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Berkeley Administrators Put in Difficult Spot Amid Free Speech Concerns

The campus at the University of California, Berkeley has been embroiled in more unrest and general agitation that at any time since the 1960s. It was then that the fledgling Free Speech Movement was born out of radical student activists seeking to redress grievances, including the criminal war being waged in Vietnam.

Yet recently, it seems that the spirit of student activism has taken a completely 180 degree turn. While the student activists of today may look, at least in form, as their counterparts of the ’60s, they certainly do not resemble them in function. The new student activists seem to be, more than anything, against free speech. This is richly ironic, coming from the very birthplace of the movement bearing free speech in its name.

Nevertheless, one of the unrecognized victims of this upheaval is the administration of the college itself. In a recent op-ed, Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, describes the difficult balancing act that he and his fellow administrators across the nation must skillfully execute. The case of the most recent planned speech of Ann Coulter is exemplary.

Ms. Coulter was scheduled to speak. The university could not guarantee the safety of all participants in the usual venues afforded to speakers, so she was offered a secure off-campus location in which to give her talk. She declined, saying the university was deliberately discriminating against her because of her viewpoint. She would have been forced to use a distant venue at a time when most students were not present.

The university attempted to negotiate with her but ultimately, she cancelled her speech. She then threatened to show up and give the talk anyway. This panicked the administration, which would have had to provide up to 100 police, costing tens of thousands. Ultimately, even that speech was cancelled. The university is currently being sued by a student group as a result of the final cancellation of the talk.

Berkeley Free Speech Woes Are Microcosm of U.S. Universities

The University of California, Berkeley has had a tumultuous year. Multiple episodes of speakers being denied a platform on campus have led to an outcry from student groups and free speech activists across the nation. Masked rioters have spurred on counter rioters, who have shown up to some events on campus and in the town of Berkeley itself willing to do battle on behalf of freedom of speech. At times, these demonstrations have devolved into street brawls.

This atmosphere, almost revolutionary in character, has loomed over the recently planned speech that was to have been given by right-leaning author Ann Coulter. At first, the University declined to allow Ms. Coulter to speak in the usual venues and at the usual times that other speakers use due to concerns over unmanageable disruptions and potential violence. Ms. Coulter declined the university’s offer to speak at an off-campus location at a time when most students were not attending classes, claiming that the university was intentionally attempting to stifle her ability to reach a new audience.

There was a series of negotiations between Ms. Coulter and the university’s administration. But these ended at an impasse. Eventually, Ms. Coulter vowed to give her speech in the center of campus anyway, despite being warned not to do so by the college administration. But this put the university itself in a tricky position. It would still be responsible for any unrest or injuries that occurred to students, whether or not it had extended permission to Ms. Coulter to speak. But finally, amid increasing threats of violence from far-left radicals, the organization that had originally invited Ms. Coulter, the Berkeley College Republicans, rescinded its invitation to her. The University of California, Berkeley is, as a result, currently being sued in federal court by a student group claiming that its right to hear Ms. Coulter has been infringed.

Tough Questions for University Administors: Pay the Price or Risk Reputation?

The American university system has recently been beset with a series of contentious incidents involving the ability of speakers to present their arguments before the student bodies. From Berkeley to Middlebury, riots have erupted and egos have been bruised where simple college talks, which in times past would have gone off without a hitch, have become battlegrounds for hyper-polarized students and outside agitators.

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t

For administrators like Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, being notified by a student group that the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos or Ann Coulter have been invited to your campus can put you squarely between a rock and a hard place.

Both of those misfortunes have befallen Mr. Dirks, who once again made headlines recently when the planned speech of Ann Coulter, a right wing author, was cancelled amid threats of violence and unrest. Mr. Dirks contends that he did everything he could. But Ms. Coulter first ended up voluntarily cancelling her speech because she would not have been allowed to address students in any of the usual campus venues normally afforded to speakers. Mr. Dirks responds that the refusal to allow Ms. Coulter to use the usual venues was a result of simply not being able to guarantee the safety and security of anyone in attendance.

Even so, Mr. Dirks offered Ms. Coulter an alternate venue at an alternate time. Even this, had she agreed to accept it, would have cost the university tens of thousands of dollars as a result of being forced to hire an additional 100 policemen to keep the peace. Ultimately, the invitation for Ms. Coulter to speak was rescinded by the group that had originally invited her after it received continued threats of violence.

The university is currently facing a lawsuit from a student group alleging 1st Amendment violations.

University Administrators Walk Fine Line With Student Demonstrations

Universities throughout the United States have been recently besieged by a flurry of student demonstrations against causes ranging from unpopular speakers on campus to perceived unfairness against different identity groups. While such disturbances are nothing new to the U.S. higher education system, a system with a long and storied career of student activism, the tone, intensity and often the message of the new wave of activism is something that is largely unprecedented.

Mizzou looms large in every administrator’s mind

Recently, Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of University of California, Berkeley, wrote an op-ed where he attempted to clear the air and describe the travails he faces as an administrator who, on the one hand, is making every effort to protect the rights of students to speak and hear others speak but who also has a college to run, with a finite budget and real-world business considerations. Perhaps more than any other recent event, these episodes have brought into focus the challenging job that administrators face while running complex publicly funded organizations that nevertheless rely heavily on attracting the brightest students.

One event that has put things into stark relief for administrators facing potential student unrest is the case of the University of Missouri. In 2016, a liberal Mizzou professor was fired for speech that she believed was both protected and appropriate. Still, this was not enough for some Mizzou student activists. They created a huge uproar on campus, nearly leading to the cancellation of the entire football season. The melee drove a deluge of negative publicity about the school.

In addition to facing a million-dollar lawsuit filed by the former teacher, the University’s enrollment dropped by almost 30 percent the following semester. If Mizzou is unable to make up for that shortfall, the entire University could face bankruptcy within a few, short years. It is nightmare scenarios like this that keep college deans up at night.

American Universities Grapple with Limits of Free Speech

Over the last two years, American universities have been besieged by a polarized social and political climate that has brought to the forefront various serious questions about the role that institutions of higher education, especially those receiving public funding dollars, should have in guaranteeing free speech.

Recently, these issues have once again been thrust into the national spotlight with the events surrounding a planned speech by right-wing author Ann Coulter on the Campus of the University of California, Berkely. The author has been unafraid to take controversial positions over her career, a move that has served her well, propelling many of her books to rank on the New York Times bestseller list.

But the current questions are not ones of political viewpoint or soundness of arguments. Ms. Coulter forced to withdraw from her planned speaking engagement when the University was unable to accommodate her in a suitable venue and her original sponsors, the Berkeley College Republicans, simultaneously withdrew their invitation, amid fears of violence. The irony is that Berkeley was the birthplace of the so-called Free Speech Movement, a movement started in the 1960s, partially with the aim of promoting the ability of all speakers, no matter their viewpoints, to be permitted access to America’s university campuses.

This latest cancellation of a speaker at Berkeley comes amid a series of similar incidents. Last year, another speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, also characterized as conservative, was likewise denied a platform at the college. That time, however, his speech was cut short by rioters who had apparently come from off-campus solely for the purpose of disrupting Mr. Yiannopoulos’ speech.

This has raised questions as to the responsibilities Berkeley itself has to guarantee a platform to all speakers. Conservative activists have pointed to the multiple instances of speakers being denied as evidence that the college administration is biased in favor of more liberal speakers.

Better Opportunities Thanks to Betsy DeVos

From the time that she first started her career, Betsy DeVos has been working to put the education of children back into the hands of parents and teachers. She knows that, up until the point where governments took over, education was something that was made better for children and not for any type of special interest groups. She also knows that it is something that needs to be handled by parents and by people who actually care about the education of the children. Since the beginning, this has been the platform that she has stood on and it is something that has given her the chance to be able to see that there are more opportunities aside from just sending children to public school and hoping for the best. It is also something that she has been able to try so that she can make sure that things are being handled in the right way for children all around the country. Thanks to DeVos, parents now have options for their children.

In the past, children were simply sent to public school or private school if they could afford it. There was a huge gap in the way that things were able to be handled and the education level that the children had when they were done with school. It caused a lot of problems and Betsy DeVos knew that it would continue to be a problem unless someone did something about it. She stepped up and stepped in to make education a better option for everyone. Children no longer had to go to public school just because they couldn’t afford private. Read more news on Cleveland.com.

While DeVos did a lot of philanthropic work surrounding children and the options that their parents had for school, she also worked to make sure that things were better for these children. The idea of charter schools, which was led by Betsy DeVos was something that created an entirely new opportunity for children and for parents who didn’t want to have to choose between a private and a public school. It gave her the chance to show people that there was more to life than just choosing one option.

Despite the things that happened during the time that she was working with charities and to create opportunities for children, Betsy DeVos did what she could to show people that they had opportunities. She also wanted to make sure that everyone knew what they were doing and that they were going to be able to choose new things for the children that they had in their care. It was an option that nobody had heard of and was something that DeVos created for other children who needed a better education. Visit: http://www.betsydevos.com/

New York’s Elite High School Admissions Raises Questions Of Fairness

Throughout the United States, most school districts have one or perhaps two high schools. Attendance at these is determined solely on the basis of where the students live. This is the model that, perhaps, 90 percent of the nation’s students are familiar with. But there is also a network, less familiar to many, of elite prep schools, where the very rich and well-connected send their children. These are the stomping grounds of families such as the Rockefellers and Bushes. A diploma all but guarantees the student’s choice of admissions into the most elite universities in the country.

 

However, in some cities, like New York, the public schools themselves offer an equivalent level of exclusivity to some of the best-performing members of the student body. In the case of New York, the city operates eight elite high schools. These have records of student placement at top universities that rival some of the most elite boarding schools in the country. A ticket into one of these hallowed institutions is all but a guarantee, for a smart and hardworking student, of being accepted into the likes of Stanford, Caltech or Yale.

 

 

The Asian Dilemma

 

But New York has quickly found itself grappling with the idea that not all forms of diversity are desirable. As the school district has increasingly found the elite admissions process dominated by East Asians, administrators have tried to prevent the ever widening and disproportionate gap between Asian academic excellence and black and Latino academic failure. Together, blacks and Latinos make up 68 percent of the total student population of the district, but they only represent 9 percent of the students accepted to elite schools. And it’s even worse than this at first appears. That’s because district administrators have been expending great resources to make sure more blacks and Latino take the admissions exams and are adequately prepared to pass them. Despite these efforts, the number of blacks and Latinos qualified for admission into the city’s elite high schools has actually fallen. They’ve simply proven no match for the unrelenting industriousness and innate talent of the Asian newcomers.

 

Diversity Compromised As New York’s Elite Schools Come Under Fire

New York’s school district has long had a few elite schools where the absolute top members of its student body can flower, unencumbered by their lower performing peers. Today, the eight schools that makes up the district’s cream of the crop allow only about 5,000 students, in total, to get in. This is taken from a total student body of over 1,000,000. At just a half a percent, these schools are as elite as some of the most exclusive boarding schools in the country.

 

 

Seeing crimson on the road to Harvard

 

The eight elite schools are such an ironclad guarantee of future accomplishment and admission to some of the nation’s most storied universities that the admissions process has become one of the most competitive in the country. But this meritocratic meat grinder has left the road to the ruling class strewn with diversity’s discards. It seems that, when set to compete with groups who are both innately talented and hard-driven as a thoroughbred race horse, the less academically inclined suffer the consequences.

 

The case of New York’s schools has followed the same general pattern seen throughout the United States. That pattern involves hard-working Asians, most of whom come from countries in East Asia with the highest national IQs in the world, displacing native Americans throughout the nation’s most prestigious universities by outcompeting them on contests of pure merit.

 

In the case of New York’s elite schools, the hardest hit by this Asian academic tsunami have been the nation’s historically oppressed and marginalized groups, blacks and Latinos. Throughout the New York City Public School District, Latinos and blacks make up over 68 percent of the student body but just 9 percent of that of the eight elite schools. Contrarily, Asians make up just a microscopic fraction of the overall student population but dominate the elite schools utterly, comprising a full 52 percent of their students.

 

These stark disparities have been decried by proponents of diversity as being woefully unfair. However, those defending the outrageously disproportionate numbers point out that the sheer size of the disparities mean that, to accommodate diversity, standards would have to be lowered so radically that the elite schools would lose all academic credibility.

 

 

Asian Dominance of Admissions to Elite Schools Raises Questions of Fairness

What is the nature of fairness? This is the fundamental question that New York Public Schools administrators are grappling with, as Asian dominance of the admissions process comes into the public spotlight in yet another venue.

 

 

The Tiger’s Claw Rips Ungoverned

 

Asians have long dominated admissions to the top-tier U.S. universities. This has led to considerable push back from administrators, who have been alarmed at the increasingly monolithic sea of East Asians that have populated the student bodies of such elite institutions as Stanford, Caltech and Harvard. This effort to reduce the number of qualified Asians who are ultimately accepted into the country’s top institutions has led to shocking discrimination against Asians and violations of the meritocratic ideals of these elite colleges in favor of “holistic” or subjective admissions approaches.

 

This has led to vigorous debate over the ironic role of discrimination in ensuring fairness. Since, by most definitions of the word fair, discrimination is ipso facto antithetical to any notion of fairness, it follows that discrimination cannot be permitted in ensuring fairness. But here, special meanings take precedence over common usage. In diverse settings, where one group excels at the direct expense of another, the term fairness can often be applied to mean equality of outcomes. In some instances, this is a perfectly reasonable, even uncontroversial interpretation of fairness. One example where this may be seen is in feeding hungry children. No halfway compassionate person wants to see children starve. Even though there are huge, demonstrable disparities between the life circumstances and what led to them of impoverished children and those who spend their summers at the country club pool, basic fairness dictates that these children at least have full stomachs when they go to school in the morning.

 

However, such formulations begin to take on a different, more menacing hue when applied to areas where meritocracy is clearly desirable. For example, no one wants to fly on a jetliner whose engine was designed by a completely unqualified charity hire. In this case, the MIT grad should be qualified above all other things and to their exclusion, if necessary.

Is Asian Dominance of Elite NY Schools a Product of High IQ?

Asians have long dominated American academics. This has been most notable in the area of elite college admissions. As documented by Ron Unz, Asian Americans have become one of the most discriminated against minorities in the history of U.S. education, far surpassing even the overt discrimination that Jews experienced in the early part of the 20th century. Even so, Asians still dominate the ranks of students at places such as Standford and Caltech. This dominance is in spite of the vast discrimination they face in the admissions process at those very institutions.

 

 

The Asian tiger awakens in New York City high schools

 

Recently, questions over Asian academic dominance have come up regarding New York City’s eight elite high schools. Asians have become increasingly dominant at these schools, pushing out other more historically oppressed minorities. This has raised serious concerns among district administrators, who are unable to meet diversity quotas for the city’s top schools.

 

However, this also raises the same questions that Mr. Unz has uncovered in his reporting. Among the top five IQ countries in the world, all are East Asian. Since many Asian Americans are either first generation immigrants or children or grandchildren of immigrants, it follows that these populations may actually be even more stringently selected from an already high IQ group. This means that they will naturally dominate any academic setting into which they are placed. This would be all well and good. However, elite schools are not a positive-sum game. With limited classroom seats, for every Asian that is admitted, one black or Latino is necessarily excluded. This affront to the fundamental tenets of diversity has caused much consternation among academicians throughout the United States.

 

In the case of New York, even giving blacks and Latinos radically favorable treatment, to the detriment of Asians, has had no discernible effect. The vast gaps persist. The only thing that has been shown to actually work is radical group-specific lowering of standards. But critics of this course strenuously warn against it. They claim that, at worst, it could lower the standards of elite institutions so far that they lose all prestige.