Something Doesn't Click Here

freedom from freedom A Missouri professor has gotten more than her share of negative pixels this year. I actually decided after my last column on her that I was done writing about her.

Even when she claimed that her now-infamous plea for "some muscle over here" was not the real her. I resisted.

“I try to remember that’s only one moment of a full day, and only one moment in a 12-year career,” she said. (source)

And after she hired a public relations team to give her a makeover, she now claims that the real reason she got fired is because she was the scapegoat for a racist patriarchy or something. (source)

Ok, fuck it, I'll write about this idiot again.

From her recent statement:

In their decision to terminate my employment, the Curators bowed to conservative voices that seek to tarnish my stellar 12-year record at MU. Instead of disciplining me for conduct that does not “meet expectations for a University faculty member,” the Curators are punishing me for standing with students who have drawn attention to the issue of overt racism at the University of Missouri. While I have apologized on numerous occasions to numerous parties for my actions on October 10, 2015 and November 9, 2015, I will not apologize for my support of Black students who experience racism at the University of Missouri.

Yes, she expects you to believe that she got fired from a University for being too liberal.

The fact is, her actions on that one day are a great summary of her 12 year career, which is not "stellar." It is utterly useless.

But, perhaps she is right. Perhaps terminating her isn't fair. After all, she is merely a symptom of a problem, not a problem herself. The real disease is one that has infected higher education for at least a generation — political correctness, where identity politics and victim studies trump intelligence and qualifications. When that happens, again and again, what do you expect? How can you not wind up with "professors" like her?

The bats have come home to rest in the empty mental belfry of academia. In the short term, for the professor — as she was charged with assault for her misdeeds – something I disagreed with. Why? Because she was criminally charged for a mere legal trifle, even if it was an academic sin of the highest order. Firing her was the right thing to do, but what we need to realize is that she should not have been hired in the first place.

I majored in victim studies!

LET ME GET SOME VICTIM STUDIES MUSCLE OVER HERE!

Her CV indicates someone with a very shallow view of the marketplace of ideas, and someone who figured out how to game the system, but not someone who has much to offer when it comes to expanding knowledge, or just teaching students how to do anything useful.

Don't get me wrong, hers was a brilliant path for anyone who wants to get hired in social science academia. Prove your "victim studies" cred and your CV goes to the top of the pile. And therein lies the problem.

Critiques of her CV fill pages of search engine results, but this one sums it up nicely.

So who is Melissa Click? She is an Assistant Professor at Missouri and has a PhD in communication from the University of Massachusetts. What was the subject of her dissertation? “It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.” Obviously a work of serious scholarship. Prof. Click has a “Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies,” too. So she is well qualified to teach your children. Something. (source)

Her "scholarship" includes Making monsters: Lady Gaga, fan identification, and social media, The romanticization of abstinence: Fan response to sexual restraint in the Twilight series and “Let’s Hug It Out, Bitch”: Audience response to hegemonic masculinity in Entourage.

She's not quite finished with The trouble with Thomas: A closer look at the popular children’s Series. I presume that Thomas the Train is an agent of the Patriarchy, and railroads are a metaphor for rape culture, or something like that.*

What do you expect? She went to UMass/Amherst. I did too. Don't get me wrong, I adore the place, donate to it, and will sing its praises until my vocal cords bleed. But, to say that it is a bit of a left-wing outlier is like saying that Donald Trump can be slightly abrasive at times. Just like I know when a dear friend also has a tendency to be an asshole, I am not blind to UMass' flaws. One of them is that it often chooses political correctness over the promotion of knowledge.

While I graduated with a UMass journalism degree (which was one of the best moves ever), I spent a few semesters in a specialized major called "Social Thought and Political Economy," (STPEC) which exists only at UMass. While there, I learned just how silly this brand of left-wing thought can be. I wish I had realized, at the time, that I was seeing the early stages of terminal academic stupidity.

To me, majoring in STPEC sounded great. In some ways it was. I fancied myself a little revolutionary. I wore Che Guevara t-shirts. I smoked weed and dropped acid and went on marches and building takeovers. It might have been 1987, but the way I saw it, it was the sixties, even though it was the eighties. And, I was the first brilliant 17 year old to discover Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. That's a lot of college students, but this was particularly fashionable at UMass. And boy did I think I was cool.

UMass considered this to be "anti-semitic"

UMass considered this to be "anti-semitic"

Part of that juvenile thinking-I-am-cool was that I loved The Dead Kennedys (still do, but I admit that I play it at a much lower volume now). I put up a poster from them, depicted here — "Nazi Punks Fuck Off." I quickly found myself up on "civility" charges. Not because the content of my door decoration had profanity in it, that was just fine. No, it was considered to be "Anti-Semitic." When I mockingly explained the significance of the poster, the residence director explained to me that the intent of the message was irrelevant — it was how it made the anonymous complaining party feel. If they felt harassed by it, I was responsible for those emotions. I was let off with a "warning."

I took it down, since the last thing I wanted to do was make someone feel like I didn't like them because they were Jewish — even if they were an abject fucking idiot.

But that was when I realized that there was a real problem at my University. The way I saw it, I should have had every right to put up a "Hitler Rules, Fuck Yeah!" poster, if I wanted to. But, if I could not put up the opposite of that, without having committed thoughtcrime then how could we have any debate? Was the subject just off limits? More troublingly, I could express one opinion, but be held responsible for the precise opposite opinion because some fucking idiot didn't get the message?

Later, I took a writing class — "Writing for Critical Consciousness." It sounded like a great idea at the time, even if I would mock the shit out of my 19 year old self for taking it. We had a paper due, and we were allowed to work in teams. Fortunately, I had a cool partner in this project, and as we were trying to write this piece of shit, I took a toke off a bong and suggested that we just do a "word salad" of politically correct terms. We laughed our asses off as we tossed in words like "heteronormative" and "hegemonist." For about an hour, we both just typed nonsense. Complete and utter bullshit. When we were finished, we cut and pasted it into a single document, and handed it in. We just didn't give a shit.

Imagine how hard we laughed when we got an A on the paper.

This is the UMass that produced Ms. Click. That is the left-wing academia that offends even me… and I think I'm pretty far left. I believe in a 99% income tax bracket at some level. I'm all for socialized medicine. I support affirmative action (but only for descendants of slaves). I'm in favor of a huge estate tax. Hell, its a good thing I'm not in charge, because I'd probably declare martial law and drag the 400 richest Americans, parade them through the streets Chinese Cultural Revolution style, and then publicly execute them, seize everything they have, and redistribute it to the poor. Fine, I'm a lunatic. Don't let me be dictator, and everything will be fine.

But just as I learned at UMass, "political correctness" can become a parody of itself. Sometimes, like when you just word-vomit the right vocabulary, you get an A in "writing for victim studies." Other times, though, it can be scary — like when you're 18 years old and facing a panel of stern looking people telling you that your record may have something in it that brands you an anti-semitic racist, when your intent was 180 degrees the other way.

But, if you want a job in academia, that is the path. Find a way that you're a victim, wear it like VIP pass. Write about utter garbage, as long as it promotes the feminist-critical-race-theory-agenda. One by one, the "old white men" left academia, and it started getting infiltrated by these fucking morons. When they reached a critical mass, even those who completely disagree know that they need to stay quiet.

A few brave voices spoke up. For example, Professor Kenneth Lasson, penned two academic warnings – Political Correctness Askew: Excesses in the Pursuit of Minds and Manners, and Feminism Awry: Excesses in the Pursuit of Rights and Trifles. He warned that campuses were becoming places of political and social orthodoxy, and that in the end, we would all suffer. How right he was.

But, unfortunately, no one was ready to listen then. And now, it might be too late. After Click’s incident, more than a hundred of her colleagues decided that her non-apology, where she blamed everyone but herself was “good enough.”.

So now we have Melissa Click, the new and improved one, claiming essentially that she got fired because she's black… or because she "stood with" black students. I don't think anyone takes her story seriously. Well, let me correct that, her fellow victim-studies idiots will. And, unfortunately, they're now running the asylum.

But, if academia actually meant anything, she would never have been hired in the first place. She should be sent back to weep over heteronormative cis-gendered oppression in Teletubbies, and leave teaching to adults. Are there any available? Can they get past the search committee?

I hope the fuck so.

______________

*Of course, my own law review articles have, on average, something like 10 downloads, so who the fuck am I to judge? MR. JUDGY PANTS, THAT'S WHO!

Last 5 posts by Marc Randazza

Comments

  1. Quiet Lurcker says

    The problem is universal, I'm afraid.

    Given that the prerequisite to academic standing seems to be a selective prefrontal lobotomy (common sense and intelligence being removed) these days, I suspect the problems are only going to get far, far worse before they become even marginally better.

  2. Brad says

    By and large the social sciences aren't where this metastasized. It's the humanities (e.g. 90% of literature, large swathes of history) and humanities-tinged social science enclaves (like parts of geography and sociology). Thankfully, 99% of economics, 97% of political science, and ~80% of sociology laugh their asses off at this shit, and it does not get one a job in academia. I have no clue about communications. The rest of the social sciences just laugh at them, because they're our in-house equivalent of the ed school.

  3. says

    I wonder how Ms. Click feels about the Yale professors fired over a far more trivial incident. They did not threaten violence; they just opined that college students could exercise adult judgment (a belief proven empirically wrong in the aftermath). Surely, as a person of moral integrity — who but the most moral of people could detect the evil in Thomas The Tank Engine, after all — she greatly opposes that injustice. Right?

  4. Lee says

    She's not quite finished with The trouble with Thomas: A closer look at the popular children’s Series. I presume that Thomas the Train is an agent of the Patriarchy, and railroads are a metaphor for rape culture, or something like that.*

    WHAT'S IN THE FOOTNOTE?! I HAVE TO KNOW!

  5. That Anonymous Coward says

    OHAI Marc! *waves*

    I think it is nice that she slightly touched on her actions against the police officers prior to her meltdown in the middle of campus. Obviously the problem is that people can film her in public showing her behavior without her there to offer soft soothing commentary (think of Penguins & Morgan Freeman) to explain how it isn't how she acts, that she was forced to do it by the actions of the oppressors, and how noble it was she was standing up for these oppressed people as only she of the vaunted academia is educated enough to understand their plight.

    I've crossed paths with a few academics, and thankfully, they appear to understand what I am saying rather than having a prayer circle to divine the hidden meanings in my words. But I've also had a few people who have taken up the mantle of defending against my penis driven neanderthal brain being wrong… and I have great delight in pushing them into corners because I have a whole set of victim trading cards I earned that are useful against those who think the cards trump everything.

    While Academia is rife with these everyones feels matters, sadly I think they are 'victims' of the greater 'every snowflake is special' mindset. When parents show up at school board meetings demanding that they force the teacher to change little Suzies grades because he was being harsh because she is 'insert wheel of victimization spin here' it drives things. Soon its just easier to make everyone happy and give them a ribbon, not keep score in the games, etc etc etc… Rather than encourage kids to work hard, its easier to just hamstring everyone else.

    I dread the day they manage to get more of a foothold in the real world. They will annoy everyone to no end, but the larger problem is nothing will actually get done because the jobs will be given to those with the right 'victim' trading cards and not those with the skills to do the damn job.

  6. Stephen says

    It may be the complainer couldn't parse the poster

    Nazi! Punks Fuck Off
    Nazi Punks! Fuck Off
    Nazi Punks Fuck Off!
    Nazi Punks Fuck! Off!

    Your Choice

  7. Bees! says

    Marc, Alan Sokal would be proud of your word salad piece.

    Also, Napalm Death does a great cover of that Dead Kennedy's song.

  8. Raccoon Strait says

    Normally when trying to achieve balance, if there is too much weight on one end of the teeter-totter one usually adds some more weight to the other end, or moves the existing weights more toward or away from the end. If one guesses well, little more adjustment would be necessary.

    For some things less two sided, or more than two sided, one makes extra effort on the side(s) needing support, sometimes more than extra effort. Sometimes it takes a two x four upside the head to get any effort initiated and at times that effort is reluctant, or extremely reluctant.

    Lets face it, the world grew up being racist and sexist, against whatever religion, or nationality, or class, or political party, etc. that isn't ones own and we are now trying to learn how to not do that, sometimes willingly. At least some are. The problem is that those who perceive themselves to having been repressed see the solution as putting a whole lot of weight on the other end of that teeter-totter. More than a good guess. Sometimes they want some revenge along with their balance. Sometimes more than one side is being re-weighted at the same time.

    Folks viewing this and trying to do the right thing, don't know what the right thing is, and have not yet recognized the revenge that is part of the solutions being requested. If they did, they wouldn't know what to do with that information. They might even believe that some revenge, in some cases might, be appropriate. Or not.

    But they are not sensitive artists. They are fence painters and only have very very wide brushes with which to slather the paint onto that fence, which is supposed to be torn down, not painted. They don't know how to destruct that fence, let alone how to get what exists on either side to meld together graciously. Then there is the fact that the fence does not separate two things, but dozens. And what about that revenge stuff?

    So they sit in their ivory towers painting fences different colors instead of removing them and ignoring (actually failing to recognize) revenge requests while trying to balance the large varieties of angst being spewed by the various self-righteous who threaten disruption to the self absorbed communities built by the tower sitters. Their mission: to balance an unequal number of things of unequal weight that have a long history of imbalance on a teeter-totter with more than two sides, each of unequal length, with a show of trying to be successful while not actually succeeding because balance isn't really possible. All things are not equal.

    The lessons being learned from their efforts are that one needs to put more effort into the weighting of their own side, only…to improve the overall balance, and to hell with everybody else. Its our turn now. Too bad for anyone who doesn't show us the proper respect, as we define it (and that isn't static).

  9. Anon Y. Mous says

    In the short term, for the professor — as she was charged with assault for her misdeeds – something I disagreed with. Why? Because she was criminally charged for a mere legal trifle, even if it was an academic sin of the highest order.

    The sad thing is that the criminal conviction was likely necessary in order to get her fired. Had she not been charged, and convicted, I don't think enough pressure would have built, thus requiring her termination. If she could have been just fired, the criminal charges would have been overkill.

  10. says

    Find a way that you're a victim, wear it like VIP pass. Write about utter garbage, as long as it promotes the feminist-critical-race-theory-agenda.

    I find myself currently in a situation where playing the victim card might help me greatly, but having no experience doing so, I am stalling. I'm applying to law schools. And unfortunately, my "Diversity Statement" can't just read "I lived in a homeless shelter, then subsidized housing, I have a vagina, and I did well on the LSAT. Let me into your fucking college."

    Also, your link to Prof. Lasson's page is fucky.

  11. says

    I lived in a homeless shelter, then subsidized housing, I have a vagina, and I did well on the LSAT. Let me into your fucking college.

    If I were on an admissions committee and I read this on an application, I'd throw it to the top of the pile.

  12. En Passant says

    I took it down, since the last thing I wanted to do was make someone feel like I didn't like them because they were Jewish — even if they were an abject fucking idiot.

    Your unstated assumption is that whoever complained about your poster actually was Jewish. Maybe they weren't.

    The beauty of majoring in these "oppression studies" subjects is that you can presume to speak for anybody you wish. You won't be questioned, because you can spout the word salad that shows the subtle and arcane reasons that "Nazi Punks, Fuck off!" actually means "Jewz is evul!"

  13. Just Me says

    Howdy — I just wanted to whine that your RSS feed hasn't been updated since December 4! For awhile, I figured you must have decided you'd jumped the shark with that piece about Erdoğan’s Precious, and simply retired … :)

    Bye!

  14. Michael P says

    I disagree with your repeated use of "victim studies" to demean a branch of academia that has shown incredible growth in recent decades. In fact, this field of studies should be properly called grievance studies: the academics could hardly care less about the alleged victims (witness their reactions whenever any "victim" expresses independence or the ability to move on), but instead obsess over the grievances at issue.

  15. Del Varner says

    I went to UMass as well (graduate degree–I wont say what in though–a science). It prettty much flies under the radar as fa as radicalism goes. Most people dont understand its context in the "5 College Area". My officemate user to refer to its location as 'The Valley of the Unconscious"

  16. says

    I don't wish to defend Professor Click. I don't know the specifics, but I'll trust her firing was justified.

    Still, it really is not obvious from looking at her CV what kind of scholar she is. The title of something isn't its argument. You should actually read what was written and not just the title(s). And one can adopt the most radical, self-victimizing, post-modern, anti-patriarchal scholarship, and yet still be a good teacher and good team player when it comes to the day to day work in academia.

    Just skimming the titles doesn't tell us much. "'It's a Good Thing'…" might be the regular claptrap about patriarchy and victimization, or it might be a critique of critiques of those things.

    Or not.

    I don't hold out a lot of hope that her scholarship is actually worth reading. But we can't tell the arguments from the titles.

  17. Cloudbuster says

    She went to UMass/Amherst. I did too. Don't get me wrong, I adore the place, donate to it, and will sing its praises until my vocal cords bleed.

    Careful, there. You're undermining your own credibility.

    While I graduated with a UMass journalism degree (which was one of the best moves ever)

    Oh, come on. I have a journalism degree, too. I was fortunate enough to get mine in the 80s, when newspapers were still a thing, but it's hardly a degree to be proud of. It's just one tiny step up from "studies" degrees.

    I wore Che Guevara t-shirts. I smoked weed and dropped acid and went on marches and building takeovers.

    What a surprise.

  18. Cloudbuster says

    I believe in a 99% income tax bracket at some level.

    So you're a complete moron. I see now. You should lead with that in your byline. Save people a lot of time.

  19. TimL says

    IANAL but I am a professor in a STEM field at a tier 1 research University.

    I know nothing about the situation in which this specific person was terminated.

    In my department, decisions to terminate a probationary faculty member (i.e., Assistant or Associate Professor without tenure) are recommended by the "Promotion and Tenure Committee" which includes all of the tenured faculty in my department. The process includes a detailed discussion of the merits of the case and there is a vote. We are explicitly informed that we are to exclusively discuss professional, not personal matters… although, the personal stuff does come up in discussions (in my department, there is quickly a comment made by me that such discussion is inappropriate).

    She claims to have been an employee at the Univ. of Missouri for 12 years but she has been an assistant professor since 2009. It's really simple to review the merit of her CV: simply go to the category of "peer-reviewed publications" and count the numbers and look at the quality of the journals from her work since becoming an assistant professor (i.e., work prior to 2009 is irrelevant).

    I don't know the standards of her department, her university, or her field of inquiry. But, her peer-reviewed publication record is pretty pathetic from my perspective.

    Folks like to claim that academia is full of liberals who hold hands and smoke pot, but the system for promotion and tenure is very much merit-based.

    You've probably heard the phrase before:

    Publish or perish

    She didn't publish; ergo, she should perish.

  20. Psmith says

    Theory: modern identity politics was a COINTELPRO creation designed to siphon support away from redistributive movements and quote economic justice unquote. (see also: abstract expressionism, CIA sponsorship of the Iowa Writers' Workshop)

    Whether or not this is actually true, identity politics is certainly a hell of a lot friendlier to the neoliberal consensus than Marxism is, and seems to draw its supporters from the same demographic.

  21. Pedro Wloch says

    I'm gonna print this and go around saying it to some of my charges at work today (I went to college around the same time – 1984). Can I? It's classic!
    "To me, majoring in STPEC sounded great. In some ways it was. I fancied myself a little revolutionary. I wore Che Guevara t-shirts. I smoked weed and dropped acid and went on marches and building takeovers. It might have been 1987, but the way I saw it, it was the sixties, even though it was the eighties. And, I was the first brilliant 17 year old to discover Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. That's a lot of college students, but this was particularly fashionable at UMass. And boy did I think I was cool."

    Very well written essay. As another commenter said, I'm glad I'm a chemist.

    Pedro

  22. Ryan says

    Uh oh, I'm a conservative and I think I agree with Click (well, kinda).

    As a parent of 3 kids under 4, I don't really like Thomas either. It's the same shit each episode: Thomas (or another train) is given an assignment; Thomas doesn't do that and instead does something else he likes; Thomas get's scolded; Thomas fixes the problem and it all works out.

    That's not how I want my kids to act. When I tell you to do something, dammit, do it and do it right!

    Now, I'm fairly certain Click's view of Thomas is decidedly different from mine. Thomas probably raped a female train by hooking her up to him or something…

    But, do we both dislike that and if so, should I change my position to a Thomas-lover (you know, enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing!)?

  23. Suburbanbanshee says

    First off, excellent and interesting article.

    Second, nearly everybody in the human race is covered by your affirmative action criterion, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. (I would say "everybody," but there is a tiny chance that somebody somewhere is descended exclusively from people who managed to avoid being enslaved or selling themselves into slavery over all the millions of years.)

    Many Americans of all colors had slavery in their recent family pasts, or even in their own last few years, rather than in 1864. And yet nobody is handing out affirmative action to these folks, nor do they want it. So again, your criterion needs narrowing.

    Third, again I wish to compliment your willingness to admit having sometimes been wrong, and not having fossilized your views at 18. Intellectual humility is a rare and valuable gift.

  24. Doug Rivers says

    This was well written. Made me chuckle. I think you understand what is going on.

  25. Steve Alexander says

    Even the descriptor "stood with" black students might be overstating things. There are several indicators that Concerned Students 1950 is not on the level.

    -The first incident, in which a black student was harassed when someone shouted the N-word from a vehicle, occurred at the end of the campus. The vehicle was on a public use road. There is no indication the racist ever attended the University of Missouri.

    -Jonathan Butler, a leader in Concerned Students 1950, claimed that UM President Wolfe hit him with a car. Video of the incident later showed Butler rushing the car in an attempt to block it, and Wolfe stopped his car immediately to AVOID hitting Butler (and other students).

    -The infamous shit swastika which appeared in the dorms. In a day and age where everyone's phone has a camera and people have used them to capture, among other things, an Uzbek nanny waving a Russian child's severed head, NO ONE MANAGED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF IT. No evidence this actually occurred exists.

    It's also worth mentioning that Butler comes from two African American highly successful executives. His father, for example, made $800,000 in yearly salary when last reported. His family is living proof that the American dream exists even for Blacks.

    These are the people Melissa Click "stood with." Birds of a feather, I suppose.

  26. scomo says

    You say all this and then tell us that you donate to UMass. Amherst. Are you stupid? Your donations contributed to hiring her.

  27. says

    A) She didn't get hired by UMass, she attended UMass
    B) I'm not going to withdraw my support for my alma mater because it graduated one dipshit. (Two if you count me) I'm especially not going to do so when UMass gave me all the financial aid I needed, when I needed it. In fact, UMass and University of Florida both get alumni donations from me, because they gave to me when I needed it.

  28. Rick E says

    I was a male Mechanical Engineering major in ROTC at UMass in the early 80's. The humanities types were always throwing some sort of crap together to submit as a paper, sometimes literally minutes before class. I remember getting lectured about how virtually all the things I thought and did were offensive. It wasn't always easy to keep from laughing mid-diatribe which just made it worse. Fortunately making it obvious that you thought the RA was full of shit wasn't actionable so I was able to graduate. It was always fun walking across campus in uniform, too. Ah, the memories.

  29. says

    I remember getting lectured about how virtually all the things I thought and did were offensive.

    I was probably one of those idiots lecturing you. Sorry. I was only 17 when I started college.

  30. Rick E says

    No worries. I'm sorry if I ever told you to go f**k yourself. I'm far more diplomatic now, and try never to offend accidentally. I always seem turn it up to 11 when trying to offend, so maybe I still have some work to do.

  31. RK says

    Never commented before, but I was a history major recently (graduated 2012), and I count myself fortunate to have ended up with a group of professors who clearly seem to exceed the masses of humanities teachers everyone is referencing. My first reaction was indignation that people were denigrating my major, but upon reflection there is truth to it. Some of the professors were activists, but they were outweighed by the professors who emphasized not political correctness, but discourse and reflection. Their willingness to engage in real discussions benefited me immensely and were one of the primary reasons I chose to remain in the department. I think the sad part is that one of my best professors, one who I kept in contact with for years afterwards, left academia soon afterwards due to the political infighting and constant budget cuts.

  32. Mr. L says

    The infamous shit swastika which appeared in the dorms. In a day and age where everyone's phone has a camera…NO ONE MANAGED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF IT.

    Not true; there was a photo in the heavily redacted police report released by the University. Amusingly, the chief suspect is a black man who was arguing with a Jewish student.

  33. Bill Corley says

    I guess I can't bring myself to worry overmuch about the absurdity of academia. My prediction: within a decade, any private liberal arts school that isn't in the top 20 nationally will close its doors. Most state schools will follow. The reason: low attendance. As soon as online-only accredited schools reach critical mass, their 10x + lower costs will drive most brick-and-mortar schools out of business. In 20 years, there will be < 100 top tier private schools open, and the remaining state schools will be primarily teaching subjects that require hands-on instruction (engineering and science). Who would pay $100K + to send their kid to get a liberal arts education when you can get it online for ~$1,000?

  34. a2plusb2 says

    What I perceive: That all (almost all) of academia, and most of the commentariat believe that America's ruling system needs a revolution. Overthrowing and removing what "is".
    — God save us from the bad side-effects of what they want to give us.
    — As a paraphrase of a well-known phrase, 'Revolutions eat those in whose midst they occur'

  35. CHH says

    @Brad

    By and large the social sciences aren't where this metastasized. It's the humanities (e.g. 90% of literature, large swathes of history) and humanities-tinged social science enclaves (like parts of geography and sociology).

    I got my undergrad in geography. I like GIS, and I like maps.

    One of my senior classes was a seminar class where the professor would give us papers on a given subject that we would read before class, and then the students would discuss the papers among ourselves. One or two students were assigned to lead the discussion each week. Her role was to keep us on track, I think. In essence, we taught ourselves in that class.

    Three of the topics we covered in that class were Marxist Geography, Humanist Geography, and Feminist Geography. One of the papers we read in the Feminist Geography class was about the women in a coal mining town in Appalachia. The only thing in the paper that was about geography was that the region was mentioned. Everything else was about the women and their lives in that town.

    As I said, she didn't teach us anything in that class; we taught ourselves. And what I learned in that class was that there were a lot of economists and social scientists who were butthurt that "hard" scientists like mathematicians, physicists, and the like didn't take them seriously, so they had to pretend to be a "harder" science than where they came from in order to get some street cred.

    I don't mind other disciplines using a tool to help them work on other things. Astrophysicists use math all the time, after all, but they don't call themselves Star Mathematicians. I don't mind other disciplines using GIS to analyze things, but that doesn't mean they're geographers. Actual GIS analysts frequently make use of python for macros, but that doesn't make us programmers.

  36. Jackson says

    @TimL

    The whole "in a STEM field" thing is kind of the point.

    Those do appear to be working properly. Not so much in a field where literally publishing a word salad or hoax paper is something that the "best" journals accept, and where publishing is essentially a random sort of nonsense rather than any indication of talent.

    I have a lot more faith in the standards used to hire STEM professors. For now.

  37. Bloviator says

    I like my humanities (history) degree!

    Then again, I might be far more realistic about what that degree meant to me and the outside world:

    – I did for least practical reasons possible, personal enrichment in a subject I enjoy, and I am a lucky guy that it did not break me financially.
    – It informs the way I view the world, but I don't live with the delusion that people give a damn about my opinions regarding it.
    – It did help me develop one marketable skill, how to research, collate, and retain even the most esoteric information like a mofo which has been incredibly valuable in my work.

  38. Steve S says

    Political correctness ends when you cease giving a shit what someone else thinks of you – and you are willing to pay the price for not having given that shit.

  39. Vendor Xeno says

    Almost two weeks for an update and this is what we get? A seemingly endless rant about a fired assistant and how she shouldn't have had a job there because…you don't like her degree and you think her alma mater is too left wing. And a bunch of largely irrelevant hyperbole. Oh, and mumble mumble academia likes victims.

    This is not what I've been coming to Popehat for years to read.

  40. RIchard Scire says

    I was at UMASS/Amherst from 1976-1981 as an undergrad. Looking back on it, I realize I was there at the birth of political correctness. I couldn't believe how ridiculous it all was.

    From the quotas for minorities in some student government elections to the accusations that you obviously didn't want black students on campus if you didn't vote to exempt some black student organization from across the board budget cuts, I found it all stupid and mystifying.

  41. Daniel Weber says

    I'm especially not going to do so when UMass gave me all the financial aid I needed, when I needed it.

    Marc, I'm not going to tell you to not donate to UMass.

    But don't fall for the oldest sales trick in the book. If the used car salesman sells you a $14,000 car but "with special discount I had to argue for with my boss to get it down to $6,000", they haven't given you $8,000.

    Schools use sophisticated pricing models more complex than those of car dealerships and airlines, because car dealerships and airlines don't get to look through your tax returns to see "how much you can afford."

    They sell it to you as there being a sticker price somehow determined as the minimum that the school needs to operate, and that they then sacrifice mightily and search all the couch cushions to come up with financial aid. But it's not as if any department or person had to give up something up to come up with that money. They simply charge everyone a different price. Their ability to practice price discrimination would make a Microsoft salesman blush.

    Again, I'm not telling you not to donate. I donate to my alma mater when I remember. Just have a different reason.

  42. says

    Well, when I was there, tuition was something absurdly low like $1800 a semester. So, I'm not sure how they could have jacked the price up. Nevertheless… I still loved the place, despite its issues.

  43. TimL says

    @ Jackson

    I'm not willing to disparage entire fields by calling their work "word salad" but…

    My point is that she didn't publish very much 'word salad'. As someone who knows none of the backstory, I look at that CV and think "Wow, she didn't deserve promotion and tenure."

    In my experience, the folks who don't generate enough peer-reviewed publications always seem to complain that their contract was terminated for personal reasons.

  44. Daniel Weber says

    Marc,

    Darn it. I'm going to have to save and re-use that entire rant on someone else then. Never mind.

  45. Sinij says

    Terminating her mainly for her (highly objectionable) speech is not right in my book. Her actual actions are rather mild missteps.

  46. bud says

    "Communications" : The major invented for full-ride jocks that couldn't cut it in PhysEd.

  47. Careless says

    more than a hundred of her colleagues decided that her non-apology, where she blamed everyone but herself was “good enough.”.

    I note that there's only one man in a non-BS department (two, if you include geography) and two women who signed it.

  48. Careless says

    I can't quite put my finger on it, but this post has the feel of something written after a few drinks

  49. Richard Smart says

    Dear En passant,

    "Your unstated assumption is that whoever complained about your poster actually was Jewish. Maybe they weren't."

    My thoughts exactly.

    Although acquainted with very few Jews while growing up, one thing my junior self noticed was how smart they uniformly were – by which I mean there didn't seem to be any actual morons among them. Inclined to lose it completely for trivial reasons sometimes, but definitely not so confused as to mistake Randazza's swastika poster for something anti-semitic.

  50. says

    Mark:

    Too bad you didn't take the chance to put your actions where your typing fingers are four years ago when Oakland University threw me out for turning in my English assignment. I begged for help several times, but your office wouldn't even return my calls. My rookie lawyers got their a$$es handed to them by a federal judge. Here's what Greg Lukianoff, the President of FIRE said about my case in his book Unlearning Liberty:

    Here’s an excerpt from the Afterward of the paperback version, page 248:

    “Unfortunately, not all courts have reached the right decision in the last year and a half. In July 2013, a federal district judge decided to dismiss the case of Joseph Corlett, the student who submitted the “Hot for Teacher” piece (see Chapter 9) for his writing class after asking multiple times if he really could write anything he wanted and receiving repeated assurance that he could and encouragement to do so. The judge let his distaste for Corlett’s speech dictate his interpretation of the law, choosing to import a standard from Bethel School District v. Fraser, a 1986 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that high schools can punish students for lewd or vulgar speech. The Bethel opinion does not apply to college students, who have far greater expressive rights than those in high school, and is completely incompatible with the Supreme Court’s position on freedom of speech in the context of higher education. In 1973, in Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri et al., the court explicitly ruled that college campuses may not limit speech “based on the conventions of decency alone.” Hopefully, judges in future cases won’t let their personal discomfort with what a student says interfere with their interpretation of the law.”

  51. says

    I am familiar with your case. I find it unusual that you would call my office and not get a call back. Perhaps you called the wrong number? And, perhaps the comments to this post are the wrong place to bitch about a phone call you claim to have not received three years ago?

  52. piperTom says

    I believe in a 99% income tax bracket at some level.

    Is that because you don't think people respond to incentives? Or maybe you like to lump people together for group punishment?

    Sure some wealthy people got that way by being leeches on the populace at large, using government as their weapon. Not all, not all. And the solution to problems created by a powerful government is… "more government"?

  53. AH says

    @piperTom: Maybe he just means that if you're so stupid you can't hide your money right, you don't deserve to have it.

  54. Otto Maddox says

    "I believe in a 99% income tax bracket at some level."

    Guaranteed to fail. Those tax revenues would be nearly zero. Learn some economics.

  55. says

    Hardcore organizers on the left, I'm talking dedicated socialists and communists, generally loathe and detest identity politics because they know, from hard experience, how poisonously divisive and ultimately useless it is.

  56. naturalized says

    Spot on, Marc.

    I was aware she was a preening, pretentious numpty. I had not realized that throughout her academic "career" she was nothing BUT a preening, pretentious numpty. Thanks for this.

  57. says

    I never could see a political point in the poop swastika incident, whether apocryphal or not. In Nazi Germany, anyone daubing a swastika from poop would have been beaten up by the Gestapo and thrown into a concentration camp.

  58. Crufty Clown says

    Good grief. More proof that at least some of the Golgafrinchans survived the crash landing of their Ark Fleet Ship B on Earth some 2mya. Does she know how to sanitize telephone handsets?

  59. Karl says

    I remember when I went to the University of Windsor in the 1980s. A student put a sign saying "NOW SUCKS" in his dorm window. He was very taken with a line in a poem about the moment in time, "now", always seeming to suck. Right. So the head of the campus womyn's centre was walking along, noticed NOW SUCKS and assumed the student was trying to say "the National Organization of Women sucks". The poor student was threatened with being expelled for creating a hostile environment. He showed all concerned the exact line of poetry he was referencing with his sign. He was let off with a stern warning.

  60. says

    And what really chaps my ass about that is the stated reason for his sign seems to be slightly less legitimate than the feminist-presumed reason!

  61. Fasolt says

    Here's more pending (perhaps no longer) manuscripts from Prof. Click, with quite a bit of sparkle:

    MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION

    Walus, S. & Click, M. A. (preparing for submission) “I can’t think of a more unlikely rock star than me”: Exploring “Averageness” in the myth of rock and roll.

    Click, M. A. (edited volume, preparing for submission) Dislike, Hate, and Anti-Fandom in the Digital Age.

    Click, M. A., Holladay, H. W., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Aubrey, J. S. (preparing for submission)
    Hating Twilight: Anti-fans’ responses to the vampire franchise and its fans.

    Lee, H., Holladay, H. W., & Click, M.A. (preparing for submission) Social media, activism,
    and Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters.

    Click, M. A., Aubrey, J. S., & Behm-Morawitz, E. (preparing for submission) Understanding
    teen girls’ attraction to Twilight.

    Looking over her resume, I see 4 recurring topics. Twlight, Martha Stewart, Lady Gaga, and Fifty Shades of Grey. Lots of sparkle. Hmm. I was going to come up with some sort of comment on this, but my brain just shut down. Sorry.

  62. TimL says

    The listing of manuscripts in preparation category is a tell of someone who doesn't publish enough. I have anywhere from 10 to 20 manuscripts in preparation… I don't list anything until it is accepted for publication.

  63. Nullifidian says

    And here's a depressingly timely link on a similar issue from InsideHigherEd. Seems that students at Western Washington University are agitating for a series of changes, including the right to appoint their own 15-person panel that will be empowered to dismiss faculty that repeatedly fail to be deferential to the new groupthink. Sadly, the article doesn't confirm for the reader whether they got this idea from the Cultural Revolution, but the parallels are striking.

  64. Sinij says

    So let me get this right, if only she published more useless drivel she would have had a case to stay on?

  65. En Passant says

    Fasolt says March 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm:

    Here's more pending (perhaps no longer) manuscripts from Prof. Click, with quite a bit of sparkle:

    MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION

    … Hmm. I was going to come up with some sort of comment on this, but my brain just shut down. Sorry.

    She has a great future in Concentrism.

    These incisive studies could proactively leverage other's functionalized convergence, and assertively simplify Beckettian leadership skills. They certainly synergistically visualize real-time information and professionally transition frictionless experiences.

    Jean du Chas would be proud.

  66. says

    Maybe the offended complainant was a non-moronic fan of one of the Nazi punk bands?

    If not, the administration abdicated their educational responsibility by failing to bring him in to discuss and resolve his misgivings with the defendant.

  67. I Was Anonymous says

    @KeithB

    You forgot Alec Baldwin…. but then, he was pretty forgettable comapred to Carlin and Ringo.

  68. creeper says

    If I could find a "donate" button I'd hit it just to say thanks for the pleasure of reading, "Oh, fuck it. I'll write about this idiot again."

  69. ketchup says

    I agree with Marc that this woman should have been fired. Unfortunately the post seems to miss the real reason for the investigation of her case by AAUP. While she is certainly playing up the "victim" aspect of her case, that seems to be for mostly PR purposes. Her formal complaint is that the university did not follow its established procedures in terminating her. From Marc's second source, the Chronicle of Higher Education,

    I am pleased with the American Association for University Professors’ (AAUP) announcement that they will launch an investigation of the University of Missouri Board of Curators’ decision to suspend and terminate me without due process. The AAUP’s action underscores my belief that the Curators have overstepped their authority. While I have taken the Curators’ offer to appeal their decision to terminate me, I do not believe that the process they used to come to their decision was fair. I firmly believe that the Curators must adhere to MU’s Collected Rules and Regulations and rescind their termination notice.
    I reject the Board of Curators’ claim that my case is “not typical.”

    Evidently she is claiming that the Board of Curators terminated her immediately instead of following the Collected Rules and Regulations because her case was "not typical". If that is indeed the case, then I have to side with her in that I think she should be re-instated, and then fired the proper way.
    I am a little surprised Marc would gloss over the 'due process' aspect of the case. "Go ahead and shoot her – we know she's guilty" is not a policy I support, even for someone who should never have been hired in the first place.

  70. says

    Looks like we were at UMASS at the same time. I was there in 90-91. I was on the Minuteman (magazine) staff. Well, that actually just meant I hung out and drank with them, but I was technically listed.

  71. Brian Davis says

    Mark said

    I smoked weed and dropped acid and went on marches and building takeovers.

    Many fire departments have a building that can be set on fire repeatedly for training purposes. Maybe liberal arts colleges should have similarly dedicated sit-in / protest centers.

  72. Christopher says

    The Left in America is getting increasingly stupid because they don't believe in arguing with their opponents.

    The thought process seems to be:

    1. I'm starting with virtuous premises, like "Women and men should be treated equally" and "racism is bad"
    2. My conclusions about how I should act stem from these premises.
    3. So if somebody disagrees with me, they either haven't thought about the issues, or they disagree with my premises.

    Disagreement is very suspicious on the left right now, because there's only two places it can come from: Ignorance or malice. The idea that somebody could share your premises and reach different conclusions is increasingly unthinkable, and that means the only reason to engage with somebody who disagrees is to correct them to your line of thinking, gently or harshly, depending on how much patience the progressive in question has.

    The "Victim Studies" stuff is, in a way, kind of incidental. You demonstrate that you're valid and potentially worth listening to by showing that you aren't white/cis/hetero/male but that only buys you so much room to maneuver. Start talking about how you don't like PC and it doesn't matter how black or female you are, it's time to condescend to you. I say it's incidental because there are and have been a lot of different groups who evaluate the quality of your arguments based on who you are. Communists gave more creedence to the Proles, unless, of course, those proles rejected communism. That class shit has gone almost completely out of favor with American progressives, who prefer "innate" markers.

  73. Marshall says

    @ Brad 3:45

    I was a freshman at Berkeley during the Sociology Wars in the 60’s when “political correctness” referred specifically to the Chariman’s Little Red Book. Social science has had a lot of people drawing lines in the clouds. Marxists!!

    But also that’s the state of the Baptists these days, intense rigorous stupid gatekeeping. In the 40’s Evangelicals were quite the liberals. More like what QL said, it’s built in to human nature when we get into bunches, "because we can".

  74. Matt says

    …She got her PhD on Martha Stewart. That's really all that needs to be said.

    And forget her alleged paper on Thomas, this is really all you need to read.

  75. OrderoftheQuaff says

    There is nothing whatsoever colonialist about a white woman ordering some mandingo muscle to jack an Asian journalist, nosirree!

  76. Joseph Corlett says

    "I am familiar with your case. I find it unusual that you would call my office and not get a call back. Perhaps you called the wrong number? And, perhaps the comments to this post are the wrong place to bitch about a phone call you claim to have not received three years ago?"

    I thought it unusual too, but then I couldn't get a returned call from Bob Korn-Revere either. While I appreciate the work he does for FIRE, he only takes the slam dunks apparently. Eugene Volokh was polite enough to return an email. Larry Flint didn't get back to me either, so you're in excellent 1A company.

    No, I didn't have the wrong number and I knew I'd get through to you if I posted here which is why I did. No hard feelings, but your office missed or ignored my calls.

  77. says

    I can't wait til dates i went on and then never called them again start finding my writing and using the comment thread to ask "why didn't you call me after we went out?"

  78. nunyabussiness says

    I take pride in seeing only two professors from a STEM background signing that document saying her apology was good enough.

  79. Jeff Ryan says

    As a UMass grad, class of 1974, It appears to me that things went a little more off the rails after I decamped for Boston, then Chicago. None of what you describe would have surprised me had it come from Smith, say. But hey, I was a Theatre major, so no one talked to us much anyway.

    Pretty right on as we kids used to say back then.

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