Seattle U. Dean Suspended After Recommending Black Activist's Book

Students demand curriculum changes, policing of microaggressions.

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Dick Gregory
Screenshot via 105.1 Breakfast Club

Seattle University has suspended Jodi Kelly, dean of the humanities program at Matteo Ricci College, in wake of student protests demanding her ouster. 

In line with protesters at the other colleges, Seattle students are demanding far-reaching changes to the curriculum, which they say is traumatizing, marginalizing toward people of color, and rooted in white privilege. 

Complaints against Kelly are a bit more specific. One student claimed that the dean used an ethnic slur during a private meeting. But Kelly maintains that she didn't say the n-word in a derogatory way: she was actually recommending an autobiography by civil rights activist Dick Gregory. The book is titled Nigger

Here is Kelly's side of the story, according to The Stranger

"The student asked for more diversified reading. I complied and pulled the book from my shelf. The title, as you know, could startle, so I relayed the story of Dick Gregory explaining to his maternal ancestors why he titled it that way. His response? "Dear Momma — Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book." 

"I am not in the habit of ever using that word… I believe it demeans us all." 

The student presented the meeting in a different light: 

She said she met last spring with Kelly to ask for a more diverse, culturally responsive curriculum. In response, Kelly "used the n-word… she said it three or four times. The full word." 

In the student's telling, Dean Kelly said the student could reclaim the word if she wanted to, citing a black comedian's comments. 

The student said she broke down after her meeting with the dean. 

It's impossible to tell whether the student was right to be offended or not. Gregory, the author of the autobiography, sided with the dean in an essay for Inside Higher Ed. Certainly, the situation calls to mind the witch-hunt against Andrea Quenette, who used the n-word while discussing her own racial blind spots with her class. Unless the college is sitting on additional evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Kelly, her suspension seems incredibly premature. 

The students' other demands are motivated by their collective sense of oppression

Dissatisfaction, traumatization, and boredom are realities within our collective MRC experiences, as well as being ridiculed, traumatized, othered, tokenized, and pathologized. These experiences have been profoundly damaging and erasing, with lasting effects on our mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, the curriculum in MRC is unsatisfactory as a Humanities program. For students to have their personal and ancestral voices erased in curriculum and conversation, only to be told that their experiences of pain are insignificant, is psychologically abusive. 

In light of this college environment, multiple cohorts of students in both the Humanities for Teaching and Humanities for Leadership majors have joined together to write our truths and demand systemic change. 

They want the college to force professors to undergo sensitivity training and police microaggressions in the classroom, among other things. 

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  1. Now you’re just trolling us.

    1. Wait. Let’s see where Roberto is going with this.

    2. I grew up in the deep south in the 60s. So I remember when rednecks were still lynching blacks on a semi-regular basis.

      I simply cannot understand how we got to the point when a black student is brought to tears by the title of the book written by a famous black civil rights activist that actually risked being lynched for promoting civil rights.

      1. The student is in a peer environment where being a victim is glamorous.

      2. It’s a ploy to get out of doing any actual work at all.

        /stereotype

      3. Any honest people who were there for the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s must find this really depressing.

        If hearing a word brings you to tears, you either have some serious emotional problems, or you’ve been done a great disservice by whoever taught you to cry about a fuckign word.

      4. “I grew up in the deep south in the 60s. So I remember when rednecks were still lynching blacks on a semi-regular basis.”

        Well, if you consider 3 as “semi-regular”, you’re right.

        http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/p…..gyear.html

  2. Eh, it’s actually a time saver. I usually just read the headlines before commenting anyway.

  3. At least we know the squirrelz strike with no regard for gender.

    1. How can you say that???? The squirrels are censoring almost all the comments from female commenters.

      1. Point.

  4. Seattle U. Dean Suspended for Recommending Black Activist’s Book After Students Protested

    Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics?

    1. He was suspended, not executed.

  5. While we’re waiting for shit to be gotten together, I will say preemptively that I believe President Stephen Sundborg is eventually going to find out why you don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    1. I think you can negotiate with terrorists. And then raise their tuition right afterwards. They want a life of debt slavery, they should get what they want.

    2. Do you think he will realize it during mandatory nap and sippy cup time?

      1. Right around the time it’s his head’s turn on the proverbial chopping block.

  6. BURN IT ALL DOWN, SJWers! BURN. IT. ALL. DOWN.

    1. They’re not done with the lynchings yet.

  7. It’s impossible to tell whether the student was right to be offended or not.

    This is gonna get some attention.

    1. Yes. He must purposely do that.

      1. He’s just trolling us now.

        1. I agree, he’s being positively Swiftian. Remember the two months when “I’m not going to sugarcoat it, there have been some issues…” was all the rage? This is Robby’s version.

          1. We JUST CAN’T TELL if this student is a hypersensitive headcase who sees victimization as the only viable path to self-worth OR NOT.

    2. What’s not impossible to tell, is whether a student’s “offense” (rightly or not) should result in somebody losing their job, the curriculum being altered, etc.

      “Who gives a shit whether you’re offended or not” is the only rational response to someone leveraging their hurt feelings into demands that somebody be fired or that books be burned.

    3. “It’s impossible to tell whether the student was right to be offended or not.”

      In fact, I think it’s impossible to tell IF the student was offended or not.

    4. I’ll assume xhe is. It doesn’t fucking matter whether xhe is offended, because their subjective offense shouldn’t mean a goddamned thing.

      1. Default masculine: convenient, patriarchal, preserving feminism and/or checking your privilege at the same time!

  8. Somehow Stalin’s 1938 purges come to mind, in a perverse sort of way.

    1. And we’ll have show trials! to keep the theater majors busy.

      1. +1 act

    2. I’m thinking more Red Guard/Cultural Revolution: more decentralized, chaotic, out of control.

  9. She said she met last spring with Kelly to ask for a more diverse, culturally responsive curriculum. In response, Kelly “used the n-word… she said it three or four times. The full word.”

    The. Full. Word.

    Because words are magic and words are weapons.

    1. That story doesn’t even make sense. As I understand the student’s version, student asks Kelly for book recommendations, Kelly replies “Nigger nigger nigger nigger!”? Or is student leaving out the very important context in which it was used–that is, the title of the book–in which case, their versions of the story are pretty much the same.

      1. I find that many people have no concept of context. Especially hippies.

    2. Because words are magic and words are weapons.

      Well, yours are.

    3. It certainly is an admission that she was counting words rather than listening and paying attention within context.

    4. We are approaching an age where magic will be real. You will be able to defeat foes by uttering the correct triggering word. Heroes will go on quests to discover the triggering word of the villain. Enemies will face of in duels to see who can shout a triggering word faster. The deaf and the blind will reach levels of unpredented power.

      1. Power Word: Nigger is a 10th level spell, learned only by the greatest Archmages of Hatred.

        1. You first have to master Power Word: Ni.

    5. What gets me is that all of these people are working hard to make words like “nigger” into weapons. The correct response to an actual offensive, bigoted use of the word would be to laugh in the face of the fucking idiot racist, not run away and cry. All they are doing is giving a weapon to their opponents.

      1. I can only imagine their reaction to Public Enemy.

  10. So glad to be living in the era of “if you see something, say something”

  11. The student said she broke down after her meeting with the dean.

    Mentally? Oh, I would wager she was there long before that meeting.

    1. These people are always crying. Crying. Nobody died. You aren’t trapped under a collapsed building. You’re not watching Old Yeller. Be adults.

      1. Good luck with that….

      2. These people are always crying

        Yep. Well, at least, the women are. Which brings up more stereotyping: Are these women (who are apparently claiming to be brought to tears in these situations) really that emotionally weak? Because that stuff just feeds the cliche.

        Or, are they banking on the “crying woman” narrative to sway others to sympathize with/support them?

        ‘Cause that’s just straight-up scheming bitch material right there.

        1. Women are delicate flowers around whose fragile sensibilities we must constantly tiptoe, lest we upset them. So say the feminists.

          1. My wife hates it when she cries in a professional situation.

            To the extent that she often hunts down and kills all the witnesses.

      3. These people are always crying.

        You’d think that this behavior would be prima facia evidence that the unlimited college megabucks plan of our overlords has turned out to be a Very Bad Idea. Some people just aren’t cut our for anything beyond high school.

        In a just world, we’d now have a meaty surplus of gold *and* ditch diggers.

        1. Believe me, the ditches come out better with an excavator and you can do 30 cubic yards an hour.

          1. Damn college boys always half-assing it.

            I notice that you don’t have a solution for the gold diggers, Mr. Smartypants.

            1. You use really fucking big excavators for digging gold.

      4. What do you mean “these people”? RACIST!

    2. What would one of these students do in the face of real adversity, like an overly-long red light or a paper cut?

      1. Or even encountering an actual racist who wants to cause offense or actual harm.

  12. “Dissatisfaction, traumatization, and boredom are realities within our collective MRC experiences, as well as being ridiculed, traumatized, othered, tokenized, and pathologized. These experiences have been profoundly damaging and erasing, with lasting effects on our mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, the curriculum in MRC is unsatisfactory as a Humanities program. For students to have their personal and ancestral voices erased in curriculum and conversation, only to be told that their experiences of pain are insignificant, is psychologically abusive.”

    These students remind me of oenophiles. Give ten bottles of red wine to a person who’s never had wine before, and they’ll say it all tastes the same. Tutor them on the differences and subtle traits of wine over months or years, and they’ll be able to discern the minutest variations.

    1. What are you jabbering about? Wine is mixed with ludes, so you can have a hot Cosby. It is known.

      1. Wine is mixed with ludes, so you can have a hot Cosby. It is known.

        THIS is why I spend my time here!

        Thank you for that, FH.

    2. Where can I sign up for your class?

      1. The nearest Florida vineyard.

        1. Here is a list.

          http://www.freshfromflorida.co…..-Vineyards

          Disclaimer: I have never been to any of them.

          1. That has to be all scuppernong.

    3. Tutor them on the differences and subtle traits of wine over months or years, and they’ll be able to discern the minutest variations.

      My sarc-o-meter has had too many bottles spilled on it so my readings on this specific topic are suspect. I’m going to take this in the true, sarcastic, “‘oenophilia’ is cult-‘science’ mumbo-jumbo” sense in that they’re really not discerning variations that are there and emphatically discerning variations that they cannot, as humans bound by the laws of physics, detect.

  13. ‘She said she met last spring with Kelly to ask for a more diverse, culturally responsive curriculum. In response, Kelly “used the n-word… she said it three or four times. The full word.”‘

    This account doesn’t even seem that different: it seems like the student was just counting the number of uses, and paying no attention to the context!

    1. In all fairness, the ‘context’ was spoken in common English, and the student likely had limited ability to understand it.

      The Dean really should have learned to speak Jive.

      1. I guarantee you 0% of those kids speak Jive. 0%.

    2. And an app can do better at word counting anyway.

    3. Context goes out the window when you’re screening for microagressions all day.

  14. What is extra fucking stupid about this protest is that it is not about curriculum at SU as a whole, but about the curriculum at a honors-type college within the university which has a specific focus on WESTERN HUMANITIES! So, to summarize, the students, who knowingly signed up for a college focusing on western/European humanities are bitching (and I chose that word carefully, as I consider every dude engaging in this a little bitch) because the curriculum is to western/European.

    Its like going to Cal Tech and protesting that the curriculum is too math-focused and therefore ableist against people who suck at math.

    Fuck these kids. SU is a private, Jesuit University – they should have told them to fuck off from the start.

    1. Western Humanities is rooted in racism. Unless everything in their is focused on how racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/evil ALL Western culture is, it’s a microaggression.

  15. “used the n-word… she said it three or four times. The full word.”

    The student said she broke down after her meeting with the dean.

    This is exactly what we get when parents stop letting their infants cry themselves to sleep.

  16. Well, when you say “Jehovah” even once, let along three or four times, you can’t be surprised when people throw stones at you.

    1. /throws rock at Seamus

    2. [Throws rock-shaped Styrofoam]

    3. That’s YAHWEH, you stupid goy.

      1. Hey, don’t give us your kosher pig’s feet. What kind of Jew utters the ineffable and sacred tetragrammaton anyway?

  17. “These experiences have been profoundly damaging and erasing, with lasting effects on our mental and emotional well-being.”

    Profoundly damaging? Did having to read Shakespeare literally result in you losing a limb? Erasing? At this point – that word has no meaning. Zero. I mean, holy fuck, the abuse of the English language here is so fucking bold I almost have to respect it. Almost.

    1. Perhaps it erased her good sense.

  18. I hope to God this wave of campus insanity dies down when my son goes off to college.

  19. They want the college to force professors to … police microaggressions in the classroom

    “There’s *another* one! Class dismissed!”

  20. The student “broke down”? Really? And I’m supposed to see these people as the “leaders of tomorrow”? Fuck me, I’m not sure I want tomorrow to ever come.

    The dean plainly thought that she could have a normal adult conversation with a college student. I guess she thought wrong!

    1. This is the result of the hyper-protective helicopter parenting of the last couple of decades. They expect the university to provide the same swaddled environment they just came from. It’s why they’re so sensitive that they can use the word “micro-aggression” unironically, and have a pressing need for safe spaces and trigger warnings. They never experienced the Lord of the Flies-like society that children who went out to play did. Instead, they stayed in their rooms, where they could control and filter their social life through the internet. What do you expect?

  21. The students are conducting a sit-in.

    “The Dude: Did you ever hear of “The Seattle Seven”?
    Maude Lebowski: Mmm.
    The Dude: That was me… and six other guys.”

      1. I like the banner:

        “Stop minimizing Poo”

        1. “Stop Minimizing Poo”

          Stop minimizing poo…stop minimizing poo…stop minimizing poo? No, I can’t work it out. Someone’s gonna have to explain that one to me. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

      2. Man, some of those kids have dead eyes. I understand that’s a major turn-on for you, though.

        1. That one in the middle in the front…

          “I’ll fuck you, but you have to listen to Natalie Merchant for an hour afterwards.”

          “No deal.”

          1. *SNORT*

        2. . On May 11, they launched a protest against the university, occupying the front office of the college with pillows, food, music, and a small DIY library.

          THE STRUGGLE!

          Last week, according to The Spectator, an instructor admitted planting a recording device under a printer in the office occupied by the students.

          Check out Kim Phibly over here.

        3. The blonde with glasses in the lower left: “But it’s only polite to not offend people! And I hope you don’t disagree, because that would make you a racist.”

      3. I’m not going to say I wouldn’t to all. But it seems like there were a lot more hot girls when I was in college.

    1. I was one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement. The original one, not the compromised second draft.

    2. That movie is a fucking treasure.

      1. Shut the fuck up, Donnie.

        1. Obviously you’re not a golfer.

  22. It’s impossible to tell whether the student was right to be offended or not.

    I’m starting to suspect Robby has one of those Magic-8 balls next to his desk which churns out these phrases for him.

    has anyone had experience creating one of those ‘random text generators’? if so i have a project idea.

    1. Load him up! His em could suffer this for social justice forever!

    2. Basically, we need to reverse engineer this, and then re-work the basic ingredients

      1. A Robby Soave generator would have some pretty simple inputs.

        1. Random university
        2. Random mundane experience that’s perceived as a hateful sleight
        3. Wishy washy empathizing and blow softening
        4. Take a quote from students using one of those already existing post-modernism generators

        Anything else?

        1. That’s basically what i’m talking about.

          #5 – draw conclusion that while their intentions are noble (or that you are unable to determine whether they deserve serious merit, or suggest hasty dismissal is unkind, or etc etc.), that perhaps liberty isn’t best served by immediate capitulation to *all* their demands.

          #6 (located anywhere in the body-text) – remind everyone you are NOT Milo Yiannopoulos, …. and that you have previously debunked something (links to any random page)

          etc

          I could come up with a formula *(and draft inputs). I just need someone to come up with the HTML for producing a functional page

          1. My favorite generator: This is Social Justice. Note the options up top.

  23. In response, Kelly “used the n-word… she said it three or four times. The full word.”

    Well, dog mah cats!

    *totters off toward fainting couch*

  24. The worst part? She was just saying that book she had in mind was near.

    1. The sheriff is near!

    2. That movie could never be made today. Thank goodness it was made when it was.

  25. Dissatisfaction, traumatization, and boredom are realities within our collective MRC experiences, as well as being ridiculed, traumatized, othered, tokenized, and pathologized.

    “I’ll give you something to cry about. Go outside and play.”

  26. Just so we’re clear:

    Threatening violence against students – okay
    Hurting the feelz of a student who has asked for a diversified reading list by suggesting a well-regarded book on a civil rights activitist – not okay

    1. Just at long as the street cars keep running. PSU! PSU!

  27. The only thing more offensive than “nigger” is “n-word”. And probably “p-word m-word.”

    1. “p-word m-word.”

      …………….”pussy muscle”?

      1. Yeah, I was wondering that myself, but figured it was an incantation for the Lynx.

  28. traumatization and boredom

    Traumatisierung und Langeweile; gro?e Eitelkeit des dummen

    – Sigmund Freud’s unpublished last work


  29. I hope to God this wave of campus insanity dies down when my son goes off to college.

    Why risk it? buy him a backhoe as a graduation present.

  30. Unless the college is sitting on additional evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Kelly, her suspension seems incredibly premature.

    It doesn’t seem premature, it seems entirely based upon false evidence, and it’s beginning to look like Kelly has a 7 figure lawsuit in her future.

  31. This is a very good time NOT to be enrolled at a university.

  32. being ridiculed, traumatized, othered, tokenized, and apathologized.

    What is being cretinized, chopped liver?

    1. It’s an iodine deficiency, fool!

    2. apathologized.

      Oh, is that a bad thing? I’ll fix that by immediately pathologizing all of you. You’re welcome.

      P.S.: lrn teh english nubs

  33. Anyone know of a super-effective way to search the reason archives for comments?

    I used to use Sitecomber, but it went to shit when they changed their Http-prefix.

    there’s a way to do it w/ chrome but i’ve never quite grokked it.

    1. From google.com you can search “site:reason.com/blog search phrase”, although this doesn’t allow you to specify a particular commenter.

      1. yeah i’ve done that, its actually not as functional as a regular Google Advanced Search, which works OK, but i liked Sitecomber better.

  34. Book burning 21st century style!

  35. Whoa, Robby did it. He wrote out the word. Progress!

  36. The student said she broke down after her meeting with the dean.

    This person is unfit for college and should probably seek mental help, given that she is so traumatized by a word (nigger) that she has likely heard spoken in every rap song ever. (And that she is so traumatized by any word, period.)

    1. She has re-told this story breathlessly a hundred times. Always with her in the tragic victim role. It is literally the most intense experience she’s been through in her life.

    2. “OMG! You said, ‘Period!’ How grossly sexist!”

  37. http://www.seattlespectator.co…..ur-fisher/

    Former dean:

    The individual replied that these concerns were very important to her personally and part of her mission as a teacher. I replied that, on the contrary, they represented a sort of violation of our implicit contract, that students had enrolled and paid to be taught needed skills in grammar, and that lengthy digressions therefrom constituted a sort of theft.

    Classroom proselytizing is theft.

    1. what she’s saying actually makes perfect sense

      Students began to complain to me that large amounts of class time were being given over to conventional discourse on “social justice”. In meetings in my office, I explained to the instructor that class time is precious, that students needed to be taught grammar, and that anything else was simply off the map: unacceptable. The individual replied that these concerns were very important to her personally and part of her mission as a teacher. I replied that, on the contrary, they represented a sort of violation of our implicit contract, that students had enrolled and paid to be taught needed skills in grammar, and that lengthy digressions therefrom constituted a sort of theft.

      The word shouldn’t be “Theft” so much as “Fraud”.

      If you’re paying to learn Grammar, when your teacher turns that course into a political platform for her useless Social-Justice garbage she learned in grad-school? Fucking SUE them for breach of contract. The Dean was making exactly the right point.

      They’re not priests in a church providing Moral and Ethical guidance = they’re supposed to be training people to better use the tool-box of the English language

    2. students had enrolled and paid to be taught needed skills in grammar

      In *college*? Well, there’s your problem.

      1. These B-grade universities really do need to provide these kids “basic skills” in many cases.

        1. When I was in college, I saw a paper written by someone attending a B-grade type school. Fucking amazing what passed for B+ writing there.
          If there is anything that everyone should learn in college, it is how to write and use the language effectively.

  38. She used the WHOLE word? I can’t even.

    1. It’s even more offensive when they only use part of the word. Like, I took a geography class one time, and the professor kept talking about “Niger,” and I was just like, “C’mon, we all know what you really mean.” Horrible. I still need to go to my safe space when I think about that…

      1. To say nothing of a certain striped companion of Winnie the Pooh. ‘Tigger’ was especially proud of his physical characteristics, boasting about them almost constantly, but nothing was ever said about his intellect. How unsurprising from a straight white Englishman!!!

    2. How do they know she didn’t replace one of the “g”s with an asterisk when she said it?

    3. I bet she can use whole sentences too

  39. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude.

    http://www.Complete-Privacy.tk

  40. Would it have been okay if she only said the middle part of the word? Igge?

    1. “Woman Named ‘Inge’ Brutalized By Angry Students”

    2. Why are you being so niggardly with your letters?

  41. One student claimed that the dean used an ethnic slur during a private meeting.

    Someone needs to teach these kids the distinction between use and mention. Saying the name of a book that is entitled “Nigger” is not using a racial slur. It’s mentioning a word and the title of a book.

    1. You’re not allowed to talk about that book.

      1. And reading it would be cultural appropriation.

  42. “…Kelly maintains that she didn’t say the n-word in a derogatory way: she was actually recommending an autobiography by civil rights activist Dick Gregory. The book is titled Nigger.”

    Blasphemy! He said it again!

    (I have totally underappreciated that movie until recently)

  43. True story. A guy once walked past me, and I said to my friend: “Wow, that guy looked just just like Dick Gregory.” My friend replied: “That was Dick Gregory. He’s on campus for a talk.”

  44. “Dissatisfaction, traumatization, and boredom are realities within our collective MRC experiences, as well as being ridiculed, traumatized, othered, tokenized, and pathologized.”
    Dissatisfaction and boredom are a part of daily life for everyone.
    I would bet these students have never once been ridiculed on that campus.
    Othered and tokenized just mean that the entire curriculum isn’t about blacks and/or women.
    Traumatized? means imagining the above.
    Pathologized means someone said one of their ideas was crazy.
    You are welcome

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