[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Shame on Stanford:
Reading a book on a college campus should not prompt formal administrative intervention. But that’s what’s reportedly happening at Stanford University this week, after a photo of a student reading Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” circulated on campus last Friday… administrators were working “swiftly” with the students involved to “address” the incident.
Stanford was reportedly alerted to the book-reading via its Protected Identity Harm reporting system. Effectively a bias response system, Stanford says PIH reports help the university “address incidents where a community member experiences harm because of who they are and how they show up in the world.”
NOTE Mein Kampf is a book
that has been required reading in at least one recent Stanford humanities class and is available to borrow from the university library
It gets worse:
Stanford defines a PIH Incident as “conduct or an incident that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group” on the basis of actual or perceived characteristics like race, religion, or marital status. Yet, it acknowledges such conduct does not necessarily violate its harassment or discrimination policies that, quite rightly, already prohibit such unlawful conduct.
Administrators with disciplinary authority formally notifying students they’ve been accused of “harm,” when they’ve done nothing more than read a book, and asking them to “acknowledge” what they’ve done and “change” their ways through restorative justice-type exercises undoubtedly chills student speech.
Read the report and FIRE’s letter sent to Stanford at the link.
Also concerning schools:
While there is certainly much to debate about the subject of gender identity, especially when it concerns minors, public school officials intentionally deciding to withhold from parents that their minor children are identifying as a different gender at school is becoming more widespread, and rightfully upsetting parents on the both the Left and Right:
Jessica Bradshaw found out that her 15-year-old identified as transgender at school after she glimpsed a homework assignment with an unfamiliar name scrawled at the top.
When she asked about the name, the teenager acknowledged that, at his request, teachers and administrators at his high school in Southern California had for six months been letting him use the boy’s bathroom and calling him by male pronouns.
Mrs. Bradshaw was confused: Didn’t the school need her permission, or at least need to tell her?
It did not, a counselor later explained, because the student did not want his parents to know. District and state policies instructed the school to respect his wishes.
Mrs. Bradshaw said that there had been no notification of any sort from the school informing her that her 15-year-old daughter was now identifying as a boy in the classroom. When they did find out about their child’s change, both parents accepted the new identity.
Prior to their child’s transition, their teenager faced a number of serious (including being on the autism spectrum, having ADHD and PTSD). No small potato issues. One assumes that the school was aware of these. Because of these already existing issues, the fact that the school felt justified in not notifying the Bradshaws of yet another very serious event taking place in their teenager’s life, the parents were angry. While they had accepted their teenager’s new gender identity, their level of concern increased significantly when their teenager wanted to have surgery to remove her breasts:
…Mrs. Bradshaw said she resented the fact that the school had made her feel like a bad parent for wondering whether educators had put her teenager, a minor, on a path the school wasn’t qualified to oversee.
“It felt like a parenting stab in the back from the school system,” she said. “It should have been a decision we made as a family.”
Liberal parents are also uncomfortable with schools not disclosing to them what is taking place in the classroom with regard to their children’s gender identities:
…dozens of parents whose children have socially transitioned at school told The Times they felt villainized by educators who seemed to think that they — not the parents — knew what was best for their children. They insisted that educators should not intervene without notifying parents unless there is evidence of physical abuse at home. Although some didn’t want their children to transition at all, others said they were open to it, but felt schools forced the process to move too quickly, and that they couldn’t raise concerns without being cut out completely or having their home labeled “unsafe.”
Parents of all political persuasions have found themselves unsettled by what schools know and don’t reveal…Mrs. Bradshaw said she wouldn’t align herself with Republican lawmakers who sought to ban L.G.B.T.Q. rights, but she also felt as though her school’s policy left no room for nuance.
“It is almost impossible to have these discussions,” Mrs. Bradshaw said. “There is no forum for someone like me.”
Other self-described liberal parents said they registered as independents or voted for Republican candidates for the first time as a result of this issue. Although they haven’t sued, some have retained lawyers affiliated with the largest legal organization on the religious right to battle their children’s schools.
Second news item
Trump’s lawyer might lose CA law license:
John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who helped lead former President Donald Trump’s legal efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, is facing disciplinary action in California, where state bar regulators say they will seek to strip his license.
The complaint features 11 counts alleging ethics violations stemming from Eastman’s work and public statements in the weeks after the 2020 election.
“The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land — an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy — for which he must be held accountable,” [State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counse] Cardona said in a statement.
Third news item
Earning praise from Russia and happy about it:
Russian Olympic officials on Thursday praised the International Olympic Committee’s decision allowing Russian athletes to participate in the Summer Olympics in Paris next year.
The IOC Executive Board agreed to allow individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in Olympic events if they are not “actively supporting” Russia’s war in Ukraine. The athletes also must compete under neutral status.
“I believe that this is already a success,” said Igor Levitin, vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee. “The Olympic community realizes that the Olympic Games cannot transpire without Russia’s participation.”
Fourth news item
Gov. DeSantis makes an interesting move:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is praising California attorney and former Trump campaign adviser Harmeet Dhillon amid in her bid to take the Republican National Committee chairmanship away from Ronna McDaniel…“I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis told Charlie Kirk, the founder of conservative Turning Point USA.
“I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of D.C. Why would you want to have your headquarters in the most Democrat city in America? It’s more Democrat than San Francisco is…We’ve had three substandard election cycles in a row: ‘18, ‘20 and ‘22. And I would say of all three of those, ‘22 was probably the worst. Given the political environment of a very unpopular president in Biden, huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction — that is an environment that’s tailor-made to make big gains in the House and the Senate and in state houses all across the country. And yet that didn’t happen.”
The GOP is scheduled to vote for RNC chair today.
Fifth news item
This guy thinks he deserves to hold the most powerful position in the world:
Trump announced on his social media platform on Tuesday that he won the Senior Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach last weekend, despite not playing the first round of the tournament.
Members arrived the second day surprised to see Trump with a five-point lead, according to the Daily Mail. But Trump never played the first round as he was attending a funeral in North Carolina of ardent supporter Lynette Hardaway, known by the moniker “Diamond” of the conservative political commentary duo Diamond and Silk.
Trump told tournament organizers he played a strong round on the course Thursday, two days before the tournament started, and decided that would count as his Saturday score for the club championship. That score was five points better than any competitor posted during Saturday’s first round.
No wonder he has the reputation of cheating like a 4-year-old at Monopoly…
Sixth news item
Neither the Left nor the Right are happy with President Biden’s border policies:
A group of 77 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday criticizing his administration’s policies restricting asylum access for migrants crossing the southern border.
The letter, signed by New Jersey Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 74 others, said the new policies announced Jan. 5 to open more legal options for migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba while also eliminating pathways for those nationalities to claim asylum at the border are “disappointing.”
Republican lawmakers decide women’s shoulders are simply too tantalizing for male colleagues to see:
Republican leadership of the Florida House has posted flyers throughout the Capitol showing what to wear — and perhaps more strikingly, what not to wear.
The flyer breaks down a dress code for three different scenarios — when in the chamber, when Members are in the building, and when Members are not in the building. The required attire is, not surprisingly, most formal when in the House chamber.
What sticks out though, is the requirement that women never show their shoulders when House Members are present in the building, whether in the chamber or not.
Have a great weekend.