Auburn85

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  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/04/18/after-calling-barbara-bush-an-amazing-racist-a-professor-taunts-critics-i-will-never-be-fired/?utm_term=.93c20ea365ff In the hours after Barbara Bush died Tuesday, people from around the world began expressing their condolences and sharing their warm memories of the Bush family matriarch, even if they didn’t share her political views. Former president Bill Clinton, the man who once campaigned against her husband, called her “a remarkable woman” with “grit & grace, brains & beauty.” Another former president, Barack Obama, said she had “humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.” But a creative writing professor at Fresno State University had a message for those offering up fond remembrances: “Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal,” Randa Jarrar wrote on Twitter, according to the Fresno Bee. Jarrar’s words — and others that she used as she argued with critics during an overnight tweetstorm — sparked a backlash on social media that would soon prompt the university to distance itself from her remarks. More than 2,000 people had replied to her, the Bee reported. Many tagged Fresno State and the institution’s president, Joseph Castro, demanding that the professor be fired. According to the Bee, Jarrar taunted them, sharing a contact number that was actually that of a suicide hotline, and said she was a tenured professor who makes $100,000 a year. “I will never be fired,” she said, according to the report, which noted that Jarrar describes herself as an Arab American and a Muslim American in her Twitter messages. Jarrar did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The contact page of her website said: “I do not read or respond to messages about Barbara Bush” next to a heart emoji. People found other ways to strike back at her, though. The rating on the Amazon page for Jarrar’s book took a precipitous drop after it received a slew of bad reviews in the wake of her comments. “Prosaic, poorly-written, poor grammar, incoherent,” one reviewer said. “Will make for expensive toilet paper.” Word of her comments about Bush had also made it to her page on ratemyprofessors.com. “Jarrar’s racist rants disrupt the learning environment at Fresno,” a commenter wrote Wednesday after Jarrar’s Bush comments. “ANY other English prof would be better than this one, especially after her disrespectful comments lately. I would avoid this class at all costs, Randa makes it clear that she hates white people. Myopic views, self centered, and needs to be fired.” Fresno State responded to the controversy Tuesday evening, tweeting a statement by Castro that said that Jarrar’s words are “obviously contrary to the core values of our University” and that they “were made as a private citizen.” In a Wednesday morning news conference, Provost Lynnette Zelezny said the university had put in place “additional security,” a common action “when we feel that there’s a spotlight on us.” As the provost spoke, the points Jarrar had made about Barbara Bush were still reverberating around the Internet. She brought up, for example, Bush’s statements about the mostly black evacuees taking refuge in Houston’s Astrodome during Hurricane Katrina. Bush made statements that many viewed as insensitive after her son George W. Bush’s administration was criticized for its slow response to Katrina in 2005, according to The Washington Post’s Lois Romano. Barbara Bush told the public radio program “Marketplace” that the evacuees who’d fled their homes and were being sheltered in Houston’s Astrodome “were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” Despite Jarrar’s tweet about her tenure, her future interactions with students may be in question. In Wednesday’s news conference, Zelezny did not detail any disciplinary actions against Jarrar, saying only that the next step was to sit down with “all represented parties.” But she put to rest one of the biggest questions: Whether Jarrar’s tenure at the university meant she could say whatever she wanted on the Internet. “To answer the technical question: Can she not be fired? The answer is no.”
  2. Starbucks and Racial Profiling

    It's a great response. If one Starbucks treats African Americans like this, then it must be assumed that every Starbucks location treats African Americans the same way.
  3. I like them. I don't have them very often, but when I do, I enjoy them. I don't eat a lot of spicy food, but their spicy chicken is just right for me. As far as biscuits, I like them too. I enjoy their chicken biscuit. However, I eat the biscuit and chicken filet seperately. Weird yes, but how I roll.
  4. Personally, I'm hoping since she read excerpts of Michael Wolff's book on tv, she will read excerpts of James Comey's book on tv.
  5. Guess I'm more than a little tone deaf. Hannity is one of biggest partisan hacks out there. His love for Trump supersedes any love he's had for previous republicans. Are people now all of a sudden focusing on conflict of interest? He's always been a partisan, bias conservative. Ethics? This guy did push the Seth Rich conspiracy. Before Trump, Hannity and Fox News were biased and accused of being the arm chair of the Republican Party. Now, with Trump, they've been accused of being State run television. Yet, somehow, this revelation is supposed to be the thing that breaks the dam of Sean Hannity's ethics and conflict of interest?
  6. https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/russell-westbrook-responds-announcers-cotton-picking-comment-said-wasnt-ok-021413465.html During Wednesday’s NBA season finale between the Oklahoma City and the Memphis Grizzlies, Thunder TV announcer Brian Davis used an old Southern phrase to describe Russell Westbrook’s play. When Westbrook, who was in the midst of securing his second straight season averaging a triple-double, delivered a transition assist in traffic, Davis proclaimed that the Thunder guard was "out of his cotton- picking mind." The utterance, which has a colloquial history in Southern parlance, also has connotations to America’s history with slavery and drew immediate scorn from many on social media. On Friday, the Thunder announced that Davis would be suspended from his broadcasting job on Fox Sports Oklahoma for the team’s Game 1 playoff matchup against the Utah Jazz. Thunder vice president of broadcasting Dan Mahoney denounced Davis’ comments in an interview with the Norman Transcript. “We think obviously the use of that term was offensive and inappropriate, and I expressed that to Brian last night,” Mahoney said. “Brian assures me that it was not meant in any derogatory way, and he apologizes. But again, we feel strongly that it’s inappropriate and offensive.” Davis apologized publicly in a statement given to ESPN. “It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday’s broadcast,” Davis said. “While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation. I offer my sincere apology and realize that, while I committed a lapse in judgment, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions.” Davis met with Thunder players on Saturday to talk about the situation. Westbrook and Paul George talked about the meeting with media members. “Brian’s been here for a while,” Westbrook said. “I know him personally. Obviously what he said wasn’t OK, and we all understand that. But he definitely came in and talked to us. The team has made a decision to do what they need to do, and we just move on from it.” George said that Davis owned what he said and that the team was trying to focus on preparing for the playoffs rather than the internal controversy. “He addressed the situation,” George said. “That’s not where our focus is, what happened. He owned up. He took it head on. That’s for him and the front office to discuss. They did, so we move on. We move on. We’ve got something bigger to focus on and be worried about.” The Thunder open their series with the Jazz on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
  7. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/chick-fil-as-creepy-infiltration-of-new-york-city/amp During a recent lunch hour, I was alone on the rooftop of the largest Chick-fil-A in the world. The restaurant, on Fulton Street, is the company’s fourth in Manhattan, and it opened last month to the kind of slick, corporate-friendly fanfare that can only greet a new chain location. The first hundred customers had participated in a scavenger hunt around the financial district. At an awards ceremony, the management honored them with a year’s supply of free chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. There were no such prizes on offer when I visited, but from the fifth-floor terrace—on the top floor of the restaurant, which is twelve thousand square feet—I could see that the line to get inside stretched almost to the end of the block. An employee took orders on a touch screen and corralled people through the doors. The air smelled fried. New York has taken to Chick-fil-A. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays. Its C.E.O., Dan Cathy, has been accused of bigotry for using the company's charitable wing to fund anti-gay causes, including groups that oppose same-sex marriage. “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” he once said, “when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ” The company has since reaffirmed its intention to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect,” but it has quietly continued to donate to anti-L.G.B.T. groups. When the first stand-alone New York location opened, in 2015, a throng of protesters appeared. When a location opened in a Queens mall, in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a boycott. No such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost. Chick-fil-A’s success here is a marketing coup. Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community. I noticed that word—community—scattered everywhere in the Fulton Street restaurant. A shelf of children’s books bears a plaque testifying to “our love for this local community.” The tables are made of reclaimed wood, which creates, according to a Chick-fil-A press release, “an inviting space to build community.” A blackboard with the header “Our Community” displays a chalk drawing of the city skyline. Outside, you can glimpse an earlier iteration of that skyline on the building’s façade, which, with two tall, imperious rectangles jutting out, “gives a subtle impression of the Twin Towers.” This emphasis on community, especially in the misguided nod to 9/11, suggests an ulterior motive. The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words “to glorify God,” and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch. David Farmer, Chick-fil-A’s vice-president of restaurant experience, told BuzzFeed that he strives for a “pit crew efficiency, but where you feel like you just got hugged in the process.” That contradiction, industrial but claustral, is at the heart of the new restaurant—and of Chick-fil-A’s entire brand. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Cows. It’s impossible to overstate the role of the Cows—in official communiqués, they always take a capital “C”—that are displayed in framed portraits throughout the Fulton Street location. If the restaurant is a megachurch, the Cows are its ultimate evangelists. Since their introduction in the mid-nineties—when they began advising Atlanta motorists to “eat mor chikin”—they’ve remained one of the most popular, and most morbid, advertising campaigns in fast-food history, crucial to Chick-fil-A’s corporate culture. S. Truett Cathy, the chain’s founder and Dan Cathy’s late father, saw them as a tool to spread the gospel of chicken. In his Christian business book “Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People,” from 2002, he recalls crashing a child’s party at a Chick-fil-A in Hampton, Georgia. Brandishing a plush Cow toy before the birthday girl, he asked her, “What do the Cows say?” She looked at me, puzzled. (Remember, she was barely three.) “What do the Cows say?” I repeated. “Moo,” she replied. Everyone laughed at her pretty good answer, and I gave her a Cow and a hug and whispered the real answer to her. Then I turned to her mother and asked, “What do the Cows say?” “Eat more chicken!” her mother cried . . . then, one by one, each person quoted the Cows and laughed. Cathy died a billionaire, in 2014, but the “eat mor chikin” mantra has survived. Though the Cows have never bothered to improve their spelling, franchises still hold an annual Cow Appreciation Day, offering free food to anyone dressed as a Cow. Employees dance around in Cow suits. The company’s advertising manager doubles as its “Cow czar.” The Cows have their own calendar. (This year’s theme is “Steers of Yesteryear.”) They’ve been inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, and their Facebook following is approaching seven figures. Stan Richards, who heads the ad agency that created the Cows, the Richards Group, likened them to “a guerrilla insurgency” in his book, “The Peaceable Kingdom”: “One consumer wrote to tell us the campaign was so effective that every time he sees a field of cows he thinks of chicken. We co-opted an entire species.” It’s worth asking why Americans fell in love with an ad in which one farm animal begs us to kill another in its place. Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows’ Schadenfreude. In the portraits at the Fulton Street restaurant, the Cows visit various New York landmarks. They’re in Central Park, where “eat mor chikin” has been mowed into the lawn. They’re glimpsing the Manhattan Bridge from Dumbo, where they’ve modified a stop sign: “stop eatin burgrz.” They’re on the subway, where the advertisements . . . you get the picture. The joke is that the Cows are out of place in New York—a winking acknowledgment that Chick-fil-A, too, does not quite belong here. Its arrival in the city augurs worse than a load of manure on the F train. According to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, the number of chain restaurants in New York has doubled since 2008, crowding out diners and greasy spoons for whom the rent is too dear. Chick-fil-A, meanwhile, is set to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the nation, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. No matter how well such restaurants integrate into the “community,” they still venerate a deadening uniformity. Homogeneous food is comfort food, and chains know that their primary appeal is palliative. With ad after ad, and storefront after storefront, they have the resources to show that they’ve always been here for us, and recent trends indicate that we prefer them over anything new or untested. Defenders of Chick-fil-A point out that the company donates thousands of pounds of food to New York Common Pantry, and that its expansion creates jobs. The more fatalistic will add that hypocrisy is baked, or fried, into every consumer experience—that unbridled corporate power makes it impossible to bring your wallet in line with your morals. Still, there’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food: cleaner, gentler, and more ethical, with its poultry slightly healthier than the mystery meat of burgers. Its politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety. A representative of the Richards Group once toldAdweek, “People root for the low-status character, and the Cows are low status. They’re the underdog.” That may have been true in 1995, when Chick-fil-A was a lowly mall brand struggling to find its footing against the burger juggernauts. Today, the Cows’ “guerrilla insurgency” is more of a carpet bombing. New Yorkers are under no obligation to repeat what they say. Enough, we can tell them. NO MOR.
  8. Invited Speakers at Universities

    https://lawandcrime.com/first-amendment/josh-blackman-cuny-law-students-****-the-law/ Law Students Shout ‘F–k the Law’ While Disrupting Free Speech Lecture Associate Professor at the South Texas College of Law in HoustonJosh Blackman‘s visit to City University of New York (CUNY) to speak on the topics of originalism and “The Importance of Free Speech on Campus” was met with protests by law students yelling things like “**** the law.” One woman could even be seen holding up a sign in one hand saying “Your legal analysis is lazy and wrong” and another saying “**** off” in her other hand. Blackman put up a lengthy blog post on Thursday, he said, in an attempt to “recount the events that led up to the protest” on March 29, and to provide some details about the things he encountered during the protest. He also included a video that you can watch above. The protests happen mostly in the first eight minutes. But before we go deeper, some context. Blackman was invited to the school by the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies (FedSoc) chapter at CUNY to speak on originalism. FedSoc is a nonprofit with a conservative and libertarian bent, which “place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.” He said that three days before the speech, the president of the FedSoc chapter said “enraged students” were planning a protest because “they saw a few of your writings (specifically a National Review article praising Sessions for rescinding DACA and ACA)” and assumed he was a racist. That student did say that, despite the anger, the school still supported the event. Blackman showed up anyway, but as soon as arrived he was greeted by “several dozen students,” he said, booing, hissing and chanting “shame on you.” Some of the other phrases included “Legal objectivity is a myth” and “He’s a white supremacist.” Eventually a school administrator walked in and told the students they can protest, but can’t keep Blackman from speaking. When a student responded “Why are you not providing support for students affected by this hate speech,” the administration said “Did you hear me?” The student then complained that they were be spoken to like children. “We are not children. You can’t talk to us like that,” the student said. Eventually Blackman elicited gasps from students when he said “I actually support the DREAM Act.” “Were I a member of Congress, I would vote for the DREAM Act. My position is that the policy itself was not consistent with the rule of law,” he said. Not long after someone shouted the “**** the law.” “A student shouted out ‘**** the law.’ This comment stunned me. I replied, ‘**** the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school,'” Blackman wrote. Law&Crime reached out to Blackman for comment about the “**** the law” moment. He said that this was the only response he got when he tried to dialogue on a legal question and expressed worry about the future of the legal profession. “When I tried to engage the protestors on a legal question, their only response was ‘**** the Law.’ This incident was bizarre,” he said. “If law students can’t engage in reasoned argumentation, then I worry for the future of our profession.” When asked for his thoughts on the “Your legal analysis is lazy and wrong” sign, he said, “I actually like the ‘lazy’ sign. I thought it was hilarious!” Blackman went on to write that he later learned protesting students moved from the classroom to the Dean’s Office to complain. He said he didn’t end up using his prepared remarks and answered questions instead, though he was called a “cuck” by an apparent Donald Trump supporter before his day was done.
  9. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/03/29/coffee-cancer-warning-label-california/472146002/ LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles judge has determined that coffee companies must carry an ominous cancer warning label because of a chemical produced in the roasting process. Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that Starbucks and other companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks. He ruled in an earlier phase of trial that companies hadn’t shown the threat from the chemical was insignificant. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group, sued Starbucks and 90 other companies under a state law that requires warnings on a wide range of chemicals that can cause cancer. One is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee. “Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving … that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health,” Berle wrote in his proposed ruling. The coffee industry had claimed the chemical was present at harmless levels and should be exempt from the law because it results naturally from the cooking process that makes beans flavorful. It also argued coffee was good for the body. The ruling came despite eased concerns in recent years about the possible dangers of coffee, with some studies finding health benefits. In 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer – the cancer agency of the World Health Organization – moved coffee off its “possible carcinogen” list. The lawsuit was brought under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, passed by voters in 1986. It allows private citizens, advocacy groups and attorneys to sue on behalf of the state and collect a portion of civil penalties. The law has been credited with reducing chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects, such as lead in hair dyes, mercury in nasal sprays and arsenic in bottled water. But it’s also been widely criticized for abuses by lawyers shaking down businesses for quick settlements. “Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage,” said William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association, in reaction to the decision. He argued the lawsuit “does nothing to improve public health.” The lawsuit has been brewing for eight years and is still not over. A third phase of trial will determine civil penalties of up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years, an astronomical figure in a state of 40 million that appears unlikely to be imposed. Attorney Raphael Metzger, who brought the lawsuit and drinks a few cups of coffee daily, wants the industry to remove the chemical from its process. Coffee companies have said that’s not feasible. “Getting it out is better for public health than leaving it in and warning people,” he said. Metzger’s client brought a similar case later taken up by the state attorney general that resulted in potato-chip makers agreeing in 2008 to pay $3 million and remove acrylamide from their products. The chip-makers opted to do that rather than post-cancer warnings like those that are found, and largely ignored, throughout California. Parking garages have signs warning of chemical dangers that can cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. They note carbon monoxide and gas and diesel exhaust is present and that people should not linger longer than necessary. Many coffee companies have already posted warnings saying acrylamide is found in coffee. However, many are posted in places not easily visible like below counters where cream and sugar are available. The judge has given the defense a couple weeks to file objections to the proposed ruling before he makes it final. California judges can reverse their tentative rulings, but rarely do. About a dozen of the defendants in the case have previously settled and agreed to post warnings, Metzger said. With some defendants dismissed or affiliated with larger companies about 50 defendants remain. Among the latest to settle was 7-Eleven, which agreed to pay $900,000. BP West Coast Products, which operates gas station convenience stores, agreed to pay $675,000. Even at Starbucks shops where the labels are posted, many coffee drinkers are unaware of them. Afternoon coffee drinkers at one shop in Los Angeles said they might look into the warning or give drinking coffee a second thought, but the cup of joe was likely to win out. “I just don’t think it would stop me,” said Jen Bitterman, a digital marketing technologist. “I love the taste, I love the ritual, I love the high, the energy, and I think I’m addicted to it.” Darlington Ibekwe, a lawyer in Los Angeles, said a cancer warning would be annoying but wouldn’t stop him from treating himself to three lattes a week.
  10. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/03/28/no-trump-buyers/ SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento area home is up for sale, but it comes with a catch. The homeowner has a political preference in mind for the next owner of her house, which has been in her family for decades. “She entertained people from all walks of life,” said the homeowner who asked we not use her name for fear of retaliation. “I told her [the realtor] that I didn’t want her to sell it to a Trump supporter,” said the woman. She wants a sale contingent upon how someone votes, but is that legal? Attorney Allen Sawyer doesn’t believe so. “That’s an unlawful contractual term that infringes the freedom of association and first amendment rights,” said Sawyer. But that doesn’t prevent a seller from discussing this kind of request during a sale. “We can ask somebody how they voted, but they don’t have to tell us,” said realtor Elizabeth Weintraub. She says the “no Trump supporter” request is a first for her. According to the Fair Housing Act, political party affiliation doesn’t fall into one of the seven protected classes. They include race, religion, color, disability. National origin, sex and familial status. “People have a right to believe what they want to believe and they shouldn’t be restricted from purchasing property based on that,” said Sawyer. Despite the legal issues, certified appraiser Ryan Lundquist says the seller may be limiting the pool of potential buyers. “39 percent of voters voted for Donald Trump in the Sacramento region. That’s an absolute fact,” said Lundquist. To this homeowner, that may not matter. She says the point is more important than the money. "When you're talking about principals, morals, and ethics, it's very very deep," said the homeowner.
  11. Republicans Are Becoming Less Educated

    It has to be frustrating for them to deal with all the poorly educated on this board.
  12. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/03/a-planned-parenthood-branch-did-a-stupid-tweet-about-disney-princesses-and-abortion-and-now-well-never-hear-the-end-of-it.html "A Planned Parenthood center in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, is catching flack for tweeting on Tuesday morning, “We need a Disney princess who’s had an abortion.” The tweet was a riff on one of this week’s big Twitter memes, in which users have been making increasingly Dadaist requests for a greater variety of Disney role models for young girls. According to various tweets, we not only need Disney princesses who are fat—as the tweet that seems to have started it all recommended—but those who drink boxed wine, tend to marijuana plants, and act out the lyrics of various songs by Vanessa Carlton, Cake, and the Killers. Planned Parenthood Keystone tried to get in on the action in a clumsy manner typical of institutions that try to shoehorn some on-brand messaging into silly memes. Its full tweet also called for Disney princesses who are transgender, undocumented, pro-choice, and union workers. The spirit of the tweet is understandable. In a perfect world, entertainment marketed to girls would reflect the diversity of the audience, with representations of broader spectrums of race, class, ability, body type, and gender identity. But, of course, it’s absurd to expect Disney princesses to cover every possible identity and life experience, especially when their rudimentary storylines usually hinge on magic, not potentially traumatic experiences like dealing with the threat of deportation or an unintended teen pregnancy. Still, this is a bad look for a reproductive rights organization that has long had to defend itself against bogus claims that it encourages little girls to have promiscuous sex and get abortions! Even if we accept that it would be good for young people to learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights in positive, nonthreatening ways, a tweet advocating for Disney to make a movie about an abortion is a very bad PR move for a group that is perpetually in the crosshairs of politicians hungry for excuses to roll back women’s rights. News outlets are already conflating Planned Parenthood itself with the smaller Pennsylvania outpost that posted the bad tweet. Fox News has rolled the tweet into at least one performatively aghast segment that could have been written by a right-wing neural network. And Donald Trump Jr. has predictably inserted himself into the mess, prompting Trump fans to tweet things like, “We need a Disney princess who has children and is happily married to their father,” and, “We need a Disney princess who immigrated here legally.” (That last one would actually be pretty OK—any immigrant Disney princess would still be new ground for the series.) Planned Parenthood Keystone’s president and CEO said in a statement that the group was trying to “make a point about the importance of telling stories that challenge stigma,” but that “upon reflection, we decided that the seriousness of the point we were trying to make was not appropriate for the subject matter or context.” The organization has since deleted the tweet, but mourn not: Its spirit will live on forever in the right-wing memory. "
  13. Invited Speakers at Universities

    http://www.startribune.com/ben-shapiro-barred-from-st-olaf-during-protest-anniversary/477799223/ Ben Shapiro barred from St. Olaf College during protest anniversary St. Olaf College is defending its decision to bar a conservative activist from speaking on campus in April, saying it was a matter of poor timing. The college said it would be “inappropriate” to bring Ben Shapiro, a controversial author and podcast host, to the Northfield campus on April 23 because the date coincided with the anniversary of anti-racism protests that swept the campus last year. The reasoning didn’t go over well with the students who invited Shapiro, or Shapiro himself. “What’s the connection?” asked Kathryn Hinderaker, a conservative student leader who led the effort to bring Shapiro to campus. The protests, she noted, were sparked by reports of students receiving racist notes, one of which turned out to be a hoax. “There shouldn’t be any reason he can’t come in on this specific date,” she said. Shapiro, who has drawn protests at campuses across the country for his provocative views, dismissed St. Olaf’s argument as “nonsense.” “I fail to understand why exactly my presence on campus has anything to do with a racial hoax,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. He spoke at the University of Minnesota in February, drawing protesters. Shapiro is a Harvard Law School graduate who delights in mocking liberal politics. Among his books: “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans,” and “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.” Carl Crosby Lehmann, the college’s vice president and general counsel, said there was no intention to link Shapiro to last year’s incident. “We nonetheless believe his appearance on our campus at that time would have been counterproductive,” he said. “I don’t think it’s debatable that he is a divisive person.” Hinderaker, a junior, said she began working with college officials in December to arrange Shapiro’s April appearance. She said the speech was being funded by Turning Point USA, a national group for conservative students. But about a week before the contract was to be finalized in February, she said, she learned that the college would not agree to the scheduled date. “We are open to having Mr. Shapiro speak at St. Olaf,” Lehmann told her in a Feb. 13 e-mail. But “having him here during the anniversary of last year’s protests is not appropriate.” He asked her to explore other times. “Can we look at dates next winter or spring?” Hinderaker says she was told that Shapiro had no other available dates in 2018, although the college believed otherwise. She appealed her case to David R. Anderson, the college president, and launched an e-mail campaign to try to reverse St. Olaf’s decision. In an e-mail reply, Anderson wrote on Feb. 15: “I share your interest in ensuring that diverse viewpoints are expressed on our campus, including the perspectives of conservative speakers like Mr. Shapiro.” But the scheduled date, he said, “is at a time that coincides with the anniversary of last year’s protests. This is deeply concerning. Our campus is still healing from that experience.” Last April, students staged sit-ins and protests after a series of racist notes and graffiti were reported on campus. On April 29, a black student reported that she had found a threatening note on the windshield of her car, and two days later, the college canceled classes after students threatened a boycott and took over the administration building. A week later, college officials announced that the last note had been exposed as a hoax. The other incidents are still under investigation, Lehmann said. Since then, St. Olaf has formed a working group to address the concerns that led to the unrest. “The protest made us take stock of how we as a college make students of different cultures, races, socio-economic backgrounds, and beliefs feel not only welcome, but included,” the college said in a statement Friday. “We hope that the anniversary of last year will be an opportunity to bring the campus closer together and not to divide us further apart.” The college has offered to find another time to bring Shapiro to campus, Lehmann said. “For us, this has always been just about the timing,” he said. Hinderaker, though, believes there was more to it. “It’s absolutely their right to say no, but I don’t think that means we should let them get away with that,” she said. “I want to go to a college that promotes the free discussion of ideas. That’s the college I thought I was going to.”