Monday, November 17, 2008

Professor unjustly called racist, sues and forces university to brand him "non-racist."


After you’ve been called racist by some students, can you sue to get your reputation back?

Richard J. Peltz, who teaches law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, tried. The idea of suing students intrigued and worried many observers of the professoriate, and Peltz’s case prompted much discussion about free speech and the respect that should be accorded both professors and students. Peltz has now dropped his suit — but he did so only after the law school agreed to fully investigate the charges against him and after he received a letter affirming that, based on that investigation, he had done nothing racist or inappropriate.

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Amid the demands of some black students that he be punished, and his lawsuit against them, Peltz revealed few details about the incidents that led to the controversy. But with the suit dropped and with a university investigation backing him, Peltz shared various documents about the case, and agreed to talk about it.

“This suit was never about money,” he said. “It was about my reputation. I work very hard to be a very good teacher, and I felt that was impugned by the university’s lack of support. I feel that now with the university’s support, I am on the road to repairing my reputation.” He also said that the experience has altered his once idealistic views about American higher education.

“When I started teaching 10 years ago, I thought universities were the quintessential market place of ideas. I was so naïve, and so, so wrong,” he said. “It’s not an open market place of ideas — I hope we can get back to that notion because our society desperately needs places where we can have truly free discussion. I just can’t say I see that in the American university today.”

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Another accusation against him was that — in the same time frame when he had criticized affirmative action — he was insensitive in passing out “a basic grammar worksheet” to the class and telling students to focus more on their writing. There was no accusation that he focused on the black students, only that he raised this issue shortly after he has been critical of affirmative action. On this charge, Peltz noted that faculty members had been urged by the state Bar to focus more on writing issues because some law students were in danger of failing the Bar exam due to poor writing skills. While defending his intent, Peltz pledged in his new memo to never again offer the writing tips “lest I again be maligned for trying to improve student writing.”

IHE


Good for this man who stood up for what was right.

As another writer points out, accusing someone of "racism" is "The Nuclear Option":


Invoking racism is like invoking nuclear war. Everyone agrees that both racism and nuclear war are undesirable outcomes, making them easy to exploit. Imagine a debate won not by the one with the best arguments which address the specific topic at hand, but the one whose positions are least likely to cause nuclear war.

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They claim that their position on “diversity” is non-ideological. Yet when others fail to take up their position on program houses — a hot-button political issue on campus — they label it as yet another manifestation of racism rather than a legitimate position.

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Perhaps it makes sense that invoking “racism” and “diversity” makes me skeptical. Accusing detractors of hating diversity if they do not support the protestors is like saying someone is un-Christian if they do not support Pat Robertson.

Cornell Sun


Much like a totalitarian state, we have created a push-button way of disposing of enemies of the state: racism.

This allows the Crowd to stay in power and fight against anyone who argues in any way for a demographic majority, or even acknowledges basic scientific facts.

Any time dogma becomes "more important" than reality, you know your civilization is circling the drain.

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