Patterico's Pontifications

3/14/2015

Smart Student Responds To UCI American Flag Kerfuffle

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:21 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Last week, I posted about the UCI student legislative council’s decision to ban the American flag from its offices because its presence might be offensive to students and visitors. Because inclusiveness!

In a letter to the campus newspaper, PhD student (computer science) Nick Gallo is spot-on as he demonstrates how students could have made such a misguided decision:

Last Thursday the ASUCI Legislative Council voted 6-4-2 to ban the display of the American flag in the ASUCI lobby. This triggered a huge backlash among students opposed to the measure and received national media attention. UCI administration immediately went into damage control mode, releasing a statement that these students were “misguided” and that this decision was in no way supported by campus leadership. Chancellor Gillman promptly followed up, lamenting how it is “inevitable” when you get a bunch of “young people” together that some of them will occasionally express views that are “unconventional and even outrageous.” “It was outrageous and indefensible,” he exclaimed “that they would question the appropriateness of displaying the American flag on this great campus.”

Where on earth could these “misguided” students have gotten such an “outrageous” idea? Where are they getting their guidance from? Could it be from the administration constantly suffocating the student body with statements about how we need to enhance our “diversity” and “inclusivity?” Could it be their complete failure to identify and champion American values in any meaningful way? Let’s take a closer look.

When I applied to the UC Irvine PhD program, I was required to submit a statement about how I would enhance the “diversity” of the university. Why was I not required to submit a similar statement about what I love about America, how I will uphold American values and further the cause of this great nation? Why aren’t international students required to answer these questions and write a statement about which American values they find so appealing and why they are excited to be a part of American culture?

Rather than addressing this apparent disparity, on Jan. 30 of this year Chancellor Gillman doubled down, asserting via campus-wide e-mail that “in the area of faculty recruitment, we instituted a requirement that all applicants submit with their application materials a statement indicating their past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion.” In the same e-mail, he emphasized UCI’s commitment to “inclusive excellence,” lauded UCI’s workshop on “Identifying Micro-aggressions,” stated that he was forming a special Task Force to make African American students feel more welcome and engaged in campus life and stated the administration’s intention to alter the racial makeup of the student body in order to qualify for a Hispanic Serving Institution designation by the federal government.

Similarly, on Feb. 13, Vice Chancellor Parham issued an unusual e-mail condemning “instances of cultural insensitivity” stating that the administration joins with “our Muslim brothers and sisters” in the aftermath of the senseless UNC Chapel Hill murders of three Muslims and encouraged affected students to utilize the UCI Counseling Center. However, on Jan. 7, when twelve cartoonists in Paris were publicly executed by ruthless Jihadists (and no, despite this juxtaposition, I am not conflating “Muslims” with “Jihadists”) for drawing a caricature of Mohammed, the administration was silent. Despite the international media attention, the administration offered no special counseling sessions or condolences to French students, no statements about “cultural insensitivity,” and didn’t take the opportunity to champion cherished American values of Freedom of Expression and Religion or state our nation’s commitment to securing these freedoms throughout the world.

The message from the administration to the student body is clear: we need to be more tolerant and more inclusive. Minority students feel constantly unwelcome and we need to do something about it.

Six students dutifully applied this logic toward international students in the ASUCI lobby, there was a huge backlash and they were promptly thrown under the bus.

I agree with Mr. Gillman’s retroactive assessment that this resolution was “outrageous.” I disagree with the destructive, hypercritical narrative of America presented in this resolution that is popular among some students and professors at U.S. universities. I believe the flag is an uncompromising tribute to our honored veterans and our fallen soldiers who sacrificed so much to secure the fragile liberty which we have been so fortunate to inherit.

However, I think the administration owes these six students (and the public) an explanation as to why their attempt at “inclusivity” was so “misguided.” Are UCI’s internal policies and statements on “inclusivity” themselves contradictory and misguided? Should UCI offer educational programs arguing against the view of America spelled out in this resolution? We have entire offices dedicated to “diversity,” why not one to promote American values and a healthy understanding of our culture, especially among international students?

What should we tell international students coming to UCI? The voice of the student body is clear: we are a tolerant, vibrant community, we invite you here and we welcome you here. We give you great freedom to express many aspects of your culture within our borders, but there are certain things about our culture, like the display of our flag, that we simply refuse to compromise, no matter how offensive you may find it. The position of the administration is surprisingly contradictory and unclear. Perhaps it is time we hold them accountable.

–Dana

23 Responses to “Smart Student Responds To UCI American Flag Kerfuffle”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (86e864)

  2. That PhD student needs to prepare for his Two Minute Hate. I hope he is strong. I admire him.

    Simon Jester (a9b313)

  3. Chancellor Gillman doubled down, asserting via campus-wide e-mail that “in the area of faculty recruitment, we instituted a requirement that all applicants submit with their application materials a statement indicating their past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion

    That’s the kind of lunacy that allowed, for example, Nidal Hassan free reign until it was too late.

    If the cultural and political parameters of America were overly narrow or strict more than 50 to 60 years ago, they have since been torn asunder and are now in the opposite extreme.

    The ability to keep things properly balanced is extremely difficult, particularly since human nature is prone to regular bouts of casual foolishness and willful naivete.

    Mark (c160ec)

  4. Now that’s a smack-down. Expulsion in 101 100 011 010 001 ….

    htom (4ca1fa)

  5. Great letter.

    But what is that word “Nickour” in the final paragraph?

    Mark Johnson (425693)

  6. I feel raped by this post.

    It needed a trigger warning!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  7. My experience with UCI, except for reading about the Muslim Students Association outrages, was limited to the medical school. I interviewed many applicants, a task that was apparently distasteful to other faculty as the Admissions Office secretaries told me mine were the only interview reports submitted promptly. I met many interesting applicants who would have contributed to the diversity of the medical school and probably have been good doctors. I hope a few of them got in.

    One was a young woman who was a refugee from Iran with her parents. Her father, who had been prosperous in Iran, ran an ice cream store in Irvine. The faculty seemed to be very impressed with applicant volunteer activities such as working as a candy striper or an ER clerk. I preferred experience running a business as this one young women did for a year when her father had a heart attack.

    Another had been an Iranian medical corpsman during the Iran-Iraq War which began his interest in medicine. He emigrated and lived with his brother in San Jose while learning better English (Which was excellent) and working nights for Sun Microsystems. During the day, he went to San Jose State college and did his premed. He was worried that he would be discriminated because he was Iranian but I hoped not.

    Another was a young lab tech who had left Vietnam when her father lifted her out of her bed when she was nine. They paddled a canoe out to a fishing boat offshore and ended in a refugee camp in the Philippines for a year or two before making it to the Vietnamese community in Orange County. She graduated from UCI and then got a job working in a medical school lab.

    I hope they all got in but never heard any further word.

    I eventually quit after minimal cooperation from other faculty on projects on medical quality I was working on. Also the series of UCI scandals was a factor. I was invited to address one graduating class and was happy to do that.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  8. I hate the assumption that diversity is an unmitigated good.

    norcal (b8f701)

  9. why do we invite foreign students to come to America’s sordid universities at all when we know they’re just gonna get raped

    it seems like a dirty trick kinda

    happyfeet (831175)

  10. Because even rapists need diversity!

    norcal (b8f701)

  11. Mark Johnson #5 – you just *had* to Nickpick, now, didn’t you ?

    (I am curious about that intrusive, myself)

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  12. The offensive Nickour has been, in this case, rightfully banished. A sloppy copy/paste by me. Apologies.

    Dana (86e864)

  13. Years ago I did some temp work at the University of Washington and the department head was (east) Indian, and there was a huge bias toward students from India, while many American citizens didn’t gain entry. Meanwhile, and acquaintance from the Seattle area tells me you can’t get a job at a certain city department unless you are gay. There seems to be this idea that only someone like you can teach you or serve you.

    DenverTodd (7efc83)

  14. #13
    I can do flower arrangements and the Manti Teo fake boyfriend thing. I don’t know what the office parties involve, but as long as I claim Irritable Bowel Syndrome it should go OK

    steveg (794291)

  15. Gives one hope, doesn’t it?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  16. It truly does, Beldar.

    Dana (86e864)

  17. over/under on his thesis being rejected out of hand?

    redc1c4 (2b3c9e)

  18. The kids need to be told the flag is neutral it can just as well fly over the re-education camp conservatives are sentenced to. The flag will be just as happy wherever it flys.

    voter (372cbc)

  19. Off topic, but Brett Kimberlin just lost another peace order, this time against my friend John. http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/2015/03/in-new-peace-order-hearing-adjudicated.html

    Aaron "Worthing" Walker (43be7a)

  20. redc1c4 — can I have “never” on acceptance to graduate school?

    htom (4ca1fa)

  21. I hope Mr. Gallo gets his PhD and look forward to him continuing to educate others in what equality really means.

    Aaron,

    I’m glad to hear the troll lost another case. How much longer before he’s finally called what he is, a vexatious litigant?

    NJRob (d36337)

  22. Greetings:

    Back in my Psychology studying daze, I had a professor who taught me about groupthink. One of his favorite observations was “Expulsion ensures unanimity.”

    11B40 (844d04)

  23. I am so embarrassed by my alma mater(basketball team excluded).

    the bhead (ab64c0)


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