Thursday, September 18, 2014

Worst Job Description Ever

One of our students recently sent us a request for a recommendation (which we will happily provide) and a description of the job for which he’s applying. Here it is:
Position Summary

As a project manager, you’ll work side by side with our customers to install our software, help them to lead and manage change, and ultimately transform the way they provide healthcare for about 50% of Americans. Project managers develop creative strategies to achieve a common end goal while collaborating with smart and innovative colleagues from all roles. Customers will see you as the face of Epic, and you’ll form long-lasting relationships with your teams. No two days are the same - you’ll never stop learning and growing. You’ll have the autonomy to make important decisions while receiving support and guidance along the way. You bring your intelligence, creativity and curiosity; we’ll teach you the rest.
So the question is: what kind of project does this “project manager” manage? What will the project manager actually do? OK, manage a project. But does the person get to hire and fire people? Does the manager have any say-so over the budget? Does “autonomy to make important decisions” include those things?  How is he going to “transform healthcare?”

Hopefully, our student will find out.

But we would have severe reservations about working for any organization that writes such vacuous prose.

But then, we do work for Marquette University.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

The Indignity of Microagression in Colleges and Universities

Republican Allen West to Speak at Marquette

A fellow worth seeing. This Wikipedia article on him is relatively unbiased and quite informative.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

“White Privilege” Conference In Madison

This has gotten a bit of play in conservative media, but these videos give a vivid and hair-raising look at a narrow, bigoted and intolerant little world of race hustling.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

James South and “Girls”

We recently blogged about a male professor in Marquette’s Philosophy Department who was reprimanded by then department chair James South for referring to an event attended by female faculty as a “girls night out.”

The professor contested the reprimand, and got it overturned.

But now an e-mail correspondent brings something to our attention.

On James South’s personal web page, he lists one of his “Top Five Xena Episodes” as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

In fact, it’s listed an number one, his absolute favorite!

So he doesn’t really seem to mind referring to adult women as “girls” so long as he is doing it.

So is it really “offensive” to refer to grown women as “girls?”

This came up in a conversation with a feminist colleague of our (a sensible woman, now retired) and she pointed out that nobody seems to mind The Spice Girls or The Indigo Girls.

But what about calling grown men “boys?”  Well, there are “good ol’ boys,” which a Google search shows to be very widely used.

And the greatest Bluegrass band in history was The Foggy Mountain Boys with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.  And the Oak Ridge Boys have been a fixture in country music for decades.

No doubt in some contexts calling adult women “girls” would be demeaning.  But context matters, and stock phrases like “girls night out” are not offensive. 

Feminists running around looking for a grievance are offensive.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Marquette Philosophy Professor Reprimanded for “Sexism” for Using the Phrase “Girls Night Out”

Eventually Vindicated

This isn’t new (it happened in the spring semester 2013), but it just got brought to our attention, and it’s too important (and outrageous) to pass up.

It started when the male Philosophy professor and a female faculty member (Susanne Foster), happened to meet, and discussion turned to an event which, by happenstance, was attended by several female faculty members. The male professor referred to the event as a “girls night out.”

Foster apparently took umbrage at the phrase “girls night out.”

And there it all should have ended. Except that Philosophy is one of the most leftist and politically correct departments in the university, and academic feminists are always on the lookout for a grievance.

Taking it to the Department Chair

So Foster contacted Department Chair James South, complaining about the incident.

South wrote a letter to the male professor, accusing him of “sexual harassment,” and placed it in his personnel file. South also apparently reported the incident to Human Resources, noting a supposed pattern of “sexism” on the part of the professor.

Vindication in Two Steps

First, the accused professor filed a grievance with South, giving his side of the story. South agreed to remove the letter from the professors file, and to retract the claims made to Human Resources.

South declined to comment to The Marquette Warrior about this incident, and it’s unclear whether he actually repented of what he had done, or merely came to realize that he had no leg to stand on under university rules. No charge of sexual harassment had been made through official channels, much less adjudicated to be true.

The Money Issue

The professor also demanded that Marquette pay the $1,000 in legal fees he had incurred. The University refused, saying that university procedures do not require that one have legal representation.

This was the position taken by then Arts & Sciences Dean Phil Rossi, and then Provost John Pauly. So the professor appealed to the Faculty Hearing Committee. In May, 2013, it issued its verdict.

On the professor’s request legal fees, the committee concluded “that university policies were violated by the actions taken by Dr. South against [the professor], and that his request for reimbursement of legal expenses is warranted.”

This verdict, communicated to the new acting Provost, Margaret Callahan, resulted in the professor’s legal bills being paid. This was an important action. It established the precedent that someone in a university, faced with charges against them, is not required to master the arcane rules of university procedure and employment law unassisted.

This should have ended it, but even a year later (February, 2014) some faculty members in Philosophy were spreading the story that the professor had been officially reprimanded for sexist behavior. He felt the need to send out a circular letter to faculty and teaching assistants in Philosophy refuting that charge.

So What is Going On Here?

In part, this is simply the political correctness typical of academia, especially from feminists, and especially in humanities departments.

They actually consider the phrase “girls night out” to be offensive. But the entire rest of the world does not.

One can simply Google the phrase “girls night out.”

The search turns out a massive number of results. Events titled “Girls’ Night Out” are sponsored by about every reputable, mainstream organization one can imagine.

Just the uses of the phrase important enough to be mentioned in Wikipedia are:
  • Girls’ Night Out is the name of:
  • Girls’ Night Out (The Judds song), a 1985 number one country hit by The Judds
  • Girls’ Night Out (film), a Korean movie
  • Girls’ Night Out (album), an album by Toronto
  • Girls’ Night Out (album), an album by Candy Dulfer
  • “Girls’ Night Out” (Danny Phantom), a Danny Phantom episode
  • “Girls’ Night Out” (The New Batman Adventures), an episode from the TV series The New Batman Adventures
  • “Girl’s Night Out” is an episode from the fourth series of Ally McBeal
  • Girls’ Night Out, a song by Miley Cyrus from the album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus
  • Girls Night Out, an anthology by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Wikipedia defines the phrase as follows: “A ‘girls’ night out’ is a gender-exclusive activity where women meet to engage in social activities.”

It seems that only in the rarified world of academic feminism is “girls night out” a sexist phrase.

James South, remember, is the fellow who ripped down from a graduate student’s office door a quote from libertarian humorist Dave Berry.

 The quote read:
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
South insisted this was “patently offensive” and that “hallways and office doors are not ‘free-speech zones.’”

But It’s More Complicated Than This

The Philosophy Department has been riven by a deep divide between more traditional scholars and a more trendy, leftist and politically correct faction.

The latter group (which includes South and Foster) have generally been in control. Increasingly, they have a voting majority of faculty since, after all, they control hiring, and hire people like themselves. When they have lacked a majority they have often engaged in manipulation: votes have been taken, and if the vote turns out the “wrong way” it is declared to be “inoperative.”

With some frequency, the Arts & Sciences Dean’s office has intervened to dictate decisions, and impose the desires of the politically correct faction.

In one recent case, such an intervention had the Philosophy Department on track to have two experts on Buddhism, but no expert on Plato! Happily, this fell through.

The professor changed with sexism has been among the group critical of South and his allies, and this looks for all the world like a form of retaliation for the professor’s opposition in departmental politics.

Vindicated, but So What?

One of the more disturbing things about this incident is that both South and Foster now have positions in the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences. Which suggests they have the ear of Arts & Science Dean Rick Holz. Our interaction with Holz suggests that he’s an intelligent and competent technocrat. But does he have the savvy (and the vision) to avoid being manipulated by his staffers to intervene in the affairs of the Philosophy Department to move the department further in a direction contrary to what should be the norm in such a department in a Catholic university?

Time will tell.

But at the moment, internal politics in the Philosophy Department is a mess. An external search for a faculty hire to come in an take the job of Department Chair is underway. Under better circumstances, departments can reach a fairly easy consensus on a current faculty member that faculty trust to take that role.

But Marquette’s Philosophy Department is an example of what happens when traditionally Catholic universities are infiltrated and then taken over by the dominant ideologies of broader academia.

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Friday, July 04, 2014

Anti-Christian Bigotry in Canada

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Global Warming Alarmism: A Blast from the Past

From the New York Times:
PICKING up where a high-school chemistry class might end, “Nova,” the public-broadcasting science series, offers the nonmatriculating viewer an advanced course in worrying. The cause of the concern is all the carbon dioxide that’s being pumped into the industrialized and motorized air. The hourlong broadcast is called “The Climate Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect,” at 9 tonight on Channel 13.

The conclusion, conveyed with great authority by several big-league climatologists from government and private research organizations, is terrible: by the year 2000, the atmosphere and weather will grow warmer by several degrees and life - animal, plant, human - will be threatened. The experts say that melting ice caps, flooded cities, droughts in the corn belt and famine in the third world could result if the earth’s mean temperature rises by a mere two or three degrees.
This described a NOVA documentary broadcast in 1986.

It seems the “big-league climatologists” were all wet. But we have no evidence that they have ever been called to account for the nonsense they were spouting

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Saturday, June 07, 2014

“Fair Trade” Hurts Third-World Poor

We’ve never been impressed with the self-righteous moral preening of the “Fair Trade” crowd. Simply paying a few cents more for some politically correct coffee doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice to us.

Further, the “Fair Trade” crowd typically has certain political views — opposition to free trade and to globalization, for example — that are sharply adverse to the interests of poor people in the Third World. It’s long been clear that the real path to a better life for Third World poor lies in market-oriented economic development. Impeding that does vastly more harm than “Fair Trade” schemes can even begin to repair.

But now the evidence is becoming clear that “Fair Trade” actually does little (if any) good.

Thus we have a large study, funded by the British government and conducted with a high degree of academic rigor. The results are summarized on the website of the University of London.

Research finds Fairtrade fails the poorest workers in Ethiopia and Uganda

24 May 2014

Fairtrade certified coffee, tea and flowers do not improve lives of the very poorest rural people in Ethiopia and Uganda, according to a four-year research project conducted by leading development economists at SOAS, University of London. The project studied rural labour markets in areas producing crops for export, under different institutional conditions that included, in some research sites, Fairtrade certification.

Low pay for wage workers, particularly women, and limited access to schools, health clinics, improved sanitation and other social projects in rural areas were among the findings in ‘Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda’, a report published today.

Teams of highly-trained fieldworkers studied wages and working conditions in twelve areas growing coffee, tea and flowers in Ethiopia and Uganda. As well as reviewing existing studies, the researchers collected new, detailed micro-level comparative evidence from areas producing agricultural exports on how rural labour markets affect poor people’s lives.

The study reveals that wage workers are commonplace on ‘smallholder’ farms in the areas studied, where between a third and a half of listed adults were recent agricultural wage workers. The research also found that these agricultural workers were much poorer than others. Wages were lower on average in research sites defined around Fairtrade certified producer organisations than in sites without Fairtrade certified producers.

Key findings from the report:
  • Most rural people in Ethiopia and Uganda enjoy a much higher standard of living than seasonal and casual agricultural wage workers. In rural areas, manual agricultural wage workers are the very poorest.
  • Where Fairtrade flowers were grown, and where there were farmers’ groups selling coffee and tea into Fairtrade certified markets, wages were very low – especially women’s wages. In fact, wages in other comparable areas and among comparable employers producing the same crops but where there was no Fairtrade certification were usually higher. This was not because the Fairtrade certified cooperatives were in more marginalised, deprived areas.
  • In some areas dominated by Fairtrade certified cooperatives workers in the samples did appear to have greater access to some fringe benefits (e.g., free meals in two sites, or on other sites more access to loans) than workers in areas without Fairtrade certification. Even here, though, other aspects of work conditions were often worse.
  • The findings on lower wages held true even after the effects of scale and other differences across workers and sites were taken into account in detailed statistical analysis, contrary to the claims made in the Fairtrade Foundation’s own statement about this research.
  • Fairtrade publicises its contribution to the funding of schools, health clinics, improved sanitation and other “social projects” in rural areas. From hours of quantitative and qualitative interviews with respondents and others, including in some cases cooperative managers, the SOAS researchers found that the poorest often had no access to these ‘community’ facilities in the research sites, even when they were or had been wage workers on the processing stations or for producer members.
A trenchant commentary on a British website describes the mentality behind “Fair Trade.”
From its very inception, the concept of Fairtrade was rooted in maintaining low ‘sustainable’ horizons for the poor by those who consider people in Africa and other parts of the Third World to be intrinsically different to the rest of us. The movement did not originate with the poor farmers of the developing world, but with Western NGOs and their army of gap-year do-gooders intent on imposing their reactionary ‘small is beautiful’ values on an Africa desperate for change.

According to the Fairtrade worldview, the poor farmers of the world are in fact quite happy with their lot and only desire a stable, if low, price for their produce. Once this is in place, they will be free to enjoy their simple idyllic existence. The fact that Western countries left extreme poverty behind through rapid industrialisation and urbanisation does not apply to Africa, they say. Instead, it is of paramount importance that Fairtrade ‘promotes and protects the cultural identity and traditional skills of small producers.’ They should receive enough money never to be in danger of starvation, but not enough to afford a foreign holiday or to send a child to university or, indeed, do any of the things we in the West enjoy, lest it undermine their cultural identity.
Thus the attitudes of contemporary urban, liberal yuppies begin to look a lot like those of the traditional European nobility. Yes, we want the peasants to live better, but we don’t want them to start rivaling us. So long as our moral and cultural superiority is recognized, we are all for making the peons better off. Noblesse oblige. But only a bit better off. And we aren’t going to be too scrupulous about whether we are really making the poor better off. The key thing is that it makes us feel better about ourselves.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Politically Correct Fascism at Portland State University

Check this article for an explanation of the grievance of the intolerant people who felt they had a right to shut up the speaker of whom they disapproved.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Missive From Provost: More Gay Indoctrination For Students, More Reeducation?

An e-mail to all Marquette faculty: You can read the whole thing here, and it’s mostly boring stuff. But some parts stand out as potentially dangerous:

But first, some boring introductory things.
May 12, 2014

Dear colleagues:

As we wrap up finals week and another academic year, I wanted to share some updates related to academic life at Marquette. We are poised to begin a new chapter with President-elect Lovell, who attended the University Academic Senate meeting earlier this week. President-elect Lovell brings a new sense of energy and enthusiasm to our collective pursuit of academic excellence, and is looking forward to working closely with UAS and the academy. Many of us in the room were moved by his remarks at the meeting and his collaborative philosophy, which he said is based on the African proverb: “We can go fast alone or we can go far together.”

Shedding more light on this year’s major milestone for the university – our successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission – the HLC report brief is now available and it documents the review team’s high regard for education at Marquette. Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Gary Meyer, vice provost for undergraduate programs and teaching; the more than 200 members of our campus community who served on committees and volunteered their time and talents during the past two years; and the more than 500 faculty, staff and students who met with the HLC site team while they were on campus; Marquette is reaccredited through 2023-24.
But then we get to the politically correct stuff:
The one area that the HLC visit team recommended for improvement is “operationalizing our commitment to diversity.” To help us make strides toward that goal, Dr. William Welburn, associate provost for diversity and inclusion, has accepted my invitation to lead the development of a campus-wide diversity plan. Components of this plan will include a campus wide climate study conducted during the 2014-15 academic year; a new, anonymous bias incident reporting and response system for students; and enhanced student education on diversity beginning in fall 2014 and administered by the Division of Student Affairs. This will be a campus-wide effort, and I’ll be calling on many of you to help lead this important initiative, which is also a key objective under the strategic theme “Formation of the Mind and the Heart” in our Beyond Boundaries strategic plan.
Of course, a “campus wide climate study” is going to be a survey to see whether students harbor any politically incorrect attitudes about any politically correct group. Gay and lesbian students will be asked to report instances where anybody let on that they think that homosexuality is not a normal condition, or that homosexual acts are sinful or immoral.

In other words, any instances where some student might let slip that they accept Catholic teaching on homosexuality. That can’t be allowed at a modern Catholic university.

And of course, student activists can be counted on to seize on even the most trivial slight or “micro aggression” to make into a grievance. That’s what the grievance mongers do.

Likewise, if a student lets on that they think that problems in the black community are not the result or white racism, of if a white student fails to “own” his or her “white privilege,” that will count as an example of a “hostile” and “non-inclusive” climate.

Admittedly, by the time they come to Marquette, most students have either been indoctrinated into the politically correct way of viewing these issues, or at least gotten they message that they better keep quiet about their views. But there might be a few hold-outs who are bold enough to speak out. Reeducation is what they will likely face.
Another inclusivity effort initiated this year, the Action Group on Campus Conversations on Gender and Sexuality, has met throughout the spring semester to discuss how to improve dialogue on campus related to issues of gender and sexuality and our Catholic, Jesuit mission. That group is organizing campus forums this fall for faculty, staff and students to share their thoughts, and I urge all of you to participate in these meaningful discussions.
Such discussions, of course, will be dominated by secular politically correct types (as all previous such discussions have been) and will doubtless reach a consensus that Marquette should adopt the entire agenda of the campus gay lobby and the campus feminists.
Finally, I want to thank you for your support this year. Serving in dual roles has been eye-opening, demanding and rewarding – sometimes all at once. I appreciate your kind words, prayers and constructive feedback, and look forward to continuing our work this summer and fall until the search for a permanent provost is completed.

Marquette blessings,

Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan
Interim Provost, Marquette University
Dean and Professor, College of Nursing
But will this be much of a change from what students already face? Not necessarily.

In the first place, students already face a good bit of indoctrination and reeducation, at Freshman Orientation, for example.

But secondly, this may turn into an example of what journalist Charles Peters famously said is a key motto of bureaucracy: “Make believe equals survival.” Thus, an accrediting agency goes through the motions of demanding more “diversity” and a more “inclusive” climate — meaning a climate more friendly to politically correct groups, but also more hostile to non-conforming students. Marquette bureaucrats then go through the motions of implementing “programs” to promote “diversity” — those programs being a great excuse for meetings and reports, and a good way to keep bureaucrats in places like the Provost’s office and Student Affairs busy.

But given the increasing intolerance that marks Marquette (as it marks most U.S. universities) one can’t dismiss the likelihood of real persecution of the few students who hold (and are bold enough to express) independent views.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Reviewing the George Zimmer/Trayvon Martin Affair: Politicized Justice

Cashill has written some questionable things on other subjects, but he’s right on target with this.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Quality Reporting on Military Affairs

Good reporting on the military is rare, to a large degree because virtually no journalists have been in the services.

But an exception of DuffelBlog. Check out its incisive and sober discussion of women in combat.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Global Warming Alarmism Explained

Friday, March 28, 2014

Archbishop Brought to Campus by Marquette is Anti-Israel Crackpot

He was part of “Israeli Apartheid Week:” a Greek Orthodox Archbishop named Sebastia Atallah Hanna.

He was featured in two events:  A “Soup With Substance” at noon this past Wednesday, and a  “keynote address” at an evening event on the same day.

Some indication of his opinions can be found in any article on the  Al-Alam website:
A top Palestinian Christian cleric in Israel has likened crimes committed by foreign-backed insurgents in Syria to the Israeli regime’s racist policies and practices in the occupied land, describing them two sides of the same racist coin. Addressing a group of Arab students at Haifa University on Friday, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia Atallah Hanna further restated his support for Syria in the face of the foreign-backed war targeting it, SANA reported.

Archbishop Hanna went on to emphasize that it has become clear that the terrorist groups in Syria are an extension of Zionism and serve its racist projects and suspicious agendas in the region.

The Palestinian cleric further vowed to continue defending the causes of his native land, underlining that Muslims and Christians will remain united in defending the holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He also condemned the Israeli regime’s racist practices against Palestinians.

Hanna then stressed that the targeting of Christians in the Middle East and dividing Arab communities into conflicting sects only serves the Israeli regime and allows it to implement its plots for the region.

The Archbishop also asserted that just as terrorists failed in Syria and elsewhere, they will fail to undermine the Christians’ determination to remain in the Middle East, and that the Israeli regime will also fail to fragment and weaken the Palestinian people.
If Palestinian students want to bring in speaker to bash Israel, we think that is pretty much their prerogative (although it reflects badly on their judgment).

Unfortunately, this incendiary cleric was  supported and sponsored by Marquette officials.

In the first place, the Campus Ministry organizes and schedules Soup with Substance.

In the second place, the Office of International Education paid the Archbishop’s travel expenses to come to Marquette.

We find it odd that the Campus Ministry, which should be working for reconciliation among adversaries everywhere, would sponsor a speaker who demonizes one side in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

And bizarre theories about how “terrorist groups in Syria are an extension of Zionism” and Israeli “plots” are a bit odd coming from an office of Marquette.  Terrorist groups in Syria are Islamic militants, and hate Israel more than Hanna does!

This is yet another example of the insular and parochial political correctness that suffuses the Marquette bureaucracy.  When there is push back, and when Marquette gets wide and negative public attention, top officials will back off (as happened with Femsex).  But the bureaucrats remain in place, with the same politically correct attitudes, and the same culture that thinks calling Israel an “apartheid state” or a “racist state” is something that deserves official Marquette support.

Terence Miller, Director of the Office of International Studies failed to return our phone call asking for comment. Gerry Fischer, who schedules Soup With Substance for the Campus Ministry, was not immediately available for comment.

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