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Profs start to worry about illiberal campuses – when it hits them

File:First amendment zone2.jpg

The free speech zone, 2004 Democratic National Convention/Mark Pettus

In “The Footnote Judges Ignore” (Inside Higher Education, August 15, 2011), Scott Jaschik reports,

The American Association of University Professors is trying once again to get federal judges to pay attention to a footnote.

The footnote in question — in a 2006 Supreme Court decision limiting the free speech rights of public employees — explicitly stated that the decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos did not apply to faculty members in public higher education. Some (but not all) federal courts have been ignoring that footnote, and the AAUP filed a brief last week in one such case, which the association says highlights the dangers of the way Garcetti is being applied to free speech for faculty members.

The case that the AAUP entered is one in which a federal judge in February was explicit in finding that Garcetti removed protections for much faculty speech. “[S]ince Garcetti, courts have routinely held that even the speech of faculty members of public universities is not protected when made pursuant to their professional duties,” said the ruling.

It’s bad news, but more or less inevitable, given that university campuses have been, since the 1980’s, the least free sector of society. This prof case was bad enough:

Capeheart sued the university, charging that it retaliated against her by refusing to let her serve as department chair — despite being elected to the post by her colleagues — because of her activism on campus.

(So the profs don’t know who their chair should be?)

Gets worse: In The Wall Street Journal (August 20, 2011), Peter Berkowitz notes that now, under government pressure, “universities abandon any pretense of due process in sexual assault cases.”:

Most egregiously, OCR requires universities to render judgment using “a preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means that in a rape case, a campus disciplinary board of faculty, administrators and perhaps students serves as both judge and jury. Few if any of these judges are likely to have professional competence in fact-gathering, evidence analysis or judicial procedure. Yet to deliver a verdict of guilty, they need only believe that the accused is more likely than not to have committed the crime.

This is the lowest standard. It is much less demanding than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is used in the criminal justice system, and the intermediate standard of “clear and convincing proof.” Yale, Stanford and many other universities have rushed to comply with OCR’s directives.

Just wait till they adopt neurolaw, and the “evidence” will then be that the accused has the sort of brain associated with people previously convicted. Once we get into materialism, it all pretty much follows, with only brief pauses before the next descent.

And yes, students have it far worse than profs, as Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) can testify. Check out their regular Speech Code of the Month feature. Also, the warning to parents that college ain’t what it used to be.

Whether your own college experience was more like The Paper Chase or Animal House, you can be sure that today’s campuses are neither. Instead, your tuition and tax dollars are funding an ever-growing army of bureaucrats that police everything from free speech to dating. Administrators now outnumber faculty on our nation’s campuses, and even students’ innermost thoughts are subject to their oversight. Each year, the college experience gets closer to that of a TSA line at the airport — but one that you have to live in for four years.

And now, when it comes to free speech, the profs will have to either put up or shut up – for their entire careers.

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4 Responses to Profs start to worry about illiberal campuses – when it hits them

  1. re 4.1.1 FG “Of course theists of all colours will now step up and claim that their partcular colour is, objectively, the one and only true one and all others are false.”

    I think what gets lost in these kinds of debates is the idea that one at the outset must postulate a ‘god” and from there derive an objective “god”. Of course once one appeals to a “god” then the questions about which god ( as if it is possible that if God exists there can be more than one LOL) starts to populate the bandwidth of the stheist and round and round we go.

    One need not appeal to a “god” to postulate the idea that there is “objective good”, a good that exists independently of what one thinks is good. The starting point is not God’s existence, it is (IMO) if there is such a thing as “good” there must exist an “absolute good”, an absolute standard that is unchangeable. Indeed an absolute unchangeable oughtness. If there is no such thing as “absolute good” talk about good is nonsense. As KF rightly points good is reduced to whatever “might” makes right.

    We see this in Meleager”s questions directed and ever so artfully dodged by Elizabeth. Indeed the subjectivist cannot answer the question as to what is good other than ultimately to appeal to “whatever might makes right is good” Indeed Faded Glory and I went back an forth for weeks over at the old ARN blog where eventually FG admitted ( after weeks of back and forth) that this was indeed the case.

    Velokofsky seems to agree that might does indeed make right and that the theist is in the same position as the atheist only the theist appeals to Gods might and the atheist appeals to the might of man. I cannot speak for all theists but not all theists would agree. If God is the ground of good it need not be because of Gods might rather Gods being. Because God is good “good makes good” because God is right “right makes right”

    Vivid

  2. Sorry wrong thread.

  3. As a 55 year old returning college student the biggest difference I get from my previous experience at LSU in the 70′s is that now it is the ADMINISTRATORS school, not the students. This left wing elitist arrogance of command and control is oppressive. They of course blather about student priorities but the reality is it is THEIR school, building, etc.. the students are just temporary unwanted guests.

    I wrote a blog about some of my experiences at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth this year:

    http://mstrrick.wordpress.com/.....ty-of-ends

    This Liberal Fascism in our institutions of Higher Education must stop!

    Mstr Rick

  4. Speech is powerful. Small or smaller then that numbers of people have moved everyone else or almost to good or evil in famous or historical case after case.

    The difference in America and followed later by the rest of the English speaking world is that the desire for important truth and the belief that what is important truth is not to be trusted in the hands of elites, the people, majorities, minorities, led to a great decision to make free speech, in law and spirit, a foundation of our nations.
    This meant allowance for speech we don’t like or fear or hurts in important ways.
    Yet this was the decided priority.

    Today the priority is to stop unwelcome speech.
    This means those in power stop it based on their ideas or judgements.
    So those in power are likely not a cross section of the land.
    So the losers complain.

    Here I am.
    We must take back that freedom of speech is the priority in anything
    important. Dangers or insults are secondary however important.
    No point in stopping the gov’t if still we are stopped by those who govern us in many ways.
    The reason to not allow the gov’t to control speech is the same reason to allow anyone.

    We do not have freedom of speech in our fathers home.
    Rightly.
    That is not important to the society.

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