Campus Free Speech

O.U. Anti-Racist Seminar: 'In the Classroom, Free Speech Does Not Apply'

A training session for graduate students urged them to prohibit students from discussing problematic views.

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During an online training seminar for graduate students at the University of Oklahoma (O.U.), two presenters urged English instructors to purge all problematic speech from their classrooms. They even asserted—incorrectly—that the Supreme Court had empowered university employees to prohibit students from engaging in hate speech.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) obtained a recording of the seminar, which was titled "Anti-Racist Rhetoric and Pedagogies." The hour-long video is worth watching in full, and contains a variety of unbelievable statements from presenters Kelli Pyron Alvarez and Kasey Woody.

During her remarks, Alvarez asserted that students in the English 1213 course—Principles of English Composition—sometimes come to class "emboldened to be racist, like overtly racist." The way to deal with this is to explicitly prevent them from making statements that might offend others. If any graduate students are worried about getting in trouble for silencing wrong-thinking students, never fear: Teachers have all the power they need to do so, according to Alvarez.

"If it continues to happen, report them for violating the student code of conduct," said Alvarez. "In the classroom, free speech does not apply."

She later clarified that she believes the Supreme Court "has actually upheld that hate speech, derogatory speech, any of the -isms, do not apply in the classroom because they do not foster a productive learning environment."

"As instructors, we can tell our students no, you don't have the right to say that, stop talking right now," she said.

This proclamation is stunningly wrong. The Supreme Court has never issued a ruling that prohibits "hate speech" on college campuses or anywhere else. Hate speech, in fact, is a subjective term: What someone finds hateful might nevertheless be objectively true, and more importantly, fully protected by the First Amendment. Indeed, the Supreme Court explicitly defended hateful expression in the 2017 case Matal v. Tam.

"Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate,'" wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority, quoting from a 1929 dissent by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

O.U. is a public university, and thus is bound to comply with the First Amendment. Instructors who deliberately squelch certain political opinions in a manner that is not viewpoint-neutral certainly risk running afoul of the Constitution.

"Professors cannot abuse their power to require students to personally adhere to a particular viewpoint or ideology," wrote FIRE's Daniel Burnett and Sabrina Conza. "As the AAUP has written, instructors have academic freedom of 'instruction, not indoctrination.' It can be hard to define precisely where this line falls, but there's no question that a significant amount of this workshop teaches participants how to indoctrinate instead of how to instruct."

Setting aside the legal issues, it's just plain wrong as a matter of educational policy to always and automatically forbid the discussion of any subject that might offend anyone for any reason. And a significant problem here is that the presenters never defined their terms, leaving listeners with the impression that they would suppress an extremely broad range of viewpoints.

Hilariously, Woody gave the example of asking students to share something about which they have a strong opinion.

"One of my black students said, 'Black Lives Matter,'" Woody recalled. "I said that is not an issue that I would take up. That's not an argument. It's a fact. Black lives matter. You are not obligated to listen to or entertain an argument that is trying to tell you your real experiences are not real because the person making that argument has never experienced them."

The presenter did not seem to grasp that her anti-racist pedagogy had actually prompted her to delegitimize the perspective of a student who was black.

"I usually look for my students who might be entertaining the idea of listening to a problematic argument," said Woody. "I say, 'We don't have to listen to that. That's not an argument we have to listen to.'"

This is a very bad approach to teaching. Specifically, it's a bad approach to teaching English composition, which is about how to write coherent essays and construct arguments. Instructors don't need to allow abject racial discrimination or harassment in the classroom, but proactively shutting down any potentially problematic discussion runs directly counter to the educational mission of the university.

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  1. Last year, Lockheed Martin Corporation, the nation’s largest defense contractor, sent white male executives to a three-day diversity-training program aimed at deconstructing their “white male culture” and encouraging them to atone for their “white male privilege,” according to documents I have obtained.

    The program, hosted on Zoom for a cohort of 13 Lockheed employees, was led by the diversity-consulting firm White Men As Full Diversity Partners, which specializes in helping white males “awaken together.” The Lockheed employees, all senior leaders in the company, included Aaron Huckaby, director of global supply chain operations; retired Air Force lieutenant colonel David Starr, director of the Hercules C-130 military transport program; retired Air Force lieutenant general Bruce Litchfield, vice president of sustainment operations; and Glenn Woods, vice president of production for the Air Force’s $1.7 trillion F-35 fighter jet program. (Lockheed Martin did not return request for comment.)

    At the beginning of the program, the diversity trainers led a “free association” exercise, asking the Lockheed employees to list connotations for the term “white men.” The trainers wrote down “old,” “racist,” “privileged,” “anti-women,” “angry,” “Aryan Nation,” “KKK,” “Founding fathers,” “guns,” “guilty,” and “can’t jump.” According to the participants, these perceptions have led to “assumptions about white men and diversity,” with many employees believing that white men “don’t care about diversity,” “have a classical perspective on history and colonialism,” and “don’t want to give away our power.”

    Just college students being college students.

    1. A military industrial complex that is woke, now how do they justify building weapons system to kill people.

      1. Same way Google and Microsoft are now okay with taking military contracts, Biden is the president and not trump. When trump was president that acted like they were above it all, in reality they want to help the most evil fascists they can find

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      2. They’ll justify it by killing the right people.

      3. Well, the same way as they did before – those people we’re killing deserved it.

        Its always the same – no one double-taps a wedding with drone strikes in order to ensure they get first responders too with the excuse that they do it because they enjoy it.

        They look themselves in the mirror in the morning with the lie that ‘those people deserved it because *they’re* evil’.

    2. Let’s hope the Skunkworks folks don’t get involved with this, it will be the end of thinking outside of the box (or even acknowledging that there is a box).

      1. if your only life is within the box does the box even exist

    3. White men:

      productive
      heart attack
      overworked
      tired
      downtrodden
      resilient

      1. Hey somebody has to carry the burden…

        1. Them honkies are about to shrug.

          1. There was a “shrug” in Education Industry and here we are, monumental mushiness has taken over. Them honkies need to get back into the classrooms.

    4. Last week, the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted 25 to 3 to advance a $78 billion surface transportation bill that gives the government-owned passenger rail service $19 billion over five years, for an average of $3.8 billion per year. more detail……….VISIT HERE.

  2. I like the pipeline protest on indian land, they wrecked the construction equipment owned by the indians, and it was all just a bunch of white people doing it. Guess they read the monkey wrench gang.

    1. Indians, Blacks, Hispanic [Latinx], whatever, they all need a good woke white woman to tell them how it is; they are all just too oppressed to see the forest for the leaves.

      1. Karen, Savior of the BIPOC.

  3. >”Professors cannot abuse their power to require students to personally adhere to a particular viewpoint or ideology,”

    They are NOT forcing any student to adhere to any particular viewpoint or ideology. They can hold any viewpoint they want!

    They’re just not allowed to say what it is if it doesn’t conform precisely to the currently popular narrative amongst their betters at the University. But that’s fine, because, you know, disagreeing with someone is violence or something. I don’t know. I’m still trying to understand.

    Whatever, it’s definitely OK here.

    1. Remember when people said it was ok to not have gay marriage because gays could already marry – as long as it was someone of the opposite sex?

      1. Of course I remember, I said that yesterday.

      2. So, you didn’t buy that argument, huh?
        Try this one (hint: there’s a connection):
        It is not “discrimination” to “exclude” boys / men from girls’ / women’s bathrooms / locker-rooms / sports. (They’re free to use / participate in boys’ / men’s bathrooms / locker-rooms / sports.)
        Either men and women are interchangeable, or they aren’t. (I think they aren’t.)

  4. Title 18 section 241 and 242 conspiracy to commit and the commission of depravation of rights under the color of any law.

    Sounds to me like the local sheriff needs to make a few arrests. Hopefully these teacher felons can be shot trying to escape.

    Depriving students of the right to freedom of speech should be instant hanging if done by any government employee.

  5. but proactively shutting down any potentially problematic discussion runs directly counter to the educational mission of the university.

    When the university consistently acts counter to what you understand as its education mission it’s time to consider whether you’re just wrong about what that mission is.

    1. this was teh purpose behind Tenure so that people could have differing opinions without the fear of being fired. Of course they solved that problem by not giving you tenure if you have a different opinion.

  6. University of Oklahoma is ‘OU?’ This is because of DAM – the Mothers Against Dyslexia – isn’t it?

    1. U of Kansas is “KU.” U of Colorado is “CU,” etc. on the Great Plains. See:

      https://johngasaway.com/2013/10/31/an-american-stonehenge-weird-university-abbreviations-on-the-great-plains/

      Dog only knows why.

  7. Guess “diverse voices having rich conversations” doesn’t apply when it comes to the university campus.

    1. “Shut up while I’m conversing at you.”

      1. It would certainly be nice if these mentally ill psychotics remained confined to shitting up their own nest, instead of brainwashing multiple generations of increasingly immature young adults from doing the same outside the open-air insane asylum that is academia.

  8. “The hour-long video is worth watching in full”

    I know there are people into S&M, but really, this takes the cake.

  9. …proactively shutting down any potentially problematic discussion runs directly counter to the educational mission of the university.

    What year is this again?

    1. 1917, 1933, 1984…

      1. And 1968. This is what that generation wanted.

        1. Correct, the McGovernites are in charge now. All that talk of freedom and love, now they are the totalitarians.

        2. Actually it is the opposite of what the free speech movement wanted. There were early libertarians involved with that. The left then is not the left of today.

          1. Actually it is the opposite of what the free speech movement wanted. There were early libertarians involved with that. The left then is not the left of today.

            It’s hard to tell. There have been some groups who, when they were the underdog, said that free speech for everybody was required, but when they acquired power insisted that the speech of their opponents should be punished.

  10. “English composition, which is about how to write coherent essays and construct arguments.”

    If only. My wife is going back to school and her freshman composition course was about a bunch of things…but not that. She learned more about how to set up an autobiographical website than how to write coherently and construct arguments. I now understand why students can’t write to save their lives when they get to my upper division courses.

  11. The hour-long video is worth watching in full

    Worth a new monitor?

  12. >>contains a variety of unbelievable statements from presenters Kelli … and Kasey …

    like ohmygawd!

  13. Indians, Blacks, Hispanic [Latinx], whatever, they all need a good woke white woman to tell them how it is; they are all just too oppressed to see the forest for the leaves.

  14. Who will tell these fascists that inalienable rights mean they can’t be taken away from or even given away by the possessor.

    Who will speak truth to fascist power, YOU?

    1. Bend the knee, eat the bugs, bake the cake.

      1. And pay reparations.

  15. https://twitter.com/AmandaMilius/status/1407178746298253315?s=19

    This is insane.

    It’s a re education camp.

    “Now, she says, she accepts President Joe Biden as the nation’s leader, and she’s learning some lessons about the uglier parts of American history she’s just learning about.”

    Un fu*king real. [Link]

    1. I’d probably disagree with her about what we consider to be the “ugly parts” of American history.

  16. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1407416259797454853?s=19

    WATCH: White House says Capitol riot is justification for federal govt taking over elections
    [Link]

  17. More and more the ‘anti-racist’ language is resembling the anti-jew language of the 1930s.

    1. Those who ignore history – – – – – – – –

  18. I learned how to construct and analyze formal arguments by taking classes in propositional logic. I do not recall ever doing that in an English composition class.

    I did drop an English class as an undergraduate; the professor displayed many, many red flags of severe batshit insanity during the first class.

    “If you are a man, you will not be allowed to speak unless there are no women who wish to speak.”

    “Penises cause all wars.”

    “The world would be better off without white men, or any men.”

    Message received! Later, biatch!

    Anywhoo, wherever these two retards received their credentials should be stripped of accreditation, their positions abolished, and their students refunded. That is some truly dumb shit.

    1. If you are a man, you will not be allowed to speak unless there are no women who wish to speak

      Stand up, walk out, and if she says anything as you do so, call her a sexist cunt.

      -jcr

      1. It just didn’t seem worth it. I don’t think she lasted long, either. In the Dark Ages when I did undergrad, the faculty had to try at least a little to hide their batshit insanity. Not like the retards mentioned in the post, who seem to enjoy flaunting it.

  19. “As instructors, we can tell our students no, you don’t have the right to say that, stop talking right now,” she said.

    What a cunt.

  20. “Kelli Pyron Alvarez
    Alvarez asserted that students in the English 1213 course—Principles of English Composition—”

    OK, we have here a instructor in Principles of English Composition, and she can’t even spell “Kelly”.

    1. Kelli is acceptable. I used it for my daughter. Kind off helps breakup the typie when I call her smelly Kelli. Just sayin. My wife thought it distinguished girl Kelli from boy Kelly. Who know or cares.

      1. “My name is Brandi, with an ‘I.’ You know, like Gandhi.”

        1. Oh….My……God! It is just like Gandhi!

    2. Kelli Pyron Alvarez also asserted that students in a Principles of English Composition course are often “emboldened to be racist—like overtly racist.” She went on to explain that teachers should forbid their students from making statements that may be hurtful to others including “derogatory remarks, critiques, and hate speech of any kind” as well as the use of “white supremacist ideas or sources,” unless they’re used by “antiracist crusaders.”

      A course description of ENGL 1213 – Principles of English Composition: “Systematic analysis of effective argumentative discourse with regular practice and close individual assistance. Study of argumentative prose models.”

  21. If any fucking tankie pulls that shit on you in a classroom, walk out and demand a refund. Tell the administration that you didn’t sign up for communist indoctrination, and they will make you whole or see you in court.

    -jcr

  22. Tankie?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tankie

    I had a socialistology instructor back in the mid-80s who had never heard of a “red diaper baby.” She was like a fish who didn’t know she was wet.

    1. I’ve met a few second- and third-generation lefturds myself. They’re bloody tedious.

      -jcr

  23. Are students told not to talk about science and engineering problems as well?

    Or is that only for social engineering and indoctrination?

  24. Hey Robby, how did it feel to get pwned by Amber Athey when “Rising” tried to compare Sheldon Whitehouse’s all-white beach club, Bailey’s Beach Club, to Mar-A-Lago?

  25. it’s always some innocuous-sounding term like ‘anti-racist,’ because no one wants to be pro racist, right? Except for the antis, who do for race what antifa does for fascism.

    1. Thing is except for actual racists pretty much everyone is anti-racist. As you point out almost nobody is actually in favor of racism except actual racists.

      So it is just a meaningless term getting thrown around.

      1. They define “anti-racist” as someone required to actions as they deem fit such as speaking up in certain circumstances, as opposed to just being not-racist requires one to do little outwardly other than respect all humans equally unless otherwise given reason to not.

  26. The only way to be truly anti-racist is to be an incurably rabid racist. Progress!

  27. nice post
    Hello

  28. Who brings these poorly educated people on campus. How can they let them just spew nonsense and things that just aren’t factual. It’s supposed to be a place of higher education but they obviously don’t hold their workshop speakers to that standard. Conservatives sure blew it by allowing the left to take over education over the past 50 years. It’s going to take a long time to right the ship but we have to start somewhere.

    1. They hire these groups to satisfy the diversity director or whatever. I am sure they have to sit through some sexual harassment BS as well. They are always dumb and boring but hopefully have little impact.

    2. They also provide some cover from lawsuits no doubt.

  29. The reassuring thing here, is that in the Post Covid Big Reset Enlightenment Era, The whole Planet can be viewed as ONE Single Uniform ANSI Code Branded Class Room, where irrefutable “Truths” are thought such as :”Masks Work”. So you better shut up and Listen!

  30. An example of a white supremacy cultural narrative is the belief referred to as neoliberalism, defined as follows: “Neoliberalism is an ideology and policy model that emphasizes replacing entitlements with market-based solutions to social problems and places value on free market competition. In the food space, neoliberalism is rooted in American ideals of personal responsibility and hard work as the solution to hunger…”

    For example, “‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ is rooted in the belief that people need to take personal responsibility and work harder to get out of hunger and poverty. It is a classic neoliberal narrative, pathologizing the individual, highlighting the exceptional individuals who succeed in spite of ‘the odds’ and focusing on individual behavior and work ethic as keys to economic prosperity. This narrative dismisses structural and institutional barriers to economic advancement that systemically disadvantage predominantly BIPOC people and communities.”

    A concrete example was the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act of 1996. “The Act, signed by President Clinton, substantially reformed welfare in the United State, in an attempt to ‘end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.’ As noted by the name, the Act emphasized a narrative of personal responsibility and working hard as the solutions to poverty and to shrink reliance on the government by ‘needy parents.’”

    I would hope that if I made an argument in English class at OU that promoted such white supremacism, the instructor would merely tell me to “stop talking right now” (as it was put in the training) and would not instead have me formally disciplined by the University.

    1. The principle of merit based rewards is based on universal logic, it doesn’t dismiss anyone.

      Discrimination is an entirely different issue.

      People who conflate the two, obfuscate the problem.

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