Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cruising the Web

Emily Yoffe has a third story in her three-part series in The Atlantic looking at how sexual-assault allegations are dealt with on college campuses. Her subject is the question of race in these cases. She points out that the image of the alleged campus rapist is the white frat guy. What struck me is that the government doesn't collect statistics on the race of either the accuser or the accused.
How race plays into the issue of campus sexual assault is almost completely unacknowledged by the government. While the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which regulates how colleges respond to sexual assault, collects a lot of data on race, it does not require colleges and universities to document the race of the accused and accuser in sexual-assault complaints. An OCR investigator told me last year that people at the agency were aware of race as an issue in Title IX cases, but was concerned that it’s “not more of a concern. No one’s tracking it.”
I find that astounding. The government collects race statistics on almost everything related to crime or education. Public schools have to report the race of students who get disciplined and were warned by the Obama administration that they would face legal action if their discipline procedures have a disparate impact on students by race. Yet, when it comes to the systems that the federal government encouraged schools to set up to adjudicate allegations of sexual assault on college campuses, the federal government doesn't collect racial statistics?

Given that there is no national data on the race of the alleged perpetrators and victims in these cases, Yoffe has to put together bits of evidence from various schools that blacks are disproportionately being accused. She talks to professors, such as one Harvard professor who alleged in a Harvard Law Review article that black men are being named by white victims.
Another Ivy League law professor who has been involved in sexual-assault policy said to me of the issue of race, “Nobody wants to talk about it.” He said students are pushing their boundaries and that many hook up with a partner of a different ethnicity for the first time. But then, “if there is any kind of perceived injury—emotional or physical—when you cross racial lines, there’s likely to be more animus. It needs to be talked about and hasn’t been.” The professor requested anonymity, citing the difficulties of publicly discussing the subject.

Since there are no national statistics on how many young men of any given race are the subject of campus-sexual-assault complaints, we are left with anecdotes about men of color being accused and punished. There are many such anecdotes. In 2015, in The New Yorker, Jeannie Suk Gersen, a Harvard Law School professor, wrote that in general, the administrators and faculty members she’s spoken with who “routinely work on sexual-misconduct cases” say that “most of the complaints they see are against minorities.” For two years I have received a daily Google Alert on college sexual assault. It captures only those cases that make it into the news, and is not a comprehensive or statistically valid measure. But it is illuminating. Usually the reports don’t disclose race, but sometimes it is mentioned, and if the accused is named, it’s often possible to determine his race through photo searches or other online information. Black men make up only about 6 percent of college undergraduates. They are vastly overrepresented in the cases I’ve tracked.

Anecdotes aren't data. Some of the cases in which the men are suing the universities, they are alleging racial bias in their cases. Yoffe does have data from one university because these cases have come to trial and the data show that blacks, a very small percent on the college in question, Colgate University, were being charged with a disproportionate percent of the sexual assault cases.
In the 2013–14 academic year, 4.2 percent of Colgate’s students were black. According to the university’s records, in that year black male students were accused of 50 percent of the sexual violations reported to the university, and they made up 40 percent of the students formally adjudicated.

During the three academic years from 2012–13 to 2014–15, black students were accused of 25 percent of the sexual misconduct reported to the university, and made up 21 percent of the students referred for formal hearings. Fifteen percent of the students found responsible for assault in those years were black. During that same three-year period, Asian students, who were a little more than 3 percent of Colgate’s student body in 2013, were more than 13 percent of the accused, 21 percent of those referred for hearings, and 23 percent of those found responsible. (The rest were white; no Hispanic students were accused.)
I find it hard to believe that universities, which bend over backwards to attract black applicants, particularly young men, are inserting bias into their proceedings. I've also been very skeptical of the disparate impact theories on school discipline or crime. But it seems very suspicious that the Office for Civil Rights doesn't even collect the data. That seems to be a willful blindness. Given the sensitivity that society is showing to racial disparities in crime and punishment, why is this one area where no data are kept?

Corey Stallings links to a story out of Portland of how such willful blindness works in action.
Portland police next month will end their more than 20-year-old practice of designating people as gang members or gang associates in response to strong community concerns about the labels that have disproportionately affected minorities.

The Police Bureau recognizes that the gang designations have led to "unintended consequences'' and served as lifelong barriers for those who have shunned the gang lifestyle and tried to get jobs, said Acting Tactical Operations Capt. Andy Shearer.

A review by Oregonian/OregonLive reporter Carli Brosseau last year found that of the 359 "criminal gang affiliates'' flagged in Portland's database as of last summer, 81 percent were part of a racial or ethnic minority. She obtained the list, names removed, only after appealing the city's attempt to keep it from public view.

Leaders from Black Male Achievement, former police Assistant Chief Kevin Modica and others have lobbied to end the designations....

Police will send out letters to everyone on the gang list alerting them that the bureau will purge all documents related to the designations. The new policy will take effect Oct. 15.

"It takes courage for the bureau to take this step,'' said C.J. Robbins, program coordinator for Black Male Achievement....

The Oregonian/OregonLive review of the controversial gang affiliation database showed that police labeled someone a "criminal gang affiliate'' more than 100 times each year, without a conviction, without an arrest. Police were able to add someone to the list if the person self-identified as a member of a gang, participated in a gang initiation ritual, committed a gang-related crime or displayed two or more observable signs of gang membership.

Those labels would pop up as a red flag when officers ran someone's name on their mobile computer database. Nicknames, employers, schools, vehicles and associates were included in the gang designation reports.
So they don't like the results that they're getting that too many minorities are in gangs so their solution is to stop keeping the data? The facts don't fit their desired worldview so they don't want the facts any more. I'm not in police enforcement, but it would seem to be relevant to investigations if the police find out that people involved are members of gangs. Are minorities disproportionately members of gangs? That might explain their presence in the data base, not bigotry. But Portland didn't like that result and so out goes the database. The real question should be whether the database helped solve and prevent crimes. But that seemed to be of lesser concern than the race of the gang members.

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John Sexton links to an article by historian Ron Radosh on how Antifa doesn't understand the history of anti-fascism. Some are making the simplistic analogy to communist groups fighting on the streets in Weimar Germany against Hitler's Brownshirts.
Antifa’s attitude is the same taken by the German Communist Party (KPD) before Hitler’s ascension to power. The German Reds had the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and used their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists, organized in the Social-Democratic Party (SPD).

Calling the SPD “social fascists,” the Communists argued that to give them any credibility would fool the working classes into supporting them when in fact the SPD’s opposition to an immediate communist revolution meant that the Nazis would win power. Despite pleas of many on the left, including Leon Trotsky, who had fled to Mexico to escape Stalin’s henchmen, the KPD leadership refused to join in a united front against the Nazi Party, and even voted with the Nazis against seats in the Prussian parliament for any German Socialist Party members.

Bray knows this, and writes that “while Hitler was planning a war against the Left, socialists and communists focused on fighting each other.” Indeed, as he acknowledges, communist leaders called the Social-Democrats fascists “with a socialist phraseology.” Yet he argues that now, in the Trump era, what is needed are “street confrontations” since—as in the 1930s—“the liberal playbook for stopping the advance of fascism failed.”

Despite this history, today’s antifa—which takes the name from the KPD’s street fighting group established in 1932, Antifaschitische Aktion—acts the same way toward centrists and liberals who reject their commitment to violence. Its members have also frequently assaulted photographers and members of the press seeking to document their public violence.
As much as his opponents dislike Trump being president, we are not living in Weimar Germany and Trump is not Hitler. And, if they read their history more carefully, they would learn how Hitler used the violence by anti-fascists in Germany as an excuse to expand his dictatorial powers.
Antifa members should read historians of Nazi Germany, like Laurie Marhoefer of the University of Washington, who writes that anti-fascist street fighters who greeted a Nazi rally with violence thought that they had won by disrupting a rally and fighting its speakers back in 1927. They sent a message that “Fascism was not welcome.” But instead, “events like the rally in Wedding [a Berlin district] helped the Nazis build a dictatorship.” The Reds got media attention, but it led to escalating street violence, all of which helped the Nazis, who painted themselves “as the victims of a pugnacious, lawless left.”

Leftist violence in the 1930s in Germany led many to support the Nazis in the hope they would put an end to the continuing street brawls and violence. Today, the antifa left may even help to get Donald Trump reelected in 2020.
Sexton adds in,
Also, the people Antifa is beating up are as likely to be reporters as neo-Nazis.

Antifa already contains the seeds of its own destruction. Their violence will create a backlash. Already, they have gone from inspiring glowing comparisons to Americans invading on D-Day to widespread condemnation. After a few short weeks of public attention, authorities are discussing labeling the group a gang. The federal government, which caught on months ago, is treating them as domestic terrorists. That downward slide is going to continue unless the group stops and renounces violence.

But Antifa won’t stop because violence is fundamental to their ideology. They are not liberals. They do not believe in free speech for those they casually label “Nazis.” The group will continue to act on its beliefs. And the backlash from people disgusted by their behavior will also continue.
I remember when Occupy Wall Street was all the rage and liberals were quick to praise the movement while they hoped it would be the equivalent of a leftist Tea Party. Well, that faded after a while as many Americans came to see OWS as a bunch of rather seedy people taking over public spaces and leaving behind a lot of garbage and not much else. Others argue, however that OWS was a success because it helped move the conversation to the left and prepare the way for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to campaign against inequalities in wealth. So there are two option for Antifa. It could fade away leaving a bad taste throughout the country. Or it could succeed in moving Democrats further to the left as they endorse Antifa's efforts to deny freedom of speech to conservatives.

Ed Morrissey notes
this little tidbit from Hillary Clinton's interview with Jane Pauley.
“I wasn’t just running against Donald Trump. I was up against the Russian intelligence apparatus, a misguided FBI director, and now the godforsaken Electoral College,” she writes toward the end.
Morrissey is amused that Clinton thinks that the Electoral College was an obstacle to her victory.
“And now the godforsaken Electoral College”? Just as a reminder, the Electoral College has been the method of electing American presidents since 1789. It’s not a secret that the overall popular vote does not matter for presidential elections, especially since 2000’s Bush-Gore contest. Is it too much to ask that presidential candidates familiarize themselves with the 237-year-old instructions for American governance before running for office?

Hillary wants to pretend that she was victimized by the Electoral College, along with her litany of bĂȘtes noires in her memoir, but her campaign was clearly calculated to EC strategies. She lost because she took the former Blue Wall states for granted, not because she despaired of winning them at all.

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I'm constantly struck by how topsy-turvy our country has becoming as what people used to fight to achieve is now being thrown overboard. Here in North Carolina, N.C. State University is discussing creating segregated student housing for African American women.
Nashia Whittenburg, director of multicultural student affairs at NC State, stirred a national debate and a torrent of news articles shortly after she assumed her position on July 10. She was quoted in a university news release saying she wanted to create an exclusive living and learning village for African American women.

“Are we creating a sense of inclusion for our underrepresented students, and the opportunity for non-underrepresented students to understand that?” Whittenburg asked in justifying the segregated housing, which she likened to an after-class support system to deal with all-day microaggressions. She views female blacks-only housing as a student retention tool.

University housing director Susan Grant said Whittenburg’s plan “is not currently under consideration,” and could take more than a year to be developed if approved.

There are 16 living and learning villages on campus “to provide a high impact living and learning experience to complement and augment the academic and co-curricular experience,” Grant said.

She denied that any of the village housing is segregated, but did not answer whether people of other races lived in the Black Male Initiative or Native Space housing.
N.C. State is not alone in thinking that segregated dorms is a good idea.
James Baumann, director of communications and marketing at the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, said that will be the subject of a research initiative in the near future.

He said that his organization has been following housing programs for African American males at, among other schools, the University of Connecticut, the University of Iowa, and Cal State Los Angeles. Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Cornell College in Iowa, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University also have ethnic and racially themed housing.

Themed housing “can address a number of different subjects that are sometimes connected to work in the classroom, and other times operate independently of the students’ coursework,” Baumann said. It can “bring together students that share an interest, area of study, or an identity. They can act as a support network that helps students build community and assist one another.”
We're told that achieving diversity is a compelling state interest at universities, yet now we have universities deciding that students would benefit from "racially themed housing." I wonder if any of these programs would survive litigation in the courts.

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Fortunately, the NCAA has relaxed its rules to allow the University of Houston to actually give victims of Harvey the clothing and sneakers that it collected simply by asking NCAA schools to donate T shirts and sneakers.
University of Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson scored through Twitter.

The coach asked peers to send new shoes and shirts for Houston Harvey victims, and thousands donated. However, NCAA rules stand in the way.

Non-profits loaded boxes of brand new sneakers in U-Haul trucks outside the university athletics and alumni center.

Still, Sampson showed KHOU 11 News rooms barely touched. Nearly 15,000 donations from Providence High, Iowa State University and beyond.

Sampson's week-old viral tweet asked fellow coaches: college, pro, high school to send 20 school t-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes for storm victims.

Some just sent letters and everything they had.

“Some (letters) made you cry too," Sampson said. "We have a letter from a high school that said we only had four pairs of shoes we could send you. Come on now, you think about that.”
At first, the university was barred by giving what they gathered to local students because of NCAA rules made to prevent colleges from giving gifts to potential recruits. The NCAA relaxed the rules to allow the university to give what they've gathered to local schools in Houston.

Good for Denzel Washington in his comments from a Hollywood Reporter roundtable.
People say “the difficulty of making a movie.” Well, send your son to Iraq. That’s difficult. It’s just a movie, relax. I don’t play that precious nonsense. Your son got shot in the face? That’s difficult. Making a movie is a luxury. It’s a gift. But don’t get it twisted, it’s just a movie.