.

.

Friday, August 25, 2017

KSU Earns FIRE’s Highest Free Speech Rating

MANHATTAN, Kan., Aug. 25, 2017 — The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is pleased to announce that Kansas State University has earned FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating for free speech. In consultation with FIRE, the university revised its speech-related policies to fully reflect the university’s commitment to free speech. Kansas State University further affirmed its commitment to free expression by adopting a statement similar to the University of Chicago’s laudable statement on academic freedom. 
“This is an important, reaffirming moment for our university,” said Cheryl Strecker, general counsel for the university. “We are committed to our values of inclusion, diversity, anti-discrimination and nonviolence. At the same time, our principles and policies reflect the university’s longstanding commitment to free speech, a commitment that now is also formally expressed in our Statement on Free Speech and Expression. I hope that we can serve as a leader on this front as we and other institutions face the challenges of our day.”
The university became the 33rd green light institution in FIRE’s Spotlight database of nearly 450 colleges and universities, and the third institution to earn a green light this summer. This positive trend is the result of increased cooperation between students, faculty, administrators, and FIRE. In August, Strecker informed FIRE not only that the university had reworded its policies, but also that it had adopted a robust statement of commitment to free speech.
Kansas State University joins a growing list of colleges and universities that have adopted free speech policy statements that closely mirror the University of Chicago’s “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression,” better known as the “Chicago Statement.” Kansas State University’s version expands upon the Chicago Statement, acknowledging not only that “the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict,” but also that “some individuals’ ideas will even conflict with the University’s values and principles.” 
The university’s statement further provides that freedom of speech is “one of our most cherished rights, protected by the United States Constitution. Without unwavering protection of that right, our society would suffer, and the vulnerable in our society would suffer the most. Progress such as civil rights movements and the resulting gains would not be possible.”
“With its robust new free speech statement and its other policy revisions, Kansas State has established itself as a leader in championing the free speech rights of its students and faculty,” said Samantha Harris, FIRE’s vice president of policy research. “We could not be happier to welcome Kansas State University to our list of green light institutions.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.
CONTACT
Daniel Burnett, Communications Manager, FIRE
215-717-3473; media@thefire.org
Jennifer Tidball, Director of Communications and Marketing, Kansas State University: 785-532-2535; jtidball@k-state.edu
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
510 Walnut Street | Suite 1250 | Philadelphia, PA 19106

Good Video on Stephan Molyneux and Defooing

I discovered this video today and think it's an excellent introduction to what's wrong with Stephan Molyneux and why I advise people to keep their distance from him and refrain from giving him publicity. The group that produced it, FDR Liberated, is a place people can explore anarchocapitalist ideas without being subject to cultic manipulations.

In the International Cultic Studies Association, I've known two couples who were defooed by their children at Molyneux's instigation. Fortunately one subsequently escaped his influence and has resumed relations with her family. I like to think it may have something to do with her having eagerly received the information on mind control I brought to their discussion of Anthem.

Rick Ross on Cultism and the Trump Movement

In this recent interview, Cult Education Institute founder Rick Ross discusses cult-like aspects of the Trump movement:

Two comments:
1) Like a number of others lately, Ross misuses the term "cognitive dissonance." What he's actually describing is cognitive dissonance *avoidance*; if hardcore Trump followers actually experienced cognitive dissonance (as defined here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance), their loyalty wouldn't be so stable.
2) He mentions the option of ordering things through amazon. If you care about labor rights, don't. Best is powells.com, the online store of Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR, a union shop; if you order through ILWU Local 5's portal powellsunion.com, a commission will go to their strike fund. If you set up as a Powell Partner (where state regulations make that feasible -- unfortunately they don't in PA), you'll get a commission when someone orders through your portal.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

CREDO Too Credulous

Today I received an email from CREDO Mobile asking me to sign a petition titled "Betsy DeVos: Stand with survivors of sexual assault." I responded by contacting CREDO with this message:

You should remove this petition because it misrepresents both proposed policy changes and the facts on which those proposals are based.

Contrary to the accompanying
text, no one at DEd is considering taking any rights away from those making complaints of sexual assault on college campuses. Rather, the proposed changes would simply restore Constitutional protections traditionally enjoyed by the accused which have been drastically eroded by the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter issued by President Obama's Education Department Office of Civil Rights. There have now been no fewer than 53 cases in which colleges and universities, acting under the pressure of the DCL out of fear of losing Title IX funds, have been ruled by courts to have violated accused students' due process rights (http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/cynthia-m-allen/article162774733.html). In the process, actual victims of sexual assault have also suffered, because these mishandled cases promote cynicism about all such accusations, including the true ones.

Part of the means by which such unconstitutional policies have been promoted has been bogus statistics, such as the "1 in 5" figure cited on the petition page (http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/ten-myths/). Leaving aside purely ethical questions, such fearmongering does college women a disservice by creating needless anxiety, and potentially even dissuading some from attending college.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Civil Liberties Group Launched

Announcing FIRE Student Defenders

By July 17, 2017 
 
After noticing an alarming number of due process injustices across the nation in university conduct hearings, FIRE decided to take action. We are thrilled to launch the FIRE Student Defenders program, which will help students start groups dedicated to defending student rights on campus.

The judicial process provides a great opportunity to teach students about why their rights are important. Often in campus disciplinary proceedings, there is no guarantee that students will be notified of the allegations against them, have sufficient time to prepare their defense, have the opportunity to present their case to an impartial hearing officer or panel, obtain access to exculpatory evidence, or be able to hire a lawyer. These and other elements are necessary to ensure accused students receive a fair hearing. It is essential to have students on campus who can help their fellow students advocate for a fair process.
Student Defenders will be able to provide each student with a comprehensive overview of their rights and options within the campus conduct process. They will serve as allies to students — providing explanations of each step of the process, answering questions, and oftentimes just being there to listen. By offering this assistance to all students, Student Defenders will make each university community a better, fairer place.
FIRE is pleased to provide students with the resources they need to start a Student Defenders group of their own, including a comprehensive start-up guide, sample constitution, tips for recruiting and training members, logos, templates for flyers, and much more. FIRE is also able to offer $150 grants to assist with starting a group on campus, and $50 grants for advertising 

While these groups have no formal connection to FIRE and will vary in size and structure, they will be united in their mission to promote legal equality and protect due process for their fellow students.
To learn more about our new program or how to start a Student Defenders group on campus, visit us at studentdefenders.org or email us at studentdefenders@thefire.org.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I don't know what excuse Anya Kamenetz can possibly offer for relying on a blatantly biased intermediary source like _Slate_ for this story. One of the most egregious falsehoods is the claim that SAVE "lobbies against domestic violence protections," for which no evidence whatever is offered, nor even a source. And it tries to stir up outrage over their pointing out that much DV is initiated by women -- a claim treated as self-evidently malicious -- even though the US government itself is the source on which the claim is based: http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/Seven-Facts-Every-American-Should-Know-About-DV.pdf

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/07/15/537023511/uproar-over-education-department-officials-approach-to-campus-sexual-assault


Thursday, July 13, 2017

This morning I attended a Certified Peer Specialist Information Session at the Department of Behavioral Health, 801 Market St. My friend Maria Pupo, who first made me aware of opportunities like this by telling me about PRO-ACT, also attended and we sat together. I'll be reviewing the information I received to determine if I can apply for the next CPS training.

For my participation today, I got three tickets for the Recovery Idol and Fashion Show at the Dell Music Center on August 25.

Friday, July 07, 2017

I Reach Out and (Hopefully) Make a Difference

Eight days ago I went along with a door-to-door fundraiser for an organization with which I was considering employment. I found some of his conduct quite offensive and decided to communicate my concerns with the charity on whose behalf he was acting. I wrote them as follows:



Inappropriate conduct by fundraiser

To whom it may concern:


Last Thursday I shadowed an employee of one of the contractors who go door-to-door to enroll support for your organization, [company's name deleted]. I decided not to take the job because of conduct on his part that I found disturbing and inappropriate.



More than once, when a prospect told him they didn't want to sign up at the door but would look Child Fund up online, this [company] employee, T---- J------ , responded by repeating to them that only one out of ten thousand people seeing the TV ads responds by sponsoring a child. Whether or not this is true (and I'm a bit skeptical since he seemed to state a higher figure to me between doorbells), how could it be relevant to the prospect in question? Since they just told him they were going to research your organization online, they are in an utterly different situation. Not responding to a TV ad you've passively watched is obviously different from breaking a promise you've just made to someone in person, face-to-face. And, since any reasonably intelligent person can see this, they can also see that he's 1) calling them a liar, 2) blatantly trying to blackmail them emotionally, and 3) by acting as if they won't notice 1) and 2), insulting their intelligence.


While it's possible that, in spite of all this, those individuals nonetheless went online and enrolled, Mr. J------'s obnoxious behavior surely left a bad taste in their mouths that made them less likely to do so. In fact, since he did this more than once, he may have cost Child Fund Inc. more enrollees than the two he actually signed up at the door during the period I shadowed him.


After we returned to the [company] office, I tried to convey this to him, saying if someone behaved this way toward me I would shut the door in their face. And I'm not someone lacking in social concern; one reason he thought me a promising potential employee is that I've often done door-to-door canvassing and other work for causes as a volunteer. But soft-hearted isn't the same as soft-headed.

Mr. J------ defended himself by saying he was the top performer at his office (Philadelphia). But how is his performance measured? Only by enrollments at the door. Those who decline to do so but say they'll look up Child Fund online aren't tracked, so there's no way of telling how many potential enrollees he's turned off. What I can tell you is that the two people he did enroll that afternoon didn't do so because of his obnoxious behavior. In both cases they were eager to enroll as soon as they heard who he was representing, since they'd heard of it from people close to them who were already enrolled. So, his offensive behavior accomplished nothing on behalf of Child Fund, but may well have cancelled out the enrollments he did get.


The other thing he said in his defense was that he was simply doing what [the company] had trained him to do. All that means is that it's not just T---- J------, but a whole organization of people who may be costing Child Fund many potential supporters.


While I decided not to be part of that organization, I felt it behooved me to inform you of this troubling situation. Thank you for your attention.


Sincerely,


[my name]
I received this reply today:

That was a very difficult email to read. From the bottom of my heart thank you so much for taking the time to compose and send us the account of your experience.

I have forwarded your full email to our department that handles the face to face vendors and they will ensure that this is addressed immediately.

We want you to know that the behavior you outlined is not acceptable behavior for our representatives and we deeply apologize to you for your unpleasant experience having to witness it. Unfortunately, it seems that we have missed out on the opportunity to have you represent us, but perhaps another opportunity will arise. For now, suffice it to say, that you have assisted enormously by sharing this information and I, personally, am grateful.

Thank you again for your support of our work and please let me know if there's anything we may assist you with.

All my best,
Victoria

For additional information regarding ChildFund International and our programs to help children in need around the world, please visit our website at http://www.ChildFund.org.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Quote of the Day

This poster can currently be seen in the office of PRO-ACT (Ambassadors for Recovery) in North Philadelphia: "This Printer Shall Be Called Bob Marley... Cause It Be Jammin"