Campus Free Speech

Letter from USC Marshall School of Business Alumni About the "Neige" / Prof. Greg Patton Controversy

"This current incident, and Marshall's response so far, seem disturbingly similar to prevalent behavior in China [during the Cultural Revolution]—spurious accusations against innocent people, which escalated into institutional insanity."

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An anonymous reader sent me what appears to be a copy of the letter mentioned in the L.A. Times article a few days ago. Here is the substance; for more on the controversy itself, see this post and this one:

Dear Deans, USC Administration, the Marshall School of Business and Alumni;

We write to you with great concern about the apparent removal of Prof. Greg Patton from his teaching role in GSBA 542 Communication in the Marshall School of Business at USC and the false claims that continue to circulate about the events. We have the following observations:

  • All of us have gained enormous benefit from the academic leadership of Prof. Patton. His caring, wisdom and inclusiveness were a hallmark of our educational experience and growth at USC and the foundation of our continued success in the years following.
  • We represent more than a dozen nationalities and ethnicities and support the global inclusiveness Professor Patton brings to the classroom. Most of us are Chinese, some ethnically, some by nationality, and many others have spent extensive time in China. Most of us live in China. We unanimously recognize Prof Patton's use of 'nei ge' as an accurate rendition of common Chinese use, and an entirely appropriate and quite effective illustration of the use of pauses. Prof Patton used this example and hundreds of others in our classes over the years, providing richness, relevance and real world impact.
  • A few of us, but many of our parents, lived through mainland China's Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). This current incident, and Marshall's response so far, seem disturbingly similar to prevalent behavior in China at that time—spurious accusations against innocent people, which escalated into institutional insanity. In the United States on 9 June 1954, the counsel for the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, said to Senator Joseph McCarthy, 'have you no sense of decency?' Welch's question eloquently pointed attention toward McCarthy's misrepresentations and helped bring an end to the madness. It took courage to end the harm in both cases and we seek that from USC and Marshall.
  • We fully support social and economic equality and justice, an end to police brutality, and necessary criminal justice reform in the United States. It is in part because those goals are so vital that we deplore what seems to be Marshall's response so far; such ignorant and false charges as those leveled against Prof. Patton demean the importance of those goals, subvert essential social change and are deeply counter-productive.
  • We also find the motivation behind these charges highly questionable. After many years of the example's use, and positive feedback, this year the example suddenly caused deep mental health consequences and mental exhaustion? It seems entirely appropriate that the person or persons who brought forth such abusive and dishonest charges should be reprimanded strongly by Marshall not only for the obvious Student Conduct and Integrity violation, but for demeaning the important cause they pretend to stand for.
  • We are also deeply disappointed that the spurious charge has the additional feature of casting insult toward the Chinese language, the most spoken in the world, and characterized it and its usage as vile. We feel Marshall should be open to diversity in all areas—not only those areas convenient for the moment. We further suggest that any attempt to degrade this matter and suggest that a Chinese word different in sound, tone, accent, context and language itself is "exactly like" an offensive US term would be naive, a disgusting and intentional stretch and would further degrade important societal discussion.

We earnestly hope that our collective voices in this matter will help Marshall reach the ethically required decision in this matter: complete exoneration of Prof. Patton, and probably a reprimand to the ignorant-at-best instigators of such deplorable and false accusations. Below our list of names, you may see some of our individual comments about this matter….

Sincerely, Alumni of the University of Southern California & The Marshall School of Business

[102 signatory names, graduation dates, and geographical locations omitted. -EV]

The document I received closes with what it labels "Some typical individual reactions from our global USC alumni community":

  • "For such a group of administrators to misconstrue this specific situation is purely ignorance on their individual part and on the MBA program, Marshall School, and USC as a whole."

  • "I am so disappointed with [Dean Garrett] and his decision."
  • "I think what's going on in US is kind of 'Culture Revolution'. We experienced in our history. It's a Nightmare. Anything you say can be enlarged to be something 'Political Guilty' if you don't extremely express in the way of 'political right'. We must support Prof Greg. I truly hope USC don't lose his rational judgment."
  • "'那个那个那个'—this has nothing to do with racism!"
  • "Extremely disappointed in the USC Marshall leadership in the handling and communication of this situation."
  • "What he said in the video clip is absolutely appropriate to me, and, I believe, appropriate to anyone who can understand Chinese."
  • "This is so ridiculous culturally, and even politically."
  • "This morning, I am shocked to hear that Marshall school removed the GSBA-542 teaching and remainder responsibility of Professor Greg Patton because he applied Chinese dialect 'neige-neige' (equal to 'that') during the class. It is just most Chinese in nature to use this tone during the oral talking. Nothing matters to racism."
  • "Prof Patton was an instructor for my program through multiple sessions and I found him to be one of the most talented teachers an communicators that I have ever had the pleasure to learn from. He fostered an extremely inclusive learning environment and worked tirelessly both inside and outside the classroom to connect with each and every student in the class."
  • "I studied with Professor Greg Patton during 2004–2006, when he taught me 'communication.' I can't forget what he gave a wonderful teaching in the 'communication,' and his leadership and passion to people with diversified background impressed me deeply. I would say he is one of the better professors I ever met in my life who does not only give world 1st class fantastic teaching in the subject, but also get along well with everybody he met with full He always tries his best to build-up value to his students and people surrounding him from his knowledge, experience, and skills … Many of us had benefited from his teaching and leadership in our career and daily life afterwards."
  • "But his speech content has nothing to with racism!"
  • "Too crazy!!!!"
  • "He is great assets of USC and Marshall school and entire our community. To give such bad treatment to him is totally unbelievable and would hurt and destroy our community value and confidence to school."
  • "If you had been in China long enough and learn more about how people act in so-called culture revolution 50 years ago, you will know it could be just someone hold a grudge with Prof. Greg and took the chance to ruin him."
  • "Ridiculous stuff!"
  • "I took communication class by Prof. Patton. He is respected very much by me and my classmates. We are impressed with his wisdom, kindness, and inclusiveness. We would never link him to any kind of racism."
  • "Why someone oppose to use '那个那个那个…' [na ge na ge na ge] and refer it as tough words or racism. Can anyone educate me?"
  • "Greg should give this dean a lecture on communication, and especially on crisis communication management."
  • "I went through Culture Revolution as a teenager. The fact of this becoming a concern to some and the handling by the Marshall management even if unwillingly, reminds me that crazy dark period in Chinese history."
  • "You can easily find it in the video. Obviously Professor Greg is totally innocent and in fact he did the same when he taught us in the class, and I assume he did for other classes as well since it's a part of his lesson and make people know the communication principle of using pause in your conversation. I don't want to assume is there anything behind caused this unreasonable blaming, but Professor Greg did NOTHING wrong! Support him for sure and please COUNT ME IN."
  • "It's so culturally, socially and politically naive to behave in this way …."
  • "This is not a derogatory remark in any context. This is an example of words being used for effect as per the lesson. The word used is also tonal, where an English has no tones, further separating it from the expected phrase."
  • "While not a native speaker of Chinese I lived and worked in China for over 12 years and become proficient in mandarin Chinese over this time. That being said, am absolutely dumbfounded by the school's decision to discipline Prof Patton for his use of an extremely common filler expression in Chinese within the context of the larger discussion around pausing or 'filling' during a conversation to collect ones thoughts or provide added message impact."
  • "In rewatching the video Professor Patton even explains before he said 那个那个exactly what it means … and states it is a foreign language. In fact it was an outstanding example of how language is used in communication and students should feel lucky to get a professor's international insight about commutation in the fastest growing second largest economy in the world …. Chinese examples should be prized in a truly global education curriculum like Garrett pretends to adhere to …"
  • "Horrible political correctness"

For whatever it's worth, the signatories' geographical locations do appear to be overwhelmingly in China, Singapore, Taiwan, with many of the remainder being elsewhere in the Far East, where various versions of Chinese are indeed likely often heard. It thus seems likely that they are in a position to know what they're talking about with regard to how normal the phrase is in, and that they represent the reactions of at least some reasonable segment of Chinese speakers. Likewise, for whatever it's worth, the bulk of the names appear ethnically Chinese, though of course the case of the famous Chinese-American Civil War general shows the inaccuracy of such assumptions. (Or was he Korean?)

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: September 7, 1958

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  1. Interesting. Some folks in the other thread were claiming that this was nothing like the cultural revolution, but I suppose we should defer to people who were actually there.

    If fact, woke religious principals would insist that we defer to them.

    1. If we don’t they will continue to burn down our cities and murder us.

      But it’s not a cultural revolution.

    2. A few months ago I read a history of the Chinese revolution, ‘The Tragedy of Liberation’, by Frank Dikotter. I recommend it.

    3. But they’re Asian persons, meaning in the grievance scale they’re right above white men, and below the “their opinion doesn’t matter” cutoff line.

    4. Yeah, I still think invoking the actual deaths and purges of Mao with this is cheapening the mass deaths of Mao.

      This is dumb as hell and damaging to academic freedom and I hope it stops, but FFS it’s not Mao’s struggle sessions.

      1. I was reading that history without any sense of it being linked to current events. And I read the descriptions of the struggle sessions, and then a couple of days later the video came around of the ‘activists’ going into that college library and forcing all the studying students to stand up and sing along with them.

        And it struck me that zealots are dangerous, then and now. Once you cross that bridge into ‘it’s OK for me to force others to agree with me’, you are in dangerous waters.

      2. Do you have a problem with people who actually lived through it throwing up warning flags? If so, why?

        1. I do – I don’t think they have some special privileged wherein they are not cheapening the dead when they invoke it for these individualized and nowhere near deadly events.

          1. Whatever happened to “never again”?

            1. Sarcastr0 thinks the point of learning from the mistakes of the past is knowing when to make them again.

          2. Exactly. These people shouldn’t complain until after they’re actually put to death. Until that happens, they have nothing to complain about.

          3. I guess Prof. Volokh “cheapens” gulag victims when he says his experience living in Russia makes him supportive of free speech protections in the U.S.

            1. Prof Volokh doesn’t say ‘The USSR is basically what liberals want.’

              1. And where does the letter quoted here say anything about “what liberals want”?

                1. This current incident, and Marshall’s response so far, seem disturbingly similar to prevalent behavior in China at that time—spurious accusations against innocent people, which escalated into institutional insanity.

                  What do you think this quote says, if not argue that what liberals are doing here is basically Maoism?

                  Certainly that’s what the commenters here are picking up.

                  1. And Prof. Volokh has also criticized university administrations, invoking his Russian background and experience. I don’t understand the distinction you are drawing between him and the writers of this letter.

                    1. I have not seen Prof. Volokh invoke gulags in his criticism. Or the mass deaths of Communism at all.

                      If he does so, I’ll be disappointed.

                    2. To be precise, I was speaking there of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union — still repressive, but much more rarely murderous — and not the Stalin era. “This might get back to the place you work. You might be fired, or blacklisted. By the 1970s, you probably didn’t have to worry much about being shot, or being sent to Siberia; these were not the 1930s. But lost jobs, ruined careers — sure. And a forced public apology: well, of course, that might help a bit.”

                    3. Thanks, I hate it.

                    4. “Thanks, I hate it.”

                      Let me try to explain where I’m coming from.

                      IIRC, you live in D.C. or its suburbs. I doubt you worry about wildfires (I didn’t, when I lived there). I, though, have spent much of my life in wildfire country; they are kind of a big deal out here. Just yesterday we had some bad fire weather, and 80% of a small town in SE Washington burned to the ground.

                      I have had a some personal experiences:
                      1)I worked on USFS fire crews in college. I have seen a wall of flame taller than I was coming toward me, moving faster than I could run. I lost my eyebrows in that one.
                      2)I have seen a sudden 50 ft diameter column of smoke rise up 200 yds from my house. This was a dry August, where multiple houses had been burned around town (the Fire Dept was there in minutes, thank God, and stopped it).
                      3)I have been hiking and happened on a recently lightning struck tree that was just lighting off the surrounding woods. My wife and I spend the next few hours frantically scrabbling on our knees, using our bare hands to build a fire line, trying to contain it until the pros arrived (they did, eventually, but we didn’t know that until they arrived).

                      With that background, when I’m laying there at night, miles from nowhere, and I smell smoke, I wake right the eff up, and climb the nearest ridge to see where it’s coming from. Usually, it’s miles away, and we’re not in danger. But it’s just not something where you roll over and hope it’s not close. As the saying goes, the odds matter, but so do the stakes.

                      That’s my lived experience with wildfires. Prof. V. has his lived experience with totalitarianism, which I have only experienced vicariously by reading history.

                      The incident described in the OP is that whiff of smoke as you lay in your sleeping bag. If you’ve never been close to a wildfire, rolling over and going back to sleep may seem reasonable – smoke can travel hundreds of miles, what are the odds it’s close, after all? But if you have been close to one, I assure you that you are thinking about the stakes rather than the odds, and you get right out of that sleeping bag.

                      That, I think, is why Prof. V. made this post, that’s why the people who lived through the Chinese Revolution wrote the letter, and that is why I worry.

                    5. I disagree with the Prof. on this slippery slope being a useful prediction to make at this point.

                      He doesn’t have additional authority to countermand my thinking merely due to his lived experience.

                      I would prefer to invoke the specter of mass killings more rarely so that people will listen to them more seriously. Others would prefer to invoke them often, to make extra sure.

                      Look at the shitshow of these comments. Hard not to see the same reaction occurring elsewhere. All heat, no light. This doesn’t strike me as a productive invocation.

                    6. “I would prefer to invoke the specter of mass killings more rarely”

                      Neither Prof V, in his ‘bus in Kiev’ post, or I, have said a word about mass killings. I have said, and he alluded to, the notion that allowing people to define topics as out of bounds, such that reasonable people start to self censor out of fear of the mob, is a bad road to start down.

                      “He doesn’t have additional authority to countermand my thinking merely due to his lived experience”

                      Indeed. Do you feel that either Prof V, or I, or people who lived through the Cultural Revolution, or the Holocaust are attempting to silence you? If you want to roll over in your sleeping bag and ignore the smoke, you are free to do so. But please don’t object if I, having walked a different path in life, get up to hike up the ridge and have a look. At worst, I waste the effort, but if in fact the fire is closer than we thought, you benefit as well. Telling me that you have never been near a forest fire, and therefore aren’t worried about one, is rather cold comfort to anyone who has been near one.

                  2. “What do you think this quote says, if not argue that what liberals are doing here is basically Maoism?”

                    Well, let’s see, the quote refers to, “This current incident, and Marshall’s response so far…”.

                    Now, you are implying that this is equivalent to “what liberals are doing…” in a more general sense. OK, I guess we agree on that. I would have expected more pushback.

                    Then is says, “…seem disturbingly similar to prevalent behavior … escalated into institutional insanity.”

                    So they’re saying that it isn’t Maoism. Yet.

                    1. Not just me.

                      How many comments here have picked up on that and said the purges are coming?

                  3. Excellent on two grounds, Sarcastr0. You’ve read into the quote what you want it to mean rather than what it says in rather clear terms. The quote in no way suggests that anyone is trying to bring about show trials, struggle sessions, or Maoism. You make this falsehood not your error, but what other commenters think, which is a laughable. Mindreading comes naturally to you, no?

                    1. BS, Hank. All of that is ‘prevalent behavior in China at that time.’

                      Again, the proof is in all the commenters who are suddenly bringing up how liberals are soon going to start the killings unless we stop them here. Do you think they got the idea somewhere else?

      3. Even Mao didn’t START with mass deaths. Are you committed to not recognizing what is going on until it’s too late?

        If you don’t want to travel to the end of a road, you need to look at the road signs BEFORE your journey is finished.

        1. It’s never too late for Baghdad Sarcastro to not recognize what’s going on.

          1. I’ll wait for actual deaths, before comparing people to mass killers, thanks.

            1. I’ll wait for actual deaths

              Waiting until it’s too late is always the smart move.

              1. Actually, you can be against something without melodramatically calling it murders-in-waiting.

                1. Sure…if you want to just ignore the most important reasons for being against it in the first place.

        2. The Red Guard terror literally started with a couple of big posters at a university.

          1. This is a perfect example of why we don’t need a counter-purity test comparing every incremental act to mass deaths. Otherwise we’d be forced to take down every big poster at a university. The problem with the communists is not that they were too open to communist speech. It’s that they weren’t open to other speech.

            When you treat “big posters” as “road signs” to mass death, what do you think the purpose is other than to demonize the speakers you disagree with? That’s what fascists and communists throughout history do. You don’t have an Anti-Rightist Campaign without the CCP treating any tepid support for capitalism as an attack on communism itself.

            Moreover, if you accuse every act of university misfeasance as the first step towards totalitarian rule, you’re just going to weaken the brand. Whenever someone accuses the President of being like Hitler, does that score points with you? Or do you just tune them out?

            1. +2

              And calling Trump Hitler is also silly as hell.

            2. Your pal thinks that because there are no current murders, it can’t be a Red Guard situation. Because he wants to minimize his/your side being bad.

              Every movement starts with something.

              1. “Every movement starts with something.”

                Again, perfect example of why your insistence on maximizing every event to its worst imaginable result gets us nowhere. Since every movement starts somewhere, every movement–every action, really–is going to have an observable relationship with some horrible thing that happened somewhere, in history. The communists depended on this. You don’t get to employ bad means unless you assume the ends are even worse. The worst offenses against human liberty always depend on movementarians losing all perspective on scale, proportionality, etc. of risk. You think you’re standing on the ramparts protecting us from [evil group] and then you realize you’re on the wrong side of a struggle session.

                Whatever my “pal thinks”, I think it isn’t a “Red Guard situation” anytime somebody puts up “a couple of big posters at a university”. That isn’t an apologia for the posters. If the posters are wrong, I’ll happily confront that wrongness in real time.

            3. This is certainly correct. I certainly wouldn’t want to start comparing Trump to Hitler, or Wokeness to the cultural revolution, because as someone remote in both time and place from these events I don’t know enough to get a sense of when the comparison seems genuine.

              1. Nice whattaboutism.

                If I agree the left is also silly on the issue, will you agree this example is also overdoing it?

          2. And Hitler started out as a boisterous drunk in a beer hall.

        3. Nor did Hitler — the Holocaust started with the euthanasia of the disabled.

      4. Yeah, I still think invoking the actual deaths and purges of Mao with this is cheapening the mass deaths of Mao.

        I’m sure you said the same thing about the left referring to ICE detainment centers as “concentration camps”, labeling political opponents as “fascists” and “nazis”, etc.

        I’m just kidding, of course. What I’m sure of is that you’re far too much of a dishonest hypocrite for that.

        1. I got into it about concentration camps, making the distinction between those and death camps, but eventually taking the point about the charged term.

          Took me a thread or two, I will admit.

          I take it you do not remember.

          1. I got into it about concentration camps, making the distinction between those and death camps

            Because no matter how obvious the propaganda is, your first instinct is to defend it…provided it’s coming from your side.

            Took me a thread or two

            See above.

            I take it you do not remember.

            You’ll have to forgive me if I fail to dig through your mountains of bullshit in order to find the rare acknowledgement of reality.

            1. You’re not wrong – I could do better with my reflexive tribalism. But the important thing is that I came around.

              But your knee is jerking pretty well on this one, I’d note. Think you’ll come around?

              1. I’m sure we will see a similar mea culpa when the BLM death squads evolve from assault to murder.

                1. That ship has sailed.

                  CB

        2. I’m sure you said the same thing about the left […] labeling political opponents as ‘fascists’ and ‘nazis'”

          If it bothers you to be called a fascist or a Nazi, stop doing and saying things that make you look and sound like a fascist or a Nazi.

  2. Of course, woke progressives know more about Mandarin than actual Chinese do.

  3. WADR, they are too nice to the Dean. The only way to stem this is to push back hard.
    The Dean should be forced to resign for acting like a moron. And, as Prof. Volokh pointed out, he is doing a great disservice to the complaining students and other black students.

    1. Push back hard? After more than a half-century of getting stomped in the culture war, you figure conservatives are suddenly going to reverse that tide and start pushing rather than swallowing even more American progress?

      All-talk, delusional right-wingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      Open wider.

      1. I appreciate the concession that this is a left wing versus right-wing issue, with the left on the side of ignorance and xenophobia and the right on the side of progress and multiculturalism.

        1. I don’t see as much of an issue here, left or right, beyond a lathering point for right-wingers who love nipping at the ankles of their betters.

          I also do not expect conservatives to be “pushing back hard,” at least not effectively, on anything. Not until they ditch the bigotry and backwardness, that is. Until then, the clingers will continue to get swamped in the culture war by the liberal-libertarian mainstream. Even when right-wingers are right about something, they will increasingly tend to lose the debate in America until they shed the intolerance, ignorance, backwardness, and belligerent superstition.

          1. intolerance, ignorance, backwardness, and belligerent superstition

            Look, I know your mother was kind enough to put curtains on it for you, but that mirror isn’t a window.

        2. I don’t see it as Left v. Right as much as collectivist v. individualistic.

          It also has overtones of Progressive v. Populist.

          Of course, I don’t see all that much difference between the far Left and the far Right….

          1. “Of course, I don’t see all that much difference between the far Left and the far Right”

            But you know which brand you prefer…

        3. Just Christ you just worked him harder than I work his wife.

      2. Lol first the left has to humiliate itself by defending the claim that 2+2=5, and now this. That’s a strange religion you’ve got there, Artie.

        1. I’m not defending anything. I’m mocking the proposition that clingers are going to win the public and political debates in America — or “push back” effectively at the mainstream — any time soon.

          1. “I’m not defending anything.”

            You said that this was, “a lathering point for right-wingers who love nipping at the ankles of their betters…”

            Which people involved in this incident our our betters, Arthur?

            1. The people who operate and prefer America’s strongest (liberal-libertarian) schools.

      3. You do a disservice to the left by presuming they are all lemmings running in lockstep to screetch how pretty the emperor’s new clothes are, every last bauble and string.

        Can’t you see? Only the ignorant can’t see the finery!

        1. Been there, had to listen to crap like this.

          Grrrrr…..

        2. “One of our Culture War Betters”

          So you’re conceding? Gosh, I hope the Rev doesn’t get a swelled head or something.

      4. More delusional blah-blah from Clinger Kirkland, master troll

        1. Delusion is thinking that conservatives haven’t been stomped in the American culture war throughout the lives of everyone reading this; that they didn’t deserve it; or that they are in position to reverse that tide.

  4. Urban Dictionary should be taught so students can learn which words to avoid. They will also be delighted to learn the American meanings of Wang, Ho, and Woo.

    1. Apparently a woke student could claim mental anguish and exhaustion at hearing someone’s last name of “Ho”, and get the government to punish a teacher with the temerity to call out for absences on the first day of class.

      1. Are you familiar with American comedic actor Ken Jeong? You might want to check out his Netflix comedy special.

  5. “If you had been in China long enough and learn more about how people act in so-called culture revolution 50 years ago, you will know it could be just someone hold a grudge with Prof. Greg and took the chance to ruin him.”

    While I would have used the word “opportunity” rather than “chance”, I suspect that this person summarizes *exactly* what happened. Someone either had a grudge with Patton or wanted to teach his class and used this opportunity to ruin him.

    And I know enough native-Mandarin speakers to recognize the little grammar stuff — that paragraph is legit. Besides, don’t you think that USC knows who it’s alumni are, particularly if it is hitting them up for donations?

    The only question is cui bono?

    Who benefited from this — that is the question people ought to be asking….

    1. “Who benefited from this — that is the question people ought to be asking….

      You trying to figure out how you can get your cut?

  6. Clearly the answer is we need to send more educated white people to China to correct their language usage.

    1. Why not? We have video of white people screaming at a black shop owner whose business was burned, and black police officers, that they don’t understand their own oppression status.

      Such is the power of feeling you’ve latched onto a deep truth.

  7. A single event in academia has taken over the Conspiracy.

    It really is true. Only academics can invest so much emotion into something so trivial.

    1. Yeah, why would someone whose main focus is free speech and academic freedom spend so much focus on an event like this? It really is a puzzler.

      1. THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY
        has operated for
        ONE (1) DAY
        without using a
        vile racial slur and for
        501 DAYS
        without imposing
        viewpoint-driven censorship.

        The 500-day milestone is a welcome one, but let’s not get carried away . . . people whose “main focus is free speech” do not engage in repeated, viewpoint-driven, partisan censorship.

        1. a vile racial slur like “neige” lmao

          1. Wrong. The Volokh Conspiracy — from its proprietor to commenters — uses the real thing, as often as the opportunity can be arranged.

            1. A real thing like “neige” lmao

              1. go neige yourself.

    2. It’s amazing how many of these “single event[s] in academia” just keep happening. It’s almost like a trend. Remember, the plural of anecdote IS data.

      1. Strident censorship happens every day at conservative-controlled campuses. Clingers prefer to ignore this point and hope no one notices while right-wingers nip at the ankles of their betters.

        1. That’s like saying NY Yankees fans are censored at Fenway Park.

          1. I’m sure they feel welcomed by all the love flowing their way.

      2. Data requires a baseline and some actual statistical study, which is why anecdotes, even a lot of them, do not add up to data.

        1. Data requires a baseline and some actual statistical study

          And gold isn’t gold until the king mints it into coin, right?

          Before an analysis of data may happen, that data must be collected. But you’re saying that can’t happen, because data does not exist independent of an analysis of it. That’s quite the catch-22 you’ve conjured up in that fevered imagination of yours.

          1. Yeah, I saw it when Krychek_2 said don’t collect any data.

            1. Yeah, I saw it when Krychek_2 said don’t collect any data.

              Did you see it when I claimed that was what he said? No…because that’s not what I said. If you weren’t such a pathological liar you might actually be able to make it through a post or two without resorting to your pathetic straw man schtick. But you are, so you can’t.

              1. Gold is gold before it’s made into coin but it’s difficult to spend until it’s been made into coin.

                Yes, collect data, by all means. But “we have documented 160 examples of X” is a useless statement, standing alone, because it doesn’t tell us 160 *out of how many*. If it’s 160 events out of 3 million, then that’s not very many. If it’s 160 out of 160, then that’s different. You need a baseline to know how common any of these events actually are.

                I have no doubt there are idiots in academia, and this dean certainly sounds like one of them. But taking academia as a whole, how common is a situation like this? I suspect not as common as you might think, and that it appears more common than it actually is because deans who don’t act like idiots don’t make the news. But, that’s just suspicion on my part; I don’t have any hard data either. I’d like to see some if anyone has any.

                1. Gold is gold before it’s made into coin but it’s difficult to spend until it’s been made into coin.

                  Which is, of course, not the point, nor is it relevant to your claim…which was that something doesn’t become data unless/until it is subject to analysis. The problem is that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what “data” is. Here’s a good explanation of why the old trope “The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data'” is ill-informed nonsense:

                  https://terbiumlabs.com/2016/06/02/the-plural-of-anecdote-is-data-not-evidence/#:~:text=YES%2C%20THE%20PLURAL%20OF%20ANECDOTE%20IS%20DATA.&text=There%20is%20nothing%20wrong%20with,the%20population%20on%20its%20own.

                  1. Wiz, you saw Krychek_2 ask for a baseline – quoted it in fact. This exchange started out with him asking for the data gathering, cleaning and analysis you accuse him of rendering an impossibility.

                    He’s saying a list of anecdotes alone – as this blog is doing – is not amenable to analysis of a trend. Do you disagree?

                    Quite frankly, it’s hard to get your counterargument from around all your insults.

                  2. OK, I never said that data is not data unless/until it is subject to analysis, and if your reading comprehension is so bad that you think that’s what I said, then it will be hard to carry on a conversation with you. In fact, what I said is the exact opposite of that: It is data before it’s been subjected to analysis, it’s just not *useful* data until it’s been subjected to analysis. Go back and re-read what I said, carefully this time.

                    1. Analysis turns data into information.

                      Back in the 60’s and 70’s, the guys who ran all the computers worked in “data processing” Over the years, they’ve all been moved to either “information systems” or “Information Technology”.

          2. Not to mention that qualitative research is considered legitimate, particularly by the left.

            1. Legitimate, but not predictive or generalizable.

              Read up on social science sometime, it’s kinda mindblowing about one’s conception of science.

      3. ” the plural of anecdote IS data.”

        but data and information are not equivalent terms.

    3. About 200 hundred writers and academics apparently disagree:

      https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/

      1. And when you scroll down the list of names, some of them are decidedly on the left side of the spectrum. It must be really, really bad for them to sign onto this.

        1. Or maybe some of us on the left side of the spectrum also think what USC did was ridiculous, as is the behavior of administrators in many of the other cases EV cites.

          Of course we also don’t think prior restraint, retaliation against authors who write unfavorable books about the President, attacks on Amazon because of the WaPo, etc. are particularly respectful of free expression either, but we don’t hear much about those incidents here.

          It’s almost as if some see the 1A as a weapon rather than a principle.

          1. The point of what I posted is that this is not an isolated incident. If you read the Harper’s letter, you can see that many are alarmed and consider it to be a widespread problem.

            prior restraint, retaliation against authors who write unfavorable books about the President, attacks on Amazon because of the WaPo, etc.

            Can you give some examples of these? AFAIK, all we have seen is criticism (albeit childish, narcissistic criticism) of the press. The president has the same First Amendment rights as anyone else, including criticizing his critics, even if he exercises his rights like a jackass.

            1. Well, the Trumps did go to court to try and prevent the publication of the niece’s book. That was a non-disclosure fight, not a 1A fight, but it is still a bit unseemly.

              Then there was the Bolton book. The objection there was on national security grounds. I haven’t been following that one … IIRC the book has been published, and the last I heard Trump was threatening prosecution. Again, a little unseemly.

            2. Well, they tried to send Cohen back to prison unless he stopped writing his book.

              He tried to prevent both Bolton and his niece from publishing their books.

              The administration handed Microsoft, rather than Amazon, a huge DoD contract and there are grounds for thinking it was an anti-WaPo move.

              Trump tried to deny reporters critical of him WH credentials.

              He called for the Fox reporter who confirmed the Atlantic story about his remarks about soldiers to be fired.

              etc.

              1. “Well, they tried to send Cohen back to prison unless he stopped writing his book.”

                If you are released from prison on humanitarian grounds, it ought to be *for* humanitarian grounds. It’s like former (MA) House Speaker Salvatore “Sal” DiMasi who was released from prison in 2016 so he could come home and die from terminal cancer — and now wants to be licensed as a lobbyist.

                “He tried to prevent both Bolton and his niece from publishing their books.”

                Both had signed contracts, for consideration, that precluded them from doing so. IMHO, it’s the same thing with nondisclosure agreements — while I think they should be banned by legislative fiat, if you take good money to promise to keep your mouth shut about something, you should.

                Or don’t sign the contract.

                “The administration handed Microsoft, rather than Amazon, a huge DoD contract and there are grounds for thinking it was an anti-WaPo move.”

                Because Microsoft is such a bastion of MAGA supporters…

                What I fail to understand is why the “Social Justice” Left is ignoring the increasingly-documented horrendous working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses and delivery system.

                “Trump tried to deny reporters critical of him WH credentials.”

                As opposed to what Obama did?!?!?

                “He called for the Fox reporter who confirmed the Atlantic story about his remarks about soldiers to be fired.”

                Two words: James Rosen.

                See: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/obama-whose-administration-prosecuted-and-spied-on-reporters-claims-trump-is-very-bad-for-criticizing-newsrooms

                1. It’s not a very convincing refutation of the idea that this is something both sides are doing to just fall back to whataboutism. At best you’re proving that yes, indeed, both sides do this.

                  1. Why should one side be able to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow the Marquis of Queensbury Rules?*

                    Trump is the first Republican to realize that he has to play by the rules that the Left plays by, that he must be as ruthless as they. Not by choice, but by necessity.

                    *Credit to Justice Scalia, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul.

                2. If you are released from prison on humanitarian grounds, it ought to be *for* humanitarian grounds.

                  Why is this relevant? Cohen was released because of Covid. His writing a book, which he started when he was still in prison, has zip to do with that.

                3. I think [nondisclosure agreements] should be banned by legislative fiat

                  Good gods, why? They’re very important in the technical trades. Though I’ll certainly grant that many of them are overzealous.

                4. “‘He tried to prevent both Bolton and his niece from publishing their books.’

                  Both had signed contracts, for consideration, that precluded them from doing so. IMHO, it’s the same thing with nondisclosure agreements — while I think they should be banned by legislative fiat, if you take good money to promise to keep your mouth shut about something, you should.”

                  You’re misrepresenting Bolton’s situation more than a little bit. It’s not like the porn star, he didn’t get paid to leave Trump’s name out of it when he told the stories. Rather, he agreed to submit his book(s) in advance of publication for review to make sure he wasn’t revealing state secrets. Well, he submitted the book in advance of publication, just like he agreed to do. Trump thought he could keep the book from being published by just not bothering to complete the security review, so that’s what the underlings were instructed to do. Turns out there isn’t a “good” weasel to back in that weasel fight.

  8. I wonder if the University’s Chinese students might have a basis for a lawsuit on the grounds that the University’s actions create a hostile environment for Chinese students.

    1. Not a chance. It is already ok to discriminate against Asians for acceptance if that advances the discrimination in favor of blacks. Here they just continue that discrimination into grad school.

      1. They should try anyways. There is always a chance they’ll get a judge that says what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      2. I think the issue would be a bit more nuanced than that. If you’re referring to affirmative action, the decision was that Asians were already over-represented. That’s a different issue than whether Asians who have been admitted are entitled to freedom from a hostile environment once they get there.

        1. I think the issue would be a bit more nuanced than that. If you’re referring to affirmative action, the decision was that Asians were already over-represented.

          Overtly penalizing members of a group for working harder (relative to one or more other groups) to achieve a goal is not discrimination, but simply a case of “nuance”?

          1. You’re right. When someone is talking about one type of discrimination, and you Kramer in with ‘What about this thing I insist is also discrimination?!’ that’s not lack of nuance, that’s purposeful digression.

            1. LOL! Says the straw man-addicted asshole…while peddling a red herring and lying about what’s being said (as always).

              1. So stop doing that.

          2. Regardless of what you may think of affirmative action, it has nothing to do with whether Chinese USC students might have a claim for a hostile environment, which is the point to which I was responding. Please try to keep the apples and the oranges separate; they grow on different trees.

            1. Did you at least catch a faint glimpse of the point as it sailed over your head? Namely, the general attitude toward and resulting penalizing of students of Asian ethnicities.

              1. Or maybe that’s a distinct issue you’re rather talk about and he is not taking the bait.

              2. I think most people are able to understand that different things are different even if they might affect the same group of people.

              3. And if you’d like to start a thread on that subject, be my guest, but it’s not the subject of *this* thread, and Sarcastro’s right, I’m not taking the bait.

            2. “Please try to keep the apples and the oranges separate; they grow on different trees.”

              Thanks to grafting, you can get trees nowadays that bear different fruit on different branches. Your analogy may need some updating.

  9. All this talk about Marshall and Patton sounds like a reprisal of Word War II.

  10. Comparison to the Cultural Revolution is not only apt, but it might also be a way to end this madness. Doing such a comparison using video as a segment on 60 minutes, or on a magazine TV show like Dateline might help.

    It is an issue that needs public outrage, and emotional video is the only way to reach the public today.

    There was a scene in the movie “The Red Violin” that depicted a meeting of the Cultural Revolution. No doubt, more exist.

    If you have contacts in the media, please suggest it to them.

    1. “It is an issue that needs public outrage”

      We have way too damn much public outrage as it is.

  11. Look at the comments. It’s conservatives loving to call liberals wannabe mass murderers.

    If you want to turn this from a clear and instructive example into an issue that only the Rush Limbaugh set cares about, I can’t think of a better way to do that than this.

    1. “Conservatives pounce” in all its glory.

      Its not the issue but the reaction to it that’s important.

      1. I’ve made it pretty clear where I stand on the issue.

        1. I’d have to care about USC or business school to wade into this one. The whole thing just sounds silly.

    2. “It’s conservatives loving to call liberals wannabe mass murderers.”

      As opposed to their claims that liberals are afraid of guns. It’s like they can’t make up their minds or something.

  12. It reflects poorly on USC’s school of business, and more importantly on the United States.

    It suggests Americans are so self-centered, so focused on internal factional infighting, so lacking in self-awareness or awareness of anyone or anything that is going on around them, have such chips on their shoulders, that if you try to do business wirh them they will burn you at the stake over some stupid perceived slight without blinking an eye or even having any awareness of what they are doing.

    Who would want to do business with such people?

    These Americans say they are too traumatized to be capable of being aware of or dealing with others. They demand that others respect their mental condition.

    Fine. Accede to their demands. Give them what they want. Stick them in a mental institution where they can verbalize and act out and wallow in their traumas among themselves to their hearts’ contents, and keep them away from others and from any position of responsibility.

    If that’s what they demand, that’s what they should get.

  13. Most of this article is well taken. But the fact that the left has gotten this far in trying to impose a Chinese Cultural Revolution here, shows that Joe McCarthy was right.

    1. Have you no shame, sir? Have you no shame?

  14. UCLA’s response is way out of proportion, but so too are some of the arguments against it. No one (at least no one deserving a response) is claiming that Mandarin speakers should change their language, or that the language or its speakers are in any way deserving of criticism.

    My understanding of what bothered people was the fact that a Communications prof, presenting to an English-speaking class including Black students, chose as one of his examples a homonym of the n-word, either not realizing(!) or not caring that this might bother people, when he could still have made his point without that particular example.

    FWIW I am quite areligious (e.g. I think the notion that there is a special category of beliefs that should be immune from criticism on their merits to be harmful); yet in a U.S. English-speaking classroom I would still go out of my way (perhaps even sacrificing some pedagogical value, which wasn’t necessary in the case at issue) to avoid a prominent threefold repetition of a homonym of the offensive-to-many phrase “f* Jesus.” Why gratuitously offend people?

    1. arch1: I think we disagree on the substance here — it seems to me that it is eminently proper to use examples drawn from the most widely spoken language on Earth (and one of the most important business languages on Earth), and proper to expect business school students to learn not to be offended by accidents of similar pronunciation among languages.

      But I hope we can agree that this happened at USC, and not at UCLA ….

      1. “I hope we can agree that this happened at USC, and not at UCLA”

        It makes a difference to you. I get it. They keep beating you at football and the basketball teams aren’t as good as they used to be back in the good ol’ days. Try getting good at baseball, it worked up at Oregon State.

      2. Sorry USC not UCLA:-)

        Yes I think we disagree on substance (specifically, whether / the extent to which context, and the instructor’s ability to make the same point in other ways, affects the conclusion).

        1. I should add that I found your posts on quoting of the n-word in a law school context pretty persuasive.

  15. MBA programs are largely useless, as are most of the rest of USC (not counting the football program, of course)

    1. MBAs certainly are over-rated for a really poor degree. This case does little but expose how poor the education can be. I am guessing you have an under-grad BS in an IT field or a degree then set of IT certifications? Am of the mind that technical jobs that keep the planet functioning don’t require degrees as they are currently structured under the accreditation system. Universities stifle technical thinkers, but produce scads of non-thinkers, speaking in generalisations. If I could go back, ditch both the lit & software degrees, I suspect I would go for apprenticeship. Makes 0 difference to this hullabaloo.

      1. Nope. Undergrad in liberal arts, and MS/IT plus a set of mostly expired certifications. ( In case someone needs to set up a NetWare 3.11 server, or NT4.0) Plus 3/15 of an MBA program.

  16. The signatories really hit the nail on the head when they point out that UCLA’s officials are acting like the fanatics who brought the Cultural Revolution to the PRC.

    1. USC’s, man! Not UCLA’s, USC’s!

      1. The school with all the football trophies, not basketball!

        1. If you can’t be bothered to get the names of the guilty right, then you _are_ like McCarthy.

          1. If you can’t be bothered to figure out which side a commenter is supporting, then you are like a box of geology samples and your output is not useful for anything except providing carbon dioxide to green plants.

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