Friday, November 28, 2008

Dankprofessor: SIU Ban on Relationships is "Bad"

FreeU attracted the attention of the dankprofessor who critiqued SIU's proposed ban on consensual relationships.

[MODERATOR: The administration's proposal is a flat-out ban--no "ifs, ands, or buts." What does one do with those married and in a "power differential?" Presumably they need not divorce. Ah, but what of gay couples? Will they have to sign one of those domestic partner forms the university issues to "married-like" gay spouses? Furthermore, where does one find life partners, straight or gay? At work, of course, so my recommendation to any one hired at SIU-C is "BYOS." Bring Your Own Spouse before you place your boots on Saluki ground.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Faculty Senate Goes Halfway on Sexual Harassment

On November 19th, the Daily Egyptian reported on the Faculty Senate's recommended changes to the proposed new sexual harassment code. Kudos to Vice President Mary Lamb and the other senators who demanded changes to the proposed code. Although their input is purely advisory, the Senators sent a strong message that the lack of due process is intolerable. The recommendations deal almost exclusively with due process:
Faculty Senate's Amendments

1. Due process rights shall be afforded to all parties.
2. A Sexual Harassment Review Board shall be formed to work with the compliance officer.
3. A person shall be banned only if he or she poses an immediate threat.
4. Judicial Review board members may be appointed to the Sexual Harassment Panel for cases
involving faculty.
5. The accused shall be notified about the complaint within five working days.
6. The accused and complainant shall have access to a redacted version of the preliminary
investigative report.
7. The accused and complainant shall have the right to appeal and present their own cases.
8. The Sexual Harassment Panel shall submit a report to the chancellor.
9. Records of cases shall be kept under strict confidentiality.
10. The definition of sexual harassment shall be consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act.
This is progress but the Faculty Senate only went halfway. The overly broad definition of "sexual" harassment still includes everything but the kitchen sink, and still intrudes on the classroom.

The new code expands the definition of "sexual" harassment and adds to the laundry list of possible infractions. This is precisely the kind of "chilling" approach that the Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education) rebuked several years ago. The code's definition allows accusers to claim "hostile environment" in the face of innocent quips, humor, gestures, and "sexually-explicit" material that is "inappropriate." It extends the code to on and off-campus activities. I went over this ground in my "Open Letter."

If you think it can't happen here, it has happened here and on many other campuses. For example, I am currently reading Todd Tucker's Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. This book examines a proud moment in anti-Klan activism, yet simply reading that book got one student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue into trouble ("a shop steward told Sampson that reading a book about the KKK was like bringing pornography to work").

I agree 100% with fellow civil libertarians, and the Faculty Senate, on the need for due process. Amen, I say, Amen! But nearly all these spurious allegations, treated ever so seriously, need to be short circuited at the definition stage. An administrator may dismiss such nonsense at the outset but there is no guarantee.

As our Founding Fathers noted when constructing the Constitution, if men (or women) were angels there would be no need for limits on government. That applies to university administrators who have every incentive to respond to each harassment charge that comes their way.

Let's draft a precise definition that deals with actual sexual harassment. That is something we can all agree upon. Anything less is unjust, anything more is cause for mischief.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"LQC": Lipstick on a pig, Part 3

On Thursday, September 25 and Friday, Oct 3, we wrote in this space about the formidable Victoria Valle, assistant vice Chancellor for enrollment management. We noted that Ms. Valle had been around the block a few times, having gotten a paycheck from perhaps 10 academic institutions. We also mentioned that Valle's big idea for recruiting students was to put out a full color brochure extolling the wonders of what she calls "Southern".

We said it was like "Putting Lipstick on a Pig".

The enrollment issues at SIUC are well known and no amount of money thrown at overpaid bureaucrats like Valle will make a difference. We noted the plagiarism scandal, the 6 interim and fired chancellors since 1999, a bizarre Marxist Dean in Communications who drove off a world class faculty, not to mention the events surrounding Cal Meyers and John Simon.

Well, Ms. Valle the chickens are coming home to roost. In today's
Southern Illinoisan Interim Chancellor Samuel Goldman said that "Spring enrollment numbers look weak". How weak are they?
"Preliminary numbers show decreases in nearly each of the university's colleges, with some of the losses totaling as high as 15%".
Some knowledgeable people are predicting a drop of 500 students this Spring semester and over 1,000 in the Fall. However, we're sure that the overpaid bureaucrat Victoria Valle and her posse will labor on with their misplaced and failed ideas.

At this point there is no other Illinois University predicting decreased enrollment, at least in public. Indeed, the University of Illinois is predicting even higher numbers as the slow economy takes hold.

This drop in enrollment might have a silver lining. Perhaps Interim Chancellor Samuel Goldman will decide to save a little money by axing Victoria Valle and her overpaid staff.

We can't do any worse than we're doing now.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Green Tree has Red Roots: The Sustainability Scam on Campus

"Do not trust the horse, Trojans [Salukis]! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks [Greens], even bringing gifts."

On college campuses, the far Left rarely engages in open debate on the issues of the day. Why debate the other side when you can charge students to support the causes you embrace? The key is dressing your agenda with warm and fuzzy terms like "diversity," "inclusion," and--most recently--"Green" initiatives promoting "sustainability." [Green in the generic sense, not the Green Party]

Troy fell to the ruse of a Trojan Horse and the analogy is apt in the case of "sustainability" and its third circle ("social justice"). In Europe, critics of the Green movement contend that "the Green tree has Red (socialist) roots." Translation: Green has a helluva lot more to do with left-wing politics than it has to do with the environment.

The pleasant-sounding talk of mandatory "green fees" pays for more than planting trees, recycling garbage and other noncontroversial initiatives. SIU-Carbondale raises $300,000 a year from student "green fees." If you don't like what they do with the $$$, "tough." Project Eco-Dawgs cleverly set up the fee to be permanent (at least five years) and repealed only if both student governments approve a reversal.

Watch out! The Eco Dawgs lobbied for money from students, and now are getting ready to slide fees by employees, create a salaried position for "Sustainability" and more! If you don't believe me, read here

What do students and staff get for this money? Part of the Eco Dawg agenda deals with energy conservation and Green issues on campus. Dig deeper and see how the Eco Dawgs ally SIUC with far Left activists--all without full disclosure, except to a handful of individuals on the Eco Dawg Task Force.

Project Eco Dawgs has already laid the groundwork by publishing a guide that embraces the Talloires Declaration by "university leaders" declaring the "environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources" . . . "are caused by inequitable and unsustainable production and consumption patterns that aggravate poverty in many regions of the world." The Red faction of the Green movement has been preaching this vision of apocalypse for decades, while market capitalism has actually diminished poverty in "many regions of the world" (China, India, and other countries that abandoned the myth of a zero-sum society). There is an "inequitable production and consumption" of doom and gloom on college campuses.

Keep your eyes on the "Sustainability" menu: lots of Greenery, with a healthy offering of "labor rights," "reproductive rights" (abortion), domestic violence, and assaults on "late capitalism."

Since the Greens scammed students already, the rest of us must be alert to efforts to impose mandatory fees upon employees--particularly for causes with which many might not agree. If you support (or oppose) these causes, then send your money voluntarily to the organization of your choice.

Meanwhile, beware of Greens bearing old wine in new wineskins.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Laws Free

Ignorance is no excuse for violating the law, but it will cost you big time if you want to read the laws passed by California.

I spent the past several years navigating the corporate welfare swamp of copyright but this has to top it all. Laws were the one area that was always public domain (read: copyright free). Now states charge citizens (subjects?) to read the laws that govern them? How much would the U.S. Constitution cost if they slapped copyright on it? Has any one informed Governor Blago that this is a revenue-raising device?

If you want to read the laws the government of California doesn't want you to read, go to

Malamud also persuaded C-Span to make its vast video archive of Congress available for free. Surely, he earns "Buy This Guy a Bud" points with me!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Plants Have Rights Too!

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on the constitutional rights of . . . green grass, wildflowers, and other flora ("Switzerland's Green Power Revolution: Ethicists Ponder Plants' Rights," Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2008). Soon, FreeU will examine the negative impact of "Green" extremism on academic freedom and human prosperity, but for now, this breaking story from the plant world. . . .

Wall Street Journal (excerpts):
"For years, Swiss scientists have blithely created genetically modified rice, corn and apples. But did they ever stop to consider just how humiliating such experiments may be to plants?

That's a question they must now ask. Last spring, this small Alpine nation began mandating that geneticists conduct their research without trampling on a plant's dignity.

'Unfortunately, we have to take it seriously,' Beat Keller, a molecular biologist at the University of Zurich. 'It's one more constraint on doing genetic research. . . .'

The rule, based on a constitutional amendment, came into being after the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to establish the meaning of flora's dignity.

'We couldn't start laughing and tell the government we're not going to do anything about it," says Markus Schefer, a member of the ethics panel and a professor of law at the University of Basel. "The constitution requires it.'

In April, the team published a 22-page treatise on 'the moral consideration of plants for their own sake.' It stated that vegetation has an inherent value and that it is immoral to arbitrarily harm plants by, say, 'decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason.'"

On the question of genetic modification, most of the panel argued that the dignity of plants could be safeguarded "as long as their independence, i.e., reproductive ability and adaptive ability, are ensured." In other words: It's wrong to genetically alter a plant and render it sterile. . . ."
Here is the English-language brochure put out by the Swiss ethics panel.

"The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants"

Americans will undoubtedly usher in the Green Revolution with language far more resounding than that of the dull Swiss scientists:

U.S. Constitution (Amended, 2012):

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and plants) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (Gaia) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (and adequate nutrients)."

Stay tuned for androcentric (human) stories on what your SIU "green fee" money ($300,000) is funding. It's not what you think.