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Competence, Cultural and Other

Last Friday, the following missive (sent, I believe, to the entire George Mason University “community”) landed in my inbox:

Dear Patriots,

Racism has no place at George Mason University.

We are not isolated from race-related incidents occurring across the nation. Just last evening, a racially offensive image was found in one of our residence halls. The image was demeaning, dehumanizing, and unfit for our community. University authorities are investigating this incident.

But the work of our community must go beyond dealing with specific incidents. It is everyone’s responsibility to create and sustain an environment that affirms and supports every member of this community so that we can thrive together.

That students of color are speaking up, speaking out, and raising serious concerns on their campuses underscores the continued need for dialogue followed by action.

Students, faculty, and staff at George Mason University are expressing similar concerns as conversations about campus climate, classroom environment, cultural competence, and recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color are on the minds of many.

These dialogues are important to have. I don’t expect they will be easy, but we will create a stronger campus community by having them and taking action as a result. I am working with my leadership team to develop a series of dialogues to inform appropriate policies and actions.

I encourage you to actively engage in this work.

Ángel Cabrera

Mr. Cabrera is GMU’s President. To the extent that I understand his sycophantic burble, I hope it doesn’t apply to the law school. For starters, he has not a word to say of free speech and inquiry, which is what we practice. We don’t have to be told that “racism has no place at GMU”; but no, I myself do not practice “affirmation.” Students deserve, and get, my respect and my support in preparing them for the bar exam and for legal practice. They paid for it; I’m contractually and morally obligated to deliver, which means I’ll get in their faces. Law is a “dialogue” alright; but it involves a bit of contentiousness, in class and around it. Even my syllabus contains a lot of stuff that’s “demeaning and dehumanizing.” Like Dred Scott, up next week. I invite President Cabrera and his diversity team to attend the class, to investigate whether it’s “culturally competent” and I have “actively engaged” in his agenda.

Apropos which: it would be competent for a university president to speak up when a highly paid faculty member publicly demands a federal criminal investigation of people who have voiced “misleading” opinions about climate change. This circus act made national news, in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. Its ringleader is GMU professor Jagadish Shukla. In my view this is damaging to GMU’s brand. Any word from President Cabrera? Nope.

Our president promises unspecified “action.” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that: the words are bad enough.

Reader Discussion

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on November 15, 2015 at 21:18:29 pm

Dr. Greve, please tread lightly as your rational no nonsense statements may trigger a micro-aggression. Hopefully someone on the "leadership team" will mention the First Amendment...hope springs eternal, but a strategy it is not. These colleges and universities are ceding ground quickly to these student hijackers. And I was concerned about Ebola...please.

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Image of Carl Brizzi
Carl Brizzi
on November 15, 2015 at 22:59:41 pm
Image of David R. Henderson
David R. Henderson
on November 16, 2015 at 03:50:12 am

In their "long march through the institutions" the Left has employed "Cultural Marxist" tactics to take over our culture and then proceed to divide and conquer the ideas of our Founding Father's Constitution. This includes the destruction of individual and property rights to be replaced with "group rights." The concept of a 1st Amendment "right to free speech" has been replaced in the "public mind," especially in the land of Academia,with the idea of "politically correct" speech as outlined within the concepts of Marxist Class warfare. This war on individual thinking has taken place over the past several decades not only in Academia but in the Public Schools,in the Main Stream Media,in Hollywood,on TV and in the Arts in general. The sad part of the story is that the Left is winning this "cultural war" to the extent that truly free speech,as well as thought,is being driven out of the halls of Academia and supplanted completely with collectivist thoughts and ideas. Along with this "cleansing" of free thought will be the "cleansing" of the Conservatives and Libertarians that preach them. It brings up pictures of Germany during the Nazi era in which books that didn't conform to the Nazi ideas of society were tossed on the burning pyres by "politically correct" professors and students throughout the universities and colleges of the Third Reich and,at the same time,the professors that didn't agree with the Nazi decrees watched their careers destroyed and turned into ashes along with the books being burnt.

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Image of libertarian jerry
libertarian jerry
on November 16, 2015 at 10:14:05 am

Another example:

From those to whom much has been given will come demands for more.

The so-called "Vision Statement" of GMU, trite as it is, contains nothing in the strain of:

"Students, faculty, and staff at George Mason University are expressing similar concerns as conversations about campus climate, classroom environment, cultural competence, and recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color are on the minds of many." Dogma!

Those are matters for the Rector (Tom Davis) and Board of Visitors, unless they care to have their position usurped as has happened at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville). Is another institution to fall to usurpation of authority by dogmaticists?

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Image of R Richard Schweizter
R Richard Schweizter
on November 16, 2015 at 11:39:28 am

How and when did higher education administration in America become completely captured by knaves, fools, and cowards? Where is S.I. Hayakawa when you need him?

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Image of Mark Pulliam
Mark Pulliam
on November 16, 2015 at 14:34:33 pm

It began (and continues as) the function of academic "administration" changed (and changes) to serve "clients" rather than learning objectives.

Consider the probable basis for the selection of this "President" by the Board of Visitors of GMU.

You are indeed right to invoke that scholar of semiotics, for what we have here and in much of academia is one chosen as a symbol; and acting accordingly..

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Image of R Richard Schweizter
R Richard Schweizter

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.