Campus Free Speech

Coastal Carolina University Is Trying To Fire a Professor for Saying Hurt Feelings Were Not 'a Big Deal'

Steven Earnest thought the most trivial of incidents did not merit the university's concern.

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Coastal Carolina University (CCU) is moving to terminate a theater professor who expressed the opinion that an extremely minor incident on campus did not merit a dramatic response from the department's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

"Sorry but I don't think it's a big deal," wrote the professor, Steven Earnest, in reference to the matter. "I'm just sad people get their feelings hurt so easily. And they are going into Theater?"

The remark has landed him in considerable trouble, according to the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education, which is calling on CCU to cease all punitive action.

What was the incident? On September 16, a visiting artist spoke with two students of color who explained that they were hoping to connect with other non-white students on campus. The three of them subsequently wrote down the names of other students of color who might wish to connect and discuss their shared struggles. They left this list of names on a classroom's whiteboard; the next class saw it and thought that non-white students had been singled out for some nefarious purpose. A protest was planned.

The diversity committee investigated—and swiftly cleared up—the matter. "We believe it is important to inform the student body that the intent behind the list was as a resource for new students who are looking to be in community with other BIPOC students," wrote the committee in an email to campus.

Nevertheless, the committee opined that students' hurt feelings were completely valid.

"This in no way undermines the feelings that any of you feel about this incident," the email continued. "It should have never happened and the DEI committee will be discussing with faculty and students the gravity of the situation and how to handle these requests in the future."

Earnest rightly objected to the tone of this email. In response, students accused him of racial insensitivity and demanded he be fired. The university instructed him not to come to class and launched an investigation. According to Earnest, the university has initiated a "termination process," despite FIRE's protestation that punishing the professor is an obvious violation of his academic freedom rights.

"CCU has chosen a course denied to it by the First Amendment," wrote FIRE. "We call upon CCU to abandon its current path."

CCU declined a request for comment.

In general, universities should stop caving to students who are unreasonably upset about  minor infractions—but this wasn't an infraction at all. Campus administrators would be well-advised not to put themselves in the position of being responsible for every hurt feeling, no matter how ill-founded or slight. There's little benefit to making diversity synonymous with absurdity.

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  1. >>They left this list of names on a classroom's whiteboard; the next class saw it and thought that non-white students had been singled out for some nefarious purpose. A protest was planned.

    teacher loses job because childrens' negligence and outright stupidity. America

    1. thumbs up for the chick at the whiteboard also.

      1. That's "Ginger Spice"!

        I'm not sure if she wants "an internet" or not... If she wants my internet, she can have it! She can play with it, all she wantys!

        https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/spice-girls-too-hot-to-handle-63901/
        Spice Girls: Too Hot to Handle… From there:
        “(Mel B is clearly not an expert on these matters. Afterward, she will point at the computer monitors and ask, over and over, “I want an Internet. Can I have one of these?”)”

        1. I made over $700 per day using my mobile in part time. I recently got my 5th paycheck of $19632 and all i was doing is to copy and paste work online. this home work makes me able to generate more cash daily easily.ZXv simple to do work and regular income from this are just superb. Here what i am doing.

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      2. Would

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      3. "This is Engineering", credit on the photo. LOL, no the fuck it wasn't, in any classes I took, or that I saw my ChE ex-wife take... I can categorically say there were zero red-haired, milky-white, big-titted (not evident in the photo, but work with me here...) hot women in the Engineering department.

        One in the Chemistry department, but she was a Prof, and married besides. And I wasn't about to take yet another semester of O. Chem so I could have an excuse to be near her.

        I've shared too much...

        1. Sounds like that prof. and her husband had the right chemistry.

        2. My engineering prof's were 100% dudes and the TA's were something like 95%.

        3. You went to the wrong school.

        4. thinking back, it was amusing how the perception changed over time. I too studied engineering. we had 3 girls in the whole dept who were probably mildly above average at best...but by year 2 or 3 it was "THOSE ARE THE HOT GIRLS IN CLASS BABY!"

        5. >>zero red-haired, milky-white … hot women in the Engineering department.

          I snagged one. definitely there is hope for everybody.

        6. You went to the wrong school. My Daughter was her High Schools homecoming queen and now has a masters degree in mechanical engineering. She also makes more money than her mother and I combined.

  2. "Sorry but I don't think it's a big deal," wrote the professor, Steven Earnest, in reference to the matter. "I'm just sad people get their feelings hurt so easily. And they are going into Theater?"

    Leaving aside college, you want to find the most useless, obnoxious crybabies in any high school, just look for the theater department. That's where a lot of these maladaptive behaviors are cultivated and encouraged. The teachers tend to be cultish as shit, too--the one at my high school encouraged the students to call her "Mom," as if they didn't have parents of their own.

    1. Lots of pervs end up as theatre/drama teachers , it’s too easy to break kids down and have them sucking you off in no time.

      1. Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    2. The drama teacher at my school was awesome. He’d tell us stories about getting naked before auditions and forgetting his lines. He also would make super inappropriate jokes.

      Not all theatre teachers are bad.

      1. *baked. Not naked. Shit that looks really bad!

        1. Show us on the doll where that drama teacher touched you.

          1. Haha. Fucking autocorrect.

            I’m gonna hear it for this one. I don’t know why it changed “baked” to “naked?”

            1. Sure, right. Blame it on autocorrect and not you accidentally typing naked when you meant baked.

              1. We really ought to be bigger *double-checks autocorrect* people about the whole issue.

        2. You think that's bad, you should read Wm. Burroughs' "Baked Lunch".

  3. The importance of being Earnest.

    Earnest was earnest, and therefore will no longer earnest any money at CCU.

    1. These puns are Wilde.

  4. It's a good thing cancel culture doesn't exist, otherwise you'd see senseless mobs engaged in witch hunts.

    1. And even if it did exist, it would probably be completely justified because why should we tolerate bigots and homophobes and other witches.

      1. MarxistMammaryBahnFuhrer the Jesus-Killer, Queen of ALL of the Most Righteous Echo Chambers, has THE FIX for bigots, homophobes, and other witches! Take AWAY their Section 230 rights, and allow us to SUE the bigots etc., for the writings of MarxistMammaryBahnFuhrer, and THEN all will be well and even SPLENDID!!!

        1. spastic asshole flag

    2. Quick to judge, quick to anger
      And slow to understand

      1. RIP Peart

        ... and FUCK JOE BIDEN

        1. "and FUCK JOE BIDEN"

          Not even with your dick.

          1. Not even with Kamala's dick.

  5. Do entirely private universities still have to pay attention to Titles VI and IX? I bet if someone were to start a school which made a big point of never accepting any government money, only hiring unwoke professors and staff, and not coddling students, they'd be swamped with applications.

    1. ...just before their tax exemption gets revoked.

      1. Based on what?

        1. Non conformity

          1. There are a few colleges, such as Hillsdale, in Michigan, who eschew all government aid, even indirect aid through the student.

            https://tinyurl.com/WaPoHillsdale2017

        2. Are you saying you doubt the ability of the Government, our asshole Federal Government, the elected representatives of which once figured out how to give themselves a raise and afterwards, all 535 of whom went home and told their constituents they did NOT vote for a raise; you think those weasels couldn't figure out some bogus-but-effective excuse to shut down such a university??

          Of course they could.

      2. For-profit colleges are a thing, so a tax exemption isn't really necessary

    2. Hillsdale College?

      1. Yes, Hillsdale is possibly the only higher learning institution left in the US that hasn’t become a mental institution

    3. I haven't studied up on these folks lately... They used to be a libertarian "thing"...

      https://www.hillsdale.edu/

      "Hillsdale College is a small, Christian, classical liberal arts college in southern Michigan that operates independently of government funding. Our students represent each of the fifty states and more than a dozen foreign countries..."

      Some years ago... Government Almighty DAMN it, I am getting old... They were accused of a bit of "thought control" of their own. But if you want to be FREE of Government Almighty funding and the control that goes with it, here is one place to check out...

      1. https://amarkedspectator.wordpress.com/hillsdale-the-college-the-spectator-the-expulsion/

        Like I say, Government Almighty DAMN it all to hell, I am OLD!!! So this is what I recall from way back when, when we were still eating trilobites for breakfast... Everyone has their flaws, I guess! Not having studied it lately, I still bet they have more intellectual freedoms there today than at the average bear's hellhole recently...

      2. Can’t be 1% as off as the Church of Squirrellex

        1. The Church of Squirrellex is the ***ONLY*** place where you can get yourself a SQRL necklace!!!!

          She wanna a SQRL necklace...

          She's really upset with me again
          I didn't give her what she likes
          I don't know what to tell her
          Don't know what to say
          Everything got funky last night
          She was really bombed
          And I was really blown away
          Until I asked her what she wanted
          And this is what she had to say
          A SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace
          She gets a charge out of bein' so weird
          Digs gettin' downright strange
          But I can keep a handle on anything
          Just this side of deranged
          She was gettin' bombed
          And I was gettin' blown away
          And she held it in her hand
          And this is what she had to say
          A SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace
          She's so cold
          As pure as the driven slush
          And that's not jewelry she's talkin' about
          It really don't cost that much
          She was gettin' bombed
          And I was gettin' blown away
          And she took it in her hand
          And this is what she had to say
          A SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace
          She wanna SQRL necklace

          She's NUTS, I'm a tellin' ya! An' lemme tell ya, I know about NUTS!!! I am NUTS about nuts!

          1. ^ more with it than President Biden.

            1. Fuck Joe Biden

          2. I always thought it was a song about my balls bouncing off her neck, but it makes more sense you way.

          3. 3 spastic asshole flags

        2. Is Squirrellex that new dubstep artist I've been hearing about?

          1. Squirrilex, you're thinking of.

    4. I donate to Hillsdale every year for that very reason and I am not paying for my own kids to go to college in a few years.

    5. Yes, was gonna say Hillsdale. I remember the fantastic libertarian economist Professor Richard Ebeling was there for quite a few years.

  6. "There's little benefit to making diversity synonymous with absurdity."

    ... and yet it already is ...

  7. Woke theatre. Dramatic indeed.

  8. She'll find out just how big a deal they are when she loses her job over them.

  9. This is what happens when you look at everything in the world as a worst case scenario. It cannot be healthy.

    Worse the university went on to validate this worldview because to do otherwise would be another catastrophe to complain about.

    1. It's a really counterproductive reaction to perceived adversity called "Catastrophizing". Fits nicely into the disordered, writhing, pile of dysfunction people in the "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" business call a personality.

  10. OK, finding a list of yourself and fellow-students on the whiteboard does seem a bit creepy (whether or not race is a factor), and it at least deserves an inquiry.

    I didn't say a freakout. Not a walkout of class. But asking around to find out who made the list.

    And of course it turns out that it wasn't the Klan, but some BIPOCS (since that's the new term I suppose) who had the idea for the list.

    It would be very surprising if there was an active white-supremacist group on campus willing to make such a gesture - so it might have been a good idea to suspend judgment. In any case, once they found out it wasn't (that) creepy, that would also be the time to say, oh well, I guess we'll have to find another reason to freak out.

    1. Sarcasmic made the list.

    2. I get what you're saying, but the idea that a white supremacist group set up shop in a drama classroom to draw up a hit list of BIPOC students they'd only know if they were actually in the drama program should require no more than two seconds of actual thought to dismiss as absurd. These students saw something that didn't look right and immediately jumped to the most alarmist possible conclusion with no attempt at critical analysis of the concern.

      1. These are drama students. Pretty much by definition they have an overactive imagination and think of the most interesting story for anything that they see. I can see an initial shock and wild imagination about what it might mean.

        Now, they should have relaxed once they realized the truth, but I can't blame them for dreaming up stories with high stakes. That is literally what they are going to school for.

      2. The drama department is the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSITY.

        Surely everyone know each member by name!

  11. Can we rename it the privileged board?

    1. Not if there is a list of 'BIPOC' students on it

  12. I think a list on a whiteboard of people who are classifying people by skin color SHOULD be investigated by the school, and those involved need remedial classes in anti-racism.

    And everyone involved in purchasing and putting on public display a WHITEboard, should be fired. How rude.

    1. I think a list on a whiteboard of people who are classifying people by skin color SHOULD be investigated by the school, and those involved need remedial classes in anti-racism.

      This is how we used to deal with racism.

      1. I was thinking the people standing around making lists of people based on race should be mercilessy and publicly ridiculed (Seriously, WTF?).

        I'm unable to determine if this makes me a literal old-school bully or woke.

        1. "I’m unable to determine if this makes me a literal old-school bully or woke."

          What difference, at this point, does it make?

  13. But does the university serve fried chicken and watermelon on a daily basis in the mess hall?

    1. Snowball isn't going to be happy if they don't.

    2. It’s Eastern NC, so yes, along with sides of collard greens.

      1. Grits, General; don't forget grits.

  14. the next class saw it and thought that non-white students had been singled out for some nefarious purpose. A protest was planned.

    As opposed to:

    "The next class saw it and thought that non-white students had been singled out for some wholesome purpose. A celebration was planned."

    1. Their K-12 CRT curriculum kicked in and they went in the direction of bad and klandestine.

    2. Or perhaps, "an investigation into what was happening was requested"

      Seriously. Why would you jump to a protest? You don't even know what's happening. Even if the worst case scenario was true and it was a hit list, why would you protest the school, who obviously didn't do it and will be the one coordinating with law enforcement.

      1. Even if the worst case scenario was true and it was a hit list, why would you protest the school, who obviously didn’t do it and will be the one coordinating with law enforcement.

        I don't want to live in a world where this isn't a blithe MLK reference.

        1. My question is. Why an adult never stepped to the plate in the next class and put a stop to it. For all they knew it could have been a list of people receiving awards or gifts of money.

          Bottom line the university should be shut down due to incompetence. Why would anyone of value choose a supposed school that lack critical thinking skills?

      2. Woke idiots have been protesting without knowing what is happening for years now.

  15. Why this article is in a magazine presumably promoting freedom, I have no idea. What more evidence do you need that, given any freedom at all, people will act batshit insane?

  16. This reminds me of a recent incident in my former high school. There was racist graffiti and of course, it turned out to have been a black student that did it. But the hurt "was real", so that didn't matter.

  17. Good grief Charlie Brown! One must assume that every single student gets butt hurt by someone speaking to them now days. How do these people function in society? I can't imagine their thoughts to someone passing them on the street and saying "HI" to them without it generating some horrible reaction in their small minds.

  18. A list of names on a white board triggered and hurt their feelings?

    WTF is wrong with people?!

    1. They're leftists. Enough said.

  19. I don't want to criticize universities, I want to end taxpayer funding of universities.

    1. Maybe put the instructors on commission?
      Pay per lesson at the door?
      Mandate that the administration cannot exceed 5% of the staff?
      Jail anyone with "diversity" or "inclusion" in their title?
      Eliminate loans? (they can drive trucks until they save enough)

      1. I'm averaging $2k a week, 1099, with a CDL that took me 12 weeks and $750 to get. It's a considerably better deal than a $50k theater degree...

    2. Hunahd Pahcent

  20. If congress can spend their valuable time investigating whether Barry Bonds was drugged, a university can investigate 'hurt feelings'.
    Nothing important is going on, may as well focus on trivia.

  21. Wholly apart from what is happening to this professor, where did we get the notion that accusers who were completely wrong about a situation are nonetheless told that their “feelings” are “valid” and their “hurt” is “real” such that “corrective action” needs to be taken so that the situation that they completely misconstrued “never happens again?”

    Does this logic apply, say, to a man who erroneously accuses his wife of adultery because he saw her having lunch with “another man” who turned out to be her brother, whom the husband didn’t recognize?

    For that matter, does this logic apply to Trump supporters who erroneously believe that the 2020 election was stolen?

    1. "Erroneously", like how SARS-Cov-2 was "erroneously" reported to have originated in a Chinese bioweapons research lab under the direction of America's own Tony Fauci?

    2. At least you got your name right.

  22. "This in no way undermines the feelings that any of you feel about this incident,"

    Yes, it does. It undermines the feelings because they were wrong. The snowflakes were wrong. They made an assumption without having all of the facts and it turns out

    1. ^+1
      Do not pander to such bullshit, and call it for the bullshit it is. No one should be rewarded for whining.

    2. oops. double post

  23. "This in no way undermines the feelings that any of you feel about this incident,"

    Yes, it does. It significantly undermines these feelings because they were wrong. The snowflakes were wrong. They made incorrect assumptions without having all of the facts and it turns out that they were very badly mistaken. They should take the opportunity to learn from the experience not to assume the worst in people, let alone do so because of the color of those people's skin.

    They won't learn, however, because we see what happens when adults try to help them learn that lesson. They get fired.

  24. "It should have never happened and the DEI committee will be discussing with faculty and students the gravity of the situation and how to handle these requests in the future."

    What?

  25. So a group of racial minority students build a list of racial minority students to target for inclusion in their group. Another group of students see it and assumes it is a white hate group and freaks out.

    Maybe the lesson learned here should be that racially exclusionary groups look a lot alike from a high view.

    1. Nailed it!

  26. "a resource for new students who are looking to be in community with other BIPOC students [...] should have never have happened"

    That seems excessive on the part of the school. Have they not considered their words here?

    1. ^ If only that was what they meant.

  27. I'm really hoping reality plays Supernanny to the College Family, with Dean and Dei (D,E&I) taking their turns in the naughty chair along with the kids. Administrators are emboldening these students and they need a wake-up, too.

  28. New courses coming to a University near you.

    Embracing fragility.
    Collective bullying.
    Wrong Think: how to sniff it out and punish the perpetrators.

  29. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

    I'm guessing "equity" comes before "inclusion" so nobody will be tempted to abbreviate it the DIE Committee.

    1. And they think of themselves as gods.

  30. "There's little benefit to making diversity synonymous with absurdity."

    On the contrary, that's the point.

    It's all about power. Forcing people to do and say reasonable things isn't enough, except for run of the mill hall monitor types.

    Forcing people to do and say *un*reasonable things, truly insane things, *that's* where the real power rush is.

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