Grub first…then we speak the truth

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Nosh, demolt ams (Yiddish: grub first, then we speak the truth)

The politics of silence

By Erez Zborowski

I returned home from a summer that was like chicken soup for the soul.

It had the bits I did like, and the bits that I didn’t like. You know, like sometimes you’re in it for the matzo ball, but there’s just too much parsley in there. No matter what, soup is soup, and after a bowl of it, no matter what bits you had to get through, nobody’s complaining about a good soup. That’s because it does something to you; it makes you feel full, warm. It gives you wholeness.


That’s the best way I can explain my summer to you. There were moments I still lament today, and moments I recount with a laugh and smile. When I found myself looking down at Cayuga Lake again in August, I felt more whole than ever.


Over the summer, I stood in the rain on the Serengeti, overcome with ineffable joy with my hands in the air, and I stood on my balcony in Jerusalem with my girlfriend, hearing the not-so-distant firefight that killed Israeli police officers Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan at the Temple Mount.


There’s the bits you enjoy, and the bits you don’t. (But don’t ever be that jerk who puts the pieces you don’t like on the soup dish.) Any chef would tell you, you have to eat something how it’s prepared. That’s perspective; that’s why Jews eat radish on Passover. (You do it the Ashkenazi way— you take on the whole plate.)

The terror attack in Las Vegas was hard to swallow. Hundreds scrambling, people carried on ladders to safety, children under fire. It’s the kind of thing, unfortunately, millennials have become familiar with. What didn’t make national news were the 272 other mass shootings in Las Vegas in the last year.

There’s a problem in this country with guns. There’s a problem in this country with racism and prejudice. Our president will not call a man who murdered 59 people from a hotel window with ten guns a terrorist, but in our country, you can be considered a terrorist for arbitrary suspicions, having never killed a single man.


Frankly, it’s all one problem: our culture.

We haven’t changed much since Davey Crocket and his brigade wiped out the Creek peoples with 900 other Tennessee troops; that is, 200 Creek fighters, civilians and children versus the raining gunfire of 900 men. Who do you think invented torture methods for slaves? Americans invented biological warfare when we gave the Seneca people smallpox blankets at Fort Pitt. No matter what you say, we didn’t start this country like they used to teach us as kids on Thanksgiving.


My inner optimist wants to say that we’re taking these acts more seriously, but we’re doing nothing. The President of the United States threw paper towel rolls into a crowd of Puerto Ricans, and his supporters loved it.

The current system of gun laws, the reaction (or lack thereof) to the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, the statements given by the President’s Office regarding Charlottesville: these are all indications that there’s a disconnect. We can all love this country, but only if we love it honestly: we’ve got problems, and if we don’t deal with them quickly, the truly great things in this country will slowly come apart.

Even if a good amount of the national conflict is stemmed in ignorance (typically ignorant silence) it’s no quieter than blatant, roaring racism. More and more, racism has conjoined with the silent majority, giving us a silent majority of moderate racists.

Wait...

Does that even sound like it makes sense? Not to me either, and that’s because it doesn’t. This is the Ultimate Grey Area, I call it, where most of us reside. Now, members of the UGA are not what most would consider typecast, boisterous racists. A typical UGA member never lets their thoughts stray far from the family Thanksgiving dinner table.


These people, the non-offenders, the non-swastika wearing kinda-racists, are the people you should blame the most for emboldening Nazism in America and perpetuating racism against Black America at-large.


It’s hard to hear the hatred if you’re white; it’s hard to see it, because there is a majority of our population that muddies the water. Depending on who they’re speaking with and where, their opinions may change.


If there’s one thing studying genocide can teach you, it’s that step number one in subjugation is to get your population of yes-men. John Doe can work in a multicultural setting and get along with his co-workers. But when he tells his kids the Pulse Nightclub shooting is a snowflake problem, he’s just warped his children’s sensibilities for perhaps a lifetime.


You know what’s louder than pulling the trigger? Millions of people simultaneously saying “No problem” as it’s happening.
Senators, congressmen and their constituents may mourn, but a great many of them will react with absolutely no reform. They would sooner reform hotel security than gun control.


Actually, the acceptance of violence has become so loud that it can become difficult to keep track of all the incidents. All of the killings of innocent civilians by police officers. School shootings, airport shootings, army base shootings, concert shootings, nightclub shootings—and the only thing that’s louder than all of it, is the silence of inaction.


I want to imprint that into your head forever. Whether you had your own term for the UGA or this is a new one, we all know members of this philosophy and identify with it from time to time. It comes from wanting to keep your hands clean in a butchery.
We debate on Facebook about gun laws, but today in this country, owning a gun is a right, while your healthcare is now a private privilege. The modern American will abandon their basic values for partisanship.


That part of the soup you don’t want to eat, and I don’t want to either. That’s called change, and it’s tough to chew on. We view gun violence, racism and white supremacy as three different problems, when they all derive from the same, single problem. It’s a cultural tendency to hate, not to love. It’s a commander-in-chief who may claim authority of a territory, but not responsibility for its safety.


You can’t ignore what you don’t like. Just like you can’t change what happened in Vegas if you turn the T.V. off. If you want wholesomeness, you need to take reality as it is, and that means coming to some uncomfortable conclusions for people.


For countless communities in America, including my own, racism and hatred is the broth of the soup itself. It’s part of my identity, part of my experience. It’s something you can’t bypass, and it’s something you get a spoon of all the time.

It’s seeing a cultural ethnocide of the African American community both right before our eyes and institutionally by the country at-large. It’s seeing Nazis (because the word ‘neo’ is irrelevant), march across the country, namely in Charlottesville where three people died and countless more were wounded. It’s happening now, in Puerto Rico, where we’ve claimed authority of an entire territory, but claim no responsibility for its relief and reconstruction.

I blame you, UGA members, probably the hundred million or more of you. Moderate racists or modern racists, whatever you’d like to call them. I blame you more than I blame the stereotypical American Nazi. While the American Nazi is clear, and honestly, easily distinguished, grey area people are in our classrooms, our dining halls and dormitories.

They are on our streets and most importantly they are in our government. They embolden the radicals. Their population size and geographic span serve as a sanctuary for these groups, and while many communities in America may not associate with Nazi groups, are identifying with them based on their fabricated “white identity” political platform.

I want to end by saying this: If none of this has resonated with you, Stephan Paddock killed more people than we lost in the Battle for Mogadishu. He wounded almost as many people as there were wounded in Operation Desert Storm. He did that in minutes, without material or known cause.

Are we ready to talk about this problem we have? 

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"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

Sexual assault on college campuses—it’s on all of us

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"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

It's on all of us to prevent sexual assault on college campuses

By Marli Peress

Following last summer’s high profile rape case, the people vs. Brock Turner, women cried out in solidarity with the Stanford rape victim, causing a public letter the victim read to her rapist in court to go viral. Yet headlines by major news sources continued to refer to Turner as the Stanford swimmer,” while his victim remained a faceless reminder of the dark truth. By continuing to call him this nickname, coverage of the case distracted the public from his crime and revealed the unwillingness of the American public to imagine an Ivy League swimmer doing anything so impure.

On Jan. 20, 2015, Turner dragged an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, had sex with her and inserted various other objects into her before he was tackled by two witnesses. Turner was sentenced to jail for six months and was released after three months for good behavior.


Women and advocates for sexual assault survivors mourned the outcome of the Stanford rape case, because it cemented a dangerous precedent in the court of law and of public opinion. In her letter, the victim describes how traumatizing her life became after the assault. She brings up how she found out about the details of her assault from news outlets.

“After I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times,” she wrote.

Despite the shocking details of Turner’s crime, it is only one among millions across the country in countless college campuses. According to RAINN.org, 21.3 percent of female undergraduates and 5.4 percent of male undergraduates experience sexual assault through physical force, coercion or being incapacitated.

The lack of public dialogue surrounding sexual assault prevents us from getting to the root of the issue. Many women refrain from reporting cases of sexual assault in order to avoid the the resulting attention. The Stanford rape victim had no choice but to involve the authorities because they were the ones who helped her to safety when she was unconscious. However, according to a 2014 study by the Department of Justice study, only 20 percent of female sexual assault victims report sexual assault to the authorities.

Some victims fear that they don’t have enough evidence to carry out a full conviction. Others are afraid of retaliation from the perpetrator or not being believed by the police. Perhaps they couldn’t bear to let their families know or they didn’t know how to go about seeking legal justice. According to the Department of Justice, only 18 percent of reported sexual assaults and only 5 percent of all sexual assaults result in conviction.

Under the Obama administration, colleges were required to treat sexual assault as violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and  provide students with education on sexual assault prevention. Those accused of sexual assault can be convicted under the lowest standard of proof or “preponderance of evidence.”

Reports of sexual assault on colleges across the country increased significantly after the policy went into effect.

In fact, Ithaca college went from nine reports of on campus sexual assault during the 2014-2015 academic year to 26 reports of sexual assault during the 2015-2016 academic year.

The Trump administration has already taken action to reverse the policy. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently removed the Obama administration’s addition to Title IX, arguing that the reform will give the accused a more fair judicial process. The reform requires “clear and convincing evidence”, instead of preponderance of evidence, for a conviction, making it more difficult for sexual assault reports to result in convictions.

On one hand, DeVos attempts in earnest to create a fair legal environment for dealing with collegiate sexual assault. However, such a reform could protect affluent white students like Brock Turner. The Title IX reform will make it harder for young women to seek justice and will only contribute our society’s failure to hold these men accountable in our dialogue around sexual assault.

From “no means no” to “yes means yes”

Despite the proposed Title IX reform, state legislation is being passed in effort to make the legal process more just for sexual assault victims.  In 2015, the states of California and New York passed legislation requiring affirmative consent.  This means that consent of sexual contact must be given by both parties in the form of words or actions as long as the words or actions communicate clear permission to engage in sexual activity.

In a Washington Post article, Jaclyn Friedman, a sex educator and sexual health advocate who gives speeches on college campuses advocating for affirmative consent laws, said backlash against Yes Means Yes laws usually comes from adults rather than college students. She includes a quotation from Robert Carle, a writer for a libertarian outlet called Reason magazine writing, “affirmative consent laws turn normal human interactions into sexual offenses.”  

Friedman, however, notes how she gets anonymous questions from students who worry that casual hookups might lead them to become accused of sexual assault or students who are unaware what exactly constitutes consent.

“The questions [from college students] are urgent and a little heartbreaking:  How do I say ‘no’ when it makes me feel guilty? How can I have fun hooking up without getting accused of sexual assault? How can I make my friends stop judging me about wanting too much sex, or not enough, or wanting the ‘wrong’ things?” Friedman wrote.

College students embrace the new policy as it creates clearer guidelines for how to prevent situations where the lines between consent and nonconsent become blurred. Affirmative consent creates clear lines making it illegal to engage in sexual contact with someone who is unconscious or physically unable to say yes, changing the attitude toward sexual assault from, “no means no” to “yes means yes.”

A closer look at party culture

In order to understand why sexual assault is prevalent specifically on college campuses, look to the way party culture is played out in a social structure on campuses. In their ethnographic study entitled “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Laura Hamilton and Brian Sweeney used interviews from a party at a midwestern university to analyze college partying culture.

The essay makes connections between the individual, social and organizational factors that go into creating environments where sexual assault is likely to occur. At the crux of the party environment is the concern over social status.

The men interviewed expressed that they received a boost in self-esteem from having sex with girls they thought of as having high social status. Girls, however, expressed the same boost in self-confidence but from attention through flirting with high-status men. This means that men are generally more interested in having sex in college whereas women are more concerned about making a good impression to their peers.

It’s important to understand how the fraternity party scene is gendered. Since underclassmen are not allowed to consume alcohol in their dorms or at local bars, freshman girls often resort to going to fraternity parties in order to partake in a party scene dominated by men. The men are in charge of venue, alcohol, transportation and music. Women are expected to be uninhibited and to trust their party mates.

The researchers report that at least one women in each of their focus groups admitted to being a victim of sexual assault. However, they found the party culture is too engaging to let the negative experiences of women change it.

“The frequency of women’s negative experiences in the party scene poses a problem for those students most invested in it,” the authors wrote. “Finding fault with the party scene potentially threatens meaningful identities and lifestyles… Partying provides a chance to meet new people, experience and display belonging, and to enhance social position. Male attention is of such high value to some women that they are willing to suffer indignities to receive it.”

As a result of party culture’s stronghold at American universities, students too often resort to victim blaming in order to rationalize party rape. Blaming victims allowed women to feel safe from sexual assault, according to their research, because if they assume the blame, they can also assume more control.

Many of the women they interviewed attributed the bad things that happened to their friends as their own mistakes. A woman who was the head of a feminist group on campus stated that her friend who was sexually assaulted had “made every single mistake and almost all of them had to do with alcohol.”

Victim blaming also has to do with social status. Girls who feel they are at a high sexual status—upperclassmen, girlfriends of fraternity members or athletes—are less likely to be victims of sexual assault and therefore feel that this issue only applies to women of a lower perceived status, like freshman, non-sorority members or those without a fraternity boyfriend.

When blame is put on women by women, it takes away from any criticism on the party scene or male behavior. Telling women to drink less or dress modestly allows implies men are unable to control their sexual desires.

The dialogue surrounding sexual assault on college campuses and victim blaming lies in methods of sexual assault response and prevention education. And this starts with more scrutiny placed on male behavior in college party culture.

“Sexual assault education should shift in emphasis from educating women on preventative measures to educating both men and women about the coercive behavior of men and the sources of victim-blaming.”

As a survivor of sexual assault on this college campus, I feel strongly about this subject. I knew I would never to go the police or my administrators.  I couldn’t bare to have my parents involved. I thought about his affluent parents and how hard they would fight to have their popular, lovable son proven innocent. I thought about what the officer would think when I told him that I had consensual sex with the guy in the past but that this time was different. I’d read about what happens to girls when they go to the authorities and it just seemed easier to keep it to myself than to turn my life upside down. Statistically, the chances of me being blamed and him found innocent were high. I went to the health center the next day to get plan-b, I told the nurse what had happened to me. We both knew what this was and we both knew it was wrong but we said nothing other than that I would have to wait three weeks to be tested for STI’s.  He still goes to IC and I run into him from time to time.

 

My story is only one of millions. More than 20 percent of college-age women are sexually assaulted. There are around 16 million students enrolled at campuses across the country. If roughly 9 million of those students are women, then almost 2 million women are being sexually assaulted each year as sexual assault rates remain steady despite the increase in reports. These women are in your classrooms. These women raise their hands to express their frustration toward the patriarchy or the way our president spoke about us during his campaign. You might think it’s cute to see us waving around our feminist flags, spitting out words like “patriarchy,” but that’s because we’re forced to put into academic terms the weight of sexual violence and oppression towards ourselves and fellow women.

This is why Emma Sulkowicz’s “Carry That Weight,” performance spoke to so many who are silently suffering. I am encouraged by New York’s affirmative consent legislation and new programs educating students about sexual assault response and prevention. Still, we need to address the fundamental flaws in college party culture and our public dialogue surrounding sexual assault and victim blaming. We need to be honest with ourselves about why young women are afraid to come forward and make it easier for them to come forward. We have to stop putting athletes and fraternity members on a pedestal. We have to stop placing the blame on women. Younger students need to be made aware of how common sexual assault on and off campus.

I never thought it could happen to me until it happened to me. Yet, here I am, the 1 in the one-fifth ratio, just another statistic.

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"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

Anthony Cubbage reviews “Conjure” by Elliot Root

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268x0w

Elliot Root's "Conjure" has a story to tell

Back in 2015, Elliot Root released “Thoughts From Yesterday,” which features a great jam “June after Dark,” but the rest of the EP didn’t stick enough with me to hold onto the band with eager desire to hear more. Thankfully, Spotify threw these guys back my way.

By Anthony Cubbage

Frontman Scott Krueger explains how they struggled to tell “a bigger narrative” through the short-form content.  With "Conjure" as their first full-length album, they’ve been able to do just that—give themselves room to tell a story and reach another level of boldness in the writing and sound.

I put albums into two categories: Sonic and Lyrical. With the hard-hitting sound from the biting lead guitars and the dark cutting sound of Krueger’s voice, this album is definitely Sonic. While the content of the lyrics don’t strike me too much, they have an infectious rhythmic quality all throughout the album, that makes songs like “10,000” super easy to catch on to.

A big quality of these sonic albums is that the songs, and the album itself, have a big scale of dynamic range. Songs like “Take Your Money” start with just two-note chords, root and third, on guitar and a verse sang in Krueger’s lower register. By the second verse, he’s singing an octave higher, giving the song an entirely different direction and power that you could almost anticipate from the beginning of the song. You know you've got a great song when the verse is as catchy as a chorus, and that’s what they do in "Take Your Money," with each section as catchy as the next

I only listen to albums that really evoke some kind of emotion. I think that’s what makes certain music innately good, no matter the genre or label it’s given. "Conjure" definitely captures a lot of raw emotion; there’s a lot of doubt and fear in “Stay” (“I don’t want to dream, I don’t want to sleep, I just want to stay awake to see the morning light”), and “10,000,” mixed with the resentfulness and anger in “Wicked Lies” and “Take Your Money.” You can clearly see, even in some of the song titles, that this is some kind of rough break-up or break-down album.

It starts with “Suddenly Everything,” which is almost a surrender, followed by “Conjure,” which is defined as calling upon someone or something, maybe bigger than yourself. These two songs open up the story, where the rest of the album is like a flash back of moments, starting defiantly with anger (track 3-5), then fear of loss (tracks 6-11) , and then understanding and acceptance hitting in track 12, “Dissipate."

The album ends with “Tomorrow,” a short, one-minute conclusion of hope, with a beautiful string and piano arrangement that completely contrasts the bulk of the album. It acts as a reprise of “Dissipate,” by turning around the phrase “The sun is rising and we keep falling,” to “The sun keeps rising despite all our sorrows.”

Everyone has a different recipe for the perfect “setlist” to an album, but I love how Elliot Root closed with these last two tracks, giving you some time to reflect with smooth textures that seem to capture the lessons from earlier moments of anger and fear in the album and maybe earlier in Krueger’s life.

This group has a lot to offer and I'm excited to hear more from them. They’ll be on tour in October, if you happen to be anywhere in the southeast. Otherwise you can track them on bandsintown.com here.

The war on crime (and criminals)—revisited

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love story

America's war on crime (and criminals) revisited

The status quo of the United States is vastly different than the ideas presented by James Truslow Adams who coined the term “American dream” in his 1931 book The American Epic. Most noticeably is the increasing occurrence in which Americans deprive their fellow American of their opportunity to achieve the American dream. Over the past 40 years, the incarceration rate in the United States has increased over 500 percent.

By Graeson Michaud

This story starts amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War, when many Americans were educated by the graphic images on their television screens of wounded soldiers, thousands of miles away. In the 1970s, many iconic images of the time were defined by news media sources through repetitive coverage, allowing for the creation of themes that would later influence other outlets of media such as cinema and literature.

With unflinching photo and video accounts of U.S. presence in southeast Asia, the news media shaped this decade and the way its history would be told, and eventually allowed for massive social movements within America that would bring about the end of the Vietnam War.

The news media has the unique status in our society of deciding public knowledge by influencing public opinion. It is with news media that people construct their view of the world. As a result, those events which a person hears about most often become the ones that the same person will assume are most common.

This canon of stories form a representative heuristic, a collective consciousness that causes Americans to assume the issues most often described in the media are the most relevant to their everyday lives, even if they take place thousands of miles away, to people they will never meet. The theory of representative heuristics was developed by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in their 1972 paper “Subjective probability: a judgement of representativeness.”

Fast forward to our current historical moment, when mainstream news has an enduring effect on the public perception of crime and punishment. Americans elected Donald Trump who made apocalyptic rhetoric central to his platform before appointing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. In May, Sessions released a memo ordering federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the most possible offenses which would result in the longest prison sentence.  

Capitalizing on the anxieties of a constituency is the very nature of the modern politician in order to secure future voters’ ballots for them and their party. Newt Gingrich demonstrated how politicians capitalize on citizen’s fear of crime in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. He said although liberals present data contrary to fear of skyrocketing crime rates, it is inconsistent with the experience of Republican voters.

“As a political candidate, I’ll go with the way people feel and I’ll let you go with the theoreticians,” Gingrich said to Camerota.

A growing amount of research indicates mass media shifts the average American’s attitude toward crime and punishment. Watching 10 hours per week of television decreases the likelihood to support rehabilitation by 10 percent, according to “The Influence of Media on Penal Attitudes” by Jared S. Rosenberger and Valerie J. Callanan.

The same study reported watching the news one day per week more increases the support for punishment over rehabilitation by 5 percent.

Since 2007, over 2.2 million Americans were in the prison systems, making the United States the most incarcerated country per capita of the developed world, topping China and Russia.

 

 

prison policy graphic

Not only are Americans incarcerated at a much higher rate than other developed nations, but lawmakers are increasing punishment sentencing, as well as decreasing the rights of convicted felons after their jail time has been served.

In a 2012 study conducted by Jared S. Rosenberger and Valerie Callanan Ohio State University, subjects were asked what they believed the purpose of a sentence for a convicted criminal should be. The majority of subjects chose punishment, simply a negative and non-constructive scenario in which the culprit must suffer equal to their crime, at 37 percent. The remaining choices were rehabilitation at 24.5 percent, the preparation for the culprit to re-enter society, deterrence 14.5 percent, the prevention of future crime, and incarceration at 21.8 percent, the isolation of the culprit from society.

Public perception matters; it influences statewide legislature on voting day. This trend is concerning, as Americans increasingly favor restricting human rights of those who commit petty crimes like minor drug offences. Where could such a punitive view come from?

This problem now consists of two parts. The first question to ask is if these numbers are in response to an increase in crime within the country, or if there is another external factor that is affecting the rate at which people are incarcerated.

The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law reported the overall crime rate in the country has dropped “precipitously” from 1990 to 2016.

“While crime may fall in some years and rise in others, annual variations are not indicative of long-term trends. While murder rates have increased in some cities, this report finds no evidence that the hard-won public safety gains of the last two and a half decades are being reversed,” according to the center’s report.

For 2017, the center predicted the overall crime rate in 2017 will fall by 1.8 percent, according to their study of the country’s 30 largest cities. If their project is correct, 2017 will hold the second lowest crime rate since 1990.

However, hard data is not always important when it comes to sentencing. Juries are made of people, and people are malleable subjects to their environment, therefore the social environment of the time period is more crucial to understanding this increase than the real numbers.

In another GALLUP poll, every two years, subjects were asked if they believed that the crime rate had increased in this year over the last one. From 1989 to 1997 the number of Americans who believed that the crime rate had risen was over 71 percent. From 2003 to 2011 this number was above 53 percent.

In late 2001, this number dropped drastically, and the number of people who believed the crime rate had fallen were instead higher than those who believed it had risen, at 43 percent and 42 percent respectively.

Clearly there is misinformation among the American population that accounts for the drastic difference between perception and reality, and this misinformation comes from the representative heuristic. During times of slow news developments, 24 hour news stations will fill their airtime with something else out of financial necessity. This alternative to breaking news is a sensationalized, yellow journalist approach to crime.

But notice whenever a major tragedy strikes, such as the events of September 11, 2001, the perception of an increased crime rate drops significantly.

The second question that needs to be asked is why is it that so many people of color suffer from this increase in incarceration, compared with a relatively small number of Caucasians? Why is it that the association between people of color and crime is so persistent in our country?

The actual occurrence of crime is not the culprit for the incredibly high incarceration rate of African and Hispanic Americans. Instead, there is a larger, more systemic issue at play.  Federal Prosecutors of African American and Hispanic defendants are twice as likely to push for mandatory minimum sentences, according to a report to congress by the United States Sentencing Commission. This leads to longer sentences and disparities in incarceration rates for federal offenses.

Furthermore, the news media is a constant source of the representative heuristic allows for media coverage of racial crime to dominate the minds of the average American, and subconsciously change them into microaggressions against African and Hispanic Americans. Violent crime stories are more likely to be covered if the suspect is black and the victim is white, according to a study by Travis L. Dixon and Daniel Linz.

Black suspects are more likely to have their mugshots shown, or to be shown resisting arrest. Each of these tendencies of the media lead to a more warped image of the stereotypical black man, assuming that he is more capable of violent crime than a white man, or an Asian man, or a white woman, or an Asian woman.

It is a very founding pillar of our country that all people are created equal, and yet we so fiendishly treat some of our own citizens with such contempt. But all of mankind is just as capable of evil as they are capable of good. Racism is a plague to our country, spreading right under our noses through the seemingly innocent outlet of news media bias. But just as the people of Europe did not think to blame the lowly sewer rat for the spread of the bubonic plague, so do few of us know the vile nature of filler news.

The news media wields a unique power, unchecked because of the busy lives of Americans who will not take the time to truly understand the context of what is reported. Unless this trend is changed, and voters turn away from politicians competing to be the most “tough on crime,” America’s love affair with excessive prison sentencing is likely to continue.

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You know what’s more unpatriotic than taking a knee? The Confederate Flag

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"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

The Confederate Flag is more unpatriotic than taking a knee

By Hannah Crisafulli

If you consider yourself a patriot, take down your Confederate Flag.

Many so-called patriots in this country believe the Confederate Flag is a symbol for the rights of the states, as if the Civil War had absolutely nothing to do with race. At town hall meetings, they say that they fly the flag in solidarity with the Bill of Rights, and how the South seceded because their constitutional rights were being infringed upon when it came time for the United States to join the rest of the Western world in abolishing slavery. What these Confederate Flag-wielding patriots don’t understand that flying this symbol is one of the least patriotic things they could do.

The southern states left the Union; the country that patriots claim support unconditionally. Eleven states throwing a temper tantrum about not being able to own people, and therefore ripping a country apart, is not a moment of national pride for the U.S. I fail to see how flying a symbol of one of the least patriotic moments in American history can be seen as anything but treasonous.

The same people who proudly fly the symbol of the most treasonous five years in U.S. history are also the ones who are yelling at NFL players for taking the knee during the National Anthem. The people who are citing the Tenth Amendment are forgetting the First Amendment, the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

Starting the bloodiest war to be fought on United States soil is not peaceably assembling. It should absolutely not be glorified to the point where “patriots” so proudly praise the concept of the Confederacy, as it went against the Constitution’s bidding, was absolutely anti-American, and blatantly dehumanized an entire demographic in the U.S.

So, why is it that “patriots” are so apt to support those who still fly the Confederate Flag, a symbol of treason, and to ridicule those who are exercising their First Amendment rights? The answer is plain and simple. Those who believe that displaying the Confederate Flag is patriotic while screaming about kneeling and disrespecting America are using “patriotism” to hide their racism.

So get rid of your confederate flag t-shirt, your bumper sticker, all of your memorabilia. Delete your pro-confederacy Facebook posts, stop crying over your lost statues, and quit shouting about the confederate flag’s symbolism for state’s rights. If you are in any way as much of a patriot as you say you are, you would understand exactly how unpatriotic flying the Confederate Flag is.

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How politics replaced religion

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2017 Writing Department Contest

"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

How politics replaced religion

Political conviction has replaced religious conviction, giving us a new reason to kill and be killed

By Justin Henry

In reaction to the current tumultuous political climate, Jonathan Haidt, a Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU, devoted his latest research to understanding the mapwork of the political mind. At the 2014 WORLD.MINDS Annual Symposium, Haidt used the videos below to demonstrate the left-wing and the right-wing take on industrialized capitalism.

As you watch the two videos, notice which one strikes you as propaganda and which one occurs as an accurate, if brief, rendering of history.

According to Haidt’s research, libertarians and conservatives view it as the incentive for value creation, while progressives and radicals view it as the subjugation of human values to market values.

Partisan politics concern a variety of issues from the very personal to the global constructing the mythologies of Western Civilization: Republicanism, Marxism, Conservatism, Intersectional Feminism, to name a few.

When left unchecked, they become rigid ideological dogmas, refusing to legitimize dissenting views. Rather than hypotheses to be tested they become articles of faith.

The central thesis of Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why People Are Divided By Politics and Religion expresses a tension between rationality and socialization: "Morality binds and blinds."

“Morality binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say, Haidt wrote.

Before we as humans can self-actualize as critical thinkers, we have evolutionary obligations to fulfill set forth by our primitive ancestors. Biologically speaking, we are no more evolved than they were. Sure, we were born in a time where we have a more advanced understanding of the natural world, but that knowledge isn’t an inherent biological fact. If any modern infant were transported back 200,000 years, they would only be as knowledgeable as their society permitted.

The priorities of those primeval homosapiens — warring over land, for the supremacy of their gods, are identical to those which engage the modern world’s political warfare. We are not evolved enough to think critically beyond our ancestor’s need for survival. Like them, we are dogged by our over-active adrenal gland and a remedial prefrontal cortex.

Think about it: if any of our ancestors acted in a way that threatened the ethical coherence of their tribe, they were abandoned or killed. This psychological phenomenon is why it’s not so irrational when young people feel an existential threat at the thought of sitting alone in the cafeteria.

 

Psychologists distinguish between scientific truths and deterministic truths. Science seeks to provide an absolute truth, independent of our perception of it, like the nature of gravity. Mythologies, in contrast, provide a deterministic truth, a truth to suit our momentary needs of survival.

For example, look to the Judeo-Christian bible: in the opening lines of Genesis describe a flat earth beneath the sun and moon which revolve along the axis of a giant blue dome which is the sky. This description is entirely based on empirical engagement with the natural world and is just as obvious to an ancient Canaanite as gravity is to us.

The Hebrew scriptures do not conceive of God the way he is cartoonishly depicted in media. British religious commentator Karen Armstrong analyzed the Judeo-Christian conception of God from a cognitive standpoint in her book A History of God. She described God as an abstraction of a code of ethics held by the Israelite tribes to keep them accountable as they protected their clan against warring tribes.

The constant turmoil endured by the tribes is attributed to a wrathful God for their worship of false idols, or, in other words, other religions, hindering their moral cohesiveness. Whether the idols are greed or the original Canaanite gods, the plurality of worldviews threatens their survival against warring groups.

If the Israelites are victorious, however, it is because God has joined their side. This moral compass determines good and evil based on God’s will, or the collective will of the Israelites to establish a prosperous nation.

This reasoning featured in the Hebrew scriptures in unfalsifiable. This is why faith has persisted through the ages and survived through the vetting of the Age of Reason. Standards of falsifiability distinguish faith from reason.

For example, fundamentalist Christians say dinosaur fossils, evidence against creationism, were placed in the earth by God to test their faith. Such a claim cannot technically be disproven because it has not standards of falsifiability like a scientific thesis.

Political mythologies operate with self-confirming logic to stave off criticism, especially when spawned in an politically homogenous group, according to Haidt’s paper “Political diversity will improve social and psychological sciences.” Karl Marx wrote in  The Communist Manifesto that any criticism of communism was a product of bourgeoisie preconceptions.

Sectarian divides are more commonly associated with race than ideology, especially in cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic democracies like the United States. But Americans, living in a society where decisions are made based on popular consent, are far more hostile across ideological lines than racial lines, according to a study by Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood. Whereas ethnic bigotry is promptly condemned in mainstream society, ideological bigotry is a democratic civic duty.

But by distancing our modern ideological battles from territorial or religious disputes of former civilizations, we deny ourselves the lessons our ancestors died for.

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue

The hunt that never ends

For the free exchange of ideas

From the Professor Watchlist homepage.

2017 Writing Department Contest

"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

The hunt that never ends

By Erez Zborowski

 

My grandfather spent his entire life after the Holocaust trying to mitigate its damage: confronting the things you hate the most, the realities that crush you, give you purpose. For my grandfather, that meant helping Holocaust survivors situate in the United States. He helped found Yad Vashem, one of the most decorated Holocaust institution in the world. On the day of his funeral, the absolute and unequivocal respect of his colleagues, friends and his family, was completely ineffable.

It’s the things that crush us that become the proverbial bat cave. Everyone’s got a choice, you get to either be Bruce Wayne or Batman. You can run away from trauma, or you can headbutt it squarely in the nose. This was my grandfather, he had never unclasped his grip on the Holocaust, and that made him an incredible force to be reckoned with.

 

Socrates put it the best when he said, “From the deepest desires often comes the deadliest hate." People find inspiration in the most unusual and, in this case, horrible ways. Germany was obliterated after the World War I, and the country itself experienced trauma. People were burning money in their furnaces for warmth, and there was a sense that German pride had been indefinitely tarnished.

Adolf Hitler was their promised redemption. He was a charismatic man, full of promises and subversive literature which was popular with the youth. When the Nazi Party took over, Hitler was quick to answer the “Jewish question”. He summoned his leaders to the Wannsee Conference in 1941 where they laid out an extremely elaborate plan to exterminate most Jews and use some to labor before killing them too.

What made the nationalism of Hitler’s Germany so terrifying was the way an act of genocide could be spindled out of an act of kindness, even generosity, for one’s country.

The general public maintains myths to rationalize atrocities like the Holocaust, like that fear and authority drove Einsatzgruppen soldiers to line up Jews and shoot them and then rolled them into ditches. But Himmler insisted that once they began the extermination, they could not let any Jews live on the basis that their search for vengeance would be the utmost threat to Germany. He urged his soldiers on multiple occasions to consider the world their children should inherit. It was not a pistol against to their heads which drove ordinary citizens to enact the Holocaust but rather Himmler’s Macbethian “too-far-to-go-back” rhetoric.

The idea of having gone too far to go back is not exclusively to Nazism. Today in America, there is a culture of acceptance in regard to racism and intolerance and perspectives fostering a perception of difference, by race, sex, religion and gender. It goes to show that no matter how “westernized” or “progressive” a society is; it may be impregnated by the seeds of division, and subsequently, mob mentality.

The tar of Nazism essentially met the slipstream of modern internet-hate. Combined, the American Nazi has become a cancer cell that has metastasized into everyone’s backyard.

In fact, the United States is becoming an increasingly hostile environment for Jews. Battery and assault from this trendy new anti-semitism is not simply from either the right or the left, but from every corner of American politics.

While the BDS movement to boycott Israeli products on college campuses are hostile and pose an identity conflict for many Jewish students, there is a far more dangerous spike in hatred from the right. The alt-right has produced anti-semitism in this country on an unprecedented level. From National Socialist lodges to the Internet to marching on the street with tiki torches, the culture of hating Jews is spreading.

4chan is a petrie dish of American society—he extremes of many concepts spread their roots and grow in fertile soil. For the alt-right, the fertile soil is the population of cloaked patrons who make a hobby out of hating Jews. On the board /pol/, they dubbed “redpilling”: suggesting that they are shedding some invaluable truth hidden from “normies” or people not associated with the alt-right.

These trolls claim that Jews caused every war since World War II and that there is a Jewish “hive” mind with an established agenda. Whether or not these people truly believe what they say, we have seen that some, like Dylan Roof, believe what they read on the internet. In the words of a /pol/ 4channer trolling New York Times’ Jonathan Weiss, “MEME MAGIC IS REAL.”

If one understands that these jokes and antics can have deadly implications, why is it so hard to combat Internet anti-semitism? We underestimate the normalization of anti-semitism in our culture. How many people in your life go on 4chan on a daily basis? Likely none or not many. Through anonymity this movement has grown exponentially in the shadow that is the Internet.

There is something, however, that cannot be ignored. With the sheer quantity of Jew-hate on the Internet, it was only time before they naturally gravitated into some kind of cohesive structure: American Aryan and Nazi groups.

In the last few years, it feels as though Nazism has left history books and dispersed itself in the wind, stretching across the country.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported nearly 900 acts of harassment and intimidation in the 10 days after Donald Trump’s election as president. Nooses have been hung in Brooklyn neighborhoods, a black college student attending the University of Maryland was fatally stabbed and even on the Cornell University campus, a black student was berated by racial epithets as he was assaulted by a group of white students.

These are only some of the names of the most imbedded, normalized Nazi organizations that have seen growth since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015:

  • American Nazi Party
  • Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
  • Aryan Guard
  • Aryan Nations
  • Aryan Terror Brigade
  • Hammerskins
  • Heritage Front
  • National Alliance
  • National Socialist Movement
  • National Socialist Vanguard
  • National Vanguard

If you need to see what modern anti-semitism looks like, look no further than the 60 bomb threats made against Jewish centers across the country, in over 48 different locations and 26 different states, according to CNN.

The tar of Nazism essentially met the slipstream of modern internet-hate. Combined, the American Nazi has become a cancer cell that has metastasized into everyone’s backyard.

To come full-circle, consider this: nobody put a gun to the heads of adolescent trolls on the internet, nor did they put a gun to Dylan Roof’s head or to the heads of National Socialist recruiters who are currently swarming the internet. It all begins as patriotism which is warped and perverted into something much worse. It is based in scapegoat rhetoric, ethnic hatred and xenophobia. With the rise of Donald Trump and the popularization of anti-Muslim policy and cultural development, every sound-minded American should look at how easily one group of people can be slandered and driven away en-masse, and they should fear that.

For a great deal of Jewish Americans, that fear has already set in.

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue

How are millennial Republicans dealing with their party’s identity crisis?

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue

Campus conservatives in the Age of Trump

By Justin Henry

Donald Trump's ascendancy to the political forefront marks a conservative backlash against progressive and liberal norms of the American college campus. George Erhardt wrote in “Academics and the reproduction of cultural hegemony” that Trump’s election signifies Americans are turning against the race and gender politics of cultural critics in the academy, instead seeing it as character assassinations. In the place of left-wing hegemony, Erhardt advocates for a new counterculture of conservatism.

The academic Left will bring out their tired old smears and attack the ethics and motives of their opponents, but the election suggests that more and more Americans see those insults for the self-serving rhetoric they are,” Erhardt wrote. “For the sake of our students’ education, let’s make the most of this chance.”

After the McCarthy and Civil Rights eras, Republicanism had a bad name on college campuses as an unfeeling, antiquated and oppressive philosophy. The ratio of liberals to conservative professors grew ever since and conservative values of militarism and meritocracy became subject to critical academic discourse.

Efforts to make conservatism cool again, like in the Reagan era, has come from nonprofit organizations like Turning Point USA, Young American Foundations and the Leadership Institute, who understand college campuses for the cultural microcosms that they are. However, campus Republican activists are split along the same lines as the Republican Party as a whole—the grassroots establishment politics of Milo Yiannopoulos versus the elite intellectualism of William F. Buckley.

A study by Amy Binder, assistant professor in the department of sociology at the University of California at San Diego, and Kate Wood, an independent scholar, demonstrated the range of activist methods among campus Republicans, ranging from civil at midwestern public institutions to provocative at eastern private colleges.

Students at midwestern public institutions are galvanized by Breitbart News’ trolling approach gleefully demonstrating the extent of their free speech. On the east coast, students at private colleges take their cue from National Review’s attempts for honest debate.

The political discussions and upheavals during college are significant to a young person’s life. They reflect political engagement later in life, according to Binder and Wood’s analysis, as well as the current political moment.

“The tensions we see among students over populist provocation and elite civilized discourse are being played out not only on college campuses but in the highest levels of government decision making as well,” they wrote in their analysis.

Buckley’s movement versus Bannon’s movement

Catch and illegal day. Global warming beach party. Affirmative action bake sales. These are among the most popular methods conservatives use to promote their politics and test the limits of their free speech.

On March 14, the Illini Republicans at the University of Illinois held and affirmative action bake sale, according to the campus newspaper. The conservative group charged patrons discounted prices relative to white men based on their privilege, or lack thereof.

Honest attempt for dialogue or racist troll?

The Illini Republicans claimed they wanted to initiate a dialogue about race conscious admissions, a taboo topic on college campuses since the race of
many students is taken into account when they are accepted to college. When students are admitted based on their nominal merit alone, the conservative group claimed, all students receive the best suited education.

However, counter protesters, surrounding the bake sale to prevent patrons from making purchases, alleged the stunt was racist for dismissing the reality of institutional oppression.

Binder and Wood interviewed several conservative students for their study, many of whom organized such bake sales. Kody Anderson said provocative stunts like these are the most effective way to get their message out.

“If we had just released a press release saying, ‘by the way, we don’t support affirmative action,’ no one would have cared,” Aronson said. “The day we announced [the bake sale], I had about five newspapers call me for interviews… We got a lot of press coverage out of it, and that’s exactly what we wanted.”

Aronson’s all-press-is-good-press approach indicates he caught onto the Trump movement’s greatest asset: free news coverage for doing outrageous things.

On the east coast, student Republicans are more interested in engaging with their liberal and progressive counterparts in good faith. Instead of the affirmative action bake sale, they write newspaper columns and host debates with the student Democrats.

Sean Themea, former president of IC Young Americans for Liberty, criticized the affirmative action bake sale for its mean spirit and causing more division than unity. Instead, Themea staged demonstrations aimed to empower students and promote libertarianism.

“Students need to understand that the government’s not going to change the world,” Themea said. “They’re going to change the world.”

Waging an internet war

The Professor Watchlist was published online just weeks after Trump’s election with the mission statement of documenting any professor that discriminated against conservative students or use the classroom to promote leftist propaganda. Academics across the country took it as an intimidation tactic, similar to the anti-communist witch hunts of the Red Scare.

According to Matt Lamb, the manager of the watchlist, part of its purpose is to contribute to the online community or conservative students, marginalized by the alleged progressive hegemony in higher education. Lamb compared it to online support networks for LGBT or Muslim students.

Lamb’s push back against a perceived left wing dominance in the academy came in a long line of online communities of conservative students alleging an intolerant culture of leftism on their campus. Media outlets like Hypeline News, Campus Reform, The College Fix, Red Alert Politics and Turning Point News all criticize “social justice warriors” and highlight violence visited against fellow conservative students. “See “DeVos haters support her policies” and “Young Obama supporters not sure why they love him” for more details for some cringe-worthy moments.

Conservative foundations like Turning Point USA and the Leadership Institute have taken to all areas of civil society, including news outlets, to promote conservatism on college campuses. These journalistic outlets are for conservative readers as well as writers, providing an alternative to a campus newspaper running a left-wing narrative.

“Conservatives as a whole have a deep distrust for the media and they have a deep distrust for education,” Slater said.

Sam Mariscal, Regional Field Coordinator for the Leadership Foundation and contributor to Campus Reform, said online news outlets are for students who want to be active in the conservative movement but not in campus activism. If they write an exceptionally good article, Mariscal said they have the chance to be driven into Fox studios in New York of Washington D.C. as a correspondent, all expenses paid.

This community of media outlets has formed an informational network that shares published information. For example, Turning Point USA, a foundation committed to promoting conservatism on college campuses, published the Professor Watchlist which doesn’t conduct any of its own journalistic research. Instead, it relies on previously published information from Turning Point News and Campus Reform, a news outlet published by the Leadership Institute.

This divide in activist styles is rooted in the disagreements between the various foundations sponsoring the media production and activism—TPUSA, LI and the Young Americans Foundation.

TPUSA has the more inflammatory material, Slater said, inviting speakers like Tomi Lahren and dawning stickers and t-shirts that say “socialism sucks” in the same formatting as Bernie Sanders’ campaign posters. YAF and LI focus on the intellectual content of conservatism, inviting speakers like Dennis Prager.

Slater, while identifying closer with YAF’s intellectualism, said tactics used by both are effective to conservative messaging. While tabeling for IC Republicans, Slater said he would catch people’s eye with a sticker from TPUSA but inform students with what he learned from YAF.

“We’ll use the ‘socialism sucks’ sticker on our table to catch their eye,” he said. “Then I use the YAF talking point to keep them informed and have them go to their class more prepared to be a part of this discussion.”

The Leadership Institute has a similar mission to YAF focusing on the intellectual sphere of conservatism rather than provocative branding.

“We’re really interested in training young conservatives to win on principle and to win for principal,” Mariscal said.

In the end, Mariscal said conservative students benefit the most in as an intellectual minority. If they choose to engage with their left of center classmates rather than troll them, they have the chance to strengthen their foundational values and refine their argument skills.

“On campus, conservatives are facing threats and arguments and they’re the ones coming out a little sharper,” he said. “Everyday, they’re being told ‘you’re racist, you’re a bigot’ and everyday they’re learning how to rearticulate their points.”

 

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue

Patriots should embrace peaceful dissent, not condemn it

IC Chronicle

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue

Patriots should embrace peaceful dissent—not condemn it

By Hannah Crisafulli

There is a demeaning narrative told in this country when people of color organize protests. One of the most common critiques of the Black Lives Matter movement is that its adherents hurt their own cause by being violent. The BLM  founders explicitly distinguish this violence from their main cause—to call attention to the brutality and injustices that black Americans experience in the United States.

(Take notice: any sort of violence that occurs during these demonstrations by POC is tacked onto the movement’s reputation. Yet the white nationalists that became violent in Charlottesville are separate from the “good people”, according to the president.)

When Colin Kaepernick first chose to kneel for the National Anthem in 2016, he clearly stated that he did so in solidarity with other people of color—a demonstration against institutional racism in the United States. Although he faced heavy criticism, Kaepernick continued to kneel, and other NFL players have joined him.

To many Americans, taking the knee is anti-American, when, in fact, peaceful dissent is about as American as it gets. Taking a knee during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance is protected in the the Bill of Rights, which plays the most fundamental role in maintaining our fragile democracy.

Those who kneel during the national anthem are not doing so to disrespects the military, the president, or the country. The movement simply began with Kaepernick choosing to do so as a form of peaceful protest against police brutality and the treatment of people of color in the United States. It is not a hateful action and it is not intended to belittle or disrespect any demographic in America. It is simply a motion that was made to protest the racism that has been embedded into American life, from something as small as microaggressions, to something as monumental as killing an unarmed black individual.

Flying the Confederate Flag, on the other hand, is a hateful, anti-American act that disrespects the military, the president, and the country, on top of the entire demographic of black individuals that were weighted down because of it’s origin. There is nothing unconstitutional about kneeling for the national anthem; it is a peaceful form of protest that sends a message and brings attention to the issues that are plaguing the nation.

I will forever wonder why there are still those red flags with blue X’s anywhere in the United States. If the people who justify the use of the symbol were true patriots, they would understand that flying the Confederate Flag is treasonous, disrespectful, and anti-American. They would also understand that kneeling during the National Anthem is a right granted to the American people, and that exercising said right is an integral part of being American.

 

Justice Department enters ‘struggle’ for free speech on college campuses

For the free exchange of ideas

From the Professor Watchlist homepage.

2017 Writing Department Contest

"The Watchlist has its eyes on you"

Justice Department enters 'struggle' for free speech on college campuses

College Professors fear autocratic rule from Washington

By Justin Henry

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared on Tuesday the Department of Justice (DOJ) would file a statement of interest in a court case as a part of a crusade to maintain free speech on college campuses in remarks at the Georgetown University Law Center.

In a press release from Tuesday, the DOJ sided with students in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski who alleged the speech codes of Georgia Gwinnett College restrict their free expression unconstitutionally. Sessions said there will be more statements of interest like this in the weeks to come as the Department of Justice takes a closer look at institutions of higher learning to see if their speech codes abide by the First Amendment.

“Freedom of thought and speech at the American university are under attack,” Sessions said in his address. “The American university was once the center of academic freedom, a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas. But it has transformed into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.”

In his remarks, Sessions said the DOJ would work to enforce federal law and defend the free expression of students “from whatever end of the spectrum it may come.”

Sessions pointed to several recent incidents of protesters violently shutting down controversial campus speakers like Charles Murray, a social scientist who wrote The Bell Curve and Milo Yiannopoulos, a former editor of Breitbart News.

Sessions’s condemnation of an academic climate that is too “politically correct” has professors worried of a reactionary suppression of cultural criticism among progressive academics. Asma Barlas, professor in the Ithaca College department of politics, was unsurprised by this kind of autocratic move by the Trump administration. The attack against leftist echo chambers, she said, was just a ruse to assert control over the conversations on college campuses.

“There is no real Left in the United States,” Barlas said. “What this is is a clamp-down on any kind of political dissent.”

Republicans are split on the issue. Some view Sessions as overstepping in his role of Attorney General while others view the initiative as a necessary move to ensure the First Amendment rights of students are upheld on college campuses.  

Caleb Slater, President of IC Republicans, said the Attorney General was within his rights to hold public institutions to strict observance of the First Amendment since they receive government funding.

Sam Mariscal, regional field coordinator with the Leadership Institute, an organization training young conservatives, said he was uncomfortable with Sessions’ involvement of the federal government in an issue which should be resolved in civil society.

“I personally don’t like the national level stepping into most things,” he said. “I don’t like his reach. For public universities that do receive state funding, then I think we have to look at them.”

For the free exchange of ideas

October 2017 issue