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July 02, 2013

Update on Sonoma Cross Incident

@moxiemom doesn't like the War on Higher Ed meme and draws my attention to the college's president's statement, which I honestly hadn't read.

She is right, though: this seems like a fairly fulsome confession of error.

University spokeswoman Susan Kashack confirmed to Fox News that the incident occurred and expressed extreme regret.

“Someone who works here was concerned that the cross might be off-putting to students who are coming to campus for the first time,” she said, adding that the supervisor was “completely wrong.”

“It was absolutely an inappropriate action for him to make that request of her,” she said.

Kashack said Sonoma State President Ruben Arminana was “angered” by the incident and they are trying to contact Jarvis so they can apologize.

“The president was very upset about it and asked me to contact Miss Jarvis and give a profuse apology,” she said.

Well, you can't really offer much beyond a profuse apology, or branding the request "absolutely inappropriate."

However -- I was wrong not to include that (my eyes had glazed over before I read down that far), but it still seems to me that there's something wrong here.

That is, when someone establishes guidelines -- wait, let's think about a guideline. A guideline, literally, is a guide for keeping you on the path. It keeps you from going off into the woods and ditches on either side, right?

Now, if you're explaining a guideline to your underlings, and you mostly teach them how to avoid going off the left side of the path, that is, now not to offend those on the left, and do not spend much time at all telling them how to avoid the ditch on the right side (the individual liberty side), well, a stupid underling, having heard mostly about avoiding the ditch on the left side, is going to go too far over on the right side, because all this idiot is thinking is "avoid crossing the left."

Any rule for keeping behavior on a straight path must contain two lines, as two lines mark a path, right? The left boundary and the right boundary. (Sorry to keep on this metaphor but it's useful.) If this universities just talk about the left boundary all day, and don't give their Idiot Employees (who are largely lefties in the first place) careful instruction about the right boundary, we're going to have idiots crossing the right boundary all the time. The right boundary hasn't been sufficiently demarked for them, and, being Stupid as F*ck, that means they're going to be traipsing off into the deep woods unless you afford them the sort of serious minding you'd give to a baby who just learned how to toddle.

@moxiemom is right that the college president certainly seems to be effusive in her apology, but I wonder if this college president has thought about the natural consequences of a very one-sided guideline for university personnel behavior, a guideline that is focused constantly on PC crap and rarely speaks at all to the individual liberties of individual students. A guideline that talks all day about "not offending other students" but does not then lay down the other side of the line, that students have a basic right to express themselves even if some very sensitive idiots might be offended by this expression.

I don't think that latter idea was communicated to this moron. And that is on the college. And in fact that is on almost every college.

They have created an environment in which Emotion and Censorship, rather than Reason and Expression, are the king and queen of the ivory tower. And the stupid, ass-kissing courtiers will follow the lead of the king and queen they wish to impress.

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posted by Ace at 02:15 PM

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