Campus Free Speech

USC Faculty Reaction to the Great USC Chinese Homonym Panic

"Scathing comments" from an anonymous faculty survey (reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education), plus an article in the Atlantic. You can't buy publicity like that, as they say, or faculty morale like that.

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From 'Scared to Death to Teach': Internal Report Cites 'Chilling Effect' (Chronicle of Higher Education, Tom Bartlett):

An anonymous survey of 105 professors at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business [conducted by the business school's Faculty Council] suggests that many of them have lost confidence in the dean, and that they feel "livid," "betrayed," and "scared of students" after a fellow faculty member was "thrown under the bus," as several of them described it, following a controversy over his use of a Chinese word.

The faculty member, Greg Patton, a professor of clinical business communication, used the word nèige (那个), which literally means "that" in Mandarin, but is also commonly used as a filler word like "um" or "er." It was part of an example during a Zoom class last month on how such words can prove distracting during presentations. The word is pronounced "nay-ga," and some Black students in the class complained in an email to administrators that it sounded like the n-word.

The business school's dean, Geoffrey Garrett, sent an email to students saying that he was "deeply saddened by this disturbing episode." He pulled Patton from the class and replaced him with another professor.

The Council's summary of the survey, with many quotes from faculty members, is here. (Both the Chronicle and I have confidence that this copy of the survey results is authentic.) Some excerpts from the summary:

There was … an overwhelming sense of vulnerability, worry, insecurity, fear, and anxiety.

Another theme that emerged was that they felt that Prof. Patton was not afforded due process, that harm was done to his reputation, and that he was not supported by the administration. The feelings that were most commonly expressed around this theme were anger, disappointment, betrayal, and outrage….

And from faculty quotes:

"There was no judge, jury, or anything, only cancellation. If faculty with long records of good performance can lose reputation in a flash or parts of their job for this kind of 5-second mix up, which can happen to anybody by accident given how much material we have to cover, it means we will become a society where people always talk slow, prescreen every word, and take the safest possible route on everything they say. By nature, that will make us irrelevant."

"After the initial shock, my overwhelming reaction now is simple: fear."

"This is how it makes me feel about the administration, and specifically Dean Garrett: Livid. Furious. Betrayed. Appalled. Far beyond frustrated. Far beyond exasperated."

"If the dean will do this to Greg, who is next?"

"Frankly, I am glad I am in the sunset years of my career. My heart goes out to my junior colleagues for whose sake I hope this madness abates and we practice what we preach—thoughtful, open dialogue and a chance for everyone to be heard, not just a vocal minority with an axe to grind."

[Answering the question, "Do you feel you have the skills and tools to handle diversity and equity issues in your classes?"] "To what end? Do I have the skills and tools to dance away and keep the conversation shallow enough to avoid angering people?"

"Honestly I don't think anybody can possibly have such magical skills in the current climate, which Dean Garrett and the rest of the administration are now making worse."

And the report makes clear that these are not just the grumblings of a small portion of the faculty; the reactions appear to be broad and deep.

My speculation: The business school administration was buffaloed by the "Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022" student letter and its demands, because it saw the perils of standing behind its faculty. In the words of another excellent article published today on the controversy, by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic,

This controversy is most significant, however, as a bellwether of how administrators respond when young people take offense beyond reasonable limits. To mollify some of its business students, USC was willing to undermine a professor in good standing.

Academics elsewhere are watching. They see the majority of faculty, alumni, and outside observers saying, "This goes too far," and the bureaucracy holding firm. So far, USC administrators have not admitted error. They have not apologized to Patton or reinstated him to his classes. And they have left business faculty so fearful and insecure that some are self-censoring to protect their positions.

But the administration didn't see the perils of "throw[ing its faculty] under the bus," perils that this survey—and some of the worldwide coverage of the controversy—well illustrates. After this, though, administrations may realize that there are perils both ways. (I am eternally glad I am not an administrator.)

Let me return, though, to the substance, with one item from Friedersdorf's article:

A full-time MBA student in the class of 2020 emailed me …, "Can you expect a student to focus or feel safe after hearing a word that sounds like a racial slur? To tell my black classmates that they shouldn't be offended by something is objectively wrong …."

Those who have read some of my past coverage of the controversy can likely predict my next questions:

  • I hear there are a few Mandarin speakers out there in the world, and maybe a few jobs in China, or elsewhere but around Mandarin-speaking customers, colleagues, or contractors. Do you think those employers expect their employees to focus after hearing the common word "neige"?
  • If they do, and if you want black graduates to succeed in such environments, don't you need to teach them that they shouldn't be offended by this word?
  • And whom exactly did USC's condemnation of Patton ultimately help? Anyone?

NEXT: Remembering the Notorious RBG (Updated)

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  1. Obviously, those students who complained have neither the maturity or intellect to be in college.

    And the Dean appears to be a feckless idiot.

    1. Is there a Dean who isn’t?

      Forget about the Biblical “feet of clay”, I’m more reminded of sand in a rip tide…

    2. Remember, USC full-time MBA students have a four-year degree already, and average 29 years old with five years’ work experience.

    3. They are paying customers.

      Beyond the issues of campus political correctness and a sense of entitlement among students and people saying words are violence and lying that they are threatened when they are not, all of which are bad, is one hugely salient fact:

      Private colleges charge a ****-ton of money. And as long as tuition costs are so exorbitant, they are not going to act like traditional educational institutions. They are going to act like USC did here, because they want to keep their paying customers happy.

      1. Yup. People are entitled to purchase an education that excludes foreign words that sound like racial slurs if they wish. Whether we should subsidize such purchases is another matter.

        1. ” People are entitled to purchase an education that excludes foreign words that sound like racial slurs if they wish. Whether we should subsidize such purchases is another matter.”

          Graduate degrees such as MBAs are not subsidized. Once you finish that undergraduate degree, the free money spigot is turned off.

          1. There’s all sorts of state and federal money in education. It’s getting there somehow.

            1. I really doubt it. MBA programs are profit centers and are subsidizing something else.

          2. “Graduate degrees such as MBAs are not subsidized. Once you finish that undergraduate degree, the free money spigot is turned off.”

            WRONG! The loans are Federally guaranteed and (in theory) subsidized. And grad school is where the loan debt really piles up.

      2. “They are going to act like USC did here, because they want to keep their paying customers happy.”

        But that’s not what they did/do — the majority of the MBA students did not sell that letter, and I have no doubt that many felt that they had to. And as to the larger issue of “keeping paying customers happy”, there’s the question of who’s actually paying and who *isn’t* when tuition discounting *averages* 47%.

        But beyond that, if “keeping customers happy” mattered, we wouldn’t have seen the truly fascist things in student affairs over the past 30 years.

        1. Intensity of preference matters, Dr. Ed. If your average customer thinks “this is no big deal” and doesn’t feel strongly about what the university should do, and a certain percentage of your customers is demanding you do something, the path of least resistance is to keep the vocal people happy.

          We used to see this with the networks and the people who would write letters to them regarding indecent content. A majority of Americans did not care, but the TV networks still tried to keep the vocal folks happy.

          1. But the TV Networks also looked at ratings…

      3. They are paying customers.

        “They” may be paying customers but remember what they are buying. The product is the opportunity to move into a high paying career. If businesses place lower value on the USC MBA because they want employees who can accomplish objectives instead of police their organizations for wrongthink the USC product becomes weaker. Students who don’t want to be associated with this will go elsewhere reinforcing the current trend.

        I doubt this ends well for USC. Maybe if they screw themselves up the lesson to the rest of the university system will justify the sacrifice

        1. Maybe businesses are now placing a higher value on political correctness than competence. How much competition really exists anymore — how much does competence actually count?

          It’s no secret that big business has jumped onto the BLM bandwagon, along with the global cooling/warming/somethinging bandwagon, along with the Orangeman Bad bandwagon, etc.

          So if there is no opportunity cost for hiring those who excel in language policing but are otherwise incompetent, with top management clearly stating a preference for that, whom would you hire?

      4. Those students that did NOT sign on to this are also paying customers.

        1. DarrenM, you have more of a point than you might realize — racially-specific (i.e. Black only) scholarships are common in graduate schools. I can’t speak for USC but would be surprised — really surprised — if they didn’t have some sort of “diversity” initiative that provided a free boat to at least some of these Black students.

          Now I’m in favor of treating all students equally, regardless of their funding source(s), but it’s entirely possible that a higher percentage of those who did NOT sign onto this are actually *paying* customers.

  2. Autism seems to be a bigger problem in American than I recognized.

    1. I was going to post a Kirkland-style comment about the whole business faculty being a bunch of clingers, but with Kirkland, satire overtook reality.

      1. Correction – reality overtook satire, I beg your pardon, Arthur.

    2. Wait, we are talking about a right-wing, religious school in Mississippi, so they must be a bunch of backwards clingers who are going to be trounced by their betters.

      I mean a leading private university, in Southern California, could not possibly be what we are talking about. I mean the empirical evidence might give lie to all of the blather Rev. Kirkland has shared with us over thousands of post.

      1. You seem to have missed the fact that the faculty is overwhelmingly on EV’s (and my) side of the issue.

        So maybe it’s not infested with PC-addled teachers after all.

        Sort of refutes the usual opinions around here.

        1. No, I didn’t miss that fact. They understand that their academic freedom is in jeopardy. Point is, USC is not exactly a hotbed of religious and right-wing fanaticism. If they “overwhelmingly” believe there is a serious problem in academia (or their corner of it), then there is.

          1. This isn’t even academic freedom anymore — it’s insanity….

            I can imagine sane people in China scratching their heads and saying “USC made a fuss about WHAT?!?”

        2. Sort of refutes the usual opinions around here.

          Not at all. Faculty naturally opposes this particular event because it’s targeted at them. There’s no evidence they oppose similar nonsense targeted at other groups.

    3. Kirkland, you truly are a waste product.

      I’ve worked with autistic children, and if you’d ever had, you wouldn’t write something like that, even in jest.

      1. No jest intended. I would wager my house on it.

        1. So you’re anti-vaxx now that you recognize the autism epidemic?

          1. There is zero proof one has anything to do with the other, you nut.

            1. There also isn’t an “autism epidemic”, they just redefined it to be broader!

              1. I agree that it’s hard to see if the increase is caused partially or totally by changes in diagnostic criteria, but your certainty that population prevalence isn’t going up is also incorrect.

                  1. It’s hard to see if the increase is caused partially or totally by changes in diagnostic criteria.

                    Some lobbying org graph seems not to care much about that concern.

                    1. I didn’t read your comment mindfully enough and took from it that you were denying the increase in prevalence.

                      On second read, you weren’t. My chart does not speak to causality at all, only prevalence.

                1. Assortive mating: turns out that, if two people who both have overclocked brains have children, the odds of their children being TOO overclocked, and developing one of a variety of syndromes, goes way up.

                  Assortive mating was one of the concerns discussed in the Bell Curve. Their primary concern, actually.

                  1. Autism is not like some overclocked brain thing. We don’t even know if it’s genetically linked.

                  2. “Overclocked brains” — are you sure you aren’t confusing this with ADHD, which *is* highly heritable?

                  3. Assortative mating applies to flies. It is unlikely to be true in humans. The wife of an identical twin, in most cases, finds the other twin annoying, not attractive.

                    1. No, there is evidence that persons with ADHD (which *is* heritable) tend to select mates with ADHD because they tend to understand them. Ned Hallowell wrote about this in one of his recent books, I forget which one.

    4. Arthur, I refer you to EV’s alleged banning of DaivdBehar (see his September.22.2020 at 2:12 am comment below), a right wing crank so addled, apparently he can’t spell his own name.

      1. Does it sound right to you, against the vivid and voluminous background of what the Volokh Conspiracy plainly does not ban (or censor)? Banned for asserting a relationship between Catholic dogma and the common law?

        I have the e-mails from the Volokh Conspiracy (as does UCLA, I expect) with respect to at least three episodes of censorship and/or banishment. I await documentary evidence of the banishment (and reason for banishment) described by DaivdBehar.

        Your reliance on the Conspirators will make you sad.

        1. You already think me naive, so this shouldn’t surprise you: when somebody says they were banned, I assume, until shown otherwise, it’s unlikely they’re making it up.

          1. How are we to square:

            1) the reported (or documented) examples of banishment and censorship with the obvious examples of egregious and uncensored content

            and

            2) the examples of viewpoint-driven banishment and censorship at the Volokh Conspiracy with the barbs aimed by the Volokh Conspiracy at operators of other private forums (or the ostensible principles asserted in association with those criticisms)?

            The Volokh Conspiracy seems inclined to ignore these points, but they seem reasonable points for discussion and assessment.

            1. Not so much. Discussing the law, libertarian politics, and current events is cool.

              Discussing how EV keeps the asshole count low, surprisingly is not all that interesting.

              1. This blog consciously cultivates a following of anti-social incels, disaffected clingers, obsolete misfits, and bigoted culture war losers.

                1. Highly objective criteria….

      2. Hi, Leo. Thanks for noticing, and for replying. Your personal remark violates the Fallacy of Irrelevance.

        1. Though you’ve littered this thread with some mind-numbing batshittery, my reference to you personally was unprovoked and rude. I regret the insult, and I apologize.

          1. I made substantive policy argument. Do you have a reply to it?

  3. I’m glad that you’re shining light on this story … I wish that more faculty spoke up about such stupidities, but, alas, the tenure process appears to be designed to weed out independent thought to the extent possible.

    1. “I wish that more faculty spoke up about such stupidities”

      Go back and reread the original post. Take note of Prof. Volokh’s source.

      1. An anonymous faculty survey … non intellego

  4. “You can’t buy publicity like that,” just what USC needs to distract people from its central role in the Varsity Blues admissions scandal.

  5. The Non-Profit Office of the IRS should rescind the non-profit privileges of any entity that engages in viewpoint discrimination. These privileges are to promote education. Education covers all sides of any subject. Limiting viewpoints is indoctrination, and should not privileged with a non-profit status.

    1. DaivdBehar: Just to be clear — do you think all “educational” nonprofits under 501(c)(3) should have to teach “all sides of any subject”? I ask because that would apply to all ideological nonprofits: the NRA Foundation, for instance, would either have to teach the pro-gun-control side as well as the anti-gun-control side, or would lose its 501(c)(3) status. Likewise for the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and many other such groups; I believe all their 501(c)(3) arms are organized as “educational” nonprofits.

      Or do you think that the tax code should be read as allowing such “educational” nonprofits to engage in viewpoint discrimnation, but not when they are running formal education programs?

      1. Professor Volock, I believe that the NRA is a 501(c)(4) and *not* a 501(c)(3) — one big distinction is that donations are NOT tax deductible. Furthermore, the “teaching” they do is gun safety and while the gun-grabbers may not wish to learn it, they don’t impose an ideological litmus test.

        But the bigger distinction I make is that the University of Spoiled Children is the recipient of a bleepload of Federal funding.

        Of course sunlight is the best disinfectant and I imagine much of Asia is saying “they did WHAT because he said 那个? Are they all insane?!?”

        1. You may not know this, because you’re an idiot, but the NRA and the NRA Foundation are different entities. The latter is a 501(c)(3). Not that it makes any fucking difference from a constitutional standpoint.

          1. Or, in their own words:

            “ Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. (“NRA Foundation”) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions…”

        2. Hi, Doctor. Can all you nitpickers STFU? Go raise funds for the Democrat Party, the party of nitpicking. Leave Prof. Volokh alone.

          1. People who must be left alone:

            1) Prof. Eugene Volokh
            2) Britney Spears
            3) That’s about it

            Thank you for placing all of this in proper perspective, DaivdBehar!

      2. Should the NRA and think tanks review opposing views? Should physics class review the long held view that the sun moved around the earth, and that the latter was flat? Should a class on the Holocaust review the real justifications for anti-Semitism? Should Black Studies review the validity of racism? Should a church review the argument in favor of atheism, such as, believe your eyes?

        You betcha, if you they are providing educational services, and deserving non-profit privileges. The NRA and think tanks will be far more credible, and persuasive if they review opposing views. The rest of the other activities will be markedly more compelling, less boring, more enriching of their students if they do. Failure to do so allows the audience to dismiss them as advocates, hiding adverse information, allowing judgement by the student or by the audience. The facts sufficient to reach a conclusion by the student is the hallmark of a quality education.

        Even your profit making profession of advocacy, has Rule 3.3 (a) (2). If ever enforced, a lawyer should lose the license for failing to cite an adverse legal authority to the judge. It is part of professionalism.

        This is a very hard task, but worth the effort. It should be enforced as a requirement for the tax free privilege.

        If I may get personal, to help you understand this difficulty, you are the top First Amendment expert. You blocked me from your old blog after I told you the common law plagiarized the Catholic Catechism. You did not block personalized death threats, links to bestiality websites, nor fraudulent spam. The doctrines of the common law are supernatural, nuts (mind reading, future forecasting), ineffective, and unlawful in this secular nation, like any legal utterance taken from the Sharia. I actually liked the Sharia over our common law. It is clearer, less procedural, and associated with very low crime rates in the poorest, most dysfunctional Muslim states. Listening would have been painful, since it would mean the invalidation of the US lawyer profession as organized today. It would mean having to redo it from scratch. You missed out by doing so. You could not overcome your personal law school indoctrination, nor your salary for foisting it on generations of law students. You may have the highest IQ of any lawyer in the country, so I do not have no hope for your profession.

        1. “you are the top First Amendment expert.”

          That can’t be true. The top First Amendment expert would not believe Christian craftsmen and artisans could be compelled to create bespoke expressive works against their wills just because of the requestor’s lifestyle choices.

          1. ” The top First Amendment expert would not believe Christian craftsmen and artisans could be compelled to create bespoke expressive works against their wills just because of the requestor’s lifestyle choices.”

            Nor does anyone else. What some people believe, however, is that if Christian (or other) craftsmen and artisans offer to create bespoke expressive works in exchange for money, and someone comes along to employ them (offering in return the stated price in money), then they can be held to their contracts, even if the customers are (egad!) some of those nasty gay people.

            1. The cases you’re caterwauling about are generally not about the creation of bespoke goods.

              What you are describing is more about Prof. Volokh’s take on wedding photographers.

            2. The Leftwaffe and Eugene believe you can force Christian artisans to design and create custom gay wedding cakes.

              1. Expertise does not make on correct. Volokh just wrote a book. He lives in Los Angeles, and is acculturated to that depraved society.

              2. I’d quibble about bespoke versus custom, but Masterpiece Cakeshop was more customer-specific than I thought.

                But I’d advise you to read Prof. Volokh’s amicus brief before you rage too hard:
                Phillips’s “participation” in the wedding celebration is much slighter than the law schools’ participation in military recruiting in Rumsfeld, where the recruiters sought to be physically present in the schools.

                https://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/16-111_bsac_american_unity_fund.pdf

                1. You don’t think “bespoke” and “custom” aren’t practically synonyms in this context?

                  Or do you see “bespoke” meaning just made on demand for a customer from an existing design? That to me makes little sense in the context of a bakery where that’s the default.

                  RE: Eugene and Dale ( who is, I think, even gay married, btw)

                  Here’s the key parts from their summary:

                  “The First Amendment shields refusals to speak,
                  but generally not refusals to do things.

                  “Limousine
                  drivers, hotel operators, and caterers should not have
                  a Free Speech Clause right to exempt themselves from
                  antidiscrimination law, because the law is not compelling them to speak or to create First-Amendment-protected expression. The same limit should apply to wedding cake makers.

                  So designing a custom gay wedding cake is just like driving a limosuine.

                  That’s their argument, and it’s gross. Especially for “The First Amendment Expert”.

                  1. “The First Amendment shields refusals to speak, but generally not refusals to do things. ”

                    No, that would be the Thirteenth Amendment.

                    1. Eugene is a First Amendment expert, not a Thirteenth Amendment one.

                  2. *not the default.

                    Your definition of “bespoke” is better fitting of a Wal-mart bakery instead of a place like Masterpiece.

        2. ” The doctrines of the common law are supernatural, nuts (mind reading, future forecasting), ineffective, and unlawful in this secular nation, like any legal utterance taken from the Sharia.”

          Just because you misunderstand the law doesn’t mean that everybody else does.

          1. Hi, James. You may have skipped class in 10th Grade World History, when they covered Scholasticism. You need to read the Catechism to find the entire origin of the common law, and to understand its supernatural reasoning.

        3. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???

        4. For those who remember the old days, Mr. DaivdBehar was the maladjusted malcontent known as “Supremacy Claus.”

          1. David. Thank you for remembering. What do you do, if I may ask?

    2. “. Education covers all sides of any subject.”

      Ooh, all those religious schools are going to be simply thrilled that they now cover the Church of Satan or ELSE.

      1. Do not accept tax payer subsidy, and do what you want. The subsidy is for education, not for the indoctrination of your proposal.

    3. “The Non-Profit Office of the IRS should rescind the non-profit privileges of any entity that engages in viewpoint discrimination.”

      Great idea, if the federal government weren’t flatly prohibited from abridging the freedoms of speech, or of the press, or of religion.

      1. Freedom away, just not with taxpayer subsidy.

      2. He *sorta* raises the issue in _Southworth_ — which O’Connor addressed.

  6. A faculty member at USC called the situation a “climate of terror.” Have you ever heard of a situation like this before? Academic freedom is dead at USC.

    1. I’ve lived it at UMass Amherst — 20 years ago.

      I once saw an auditorium full of student “leaders” chant “Fuck the First Amendment” — I am not making this up.

      1. I seriously doubt you even know what you’re making up and what you aren’t.

        1. It was about this: https://www.thefire.org/send-out-the-clowns/

          And I’m really sick of the gaslighting.

      2. “I once saw an auditorium full of student “leaders” chant ‘Fuck the First Amendment’ ”

        And you thought this was important because you forgot that only Congress can violate the first amendment?

        1. I was not surprised, but this was back in 2004 and the Liberals were mortified.

  7. To answer your last question, no one. It will especially hurt Black USC graduates, many of whom had nothing to do with the controversy. Employers will be afraid to hire them.

    1. Employers will little note, nor long remember, what was said there.

      1. “Employers will little note, nor long remember, what was said there.”

        I hope employers at strong law schools devote careful attention to what is written here.

        1. Not many law students are drawn from the graduates of graduate business school (although the business schools do usually teach business law).

          1. I was not referring to law school admission offices. I was referring to law school faculty hiring committees.

        2. Well, Rev, you disappoint me. I expected a complaint about my plagiarism.

  8. I’ll assume most of these USC profs are liberals in good standing. “[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

    1. You know what you get when you assume?

  9. Interesting to learn that there is an actual student who agrees with the contents of the letter.

    If the faculty are that uoset, why don’t they threaten to resign en masse unless the Dean and Provost are fired?

    1. The bluff might have been called, and this is a lousy time to be unemployed.

  10. When the smoke cleared, and Patton was effectively proven innocent of racist conduct, wouldn’t the honorable thing have been for the Black MBA students who signed the original letter of complaint to write a follow-up letter formally retract their charges? That seems to me what fundamental decency and honor on their part called for. And maybe still not too late for them to do it. The dean might suggest it to mitigate the embarrassment caused the school by the dean’s mishandling of the matter, and the MBA candidates could only look better for retracting rather than remaining silent.

    Agree or disagree?

    (I once proposed to ACTA, and offered to fund it myself, an “award” recognizing the most pusillanimous academic administrator of the year, like the Harvard Lampoon’s award for the worst actor of the year. Dean Garrett of USC would be a most deserving awardee of a prize for most pusillanimous administrator of 2020.)

    1. I hold the students about 10% responsible and the dean 90%. If an adolescent with normal brain function whose parents only ever tell him everything he does is brilliant is still finger painting the walls with his feces, I don’t blame the kid.

      I think EV is correct that college administrator is a crazy-hard shit job nowadays. But like I said here the other day about trigger-happy cops, a hard, miserable job is no excuse for fucking it up this badly. How the USC trustees or anyone else in education can think it’s acceptable that this dean is teaching the lesson he is to these kids is beyond me.

      1. It’s the business school, so they teach “the customer is always right” to their customers.

    2. “…wouldn’t the honorable thing have been for the Black MBA students who signed the original letter of complaint to write a follow-up letter formally retract their charges?”

      It would, but is as likely to happen as a true Democrat admitting that Hillary lost the 2016 election fair and square.

      1. ” is as likely to happen as a true Democrat admitting that Hillary lost the 2016 election fair and square.”

        Getting millions more votes than the other guy isn’t the usual “fair and square” way to lose an election.

        1. Way to prove the point.

          “My team would have won the football game if it had been scored by the rules of soccer.” is an amusing bit of trivia.

          “We should have been playing soccer instead of football.” is a defensible opinion.

          But, “My team won the football game, because we should have been playing soccer.” is off the rails.

          1. Keep telling yourself that formalistic technicalities which repeatedly enable a numerical minority to rule over the majority, whether in the House, Senate, or Electoral College, aren’t an offense to democratic principles.

            1. Keep telling us all how you don’t understand the difference between 50 separate elections and one single election any more than you understand the difference between 9 innings and one game, or 4 quarters and one game, or 162 (?) games and one season, or 16 (?) games and one season.

              Ad infinitum. Go on. Show us, over and over, how stupid you really are.

              1. Throw in a few more gratuitous insults. They won’t make your question-begging pseudo-pedantry any more responsive.

                1. Was that an insult? Did it have no facts?

                  Why bless you, I believe so!

                  1. I don’t doubt for a second that you do.

                    1. Not sure why I couldn’t respond to your other post, but such are the ways of the Internet.
                      Care to explain? In an election, individual votes are what actually happen, but then they are tabulated via a set of rules that lead to an outcome that might not match with one person one vote. In tennis, individual points are what actually happen, but they are tabulated via a set of rules whereby winning the most points will not guarantee winning the match. And in both cases, to complain afterwards is silly. Please tell me the flaw.

            2. “Keep telling yourself that formalistic technicalities which repeatedly enable a numerical minority to rule over the majority, whether in the House, Senate, or Electoral College, aren’t an offense to democratic principles.”

              These aren’t formalistic technicalities, these are checks and balances that the more populous states created to entice the less populous states into a permanent political union. Kinda late to “alter the deal” no?

              1. That’s certainly not how the EC was intended to operate.

                1. ?? Their beef with the EC is that it gives more representation to less populous states. That aspect was intended, whatever other issues you may have with the EC.

                  1. That was not the intended function of the EC by the Founders. The way the EC now operates is nothing like what the Founders envisioned.

                    You can argue that it’s a good idea for the EC to operate this way, but this is not the original plan at all.

                    1. “That was not the intended function of the EC by the Founders.”

                      They wrote down how they wanted the Electoral votes to be distributed. Regardless of whether or not this is your truth, this is a fact.

                    2. A telling error.
                      No, they didn’t write down how the Electoral votes would be distributed, only the electors.
                      That’s where the intent and the operation have parted ways.

                      Haven’t you been reading the faithless elector threads on here?

                    3. Sigh. Each elector gets one vote. Each state gets the number of electors based on enumeration, plus the number of Senators. Hence the votes are weighted to favor the less populous states.

                      You’re being pedantic because you don’t want to deal with the fact, that the EC, insofar as it gives greater weight to less populous states, is working as designed.

                    4. The votes and the states were not supposed to be equivalent as they are now.

                2. I thought you guys were supposed to be both smart and knowledgeable. Smart? Brett, clearly tennis is a more appropriate sport to refer to when defending the Electoral College against one-person-one-vote. Knowledgeable? The EC was the result of a political compromise, after-the-fact justifications notwithstanding. Let’s hear what the Constitutional Convention’s note-taker, Mr Madison, wrote about his own preferences and about the realities of the Constitutional Convention: “The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself [to select the President]. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.”

                  1. I was speaking not to whether different rules for conducting Presidential elections would have been a good idea, but to the idea that somebody who won under the existing rules can fairly be said to have actually lost, on the basis that the rules should have been different.

                    You win or lose the game you’re playing, not the game somebody thinks you should have played instead.

                    Trump won the 2016 election, period, end of story. That Hillary would have been considered the victor were the vote counted under different rules than they had both been campaigning in anticipation of being applied means nothing.

                    1. Brett, do you not know how tennis is scored, or does your belief that I must be disagreeing with you make you, well, less smart? (I actually would like you to answer that.)
                      In tennis, the person who wins need not be the one who wins the most points won or even the most games won. But the rules are the rules, and it would be silly for someone to complain. Parallel with EC pretty strong, and clearly better than your soccer/football example.
                      Again, seriously, how did you not see this? Was it because my second point discusses the slavery-related origins of the EC, leading you to think of me as on the other side, so the hackles go up and the cognitive ability goes down. Or I guess it could have been that I questioned your smarts. So sensitive.

                    2. Dan, you’ve accomplished something I don’t recall anyone else doing in the 15 years I’ve been reading this blog. You’ve moved me to defend Brett.

                      You’re not as smart as he is and your tennis metaphor isn’t that clever.

              2. And look at the Red/Blue map by county.
                Little dots of blue in a sea of red.

        2. And the Chicago White Socks did not win the World Series because the Houston Astros scored more runs over the course of the games.

    3. “Patton was effectively proven innocent of racist conduct”

      He said, and he said he said it. How does that prove him innocent of saying it?

      1. Nobody claims he didn’t say it. He’s innocent of racist conduct because saying ‘that’ in Mandarin isn’t racist conduct.

      2. I wonder what ‘Pollock’ sounds like to someone who only hears Mandarin.

        1. I don’t know but to someone who only hears British English, it sounds like pillock.

      3. Years ago I studied Chinese and then lived there 6 months. I said that word many times. It never crossed my mind that it sounded like at the n-word. With the word niggardly, for me at least, the n-word definitely comes to mind. But not with “nei-ge” [pinyin].

  11. I bet every one of those professors are true blue, dem voting, woke idiots.

    They get what they deserve.

    1. Tough call for schools.

      Hire true blue, dem voting, work idiots

      or

      Hire bigoted, superstitious, obsolete movement conservatives

      This reminds me of the time my cousin faced a similar choice at a pool room.

      1. I can tell by your cultural references we are of similar age. I can tell by your writings we are not similarly educated. I can also tell by your demeanor we are also not of similar social statures.

        1. I suppose I plead guilty to being something other than a bigoted, stale-thinking clinger and obsolete culture war casualty from the deplorable backwaters.

          1. You can plead it. Your comments, however, convict you as the most “bigoted, stale-thinking and obsolete culture war casualty” who comments on these threads.

  12. Low expectations (that black students are incapable of handling their emotions, have a rational conversation, and think clearly when faced with a problem) is itself a form of bigotry. If you do not recognize this form of bigotry, its actually pretty old.

    Unfortunately, a few black students are proving the stereotype to be true.

    Speaking of “a few Mandarin speakers out there in the world, and maybe a few jobs in China” – these jobs pay very well, get a lot of corporate visibility, which offers the opportunity to move high into the executive (C-level) ranks.

    In the long run, the idiots who wrote this letter and support it are only holding themselves back. Sure USC should help their students, but you cant help people who wont help themselves.

    1. “Speaking of “a few Mandarin speakers out there in the world, and maybe a few jobs in China” – these jobs pay very well, get a lot of corporate visibility, which offers the opportunity to move high into the executive (C-level) ranks. ”

      Not necessarily. Some career fields are still not welcoming of Mandarin. In some cases, you can rise high into the executive (C-level) ranks if you can’t even pronounce “China”.

      1. He did not say “all jobs”. You said “not necessarily” and “some career fields”. Next time, try adding something to the conversation, or try adding some constructive criticism.

  13. “If they do, and if you want black graduates to succeed in such environments, don’t you need to teach them that they shouldn’t be offended by this word?”

    It turns out to be difficult to teach people not to be offended.

    Back when I was chasing my second degree, I had a required course called “Business Communications” which turned to be “how to avoid offending any group of people, anywhere in the world”. It provided a helpful(?) map to the minefields of intercultual communication, because this indiginous people of the Brazilian rain forest finds this word particularly offensive, while this word is particularly aggravating in Afrikaans, and so on and so on.
    Anyway, it sounds like the Mandarin version of that class needs to warn Mandarin students that some people are offended when you say “that” in Mandarin.
    Thanks to Dave Barry, we know that foreign languages are fake, and all foreigners speak English anyway. so we can focus on English things you can say to offend people, and focus on getting those words into our classes.

  14. “There was … an overwhelming sense of vulnerability, worry, insecurity, fear, and anxiety.” “After the initial shock, my overwhelming reaction now is simple: fear.”

    Then I’d say the action against him achieved its intended effect. The goal here is to create an atmosphere of fear in which students and faculty will self censor even when they rationally know that the censors aren’t monitoring them. Acting reasonable doesn’t generate unreasoning fear. If your goal is unreasoning fear, you impose over the top penalties for crazy reasons.

    People are analyzing this as though it was ordinary administrative discipline action gone wrong. When it’s a psyop gone right.

    1. Zero tolerance policies in general make a lot more sense once you realize they’re actually efforts to induce ‘useful’ phobias, and their purported justifications are just a cover story.

      1. Zero tolerance policies are generally a reaction to unfair abuse of discretion. For example, back in ye olden days, at my high school there was an ordinary rule about violence. “don’t get in a fistfight, or you get suspended from school”. Only, it turned out that the sports coaches were intervening to prevent the rule from being applied to athletes, who might miss games if they were suspended. So they put in a zero-tolerance rule for violence, that saw any instance of violence result in suspension, with no discretion by school administrators permitted. Some athletes missed some games, but it turns out that high-schools are not intended to be athlete factories, so life went on.
        So, yeah, a problem with zero-tolerance policies is that you can’t apply any discretion to them. Because limiting the discretion of the administration is the point of implementing them.

        1. Right, that explains enforcing weapon in the school policies when a BB gun is glimpsed in the background during remote teaching…

          You’re just reciting the excuse.

          1. Was it even a BB gun?
            I heard that it was a plastic toy.

            1. The picture I saw was of a Nerf gun. But there may be multiple such incidents by now…

  15. In the private sector we had we had town halls where we were told, in response to job insecurity, to “own your own career” and “check your fear at the door.”

  16. Has it been confirmed that the “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” really exists and really are students?

  17. The reply to the email from the “full-time MBA student” should focus on advancing his/her education. Specifically, correcting mistaken assumptions. Using 那个 in a discussion about international communications is not “objectively wrong”. It’s not “objectively” anything. That’s not what that word means.

    1. The letter doesn’t allege that the original use of the word was objectively wrong, but rather that telling black students not to be offended by it (or, apparently, by anything else) is.

      1. Which is proof the students who complained are not competent for employment in any diverse, multicultural, multinational organization.

        No organization can afford to hire an employee who is going to have a hissy-fit, three-year old temper tantrum, on the floor of some international airport because they don’t like the way some foreign language sounds.

        I would certainly not hire a graduate of this school, and given the current environment, I would give any potential hire aggressive interrogation on this issue before making an offer.

      2. I’ll concede that as a plausible interpretation of the email. Maybe even better than how I originally read it. It’s still wrong because there’s nothing “objective” about it. Again, that’s not what the word means. An MBA student should know better.

  18. The Daily Trojan has called for the reinstatement of Professor Patton.
    “Essentially, Patton was placed on leave for speaking Chinese. The headline could have just as easily been “USC professor no longer teaching after using Chinese,” and it would have just as accurately summed up the situation. The University’s response to the situation was unacceptable, and Patton should be reinstated promptly.”
    “The Chinese language doesn’t even need to be contextualized in the first place, but if you’re going to attempt to do it anyways, remember that the “social context of the U.S.” is defined by the fact that it’s multicultural and multilingual. Immigrants account for 13.7% of the population, and as of 2015, there were at least 350 languages spoken in the U.S.”

    1. To be precise, I think this is the view of one Daily Trojan columnist — I don’t believe she was speaking for the newspaper as a whole.

      1. Ummm…. On something like this, it wouldn’t get printed unless the newspaper as a whole was at least neutral.

    2. But don’t you find it curious that the “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” have remained silent throughout this controversy, not even coming forward to attack Patton’s defenders? It will be interesting to see if they respond to this Daily Trojan column in any way.

      I’ll say it again – if the “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” turn out to be a hoax, I will not be surprised.

  19. When I was an undergraduate student in mid and late ’60s, we understood USC to stand for University of Spoiled Children with particular reference to its undergraduates. Perhaps the upper bound of the age of children has expanded to include MBA students.

    USC faculty who take academic freedom seriously should do more than comment anonymously; that takes neither courage nor commitment and accomplishes nothing. Collective action to defend academic freedom produces results; anonymous whining concedes defeat.

  20. Brett, do you not know how tennis is scored, or does your belief that I must be disagreeing with you make you, well, less smart? (I actually would like you to answer that.)
    In tennis, the person who wins need not be the one who wins the most points won or even the most games won. But the rules are the rules, and it would be silly for someone to complain. Parallel with EC pretty strong.
    Again, seriously, how did you not see this? I am guessing that since my second point discusses the slavery-related origins of the EC, you thought of me as on the other side, so the hackles go up and the cognitive ability goes down.

  21. I will bet that not a single one who complained about feeling unsafe really felt unsafe. If anyone actually did, they need to go home, cower in bed and spend the rest of their miserable life there.

  22. “The word is most commonly used with a pause in between both syllables.” (In fact, numerous experts affirmed that Patton’s pronunciation was correct.)

    Of course the people pushing this lied. Since no one was marginalized, hurt, or harmed as the Dean’s letter claimed this is all political theater. This is the nature of relativism’s impact on politics. Since facts are irrelevant in favor of people’s emotions why would any statement need to be true?

    This is what I refer to as “debate reality”. In debate whether assertions are actually true is irrelevant. Debaters don’t need to be correct, they only need to make an argument. This has been adapted to politics by asserting whatever supports the desired outcome completely without regard to whether it is true or not. No one actually believes 20-25% of women on campus are sexually assaulted (or they would have taken serious steps as they did with the covid quarantines). But alarmists needed this to be true to advance their preferences so they asserted it.

    This is what we deal with with BLM, the 1619 Project, and just about every other left wing group.

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