Free Speech

Michigan State University VP of Research Ousted Because of His Past Scientific Statements

He remains a tenured faculty member.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From the Lansing State Journal (Mark Johnson):

Michigan State University's senior vice president of research and innovation Stephen Hsu resigned his post effective July 1 following calls for his removal over controversial statements….

The announcement comes after the Graduate Employees Union called for MSU to remove Hsu after statements he made about work by other researchers on intelligence and genetics and prior comments he made which the union members consider sexist and racist. [See here for the Union's criticisms. -EV]

"I believe this is what is best for our university to continue our progress forward," [MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr.] said, in the press release. "The exchange of ideas is essential to higher education, and I fully support our faculty and their academic freedom to address the most difficult and controversial issues. But when senior administrators at MSU choose to speak out on any issue, they are viewed as speaking for the university as a whole. Their statements should not leave any room for doubt about their, or our, commitment to the success of faculty, staff and students." …

Hsu responded on his blog:

President Stanley asked me this afternoon for my resignation. I do not agree with his decision, as serious issues of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Inquiry are at stake. I fear for the reputation of Michigan State University.

However, as I serve at the pleasure of the President, I have agreed to resign. I look forward to rejoining the ranks of the faculty here.

It has been a great honor working with colleagues in the administration at MSU through some rather tumultuous times.

To my team in SVPRI, we can be proud of what we accomplished for this university in the last 8 years. It is a much better university than the one I joined in 2012.

I want to thank all the individuals who signed our petition and who submitted letters of support. The fight to defend Academic Freedom on campus is only beginning.

He had earlier put up a detailed post on his blog arguing that his past statements were neither racist nor sexist, but serious discussions of research:

The Twitter mobs want to suppress scientific work that they find objectionable. What is really at stake: academic freedom, open discussion of important ideas, scientific inquiry. All are imperiled and all must be defended….

do not endorse claims of genetic group differences. In fact I urge great caution in this area.

The tweets also criticize two podcasts I recorded with my co-host Corey Washington: a discussion with a prominent MSU Psychology professor who studies police shootings (this discussion has elicited a strong response due to the tragic death of George Floyd), and with Claude Steele, a renowned African American researcher who discovered Stereotype Threat and has been Provost at Columbia and Berkeley. The conversation with Steele is a nuanced discussion of race, discrimination, and education in America.

The blog posts under attack, dating back over a decade, are almost all discussions of published scientific papers by leading scholars in Psychology, Neuroscience, Genomics, Machine Learning, and other fields. The papers are published in journals like Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, a detailed reading is required to judge the research and related inferences. I maintain that all the work described is well-motivated and potentially important. Certainly worthy of a blog post. (I have written several thousand blog posts; apparently these are the most objectionable out of those thousands!) …

This paper, from 2008, discusses early capability to ascertain ancestry from gene sequence. The topic was highly controversial in 2008 (subject to political attack, because it suggested there could be a genetic basis for "race"), but the science is correct. It is now common for people to investigate their heritage using DNA samples (23andMe, Ancestry) using exactly these methods. This case provides a perfect example of science that faced suppression for political reasons, but has since been developed for many useful applications….

Regarding my work as Vice President for Research, the numbers speak for themselves. MSU went from roughly $500M in annual research expenditures to about $700M during my tenure. We have often been ranked #1 in the Big Ten for research growth. I participated in the recruitment of numerous prominent female and minority professors, in fields like Precision Medicine, Genomics, Chemistry, and many others. Until this Twitter attack there has been not even a single allegation (over 8 years) of bias or discrimination on my part in promotion and tenure or faculty recruitment. These are two activities at the heart of the modern research university, involving hundreds of individuals each year.

Academics and Scientists must not submit to mob rule.

There's a letter of support for Prof. Hsu signed by many academics (the academics' signatures are set in bold), though I think it speaks more to the general issue of free academic inquiry and not to the specific facts of this case—precisely because there are so many signers, it seems unlikely that most of them have looked closely at all the facts. On the other hand, the signature of Harvard's Prof. Steven Pinker (a leading cognitive psychologist) on the letter counts for a good deal, I think.

I should say that, while academic freedom generally protects faculty members from being fired from their faculty jobs based on their viewpoints, the rules with regard to removal from administrative positions are different. (Compare Jeffries v. Harleston (2d Cir. 1995) with Levin v. Harleston (2d Cir. 1992).) Administrators are politicians of a sort (even when their focus is on promoting faculty research), and questions about how various constituencies perceive them are more legitimately considered than for faculty; and Prof. Hsu remains a tenured faculty member, free to engage in his research and in his public commentary. This is why the facts of what he said are indeed important.

But as best I can tell, what he said was indeed serious commentary on serious academic questions, which university professors (whether or not they also have administrative roles) are right to seriously discuss. Indeed, even if you firmly believe that there are no meaningful genetic group differences as to intelligence or temperament (as Hsu says is his view), and that the scientific consensus supports your views, you can't have any confidence in that scientific consensus unless all sides of the debate are freely aired and discussed: It's precisely the fact that a scientific consensus endures in the face of disagreement that gives us reason to trust it. (For more on this, see this 2010 post.)

Whether there are race- or sex-based differences in intelligence, temperament, and the like is a scientific question, not a logical question or theological question. It can't be resolved by abstract theory, and it shouldn't be resolved as an article of faith. It needs to be seriously discussed, in light of the constantly developing research in the area (which surely is still in its infancy, given how much we are only now learning, and have yet to learn, about the human genome and about cognitive science). This MSU incident is likely to just further interfere with such serious discussions.

Thanks to Legal Insurrection (Mike LaChance) for the pointer.

NEXT: How Foot Voting Promotes Political Freedom Better than Ballot Box Voting

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  1. The Left knows the gaping hole in their “Everything-Is-A-Social-Construct-Except-Homosexuality(TM)” argument and strives to use censorship to make sure it is never brought out into the mainstream. It also makes useful bombast in the “war against science” the Left uses to try to deflect their censorship in this area. This is just another example of the tactics used in their war against truth.

    1. Jimmy, it isn’t even that — the problem is that there are more poor Whites than there *are* Blacks. The NAACP itself pointed that out in the ’90’s, stating that the majority of people on Welfare are White, which is true.

      Affirmative Retribution serves to exclude poor White males at the expense of women & minorities. They can only justify this under the belief that intellectual ability is equal amongst all persons — and that flies in the face of the fact that other abilities aren’t.

      And perhaps there is some correspondence to race — I haven’t seen anyone demanding that slots on the university football or basketball team be assigned on the basis of anything but ability.

      But that union likely would be in serious trouble if graduate assistantships were assigned on the basis of ability.

  2. This is why we need to slash Federal funding of the Ivory Gulag. Crap like this only happens in an environment where there aren’t economic consequences for firing someone who increased research from $500M to $700M — an environment where there aren’t consequences for foolishness.

    And what will the radicals do if (when?) we find out that there is a genetic vulnerability to the Wuhan Flu? That they ARE more likely to get it, and that it has nothing to do with racism…

    1. Are ‘radicals’ more likely to get the ‘Wuhan flu’ or are you saying ‘radicals’=a certain genetic type?

      1. No that was a complex sentence — what will the radicals (of all races) do IF we find out that certain genetic types (i.e. races) are more likely to both catch it and to die from it?

        We don’t know the latter yet as we haven’t yet ruled other variables, but, in Massachusetts, “the age-adjusted death rate for blacks was highest at 161.4 per 100,000 black residents. For Hispanics, it was 132.8 per 100,000. Whites and Asians were much lower, at 75.3 per 100,000 and 65.6 per 100,000.”

        IF someone who is Black is twice as likely to die for no other reason than race, what do we do? Can we tell them that?

        1. “IF someone who is Black is twice as likely to die for no other reason than race, what do we do? Can we tell them that?”

          That COVID death rates are higher for blacks rather than whites does not show that blacks are “twice as likely to die for no other reason than race”. Do you know what correlation is? Confounding factors? Common causes? Is this about your conspiracy theory that COVID was invented to target specific races? Do you have any reason to think that the genes that select for skin pigmentation have anything at all to do with susceptibility to COVID complications?

          As to “[c]an we tell them” about the correlation? Of course. It’s published all the time. How else would you have found it?

          1. I know what “correlation” is — do you know what the word “if” means?

            “Do you have any reason to think that the genes that select for skin pigmentation have anything at all to do with susceptibility to COVID complications?”

            I know that those who have those genes also have genes that make them susceptible to Sickle Cell Anemia — I don’t want to go beyond that into gene splicing of living humans. And it is possible that there a causal relationship rather than a mere correlation.

            1. “I know that those who have those genes also have genes that make them susceptible to Sickle Cell Anemia…”

              Some (but not all) groups of black people have higher prevalence of the genes that cause sickle cell anemia. Populations from India and the Arabian peninsula also have higher prevalence of those genes. It has nothing to do with skin pigmentation, it has to do with the geography of mosquitoes. Heterozygotic carriers of the HBB gene (responsible for sickle cell disease) typically lead normal, happy lives, although if they mate with another heterozygotic carrier, 1 in 4 of their offspring will be homozygotic, will suffer from sickle cell disease, and have very poor life outcomes. Malaria, for whatever reason, doesn’t feed very well on heterozygotic carriers of HBB. And so in places where mosquitoes carry a lot of malaria that kills a lot of people, the heterozygotic carriers do better than non-carriers. If the death rate from malaria in a region exceeds a certain threshold, the population will adapt towards being carriers. The math is too simple but: If more than 1 in 4 non-HBB-carriers die from malaria in a region, but only about 1 in 4 people born from carriers die of sickle cell disease, the population will be fitter with a higher percentage of people carrying HBB.

              Since not all black populations evolved from places with high malaria risks, not all black ancestral populations have an above-normal chance of carrying HBB. And when you remove populations from the places with malaria (as was the case with black people being taken from West Africa and put in North America) the prevalence of HBB carriers goes down, as it is selected against. But that’s a slow process.

              If you don’t understand the cause, you shouldn’t throw out correlations as indicative of it, unless you have a causal theory. The genes that select for skin pigmentation operate, so far as I can tell, totally independently of the genes for general intelligence, HBB, etc. Until you link some genetic cause or interaction between a skin pigmentation gene and some other gene, all you’re looking at is correlation.

          2. That COVID death rates are higher for blacks rather than whites does not show that blacks are “twice as likely to die for no other reason than race”. Do you know what correlation is?

            Do you know what reading for comprehension is? If so, did you just completely skip over…

            IF</b? we find out

            ….and…

            We don’t know the latter yet as we haven’t yet ruled other variables

            …and…

            IF someone who is Black

            …?

              1. I’ll take that as a “no”.

  3. Say there are group differences between sex, race, and ethnicity. These differences would make no difference to the traditional liberal view of justice and ethics. Maybe those having problems with the idea of group differences aren’t sufficiently dedicated to the idea of liberalism.

    1. 15 years ago, Larry Summers merely suggested that men and women (as a group) may have differences in how they wish to spend their time — and got run out of Cambridge (Harvard) by a lynch mob.

      Academia is run by leftists, not liberals — they are fascists who believe in the collective and uniformity of thought, not liberals who believe in individualism and the right of others to be wrong.

      1. It appears to me the underlying ideology of leftists is “might makes right”, and is more of a reflection of the struggle for political power; realpolitik.

        1. It’s both.

          First, these are ambitious graduate students entering a field where there are few tenure-track jobs, and personal power benefits one immensely. From finding funding for you to finding you your first faculty slot, administrators who fear you will be very helpful to you, incredibly helpful to you — it really is a micro form of terrorism.

          Second, there is an almost pathological fear of diversity — they can’t deal with the fact that people may think differently than they do. It’s not even the fascist intolerance for differing viewpoints but a true fear that these views are inherently dangerous. Dangerous like someone playing with a flare gun in a tank farm (where thousands upon thousands of gallons of gasoline is stored).

          That’s why they so freaked out over the “It’s OK to be White” fliers a while back — they viewed it literally as throwing matches into gasoline — they believed that the mere expression of that would bring hordes of violent racists out of the woodwork. Mere pieces of paper would somehow do that….

          The scary thing is that they really believe this.

          1. The other thing is that a lot of them honestly believe that every White male would murder them if he could somehow get away with it.

            It’s pathological paranoia.

            1. Is there anyone in particular to whom you can point?

              1. Most of the activists I dealt with at umASS.

      2. Are you unaware of the definition of what a ‘lynch’ mob is, or are you trying to engage in propagandist hyperbole?

        1. Look up the history of where the term came from and who “Lynch” was. While you are at it, look up what a “Committee of Public Safety” was.

          I very much know what a “Lynch Mob” was — my fanily had to flee into the wilderness to avoid one back in the 1770’s.

    2. Well, it may or may not be ‘settled science’ (the greatest of all oxymorons), but it is now settled law that there are no differences between men (both the male and female men) and women (both the female and male women).

  4. Lysenkoism, redux…

  5. “However, as I serve at the pleasure of the President, I have agreed to resign. I look forward to rejoining the ranks of the faculty here.”

    Why do people in these circumstances “agree to resign” instead of making the President fire them? It seems like it complicates the academic freedom issue.

    1. It may have something to do with his “rejoining” a faculty he never was a member of.

      Law schools may be different, but most of the upper admin positions come with a tenured faculty slot in whatever the person’s academic field was. If you look carefully at the full title of upper acad admins, it usually ends with “and [something] professor of [something].”

      So he probably is a [something] professor of physics — which means that if he’s a good boy and doesn’t make the President fire him, he gets to go to the physics department and they get a line item to fund him. Usually he’ll get a sabbatical and then come back to teach one course in whatever he wants to teach, regardless of if the department or university needs it.

      I know of one former Campus President who taught a course in the spirituality of physics (I am not making this up…). Conversely, if you fight bring fired — well, I’m restricted as to what I can say, but I know of another Campus President who *didn’t* return to the faculty but instead was teaching at Ohio State the next fall.

      I don’t think I need to tell lawyers that a lot has to do with his contract — these are often quite complicated documents that can even include ownership of IP and provisions for termination. None of us know what is in his contract.

      And anyway — wording it like he did, he did essentially make the president fire him…

      1. I agree with the sentiment here, though: Until the targets of these attacks refuse to resign, and make a big stink about their firing, they’re basically cost free.

        1. Like the negotiated exit of Bret Weinstein from Evergreen State.

    2. Because even if they can’t fire him from his tenured position, they can still ostracize and otherwise harass him.

      1. No. Administrators don’t have tenure qua administrators — that’s the why they have associated professor title.

        Top administrators have a contract — often for three years with an automatic one-year extension if notice of nonrenewal is not given by a certain date. Much like with a sports coach, you can extend a contract before it expires if you like the person, or buy him out if you wish to fire him, and all of this is explicitly detailed in the contract.

        There is no financial “buyout” here because he will still be paid — likely the same amount as he was before, which often is a great deal more than a mere professor, and faculty often resent that.
        And as he was a subsidiary administrator, he had no tenure at all, serving at the pleasure of a president with a termed contract.

        As an aside, this applies to campus police chiefs too — except that they don’t have the faculty slot, they get fired outright. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  6. You choose to be a “public scholar,” potentially obtaining the benefits of name recognition, then, shocker, you’re going to have to deal with the fickleness of the public. If you want a scholarly dialogue then stick to academic journals and private correspondence with colleagues; write publicly under a pseudonym; or try esoteric writing, like great thinkers have been doing for centuries in books that continue to be read today.

    Persecution for thought isn’t some new phenomenon. For people who are uniquely trained to identify causal relationships, they appear utterly incapable of recognizing and adapting to this particular causal relationship.

    1. So it’s his fault for saying anything? He should have kept his thoughts quiet?

      Thanks for proving the point of the professor’s post.

    2. You choose to be a “public scholar,” potentially obtaining the benefits of name recognition, then, shocker, you’re going to have to deal with the fickleness of the public.

      In lots of other contexts these days, we tend to call this “victim blaming” and expect society to conduct itself with a certain level of basic decorum regardless of the choices of the victim. But there does seem to be a very generous carve-out for certain issues and viewpoints.

    3. Persecution for thought isn’t some new phenomenon.

      But perhaps the persecutors should be forced to make public the actual rules and standards under which they are operating.

    4. “If you want a scholarly dialogue then stick to academic journals and private correspondence with colleagues…”

      First of all, he can get in trouble for what he publishes in academic journals. We need scientific writing to be more, not less, clear, so encouraging academics to hide things the public would be mad about in dense journals is a horrible idea.

      Second, why would anyone assume their private correspondence would remain private?

      Third, is there some magic wall that exists preventing “scholarly dialogue” from taking place on a blog?

    5. Persecution for thought isn’t some new phenomenon.

      Bravo. It’s not often you hear the pro-Persecution point of view. Kudos on being refreshingly honest.

  7. Don’t forget the guilt-by-association of interviewing Stefan Molyneux.

  8. If I remember correctly, Hsu is a physicist, with no apparent qualifications to opine on disputed issues of biology. The biologists I have heard from about this say his work is incompetent. Bad or not, he is free to wander into areas beyond his competence and keep his tenured position, which he retains to this day. He has no right to an administrative position if he wanders outside his competence and embarrasses his employer. If he had opined on whether William Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays, he would be just as unsuitable to serve as a VP for research.

    1. The fields of physics, chemistry, and biology increasingly overlap, much like the fields of education and psychology do.

      I can’t speak to his work, but this article does raise some other interesting questions. https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2020/06/11/2012-michigan-state-msu-stephen-hsu-bgi-vice-president-research-bgi/5342723002/

      1. Prof. Hsu also appears to be a Trumpian conspiracy theorist. Anyone know whether he is a birther?

        1. The birther issue is moot, although my draft registration has the postmark that the USPS was using at the time.

      2. What do you mean that physics, chemistry and biology increasingly overlap? Does that mean that there are no emergent properties that preclude a fact in chemistry being completely explained via the principles of physics? What you are saying reflects the increased quantification of chemistry and biology.

        1. So, there’s Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

          But there’s also biochemistry, chemical biology, biophysics, physical biology, chemical physics and of course physical chemistry.

          There’s more overlap between the fields than you would think. And with massive genomic data sets, often times the best people to analyze the data are physicists with training in AI and large data sets.

          1. Chemistry is just a subset of physics. Chemists make up some rules of chemistry to cover the physics they’re ignorant of.

            Biology is just a subset of chemistry.

            Human biology is just a subset of biology.

            Psychology is just a subset of human biology.

            Law is just a subset of psychology.

            Therefore lawyers are just extremely narrow, ignorant physicists.

            1. You forget. Physics is just a subset of math.

              Therefor lawyers are just very, very narrow mathematicians.

              1. Bonus points if you can show a mathematical proof to obtain John Robert’s latest DACA decision though.

            2. “Chemists make up some rules of chemistry to cover the physics they’re ignorant of.”

              Mostly physics which are too computationally expensive to actually solve, even the approximations require serious computational horsepower.

              1. You don’t need quantum understanding of metals to write accurate equations of the deformation of metals in a car accident.

                1. You would if you were going to try to do it on a new alloy without extensive testing to give you a bunch of empirical coefficients to plug into your model.

                  1. What indicates nothing except the fact that physics is an experimental science.
                    Newton’s gravitational constant is measured not deduced from axioms

                    1. The gravitational constant is a fundamental physical constant. The modulus of elasticity of an alloy, or how fast it work hardens as it’s deformed, is decidedly not.

                      And thus has to be determined experimentally for each new alloy, in precisely the way the gravitational constant doesn’t have to be.

                      In theory, everything you need to know about a new alloy could be derived from quantum physics. In practice, doing so would be so computationally intensive no existing computer could do the work in a human lifetime.

                      My point being that the fact that chemists do not typically directly solve their problems by applying quantum physics doesn’t represent ignorance on their part, it represents doing so being impossible at present as a practical matter. (Though quantum processors show some promise of changing that in the near future.)

          2. Any smart person should be free to ask questions. Any smart person should be free to ask questions based on incorrect assumptions. We can’t learn that we are wrong if we aren’t allowed to be wrong. It is not a sin to be wrong; it is a sin to refuse to look at information that challenges your views.

    2. “Hsu is a physicist, with no apparent qualifications to opine on disputed issues of biology”

      Except his peer reviewed publications dealing with massive genomic data sets and using them to predict heights of the individuals within an inch….

      To a certain extent, you don’t NEED to know biology with data sets like these. Feed in a few hundred thousands individual genomic datasets, with key outcome parameters (Height, bone density, propensity towards certain diseases). Set up a computer program to pick out the specific genetic markers that correspond to the desired attribute (call it height). Then use the results to predict the height of a future individual with a unique genome.

    3. Spoken by someone who has no idea how scientists actually work.
      It’s only non-academics who think that ‘the right qualifications’ are essential for a rational discussion of scientific work.

    4. Which biologists have you heard from? If we’re going to get into the credentialing of Hsu, maybe we can do the same for the people you spoke to.

  9. Isn’t it grand how the Left is proving in every way to be the boogeyman dangerous religion it always warned about including the every popular suppression of science?

  10. A brief assessment of Hsu’s politics indicates he appeases, if not embraces, bigotry. That does not make his writings grounds for termination, but it also does not support knee-jerk support (except, of course, from his fellow clingers).

    1. I’ve found defenders of his position don’t seem to take a disinterested, purely academic view, but rather rage around in a context of how awful it is to use “born that way” to overturn laws.

      Technically, it should be purely academic. People shouldn’t have to use that argument just to be free.

    2. A brief assessment of Hsu’s politics indicates he appeases, if not embraces, bigotry.

      Can you reference an example of this?

      1. His adoring promotion of Donald Trump.

        1. Really? Trump has no non-bigoted supporters? What’s your definition of a bigot?

          1. Trump has no supporter who has not appeased bigotry — unless, perhaps, that person has expressly disclaimed Trump’s bigotry.

            This is how you propose to defend a tone-deaf clinger like Prof. Hsu?

            1. Well, you’re saying that Hsu is as reprehensible as roughly half the people in the country. Seems not to have the full impact that one might wish his insult to carry, though that could just be my take on it.

              1. My cursory review of Prof. Hsu’s blog and tweets indicates he is more objectionable than is the average Trump voter.

                First, he is educated and therefore cannot claim lack of comprehension.

                Second, he appears to dabble more in conspiracy theories, bigotry, Holocaust denial, and similar right-wing degeneracy than does the average Trump voter. I haven’t seen any QAnon in his public commentary yet, but what I have seen indicates it may be there.

                Third, he is a scientist, so he can’t hide behind gullibility, superstition, and the like.

    3. “except, of course, from his fellow clingers).”

      So we have an obvious bigot in the form of Rev ALK. He uses bigoted and denigrating language and then stereoptypes people based upon their beliefs regardless of whether those beliefs are germane to the discussion at hand.

      Then Rev ALK objects to Prof Hsu behavior, because he had a dialog with people that Rev ALK disagrees with. It’s all guilt by association. Even the tenuous association of interviewing people. It’s not even clear that Prof Hsu agreed with the controversial ideas of the people he interviewed. Just the act of establishing a dialogue with them is objectionable to Rev ALK.

  11. Google “David Bernstein” and “Ilana Feldman” and “BDS.” You’ll learn something about the principled Right’s opposition to censoring “serious commentary.” Free speech for me but not for thee, perhaps.

    1. Are you trying to get banned by Prof. Volokh, bratschewurst?

    2. Because I’m sure that an administrator who took a similar approach to an Islamic country would be acceptable.

      And I mean a country like Indonesia, not Iran.

      1. Was this ever mentioned at the Conspiracy? Did Prof. Volokh register his disapproval?

    3. Holy wow. VC’s not addressing this cuts them off at the knees for sure.

      1. It’s pretty bad. You can defend it, but only by taking exactly the same sorts of positions that get decried when the shoe is on the other foot (i.e., saying that a hiring decision is different than some of these other academic freedom issues).

        It’s very hard to get people to respect what you might call the “spirit” of free speech, which isn’t simply a matter of the First Amendment but is a broader issue about having a diversity of voices on controversial issues.

    4. If you are talking about Bernstein’s 5/12/2020 VC post proper, what parts do you see as attempting to censor serious commentary? I admittedly took a quick look, but it seems that post’s only claim is that supporting academic boycotts of Israel conflicts with duties of [U.S.] academic administrators to obey university policy, comply with civil rights law, and respect academic freedom.

  12. From the clingerverse’s “letter of support”:

    ” The charges of racism and sexism against Dr. Hsu are unequivocally false and the purported evidence supporting these charges ranges from innuendo and rumor to outright lies.”

    The likelihood that many or most of those who signed the letter have any idea whether these assertions are true likely resembles the likelihood that Donald Trump could pick a Corinthian out of a lineup with Toucan Sam, Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, and Kim Kardashian. This is just the clinger mob — lathered up by Prof. Hsu, who begged people to sign the letter — engaging in whorish virtue signalling.

    It didn’t work. That is good.

    1. A couple of questions:

      1) Do you have any particularized information regarding whether those who signed the letter have any idea whether these assertions are true?

      2) About your statement that Prof. Hsu begged people to sign the letter, can you provide any documentation? An email copy would be preferable.

      Thanks.

      1. (1) No.

        (2) I try to avoid performing basic research for clingers — how are they to improve if they never learn? The relevant exhortations are readily found at Prof. Hsu’s tweeter and at his blog.

        You are welcome.

        1. So in other words, I’ll make up a narrative out of full cloth because it fits my view of “clingers”, and who cares if it has any basis in reality?

          I’d tell you to get help, but I don’t think it’d make any difference at this point.

          1. Do you wish to claim that you believe most of those who signed that letter have a reliable, informed understanding of the points regarding which the letter advances unqualified declarations?

            Were you unable to find Prof. Hsu’s recruitment of signatures as indicated?

            You seem remarkably unpersuasive.

            1. Do you wish to claim that you believe most of those who signed that letter have a reliable, informed understanding of the points regarding which the letter advances unqualified declarations?

              Given that their signatures put them at odds with the mob, perhaps it can be seen as a kind of “declaration against interest,” which is an exception to the hearsay rule on the grounds that when a person makes a statement prejudicial to his own interests a presumption is raised that he would not have made it unless he believed it to be true.

          2. Yup, ALK does that all the time. Spout his clingerisms based on nothing but the oscillations of vacuum states between his ears.

        2. “(2) I try to avoid performing basic research for clingers ”

          The Reverend lives in the world of unquestioned Faith. Doing basic research could contradict with that Faith, so it’s better to just avoid the whole issue.

  13. But as best I can tell, what he said was indeed serious commentary on serious academic questions, which university professors (whether or not they also have administrative roles) are right to seriously discuss.

    You are correct Professor Volokh. I guess the question is: How do we protect academic freedom and the academic environment to discuss and debate controversial ideas, ideology and/or scientific advances in a legal sense. I would love to hear from law professors (or lawyers) on how our country might go about doing that. Is that something in the university charter? Their HR handbook? Regulations at the state level? All of the above?

    Legally, how do you go about protecting that freedom?

    1. You are referring solely to educational institutions operated by and for the liberal-libertarian mainstream, right?

      Do you believe conservative-controlled schools should still be able to teach nonsense, suppress science, warp history, enforce dogma, disdain academic freedom, and censor strenuously, yet still be accredited?

      1. Set up a strawman. Then chop it in half with a scythe.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

  14. Hsu’s contention is basically this.

    1. Intelligence (or cognitive ability) is inheritable.
    2. There are a large number of genes responsible for cognitive ability.
    3. We can likely determine what specifically these genes are.

    Certain people feel these contentions are racist….

    1. ‘Mainstream’ scientific consensus: Natural selection and genetics mysterious stopped working exclusively for cognitive traits in humans 200K years ago but continued on as normal for every other trait and species.

      Not only that but the global human gene pool decided to spontaneously organize itself and had a coordinated mutation event where all the preexisting populations were normed to exactly the same cognitive traits across the board and men and women’s dna worldwide were mutated so they too were identical or women were superior in every imaginable trait.

      And they say creationism is a crazy theory.

    2. Armchair, the question is what do we do WHEN we can determine what the genes are? Do we go to designer babies?

      There are serious questions to ask and calling people “racists” doesn’t help.

      1. NB: I wasn’t saying you were.

      2. People are already going that way (designer babies). The clearest example here is gender selection, or down syndrome anti-selection.

        The real question is, if you start selecting children for a certain trait (say blue eyes), is that somehow correlated with cognitive ability in a positive or negative manner? And if you don’t do the R+D, you’ll never know…until it’s too late.

        1. The moment such genes are figured out, and can be added to babies, they will.

          Unedited humans are not long for this Earth.

          1. Yes, it is uncontroversial that the instant science figures out (and has figured out in the past) to identify crippling genetic diseases, anti-selection protects those “Unedited humans” from their certain miserable, short life.

            1. Not completely uncontroversial. Ohio passed a Down Syndrome abortion ban which caused some controversy.

              1. People with Down syndrome do not have a certainly fatal genetic disease.

                1. Well, it’s not great for their life expectancy, anyway.

                  The problem with aborting infants with Down Syndrome is that they’re already in existence. Ideally genetic selection should take place before conception; For instance, Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that starts, and in theory can be detected, in the germ cells. It can absolutely be prevented if you’re at risk of it, without resorting to abortion.

                  Basically all these genetic issues can be dealt with pre-conception, using abortion to ‘solve’ them is the crude approach.

                  1. “Basically all these genetic issues can be dealt with pre-conception, using abortion to ‘solve’ them is the crude approach.”

                    If the genetic issue guarantees a short life of misery for the child (which, as I said, is not the case with Down Syndrome), allowing them to live is cruel.

    3. Those seem like empirical questions of fact, which can be disproven (ie, falsified). If they are facts, facts aren’t racist. If they aren’t facts, he simply has a poor hypothesis. He’s not making any value judgements here whatsoever.

      1. I suppose a key unstated question here is ‘what do we mean by cognitive ability’? It’s hard to define specifically, yet we all know it’s at least one thing (and possibly several different things) by comparing people we know.

        So not quite falsifiable yet, we need a proposal for ‘this is what we mean by cognitive ability’.

        1. The problem here is that cognitive ability is a complex constellation of traits, and is extremely poly-genetic. And many genes that in isolation increase it, can cause problems if combined. (Genius really IS close to madness!) Conquering this problem just with statistical analysis is going to be tough, it will probably require looking at what the genes do.

          Honestly, it’s probably easier to approach this from the other direction: While the genetics of high IQ are complex, the genetics of stupidity are likely to be quite simple, it only takes one bad gene to render all your good genes futile. Get rid of those bad genes, and you’ll raise the bottom and middle.

    4. … because they are politically unacceptable.
      Just because it is true for breeds of dogs does not mean that it could ever apply to humans.
      Talk about anti-science. That is it; just declare inquiry into certain subject as out of bounds.

    5. Hsu’s contention is basically this.
      1. Intelligence (or cognitive ability) is inheritable.
      2. There are a large number of genes responsible for cognitive ability.
      3. We can likely determine what specifically these genes are.
      Certain people feel these contentions are racist….

      Hsu says in the first clip on his blog that, because the science is not solid, he is agnostic on whether the observed test score differences between groups are partially due to genetics. Is this in conflict with your number 1 above?

      1. “Is this in conflict…”

        No.

        Here, you’re making an assumption that the same genetic variables that affect certain physical characteristics (for example, skin color) are also correlated with the genetic variables that affect intelligence. And that is not proven nor solid in any way.

        1. Is this related to the idea that race has no biological basis, that there is no such thing as different racial groups, and that genetic traits such as intelligence and athletic ability are inherited independently and are not racially linked?

          1. Ooh boy, there’s a whole lot unpackage there…

            1. “Race” such as it is, is a socio-biological construct, which combines certain outward physical traits with sociological construction.

            2. Because it (race) is such a construct, it “does” exist, much as ethnic Irish or ethnic English or ethnic Scottish people “exist”. It is certainly not hard and fast, but it exists because people believe it exists.

            3. In so much that “genetic traits such as intelligence and athletic ability are inherited independently,” there’s a whole lot to deconvolute there. “Intelligence” and “athletic ability” are not a single gene, but a multitude of interconnected genes. In so much that these genes are linked with “racial genes” (for example, melanin expression), I really don’t know.

            1. It would seem that a person who believes that there really is no such thing as biological race can’t complain on the grounds of racism about a finding that intelligence is mostly genetic, since if there are no races there can be no racial differential in this characteristic.

          2. Probably an important caveat here is that race isn’t really genetic in the specific sense. Genetics deals with specific ancestors – a large number of people are going to have a ‘cross-race’ (however you care to define that) ancestor or two or three or… So just because something is heritable doesn’t mean it’s associable with race – it only takes one ancestor to pass a gene into a population, and the farther back that ancestor is, the more widely spread that gene *could* be.

            Our social discourse on race are overly simplistic and one-dimensional. The dynamics of real populations, in most circumstances, creates a significant disjunct between ‘race’ and genetics, which is why ‘race isn’t real’ as a matter of biology (as opposed to sociology, population dynamics, etc…).

  15. Professor Volokh wrote, “I should say that, while academic freedom generally protects faculty members from being fired from their faculty jobs based on their viewpoints, the rules with regard to removal from administrative positions are different. (Compare Jeffries v. Harleston (2d Cir. 1995) with Levin v. Harleston (2d Cir. 1992).)”

    The holding in Jeffries v. Harleston does not stand for the proposition that “the rules with regard to removal from administrative positions are different that the rules with regard to removal from administrative positions are different” To wit: “We are now constrained to hold under Waters that the defendants did not violate Jeffries’ free speech rights if: (1) it was reasonable for them to believe that the Albany speech would disrupt CUNY operations; (2) the potential interference with CUNY operations outweighed the First Amendment value of the Albany speech; and (3) they demoted Jeffries because they feared the ramifications for CUNY, or, at least, for reasons wholly unrelated to the Albany speech.”

    The holding in Jeffries v. Harleston has been applied when the public employee was a professor rather than an administrator. (Harris v. Merwin 901 F. Supp. 509.)

    1. Orin Ed Deniro: I had in mind this passage from Jeffries, which distinguishes administrative roles from a faculty appointment:

      Finally, we note that an amicus curiae argues that we should not apply Waters at all because Jeffries, as a faculty member in a public university, deserves greater protection from state interference with his speech than did the nurse in Waters who complained about the obstetrics division of the hospital. We recognize that academic freedom is an important First Amendment concern. See, e.g., Keyishian v. Board of Regents (1967) (“The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”). Jeffries’ academic freedom, however, has not been infringed here. As we held in the earlier Jeffries, and as Jeffries himself has argued, the position of department chair at CUNY is ministerial, and provides no greater public contact than an ordinary professorship. Jeffries is still a tenured professor at CUNY, and the defendants have not sought to silence him, or otherwise limit his access to the “marketplace of ideas” in the classroom.

    2. Why not ironed de nori? Which would reflect the delightful New Jerseyian tradition of rough and ready sushi?

  16. Hsu: “I participated in the recruitment of numerous prominent female and minority professors,”

    And those same professors were probably the first ones to demand your firing.

  17. The only good science today is Settled Science (TM), achieved through consensus, grants, and managed media.

    Theses can only be challenged by even more progressive social and quasi-physical theses, while discarding gross reality and contrary investigatory results as too uncomfortable, reactionary, and not at all desirable.

    Scientism requires fidelity to the narrative.

    1. “Scientism”. I’m borrowing that one.

  18. I always wondered why a scientist would choose group differences in cognitive capacity as a research subject. You can show differences but you can never prove whether they come from genetics or the environment. All your research will be repurposed by racists if it seems to show anything and you’ll be drummed out of polite society either way.

    Why would any sane scientist choose such a life when they have an infinite number of other choices? Maybe they’re inveterate contrarians with masochistic tendencies?

    1. You’re right. Why challenge institutions? As the libs have always said science is about only advancing and asking questions in approved areas. We might as well dismantle the entire field of neurobiology and behavioral genetics. Since you can’t ‘prove’ (whatever that means) any behavioral traits are linked to any genes.

      1. At the risk of sounding like a leftist, I have to raise the ethical issues of what happens if/when you can prove a link between behavioral traits and genes. What will this do to our long-cherished concepts of individual free will and self determination? What are the implications on a macro scale — the Eugenics movement didn’t work out all that well in the end…

        There are the issues both above and below the surface in _Buck v. Bell_ — it turns out she wasn’t retarded after all. But as an educator, I’ve seen three generations of criminals (i.e. grandfather, father, and now son) — do we go to preventive detention? Designer babies? Or an engineered society like in _Brave New World_? (Orwell wrote _1984_ in response to that book.)

        1. All you have to do is look at Basketball to get your answer. Do people hire basketball players based upon their height? Or do they hire them based upon their skill at the game and past record of playing?

        2. A “soft” determinist would tell you that it should do precisely nothing to them, because free will and self-determination don’t mean acting without cause, they mean acting according to your own internal determinant processes, rather than having your actions decided by external processes.

          Acting without cause is just randomness, why would anyone treasure that?

    2. Because that’s what science is. It’s discovering the truth of the world, even if it contradicts the current social-political mores of the time.

      It’s why Copernicus or Galileo worked and published in science despite the Church criticizing them. Why do it, if it was just “anti-God”? And on, and on, and on.

      Discovering the genetic variables that affect intelligence and cognitive ability is an important area of study. We’re hitting the cusp of a new age, where children have their genetic code altered as embryos or zygotes. (Let alone simple screening of the genetics of a variety of zygotes and picking the “best” one). Knowing what you alter or choose for which may affect cognitive ability is critical.

      Ethically should we do this? That’s a different question. But undoubtedly some will. And science can’t be suppressed… someone will do it and know it.

      Might this research be misused? Potentially. All science can be misused. But it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. And it may prove the point that the genetic differences for cognitive ability between people of various skin tones are minor to non-significant. (ie, Scientifically proving racists are wrong).

      As for proving items? This is why the data set is so large, with p values.

      1. But what if, hypothetically, the racists are proven right?

        1. Proven right about “what” exactly?

          People exist on a continuum. You have smart whites and dumb whites. Smart blacks and dumb blacks. Smart Hispanics and dumb Hispanics. etc. etc.

          You evaluate people on their actual characteristics, not a generalization based on their skin color. You don’t say “No I don’t want this Harvard-trained African American doctor, I’d rather have this White Person with just a high school degree treat my stomach cancer because white people blah blah blah” (Or you could, but you’d be Darwin Awarding yourself).

          1. I gladly accept health care professionals of different races and backgrounds. All I ask is quality service. I find that I tend to prefer older doctors because they pay more attention to what I say. With most of the younger doctors, they follow their written treatment protocols too rigidly. My dad was a doctor; graduated medical school in 1931. In order to give his patients the quality of care then needed (and deserved), he had to listen to them and observe whether his treatments worked.

    3. “You can show differences but you can never prove whether they come from genetics or the environment.”

      This isn’t necessarily true. Using twin studies, we know: (1) all human beahvioral traits are heritable (to some extent); (2) the effect of being raised in the same family (which is the environment approximately shared by siblings in the same home); and (3) a substantial portion of the variation in complex human behavioral traits is not accounted for by the effects of genes or families.

      Twin studies have consistently revealed the following things. First, identical twins raised together are more similar than fraternal twins raised together (suggesting the difference in similarities is genetic). Second, biological siblings raised together are far more similar than adopted siblings raised together (again, suggesting that the difference is partially genetic). Interestingly, adult genetic siblings are approximately similar whether raised together or in different homes. (Suggesting that the effects of a shared environment, like a home, are minimal, and/or decrease with age.) And adoptive siblings are no more similar than two people randomly picked up off the street. (Suggesting that genetics plays a large role in similarity.)

      These conclusions are not disputed by geneticists, biologists, etc. The debate is about the extent to which genes dominate (70%+), are approximately equal to unique environment (50%), or on the lower end (20-30%).

      1. The science is suggestive that genetics play a large role.

        The major caveat are environmental effects that can play a large (negative) role during development, from alcohol and drug use, to malnutrition, to certain environmental poisonings, to physical injury.

        1. It’s a fair caveat. Twin studies cannot be performed on people who engage in criminal neglect (as one example) of their children, for the reason that we usually lock those people up, rather than let them freely raise children and be studied.

          My understanding is that the consensus is that genetics, unique environment, and chance play significant roles, and that shared environment plays a non-significant role, in explaining similarities/differences in people.

          1. Ironically, to the extent that you optimize environment, genetics becomes more important in explaining the remaining variation, because you’ve taken environment out of the picture.

  19. Everyone, including the original poster is operating with incomplete information. No one is mentioning Hsu’s promotion of a Holocaust denier, Ron Unz, on his podcast. No one is mentioning Stephen “Free Inquiry” Hsu’s threat to sue his critics, including the graduate students at his own university after criticism began. Perhaps because Hsu himself has never discussed these issues: never explained and certainly never apologized. May I suggest you inform yourselves of these serious problems with Hsu’s behavior before you judge his dismissal as unjustified? https://altrightorigins.com/2020/06/19/hsu-irresponsible/

    1. This is just typical, boilerplate cancel culture nonsense.

      In no point in your comment do you address any of Dr. Hsu’s theses, ideas or concepts. You knocked him personally by telling us what he did to others, but you don’t notice that what he did was in defense of what was being done to him.

      Thanks for being a great example of the process for determining what is acceptable thought in today’s world.

      1. I linked to several thousand words and hundreds of references where I addressed these concerns, again, I invite you to go read them instead of merely repeating irrelevant points.

        Hsu as VP of MSU spoke for MSU, not as an individual. President Stanley made this quite clear: “when senior administrators at MSU choose to speak out on any issue, they are viewed as speaking for the university as a whole. Their statements should not leave any room for doubt about their, or our, commitment to the success of faculty, staff and students.” Hsu answers to the President and the President accepted his resignation as he should have done. Surely libertarians are not going to deny the right of contract here are they? The terms of his employment were that Hsu served at the will of the President. In fact, the libertarian position should absolutely be that this contract was properly enforced since the President could fire Hsu at any time for any reason, or, indeed, no reason at all.

        As it happened, however, the President gave his reasons for firing Hsu and folks on this thread have been ignoring them. The President did not mention Twitter, which is all folks on this thread have been talking about. Nor did the President mention a “mob” which Hsu and commentators have been obsessed with as if the actual concerns expressed on Twitter and by Hsu’s critics do not exist.

        MSU does not want to promote Holocaust deniers, Hsu did promote Holocaust deniers. When Hsu’s critics pointed this out, Hsu did not embrace free speech by “answering bad speech with good speech”–indeed he has completely ignored this issue; basically pretending he never did what he did. Instead, he brought in the coercive power of the state to stifle speech by threatening legal action against his critics. In other words, Hsu represented MSU as threatening a libel suit against their own students.

        Academic freedom first, does not apply to anyone in their role of university administrators. Second, requires that academics police themselves and pass judgment on what their fellow academics say and write.

        No one, at any time, threatened to block Hsu’s free speech. Hsu remains in his tenured position in physics. Hsu is free to continue to write his blog, host his podcast, and publish whatever he wants.

        If you want to be in the position that Holocaust denial is an important intellectual project that MSU should be boosting, please do so. And if you free speech warriors want to claim that MSU should threaten libel action against its own students, please do so. And if you libertarians want to claim that Hsu should be allowed to ignore the contract he entered into with his employer, to right ahead. I’d be interested in hearing your arguments.

        1. The person whose judgment has been shredded — to the point at which termination seems reasonable — is the person who hired Stephen Hsu for that position.

          1. Nope. He was hired by the previous President, Lou Anna Simon, in 2012. The previous president is under criminal indictment for her role in covering up the Nassar sex abuse scandal. Which speaks to her judgment, I think.

            But your comment speaks to the ignorance of the situation displayed by many on this thread who simply want to repeat tired cliches rather than discovering the true situation at MSU.

            1. Except for that charge you know nothing about Lou Anna Simon. I had the pleasure of working with her over a few years. She is highly intelligent and was dedicated to the welfare of MSU. She did many good things for the university.
              Unfortunately she committed a grievous error with respect to the Nassar sex abuse. She will pay the price for that.
              However, it does not have any implications for her hiring or appointment of Prof. Hsu.

              1. A guy who hosts, or appears to appear as a guest of, white supremacists and Holocaust deniers on podcasts is a poor choice for a prominent position as administrator at a legitimate educational institution.

                1. Albert Einstein was married to his first cousin — as socially unacceptable then as white supremacy is now — yet his work as a physicist was still accepted….

                  1. Prof. Hsu might be a strong scientist. He is a spectacularly lousy choice for a position as prominent administrator at a legitimate university. The person who hired him could reasonably fired just for hiring him.

                2. As I said before, you spout off knowing nothing. Classic trolling.

              2. That she is under criminal indictment for covering up sex abuse has implications for all of her actions, especially as an administrator with power over other people.

                (I don’t know what the specific charges against her are, or the underlying alleged conduct, but you seem quite comfortable with the phrase “under criminal indictment for her role in covering up the Nassar sex abuse scandal.” Maybe she can bring her “intelligen[ce]” and “dedicat[ion] to the welfare [of others]” to Vatican City. They seem to value credentials like hers.

        2. “First, of course, I certainly have not charged Hsu with sharing those ideas but rather lending his name, and Michigan State University’s credibility, to those political activists,” Jackson said. “Indeed, it is probably advantageous for white nationalists to appear with people who do not share their views.””

          Cancel culture at it’s finest.

          https://statenews.com/article/2020/06/dueling-petitions-calls-growing-both-for-removal-and-support-of-vp-of-research-stephen-hsu?ct=content_open&cv=cbox_latest

          “If you want to be in the position that Holocaust denial is an important intellectual project that MSU should be boosting, please do so.”

          I would suggest that Local 6196 (i.e. the Graduate Employees Union) not advocate guilt-by-association lest they themselves be canceled for what their own Al Shanker’s attitude toward education — that he’d care about the students when they started paying union dues.

          And then what constitutes “Holocaust Denial”? Saying that the Holocaust was unique — sadly, it wasn’t. Starting with the Turk’s massacre of the Armenians and ending (hopefully) with Rwanda, the 20th Century ran red with genocidal blood. Stalin murdered far more than Hitler, possibly more Jews — the Holodomor comes to mind, there weren’t Jews in the Ukraine?

        3. I thought we had moved beyond guilt by association.

          1. We have. What we have apparently NOT moved beyond is incorrectly claiming someone has made a guilt-by-association argument.
            https://altrightorigins.com/2020/06/18/hsu-guilt-by-association/

    2. No one is mentioning Hsu’s promotion of a Holocaust denier, Ron Unz, on his podcast.

      A classic ad hominem argument: Hsu’s arguments are false because he had Ron Unz on his podcast. I wish his critics would reference actual words that he spoke.

      No one is mentioning Stephen “Free Inquiry” Hsu’s threat to sue his critics, including the graduate students at his own university after criticism began.

      Did his critics slander him? Does a person who opposes slander oppose free inquiry?

      May I suggest you inform yourselves of these serious problems with Hsu’s behavior before you judge his dismissal as unjustified? https://altrightorigins.com/2020/06/19/hsu-irresponsible/

      Somehow, altrightorigins.com does not seem like the most sober and disinterested source out there. I thought that people knew better than to reference partisan sources and expect to be taken seriously. Their reference to the “unsavory politics of Quillette when it comes to race and science” is a gem, as is their reference to “recognizing the troubled history of libertarianism and white supremacy.”

      1. I write that blog. The idea that a comment thread on Reason is worried about something being “partisan” gave me a chuckle though. thanks.

        Hsu did promote a Holocaust denier on his podcast. That is a factually correct statement that no one, least of all Hsu himself, has refuted. There is nothing ad hominem about it. I argue that such an action shows Hsu lacks the capability (or willingness) to sit in judgment of academic research, a key part of his VP job.

        A person who sits in an institutionally powerful position of a university who, instead engaging in ideas threatens to sue the least powerful people in his institution, the people he is supposedly there to teach and support should not be in that powerful position. Please note that Hsu went from Zero to Lawsuit right away. He did not attempt to defend his actions regarding Unz, he did not seek out the the campus ombudsman, he did not take advantages of dozens of internal mechanisms available to him to settle disputes. He immediately threatened legal action. And, if you know anything at all about libel, you know that he had no chance of winning a suit. Hence the threat was a clear abuse of his power.

        Even if EVERYTHING you folks want to believe about this controversy were true, the legal threat in and of itself shows him to be unfit for his office.

        1. I write that blog. The idea that a comment thread on Reason is worried about something being “partisan” gave me a chuckle though. thanks.

          It’s just that when I present facts to argue my position and expect those facts to be taken seriously I don’t reference a source known to be partisan in my favor and I certainly don’t reference myself. There’s a difference between individual posters being partisan and a fact source being partisan.

          Hsu did promote a Holocaust denier on his podcast. That is a factually correct statement that no one, least of all Hsu himself, has refuted.

          His co-host wrote a letter saying that at the time he didn’t even know that Unz was accused of Holocaust denial, and that he had him on because he was a force behind proposition 227, and to discuss his software company, the subprime mortgage crisis and his role in attacking Harvard’s admissions policy. Unz was published in the New York Times. Does that show that they lack the capability to be impartial? He sold his firm Wall Street Analytics to the ratings agency Moody’s in 2006. Does that tarnish them?

          Even if EVERYTHING you folks want to believe about this controversy were true, the legal threat in and of itself shows him to be unfit for his office.

          If a person wrote false statements about you purporting to be fact that injured your professional reputation and refused to publicly retract them, what are the considerations that would counsel you ignore it or engage in interminable third party discussions with the ombudsman? Sometimes if one doesn’t threaten a defamation action people assume he’s probably guilty, right? Would you put up with the injury if the person was only a grad student, even though winning a defamation action would be your only way to publicly set the record straight?

          1. Don’t be absurd. Hsu worked with Unz on a campaign to be on the Board of Governors at Harvard in 2016, he says they were “old friends.” The co-host claims ignorance, Hsu cannot. Hsu recommends Unz’s website as a good “alternative media” platform. He prompts Unz to recommend Unz’s own “American Pravda” column. On the day he did that, Unz’s column was filled with antisemitic slurs about “Jewish Bolshivism,” a key part of Nazi ideology. Now, you have to choices:

            1. Hsu did not know about the racism in which case he did no due diligence at all about the “old friend” who’s writings he he promoted for his readers. This is enough to fire someone from a leadership position at an educational institution.
            2. Hsu DID know about the racism and recommended Unz’s side and column anyway. This too would be enough to fire someone from a leadership at an educational research institution.

            MSU is massive. There are lots and lots of ways to settle disputes among students and faculty. But when the second-most powerful person in the place immediately threatens to sue the graduate students and the faculty before even considering those channels and before even attempting to publicly explain his position and explain why the charges against him are wrong, that is a person who is abusing his power and trying to shut down free speech and scholarly inquiry. Disqualifying from a leadership position.

            And no one on this thread has shown any factual errors in what I have written about Hsu. So your claims about “lies” or “slander” are completely unsupported by any argument at all.

    3. Grade school-level ad hominems are not the persuasive arguments you seem to believe they are.

      1. You clearly don’t know what an ad hominem argument is because I’m not making one.
        https://altrightorigins.com/2020/06/18/hsu-guilt-by-association/

        1. Uh, yes…you are. You’re trying to claim that actions by Hsu and/or his character in general are somehow relevant to either the validity of his argument or to whether or not he ought to be able to voice it, which are the issues at hand.

          1. What is “his argument” that you think I’m attacking the “validity” of?

            I think you are attacking two strawman arguments. First, I suspect you think I was accusing Hsu of being a racist or Holocaust denier, which I never did, indeed my point was that his actions were MORE dangerous because he is not. Second, I think I was claiming he “ought” not be able to voice it. I was not. I said I thought MSU should not voice it and, again as President Stanely’s letter makes absolutey clear: “when senior administrators at MSU choose to speak out on any issue, they are viewed as speaking for the university as a whole.” MSU, as an institution, does not want to endorse a Holocaust denial website merely because the denier running it is a friend of one of their VPs. Nor does it want to threaten legal action against its own students and faculty.

            Here’s my position (I know I’m merely repeating it, but it is clear people do not want to respond to it).

            First: As VP of MSU, when his public statements are that of MSU not his as an individual, Hsu promoted a Holocaust denial website. He did do that, there is no way to deny it. Such an action violates the term of his office and he was rightfully returned to his tenured home in physics. He may say whatever he likes as an individual, but not in his capacity of office. The President’s letter makes this very, very clear.

            Second: As VP of MSU, Hsu threatened to sue the students and faculty of MSU. He did not take advantage of the many ways to address this problem through the internal mechanisms available to him at MSU to resolve conflicts. Such an action violates the term of his office and he was rightfully returned to his tenured home in physics.

            As a tenured faculty member he can speak and write on whatever he chooses because he no longer speaks for the university. As much as his defenders want to deny it, this is not about free speech or academic freedom.

  20. Everything is fun and games until (1) someone mentions that a Conspirator pushed the other way when the ideological table was turned and (2) people start adding the Holocaust denial and other alt-right elements of Prof. Hsu’s performance to this debate.

    Solution: Make Prof. Hsu a Conspirator!

    1. From the same newspaper article cited above:

      “The GEU’s thread addressed Hsu’s promotion of Cesario’s 2019 study on racial disparities in fatal police shootings in partnership with University of Maryland. The study concluded that there is no disparity in rates of police shootings by race once crime rates are controlled by group.”

      I suspect that this is the real issue.

      Not Hsu’s association with a “canceled” person, nor his academic research, but his daring to permit someone to present research findings that cops aren’t the racist thugs that Antafa & BLM wish to paint them as.

      And what has not been said about the Graduate Union movement of the past 30 years is that 15-20 years ago it was coopted by what is now Antifa.

      And how dare Hsu permit a scholar to present findings that cops don’t use Black men for target practice. Academic freedom, RIP…

  21. Sounds like the students and administration have bought into the “Asian-Americans are all racist” fallacy.

    Such bigots.

    1. And they take the SPLC at face value.

  22. Academics and Scientists must not submit to mob rule.

    The mob disagrees.

    1. “Trust the Scientists!” (after they’ve been ideologically purged).

  23. Nice post.

    Excellent points.

    On sex based differences: if you do not believe that there are differences in temperament rooted in sex, then you have not met people.

    You’re probably ten thousand times more likely to get punched in the face by a nineteen-year-old male than a 19 year old female. You do not have to be a sexist who is biased against males to believe such.

    1. “You’re probably ten thousand times more likely to get punched in the face by a nineteen-year-old male than a 19 year old female.”

      Not anymore. Girls are almost as violent as boys are now — particularly when intoxicated. Have a candid conversation with a cop who trusts you.

    2. They only 19 yo that I ever had to eject from a soccer match for punching another player was a girl. Bamm right in the face.

      1. Objection noted.

        I will concur. Female athletes are at least an order of magnitude more violent than male athletes. When I was in high school our basketball team was Elite. They won the state championship. Many of the girls on the team played in my neighborhood. I enjoyed playing pickup with them, except you would go home black and blue. They had no qualms about swinging elbows. Grabbing handfuls of skin around the waist. Or the classic go to move of sticking a hip out between your legs on your jump shot.

        I was also Friends with several of the players on the UNC Women’s Soccer Team when I was there. They won national championships all four years. I can confirm that they would pluck your eye out and feed it to you in order to win a game of ping pong.

  24. Mohammed was a sexist and a slave owner.

    When is Islam and the Nation of Islam getting canceled? When are the mosques getting burned down?

    1. I am not show sure that Muhammad has much at all to do with the Nation of Islam. If the notion that white people are the demonic creation of an evil Genie did not earned them cancellation, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they are not cancelable.

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