Thursday, October 31, 2019

Accused Rapists Sue University For Disciplining Them...As Accuser Imprisoned For False Charges

By Professor Doom

     There are so many derangements on our campuses today that it's hard for me to cover even the most egregious of them with any regularity. One I've neglected is the kangaroo campus court system a quasi-court system where basically admin can do whatever they wants, with a thin veneer of legitimacy attached to it.

      Words cannot adequately describe the laughable unfairness of this court system. I used to be involved in it, and so I do not exaggerate when I say with my own eyes I've seen admin destroy evidence, and then have us declare guilt because the defendant failed to provide evidence...and this is everyday behavior in this system.

      The "me too" movement has wreaked havoc in our workforce, as employers are terrified of hiring females since even an accusation from such a person can cause great harm to a company. That's in the "real" world...on our campuses, an accusation is the same as a conviction if the right political winds are blowing.

Their accuser went to prison for inventing gang rape. Now they’re suing the university for prejudging them.

       To summarize the criminal part of the above case, a woman accused a couple of football players of raping her, to get sympathy from her boyfriend. The police determined that she was lying, and she'll serve time for it. It's weird how seldom this sort of thing doesn't get widespread coverage, even though it seems as common as "actual" rape.

     That's how the police handled the case. What happened on campus? Well, the university says they didn't do nuffin', while the players feel they were suspended and otherwise disciplined based on the accusation. So we have a "he said, she said" embedded in a "he said, she said," right? Well, since the university controls all the evidence, the players might have a hard time proving their case.

      Once again the police come to the rescue of these harassed players:

That contradicts the arrest affidavit by a detective, Walberto Cotto, who said a university official told him “both players had been academically suspended by SHU because of the sexual assault allegation,” the Connecticut Post reported at the time...

      Gee, I wonder how well the university's denials will stand up in court next to police testimony? Based on their treatment, the players felt they had no choice but to leave campus after being stripped of their scholarships. I'm no fan of college sportsball, but I'm even less of a fan of destroying men based merely on accusations.

       Th players are suing both the woman who accused them (not much money there) and the university (a more valuable target). I honestly don't know how much damages would be fair, but it just strikes me as curious how often these types of accusations merit major coverage, but when those accusations are shown to be false (hi Trump!) the news never seems to think it interesting at all, even as they virtue signal their support of the "Me Too" movement endlessly.

      A bit too much going on right now for a longer post, but hopefully life will get less complicated at some point.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Stanford: Dungeons and Dragons is RACIST

by Professor Doom

     The "new thing" is often declared the problem for society's ills. Television and comic books, when they came out half a century or more ago, were blamed for why children were so disobedient, for example. A bit more recently, Dungeons and Dragons was targeted when it achieved some level of popularity in the 70s, with a "Satanic Panic" associating the game with suicide and devil worship.

      The "new thing" today is to declare something, darn near anything, as RACIST...I think the new fad is bad, of course, and a professor a while back naturally had the "clever" idea of declaring a game as racist:

Stanford Professor: Dungeons and Dragons Perpetuates Systems of White, Male Privilege

      What's interesting about this latest accusation is the double-ignorance. The professor making the claim is both ignorant in making the claim, and ignorant in not realizing there are some honest things one could say to support the claim.

       But let's get to the claim in more detail:

Garcia argues that Dungeons and Dragons encourages a distrust of the “other.”

      A big part of D&D is going to unpleasant places, finding unpleasant monsters, killing them, and taking their stuff. The "other" in this case is the monster. But...this is a game. Only a lunatic would claim chess encourages a distrust of the "other" because the white pieces invariably (albeit metaphorically) attack and kill the black pieces and vice-versa.

      Oh, crap, I just provided an argument that chess is RACIST now. I wonder if I'll start getting coverage.

      In any event, "distrust" is a strange and invalid word to use to describe what typically goes on in a game of D&D, as usually monsters just get hacked to death, trust isn't relevant at all.

He bemoans the fact that Dungeons & Dragons began as a “white man’s” hobby.

       As did chess. Or possibly did, not that it matters since facts aren't generally important in these types of arguments.

He argues that wargaming communities are “male-dominated,”

      As is war; many  of the game rule ideas in D&D can be traced to wargames from the 60s, of course.

      The article I'm quoting from mentions incidentally that Gary Gygax (one of the main creators of Dungeons and Dragons) initially played this fantasy game with his little daughter.

      The "research" here is utterly ridiculous, and the conclusion that D&D perpetuates a system of white privilege is simply insane. This game is typically played by "nerds" in school (including me), among the lowest of the social hierarchy there. I promise the gentle reader, I gained no particular privileges, acquired no position of power and influence, from the playing of this game. 

       To claim that playing D&D perpetuates anything beyond being associated with being in the lowest social class in school is ignorance on the professor's part.

       IF he had any knowledge of D&D, and wanted to claim there were some "white male" issues with the game, he could do so with ease, however. For example, while the game has elves and dwarves and such in it, the irredeemably evil versions of these creatures are...wait for it...wait for it...BLACK! There are even various colors of dragons, and black dragons are evil! White dragons are evil as well, but like all such arguments, it's important not to give the full story. In any event, if he knew even a little of D&D he could have mentioned such details, rather than say such broad and pointless generalizations like the above.

       To go further, an early version of D&D (there are many editions, variants, and knock-off clones) gave different ability score restrictions for males and females. Females, for example,  had lower maximum strength scores--something of a big deal in a game where hand-to-hand fighting was core. Nowadays we have "trans" athletes dominating "women's" sports because we don't dare suggest such a thing, whereas Gygax put in writing over 40 years ago that females tended to be weaker than men (he disavowed it soon afterward, saying such restrictions were a design mistake, and again it's normal to ignore such details in such arguments). At least if the professor had said such things, he'd have a (very weak) point, but he's so ignorant, simply playing the RACIST card knowing it'll work regardless of validity of the play.

Garcia’s ultimate wish is to see Dungeons & Dragons move beyond its problematic past into a more diverse and inclusive future.

       The above is the insidious part, and indeed, the designers of the game (and its clones) are becoming ever more "woke," including lines like "your fantasy character can have whatever sexuality you want them to have" in the main rules  and regularly engaging in all the virtue-signalling and lecturing that turned a multi-billion dollar franchise like Star Wars into a worthless smoking ruin.

       That's a shame, since destroying this game (if they can, which considering how thoroughly Star Wars has been obliterated cannot be ruled out) would remove one of the few refuges nerds in school have.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Professor: Grading and Grammar Are Racist

By Professor Doom

     Our institutions of higher learning are massively oversized. While in general I disagree with the levels of growth which allowed this to happen there is one benefit to a large institution: resistance to change. Back when our institutions were merely huge, this benefit occurred quite often as the universities tended to not fall into fad “learning” scams like “new math” or “common core” or whatever, but somehow along the way to achieving truly immense size the institutional resistance to change vanished.

       The reason for this, of course, relates to the student loan scam, which made size, and not education, relevant to a school’s status. This led to the worst sorts of people getting control of our universities, and these kind of people, edu-fascists, concentrated power. Just as the Emperors of Rome could single-handedly achieve broad changes in society with an edict, so too can a university Poo-Bah dramatically change the character of an institution.

       The concept of “best practices” allows other Poo-Bahs to follow suit, and quickly, and so whenever some institution changes its rules to cause even further growth beyond all reason, the other “leaders” quickly follow to do the same.

      This growth has been achieved by allowing a great number of people to come on campus who have little interest in learning, and are merely there to collect their share of student loan money (after the university takes quite a bit more than lion’s share, of course). Trouble is, these students do tend to fail classes, and do tend to drop out after so many failures. In the last few decades, the rules have long since been changed so that failing doesn’t occur quite so much, and that dropouts due to failure are likewise less common than before.

      But, we still have students failing and dropping out. Whatever shall we do? Cry RACISM, of course:

     The professor referenced above, I covered before at American University. It’s the same spiel as always:

‘Grading is a great way to protect the white property of literacy in schools’

      Before going further, I must highlight how incredibly stupid the above is, and give the reader fair time to laugh. Please, gentle readers, call friends and family members over to whatever device you use to read this, and call their attention to the above quote. They deserve a good laugh as well.

      Now that this lunatic professor has infected American University with this madness, he’s travelling the country spreading it to other schools, with Ball State University next.  He gives his speech there, hosted by the Office of Inclusive Excellence (I can’t make these names up, and our schools are bloated with such goofy-named fiefdoms).

       When I was at a corrupt community college, every semester we had people coming in telling us basically the same thing as this professor, at least in terms of results: don’t fail students. The only difference is this guy’s rhetoric plays the race card more often than the Kentucky Derby:

We are all implicated in white supremacy,” Inoue said during his presentation…“This is because white supremacist systems like all systems reproduce themselves as a matter of course,” he said.
“This includes reproduction of dominant, white, middle-class, monolingual standards for literacy and communication.”

     If I was in China, taking a course in Mandarin, I would fully expect the teacher of that course to grade my use of Mandarin. It wouldn’t occur to me that this would be “supremacist,” I would expect a “monolingual” standard for a country. Yes, I know China has many native languages, but despite this reality it still mandates “one language” that all educated people there must know. Bottom line, mandating a proper use of a single language isn’t “white supremacist,” it’s a matter of nationalism, and our planet has seen endless countries arrange themselves linguistic lines far more than along physical characteristics.

     There is absolutely no winning with these people, who are never satisfied:

“Your school can be racist and produce racist outcomes,” Inoue said. “Even with expressed values and commitments to anti-racism and social justice.”

      It doesn’t matter what you do, you’re still vulnerable to the RACIST charge. This suits both sides of the edu-fascist cabals running our schools: admin is happy to add yet another fiefdom to rule over, and the ideologues are thrilled to be ever in pursuit of ever louder virtue signaling.

During his presentation at Ball State University, Inoue said that in order to succeed in even the most liberal and forward-thinking institutions of higher education today, a person of color has to act, think and sound white to some degree.

     Rubbish. Honest, there are universities in China where “sounding white” will not help you at all, and in many institutions in Africa, sounding white could easily be a detriment.

      Ultimately, it comes down to one selling point:

      …writing teachers should “calculate course grades by labor completed and dispense almost completely with judgments of quality when producing course grades.”

      The above is the primary reason this professor gets so much traction with his ideas. He’s advocating for course grades not to be about quality or knowledge, but simply a claim of effort. Much as admin continuously brought in educationists to “suggest” I allow more cheating in my classes (because that keeps more students on campus and provides admin with bigger checks), the professor’s above advice is given for different reasons to be sure, but is promoted for the same reason as other educationists.

       While the educationists pumping this crud decades ago could only have a low impact on schools with tenured faculty who weren’t going to change their ways, the classes of today are largely taught by de-professionalized faculty who have no choice but to follow the Poo-Bah’s whims or be dismissed.

        And so I assure the gentle reader that Ball State will become converged and achieve educational irrelevance in short order as this professor’s ideas are followed. The only question which remains is what school will be destroyed next?

       The comments section is filled with people who rightfully laugh with scorn at the professor’s racist ideas, but they’re not the edu-fascists running the schools, alas.

      The double-lung surgery failed, and finding that out was delayed a few weeks because they ignored my reminder to do a tumor marker test.  MDA's biopsy shows I have a met to my femur. So, next thing is surgery. They told me to wait for the call from the surgeon's office for set up the meeting to get the go-ahead for the surgery appointment.
       It's been a week waiting for that phone call. MDA in Houston is the #1 cancer treatment center, and one thing I can say from this ordeal: the #2 cancer treatment place must be absolutely wretched.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Gender Studies Degree, in Detail

By Professor Doom

     It's easy to look at a degree printed on a sheet of paper and say "that's all crap," and one degree (of many, to be sure) that often receives such scorn is the Gender Studies (or Women's Studies) degree. Does it deserve this treatment?

      Well, Arizona State University, noted for turning higher ed into a boiler room operation, offers a Gender Studies degree, and generously lists the entirety of the degree requirements online. They're not the only school that does so, and I assure the gentle reader that similar degrees at other schools are very similar in course requirements.

       So, let's take a look at this degree.

Total Hours: 120

       A mere 120 college credit hours is required for this degree. This is fairly light. I initially chose my mathematics degree because it only required 128 hours, and many degree programs require over 130 hours. Doing the math for a 4 year program with 2 semesters, this means a Gender Studies student should be taking 15 credit hours a semester, and most students should take more if they intend to graduate in 4 years.

       I point out that many students are "guided" into taking 12 credit hours a semester. It isn't until their 2nd or 3rd year that they realize they've been given terrible advice, dooming them to being on campus 5 or more years, even if they fail no courses (and many do fail, because our colleges systematically admit students who demonstrably have no academic interest and/or training).

     The very first semester here includes two courses the Gender Studies student must take. There's a 1 credit hour "ASU Experience" course. In times past, a student would be offered an afternoon of "orientation" where they would be told the main landmarks on campus (library, where to get food, etc) as well as how to get/call for help or whatever. Now, they pay $1,000 or so to get that information by taking an "our college experience" course.

      The very first gender studies course for all students is "Women, Gender, and Society." I find the name interesting. In math, classes are called things like "Calculus" or "Statistics" or "Differential Equations," and I bet the gentle reader can determine math courses are about from the name (if not necessarily know what the name means). 

      But what of "Women, Gender, and Society"? The first two words I find contradictory...if "Gender" doesn't mean women, surely it includes women? Why the redundancy? Either way, are they not part of society by definition? The course description doesn't provide much insight:

Interdisciplinary introduction examining critical issues in women's studies.

     Apparently women's studies courses study women's studies. It really seems like they could have mentioned one of those issues, seeing as they're so critical and all. At least the words are long, so that's something, I guess.

        Maybe the more advanced courses will fill in some details. Before getting to those courses, the degree outline mentions a few "General Education" courses. Accreditation mandates that a degree have these courses, supposedly assuring that a graduate's education includes many of the basic things and skills an educated person should know and have.

     Years ago I decried that students were taking a college course called "College Algebra" which had less material than the algebra course I took in the 10th grade. Math majors get no credit for taking "College Algebra" courses, incidentally, because academic departments know the course is fake. Gender studies students need not learn the skills of students even in the 10th grade, however, as their intro math course is:

      Let's look at the description:

Applies basic college-level mathematics to real-life problems. Topics include numerical reasoning, sets, counting techniques, probability, basic statistics and finance. 

     At least you can tell what's in the course. It's curious that ASU feels the need to tell us that this is "college-level" mathematics...other courses aren't so ashamed of what's in them to say that, after all. This course is typically called "Finite Mathematics", a semi-fake at best course covering introductory material from a wide range of topics--a student can take a whole month off and still do fairly well in this type of course.

      Taking a "real" college science course is pushed off until the third year, incidentally. This is a bit of a problem--a student won't find out she's incapable of passing a college course until sinking over 2 years of tuition into ASU. I'm sure that's just an accident.

      Let's get back to gender studies courses, at least the highliights (the student must choose 10 from a long list). Most of these courses are 3000 level (Junior level) or higher, but one is lower level:

     Recall, the first course was called "Women, Gender, and Society," and this more advanced course, to judge by the title, addresses one less topic. What? At least the description a bit more clear, I guess...but now I have to wonder what's in the first course?

      The next lowest level course has the same name structure: 

Gender, Crime, and Criminal Justice

Women as offenders, victims and professionals in the criminal justice system.

       I can't help but suspect the "offenders" topic is de-emphasized. Note how "Gender" here is clearly used as a synonym for "women"...there is no course which specifically focuses on males, however, although I assure the gentle reader males are a big part of our criminal justice system.

     I point this detail out because in math classes, particularly the undergraduate ones, we focus on the most common concepts a person might experience. For example, lines and linear relationships are covered in great deal, while functions represented as infinite series of partial derivatives not at all. Yet for some reason, there's this weird fascination in the "Grievance Studies" fields to focus instead of the odd and unusual...I'm not sure knowledge of the arcane is more important for an educated person to know than the common stuff, but perhaps I'm wrong.

     Race, Gender and Sport

Advanced and interdisciplinary examination of the social concepts of race and gender and their economic impact on sports in America. In-depth studies will focus on the role of regulatory agencies, the impact of these regulatory agencies have on sport as well as multiple legal issues surrounding athletics

     The above course might be useful, despite the weird "X, Y, and Z" name. I feel the need to point out how no prior knowledge of any other material is needed to get into this course, and the material in this course is of no use in any other course. So, perhaps it's useful but...if there really is a job that actually requires the above, you could just hire someone out of high school and teach them this material in 3 months, tops...there's really nothing in the degree program which requires 4 years of training to master.
      Let's look at some of the courses for the most advanced, senior level, students. For example:

Concentrates on selected women writers of the U.S. who are Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Asian American.

      Seriously, it's not at all obvious why this can't be a 1000 level course, especially as there are explicitly no prerequisites. Definitely a puzzle. Let's try another one:

Women and Health

Women as healthcare workers and an in-depth analysis of issues of health, illness, and healthcare for women

     What a bizarre combination of topics for a course! Insofar as women are physically different than men, I completely understand a medical course focusing specifically on them (I again note the lack of an parallel course for men). But why also healthcare workers? Do cooking majors have a course on "how to make a salad, and kitchen decor"? I just don't get it, and again, no prerequisite for this 4000 level course.

      I *love* the warning about how emphasis may vary with instructor. Again, this is a 4000 level course of pure introductory material...nothing the student learned in any previous course will be of use here. It probably won't be of any  use in politics, since, as per the 2016 election, simply being female (and no other factors whatsoever) doesn't guarantee victory in an election.

     For what it's worth the history department does have a pair of linked courses, focusing on women in history. A quick look at the first one (the second focuses on post-1880):

Women in U.S. History, 1600 to 1880

Historical discussion of American women of diverse racial, religious, and ethnic groups and classes; focuses on changing definitions of women's roles.

     Is it my imagination, or is the description here a bit more revealing as to what goes on in the course? I suspect the history department, being actually academic, felt the need to have a clear agenda of what the course entails. Let's finish with the highest-numbered course:

Historical study of art by women in various media; related social, political, educational issues; representation of women in art.

     This 4000 level course does at least have a 1000 level introductory art course as a prerequisite. Seeing as there could be 3 years between taking these courses, I worry a student would have a hard time remembering, much less applying, the material in the intro course, but this still makes this  possibly the most academically demanding course in the entire Gender Studies (and seriously, the course descriptions make it very clear we're just looking at women here) program, quite literally in the case of this art class.

      Now that we've seen much of what a Gender Studies degree program entails, I still feel it doesn't quite have the gravitas as actual academic subjects, since almost none of it requires more than a few weeks' effort to master, as judged by the endless list of no-prerequisite "intro" courses. But I guess it's just a matter of opinion.