Campus Free Speech

Microaggression Mania Brought Down Ithaca College's President

Another one bites the dust.

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Dreamstime

Last week, Ithaca College President Tom Rochon announced he would retire in 2017—appeasing the throngs of students and faculty members calling for his head. Much like the administrators at the University of Missouri, Rochon was accused of improperly handling racist incidents on campus, and offended student-activists wanted him out.

But were they right? I looked into these alleged racist incidents, and I'm wholly unconvinced there's anything to them. As I wrote in a recent Daily Beast column:

Media coverage of Rochon's resignation implies that Ithaca was beset by a series of escalating racist incidents on campus, but in reality, there were just two such grievances. Neither stands up to scrutiny, and neither suggest that Rochon's refusal to intervene was a removable offense.

In October, Ithaca hosted an alumni panel discussion on the topic of improving the college's educational experience for students. One panelist, '09 alum Tatiani Sy, a black woman, described herself as possessing a "savage hunger." Another panelist, '76 alum Christopher Burch—an older white man—praised Sy's comment and then began referring to her as "the savage."

It's clear from video footage of the exchange that Burch was not using the word disparagingly: in his mind, he had given her a complimentary nickname. This was remarkably poor judgment on his part, to be sure, and after he realized his word choice had been interpreted maliciously, he profusely apologized.

Far from failing to address the non-issue, Rochon released a statement of apology as well…

That's one of the incidents. The other involved a "Preps and Crooks" theme party hosted by a fraternity: the dress code for the "crooks" was racially insensitive, according to some. (Yes, offensive costumes and parties continues to be a primary animating issue among student protesters.) I fail to see what the college's leadership is supposed to do about problematic parties, but Ithaca's vice president did indeed condemn the "destructive impact" of the Preps and Crooks event. Alas, this did not satisfy the students.

What I wrote about the resignations at the University of Missouri seems to apply at Ithaca as well:

This controversy, as with the current upheaval at Yale, suggests aggrieved students most desperately want administrators to acknowledge their pain and tell them they have a right to live free of emotional turmoil. But no competent administrator can provide them with this false sense of security, since the proper role of a university education is to help students overcome (rather than sidestep) challenges. …

I would be disheartened, but not at all surprised, to see more professors and administrators driven from campus for the crime of failing to erect suitable safe spaces.

Related: "Do College Students Hate Free Speech? Let's Ask Them.

NEXT: A reply to Radley Balko on the Hartes case

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  1. I’ve toppled kingdoms.

    1. You have become as Protest, Destroyer of Admins.

  2. You know who else was Savage and drew the ire of the masses for his hate-crimes?

    1. Genghis Khan?

      1. Doc never committed any hate-crimes. He was awesome!

        1. Didn’t he used to forcibly lobotomize criminals?

    2. Michael Savage?

      1. Michael Weiner?

        1. Figures…OMWC knows his real name because it’s penis!

          1. No, it’s because they’re both Jewish.

    3. Vandal Savage?

    4. Fred Savage?

      1. +1 wonder year

    5. Vlad Tepes?

    6. Randy, Macho Man Savage?

      Ooooohhh Yeaaahhhh.

    7. Ben Hur ?

    8. The Idaho Vandals?

    9. Adam Savage?

    10. Ann Coulter

  3. “That’s one of the incidents. The other ….”…. “was even stupider, if you can believe that’s possible”

  4. suggests aggrieved students most desperately want administrators to acknowledge their pain and tell them they have a right to live free of emotional turmoil

    I’d say what they really want is that frisson of power they feel when they can get someone to grovel before them–or get that person fired instead–because they feel like it. Because that person got on their radar.

    They sit and wait for someone to get on their radar. They don’t care if what the person did was even remotely wrong, or if things are taken out of context, or anything. All they care is that now they have a target, and they are going to make that target prostrate themselves before them, or they will destroy them as best they can. The target is not a person to them, and that is why they have no pity, or sense of proportion. Destroying that person makes them feel powerful, and so they will, and what happens to the person is completely unimportant to them.

    It’s really quite sociopathic.

    1. ? I see *someone* was entertaining themselves with a Michael Biehn marathon over the weekend! ?

      1. I refuse to apologize for watching Navy SEALs!

        1. “General, we spilled the same blood in the same mud.”

          1. Dude. Joanne Whalley.

            “What are you looking at?”

            “Your leg. I’d like to break it.”

        2. Johnny Ringo is the only Biehn role that matters

          1. Um…Terminator? Aliens? Megiddo: The Omega Code 2?

            1. My fight’s not with with you Epi

              1. Your fight is with the God’s of Good Taste.

                1. All right Juggler, let’s do it

              2. I know, that’s why I threw in the third movie as a joke. Or did I…because the antichrist is real?!?

    2. No,their not that smart.Their just spoiled little ass holes

      1. They haven’t got on ounce of foresight, or understanding, or anything remotely related to what separates humans from gophers. They are worse than kindergartners who bawl for a few seconds after falling down in grass and want mommy to kiss their booboo. They want mommy to apologize for their own mistakes.

    3. This is it. They believe they deserve power. This is the easiest way to get it.

      1. The Heckler’s Veto is pretty fucking awesome

    4. I joined reason just so I could say how very strongly I agree with you. Which is really quite crap of me in that I have nothing to add of my own.

      Still, bravo. The social justice crowd truly are repellent excuses for humanity.

  5. That picture of Carrot Top offends me.

    1. You leave Melissa Click alone! That woman has been through enough.

      1. God help me, I’d tap it.

        1. This triggers me.

        2. That’s my new definition of hard up.

        3. Only God CAN help you, OMWC.

    2. How do you think his mother feels?

    1. It is a sign of weakness.

      1. Damn straight!

        /every police department in the USA

        1. It works on girls too. At least that is what my first Girl Friend said in late 1962.

  6. But were they right?

    Calling him a racist was the right call, it allowed them to win the game. Whether or not they were factually correct is beside the point. Pointing out that your opponents ad hominem and strawman and begging the question and appeals to emotion arguments are logically invalid does not change the fact that they rhetorical winners.

  7. Political Correctness is a brainwashing technique based
    on Marxist Critical Theory

    It is a system of cyclical logic that once adopted by the user never
    allows for another approach, and the end-game is that the assigned
    antagonist always embodies hatred, racism, or oppression.

    They become intellectually trapped because in order to see and realize
    when they err, they would have to empathize and entertain their assigned
    antagonists point of view…this causes great cognitive dissonance due
    to contradicting their previously assigned value of the antagonist and
    so is rejected or avoided.

    The remaining cognitive dissonance is alleviated by the religious
    cult-like belief that they are on the ” right ” or ” good ” side of
    every issue, always battling racists, bigots, and oppressors, like
    religious zealots.

    And, just like religious zealots they always assume moral authority and
    claim to have ” more knowledge ” than the average folk.

    Religions have
    made up transgressions against their gods, and PC has made up
    transgressions against their ideal society

    It is the same type of system used by cults

    1. PC warriors have good intentions. Anyone who disagrees must have bad intentions, and therefore be a bad person.

    2. Is that some sort of poem?

      1. Tom Lehrer lyrics, maybe

    3. That sums it up very nicely.

    4. It’s not a shock that it thrives on college campuses, which have a lot of the attributes of a cult environment — young people, experiencing social disruption, distant from friends and family, you’re able to enforce a stifling atmosphere of homogeneity, you often live with all the same people you are around in classes or work.

      That said, they use actual cult brainwashing techniques as well (self-criticism, etc.), so whatever it originally was, it’s deliberate now.

    5. Like college Republicans and their insistence that a flat tax will be economically productive?

  8. Get the short straw Rico? I see you are mostly phoning it in anyway, quoting your own previous article.

    Well, I say BRAVO to you. If I could phone in MLK day at work I would too.

    1. I see you are mostly phoning it in anyway…

      Give the guy a break. He just woke up.

  9. “I looked into these alleged racist incidents, and I’m wholly unconvinced there’s anything to them.”

    Now *there’s* a counterintuitive conclusion, these racial incidents are usually totally genuine.

    /sarc

  10. “In general, the college cannot prevent the use of hurtful language on campus. Such language, intentional or unintentional, exists in the world and will seep into our community. We can’t promise that the college will never host a speaker who could say something racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or otherwise disrespectful. Even so, we reaffirm our commitment to making our campus an inclusive and respectful community.”

    I see why he had to be purged.

    “Rochon isn’t stepping down anytime soon?his resignation isn’t effective until July 1, 2017”

    Maybe he’s just fed up and is taking early retirement?

  11. lol, I bet those students’ aggressions are pretty micro!!

    ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.com

  12. Sounds like the college bubble popping.

  13. Media coverage of Rochon’s resignation implies that Ithaca was beset by a series of escalating racist incidents on campus, but in reality, there were just two such grievances. Neither stands up to scrutiny, and neither suggest that Rochon’s refusal to intervene was a removable offense.

    You guys remember those movies from the 90s? Where there was a campus race war hovering on the precipice at every turn? Yeah, I remember those too.

    1. I remember Higher Learning too, Paul. Kristy Swanson was a foxy gal.

    2. I remember those days too. Thank God we are now living in post-racial America.

    3. 3K racers vs 5K racers?

  14. Proggies being eaten by the system they created, Moar Tears Pleaze !!!!!!!

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. The good Doctor Frankenstein is being destroyed by his own monster. Cry me a river.

  15. Some of this crap reminds me of an incident here some years back where a group trying to raise awareness of accessibility issues for the handicapped had an event where they encouraged people to sit in a wheelchair and then try getting around just so they could get some idea of what people in wheelchairs had to deal with all the time. Naturally, the Perpetually Aggrieved had a shit-fit over the idea that the promoters could be so insensitive as to suggest that spending a few minutes in a wheelchair could possibly give the able-bodied any sense of what handicapped people had to deal with. It became pretty obvious from the crap being flung that the real issue boiled down to: You can’t possibly know what it’s like being handicapped and therefore you must defer to our assertions of what you must do to accommodate us. You cannot question or examine our demands as to their reasonableness or feasability, you simply must agree to accept on faith that we are right to demand whatever it is we demand. Your attempt to learn something about what it’s like to be handicapped is duly noted as an attempt to undermine our authority as the sole arbiter on this issue.

    It was pretty clear that this had nothing to do with working out a deal to better accommodate the handicapped, it was just a demand for unconditional surrender of any authority whatsoever to issue so much as a word of opinion on the matter.

    1. Handicapped activists are the most hysterical activists, but it seems the others are trying hard to catch up.

      I have met many men that I admired. Vying for number one on that list was a man named Alfred Forrest. Diabetes, which had battled for many years, had taken his leg and most of his fingers. He never missed a day of work, always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell. I never heard him whine, not even once.

      He worked a full day (he owned a gun store) the day before he died.

      Contrast him with the little tits that whine about handicap parking spaces being 6 inches too far from the front door.

    2. I see this logic from SJWs all the time; no one should try to imagine what it’s like to be [handicapped/black/Latino/Muslim/Native American/female/gay], or dismiss any of their complaints, without having experienced their plight first-hand.

      But obviously any complaint brought up by white males is bullshit because look how easy those guys must have it.

  16. The ‘net educates for “free” (well very low cost compared to college).

  17. Microaggression Mania Brought Down Ithaca College’s President [Tom Rochon]

    As if it wasn’t a case of reaping what he sow.

  18. Yeah but they had a COSTUME PARTY

  19. I looked into these alleged racist incidents, and I’m wholly unconvinced there’s anything to them.

    So let’s move on the the next question. Since these episodes are obvious farces why are school Presidents and other administrators succumbing to such weak pressure? What are the insane activists actually holding over their heads?

    Theories:

    1. The protests scare off normal students materially reducing applications. This reduces the average scores of admits and drops schools in various rankings thus threatening their definition of success.

    2. Such protests give university the reputation of not being welcoming to minorities which is the kiss of death in the university community.

    3. Such an overwhelming majority of the faculty and administration support this nonsense a departure is inevitable once the campus nuts motivate themselves to protest.

  20. just don’t speak and no one can get you fired, of course you won’t get anything done either but at least noone will be talking to anyone or is silence also a micro-aggresion now.

    1. You seem to be under the illusion that there is some kind of winning strategy to be found. There is not.

      Scroll up and read Sheikyerbooty’s comment.

      1. You cannot win. You cannot break even. You cannot quit the game.

  21. “It’s clear from video footage of the exchange that Burch was not using the word disparagingly: in his mind, he had given her a complimentary nickname. This was remarkably poor judgment on his part, to be sure, and after he realized his word choice had been interpreted maliciously, he profusely apologized.”

    This is someone who has so thoroughly rejected racism in his heart, that it didn’t occur to him that he needed to be careful.

    It’s like going to trial under the assumption that you can’t be found guilty because you know you’re innocent.

  22. Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

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  25. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

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  26. I watched the video of the “savage” incident. The guy says savage while in the process of falling all over himself profusely complimenting the girl. It appears groveling at the feet of historically marginalized groups isn’t enough anymore. Regardless of your intentions, one wording slip-up and you’re on the SJW shit list. They take sadistic pleasure in trying to destroy good people for being born with the original sin of whiteness.

  27. I say let them run with it; the college administrators they are turning on are largely responsible for promoting the hyper-sensitivity that has outgrown them, like an Al Capp parody. As this progresses to finer minutia as to what constitutes an offense, it will get so that no one can co-exist with anyone else. It will implode upon itself eventually, as each SJW’s vision of a perfect world will inevitably collide with others. Solipsism at its finest.

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