can imagine a book with a more extreme cover image that might be deemed inappropriate for the workplace.
3.6.2008 12:01pm
whit:
"Obviously, no one should be prevented from reading anything they want. "

the sad thing is that for many, they don't agree with you.

look at for instance, the numerous instances of conservative college newspapers being stolen on college campuses out of protests of their contents.

what is sad is that what you say is NOT obvious to way too many people
3.6.2008 12:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Pedant's account of why this sort of thing happens is dead on. Principled liberals still oppose this sort of censorship, and every single democrat I can think of would surely think this story is appalling. This sort of thing happens because of lazy, stupid, conflict-avoiding administrators.
But you're begging the question: what "conflict" are they avoiding? Conflict with liberals who go into hysterics at any vague insinuation of racism.

If it had been, say, Harry Potter, and the complainants were fundamentalist Christians who felt that the book, by promoting witchcraft, created a hostile atmosphere, the "lazy, stupid, conflict-avoiding administrators" would not have settled the matter by punishing the person reading Harry Potter.
3.6.2008 12:39pm
Fub:
Harry Eagar wrote at 3.6.2008 11:26am:

Their 'refusal to listen' is a common reaction among illiterates, who are (with reason) suspicious that literares are trying to put something over on them.

...

A college is about rhe last place I'd expect to find that kind of management, not because the managers are leftists but because they have never learned to deal with illiterates.
To accept the "illiterate theory" one would have to believe that the complainant is illiterate, the shop steward is illiterate, and the Affirmative Action Office staff is illiterate.

From TFA:
But others at IUPUI clearly did not see it that way. First, a shop steward told Sampson that reading a book about the KKK was like bringing pornography to work ... Likewise, a co-worker who happened to be sitting across the table from Sampson in the break room remarked that she found the KKK offensive. On both occasions, Sampson tried to explain what the book was really about. Both times, the other individual refused to listen.

A few weeks later, Sampson was notified by Marguerite Watkins of the school's Affirmative Action Office (AAO) that a co-worker had filed a racial harassment complaint against him for reading the book in the break room. Once again, he attempted to explain the book's content, but Watkins too had no interest in hearing it. Despite his not being given a chance to defend himself, he subsequently received a letter from Lillian Charleston of the AAO, dated November 25, 2007, informing him that AAO had completed its investigation of the matter. ...
3.6.2008 12:44pm
MXE (mail):
This is what happens when irrational hypersensitivity seizes the moral high ground on campuses. I'm sure the administrators know full well who is the victim here. However, they are terrified of the consequences of not caving in because, unfortunately, the "I have a right to be offended" meme has poisoned the culture.

That or they're just complete idiots.
3.6.2008 12:54pm
whit:
"Principled liberals still oppose this sort of censorship, and every single democrat I can think of would surely think this story is appalling. This sort of thing happens because of lazy, stupid, conflict-avoiding administrators."

i can tell you one thing. these issues are either ridiculed as nonexistent, or nearly completely ignored at most of the liberal blogs i read : democratic underground, huffpost, etc.

i know there are plenty of principled liberals, but i also know that with some exceptions (fox, etc.) these endless speech restrictions, etc. on campus especially get almost no play, no traction, and no notice among liberals.

there are none so blind as those who ...
3.6.2008 1:00pm
hattio1:
Conservatives, including on this thread, often remark at how slanted to the left academia has become. And, while I don't think it's quite as bad as some here say, the leftward slant is undeniable.

And then we get Temp Guest saying;

Experiment for those who do not believe the left/liberals are constantly engaged in censorship: Go to the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts and ask for a current best seller with a strong conservative slant. When the book proves unavailable, ask a clerk or manager if the bookstore has a policy of censoring such books. (They will deny this and feign shock at the very insinuation of such an illiberal stance. The more literate may even quote Voltaire on the subject.) Repeat experiment until you are convinced.

(The argument that these books do not sell well to their customer base is contradicted by sales of these books in nearby bookstores.)


Gee you think maybe the reason they don't sell at the Harvard bookstore but do sell at nearby stores is that those living near a University are not necessarily part of academia, but those at the school are by definition? If I were as snarky as some on here, I would make a comment on conservatives ability to think logically. But, I know it wouldn't be true. There are many on here I almost always disagree with who almost always make me think.
3.6.2008 1:04pm
whit:
"Experiment for those who do not believe the left/liberals are constantly engaged in censorship: Go to the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts and ask for a current best seller with a strong conservative slant. When the book proves unavailable, ask a clerk or manager if the bookstore has a policy of censoring such books. (They will deny this and feign shock at the very insinuation of such an illiberal stance. The more literate may even quote Voltaire on the subject.) Repeat experiment until you are convinced. "

it's not just at hahvahd. it's barnes and noble, etc.

go to www.nationalreview.com and read the blog for "liberal fascism".

this is the NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. any other #1nytb would be prominently displayed at B&N etc. all over display cases, etc. etc. etc.

as numerous people have reported on this blog, examples abound of it being hidden away, unavailable, etc. one poster (from canada) remarked how incredibly derisive somebody at the store was when he asked about it and they told him to go elsewhere to order it!

yes, i realize this is anecdotal, etc. but it's relevant, and you can do your own field research.

it does fill me with glee to know a book named "liberal fascism" is doing so well.
3.6.2008 1:13pm
Hoosier:
"The more literate may even quote Voltaire on the subject"

And the MOST literate would know that he never actually said that.

hattio1: Now I'm gonna get accused of being a conservative who can't think logically, but I'm not sure I quite grapsed your point. Are you saying that academics in fact *won't* buy conservative books, or at least not enough to justify carrying them, BUT that people who are not part of the university will do so?

If that's a fair summary, then I think we've made some progress here today.
3.6.2008 1:31pm
Hoosier:
whit—Sorry, but I can't agree. I've spent almost twenty years trying to make leftist colleagues aware that "fascism" actually means something more specific than "You're to my right, and I don't like you."

I have complaints about liberalism on college campuses, but fascism is not one of them.

Except at my alma mater, which insists on holding Nuremburg-style Rallies:

http://www.ceng.ust.hk/alumni/news/ photo/cheryl/ND_studentsectioncheer.jpg
3.6.2008 1:42pm
rarango (mail):
MXE: I suspect it the latter of your two options. "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity alone." And while I dont agree with Pedant's entire thesis, if I went into the academic administrator gelding and spaying business, I could make a fortune.
3.6.2008 2:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
rarango.
You'd go broke. They come like that.
3.6.2008 3:07pm
Pedant:
Whit has misunderstood my point. I was not making a "yeah, but..." argument, which I agree is stupid. (X is bad; "yeah, but Y is bad, too"; therefore by implication X is really not so bad.) My point was to suggest that the disciplinary action was attributable less to PC-ness than to cravenness. Of course, one can disagree with that point, as some commenters have, but I want to clarify what the point actually was.

On the question of whether the modern American university is a leader in the speech-suppression league, let me quote the eminent leftist thinker and speech-suppresser Eugene Volokh: "Speech on campuses (at least outside graded class projects, which necessarily must be evaluated based on their content) is generally far more free of institutional punishment than speech in many other places."
3.6.2008 3:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"i know there are plenty of principled liberals ..."

Where are they? Most of the principled liberals I know became conservative, or libertarian or just plain nihilistic.
3.6.2008 3:41pm
hattio1:
A. Zarkov;
Most other folks seem to find principled liberals. There's either a problem with your circle of acquaintances, or your perception. I'm guessing #2.
3.6.2008 4:01pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Pedant.
One must be afraid of something in order to be craven.
If not afraid of the knee-jerk, auto-pilot reactions (PC for short)of various institutions when the incantation "racism" is muttered, what are these folks being craven about/from/to?
3.6.2008 4:20pm
whit:
"On the question of whether the modern American university is a leader in the speech-suppression league, let me quote the eminent leftist thinker and speech-suppresser Eugene Volokh: "Speech on campuses (at least outside graded class projects, which necessarily must be evaluated based on their content) is generally far more free of institutional punishment than speech in many other places.""

yes, but...

campuses are SUPPOSED to be places where free exchange of ideas, learning, exposure to different points of view, etc. is supposed to be ENCOURAGED. the reality is that conservative viewpoints and/or viewpoints that might offend LIBERALS are not only discouraged, but punished.

your average "institution" isn't. iow, the goal of GE is not to expand people's minds, expose them to different ideas, and aid in the maturing of young minds into the leaders of tomorrow. it's to make money

we EXPECT students to engage in political protest, exchange of ideas, form political and special interest groups (college republicans, college bedwetting liberals, etc.). we don't expect GE employees to form such associations, and meet at the water cooler to discuss how to spread the message of their favorite party. etc. etc.

i readily agree that, for example, a kid is probably not going to get canned for standing in the campus common and holding a sign saying the board of regents for his college are a bunch of "idiots".

otoh, would you really expect management at GE to be a-ok with one of their employees standing in the lobby with a sign saying "GE SUCKS!".

you get my point. so, yes. in that sense colleges are more free. but that's not the point.

so, while they are both "institutions", it's a totally different thing.
3.6.2008 4:41pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I don't think you can reason it out that way, Fub.

For my idea to be more or less correct, only the original complainants would have to be unable to read. The chances of that among janitors is pretty good.

The next level responses of the steward and the bureaucrat would be not to the contents of the book but to the contents of the complaint. Not the same thing.
3.6.2008 5:38pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Most other folks seem to find principled liberals. There's either a problem with your circle of acquaintances, or your perception. I'm guessing #2."

I guess you would take A Modest Proposal.
3.6.2008 6:20pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Whoops make that

"Most other folks seem to find principled liberals. There's either a problem with your circle of acquaintances, or your perception. I'm guessing #2."

I guess you would take A Modest Proposal seriously.
3.6.2008 6:22pm
SemperJase (mail) (www):
I just searched IUPUI's library catalog. Tucker's book is part of the university collection.

My question for IUPUI is, why do they have books in their library collection that are not allowed to be read in the presence of African-Americans when doing so would constitute racial harrassment?

Here is the library search results I got today through http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/:

East Library - Richmond (EAST) Location
LD4113 .T83 2004 1) Stacks
Fort Wayne Helmke Library (FORTWAYNE) Location
LD4113 .T83 2004 2) Stacks
Indpls - IUPUI University Library (I-UNIVLIB) Location
LD4113 .T83 2004 3) Checked Out - Due: 3/31/2008
South Bend - Schurz Library (SBEND) Location
LD4113 .T83 2004 4) Checked Out - Due: 3/28/2008

Maybe the university should open an investigation into the library for distributing racially harrassing material as well as the patrons who have the book currently check out. On second thought, forget I said anything. They may do it.
3.6.2008 8:29pm
Gaius Marius:
This is getting ridiculous. These liberal neo-communists on public university boards are really going overboard.
3.7.2008 8:12pm