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UMD Public Policy School Mandating Ideological Statements on Syllabus, Requiring That Class "Materials" and "Discussions" "Respect All Forms of Diversity"

Seems quite inconsistent with basic academic freedom principles.

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The University of Maryland School of Public Policy is apparently about to require faculty members to add a statement to their syllabus; here's the cover e-mail, which I got from a source that appears to me reliable. (I tried to check with the e-mail's official sender to confirm its authenticity, and haven't heard back.)

Dear faculty,

As you know from previous emails and communications, the School of Public Policy has committed to creating a syllabus statement with regard to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

The committee working on AR Action 6 has been developing this syllabus statement, which will be mandatory for all syllabi starting in Spring 2021.  We have worked with the DIB committee and the Faculty Diversity committee for input and we now seek input from the faculty as a whole.  You can view the final draft here.

Please let us know if you have any comments or feedback by Friday December 4th.

AR Action 6, one of "SPP's Nine Antiracist Actions" provides,

The team has drafted, and circulated for feedback, a mandatory diversity and inclusion syllabi statement to be implemented in Spring 2021. We are also in the process of reviewing syllabi within the school with regard to diverse content. Additionally, the team is in the process of creating a database of ideas and resources such as readings, cases, speakers, data sets etc. to assist faculty in improving anti-racism and DIB course content.

And here's what appears to be the final draft of the required syllabus materials, to be set forth in the professor's voice ("my" and "we," rather than just "The official policy of the school is …"):

Diversity Inclusion and Belonging in the School of Public Policy

Commitment to an Inclusive Classroom

It is my intent, as well as the stated policy of the School, that students from all backgrounds and perspectives will be well-served by this course. The diversity the students bring to this class will be seen and treated as a resource, strength and benefit. Materials, discussions, and activities will respect all forms of diversity. All students are expected to promote this aim through their words, actions, and suggestions. If something is said or done in this course, either by myself, students, or guests, that is troubling or causes offense, please let me know right away. The impact of what happens in this course is important and deserving of attention. If you ever do not feel comfortable discussing the issue directly with me, I encourage you to bring the issue to an advisor, administrator or the School of Public Policy Equity Officer.

Pronouns and Self Identification

We invite you, if you wish, to tell us how you want to be referred to, both in terms of your name and your pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them, etc.). The pronouns someone indicates are not necessarily indicative of their gender identity. Visit trans.umd.edu to learn more.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that we are gathered on the stolen land of the Piscataway Conoy people and were founded upon the erasures and exploitation of many non-European peoples. You can find more information about the Piscataway Conoy Tribe at http://www.piscatawayconoytribe.com. For more information about the University of Maryland's project for a richer understanding of generations of racialized trauma rooted in the institution visit https://go.umd.edu/SNW.

Suggested placements: We suggest this statement should be placed just prior to or after the learning outcomes in the syllabus as well as prominent within your ELMS site. Faculty should vocally review these statements within class as well.

Conspicuously omitted, of course, is any acknowledgement of faculty or student academic freedom. What if a faculty member doesn't endorse the land acknowledgment statement, perhaps because he takes the view that conquest of land and the displacement of peoples is the norm in human history (might the Piscataway Conoy have "stolen" land from others who lived there before?), and not something that he thinks merits particular condemnation or explicit attention? Or what if he's skeptical of claims of "generations of racialized trauma rooted in the institution"? The school may have its own view of the matter, but one principle of academic freedom is that faculty need not endorse all the views that the school endorses, and cannot be compelled to publicly make such an endorsement.

Now presumably the first paragraph, by committing to "respect all forms of diversity," commits itself to respecting diversity of opinions (religious or secular) as well—though apparently not diversity of views on "land acknowledgement." But how exactly can an honest faculty member commit to having all class materials respect all forms of diversity, given that many important source materials may well express views that sharply condemn various groups (political, religious, and otherwise)? And what about students that want to express views condemning, rather than respecting, various belief systems (Marxism, libertarianism, jihadist Islam, conservative evangelical Christianity, traditionalist Catholicism, scientific atheism, etc.)?

Students and faculty are apparently expected to avoid doing or saying anything "that is troubling or causes offense." After all, others are invited to "let [the professor] know right away," and perhaps inform "the School of Public Policy Equity Officer," when such "troubling" or "offens[ive]" things are said; such reporting policies usually apply to things that an institution condemns, not things that it views as neutral and permissible.

But how can one have an honest discussion about "Ethics and Moral Issues in Public Policy" (to give the subtitle of one course) without someone expressing views that are "troubling or cause offense," or that suggest a lack of "respect [for] all forms of diversity")? Or how about "Contemporary Issues Under the Rule of Law":

"Fake news" and freedom of the press, money in electoral politics, voter photo ID laws and political gerrymandering, continued racial segregation in public schools, privacy on the street and in school, holding public officials accountable for egregious constitutional violations, and unequal justice for the poor are all thorny issues of public policy that have found their way into American courts. This course examines these and other current issues presented to the courts in a format where students evaluate and opine on the competing legal and policy arguments in class and in papers as if they were the empowered judicial authority. The course also provides a broad overview of the ways American courts function as well as an opportunity to visit with a federal judge, hear the experiences of former jurors, and possibly visit a landlord-tenant court in action.

How does one candidly and thoroughly "opine on the competing legal and policy arguments"  about, for instance, "continued racial segregation in public schools"—or even "'fake news' and freedom of the press"—without the possibility of saying things that are "troubling or cause[] offense," or even that fail to "respect all forms of diversity"? (What if one thinks that continued underrepresentation of some racial groups, and overrepresentation of other racial groups, in certain academically selective programs stems from different cultural norms among various racial groups?) This list could go on, but I think these examples make the problem pretty clear.

Note that I'm not opining here on the pronoun question; knowing how a student prefers to be addressed and referred to is actually useful to professors. If the policy requires the professor to refer to a student using the student's preferred pronoun, that's a more difficult question; I think there might be some reasonable latitude for universities to control how their faculty address students personally, and perhaps even how faculty talk about particular students, though I think the matter is complicated. But here I'm focusing on the compelled express ideological statement—the one about the Indian land—as well as the rules for how professors and students are to talk about the substantive issues in the class.

NEXT: ConLaw Class 28: Modern Substantive Due Process III: Protecting "Dignity"

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112 responses to “UMD Public Policy School Mandating Ideological Statements on Syllabus, Requiring That Class "Materials" and "Discussions" "Respect All Forms of Diversity"

  1. The clever part of identify pronouns is that they put the onus on the multitude to know what everyone’s pronouns are, and woe be to you who can’t divine that or don’t even make the attempt. If these people actually cared about it, they’d wear pronoun name tags. But I suspect that would defeat the real purpose of othering those they don’t like.

    1. Progs love to say while their daggers are pointed at your heart, that pronouns are just a matter of basic politeness and decency. But real grassroots etiquette doesn’t just suddenly spring up in 2012 and then is brutally forced on you by the State. If I leave a 10% tip instead of 15. My employer isn’t going to come down on me like a ton of bricks and twitter probably won’t try to destroy mY life. At least not with the same fervor.

      Don’t buy into the nonsense ‘politeness’ narrative like Eugene apparently has. This is how they trick naive people into bit by bit playing the game entirely by their rules where only they can win. Its not politeness its a systematic and coordinated attempt to force the gender theory cult down your thoat.

    2. They do wear name tags, and I’ve never heard of anyone demanding to be addressed with certain pronouns without first having given notice of them.

      What they do demand is that once you have been informed of their pronouns you accept and remember and always use them, and that if you inadvertently slip up you immediately apologize.

      But the really unreasonable thing they demand is that you not merely humor them but that you actually accept and acknowledge that they are who they say they are, even if it contradicts all evidence and reason. They hold as a religious dogma that there is no objective reality, so the only possible evidence of what a person is is his own word on the matter, and it is heresy to question it.

      What I’d like to ask them is, even supposing that a person’s word were the only evidence of who he is, wouldn’t it still be possible for him to lie, or to be mistaken? So even in a universe that operated according to their rules, on what basis should one take someone’s word on this matter? Of what value is his word, when it’s equally likely to be wrong as right?

      1. They hold as a religious dogma that there is no objective reality, so the only possible evidence of what a person is is his own word on the matter, and it is heresy to question it.

        No, they don’t say that there’s no objective reality; they say that they objectively are what they identify as being. It’s not a preference or a belief; it’s a fact.

        They do, however, say that the evidence is entirely internal and therefore the only way to know it is to be told by them.

        1. I know people who unironically claim to be weather. Not joking

  2. I can’t remember the case, but Judge Sutton had some interesting things to say a few years back about the limits of the First Amendment in the classroom and the authority of school authorities to regulate in-class speech.

  3. “perhaps because he takes the view that conquest of land and the displacement of peoples is the norm in human history”
    Anti-Semitism is also the norm of human history, does that make it acceptable?

    1. There are many things that are unacceptable that faculty members might choose not to want to single out for special prominence on the syllabus. And indeed I would be against ordering professors at a public policy school to say on their syllabuses, “We acknowledge that many bad things have been done to Jews in the past” (even though I do think that many bad things have been done to Jews in the past”).

      1. If a campus in Germany had some school buildings that were confiscated from Jews during the holocaust, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have some acknowledge by the school that the students were benefiting from stolen property?

        1. The claim is not that it’s inappropriate to acknowledge it, it’s that it’s inappropriate to require faculty members who are entitled to academic freedom to acknowledge it if they don’t wish to.

          1. Sure, I don’t like people telling me what to say either, no matter how well intentioned.

        2. Has anyone from any Indian tribe presented a deed showing prior “ownership” of the land?

          1. Indeed, did the Piscataway Conoy people even believe in land as “property?”

        3. But the school could not require that of a Marxist professor who doesn’t believe in private property, so the state has the right to take anyone’s property.

          Nor could it require that of a professor who simply doesn’t believe the fifth amendment’s takings clause is a universal right that belongs to all people everywhere, and thus believes that when a state not bound by the fifth amendment takes someone’s property (which almost everyone agrees it may do) it needn’t pay them just compensation.

        4. If a campus in Germany had some school buildings that were confiscated from Jews during the holocaust, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have some acknowledge by the school that the students were benefiting from stolen property?

          I realize I’m privileging western patriarchal notions of ownership by saying this, but there’s a big difference between “There’s a property deed showing that Mark Goldberg purchased this property in 1920 and that it was taken from him without compensation by the Nazis in 1935,” and “300 years ago a group of people lived in this area, so therefore they are the One True Owners of this piece of land and it must have been stolen from them.”

    2. No, Bustard, but if honesty is to prevail then descendants of the tribe in question needs to come clean about their ancestor’s depredations upon the prior people who occupied that land. Like Gallic Europeans, e.g., bronze age and neolithic groups of peoples all over the world migrated onto the land of others, displacing them violently.

      Fact. Sorry.
      D

      1. but if honesty is to prevail

        That’s about as likely as me winning the lottery.

      1. To be clear, what you’re saying is it ought to be acceptable.

  4. I would hope that any belief requirement such as these is illegal discrimination, at least at a government institution and preferably at any institution receiving tax funds.

    Certainly the word “antiracism” is newspeak used only by the supporters of Critical Race Theory, so to me it’s a red flag not to enroll.

  5. I’ve yet to receive a positive response to my stated preferred pronoun of ‘lord’.

    1. I can’t get people to call me the Illustrious Potentate of the Grand Mystic Royal Order of the Nobles of the Ali Baba Temple of the Shrine, either.

      1. That’s too long. Courtesy has its limits. If you ask me to address you as “Illustrious” I’ll try to do so, but with a title that long I’m just not going to bother.

        That’s the point about courtesy; it’s voluntary. When a person who is clearly male asks to be addressed as if he were female, it’s only polite to go along. It costs nothing and makes him happy. But using a 20-word title does cost, and in my opinion it costs more than it’s worth, so I’ll pass.

        1. The point of the policy above, however, is that it’s not voluntary.

          But even assuming that it were entirely voluntary, it is not necessarily courteous to demand that that the entire rest of society change the English language to suit your personal preferences. Why is it not equally discourteous for your hypothetical male wanting to be addressed as female to make that demand? Why is that not especially discourteous when your hypothetical male knows that it will offend the religious or philosophical sensibilities of people who disagree?

          1. Suppose you have a colleague named Johnathan Thomas Spencer. He might prefer to be called any of ‘Johnathan’, ‘John’, ‘Johnny’, ‘Tom’, ‘Spence’, ‘JT’, or some random nickname (We know a ‘Cynthia Ann’ who goes by ‘Myke’).

            Isn’t it common courtesy to use whatever name the person wishes?

            (of course, on the other side, it’s not worth getting too offended about, IMHO. I have some relatives who have called me by variants of my name I don’t use. Life is too short to worry about things like that)

            1. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no convention in the English language for use of names or nicknames, therefore there is courtesy or discourtesy from asking them to unlearn it – there is nothing to unlearn.

              Actually, there is one convention. If your given name is Johnathan Thomas Spencer, it is generally considered rude to get upset when someone uses that name for you – especially if they don’t know you well. You might make the joke that “only my mother calls me that” but you don’t make a scene over it.

              1. Arghh… My kingdom for an edit button. That should be “… therefore there is no courtesy or discourtesy …”

      2. Does ‘Bubba’ work okay?

  6. “Materials, discussions, and activities will respect all forms of diversity…”

    Including diversity of opinion about what pronouns should be used to refer to particular individuals?

    1. I get the feeling that diversity of location won’t be honored much either.

  7. Everyone has a social responsibility to share their wealth with the less fortunate.

    Except the Indian tribes when refugees showed up on the shore. Native peoples — we are all supposed to agree — have an absolute ancestral, racial ownership right to lands and waters in vast, almost limitless quantities and may never be asked to share with migrants or refugees no matter how desperate, even if it means the settlers will starve to death or freeze in the winter.

    If you don’t agree with this perpetual, exclusive racial entitlement to wealth, you will be called a racist.

    1. To be fair, Europeans never greeted migrating interlopers on their lands. For starters, refer to Caesar’s memoirs on the Gallic Wars for starters.

      It’s a human being issue, not a native American issue. Interlopers are sources of threat, esp in large numbers. We are primates. Chimps behave in similar fashion when it comes to territory.

      Fact.

      1. Yeah, but you apparently don’t understand progressive thought.

        Native peoples are a special racial category above and apart from all rules and ideas. They are always in the right, no matter what.

        European native peoples don’t count. Anything that happened before Columbus can’t be used to write a victimization narrative. You might be guilty of some thought crimes for even mentioning it in this context. You should probably repent.

        1. Yeah, I don’t think you understand what you’re talking about either.

          1. And you won’t explain, because you know progressive attitudes toward native peoples and “we are gathered on the stolen land of the Piscataway Conoy people and were founded upon the erasures and exploitation of many non-European peoples” is an emotion and not a thought.

            To believe native peoples’ land was stolen is to believe they owned it and that they have ancestral, racial property rights to more or less all of North, South, and Central America. Plus Australia and Oceania.

            Which, of course, directly and completely contradicts every other progressive position on refugees, migrants, race, and property.

            Natives are — according to progressive emotional whimsy — allowed to be rich, to occupy immense tracts of land they don’t put to any productive use, and to turn a blind eye toward the needs or suffering of everyone else outside their racial group.

            It doesn’t make sense. No one is supposed to notice.

            1. You keep furiously putting words in liberals’ mouths, and you are too blinded by spite to have any idea if you have them right.

              Native people are not a special racial class who are always right no matter what.

              The things that were done to the natives went beyond forcing them off their homes, and acknowledging that land can be home is well within something liberals can do.

              Your strawman is like you heard a liberal as described by Rush Limbaugh, once.

              1. You keep insisting leftists aren’t that stupid, when the evidence keeps piling up that they are in fact more stupid.

                You remind me of Kevin Bacon’s character at the end of Animal House. “Be calm! All is well!”

              2. Do native peoples rightfully have property rights to the land or don’t they? “Stolen” means a specific thing in other contexts. In this context it means they are owed … what?

                If people will only express their ideas using oblique hints and words that are not to be considered literally, then how can anyone understand them without “putting words in … mouths”?

                1. So now you’re playing semantic games. Extremely weak sauce compared to your 7:22 pm nonsense.

                  If you’re building liberals’ secret reasoning based on oblique hints you’ve picked up, you’re just doing corkboard and string nonsense.

                  Forced removal of a population from an area where they live falls within the definition of genocide. Plus, you know, smallpox blankets and the like. What is your counter to thinking the trail of tears was bad?

                  1. Smallpox blankets is not a thing that generally happened. At most it happened once. The evidence for that one incident is ambiguous, but let’s suppose it’s true. That’s one specific incident, not a general behavior.

                  2. ‘Forced removal of a population from an area where they live falls within the definition of genocide’ That it does not, without other factors. Milhouse has already addressed your smallpox blanket hyperbole. At no time did anyone say the Trail of Tears was not horrific, but you did manage to make another false assertion.

                    1. Ethnic cleansing falls within the convention against genocide.

                      OK, so the blankets themselves were not widespread – or there is no evidence of such. Bad anecdote to use there – but weaponization of smallpox was absolutely a thing done by colonists (thinking of the Spanish), as was burning of crops and homes and a bunch of other stuff.

                      This is not a great apologist hill to die on.

                  3. Zero responsiveness on what “stolen” means or what any of the statement means or about what might be owed.

                    Because they are empty emotions. And their purpose is merely to complain about America — complaining about America gives some people a little dopamine boost or something. (But we must never imply that those people are anti-American just because they enjoy complaining about America so very much.)

                2. How about we take “stolen” to mean the US signed treaties with them and then violated them? Doesn’t really seem like that much of special treatment…

                  1. 1. Did the USA sign a treaty with the Piscataway/Conoy and then violate it? Or violate a treaty it inherited from the UK? Specifically, was the land on which the college the subject of such a treaty, and was it taken contrary to that treaty?

                    2. Second question, independent of the first: Was the treaty “violated” or abrogated? The USA does reserve the right to abrogate treaties when they’re no longer in its interest. That’s the general rule with treaties; they last only as long as both parties find it in their interest. So even if the taking of this land was contrary to some treaty, why would that make it “stealing”?

              3. “You keep furiously putting words in liberals’ mouths…”

                Seems like the liberals are the ones putting words in people’s mouths in this case.

                1. Sure, the OP is legit.

                  Meanwhile Ben_ is busy strawmanning himself into a fury.

                  1. Explain reality then.

                    What does “stolen” mean? What remedy is sought? Who rightfully owns the land? How much of the land? On what basis are native peoples’ ownership of the land established? Are there any limits? Who are native peoples who enjoy this ownership and who are not, and how did you decide which individuals are in which category?

                    We have this position. We will never say anything about the details. Every argument against our position is therefore a strawman. Why don’t people stop using these strawman arguments and agree with us?

    2. The credal statement required is wrongheaded, but you are being dishonest. The complaint is not that Indians were “asked to share.” The complaint, of course, is that the settlers attacked them and took their land.

      1. And there’s documentation or witness accounts that the settlers attacked first with no provocation?

        The way these things usually go is that people show up and the ones already there try to drive the newcomers away by attacking them. Why would settlers immediately launch an attack? It’s dangerous. If the people already there are universally welcoming and friendly and there are abundant resources for all, trade has clear advantages.

        (I know it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just another leftist grievance assault like all the others. It’s not supposed to make sense, it’s supposed to wear down Americans with constant, never-ending assaults. And to gull money out of the weak-willed.)

    3. Except that the “Native Americans” didn’t spontaneously generate in these lands. They also came here from somewhere else. So this isn’t their land, either.

  8. “We acknowledge that we are gathered on the stolen land of the Piscataway Conoy people…”

    Seems underinclusive … what about the people the Piscataway Conoy stole the land from?

    1. They should acknowledge the original inhabitants, the _ people; an illiterate Clovis-technology group who inhabited area eight thousand years ago. At least before they were genocided 500 years later, by the _ tribe, an illiterate Clovis-technology group…

      And the big wheel keeps on turning.

    2. Okay, I will come seize your land and forcibly remove you. If you have a problem with it, I’ll just remind you that white Americans originally stole it, so technically what I did wasn’t that bad…

      Give me a break

      1. We don’t have records for pre-Colombian America, so let’s talk about Jolly Olde England. The history there is also limited to recent times – maybe a few millennia. In that time, there have been successive waves of conquest. Just off the top, Celts, Picts, Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Normans, Romans and probably others I am forgetting.

        Who is the rightful owner today? Who should be making apologies today for what their ancestors did? If the order happened to be the Jutes conquered the Picts, and then were in turn conquered by the Angles, do descendants of the Angles apologize to the Jutes, who in turn apologize to the Picts?

        And let’s think about the tribes that were conquered by Rome, but then later conquered Rome. What’s the chain of apologies there?

        1. I’m not asking you to make apologies, but to find the best way to achieve justice for past wrongs. Dispossessing a massive native population of a continent some 200-300 years ago is clearly different than arguing about the Roman conquests. It’s an absurd argument

          1. No, it’s not “clearly different”. It’s different only in degree and proximity. The fact that you are unwilling to even accept the premise shows that you are insincere in your approach.

            Harms to still-living people are qualitatively different and can be directly redressed. Harms to the immediate family of deceased victims can be indirectly redressed. Harms beyond the immediate family become increasingly speculative. The difference in speculation over 200 years is merely a matter of degree to the speculation over 2000 years. Whatever philosophical answer you have to redress 200 year old evils must be equally workable for 2000 year old evils.

            Either that or you need some objective basis for where you will draw the line. Once you get past still-living victims, I see no such objective basis.

          2. Please explain your work. The dispossession by Rome is exactly the same as the dispossession by the British (not Americans) complained of here.

            1. Who did the Romans dispossess? They didn’t remove anyone from their land, IIRC.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7tvauOJMHo

              1. To quibble, the Romans didn’t (usually) dispossess people who were willing to live under Roman rule. If you didn’t want to live under Roman rule, then you had to leave (thus dispossessing the next folks down the line, of course) or be killed.

                But putting that aside, if conquest that isn’t genocide is OK, then the Sioux have no complaint? Or Hitler’s occupation of Norway?

          3. “I’m not asking you to make apologies, but to find the best way to achieve justice for past wrongs. Dispossessing a massive native population of a continent some 200-300 years ago is clearly different than arguing about the Roman conquests. It’s an absurd argument”

            I’m trying to understand your argument. It seems like you are proposing sort of a statue of limitations on conquest. Columbus arrived a little over 500 years ago, so I’m presuming you are envisioning a ‘statue of limitations’ that exceeds 500 years?

            As luck would have it, the Moors still controlled parts of Spain until the same year Columbus arrived in the New World. Are you proposing that modern Spaniards owe something to the descendants of the Moors they dispossessed within your time frame?

            I’m not into genealogy, but family members who are have traced the family tree to the Huguenot diaspora, which is well within your time frame. What justice may I demand from the present day French?

            Looking over the history of the Ottoman, Holy Roman, and Austro-Hungarian empires will also show a lot of conquest and reconquests in your interval … who today should be apologizing for what?

          4. “Achieve justice” by doing what?

      2. The difference is that I have a deed to my land, which is recognized by the current legal system as valid, and guaranteed by the fifth amendment. So if you take my land I will sue you and win. The P/C people don’t have that, and didn’t when and if they lost the parcel on which the college stands.

      3. But Will S, the “Native Americans” stole the land from someone else when they migrated here from Asia. It’s not their land, either.

  9. I assume this means they encourage diversity in ideas, right?

    Haaaa ha ha ha ha ha! Whew, that was a good one!

  10. “The school may have its own view of the matter…”

    How can a school have a view? People have views, not institutions.

    1. That’s not true. Institutions routinely have views on all sorts of matters. For a ridiculously obvious instance, consider the Roman Catholic Church; you can’t claim it has no views! Even corporations can have views, if they’re small and closely controlled; that’s the whole point of Hobby Lobby.

  11. Diversity is nothing more than denial of objective reality. If all points of view and opinions are to be accepted, then stupidity is acceptable.

    1. You have to be in Diversity Insider Baseball before they tell you about the Stupidity API, or, as they call it, ‘Core Axioms.’

    2. “If all points of view and opinions are to be accepted, then stupidity is acceptable.”

      All points of view and opinions are not acceptable, hence the need for the diversity and inclusion statement.

      1. That is a non-accepting response, which triggered me. You should be banned.
        See how it works.

        1. I was making the opposite point (agreeing with you). The diversity and inclusion statement is itself a statement that all points of view and opinions are definitely NOT acceptable.

  12. Remember when schools used to say that they were teaching you how to think better, not telling you what to think?

    1. Not any more, sadly.

    2. Yeah, I do. But then again, I am really old.

  13. “(might the Piscataway Conoy have “stolen” land from others who lived there before?),”

    That’s why claims of this nature are always so absurd, it’s just guilt-tripping on the most recent conqueror who was advanced enough to leave written records. There are very few people anywhere on the planet who can claim they don’t live on “stolen” land, by the logic of “it’s stolen if it changed political control by conquest at least once.” The people of the North Sentinel Island might have a shot, although unless we go in and start digging there’s no way to be sure.

    1. The most recent in this case was rebels taking it from the British. Other parts of USA were taken from Franche, Netherlands, or Spain by the British before that.

      One of the few cases where USA “took” land from natives is Hawaii. The land between the 13 colonies and the Louisiana Purchase might be examples too.

  14. University of Maryland School of Public Policy School

    At least it wasn’t the School of Journalism School

    1. Whoops, sorry, fixed.

  15. Note that pronouns need not be static … they can change every day, every hour, even every second for the gender fluid.

    The best way to fight needless bureaucracy is to feed it work.

  16. As ever, I wonder why the Conspirators harangue their readers about university follies. Prof. Volokh’s academic colleagues, including several of his fellow Conspirators, favor this type of thought control. Why doesn’t he speak to them, instead of people with real jobs?

  17. The “land acknowledgement” is disingenuous at best because if they did believe they were really on stolen land, what is stopping them from giving it back? Maybe the state? But even if they can’t gift it back to the exploited Indians at least they can pay them rent for continuing their occupation. Seems to me that is the least they can do for sitting on said stolen land of centuries. Either that or just put that you are just engaged in virtue signaling and that is the extent of the exercise.

    1. Does acknowledging a wrong mean it’s your responsibility to effect not just restitution but making the wronged party whole?

      I don’t think that’s true.

      1. If you state that you are in the possession of stolen property you are legally liable to return said stolen property.

        1. That’s definitely not true. Plenty of torts cases about that.

          1. No, but one might suggest that you’re morally obligated to.

            1. Sure, but moral is a lot fuzzier than the legal.
              Which is why you don’t see a lot of people arguing for the Americas to be returned to their native peoples’.

              Despite the strawmaning many conservatives are trying for.

          2. This is why no one takes you seriously.

            1. Dude said legally. I responded legally.

              1. My original comment was not “legal” in nature nor does it even sound that. I said it was disingenuous to simply acknowledge you are benefiting from stolen land and not doing anything about it.

                1. Which is why my *legal* response was to Illocust, not to your original comment.

                  And we do things about it. Probably not enough, but what do you think the deal with casinos is?

      2. I’m sure you would be just fine with the following hypothetical, right?

        “Sorry I stole your television Sarcastro. It is pretty nice though but I already have it hooked up in my house. Hey, but I called it Sarcastro-vision in your honor and tell people it used to be yours. I could return it but just don’t want to. Feel free to come over and watch the big game anytime though.”

        1. Yeah, what an indistinguishable paralel you drew.

          1. Stolen property, illegitimately owned, the person in possession acknowledges improper possession, but still keeps it without doing anything further. Yeah sounds like a pretty good parallel.

  18. Concerning the Land Acknowledgement statement, that’s a statement of fact and I don’t see where there’s an issue acknowledging a fact.

    Now, if someone believes the statement is false, then they certainly can present their case.

    I’m surprised a law professor can’t see this.

    1. The land was not stolen. It may have been part of a treaty or taken by conquest in a war, as it was likely “aquired” by the tribe.
      It is impossible to steal something in the absence of private property rights, which the tribe did not have.
      Try again.

      1. Lol I assume you are an expert in tribal property rights, which is why you didn’t even bother to check the fact that the Piscataway Convoy were an agricultural tribe who had permanent settlements, and that they signed multiple treaties outlining their land claims and sovereignty. Nice one.

        1. And when the fields went fallow? Did they stay, or relocate from their ‘permanent settlements?’ You clearly know, as you must be an expert in tribal property rights, though ‘lol’ and ad hominem attacks don’t make convincing arguments.

        2. Quick Google search shows no evidence of private property rights. However, there is much there about the tribe being allies of the British in intra-Indian wars and a long history of inter-tribe wars, generally.
          Wikipedia, a source, if not the best source states:
          “After the English tried to remove tribes from their homelands in 1680, the Piscataway fled from encroaching English settlers to Zekiah Swamp in Charles County, Maryland. There they were attacked by the Iroquois but peace was negotiated.[24]

          In 1697, the Piscataway relocated across the Potomac and camped near what is now The Plains, Virginia, in Fauquier County. Virginia settlers were alarmed and tried to persuade the Piscataway to return to Maryland, though they refused. Finally in 1699, the Piscataway moved north to what is now called Conoy Island in the Potomac near Point of Rocks, Maryland. They remained there until after 1722.[25]”
          The idea that the land was stolen from this tribe by the English (not Americans) is false. Since the tribe was gone before 1776, your argument should be with Great Britain anyway.

          1. I didn’t say anything about Americans, but they inherited the land from british colonists. This particular tribe seems to have been fighting almost all of these wars defensively, so I don’t get your point

            1. The wars were with other Indian tribes is my point. You presume, without evidence, the absence of millennia of inter-Indian war.

              1. You presume the presence of war somehow mitigates our colonial ethnic cleansing.

    2. It is not a statement of fact, it is a statement of historical revisionism, with which you seem to agree based on your sociopolitical viewpoint. As for ‘presenting their case,’ there is no need to do so, as there is no need to include historically dubious claims in the interest of social pressure. Your surprise, seems most likely to be more condescension.

      1. ?
        Like, I don’t think you can force speech whether factual or no, but I don’t think it’s revisionist.

        What’s the counternarrative?
        How did we get from land with natives on it to land with colonists on it?

    3. Generally land acquired as part of the doctrine of conquest is not “stolen.” Sure, rhetorically, the people who have been divested of land rarely ever feel like it was legitimate. But, international law has recognized since ancient times that if an opposing sovereign takes over your land, you lose the rights for it.

      Here, the land statement implies that the land acquisition and transfer of land to the conquerers was not legitimate or in line with the expectations of international law. Also, it is disingenuous as I pointed out above to acknowledge you stole property but not take any action to remediate that theft.

      1. Jimmy going hard to defend Johnson v. M’Intosh.

        Next he’ll talk about how the natives should thank us for civilizing them.

  19. “We acknowledge that we are gathered on the stolen land of the Piscataway Conoy people” is ambiguous. Sure, we’re gathered on land that the P/C people stole. What of it?

    1. The school is gathered on land from which the P-C tribe left after attacks by other Indian tribes would be factually correct.

  20. This land was ultimately stolen from mammoths and smilodons, who mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter.

  21. Truth is not about forcing people to agree with you. Insisting academics incorporate such statements into their syllabus is an example of suppressing truth. Simple. Whether you agree or disagree with the statements that they are forcing is irrelevant.