Patterico's Pontifications


Betsy DeVos Won’t Let Princeton’s Self-Admitted Racism Slide

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:06 pm

[guest post by JVW]

For my money, Betsy DeVos has emerged as the absolute star of the Trump Administration (which, to be sure, isn’t exactly a Dream Team of administrative talent). This is sweet justice, because no cabinet member was met with so much coordinated hatred from a powerful left-wing advocacy group (teacher’s unions), nor so much snide carping from smug and tedious leftists who hate her because she’s wealthy and because she refuses to sing from the hymn book of John Dewey and Michel Foucault. She has put up with the slings and arrows from the obnoxious educrats, yet to the degree possible in our sclerotic federal government she has undertaken the work of making a clean break from Barack Obama’s weak policies and malevolent campus politics.

So I have nothing but respect for Secretary DeVos, who won’t abide by the ongoing and pervasive racism that exists at some of our oldest and most elite institutions of higher education. No, this time I’m not talking about how Asian-American kids are screwed in the admissions process; I refer here today to the recent disclosure by the president of Princeton University (the alma mater of Michelle Robinson Obama!), Christopher Eisgruber (’83), that racism at the school is “systemic” and “embedded.” In the spirit of institutional self-flagellation, Mr. Eisgruber acknowledged (with bold emphasis added by me):

Racism and the damage it does to people of color nevertheless persist at Princeton as in our society, sometimes by conscious intention but more often through unexamined assumptions and stereotypes, ignorance or insensitivity, and the systemic legacy of past decisions and policies. Race-based inequities in America’s health care, policing, education, and employment systems affect profoundly the lives of our staff, students, and faculty of color.

Racist assumptions from the past also remain embedded in structures of the University itself. For example, Princeton inherits from earlier generations at least nine departments and programs organized around European languages and culture, but only a single, relatively small program in African studies.

Having confessed to the crime, Old Nassau shouldn’t have been surprised that the government might want to take a look-see, to further determine if the university hasn’t engaged in fraud of some sort or other. So, according to the Washington Examiner, a letter went out from Secretary DeVos outlining the steps the department planned to take. The Examiner quotes the letter as follows:

Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false,” the letter reads. “The Department is further concerned Princeton perhaps knew, or should have known, these assurances were false at the time they were made. Finally, the Department is further concerned Princeton’s many nondiscrimination and equal opportunity claims to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations in violation of 20 U.S.C. § 1094(c)(3)(B) and 34 CFR 668.71(c). Therefore, the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education, in consultation with the Department’s Office of the General Counsel, is opening this investigation.

The Examiner article goes on to explain what Princeton might expect next:

What the Department seeks to obtain from its investigation is what evidence Princeton used in its determination that the university is racist, including all the records regarding Eisgruber’s letter and a “spreadsheet identifying each person who has, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, been excluded from participation in, been denied the benefits of, or been subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance as a result of the Princeton racism or ‘damage’ referenced in the President’s Letter.” Eisgruber and a “designated corporate representative” must sit for interviews under oath, and Princeton must also respond to written questions regarding the matter.

Multiple people familiar with the matter have confirmed the letter’s validity and assert that this investigation is not political. Instead, they insist that the department has a legal obligation to investigate a supposedly self-admitted violation of federal civil rights protections.

The Education Department regularly investigates universities for violating Title IX of the Civil Rights Act in their handling of campus sexual assault and misconduct allegations. This investigation, while not identical, could prove similar.

Sauce for the goose; sauce for the gander. I can’t wait for Princeton’s lawyers to explain to the Education Department that Mr. Eisgruber didn’t really mean what he wrote in his open letter to the community.

Three cheers for Secretary DeVos.


Another Day, Another Allegation That Trump Sexually Assaulted A Woman

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I want to ask readers, especially loyal Trump supporters, whether or not this story matters to you, or impacts you in any particular way? I’m not looking for any knee-jerk “FAKE NEWS!” outrage or “TDS” deflection but rather a thoughtful response explaining how you process these sorts of stories, and whether you view them as little more than an attempt to sabotage the President? And in light of the many allegations against him, does yet one more description of what happened at the hands of a man who infamously said about women: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it…” raise any questions in your mind about whether he might have actually done this? Finally, with regard to credible allegations, is there a certain number that would need to be made that would cause you to change your mind about him? [Ed. Pointing out the obvious: This is the one individual’s account of an alleged incident that took place before Trump became the President of the United States. But even when it’s just an allegation, Trump’s base reflexively jumps to his defense while proclaiming his innocence. That’s also not to say that the anti-Trump crowd doesn’t assume he’s guilty from the get-go.]

A former model has come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament more than two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated”.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997.

Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from.

“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything.

“I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it,” she said, adding: “I don’t know what you call that when you’re sticking your tongue just down someone’s throat. But I pushed it out with my teeth. I was pushing it. And I think I might have hurt his tongue.”

Through his lawyers, Trump has vigorously denied the claims made by Dorris:

Jenna Ellis, legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said in a statement to NBC News that the “allegations are totally false. We will consider every legal means available to hold The Guardian accountable for its malicious publication of this unsubstantiated story. This is just another pathetic attempt to attack President Trump right before the election.”

The report says that Dorris showed reporters that supported the claims of her encounters with Trump, including a plane ticket to the US Open and photographs with her and Trump in New York during the specified time period.

Additionally, the report says that Dorris confided in several people immediately after the alleged incident took place:

Her account was also corroborated by several people she confided in about the incident. They include a friend in New York and Dorris’s mother, both of whom she called immediately after the alleged incident, as well as a therapist and friends she spoke to in the years since. All said Dorris had shared with them details of the alleged incident that matched what she later told the Guardian.


Thank Heaven for Clever People Giving Us Something to Laugh At

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:00 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The summer winds down, college football resumes while New York City schools punt on reopening, the stupid election is still 46 days away, but at least clever people are doing hilarious things on the Internet:

Hooray for the little things.


AG Barr: Coronavirus Lockdowns Greatest Intrusion On Civil Liberties Since Slavery

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:20 am

[guest post by Dana]

He made the comments while speaking at Hillsdale College on Monday:

[T]the event’s host asked Barr to explain the “constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during Covid-19.”

The question lead Barr into a four-minute response where he said state governors were using their executive powers to stifle citizens and businesses from going back to work.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd.

He also criticized some governors for their response to COVID outbreaks in their states:

“Most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they … defy common sense,” Barr said Wednesday. “They treat free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”

“We have to give business people an opportunity, tell them what the rules are you know the masks, which rule of masks, you had this month…and then let them try to adapt their business to that and you’ll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living,” he added.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I came here to do a post about Barr comparing federal prosecutors to preschoolers, but it works better as an update to this excellent post. Here’s the quote:

Mr. Barr also said that it was his job to push back on career lawyers and make important judgment calls because those prosecutors were too narrowly focused or too inexperienced to know how best to handle delicate cases.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.

It’s true that in a prosecutorial agency, the line prosecutors are subordinate in the hierarchy and must recognize themselves to be such. But they also have a special role in that each one has an independent constitutional obligation to prosecute without fear or favor. Real leaders understand that they themselves hold the ultimate decisionmaking authority, but they don’t strut around like peacocks boasting about it and trying to make their employees feel small and insignificant. That is what small people do. Small people like William Barr.

He probably doesn’t care about the hit to morale, because he probably recognizes he won’t be in the job much longer.

Joe Biden On National Mask Mandate: Then and Now

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

He was against it before he was for it. One week ago, Biden said this about a mask mandate:

Asked to respond to the governors who had appreciated President Trump’s more targeted coronavirus approach, which gave more authority to the states, Biden said, “Well, I hope you could trust the governors.

“But here’s the deal, the federal government — there’s a constitutional issue whether federal government could issue such a mandate. I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”

Given the legal challenges, Biden said, he would “plead with” people to wear a mask, adding, “I’d set an example.”

Biden then noted that case rates were dropping in places where local authorities had implemented mask orders.

“It’s about making sure the public is safe and secure, and that is a local decision but there should be national standards laid out as to how it should be gone about. You can’t mandate that,” he continued

Biden yesterday:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is not ruling out the possibility of instituting a federal mask mandate if elected in November to deliver on previous calls for nationwide mask use as the country continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19.

“Our legal team thinks I can do that based upon the degree to which there’s a crisis in those states, and how bad things are for the country, and if we don’t do it, what happens,” Biden said of his ability to act federally if states decline to take action.

“The question is whether I have the legal authority as president to sign an executive order. We think we do,” Biden later added, stressing that he would make the case along with scientists to both Republican and Democratic governors about the necessity of a mandate before acting federally.


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