The Black Lives Matters Effect, Part 2: Purdue’s Free Speech Chill

Perdue letter

 

So powerful is the desire to be seen as on the “right” side  in an era where race trumps everything that a major university is harassing a student because he dared to be critical of Black Lives Matter. This is another, more sinister aspect of the Black Lives Matter Effect. A racist hate group that claims to promote virtuous objectives as cover, Black Lives Matter causes well-intentioned progressives-in-denial to equate well-earned attacks on the group to rejection of racial justice.

This episode is especially troubling. Purdue University Northwest student Joshua Nash received an ominous letter summoning him to a “required Administrative Meeting” scheduled by a campus administrator to discuss Nash’s personal Facebook comments. This is as appropriate as a letter demanding a student’s appearance before authorities because there was a complaint about his off-color toast at a wedding reception.

Nash says he isn’t certain which Facebook post was deemed worthy of threatened discipline, but it was probably the one where he states “Black Lives Matter is trash because they do not really care about black lives. They simply care about making money and disrupting events for dead people.” According to Nash, that comment was reported to Facebook, with removed it and suspended his account for 30 days. Nash also claims that a campus official said his social media comments could result in his expulsion.

I assume that FIRE will soon be in Nash’s corner, and maybe, just maybe, the ACLU, depending on what its integrity level is these days. This is campus suppression of free speech. I think the threat of expulsion–for a Facebook post?—is too ridiculous to be taken seriously, but the letter is bad enough. All students need to know is that a politically incorrect Facebook post will get them hauled into a “meeting,” a.k.a. inquisition, and their speech, with the exceptions of a few wilful martyrs, civil libertarians, and rebels, will be effectively muzzled.

How can Purdue justify confronting a student over pure political opinion, assuming that the post was what Nash said it was? It is unethical—coercive, an abuse of power, and irresponsible—for colleges, like public schools, to punish students for what they say on social media unless it has direct relevance to the school itself and specific, named personnel. Criticizing Black Lives Matters, despite the vicious attacks on Rudy Giuliani, is not proof of racism or bigotry. It is indicia of perception, courage, and civic responsibility. I don’t agree with Nash’s analysis, but he’s on the right track. Black Lives Matters is a power-seeking enterprise, willing to risk lives and social disintegration to achieve its agenda.

There is much talk  about Donald Trump being a fascist, but that is speculative fear-mongering. The signs of creeping fascism in the Land of Obama, however, are tangible and immediate, like enforced ideological conformity in the schools, content-based speech suppression on social media, and government pressure on institutions and corporations to support official policy or be penalized. The party in the White House announced last month that due process of law was disposable in its view, and has announced its full support for pre-crime measures, cheered on by a compliant news media. Now authorities are threatening anyone who won’t kow-tow to Black Lives Matter, so that the myth that this is a benign, non-racist “movement” can be sustained as long as possible, until, perhaps, the body count gets uncomfortably high.

There is a hammer in all this, so Purdue may have reason to be wary. A new study suggests that university scandals reduce college applications. The only problem is making the news media recognize that trying to control the thought and speech of students is something a college should be ashamed of.

_________________________

Facts: The College Fix

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts, and seek written permission when appropriate. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work or property was used in any way without proper attribution, credit or permission, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

33 thoughts on “The Black Lives Matters Effect, Part 2: Purdue’s Free Speech Chill

  1. This is simply the next logical step in a process designed to make American higher education ideologically one-sided and to shut the white, the believing, the straight, and the male out as much as possible. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same kind of institutions who threaten discipline for dates gone bad that women turn into rape, bulletin board postings that offend the wrong someone, even conversations gone wrong to the wrong person, yet impose no discipline for disruptive behavior by the favored folks would extend that to personal postings made online.

    I might add it’s pretty easy for private schools to dismiss whoever, depending on what is in the student handbook. I remember mine said, in bold letters, “the college reserves the right to dismiss a student at any time for any reason or no reason.” They did not hesitate to use that power either. Sometimes it WAS appropriate and exercised- the drunken kicking in of a resident assistant’s door, the stalking of a girl by an ex who wouldn’t take no for an answer, the beating of one student by four others because the victim had told the guy who organized the beat-down to get bent, fighting with the campus security over parking. Other times – an attempt to prevent an ROTC parade, a disruptive protest over the first Gulf War, a screaming disruption of a speech by a conservative speaker, all the perpetrators got was a pat on the head.

    I know I myself was questioned over an unpublished editorial that sent to the school newspaper that was sharply critical of the campus feminists, and so were at least 20 other students. I had nothing to do with it, but I had been also sharply critical, verbally, of obnoxious feminists with big mouths, and the administration was determined to get to the bottom of this. When I attempted to cut things off, having said I had nothing to do with it and that’s all I would say, the assistant dean said “If you won’t say more to me then you can say it to your parents who are paying your tuition, they are just a phone call away. Now, let’s try this again.” When they couldn’t get a damaging admission from me they started asking me about other conservative students, all white and male, who said what, when and where, presumably in the hopes that they might find other trees to shake until something fell. It was clear they were hoping each conservative would give them dirt on five other conservatives, then each of them would give them dirt on five more, until they had enough evidence to do an ideological purge, strictly in the name of the safety of their female student body, of course.

    This is the same crap, just in the name of the black student body rather than the women. Why they don’t just go back to single-sex and historically black colleges I don’t know.

  2. I watched part of CNN’s townhall-type presentation on race in the US last night. Interesting comments from many of the member of the panel and the audience. Don Lemon led the discussion, with law enforcement representatives, community activists, and defense counsel (odd, though, there weren’t any prosecutors from what I saw). It was much more orderly than Megyn Kelly’s free-for-all discussion Tuesday evening on the Kelly File. That got out of hand really, really quickly. (Bill O’Reilly had something to say about it but I stopped watching him a long time ago so I don’t know what he said, and I don’t much care.)

    Much praise was given to Dallas Chief of Police David Brown, as it should, for the excellent, professional, exemplary job he has done dealing with the crisis of losing 5 officers on Friday night and its aftermath. He is to be commended for his efforts, as he has done a masterful job keeping order in the face what is going on there. I didn’t realize that the Dallas Police Department was a model for new policing technique, which makes BLM’s protests all the more confusing.

    Yet, I came away thinking that the US is on the brink of a full-scale race relations meltdown. According to most of the participants, whites are completely ignorant of and, consequently, have no voice in black community issues. White police officers are (apparently) blind to the plights of blacks and blacks’ experiences with white police officers. Somehow, putting on a police uniform turns mild manner Clark Kent in Super Minority Abuser wielding lethal police power on behalf of a racist oppressive state, completely rejecting any form of human decency when it comes to contact with minority groups. Granted, a jerk is still a jerk before, during, and after a jerk puts on a police uniform. A jerk in a uniform is a dangerous jerk. All of the panelists declared that (white) police officers need sensitivity training to understand minority community positions. The show ended with an interview with a white police officer from Portland, OR, who had his photo taken hugging a visibly upset black youth. I think the police officer was a little confused – when asked why he did it, his response was along the lines of, “well, he’s a kid who needed a hug; who wouldn’t hug a kid in need?” Well stated, lad. Well stated.

    One fellow openly advocated disbanding all local, county/parish, state, and federal police and law enforcement departments in favor of community based and run community security details, run by a community organizers on a board setting policies about security, use of force, and whether security details should possess firearms (I guess based on some English or European model). This fellow also stated that BLM must/will/should be part of the process. I scratched my head wondering when BLM took the place of the Urban League or the NAACP as the leaders in race relations issues. .

    I also came away thinking that what community activists, BLM, and other progressives want is a return to separate-but-equal, almost an apartheid-style system, wherein there are different rules for each community, that there should be minority-based legal/judicial, economic, educational, political (both executive and legislative), and social systems addressing minority issues. Apparently, the common law system based on English and Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson. Madison, Franklin, and Mills traditions are entirely incapable of addressing concerns within and without minority communities. (As an aside, Megyn Kelly interviewed DL Hughley at the same time and he promoted the same ideas, also lambasting Fox for having the audacity to talk to Mark Fuhrman at any time on any issue.)

    If that is where we are headed, then our nation is doomed.

    jvb

    • I realize my post doesn’t address Purdue University’s actions, but I thought at the time I wrote it that is was a propos of the larger BLM Effect, and they didn’t fit in with the first post on the BLM Effect from this morning. My apologies for the obvious non sequitor but I stand by my comments.

      jvb

    • It’s not where we are headed, because it’s nuts, and a sufficient number of people won’t stand for it. The worst case scenario for the short term is such rhetoric electing Donald Trump.

      You read it here first: I might vote for Donald Trump if the alternative was to have Black Lives Matter have any power over my life, community or government whatsoever.

      • Jack Marshall said, “You read it here first: I might vote for Donald Trump if the alternative was to have Black Lives Matter have any power over my life, community or government whatsoever.”

        Jack,
        You could be like me and write in Jack Marshall in your ballot. 🙂

  3. Sometime last year an old Army buddy said I should read The Silencing; How the Left is Killing Free Speech by Kirsten Powers; I did and there were some things in that book that were enlightening about what’s been happening at colleges across the USA. This is another great example of what Ms. Powers was talking about.

      • Or keep their heads down and work within the new system. If somebody in my office spouts off about Black Lives Matter I am not so unwise as to challenge them on it, start a shouting match, and lose my job.

  4. Remember your question about the best argument for voting for Trump?
    I think you just answered yourself:
    “There is much talk about Donald Trump being a fascist, but that is speculative fear-mongering. The signs of creeping fascism in the Land of Obama, however, are tangible and immediate”
    If Clinton is positioning herself as Obama’s third term (and in my view she is) this is a strong argument. I’m not sure it balances the negatives, because it is Trump, but for someone with a strong anti-fascist preference he is the lesser of two evils.

    • Unfortunately, yes.

      Churchill shouldn’t have had tenure in the first place, and was eventually fired because of research fraud. But he had a right to give his opinion on a college campus without sanctions.

    • “Free speech” isn’t necessary for easy speech, it’s not necessary when talking about the weather around a water cooler…. No, “Free Speech” is most necessary when the speech is difficult… hard…. unpopular… boorish or otherwise vile.

      The fact that anyone, but especially progressives, are pushing for a reduction in free speech rights is stupid bordering on a mental health defect; There was a time in our history that slavery was a majority popular opinion, or at least a way of life, if at that time we had taken their current standard of banning speech that offends them, and run with it, the abolitionists might not have won. Suffrage? Meh. Gay marriage? Never.

      Speech, unpopular speech, mean speech, is how things moved forward. People squared off against each other in the free marketplace of ideas and the best ideas won. These precious snowflakes can’t think any further then their god damned grabby fucking hands, and their fragile schoolmarmish, pearl clutching, handwringisms.

  5. Well, it doesn’t sound like this guy will go meekly to the “required administrative hearing”. Who do these clowns think they are! Hopefully FIRE and the ACLU will provide him with a couple good lawyers to get these bozos to back off.

  6. I don’t buy it, facebook gets thousands of comments a day just like the one described yet the people who make them don’t find themselves suspended for 30 days.

    I’d wager that Nash is telling a big fat lie and his actual post contained threats or overly-violent rhetoric.

    • Facebook is wildly erratic, partisan and biased in what posts it considers ban-worthy. The student is a gay conservative, and views himself as a target. You could be right, but I see no reason to assume he’s lying. And I don’t see why anything he wrote not relating to the school van be used to discipline him.

      • I can’t give the presumption of truth that site or a facebook post that’s been deleted, I cannot assume what he wrote didn’t relate to school.

        This all rests on the word of a conservative who feels persecuted.

          • Facebook will suspend for…

            Multiple account/not using real name/being trans (the name thing.) Being harassed by the school for this would be problematic.

            Spamming/appearing like a spammer. Being harassed by the school for this would only make sense if school resources are being used.

            Doxxing/harassment/threats/abuse. Ding ding ding!

            Hate speech, defined in their code of conduct as ‘direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease.’ If clearly directed at a fellow student, yeah I could see them wanting to have a little talk about it.

        • My response to Purdue’s letter, were I this young man, would be:

          Dear Director Pettee:

          Thank you for your letter dated July 6th, and for your invitation to a meeting with you regarding my Facebook post.

          This response is to inform you that I will not be attending the meeting. While I would appreciate an opportunity to exchange views with you, the use of the words “required Administrative Meeting” suggests that it is somehow mandatory, and related to comments I made on a personal account on social media.

          Those comments are transparently protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because Purdue University Calumet accepts U.S. government funding, you may not legally require any action of me as a consequence of having made the covered comments without due process of law. Administrative process is insufficient in this case.

          Should you wish to discuss this matter with me, you may contact me to discuss a mutually agreed time, place, agenda, and attendees for any meetings to inquire about personal communications covered by the First Amendment. I am most willing to do so, but I will not be dragged before an apparent inquisition when my constitutional right to free expression is implicated.

          Finally, this letter consists of formal notice that any further communication from your office on this matter may be posted, at my sole discretion and in its entirety, on my social media accounts along with my response(s).

          Wishing you a productive Administrative Meeting, I remain

          Yours sincerely,

          Of course, my true feelings are that a few heads on poles will probably make this sort of attempt to chill free speech decline. I trust that FIRE will act on this one if Purdue doesn’t back off, and by act, I mean sue.

  7. Here’s a letter and its replies to the president and dean of Purdue by University of Chicago professor, Jerry Coyne regarding the issue. The dean’s email is at the end.

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