Clemson Must Fire Two Ethics Dunce Administrators, But It Has To Do A Lot More Than That…

Trick Clemson

Clemson administrators Amy Burke and Sharetta Bufford manipulated the university’s pandemic limitations on attendance at events to limit the number of available tickets as conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted conservative speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020. Not only did the two women reserve a batch of tickets that they had no intention of using, they boasted about it on social media.

Financial aid counselor Burke wrote, “i’ve reserved my two. and then two for pippi. and two for my work email. and two for my business account. i just realized i have plans though, dang it…” Bufford, who serves as assistant director of recruitment and inclusive excellence, said, “I just reserved 10. I JUST might show up to see what all the fuss is about!”

Obviously “inclusive excellence” doesn’t include students with non-conforming world views.

“If university staff members were submitting false reservations for seats in order to prevent others from attending the event, that plainly undermines the university’s commitment to freedom of expression, which includes not just a right to speak but a right to hear the speech of others,” said FIRE’s Director of Individual Rights Defense Program Adam Steinbaugh. It appears that this is exactly what they were doing.

Clemson is reportedly investigating; if the facts are as the evidence seems to indicate, those two administrators better be fired. However, the fact that two individuals that highly placed in campus administration would consider such conduct, much less admit to it, tells us that they must have been confident that Clemson culture would be sympathetic to their efforts to minimize the circulation of “unacceptable” political views. If they were right about that, then the school is deadening ethics alarms. If all the school does is fire the immediate culprits while leaving the undemocratic and anti-speech environment on campus intact, the only message sent will be “Don’t get caught.

I would also question the kind of hiring and vetting practices that would permit individuals with such little respect for the educational process and the free exchange of ideas to attain. This is not a problem of two bad apples, but rather rot in the barrel.

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Pointer and Facts: College Fix

11 thoughts on “Clemson Must Fire Two Ethics Dunce Administrators, But It Has To Do A Lot More Than That…

  1. Ah, but, don’t you understand? If only people had bought up tickets to Hitler’s speeches that they had no intention of attending…

    These people are deranged. They will do whatever they can to keep the grave white supremacist threat that hovers over our country from winning. There are no tricks in their bags too dirty or unjust because they are saving the USA from literal Nazis.

  2. It also feeds into the perception that restrictions in the name of fighting the pandemic are either being exploited as a means of political control, or worse, that this was their true purpose all along.

  3. These college administrators should be branded as intellectually deficient cowards who know they lack the capacity to debate either of the speakers. Cowards typically use tactics that help the avoid confrontation and ridicule.

  4. I will stipulate that bragging about alleged false reservations is itself chilling of free speech, and shows serious ethical deficits. The article, however, doesn’t substantiate that such disruptive reservations were actually made by the two administrators.

    Obviously, though, administrators openly suggesting such behavior would easily encourage cancel-minded students to create phony reservations. Administrators often add students as “friends” on Facebook (I was “friends” with many such staff and faculty to demonstrate this point), so there is no plausible deniability that they thought their posts wouldn’t reach students. With so many pre-pandemic conservative speakers heckled off of campuses nationwide, planting the seed for disruptive behavior in public comments doesn’t earn any benefit of the doubt. It might as well be an ethically null distinction as to whether the administrators personally engaged in the behavior they encouraged.

  5. This is just one of many exhibits that Kurt Schlichter’s warnings – wrongly labeled as unethical in a February 7, 2017 post here – have been more on the money than not.

    The real question isn’t addressing the symptoms – of which scarfing up the tickets to the Lahren event is one – it’s about confronting this totalitarian impulse. That is going to take some serious self-defense, and things might get heated, to put it mildly.

    • In that post (which got over 120 comments—those were the days!), I concluded,

      “All citizens have to accept their duty to be responsible, respectful, and intimately, to trust in each other, our shared heritage and values, and the far-from perfect but still vibrant and essential culture we have created together. We are careering, as one, toward a deadly precipice. Our leaders have failed us by surrendering to powerlust, narrow loyalties and vengeance, so we have to stop ourselves. Screeds like Schlicter’s do not help, but the catalyst for his screed has been an irresponsible and self-indulgent abandonment of ethics–fairness, respect, prudence, honesty and citizenship—from people who seem awfully recognizable as those the writer evoked…Kurt Schlicter’s column is, as I stated at the beginning, unethical and hateful. It is also a warning, ignored at our peril.”

      I still stand by that. His stereotyping of progressives is just as wrong as the progressive stereotype of conservatives.

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