Monday, August 10, 2009

A Bit More from Davidson

On a few occasions over the course of the blog, I’ve mentioned the 2004 Duke Conservative Union survey, which revealed that an 17.75*-1 majority of Duke humanities faculty members were registered Democrats.

Surveying professors’ political registration is, at best, a blunt instrument in determining the pedagogical atmosphere on campus.* (To take an obvious personal example, if I taught at Duke, I would have counted in the overwhelming majority of registered Democrats.) But in a campus environment committed to self-reflection, the overwhelming margin—and those revealed in similar surveys, such as one at the University of Iowa—would have, at the very least, triggered some questions about hiring practices. (Imagine, for example, how people like the Group of 88 would have greeted a survey showing that that the Duke humanities faculty was 18-to-1 male.)

Some questions that the DCU and similar surveys should have generated: Are humanities departments—awash in a groupthink mentality, and hostile to hiring those who might challenge the status quo on campus—abusing the self-governance that the hiring process provides, to screen out qualified candidates perceived to have “undesirable” ideological viewpoints? Or, more likely, have humanities and (some) social sciences departments become so pedagogically top-heavy with devotees of the race/class/gender approach that they have effectively screened out a significant percentage of applicants? John Burness unintentionally conceded as much in 2004, when he rationalized the DCU figures by saying that the “creativity” in humanities and social science disciplines was dominated by issues of race, class, and gender, leading to a “perfectly logical criticism of the current society” in the classroom.

Regardless of the reason for the political and ideological imbalance, the reaction to these figures by defenders of the campus status quo essentially proved the critics’ case. Among the more infamous comments was that of then-Duke Philosophy Department chairman Robert Brandon, who mused, “If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.” After a torrent of criticism greeted his remarks, Brandon, entirely unconvincingly, claimed he was making a joke.

A reader recently forwarded me the response to the DCU survey from Cathy Davidson. The Group of 88’er’s comments lacked the soundbite quality of Brandon’s statement, and so attracted little attention at the time. But they embodied the same sneering dismissal of those who have exposed the pedagogical and ideological one-sidedness that dominated Duke during the lacrosse case and that dominates so many humanities and social sciences departments today.

Davidson denied that a job candidate’s political or ideological agenda ever had played a role in a personnel decision in which she had participated. (Of course, there’s no way to check this claim, since all college and university hiring decisions are confidential.) So how did Duke get figures like those in the DCU survey? The “pool “of conservative applicants was “too shallow.”

How did Davidson propose remedying the problem? She did not recommend anything, of course, that would prevent the Group of 88 from replicating itself in future hires. Instead, she suggested, the problem was a cultural one: “If part of being a Republican is belief in free market and capitalist values, why would you spend four year of colleges earning straight A's in order to go for six or seven years of graduate school in order to compete with 200-300 other applicants for the rare plum of a tenure-track job in the humanities with a starting salary of maybe, if you're lucky, $45,000 a year. In my years of teaching, I've had many students tell me they would love to be an English major but their parents insist that they go to medical school or law school or into business.”

But, earlier in her article, Davidson had ostentatiously proclaimed, “I've never seen the numbers [about partisan affiliation of Duke students] and I hope never to.” So of what relevance were her stories from students to a discussion of partisan imbalance in the academy? Since Davidson claimed not to know the political affiliation of her students, how did she determine that the “many” Duke students who poured their souls out to her about being pressured by their parents to “go to medical school or law school or into business” were not actually Democrats?

Nonetheless, Davidson offered, she was willing to make some recommendations to address the problem. “Short-term: Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute can start lucrative graduate fellowship programs for young Republicans.”

And what, precisely, would be the chances of these people getting hired be in departments dominated by people like Cathy Davidson, given—if nothing else—the ill-concealed condescension that she revealed in her comments?

“Long-term: you've got to get them earlier. How about Head Start for Homer? Programs in affluent gated communities so baby Republicans can learn the joy of classics, not the joy of derivatives training.”

Actually, in 2008, Barack Obama outpolled John McCain among the highest-earning voters—suggesting that this scheme would likely increase the number of Democrats in the academy. In any case, had Davidson conducted a survey of “gated communities” to determine that children in such communities had an insufficient appreciation for Homer? If not, on what did she base her recommendation?

Put yourself in the position of a moderate—much less a conservative—applying for a job in the Duke English Department, and discovering that the person who wrote dismissively about “Head Start for Homer” in “affluent gated communities” was one of the three people on the search committee. How likely do you think that this Group of 88’er would treat your application fairly?

And, keep in mind, Davidson is generally considered among the more respectable of the Group of 88.

*--word change to clarify; corrected from 18-to-1

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

O tempora o mores! the new world has a new love that dare not speak its name in the cloistered halls of Duke. maybe there needs to be a department of western thought based on liberty, fraternity and equality. Eyeballs would roll.

No justice, no peace said...

This article caught my eye. #6, listed at the end, explains why it is such a waste to pay $200,000 for worthless degrees.

The lack of transparency is the Duke course offerings with fraudulent degree offerings only makes Duke's disclosure more egregious

What does a recruiter think?

"6. Education check: Recruiters assign a baseline value of zero for a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, which is to say, none of you crazy liberal or fine arts majors who spent your way doping through college while the rest of us were studying differential calculus need apply...

...A.A. on a resume? Take 12 steps back. Add one point for a Master’s, add two points for an M.B.A. (2.5 if it’s from a top-25 program), and subtract one point for a PhD. You’re probably either too smart to function here, or you’ve come crawling back from the Ivory Tower with a foiled plan B and the debt to prove it...

While you’re obviously easy to close, we’ve got our shareholders to think about, and you’ve demonstrated little knowledge of the concept of “ROI.”... "

No justice, no peace said...

A show on the making of the 1978 movie "Animal House" aired last night.

Most interesting was the politically correct lens used by Universal Studios. The Dexter Lake Club scene was going to be cut because it violated the sensitivities of executives in the studio. They thought it would cause race riots.

John Landis, an unknown, had been chosen to direct the film. He insisted the scene remain, including the the line "We want to dance wif (sic) your dates." Landis actually corrected the actor and insisted he say "wif".

So, Landis had Richard Pryor preview the movie to bless the scene. Pryor stated that white people were crazy. As-in, crazy that something so stupid would even be an issue. Pryor thought the movie was funny.

Another interesting fact is that the University of Oregon was the only school that would allow them to film on campus. After reading the script scads of others rejected the idea.

Why did the Dean at the University of Oregon agree, even allowing them use of his actual office for the horse prank scene?

Because while at Harvard he was asked to read the script for "The Graduate" and had rejected it outright as "pornography". He didn't even bother reading the "Animal House" script.

As an aside Landis was a high school drop-out.

He also has credits that include, "The Blues Brothers", "Trading Places", "Coming to America", and others including a documentary on the making of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video.

One wonders how a $200,000 Duke education would influence John Landis.

Anonymous said...

What you have written is quite true - not just at the collegiate level but also at the secondary level in many institutions. As a secondary teacher, I have attended a number of conferences over the years in which it is assumed out of hand that all participants are in agreement about the race/class/gender issues and that to even question the groupthink is to show one's "stupidity".

I recently participated in a seminar in which daily derogatory comments were made about the Republican Party and the Democrat Party was held up as the saviour of the country. When it was suggested that no party is perfect, said person was looked upon as if he had come from another planet.

I find that there is little room for meaningful discussion as minds are closed. There is no desire to read opposing views - that the only rational and trustworthy news sources are the NY Times and NPR. Reading and listening across the political spectrum is important in order to formulate one's views as well as to understand how the opposing side in a debate thinks.
cks

Anonymous said...

Is Davidson a Communist?

Anonymous said...

The Duke Conservative Union made an argument based on research and raw data. Cathy Davidson and former Duke President Nannerl O. Keohane responded with logical fallacies. You could find a red herring, proof by example, appeal to ridicule, misleading vividness, incomplete comparison, cherry picking and a hasty generalization -- in the first two paragraphs of Davidson's piece.

Not surprisingly, both Davidson and Keohane used their own supposed experiences and beliefs to prove that political partisanship is not affecting university classrooms. Davidson started a paragraph with this: "No, I do not think political affiliation matters in the classroom because I believe intensely ... [then she describes what she does in her classroom]."

Keohane wrote: "This semester I am teaching a course for the first time in a number of years .... While I personally may be more liberal in my views than some of my students, as a teacher ...."

That is anecdotal evidence versus hard data; proof by example (one or more examples claimed as "proof" for a general statement), composition (inferring a proposition is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole), and, possibly, false attribution (when an advocate uses a potentially biased source in support of an argument) versus actual research.

Are we to divine that, in the humanities, citing "Yourself" as a source is adequate proof? Why not a survey of Duke humanities students? How about a poll of humanities doctoral programs to determine political affiliation amongst the candidates? Why not have mystery auditors randomly check Duke classes? That would require work, though, and the results are less strictly controlled than simply citing "Yourself." MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that statement "I’ve mentioned the 2004 Duke Conservative Union survey, which revealed that an 18-1 majority of Duke humanities faculty members were registered Democrats." is completely accurate. That was the percentage of those surveyed that revealed they had were either Democrats or Republicans. There was a significant percentage (the link is bad now, if you have a working one please provide it) that were either independent or no party affiliation. This was in the neighborhood of 20% or so if I remember correctly.

The survey also did not give a real baseline for comparison. That is, how does Duke's Humanity's department party affiliation differ from that of other Universities? I would expect that in the African American Studies department that at approximately 90% of those surveyed would be registered Democrats just based on the last few post election polls , not even including the 95%+ of AA voters that voted for Obama in the 2008 election. There was a recent gallop survey on abortion showing that 62% of Democrats were pro-life compared to just 31% of Republicans. I would not be surprised that most of those faculty in the gender studies area would be pro-life. In the 2008 election a Gallup survey showed 65% of those with a post graduate education voted for Obama.

There was an article out shortly after this survey that was something along the lines of 'Durham, We have a Problem'. First, we need a baseline to determine if there is indeed a problem before we even attempt to correct it. The much reviled Professor Brandon stated in a comment thread on the Chronicle article..."But my main point was to rebut the DCU's proposed explanation of the fact that the distribution of political views of the faculty at research universities such as Duke are statistically different from (to the left of) those of the population at large."

I am not convinced he is wrong about this.

PonchoOfPseudonymity

Gary Packwood said...

The Business Administration Major for Undergraduates

Ideological one-sidedness in the UNDERGRADUATE academy may be reflexive when thirty percent of the undergraduate student are majoring in business administration.

For example, humanities professors teaching within the CORE curriculum sense their B-Students are thinking:

1. The Balance Sheet must Actually Balance
2. A One Pony Incident Does Not Make for a Massive Pony Invasion That Must be Stopped.
3. What is Measured Gets Done.
4. Multiplying any Number by Zero = Zero
5. Employee Safety REALLY is...Priority # 1
6. The Copy Machine Budget and Coffee Fund Budget can NOT be managed. Don't Try. and...
7. The Legal Environment of the Business Organization REALLY is Related to the Constitution of the United States. Read it and Understand it Before you Try and ...Change it.

This may explain why many 'far-left' professors in the humanities use the 'talk fast' lecture method in class while counting down the minutes until their can join the colleagues in the coffee lounge for a hug and of course, support.

For these students Professor Davidson is correct. You've got to get them earlier.

Suppose Duke will even offer a competitive business administration major for undergraduates?
::
GP

Debrah said...

Pseudonymous Poncho opines:

First, we need a baseline to determine if there is indeed a problem before we even attempt to correct it. The much reviled Professor Brandon stated in a comment thread on the Chronicle article... ("But my main point was to rebut the DCU's proposed explanation of the fact that the distribution of political views of the faculty at research universities such as Duke are statistically different from (to the left of) those of the population at large.")

I am not convinced he is wrong about this.

***************************

Poncho--

I have no idea if you are serious or simply having some fun on this 100-degree August Monday.

And if Brandon actually believes what he said, then he's been hermetically sealed inside his campus office for far too long.

Such an erroneous statement could only come from a young and naive student.

Or someone like Brandon and his steeped-in-obfuscation friend, Davidson.

This eerie attempt to indoctrinate....in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary...reminds me a bit of my conversation with Sarah Deutsch about some of her colleagues and Durham, in general.

She is an extremely civil and mild-mannered woman.

Probably considered one of the more rational of the Gang of 88...a...la....Davidson.

However, when I let her know how well-acquainted I was with the various elements of Durham, and how outrageous it was for the Duke faculty to have injected themselves into the grotesque dynamics among the residents of the town, she merely smiled and gave a few non-answers.

People like Davidson and Deutsch aren't clueless to reality.

I would bet both come from backgrounds that easily define the difference between authentic scholarship and what they practice now.

The more reasonable of the Gang of 88 understand what they did was wrong and basically immoral; however, they exist inside a vacuum which supports full-time role-playing.

That vacuum has only become more off-the-wall and on-the-fringe after they were established in their own careers.

In order to thrive and progress, they were compelled to take on the narratives of the insane members whose scholarship is comprised of invention and fabrication.....delivered, many times by the radical ones, from a megaphone of semi-literacy.

On the most fundamental level, the more accomplished among them know that the proverbial "race conferences" and "women's lectures" are meaningless.

But that's the world they have chosen.

That's their story and they're sticking to it!

Debrah said...

More news from Trinity Park.

More illumination of the real crime in that town about which the Duke faculty and Durham residents should concern themselves.....but don't.

It's worth mentioning that the coverage of this shooting at the N&O leaves out the race of the perpetrator.

This H-S coverage doesn't.

Some of the comments at the N&O under their report are horrendous. From Durham residents, no doubt.

Putting forth the nasty idea that the Duke student was probably buying drugs when he was merely walking his friend home at the time of the attack.

Further, some of these people have even accused UNC-CH student body president Eve Carson, who was murdered last year, of buying drugs in the wee hours when she was killed.

This is the mentality of many in Durham, as well as some of the Duke faculty, IMO.

They do not wish to be honest about their crime-ridden city and when certain people are harmed or killed, they had rather trash their reputations rather than admit to the horrific problems which have long existed.

Propping up the seasoned racists of Durham and those who would excuse rampant crime are among the worst effects of the Gang of 88 methods.

************************

Duke student shot in Trinity Park

BY KEITH UPCHURCH : The Herald-Sun
Aug 10, 2009

DURHAM -- A Duke University student who was shot in the abdomen during an attack in the Trinity Park area around midnight Sunday is expected to recover, police said.

Lt. J.E. Yount, Durham police watch commander, said two shots were fired, but apparently only one hit the student. A female friend with whom the victim was walking was not shot, he said. Yount said the woman reported that she saw the suspect limping when he left the scene.

Several police officers and a police dog searched the area extensively, Yount said, but they lost the suspect's trail and he escaped.

No arrest in the case had been made as of Sunday night.

Yount said he wasn't sure if the victim was robbed or if the attempt failed.

The student and his friend were walking in the 500 block of Watts Street toward Club Boulevard when they were approached from behind by a suspect described as a black man with bulging eyes, about 40 years old, 5-feet-11-inches tall, with a stocky build, wearing a gray shirt and dark-colored jeans.

The suspect ordered the victims to put their hands on their heads and started to search them. A struggle ensued over the gun, and two shots were fired.

The student was being treated at Duke University Hospital, police said. Yount said hospital officials believed he would be OK.

Anonymous said...

"Suppose Duke will even offer a competitive business administration major for undergraduates?"

When pigs fly.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Here are the actual numbers: 142 Democrats, 28 unaffiliated, and 8 Republicans. That is roughly 5 out of 6 or 83% that are Democrats. The statement "I’ve mentioned the 2004 Duke Conservative Union survey, which revealed that an 18-1 majority of Duke humanities faculty members were registered Democrats" should be corrected or clarified.

Anonymous said...

So to recap: Our little friends are all for diversity as long as it does not include conservatives and whites or anyone who would question their concept of diversity that calls for such exclusions. They must lead very shallow, empty lives.

Anonymous said...

-- "There was a recent gallop survey on abortion showing that 62% of Democrats were pro-life compared to just 31% of Republicans. I would not be surprised that most of those faculty in the gender studies area would be pro-life."

Yeah, sure.

Anonymous said...

Davidson sneered at the idea of groupthink. Then a couple of years later she helped to prove it to be true beyond everyone's wildest dreams (nightmares?).

KC Johnson said...

To the 2.46:

I had rounded up 17.75 to 18 (such rounding appears to have been quite commonly done in the reporting on the survey), but since you have asked for a correction, I have changed the 18-to-1 to 17.75-to-1.

The difference is immaterial to the point of the post, which focuses on the response to the revelation of these figures.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:54

Yes they do lead shallow and empty lives. But they're there just the same.

In 1937 their feckless intellectual predecessors told Stalin that Chuchill was "finished," called for Britain's "moral rearmament" and later sneered at Churchill's "bellicose" speeches.

From 1950-89, they morally equalized the US and the USSR, insisted that US prisons were the equal of the Gulag. Invited in for diversity of thought, this clannish group reciprocated by turning the great English and History departments on many campuses into a professoriate distinguished by edited anthologies or "studies" that don't deserve a college imprimatur.

This rapid expansion of intellectual dry-rot is not without consequence. The UNC junior quoted in "Until Proven Innocent," who insisted that the Duke defendants should be prosecuted for things done "in the past," is an appalling example of the void left by most US colleges.

Since this blog began offering a rare, sustained and particularized view of academia, one thing surely has become painfully clear: college professorships--lifetime sinecures to teach our brightest kids--should not be entrusted to professors alone.

Public participation is mandatory and must be established by some appointed public representatives to a tenure board.

More Cathy Davidsons, Ward Churchills and Karla Holloways
will infest the campuses where our kids are taught unless taxpayers and parents step up, reject the notion that they are not worthy of particpating in tenure decisions and insist that state executives nationwide begin to reverse the damage.

Anonymous said...

142 Democrats out of a total of 178 faculty members in the sample is not 17.75 to 1. Roughly 5 out of 6 faculty members in this sample are Democrats. If your intent is to compare the number of Democrats to Republicans your statement needs to reflect that and not as it stands now("an 18-1 majority of Duke humanities faculty members were registered Democrats").

If roughly 90% of African Americans have voted for the Democratic candidate in the last 4 elections, why would we be surprised if the majority of faculty members in the African American studies department are Democrats? If the majority of Democrats are pro-choice (I appreciate the correction from the 3:26 poster, it is pro-choice and not pro-life, link here:
Abortion Survey
) then I would expect the gender and feminist studies faculty to also be top heavy in Democratic voters.

The biggest anomaly is in the History faculty with 32 Democrats and no Republicans. Perhaps you could speak to that as you are a historian. I do know there was an Historians For Obama group during the last election and a HNN survey of Historians had Bush ranked as one of the worst Presidents ever.

All of these factors would lead me to believe that a high percentage of Democrats may not be out of the norm within these particular groups. I do find the number of unregistered faculty members to be somewhat surprising as this was surveyed during an election year (2004).

A better survey including samples from similar schools should be considered before jumping to conclusions about Duke.

KC Johnson said...

To the 4.41:

You seem to be conflating a number of issues here.

I did not suggest that there was anything particularly extreme about the figures at Duke. I cited the Iowa survey and mentioned others.

You point out, intriguingly, that African-American Studies faculty and gender faculty are likely to be Democrats. That, precisely, was my point about the questions that should be raised by these sorts of figures. There might very well be, for instance, an innocent explanation as to why the Duke History Department would have had 32 registered Dems and no registered Republicans. Or, it might be that the department has so overwhelmingly focused its hires around themes of race, class, and gender that the partisan gap provides insight into how the department has elected to exclude wide areas of history or types of historians who are not perceived as "politically correct."

Also: Duke does not have a department of "feminist studies." It does have a women's studies program. There's no reason, theoretically, why a women's studies prof would be likely to lean far left--one could imagine a prof whose work focused on the pro-life movement, or women in evangelical Christianity. But, as you implicitly suggested, in a department that conceives of itself as feminist studies, such figures would almost certainly be ideologically unacceptable.

On the point, "If roughly 90% of African Americans have voted for the Democratic candidate in the last 4 elections, why would we be surprised if the majority of faculty members in the African American studies department are Democrats?": I'm sure you did not mean to suggest that African-American Studies hires were de facto quote hires, open only to African-American candidates. As we know, this would be in violation of Supreme Court rulings.

A final point: once again, this post has focused on the response to the DCU survey, not on the survey itself.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected on the name of the womens studies program. As far as the African-American Studies hires go, are you suggesting that the majority of these faculty members are not African-Americans?

I don't mind being wrong about this if you have some actual numbers here. I am not commenting on Davidson's response at all, perhaps that makes my post somewhat off topic, but I do think your 17.75 to 1 figure is a misleading representation of the actual number (roughly 5 out of 6 are Democrats).

I am perhaps more defending Robert Brandon's central point (not his stupid, stupid comment) concerning the survey itself. The survey obviously intended to make a point which to me is saying OMG all these Democrats are registered to vote as Democrats. My personal opinion is that the many articles I have seen on this survey seem to concede defeat from the beginning without questioning if the survey actually shows that Duke really has a problem.

As far as the Women's studies faculty goes, my guess is that the majority of those faculty members are pro-choice regardless if that opinion is PC in your view or any others here. Again, your opinion on this may differ and I will be happy to admit that my opinion is in error if you have some actual numbers.

My other intent here is to defend Duke University. The many articles on this survey provided almost no defense whatsoever, yet it seems Duke's reputation took a hit because of that. I have no idea why Davidson's response is so weak and Brandon's so "stupid".

I do feel that you could provide some insight on the History departments numbers here, if you were so inclined. It appears your readers have taken the survey as gospel despite the fact that you are focused on Davidson's response and not the survey.

Anonymous said...

Davidson and the rest of the far left at Duke were the only people who were "jumping to conclusions". They incorrectly concluded that there was no problem, some of them made snide comments about the disparity, and look what happened.

Duke has probably already paid $40 million for their blunder. Duke got a lot of free BAD PRESS. The reputations of Duke professors were harmed. And it isn't over yet. That's what "jumping to conclusions about Duke" gets ya.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Is Davidson a Communist?

8/10/09 8:46 AM


Probably, but of even more concern should be the realization that Davidson being a Communist would not put her out of the mainstream of most formerly "elite" college humanities faculties.

KC Johnson said...

Surveying professors’ political registration is, at best, a blunt instrument in determining the pedagogical atmosphere on campus.* (To take an obvious personal example, if I taught at Duke, I would have counted in the overwhelming majority of registered Democrats.)

KC, the fact that you are regarded as a "rightwing extremist" inside academia doesn't change the fact that nearly everywhere else in America you'd be considered a committed Leftist.

As for the John Stuart Mill quote, of course, once the socialists (the ultimate anti-liberals) hijacked the formerly treasured appellation of "liberal", no one who believes in Mill's philosophy would call himself a "liberal". He would call himself a "conservative" or "libertarian". Thus, Mill today would be saying that while not all "liberals" are dumb, most dumb people are "liberals". (And indeed, to the extent that modern "liberalism" can be correlated to a propensity to vote Democrat, this axiom can be indisputibly established.)

RRH
a registered Independent.

Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law sent me the following regarding the recent shooting near Duke's East Campus. Thought you would get a kick out of it.

"88 Duke Professors Take Out Full Page Ad Condemning Unstable Student Behavior and Senseless Exploitation of Disadvantaged Person Who Was Merely Implementing His Own Personal Version of Obama Wealth Redistribution Program"

Read the above and then read this link and the comments to the article:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1640971.html

As Deborah noted, some of the comments are completely bizarre..designed to infuriate anyone who knows anything about the LAX case and the Eve Carson murder.

Observer

One Spook said...

In the early 1970's, I worked for a private consulting firm that assisted companies in complying with government mandates that arose from the federal Civil Rights Act and related legislation.

Full disclosure: I was very much in agreement with those laws. I was not in agreement with what I viewed were draconian enforcement measures used by federal compliance agencies.

American business in the 1970's was a majority bloc exactly the same as the majority to which professor Davidson belongs to today in humanities and social sciences departments at most American universities.

But, Davidson and her like-minded colleagues do not perceive their majority that way. Their view of the importance of "diversity" does not extend beyond race, class and gender. Ideological and pedagogical diversity in the academy is not important to them at all.

Astonishingly Davidson states: "I believe in the lessons that history can provide." But in reading Davidson's comments, she advances the exact same arguments that 1970 era businesses offered as to why they could not comply with racial and gender diversity in the workplace.

Comes now Cathy Davidson in 2004:

"I do not think political affiliation matters in the classroom"

"[I]t [intellectual diversity] fudges its line between true discrimination on the one hand and lack of representation on the other."

"I've not encountered any Duke faculty member being harassed or discriminated against because he or she is conservative. Nor have I ever heard of students being so discriminated against or harassed."

"Now, what if the pool of diverse applicants is too shallow?"


In the early 1970's, the EEOC put an end to all of those types of arguments by establishing a landmark, draconian standard that "proved" discrimination. And, although subsequent legal decisions have lessened the burden of proof for defendant companies, in the early years if the workforce of a company did not resemble the racial makeup of the community where is operated, that company was deemed to be practicing prima facie discrimination.

With this standard in place, all hell broke loose for businesses resulting in huge fines and penalties that were levied against private companies, and spawning an entire cottage industry of race baiters, and charlatans who preyed on businesses under the veiled threat of "discrimination." Race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton made millions in various "racism" scams against companies and institutions that continue to this day.

But Davidson says that "lack of representation" of diverse ideological and pedagogical views is not important because "we also have mechanisms for increasing diversity. One of those is called Affirmative Action."

Here is Duke University's Equal Opportunity Policy in part:

"Duke University prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or age. ..." [my emphasis]

Notice that ideological or pedagogical diversity is not one of the "protected classes" listed in Duke's policy. Contrary to Davidson's representation, there is no policy at Duke that prohibits discrimination against anyone whose ideology or pedagogy does not please Davidson and her like-minded colleagues in the majority.

(As an aside, it would be interesting to see statistics on how many military veterans are presently employed or have been hired in tenure track positions in the Angry Studies and Humanities departments at Duke, but I digress ...)

Some have suggested that the much debated Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) be established at American Universities.

If the academy, as manifested in the very narrow and discriminatory views of a professor like Davidson and many others who think like her, refuses to police itself, who will do it?

One Spook

Debrah said...

More "only in Durham".

It seems Michael Peterson isn't giving up just yet.

If only he could contact his alma mater to see if Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Petey Sigal are available to assist the attorney in the presentation.

Bonilla-Silva's delivery of any message is certainly memorable......and when Petey displays his floating phallus theory it will set the stage for further strange phenomena like the "owl attacked Kathleen Peterson and threw her down the staircase" defense.

The Gang of 88 might redeem themselves yet!

**************************

Motion backs Peterson owl claim

BY JOHN MCCANN : The Herald-Sun
Aug 11, 2009

DURHAM -- A motion filed in Durham County Criminal Superior Court seeking either the dismissal of all charges or a new trial for Michael Peterson contains statements supporting a claim that an owl in 2001 caused the death of his wife.

Peterson in 2003 was convicted of killing Kathleen Peterson and sentenced to life in prison.

But attorney T. Lawrence Pollard, Michael Peterson's current attorney, said it was an owl, not his client, that led to the death of Kathleen Peterson. His motion includes a statement about the presence of owls in the Peterson's former Forest Hills neighborhood from Lula Copeland, who lived near the couple.

Copeland said one day she was in her garden planting flowers when an owl showed up.

"It was standing -- 2 to 2½ feet tall -- about 5 feet from me. I first ignored it -- couldn't imagine anything that looked like that. I kept planting flowers. I looked around a few minutes later and it was still standing there, and I became scared ..." Copeland said. "I was afraid to go out in the evening. Later there was one in a huge oak tree in the back yard. It had a nest there. Later I saw it fly from the tree next door. It would come in the yard and wait for the squirrels."

Prosecutors contended during Michael Peterson's 2003 trial that he beat Kathleen Peterson with a fireplace poker. But according to Pollard's theory, an owl attacked Kathleen Peterson, who ran inside her home and fell down a staircase. Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the bottom of those stairs.

The so-called owl theory basically was written off as implausible. That's part of the basis for Pollard seeking to get the charges against Peterson dismissed. Pollard said Michael Peterson's former lawyers didn't dig deep enough into the owl theory to argue effectively the point for him.

But the motion filed by Pollard includes a notarized statement from a man named Bret McNeill who said he was attacked by "a very large owl" while riding his motorcycle in the woods in Morehead City.

Pollard said the owl theory previously was rejected because of the thought that owls don't attack people. McNeill's statement counters that notion: "It felt like someone had hit me in the back of the head with a brick, then there was a pulling sensation and I lost control of the bike. As I regained control, I saw large wings flapping in front of my face, trying to lift me from the bike, only then did I realize it was an owl," McNeill wrote. "Finally, the owl let go and I raced straight home to tell my parents what had happened. Luckily I was wearing my helmet. When my parents and I examined the helmet, which was white in color, there were deep and distinct scrapes and gouges running from front to back on my helmet. It was an experience that I will never forget."

Also in the motion is a statement from Roger Nightingale, an associate research professor in Duke University's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Nightingale said owls can attack humans, and the cuts on Kathleen Peterson's head were consistent with an owl attack. But the professor also wrote that "an owl attack in this case is plausible, but not probable."

Debrah said...

The Trinity Park residents don't have the lacrosse players to kick around anymore.

How, oh how, will they cope with such crime this time? !!!
******************************

Police to meet with Trinity Park residents

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
Aug 11, 2009

DURHAM -- Police and Trinity Park residents will meet tonight to talk about a weekend armed robbery that left a Duke University student nursing a bullet wound.

The meeting, 7:30 p.m. at the George Watts Montessori Magnet School, 700 Watts St., will give police a chance to "shed light" on the incident and "talk about rewards, crime prevention and personal safety," Linda Wilson, Trinity Park Neighborhood Association president, said in an e-mail to residents.

The robbery occurred just after midnight Sunday morning in the 500 block of Watts Street. The suspect, described as a 40-ish black man with bulging eyes who's about 5 feet 11 inches tall, accosted a man and woman walking north toward Club Boulevard.

He ordered the victims to put their hands on their heads and tried to search them. A struggle for the gun ensued, and two shots were fired. The male victim was hit in the abdomen, and the suspect was seen limping away from the scene.

Authorities have said the male victim is expected to recover.

Police Chief Jose Lopez said investigators from the District 2 office are looking for the suspect. As of Monday afternoon, they had not made an arrest.

Lopez confirmed officers would attend tonight's meeting.

Residents "are concerned and we need to address the concerns," he said. "This is part of taking back one's community. I want them to be outraged. Hopefully this will inspire them to work with police not only to solve this, but to minimize the occurrences."

The chief added there has been talk of offering a reward for information about the case through CrimeStoppers, but as of Monday afternoon that was "not decided yet."

A City Council member who lives around the corner from the crime scene, Eugene Brown, said Monday he's confident police would follow through "to the bitter end."

Brown said he walked his dog about 12:30 a.m. Sunday and saw a squad car that responded to the incident, which he called "scary."

"This is the kind of thing that must be stopped, but is difficult to stop," he added.

City officials did draw criticism Sunday from Jon Ham, a Trinity Park resident who works for the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Raleigh.

In a blog posting, he noted such incidents can discourage residents from walking.

"What good does it do to create a vibrant entertainment district like the Brightleaf Square area if the people who live in adjacent Trinity Park can't walk there and get back home without being beset by armed robbers?" said Ham, a former Herald-Sun managing editor.

The Durham Police Department's Web-based Crime Mapper shows that not counting this past weekend, there had been 11 robberies this year in the half-mile radius around the intersection of Watts Street and Monmouth Avenue.

Four occurred near Brightleaf Square and three more in the West Trinity Avenue corridor.

Citywide, the Crime Mapper was showing 441 robberies so far this year. Of those, 153 were in District 2, the patrol area that covers the northern parts of Durham.

In her message to residents, Wilson said she'd also invited Duke University representatives to attend.

She said neighborhood leaders "want to do everything that we can to help [the victims] get through this."

Anonymous said...

This thread needs to have some perspective, folks. Try, if you have never done so, using say Wikipedia to look up "confirmation bias", "cognitive dissonance" and "experimenter's regress". Commentators here should try to think through the use of these terms as they apply BOTH to Davidson et al., to KC, and to themselves.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.19:

I invite you to supply the perspective you feel the thread lacks.

In general, I have discovered that specific points--rather than vague comments--advance the discussion. I also should note that I distrust wikipedia as a source, and warn my students as much.

One Spook said...

To the 10:19 AM:

Forgive me, but I could not keep a straight face after reading that comment. And worse, I spit Pepsi all over my keyboard.

Have you Bookmarked the link to Psychology Today or should I look it up and post it here for you?

One Spook

Quasimodo said...

"Duke University prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to race... disability, VETERAN STATUS, sexual orientation...."

Curious that "veteran status" would be included. The only time I am aware that such a status would come into play was when there was a military draft; and in order to make up for the 2 years which some individuals lost, career-wise, by having to serve in the military, they would be given "bonus points" on job application scores. (Their peers who had not been drafted would already have acquired two years' work experience and seniority.) This was to help them get back into the mainstream of civilian society.

Does the above therefore mean that Duke does NOT now grant veterans any preferential "boost"?

Of course, without the draft, the veterans preference looses much of its original purpose; but still, I would be interested to know if
Duke (perhaps as much for ideological as practical reasons) now no longer recognizes veterans' service?

Anonymous said...

The 5:37 is getting corrected every post! instead of asking KC Johnson to look up AAS professors, why not do it yourself? Go to the website at Duke and click on each individual page. Why not do your own home work?

also, provide the percentage of AAS profs to the total of humanities profs. then compare that number to other schools. classical studies has a lot of professors at duke, more than 20, so does German studies, more than 10. Why so few registered Republicans? what about music and religion at Duke? 23 faculty in the philosophy department.

curious that Davidson would brush this off with flippant remarks.

Anonymous said...

OK, I get that academics like Davidson hate people who have more money than they do. What I don't get is why my neighbors (i.e. those much-despised rich people) have the slightest interest in sending their kids to places like Duke. Do they really not bother to check out what they will be getting for their $200K?

Debrah said...

KC,

Vince Clark has this on his website now.

The "myths" are listed here.

Triangle Scientist said...

KC: I am the “10:19AM” and am surprised that you need to have examples of this. First, though, Wikipedia is not necessarily untrustworthy. When one has a particular expertise on a topic, and checks the Wikipedia entry to see if it is sensible (because it is publicly accessible and usually comprehensible) and finds that it is just fine, then referring to it is no big deal. Of course your students have no clue whether an entry is interested, or mistaken, but I am not your student, and so your comment is slyly denigrating.

When Davidson, say, denies in her follow-up letter that she “knew” that lacrosse players were being subjected to harassment on campus, and folks respond that “she had to know”, or when she claims that she sees no evidence of intellectual coercion in hte classroom and it is answered by commentators that she is either lying or willfully denying the truth, this seems to be beside any sensible point. We have so very many examples in this three year narrative of what is termed cognitive dissonance, where evidence contrary to belief is rendered nugatory (the lacrosse players were hooligans, or Linwood Wilson or Mark Gottlieb had the intelligence to plan anything in advance, for instance), and confirmation bias where only evidence supporting a belief is credited, and contrary evidence is ignored or set aside. Claiming that malicious intent, or evil, or politics, or something else is in play is unnecessary. “My kid could never have broken your window”, “that black swan is really a duck”, “Obama’s birth certificate is a fake”, and so on.

Lawyers have a rhetoric of “determining the truth”, but that is of course silly outside the structure and rules of the courtroom – trials are arguments, in which one side’s argument convinces a jury or judge. What is a “good” argument is not fixed over time, else we would still be dunking psychotics in the village pond. Evidence in science is no more obvious or clear or conclusive, a phenomenon which is associated with “the experimenter’s regress”, and is not understood by jounalists. Evidence only becomes evidence when it is consistent with a hypothesis or low level theory, but you need to believe in the hypothesis in order to credit the evidence, and believe in the evidence to credit the hypothesis.

Do you really need me to make links to arguments in this thread beyond this?

A Duke Dad said...

To Triangle Scientist:

Amazing... your epistle @ 9:46 pm is self descriptive -

... Nugatory
... Silly

It is comforting that you see yourself as a Geometric Scientist, rather than a Logician.

In short, your screed lacks substance, does not respond to KC's comments to you, and serves no purpose, other than to distract from the truth.

The civil suits are progressing; "the Wheels of Justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine".

Panacea said...

Debrah,

Thanks for the two links posted at 5:01.

If CM had Pinocchio's nose it would reach around the world and back again.

LIS.

Her body language tells it all.

Anonymous said...

I posted above about Davidson and Keohane responding to hard data with fallacies, one after another. Duke University should offer a class by a philosophy professor entitled, "Through the Looking Glass: The Crystal Mangum Hoax as Viewed Through the Lens of Fallacy." This could be the first week's course schedule:

(1) Base rate fallacy: Using weak evidence to make a probability judgment without taking into account known empirical statistics about the probability.

Many people cited the supposed fact that "one out of four women had either been raped or sexually abused" to suggest that a rape occurred in the Duke case. In fact, FBI statistics showed that there was a nearly 0% incidence rate of white males raping African-American females. Others claimed that "women don't lie about rape," or that "only 2% of raple claims are fraudulent." The latter claim was especially heinous because it used an actual percentage to give it apparent legitimacy. In fact, a university study by a feminist professor concluded: "As a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown."

(2) False attribution: Occurs when an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument.

The Durham prosecutor, Mike Nifong. as well as others supporting the hoax, frequently asserted that the SANE report proved that a rape had occurred. In fact, the nurse in question was still "in training," and although unidentified at first, she was eventually identified as being a biased ideologue who would never question an alleged rape victim's story. Furthermore, she changed her reporting to fabricate a more victim-friendly set of facts. Finally, the nurse's story was irrelevant because what she described was much more consistent with a yeast infection (or the motel vibrator show described by Mangum) than the alleged 30-minute violent gang rape by 3 Division 1 athletes.

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

(3) Ad hominem: An argument that attacks the person who holds a view or advances an argument, rather than commenting on the view or responding to the argument.

The Duke case brought out the best in ad hominem, but the only people with 30 years of their lives at stake were the innocent students. Nifong called them "hooligans" and insisted that they were acting like a blue-blood mafia by hiding behind a "blue wall of silence." The news media described the boys with terms that supported preconceived ad hominem fallacies about rich people and athletes. Newsweek, for example, wrote: "[S]trutting lacrosse players are a distinctive and familiar breed on elite campuses ... the players tend to be at once macho and entitled [and] sometimes behave like thugs."

(4) Argumentum ad baculum ("appeal to force"): Where an argument is made through coercion or threats of force towards an opposing party.

Early on, you were a "racist" if you believed the Duke lacrosse players and a "reverse racist" if you believed Crystal Mangum. The authors of these arguments wanted to win debates or silence critics through the use of force. In this case, the force was the spoken word -- but very charged words they are! Professor Baldwin had to apologize for being innocent of racism with his term "tarred and feathered."

(5) Argumentum ad populum ("appeal to the people"): Where a proposition is claimed to be true solely because many people believe it to be true.

Starting with Duke President Richard Brodhead's guilt-presuming words, "Whatever they did was bad enough," moving on to a very vocal faction of the Duke faculty -- 88 professors and entire university departments and programs -- that signed onto an ad in the student newspaper presuming the guilt of their own students, adding a viciously biased local media and a number of national media outlets like Newsweek, Nancy Grace, The New York Times and many more to the guilt-presuming rallies on the streets of Durham (one rally sported a huge "Castrate" banner), the lynching gained legitimacy based on the size of the mob.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Davidson and Keohane's penchant for resorting to fallacies to rebut hard data in 2004 was a microcosm of, or led to, the use of fallacies in 2006 and 2007 -- for that would be a logical fallacy itself -- but I would like to see some actual research and investigation done on the topic. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Wow! Sounds like Davidson hates her students. "gated communities" and "Head Start for Homer"? She could be a little less snide at least.

Anonymous said...

There should be a fallacy specific to the desire to use phrases like "I believe" and "in my opinion" when trying to refute hard data. That might be too much for the 88ers.

Anonymous said...

Davidson was a joke as provost of interdisciplinary affairs. Still is.
Nobody takes her seriously.

Debrah said...

Gustafson defends Davidson's methods in the Chronicle.

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