Campus Free Speech

Vandals at the Gates

Profs and pols behaving badly in Nebraska

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Days before the 2016 general election, Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry got some unwanted media attention. One of Fortenberry's large campaign yard signs was vandalized. The image of the congressman's face was enhanced with a pair of googly eyes and some text was altered. Unsurprisingly, an image of the altered sign was passed around social media, and everyone had a good chuckle. One political science professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln gave a post of the image a "like" on Facebook, and then things got weird.

Fortenberry's chief of staff discovered that Professor Ari Kohen had liked the post and realized that democratic norms were collapsing all around us. Having never heard of the Streisand Effect, the chief of staff promptly contacted the professor, his department chair, his dean, and the university chancellor demanding to know what the university's position regarding "vandalism or worse violence" might be. The story went viral. Kohen filed an ethics complaint. Fortenberry won reelection. And everyone moved on.

Well, not quite everyone. Fortenberry called for "serious investigative reporting" to discover "who is causing this type of divisiveness in our city." Perhaps not trusting that journalists would do the necessary digging, the police were also put on the case of the googly eye vandal. Remarkably, some crack CSI work led them to a suspect. Fingerprints from the googly eyes apparently matched fingerprints collected from earlier acts of political vandalism. "Betsy Riot" stickers, the mark of a local "neo-suffragist punk patriot resistance," had been left not only on the Fortenberry sign but also on the office doors of the two Republican senators for the state of Nebraska. Patricia Wonch Hill, a University of Nebraska sociology professor, is now alleged to be a serial political vandal.

Professors, like everyone else, should refrain from political vandalism. Certainly the wanton exhibition of googly eyes does little to elevate the public discourse and does not contribute to the sort of mature democratic deliberation that professors should be trying to help foster. Wonch Hill will face the full weight of the criminal justice system for her offenses (so far the coffers of her legal defense fund seem adequate to pay her misdemeanor fines).

But some are not satisfied. They have called upon the University of Nebraska to take action of its own. The university, admirably, has emphasized that it takes no notice of such "a personal legal matter." University bylaws recognize that the university "should not impose sanctions to duplicate the functions" of civil authorities unless "the University's interest as an academic community is clearly involved." Nonetheless, some local conservatives are grumbling that the university should do something about such taxpayer-funded radicals.

Presumably, the University of Nebraska will withstand the political pressure to crack down on the googly eye vandal. Conservatives should think twice about whether they really want university administrators to have the discretion to discipline wayward professors for minor legal infractions or selectively punish those who express unpopular political views. It is not hard to imagine how such a power could be used against the small minority of professors who hail from the political right. If universities are free to dispense with a professor whose views or actions might "drag them through the mud," then universities are as likely to lose the intellectually adventurous as the politically sophomoric, the traditionalist as the radical. The world would be a better place if fewer members of the campus community thought that they can best strike a blow for justice by putting stickers with political slogans on everything, but conservatives are not helping when they seek to crank up the machinery of censorship.

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  1. “Certainly the wonton exhibition of googly eyes…”

    A wonton exhibition? Sounds delicious, as long as I’m allowed to eat them, and not just observe.

  2. I have a very serious question for Mr. Whittington — why should “conservatives” care at all whether or not censorship is prevailing or will prevail at the nation’s universities? After all, at this point there are virtually no conservatives left there. Within a decade there will be none. They have been methodically shut out of all hiring practices there; the few left are being relentlessly hounded out more and more on various pretexts (see the latest Quilette story about the classic professor booted from even a part-time job in the academy for a taste of what’s happening.) What do we care? Are we worried the current Stalinists will be replaced by Maoists? That black mao-maoers will be replaced by Asian mao-maoers?

    Conservatives currently have no presence at campuses whatsoever. An ability to censor professor statements and curb their conduct will not harm our society; it will significantly improve it.

    1. When your assumptions are all blatant lies, your conclusion can’t help but be false.

      Public universities like the University of Nebraska have plenty of conservatives on the faculty. Some of Nebraska’s most outspoken conservatives are fully tenured professors. Meanwhile, the Board of Regents is regularly filled with conservatives eager to propagate this nonsense you’re spewing here.

      1. It’s not a blatant lie though. Studies show that conservatives are, at best, outnumbered 12 to 1 in academia. Whether or not you know a few of them by nature of being few in number is irrelevant.

        1. Conservatives, as a bunch, don’t tend to be attracted to careers in academia. They make more money and find more satisfaction in other career fields.

          Communists (the real kind, I mean) don’t tend to pursue careers in business management and finance, either.

          1. Conservatives, as a bunch, don’t tend to be attracted to careers in academia.

            Blacks, as a bunch, don’t tend to be interested in joining the KKK.

            https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2017/04/04/
            diversity-oaths-another-step-
            away-from-honest-scholarship/

            1. “Blacks, as a bunch, don’t tend to be interested in joining the KKK.”

              SOMEBODY didn’t see all of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies…

              1. I can’t tell which is sadder: that you think Hollywood describes reality or that a single example disproves a tendency.

                1. Did that mean old joke whiz right past you without even stopping to say hi? How rude!

              2. “SOMEBODY didn’t see all of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies…”

                Or listen to vintage Chris Rock.

          2. That’s an interesting view point, especially given the very sharp discrepancy between the number of conservatives in academia vs their proportion in the general population.

            That “Conservatives, as a bunch, don’t tend to be attracted to careers in academia. They make more money and find more satisfaction in other career fields.”

            For what other underrepresented groups in academia do you feel that this is true? African Americans? Women?

            1. Conservatives don’t seem to tend to want to be African Americans, either. Not sure how many want to be women.

              1. You appear to have misread the question. Let me rephrase.

                Do you also feel that African Americans are under represented in academia because they just “aren’t attracted to careers in academia”?

                If someone made the argument that African Americans were underrepresented in academia because they just didn’t want those types of jobs, what would your response be?

                1. “Do you also feel that African Americans are under represented in academia because[…]”

                  I’m not aware that African-Americans are under-represented in academia, so no, I haven’t given much thought as to why.

                  “If someone made the argument that African Americans were underrepresented in academia because they just didn’t want those types of jobs, what would your response be?”

                  I suppose I might start by asking some African-Americans if there was any truth to the notion.

                  1. Very well. Suppose you ask if there’s any truth. African Americans say “Yes, there’s truth. Look at the statistics, especially in the hard sciences”.

                    What’s your view now? Does your view change if they shows surveys that show the majority of professors in academia actively discriminate against hiring African Americans? Do you still think it’s just because “They don’t want to have jobs in academia”?

                    1. You seem to have a lot of concern for African-Americans in academia… hypothetically.

        2. Studies show that conservatives are, at best, outnumbered 12 to 1 in academia.

          See, this is also a lie. Let’s be clear about where this 12:1 statistic comes from, and what it means, shall we?

          This statistic comes from a paper published by a journal based at GMU, an avowedly arch-conservative institution. And it measured only the voter registrations of professors within five selected departments.

          It is not, and does not purport to be, an unbiased or representative measure of conservative representation in higher education. Nor can it really be said to tell us much, if anything, about the intellectual environments at those schools, since voter registrations don’t necessarily mean anything in and of themselves.

          But look at you! You probably pulled it from the Washington Times (another conservative rag) which covered the study without much context or nuance. And you’re inflating one study about a limited observation to “studies” about a broad population.

          Lies, lies, lies.

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    2. The existing list of Volokh Conspirators gives obvious lie to this claim.

    3. An ability to censor professor statements and curb their conduct will not harm our society; it will significantly improve it.

      Thinking rights violations are cool because they’ll only happen to your enemies means you don’t actually care about rights at all.

    4. I’m trying to figure out if “mao-maoers” is a typo or a clever neologism combining “mau-mau” and “Mao.”

      1. So we have a Mao Mao uprising causing wonton destruction… talk about cultural appropriation.

        1. I’ve been known to cause some wonton destruction in my day.

    5. Because protecting the hard sciences from the ideological takeover that happened in the social sciences is worth the fight, assuming we want a better future for our kids with more technological advancements and competent engineers and scientists.

      1. Hard science, like biology-that-includes-evolution and climate change?

        1. Physics is totally ripe to be destroyed by liberalism.

          1. I wish this was a joke:

            “Stark identifies “classical Newtonian physics” as one of the guiding sciences at the heights of Western imperialism, “which identifies separated beings and absolute differences between particles and waves, space and time.””

            That’s one of many gems you get by searching for ‘feminist physics’. Admittedly a lot of them are just griping there aren’t enough female physics profs, but not all. The feminist math ones can be pretty good, too.

            Did Lysenkoism become dogma all at once, or gradually? It got to be a pretty serious thing: “More than 3,000 mainstream biologists were fired or even sent to prison,[3] and numerous scientists were executed as part of a campaign instigated by Lysenko to suppress his scientific opponents”
            (out of links, that’s from the wiki article). Letting politics into science can lead to bad outcomes.

            1. “That’s one of many gems you get by searching for ‘feminist physics’.”

              Why, pray tell, should anyone ever be searching for “feminist physics”???

        2. Okay, I’ll take that bait.

          Biology is squishy, but sure. To turn it back to you, does that acceptance include the biological truth that an unborn baby is a separate human being in the womb, and can after a few months feel pain?

          And did you know that the pushback to the apocalyptic climate change computer models is coming from the hard sciences? You know, the people who prefer data over computer models where it’s garbage in/garbage out. This is not to say climate change isn’t occurring, just that actual data isn’t showing that we will all be dead in 12 years, for example.

          1. ” This is not to say climate change isn’t occurring,”

            Be careful where you say that. It can get you voted out of some clubs (and political parties).

            1. Same lie you use on immigration. No political party is denying the climate is changing, just like no political party is arguing against all immigration.

              What we are denying is:
              1. Actual science (the kind with data not deliberately altered, with falsifiable hypothesis, with models actually peer reviewed rather than “reviewed” by other believers,etc.) does not show human caused warming.
              2. Even if humans are affecting the climate in ways that can be measured, the benefits of higher CO2 and temperature as opposed to wildly inflated damage claims, are ignored.
              3. The benefits of fossil-fuel based energy, as well as the capabilities of renewables to replace it, are also not reality based.
              4. And finally, the notion that anything humans do will have an impact when measured against the natural changes caused by solar output changes, also ignored by Gaia cultists in the Democrat Party.

          2. “does that acceptance include the biological truth that an unborn baby is a separate human being in the womb”

            Just out of curiousity, where are you finding people who want to argue the other side of this one?

            1. HA, right here on this comment system. Was it you, or someone else that said a baby is a parasite. And please, don’t tell me you don’t understand obvious logical implications of it being a separate human being.

              1. I hate to tell you this, but being parasitical and being human are not mutually exclusive. Fetuses are both, at the same time.

                So, it appears my thesis was correct, and you aren’t finding anyone to argue that point with.

                Well, maybe next time.

                1. Shows how much you actually know about biology, a parasite is, by definition, a separate species than the host.

                  Maybe next time.

                  1. Keep trying. Stopped clock right twice a day, and all that.

        3. The biology of sex is currently being erased by the political left.

          1. The right invoking biology to argue their sociological points doesn’t mean the left is screwing up the research going on in biology departments.

            1. Except they are. States are starting to permit people to change their biological sex on their driver’s license. When someone is incapacitated and you need to identify them for medical purposes, it’s tantamount that you know the biological sex of the individual(s). Otherwise, you could literally kill them by providing incorrect dosages or misdiagnosing symptoms. Also, reckless support for HRT is increasing rates of cancer for transgender people and there’s already a new public health epidemic in the making of dead 30-40 y/o transgendered individuals with cancer. If we become like Canada and the UK and criminalize misgendering and/or deadnaming, it will become literally impossible to ask for the biological sex of a transgender person and make research studies on them quite unlikely.

              Sex differences are real and leftists are literally killing transgender people with their insanity. If you don’t think SJW lab techs and research supervisors are coming, you’re in for a rough ride.

              1. “States are starting to permit people to change their biological sex on their driver’s license.”

                Egads. And this is my business because…

              2. Drivers licenses are not issued by biology departments…

                When someone is incapacitated and you need to identify them for medical purposes, it’s tantamount that you know the biological sex of the individual(s). Otherwise, you could literally kill them by providing incorrect dosages or misdiagnosing symptoms
                This depends on what sorts of treatments a transgender has gone through. Also, whatever happened to personal responsibility?

                And finally, nothing to do with biology departments.

            2. No, the left is using sociology to argue their points about biology now. A prime example was the surreal testimony by Dr. Deanna Adkins at the debate of NC’s infamous HB2 or “bathroom bill”.

              “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity, … the only medically supported determinant of sex. … It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

              1. John Rohan, that’s a policy argument, not a biology department. You seem quite confused.

                1. No, across the entire animal kingdom, sex is defined by one’s role in the reproductive process. That’s universal regardless of law, policy, or culture. You seem quite confused.

                  1. Your culture war isn’t raging in biology departments, though.

                  2. “No, across the entire animal kingdom, sex is defined by one’s role in the reproductive process.”

                    Humans are animals. And, uh, sex isn’t limited to animalia.

                    1. Humans are animals.

                      Well, yeah. That was the point I was getting at.

                    2. Disproves the rule you were attempting to establish. If that was the point you were getting at, good job!

                    3. How does it disprove any rule? I was pointing out that reproductive capability defines sex in every animal species, so it would be ridiculous to claim humans are an exception.

          2. I’m not sure if biologists have adopted the concept of the “biologically female penis” that’s popular among the woke left, but if they haven’t, I’m sure they’ll be forced to apologize.

            1. I’m sure when that actually happens we can talk.

              In the meantime, meeting an assertion with ‘one day you will be wrong’ is more or less a concession I’m right.

              1. “In the meantime, meeting an assertion with ‘one day you will be wrong’ is more or less a concession I’m right.”

                To the extent that AFAIK biologists have not adopted the “biologically female penis” line, sure, you’re right.

        4. You leftists love to crow about how “into science” you are. Perhaps we can discuss several topics such as chicks with dicks, GMOs, and fracking.

          1. Not a leftist, but what do you when one of them shows up, and points out that of your three topics, exactly one has anything to do with science, what do you plan to tell them?

          2. Done that on other threads. Lets stick to the subject of my OP for now. There big problems with chicks with dicks in the lab?

            1. D-Pizzle is the one who brought up chicks with dicks. Perhaps it’s causing big problems because the Internet connection to the Pizzle household hasn’t enough bandwidth to download all the “chicks with dicks” porn that is desired within.

        5. That’s right, evolution wasn’t part of science until the hard left started their march through the institutions in the 1970s. Thank god they saved us.

  3. Jeff the idiot should have taken advantage of the publicity to have a little fun at the vandal’s expense; I bet that would have gotten far more votes than lost.

    1. At Disneyland the other day, I saw a fully-grown man wearing a blue t-shirt with large white lettering across the front that read: “WORLD’S GREATEST FARTER.” And then, underneath and in much smaller type, was “(oops, I mean father).” He did not appear to be a lunatic other than this bit of puffery. (If you know Southern California, that this guy was sporting that shirt at Disneyland rather than Knott’s Berry Farm or Six Flags, is very surprising.)

      Maybe Fortenberry could’ve worn a similar shirt in the final days of the campaign. “Farters for Fartenberry” shirts and buttons. I’m sure the slogans and campaign ads would’ve almost written themselves.

  4. By all means let the university commit itself to ignoring this minor crime by a professor, then keep this case in mind for when a professor of some other political flavor gets targeted.

    1. For example, there’s probably a ton of professors at Biola and Hillsdale who vandalize stuff all the time, those goobers.

      1. Or at the Conspiracy. Who knows what Prof. Volokh does to yard signs in his neighborhood late at night? Nonetheless, I defend his right to do it.

        That said, turning to a more serious analysis, there is a bit of Kerenskyite useful idiocy to Prof. Whittington’s post. I don’t recall many of his colleagues defending Amy Wax or Erika Christakis. It’s actually unclear to me whether conservatives actually advance their cause by defending free speech for leftists, or merely enable their enemies to destroy them more effectively. Does anyone have any empirical evidence, beyond the historical actor I have cited?

        1. There’s no issue here of defending free speech for leftists since free speech doesn’t include vandalism. I’d certainly defend the right of leftists to exercise 1st Amendment rights on their own property.

          I mean, what’s the fun of simply defending “the right to advocate what is right,” as the Cairo Declaration on human rights in Islam limply declares?

          http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instr…..ation.html

        2. Give him some credit, it’s his first post, and he’s a free speech on campus defender. Yes, he’s a lib, sure, but they kind from generation ago that wasn’t (too) crazy and believed in free speech.

          1. A liberal with intellectual integrity would start by defending Allison Stanger or the other women I named, but obviously Prof. Whittington is not that sort of liberal.

    2. Did I miss the part where the professor in question did more than merely “like” a photo of the vandalism? High crimes indeed.

      1. I missed the part about Hill. I thought we were discussing Kohen. My bad.

  5. From one of the links:

    “It’s not the first time Hill has faced legal trouble.

    “The Washington Post reported that a judge found her guilty last year of misdemeanor destruction of property for spraying fake blood on the steps of National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox’s home in Alexandria, Virginia.

    “Hill appealed that verdict but she said she later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct because she wanted it over.”

    1. I’m thinking that if a professor admits the act of targeting the home of someone she dislikes politically for fake-blood-spraying, then maybe it’s something the university *should* take note of.

      Unless they want to give a pass to analogous behavior by right-wing profs and students, who we all know are goobers simply straining at the bit to pour fake blood at people’s private residences.

      1. How difficult is this to understand?

        The cops know who she is, and what she did. They’re very likely going to apply the correct penalty that applies to stealing a $5 item… order to payment of $5 of restitution.

        The correct charge for making fun of a politician is… approximately nothing. If you can’t stand up to being made fun of, don’t run for office.

        1. I suppose you missed this the first time around:

          “It’s not the first time Hill has faced legal trouble.

          “The Washington Post reported that a judge found her guilty last year of misdemeanor destruction of property for spraying fake blood on the steps of National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox’s home in Alexandria, Virginia.

          “Hill appealed that verdict but she said she later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct because she wanted it over.”

          1. “I suppose you missed this the first time around:”

            No, I just don’t care. She took a plea the last time around, which means that case is already over. You’re familiar with the concept of double jeopardy, right? In case you’re not, it means that the government gets only one shot at prosecuting people for things they did.

            1. And I suppose you don’t care about this part of the original post, either:

              “University bylaws recognize that the university “should not impose sanctions to duplicate the functions” of civil authorities unless ‘the University’s interest as an academic community is clearly involved.'”

              If they believe that their employee pouring blood on a private residence in a political dispute is…

              Oh, never mind, just shut up.

              1. Like you, I started out assuming Professor Einstein’s misconduct was too trivial for the university to worry about.

                Unlike you, I then saw new information – that she went to someone’s private home and spilled fake blood as part of a political disagreement – and I changed my mind. Maybe the University *should* take an interest in her off-campus behavior.

                It’s called the sanctity of private residences, and you can look it up. It’s part of the right to privacy.

              2. “And I suppose you don’t care about this part of the original post, either:”

                As explained for you one time already, that’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.

                You need it a couple more times so it’ll sink in? Feel free to stop reading when it does.

                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.
                That’s a case that’s already been adjudicated.

                1. Wow.

                  At least you didn’t keep typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

                  Your amateurish and inaccurate use of the term “double jeopardy” is only the beginning of your silliness.

                  1. Still hasn’t sunk in, huh? Please refer to the previous comment and reread as many times as you find necessary.

                    “Your amateurish and inaccurate use of the term ‘double jeopardy'”

                    Hmmm. The only time I used the term “double jeopardy”, I used it correctly. Seems like the problem’s at your end.

                    1. You invoked the concept of double jeopardy in the context of a discussion of public employment. You know perfectly well the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy doesn’t protect public employees from being fired for crimes, and your attempt to drag that particular red herring across the trail is ridiculous.

                    2. “You invoked the concept of double jeopardy in the context of a discussion of public employment. You know perfectly well the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy”

                      I know what I said to make you start babbling about this. What do I have to say to make you stop?

                      j/k. I know that your babbling has nothing to do with what I actually said.

                    3. You are trying desperately to spray enough insults to obscure what you did.

                      You are, or profess to be, ignorant of the fact that public employers can fire their employees for crimes, even crimes for which they have been actually convicted.

                      Make several copies of that last sentence and read it over to yourself.

                    4. Amazing – I actually quoted the university regulation allowing the university to punish employees for off-campus crimes if ‘the University’s interest as an academic community is clearly involved.’

                      Nevertheless, your persisted in doubling down on the stupid, with your legally-irrelevant doule jeopardy BS.

                    5. “You are trying desperately to spray enough insults to obscure what you did.”

                      I don’t want to obscure what I did, because that’s not what people who are right do. (I can understand why you wouldn’t know this.)

                      “You are, or profess to be, ignorant of the fact that public employers can fire their employees for crimes, even crimes for which they have been actually convicted.”

                      You are, and continue to be, guilty of substituting your own narrative for actual facts. Which leaves us back at my last premise:

                      I know that your babbling has nothing to do with what I actually said.

                    6. So that’s your defense? That your remarks actually had nothing to do with the topic at hand?

                      You were just inserting random blather about double jeopardy, and you’re offended that anyone would actually interpret your remarks as somehow relevant to the disciplining of public employees?

                    7. Allow me to put it to you this way: Can the government discipline a public employee for spilling fake blood on the steps of someone’s house, even if the employee has already even been prosecuted criminally for that action?

                      I’m giving you a chance to modify your previous answer, which was:

                      “She took a plea the last time around, which means that case is already over. You’re familiar with the concept of double jeopardy, right? In case you’re not, it means that the government gets only one shot at prosecuting people for things they did.”

  6. Those aren’t his real eyes? And what about other politicians with googly eyes? Can we mock them?

  7. I think Keith misses a few key points.

    1. University administrators already do crackdown on “conservative” professors for many of these actions, even actions which are far milder (and legal).

    2. This professor represents the university. Professors have an ethical obligation to uphold a moral standard, often above that of common citizens, especially in areas of civil discourse. These are the people who are teaching our young men and women, and our young men and women are taking their moral queues from them. If a professor teaches through her actions that the “right way” to show dislike of a political viewpoint or party is through vandalism and the spraying of fake blood, then all of society suffers.

    3. An ethics review board of this particular professor is warranted, given her past history of political vandalism, followed by a likely reprimand. If the actions continue, more severe disciplinary action may be warranted.

    1. “These are the people who are teaching our young men and women, and our young men and women are taking their moral queues from them.”

      Yes, that would be why the Universities want to go easy on profs like this one; Those Red Guard don’t make themselves, they need to be carefully molded.

    2. University administrators already do crackdown on “conservative” professors for many of these actions
      Where do you get this from?

      These are the people who are teaching our young men and women
      Liking a post making a fart pun?! Won’t someone please think of the children!!

      An ethics review board of this particular professor is warranted, given her past history of political vandalism, followed by a likely reprimand.
      I don’t know what’s worse, the conservative fragility or the fair-weather free speech.

      1. “Won’t someone please think of the children!!”

        Young adults. We’re talking about University, not kindergarten.

      2. Where do you get this from?

        Let’s start with Emory University in 2016, where the campus panicked over “Trump 2016” chalk on the sidewalk, and the University President president promised the protest mob several steps including an investigation.

        1. That more than one commenter is hitting the one chalk thing as evidence of constant anti-conservative crackdowns is pretty telling about how much they want to believe, and how little evidence there is for their belief.

          1. So you are saying it didn’t happen?

          2. So you are saying it didn’t happen?

            1. I’m saying it’s grossly insufficient to support the thesis “University administrators already do crackdown on “conservative” professors for many of these actions” but it looks like that’s all you have.

              1. You seriously need more examples? here here and here.

      3. “Where do you get this from?”

        John McAdams? Gavin Clarkson? Keth Fink? The surveys from the Higher Education Research Institute? Dr. James Enstrom? Dr Mike Adams?

        Perhaps you should read James Phillips thesis on the under representation of Conservatives in Legal Academia. If you’re interested, of course.

        1. While I was in law school, one prof ran for, and won, the state’s attorney general position. He entered the D primary (it’s a blue state) but also won the R primary purely on write-ins. The next election cycle, another prof ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate as an R. Yet another prof (this one an adjunct) was confirmed to the federal district court.
          Meanwhile, the Federalist Society continues to find new members.

          1. And….you knew a professor who entered the Democrat primary, and a second who ran unsuccesfully for US Senate as a Republican, and a third professor of undisclosed affiliation who was confirmed to district court.

            This has what to do with what exactly?

            1. How did you become a lawyer, armchair or otherwise, without learning how words work?

              1. Mostly by asking questions, and asking people to clarify their comments, especially when ambiguous, and could be interpreted multiple ways.

                Care to clarify yours?

  8. I love how this is written with a flippant attitude toward the vandalism, but if someone defaced an Obama billboard or that of another minority politician it would be all over the national news and the usual identity politics lynch mobs would be out looking for the perp.

    1. Sorry about your counterfactual victimhood.

      1. Nothing counterfactual about it. http://nymag.com/intelligencer…..lkers.html

        1. New York Magazine?
          This does not sound like ‘it would be all over the national news and the usual identity politics lynch mobs would be out looking for the perp.’

          1. This very blog posted profusely about the outrage industry going after the chalkers, and the statements of the college admins very sympathetic to punishment that they then were forced to backtrack from.

            I believe he proved his point adequately. Also, just watch the future as this willl happen again with minor silliness gaining national news status…again.

            1. ” this willl happen again with minor silliness gaining national news status…again.”

              And you’re arguing that this should or should not happen? Or are you waiting to see which side it it is before committing to being or not being outraged about it?

      2. I doubt Sarcastrated will find this so amusing when the tables are turned on him and his fellow ilk.

        1. What is this when? What do you think is going to happen, JtD?

          1. Who knows now. But the time will come.

            1. I’m thinking someone is going to draw google eyes on a picture of you. Then we’ll see what you and your ilk really think!

              1. Those googly eyes are in the original image.

  9. Any links to an article that shows how she vandalized the sign in his yard without committing trespass?
    Any chance for piling on; say she talked about it with someone else to create a conspiracy?
    With just a little research, we should be able to add enough federal charges to de-fund the entire college.

    1. You’re going to defund a university based on an alleged conspiracy to trespass?

      Sure… why would Nebraska need anyone with a university education for anything?

      (Hint: If you really want to punish the people of Nebraska for harboring such a hardened criminal, sanction the football team.)

  10. Ye gods, the cops actually investigated this? That’s nuts. It is good to know that this was the work of a serial vandal, because serial vandalism actually is a bit a serious matter. But that hardly could have been known in advance, and it’s ridiculous they expended the resources on the long-shot possibility of it actually going anywhere. (Wish I had some idea how you discourage vandals other than by investigating very stupid stuff like this and rarely getting lucky, tho.)

    1. The way to discourage vandals is to be a Congressman with influence in the police department.

      Though I don’t get the sense professor Mensa here was particularly careful in covering her tracks.

      1. …a Congressman looking out for his own personal interests, not the generalized concern vandalism presents. That’s just justice for the powerful, not equal justice under law.

        1. Oh, you think the prof only targets the “powerful” for crimes? Doesn’t key cars when he dislikes the way they’re parked, maybe?

          Strikes me as unlikely. This guy is probably a one man crime wave.

          1. The guy is definitely not a one-man crime wave.
            Anyone who read the article knows the suspect is… not a guy.

          2. No, what I mean is this vandalism was investigated only because the victim was powerful. Some rando in the district with the same sign, same vandalism would not get an investigation.

    2. “Wish I had some idea how you discourage vandals”

      I believe the traditional method is to hide in the bushes and spray them with a garden hose when they show up.

      1. Motion activated sprinkler.

        1. All your Amazon Prime packages get wet, and your gas bill goes way up because the guy who reads the gas meter starts making huge errors because “he was rushed while reading the meter”.

        2. The anti-graffiti wall from The Naked Gun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqIHlnfGKV0

          1. Send Nordberg out for guard duty, as soon as he gets back from Detroit (joke meaningful to people who remember TNG 2 1/2)

            1. Love those movies, absolute gems.

              1. All three were on Showtime last month during a free preview weekend.

    3. Yeah, I was the victim of a burglary a few years ago (house broken into and several hundred dollars ‘ worth of stuff taken) and when I explained to the responding police officers that I hadn’t touched anything so as to preserve the scene for fingerprinting, they looked at me like I was crazy and told me they don’t do any fingerprinting or other forensics work on non-felony cases, so the idea of running fingerprints for damage to a single campaign sign is rather jaw-dropping.

      1. The nearby major metropolitan center had a couple of years where they wouldn’t even send a cop out for a car prowl.

      2. We once had our car prowled while climbing at Vedauwoo, which is several miles outside Laramie, WY (also a college town, FWIW). We happened to be headed through Laramie and on impulse stopped by the sheriff’s dept. to let them know, not expecting any response. It must have been a slow day – they brought out the fingerprint kit, sent a car out to the scene of the crime (read that in Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ voice!) to take plaster casts of the tires and etc, etc. It was fun to watch. So you never know.

        (I’ve also been burgled a couple of times, had a car stolen, etc in the big city, and got the same reaction you did; I agree that’s the norm)

  11. I find the university’s stand about “should not impose sanctions to duplicate the functions…” a little odd.

    Certainly, isolated incidents can be overlooked; however, if the prof. is indeed guilty of vandalism – and it has to be noted that she said she didn’t do it – then there is a pattern of criminal activity which the university has to address.

    1. No. There is a pattern of criminal activity which the police and the courts have to address. The university has to deal with issues that are a violation of academic rules (plagiarism, for example, or falsifying research) but not illegal.

      1. That’s bullshit. America’s universities and colleges have taken it upon themselves to address ALL KINDS of crime, from minor stuff like graffiti, to underage drinking, weapons possession, theft, and up to including rape.

        Where have you been, that you have missed this?

        1. “Where have you been, that you have missed this?”

          Working at a college. My daughter was at the big state university.

          I don’t recall my employer doing any of the things you mention, except for the graffiti, which was occurring on the college’s property. But then, apparently I just missed it. The State university took an interest in underage drinking… at university-sponsored events, and in university housing. She showed me the brochure that constituted the entirety of the university’s interaction with her on this topic. Guess she missed it, too.

          1. You are being deliberately obtuse. To say you work at a university and are unaware of schools’ handling of weapons issues, rape, etc., is ludicrous.

            It’s been all over the news for the last 10 years.

            1. “You are being deliberately obtuse. To say you work at a university”

              Who’s being obtuse? I didn’t say I worked at a university.

              1. “Working at a college. My daughter was at the big state university.”

                O.K., college. Is that difference significant?

                1. Not if you don’t know the difference, as seems is the case for you.

                  1. That’s what you’re going to hang your hat on? Along with “I didn’t see it nor did my daughter?”

                    Remind me what the plural of anecdote is again, assuming you get the reference.

                    1. “That’s what you’re going to hang your hat on?”

                      Yeah.

                      The claim was “X is everywhere”.

                      The rebuttal was “Here is at least one place where X is not”

                      The counter-rebuttal was “how would you know?”

                      The response to that was “it’s my job”

                      Now you’ve shown up, and showed you either didn’t read or didn’t understand what came before.

    2. No. There is a pattern of criminal activity which the police and the courts have to address. The university has to deal with issues that are a violation of academic rules (plagiarism, for example, or falsifying research) but not illegal.

  12. Too bad that we don’t get around to calling it “censorship” until literally the very last word.

    1. Too bad we are so selective in our outrage.

  13. This person should be dismissed from the college for behavior unbecoming a faculty member.

    1. behavior unbecoming

      Guys, I just discovered norms are super important!
      *eye-roll*

      1. She has a history of breaking the law, in her repeated acts of political vandalism. That’s O.K.?

        1. That’s between her and her local police department and county prosecutor.

          If she pays her restitution, that’s O.K. 100%.

          1. Where do you get “restitution” from? Have you decided that that’s her punishment, for a case that hasn’t been adjudicated yet?

            “Lincoln Police cited a University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor for vandalizing Senator Deb Fischer’s office and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s political signs in October.

            According to Lincoln Police, on Tuesday, Patricia Wonch Hill was cited for three counts of vandalism for incidents that took place on Oct. 21.”

            I think it may be appropriate for her employer to take action based on her criminal conduct. There is plenty of precedent for that.

            It’s amazing that you can be so certain that one’s public life and career, in a public university can be so separate, and that you can be so certain of what her punishment will be.

            1. “Where do you get ‘restitution’ from?”

              You get restitution from people who have wronged you.

          2. By the way, her crime, though she hasn’t been confronted with it (yet) is not so much the destruction or damage of private property, i.e., the sign, but the interference with a political candidate’s speech.

            In Lincoln, Nebraska: “Vandalism is a city misdemeanor, with a possible penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.” She’s facing three counts for this most recent incident. The fact that she has a record for the same behavior won’t help her.

            Nowhere could I find any mention of restitution regarding a remedy for this conduct.

            1. “By the way, her crime, though she hasn’t been confronted with it (yet) is not so much the destruction or damage of private property, i.e., the sign, but the interference with a political candidate’s speech.”

              It’s not illegal to “interfere with a political candidate’s speech” by offering your own speech, whether in the form of offering a sincere rebuttal or childish mocking. Are you at all familiar with the Constitution?

              So, you are arguing that she is guilty of no crime. Was that your intention? I don’t get the sense that it was.

  14. The university, admirably, has emphasized that it takes no notice of such “a personal legal matter.”

    What if instead of googly eyes, she had drawn a swastika? Would the university take the same position? Would you still consider it admirable?

    1. “What if instead of googly eyes, she had drawn a swastika?”

      Then she would have defaced a yard sign worth about $5, and should be ordered to pay restitution in that amount.

      ” Would the university take the same position?”

      Yeah, I expect they would.

      ” Would you still consider it admirable?”

      You seem to be confusing “trivial” with “admirable”.

      Tell you what. Suppose as this next election cycle rolls around, I go to one of the campaign organizations, and I pay for a yard sign. Is it OK for me to put googly eyes on it? or, since you seem to prefer swastikas, if I draw some of those on it? How about if, instead of sending it to be recycled after the election I set fire to it and stomp on the ashes to make sure the fire doesn’t spread. Any of those things that make me unfit to teach in a post-secondary school? (I hope you said no).

      Which leaves us with the actual crime (if there was one)… did the actual yard sign get stolen before it got altered? If so, restitution for the actual value of one political yard sign is due.

      Done.

      1. Are you saying that Patricia Wonch Hill defaced a campaign sign that she had purchased or was otherwise in her possession, and her property, and that she defaced it and displayed it on her own property?

        1. “Are you saying that Patricia Wonch Hill defaced a campaign sign that she had purchased or was otherwise in her possession, and her property, and that she defaced it and displayed it on her own property?”

          No. You can tell this because none of my words are even close to saying this. Is English not your first language?

          1. First off, there’s no need to insult me, I was just asking. I asked because you said “Suppose as this next election cycle rolls around, I go to one of the campaign organizations, and I pay for a yard sign. Is it OK for me to put googly eyes on it?” I assumed you were drawing a parallel to the case, but in your parallel, you own the sign. See? So your words did say this, indirectly.

            1. “First off, there’s no need to insult me, I was just asking.”

              A dumb question, which is not supported by anything I actually wrote.

              “So your words did say this, indirectly.”

              No, they still don’t.

          2. Why do you have to be such an internet tough guy? Your comments here, and on other blog posts, are often characterized by you insulting people, supposedly to make your point, and making some declaration at the end, like “done,” or some other vague assertion of authority. Why don’t you just try to make your point, share your view, ask a question, express an opinion?

            (I confess I resort to insults at times, but only in retaliation or self defense.)

            1. “Why do you have to be such an internet tough guy?”

              You have GOT to be kidding.

              ” Your comments here, and on other blog posts, are often characterized by you insulting people”

              I suffer neither fools nor trolls gladly. Nor at all, really. If you don’t like being treated like a fool or a troll, do a better job of avoiding sounding like one or both.

              1. I suffer neither fools nor trolls gladly.

                An odd belief for someone who is both. Some people never grow out of their fantasies.

                1. Let me know when you do.

  15. When I was in HS, there was an election in which “Elect Adcock for Sheriff” signs were everywhere.
    Guess what some of my friends did…?

    1. Changed the “c” to an “r” in homage to the Beastie Boys?

  16. Professors seem to have themselves a pretty sweet gig. If Patricia Wonch Hill was a walk-on (let’s not pretend her childish behavior would get a starter kicked off the team) on the Nebraska football team, would she still be on the team after these incidents? Or would the University decide that it was okay to impose sanctions that duplicate those of the civil government?

    1. “Professors seem to have themselves a pretty sweet gig”

      They get put on the “publish or perish” treadmill, pretty much for life. This can be pretty stressful. I mean, it’s not the same kind of thing as “shout over everybody or lose your timeslot” for TV talking heads, but it’s been known to push people into some pretty obvious desperation, from time to time. YMMV.

  17. Defacing political signs is funny and just silly antics….when it happens to a Republican.

    Stealing political yard signs, even when orchestrated by the local Dem committee, is hilarious….when it happens to Trump.

    Assaulting someone wearing a political slogan on a hat or shirt is knee slapping hilarious….when it happens to “some dumb rube” who wears MAGA attire.

    Hate crime hoaxes are just fine because they illustrate the larger problem which is rising hate crimes in general…when it fits into the liberal identity politics narrative.

    Prosecuting people who lie about rapes, vandalize private property, and commit assaults because of political differences is silly and a waste of prosecutors…when it happens to the right.

    BUT if any of the above happens to a democrat, especially a woman or minority, fire up the outrage machine, get the national news on alert, and send out the identity politics lynch mob to find the perp.

    1. “Defacing political signs is funny and just silly antics….when it happens to a Republican.”

      It’s dumb and childish, when it happens. End of sentence.
      It’s also trivial when it happens to one sign. End of sentence.

      “Hate crime hoaxes are just fine because they illustrate the larger problem which is rising hate crimes in general”

      Hate crime hoaxers are objectionable because they trivialize the suffering of actual victims, waste the time of law enforcement (and, to a lesser extent, other citizens), and, when individuals are named as the offenders, disrupts their lives.

      “BUT if any of the above happens to a democrat, especially a woman or minority, fire up the outrage machine, get the national news on alert, and send out the identity politics lynch mob to find the perp.”

      You’re not putting enough foil under your MAGA hat. Your secret fantasies are leaking out.

      1. I wonder if Potluck, Sarcastrated, and Cuckland have weekly meetings just to make to validate their confirmation bias…

        1. Look up confirmation bias sometimes. You’re the one soaking in it.

          Dismissing anecdotes as not statistical proof is in fact a way to avoid confirmation bias.

          1. You are such a sanctimonious douchebag. Your head is so far up your own ass you wouldn’t be able to recognize confirmation bias if it was standing right in front of you smiling.

            1. I get I piss you off something special, jph, but as I’ve painfully learned on this blog, smugness you see in people commenting on Internet forums is more about you than about the commenter.

              That’s why I don’t call people smug anymore.

        2. “I wonder if Potluck, Sarcastrated, and Cuckland have weekly meetings just to make to validate their confirmation bias…”

          I said you needed more foil, not less. Your fantasies keep leaking out all over the Internet.

    2. “BUT if any of the above happens to a democrat, especially a woman or minority, fire up the outrage machine, get the national news on alert, and send out the identity politics lynch mob to find the perp.”

      That is absolutely correct.

      1. What is sad is that it took a huge press by the national conservative base to get Berkley to actually attempt to prosecute the guy who was filmed committing felony level assault against a man who was simply passing out political literature.

        Again, had this been a left winger, especially woman or minority, it would have been all over the national news with every left wing pundit declaring it was Trump’s fault for “inciting violence” and “hate”.

  18. It is not hard to imagine how such a power could be used against the small minority of professors who hail from the political right.

    This is not a compelling argument since administrators already persecute the small minority of right professors whether they have this justification or not.

    1. Yes, yes. Poor persecuted white Christian conservative menfolk. Their life in America is pure hell.

      1. This is the sad fallback of those who support discrimination: it’s fine to discriminate against people we hate. At least you stopped lying about it.

        1. “This is the sad fallback of those who support discrimination:”

          No, “Nuh, uh, YOU are!” and “But THEY do it, too!” are the sad fallbacks of those who support discrimination.

          1. Many of us don’t find it difficult to oppose all discrimination. Revealingly your comment only applies to people like yourself who want to pretend some discrimination is awful and other discrimination is admirable.

            1. I don’t treat imaginary and real discrimination the same, no.

              1. That’s an accurate summation of reality as long as everyone understands that to you “imaginary” means “discrimination I support”.

                Academia has been discriminating for decades and now is making it even more obvious through the use of loyalty oaths. They think their dominance is now so complete it can never be reversed so the expedience of openness is more valuable than protecting itself with implausible deniability. It sucks for those of you who have spent their careers defending the the left’s discrimination by attacking its critics people since you are now exposed as completely without principles. But you knew that was the end game right? And you volunteered to play this role understanding it was worth the cost?

      2. Sarcastr0|3.1.19 @ 4:40AM|#

        An ability to censor professor statements and curb their conduct will not harm our society; it will significantly improve it.

        Thinking rights violations are cool because they’ll only happen to your enemies means you don’t actually care about rights at all.

        1. Which of your arguments is the one that describes what I should do when people who aren’t even vaguely persecuted whine about how persecuted they are?

          1. If you think workplace discrimination is no big deal why not make that claim forthrightly? I’m fine with this remaining a core difference between us.

            1. If you want to argue with someone about workplace discrimination, why not find someone who has said something that actually relates to workplace discrimination?

              1. If you want to argue with someone about workplace discrimination, why not find someone who has said something that actually relates to workplace discrimination?

                Here’s your comment pretending workplace discrimination is just about choices:
                ________________
                James Pollock|3.1.19 @ 1:30PM|#

                Conservatives, as a bunch, don’t tend to be attracted to careers in academia. They make more money and find more satisfaction in other career fields.

                Communists (the real kind, I mean) don’t tend to pursue careers in business management and finance, either.
                ________________

                But I agree pretending you didn’t say what you’ve said is your best position at this point. It’s not like your actual positions are defensible.

  19. Her sentence should include having to watch the “I just do eyes” scene from Blade Runner.

  20. The other thing to not overlook here, other than the fact that there is an egregious double standard when it comes to criminal acts and politics, is that if this person worked for any other entity other than a university, they probably would have been fired for committing such criminal acts.

    I could see a private employer perhaps dismissing the first criminal act to which she plead guilty. But, a second one and I think almost all would have fired that employee by now. Only at the modern university are we expected to keep criminals employed, especially criminals who seek to trounce on the constitutional rights of others.

    1. I agree with Jimmy the Dane re: the egregious double-standard. Had this been the case of a conservative professor/vandal, and a leftist politician, the professor/vandal would have been summarily fired and hung by his/her toenails with the blessing of many other oh-so woke conservatives.

      1. If only there were any examples of defaced campaign signs committed by anyone on that side of the aisle, who of course would never stoop to such idiocy.

        What this is mostly is a case of abuse of power, by the dude who wanted the person who dared mock him tracked down, AND had the power to get it done.

  21. My favorite related anecdote is from the Trump campaign. There had been a rash of vandalism and theft of Trump campaign signs on private property, usually lawns. One guy put a huge Trump sign on his front lawn, with a metal-pipe framework, and wired it to an electric fence transformer. He had a deer hunter’s trail camera trained on this, and one night got video of his Democrat, Clinton-supporting neighbor getting the shit shocked out of her as she tried to steal the sign. Priceless.

    It’s interesting that there were zero reports in the press of Clinton signs being stolen or vandalized. I know that’s anecdotal, I have conducted a scientific study into this, but you can bet if there was a rash of Clinton sign incidents, it would have shown up in the press.

    Political sign stealing and vandalizing seem to be tools of the left.

    1. Most tools of political censorship belong to the Left:

      Violence. Check.

      Property crimes. Check.

      “Deplatforming”. Check.

      Fake news. Check.

      Lynch mob mentality. Check.

      Heckler’s veto. Check.

      Speech codes. Check.

      Did I miss any?

    2. It is not anecdotal. Just search youtube and see the vast number of home surveillance videos of Trump yard sign theft. My neighbor had three stolen over the course of a week. He ended up sitting outside (in freezing cold weather) with his garden hose and soaked the vandals when they tried to make off with his sign. The police later found them (without the sign) and they said they were dripping wet because they went “swimming”. Obviously the police did not buy it and cited them both for disorderly conduct.

    3. “It’s interesting that there were zero reports in the press of Clinton signs being stolen or vandalized. I know that’s anecdotal,”

      Kind of undercuts the narrative established up above that if anything like this happened to a candidate on the left, it would be trumpeted through the national news and the Internet lynch mobs would have done their best to drive the offender(s) into seclusion.

      “you can bet if there was a rash of Clinton sign incidents, it would have shown up in the press.”

      You’d have lost that bet, by your own observation.

      “Political sign stealing and vandalizing seem to be tools of the left.”

      Alternatively, the pols on the left didn’t abuse their positions of power to pursue trivial shit. THIS story didn’t get any national press until Rep. Fortenberry’s staff started making demands about it.

      1. Obviously logic is not one of Potluck’s strong suits.

        Perhaps the reason there was not a lot of publicity around the theft of Hilary signs is because there simply wasn’t a problem with the theft of said signs.

        And as far as seeing the law enforced, I am glad that you think demanding the police do their job and investigate a crime is “trivial shit”. Pretty sure you wouldn’t say the same thing if it supported your narrative.

        1. “Perhaps the reason there was not a lot of publicity around the theft of Hilary signs is because there simply wasn’t a problem with the theft of said signs.”

          And perhaps water runs uphill.

          ” Pretty sure you wouldn’t say the same thing if it supported your narrative.”

          You got this one wrong, too. Wait. What’s “my narrative”, and how would theft of a yard sign change to somehow support it?

  22. If Potbelly, Cuckland, and Sarcastrated need any more evidence that political acts are treated with a blatant double standard just look at the news this morning.

    Arrest made in Berkley felony level assault that had the perp recorded committing the crime. National press about this arrest? Crickets.

    A poster with a picture of a muslim congresswoman and the two towers magically appears in the WV state house. National press about this? All over the place. Who put it up? No one seems to know. Smells like a communist agitator is at work here.

  23. Who here thinks Patricia Wonch Hill, a University of Nebraska sociology professor, confines her fascist activities to destroying the signs of candidates she doesn’t like?

    Sorry, but vandalism should not be protected by “academic freedom.” Because defacing / destroying opposition signs, which is to say trying to destroy free public discourse to advance your political agenda, is the diametric opposite of anything any academic should be involved in.

    Fire her, and fire any academic he acts at all like her. As well as expelling any “students” who do the same.

    It’s “freedom of speech”, not “freedom of action.” Shouting down ideas you disagree with is not freedom of speech, any more than slugging someone in the face is “freedom of movement”.

  24. “It is not hard to imagine how such a power could be used against the small minority of professors who hail from the political right.”
    Well, if this is your main concern, let me reassure you. If she had vandalized a Democrat politician’s office, she would have been fired already. University administrators know on which side their bread is buttered.
    If they dislike you for whatever reason, they can make your life miserable and get you fired in a hundred different ways, for breaking rules you didn’t even know existed. Besides, in collaboration with activist students, they can make it impossible for you to teach your course or come to campus, regardless of what official regulations say.
    So relax, there is no reason to refrain from trying to get this left-wing professor fired.

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