April 30, 2008

Arkansas Lawprof Richard J. Peltz is suing two students and the Black Law Student Association.

Inside Higher Ed reports. (Via Instapundit.)
Peltz charges them with defamation, saying that his comments about affirmative action were used unfairly to accuse him of racism in a way that tarnished his reputation....

The dispute over Peltz concerns his opposition to affirmative action — and how he expressed it. Complicating matters is that no one who was present when the statements were actually made is discussing them....

In a memo sent to Charles Goldner, dean of the law school, the students accuse Peltz of engaging in a “rant” about affirmative action, of saying that affirmative action helps “unqualified black people,” of displaying a satirical article from The Onion about the death of Rosa Parks, of allowing a student to give “incorrect facts” about a key affirmative action case, of passing out a form on which he asked for students’ name and race and linking this form to grades, and of denigrating black students in a debate about affirmative action, among other charges.

The student memo said that the organization had “no problem with the difference of opinion about affirmative action,” but that Peltz’s actions were “hateful and inciting speech” and were used “to attack and demean the black students in class.”

The black student group demanded that Peltz be “openly reprimanded,” that he be barred from teaching constitutional law “or any other required course where black students would be forced to have him as a professor,” that the university mention in his personnel file that he is unable “to deal fairly with black students,” and that he be required to attend diversity training.
Suing students! It seems unthinkable. But this is the direction we head when free speech and academic freedom lose their grip on us. Do we feel like blaming the students for trying to suppress the teacher first, or should we blame the teachers who taught them that they are entitled not to hear what to them feels "hateful and inciting"? Or is it just obvious that teachers should never sue our students for even the most horrible things they about us? What a sad, sad story!

I'd like to hear from other law professors and law students about whether classroom critique of affirmative action gets called racism at your school. I have encountered people in law schools who will cry racism when all you have done is seriously present the legal reasoning in the affirmative action opinions of Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and William Rehnquist.

The Peltz story hits close to home for me because of something that you can read about in my old posts with the tag "Kaplan story."

59 comments:

Simon said...

Pelz "pass[ed] out a form on which he asked for students’ name and race and link[ed] this form to grades." Methinks the students who filed the complaint did not understand the point of this particular lesson.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Methinks the students who filed the complaint did not understand the point of this particular lesson.

Or maybe they understood it and were offended at the notion. Few opponents of affirmative action think it implies anyone is racially inferior. Unlike that "lesson".

MadisonMan said...

I am not a lawyer. If I'm teaching at this Law School, and I see this going on, and the Dean isn't dealing with the students' complaints appropriately -- the proper way would be IMO to tell the students to suck it up -- then I'm going to be very nervous about teaching. And that would be unfair to the students.

Goldner pledged to continue to work to create a “diverse and inclusive community.”

These are weasel words. The Dean has lost control. If he can't get it back -- and quickly -- he should resign.

former law student said...

I enjoy seeing this, because right now a student has too much power to cry racism and end a professor's career. In a local case, a notably acerbic -- and tenured -- prof questioned two Asian students about the cause of their tardiness. They chose to interpret his remarks as racist and took their case to the administration, which discharged him, despite two significant considerations: he was similarly "rude" to all of his students who failed to meet expectations, and his wife was Asian.

He sued the university and won a nice settlement.

Mortimer Brezny said...

his wife was Asian.

Only proves he is a colonial oppressor.

Trooper York said...

There is also a case in today's New York Post about a Dartmouth professor who is suing her students because they were "mean" to her and laughed at her lessons because she didn't understand the course work and was corrected by a student and the whole class burst into applause.

Sister Assunta would never have stood for that. It woulda been metal rulers across the knuckles for the whole congregation.

Simon said...

Mort, from what information we have, I understand that Pelz adjusted students' grades based on race. That is precisely what purveyors of affirmative action believe is a social good, and while it may not necessarily imply racial inferiority or superiority, at a very minimum it "reinforce[s] and preserve[s] for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred" by validating the notion that race makes a difference. It does not, and this country several generations ago set itself against such a premise when the realization finally prevailed - in all but the minds of the do-gooding cognoscenti, it seems - that "discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, inherently wrong, and destructive of democratic society," Bickel, The Morality of Consent 133 (1975). We will never get beyond racism unless we first learn to stop taking account of race.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Great article, Trooper.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04302008/news/regionalnews/class_action_108764.htm

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mort, from what information we have, I understand that Pelz adjusted students' grades based on race. That is precisely what purveyors of affirmative action believe is a social good,

I don't think that's what proponents of affirmative action think. Usually proponents of affirmative action believe in awarding points for all sorts of things that maintain the elite mission of their school and its diverse brand, like athleticism (Dartmouth loves squash ringers), interesting biography (I once was a refugee), geography (I live in Appalachia where nobody owns shoes), and so forth. It sounds like this guy was just using race to screw people. That's just racism.

halojones-fan said...

Make sure you read the whole article before commenting. In the article, Pelz responds that the form was a survey, and that it was "linked to grades" in the sense that you got extra credit for filling it out.

former law student said...

Pelz adjusted students' grades based on race.

I don't see how. Blind grading has been the norm in law schools for decades. Profs can pass a list of participation bumps/deducts to the registrar's office, but these have a minor effect on the final grade.

paul a'barge said...

Mortimer: I don't think that's what proponents of affirmative action think

You can spin all you want. That's precisely what affirmative action beneficiaries want.

I hope the professor persists and cleans their clock.

Simon said...

Mortimer Brezny said...
"It sounds like this guy was just using race to screw people. That's just racism."

As opposed to affirmative action that accepts screwing people as a cost of elevating others, based on race? To my mind, and the minds of others who oppose the mindset that discriminates based on race, that's just racism, too. There's no difference unless you buy into what Justice Thomas described as a "racial paternalism" exception.

Simon said...

FLS, if you read my first comment, I think it'll become clear. :)

AJ Lynch said...

What next? Will a blogger sue her blog readers when they disagree with her?

Now, Ann never would - too tough for that. But I could see where others like Kos or Firedoglake Jane could get their panties all bunched up.

Kos wears panties? Jeez- they may sue me for posting this comment.

Trumpit said...

Simon,

That picture of Scalia with his arms angled weirdly on his lap is unaesthetic. Can you replace it with a picture of Althouse eating egg salad w/ scallion?

Ann needs to live blog a debate between John Bircher Society's Simon Dodd and firebrand in-your-face preacher Jeremiah Wright. That awesome spectacle would be worth making a paypal donation to support and further this blog.

Building prisons for poor minorities and penthouses for
his rich cronies has been the legacy of George W. Bush. Simon doesn't understand or quibble with the immorality of using the federal government for affirmative action for billionaires and Wall Street and corporate connivers and crooks. That makes his entire argument ring hollow and reduces his argument about racially blind equality before the law to a pitiful, poxy, pedantic plaint of pusillanimous proportions.

Trooper York said...

SUFFERIN' SUCCOTASH !!!!!!!!

Simon said...

Trumpit,
Re the picture, I think that it might be thought a little... Well, not to put too fine a point on it, weird if I had a picture of Ann in my profile, aesthetically pleasing though such pictures may be. I could replace it with a picture of Ann and me together if you'd like. That would be a little less weird.

Re your comment about live-blogging, I have absolutely no idea how anyone could connect me to - of all things - the John Birch Society. I had thought that they were opposed to the Civil Rights Act, which I support, free trade, which I support, and that they were nativists - that is, opposed not only to illegal immigration but legal immigration - and conspiracy nuts, which I am emphatically not. I think they're significantly more libertarian than am I, too. In any event, I've never had any association with them, formal or otherwise, and so far as I know, have never written anything that was remotely approbative of them.

You'll have to help me out on your last point. What "affirmative action for billionaires and Wall Street and corporate connivers and crooks" do you have in mind, and what does it have to do with racial discrimination?

Beth said...

laughed at her lessons because she didn't understand the course work

Students have dreams of showing up for a final exam in a course they didn't know they'd registered for; a couple of times I dreamed I had to go lecture in a course I didn't know I was assigned on texts I hadn't read. But that's as close as I come to every worrying about freshmen turning on me for not understanding the course material. Jeez. Prepare for your class and don't be such a ninny.

Beth said...

Pelz adjusted students' grades based on race. That is precisely what purveyors of affirmative action believe is a social good

Simon, not as I understand AA. I've never heard or read even so much as a suggestion that students within a class be graded on a different scale based on race or gender or any other status.

Trooper York said...

Jeeez Beth you take me back to college days. When I was in school I took a lot of electives out of my field to get A's. You know easy crap like intro to sociology which was jammed with freshman. Anyway I took a poetry course and the first day the professor starts spouting off on Yeats and he was a total asshat. I happened to have committed quite a few of his poems to memory and know just a tad about the man and his work. So after I sort of corrected him two or three times he asked to see me after class. He told me I couldn't talk in class cause it was disrespectful and that he didn't appreciate my input. I said, man you are a dick and I am dropping this course right here and now. But I really felt sorry for the frosh that had to put up with such unmitigated asshattery. Thank god I could go back to the numbers. Sheeesh.

Trooper York said...

"I could replace it with a picture of Ann and me together if you'd like. That would be a little less weird."

Ya think?

Bruce Hayden said...

I am of a couple of minds here. To some extent, this reminds me of my Con law class where the feminists made it clear that there was no anti position on Roe v. Wade (and tried to get the prof sanctioned when he asked one of them to take it).

I don't like the idea of profs suing students, but the article gave me the impression that the students were trying to impose political correctness McCarthyism on the prof and keep him from saying things and taking positions in class that they disagreed with. And, right now, it appears that they have won, with him being suspended from teaching mandatory classes (i.e. Con Law).

So, how does a prof resist this sort of political correctness being shoved down his throat, despite all of the protestations about academic freedom in the academy?

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper:

Re dropping dickhead courses- I went to three universities and got my bachelors in business degree. I dropped any course that required a term paper and never did a single one and still made it to my degree. Took me seven calendar years but got the old sheepskin.

Btw- is that where you got your fondness for poetry?

Trooper York said...

AJ I'm half Irish so that's where I got my love for poetry. There's nothing like reciting an on the point poem in a bar room setting that doesn't bring a tear to the eye. Of course you need a few dirty jokes to avoid a beer bottle to the head. It's all in the timing.

Cedarford said...

Lawsuits are a form of aggression. Legal aggression.
When only one side is allowed the "moral standing to sue" you have one-sided aggression.

All too long, PC and Government, Corporate, and University policy has meant that only members of bona fide grievance groups with "standing" are allowed to sue under EEO, ACLU designated "rights violated" to things like private Muslim swim hours, queer-only luncheons of fellow gay professionals to network, etc.

Because the state and the court have allowed the most extreme punishment for "crimes" of racism, sexism, smoking, anti-PC harassment - termination, loss of parental custody, heavy fines, even jail - the right to countersue is vital. In the long-running high stakes "game" of wrecked careers and other punishments, legal recourse where "oppressor" people can fight the "oppressed" on specious charges of anti-Hmongism, anti-single motherhood in minorities, discussing Muslim terrorism, bimbos charging sexism over bad grades for bad work - is vital.

PatCA said...

What's happening on campus is approaching Maoism and his Cultural Revolution. Who will be the first prof physically harmed?

This "protected" academic space explains how the Obamas could be so stunned to discover that the majority of Americans of whatever color view their pastor and their political associations as deeply wrong, and their resentments as whining.

It's all good. The band aid is ripping ever so slowly and painfully off.

MadisonMan said...

I never dropped a class in college. I'm not sure if that's a testament to my good class-picking skills or my stubbornness.

In grad school I almost dropped a Math class, but the prof urged me to stick it out. I got a B, which is grad-speak for D.

Pogo said...

Florence King:
"Affirmative action was designed originally for “women and other minorities” but the phrase has become just another tortured euphemism. Female conscientiousness and eagerness to please have always made women good students and natural test takers. Jews have gloried in scholarship throughout the ages, and Asians of both sexes score so high on SATs and IQ tests that they regard affirmative action as an impediment. Affirmative action really means favoritism for blacks for the sake of racial peace, but the favor is pure chimera, and so, increasingly, is the peace."

Simon said...

Beth - well, to the extent that affirmative action can achieve its goals without taking account of race or gender, my objection to it is vitiated. I'm not sure how it can do that, but if it can, wonderful.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Who will be the first prof physically harmed?

Already come close to happening with the "animal rights" freaks.

Terry said...

I am delighted I don't have to hire lwayers in my firm. As it is the silliness of the universities has led me to look much more seriously at applicants with certificates from two-year institutions. They have just as much or more course work in their specialty, and the ones I have hired have worked out very well.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison:

I am stubborn too but also know what I like and dislike. So I give myself a bit of credit for maneuvering thru 128 credits and never writing a term paper.

It was not easy dropping a course or two every semester and finding a suitable replacement.

Martin said...

Most AA proponents would say they don't favor tilting grades in a class. Of course, if a favored AA group is washing out at a rate above the population at large, they will charge racism, and since some significant portion of those students got in with credentials below the norm, what would you expect, but yadda yadda yadda.

The answer has been to develop classes and whole programs of silliness (Black Studies, Queer Studies, Hispanic Studies, J-School (couldn't resist that one) where the AA cases who can't cut it in the real programs (and many ARE able to cut it) can shelter and get A's.

And yes, it's not much different than athletes majoring in Sports Communications, it's not like the schools would be pure academic meritocracies but for AA. But, that's the way it's done.

Trooper York said...

Ghee, at all the AA events I ever went to all you had to do was say your first name. You didn't have to share if you didn't want to. We were getting graded? Does that go on our permanent record?

Simon said...

Martin,
"[I]if a favored AA group is washing out at a rate above the population at large, they will charge racism...."

Indeed, and may do so no matter how ludicrous the charge may be, anecdotally. Ward Connerly was a panelist at an event I went to recently, and he attracted protesters; this being a federalist society meeting, there was a Q&A portion of the program, and one of the protesters took the mic to denounce the use of unfair methods such as - I kid you not - standardized tests. Standardized tests, protested someone who's a law student, no less, are "completely biased against minority students." Don't take my word for it, it's on tape (you can hear my question for the panel if you hang around long enough). I have no idea what planet you have to be living on for her comment to make sense (I'm guessing planet egotist, since she prefaces her comments by saying she intends to be Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King "all rolled into one").

Pogo said...

"Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King all rolled into one"

As long as they clean up after themselves and don't scare the horses, enjoy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Pogo said...

Simon,
I had the same experience at a medical conference where a group of MD professors were arguing that medical board exams discriminated against the usual aggrieved groups, but also against the learning disabled.

Dead. Serious.

They were arguing that some people should be given more time to take the test than others, and should have the use of textbooks because of dyslexia and ADD and toenail fungus and itchy butt disease.

I almost got punched for saying:
"Some people are simply not smart enough to be doctors. If you cannot pass the test, you cannot be a doctor. No mulligans or gimmes or tics like in softball or do overs.

"What are these guys going to do when there is a patient right in front of them that needs an answer immediately? Bunt? Punt? Tell them to come back later? Sorry. That's not sufficient. The best advice you can tell these guys is to find another line of work. I don't want your substandard students taking care of my mom or anyone's mom."

And there I was, the turd in the punchbowl.
Again.

former law student said...

pogo -- performance on standardized tests predicts only how one will perform on standardized tests, not how one will perform in practice. One of the most talented architects I know, who has buildings all over town and a staff of a dozen, confided in me that he took the architect's exam eleven times. Besides knowing all about buildings and design, he has tremendous persuasive skills.

Anthony said...

Back when I was in law school (Syracuse), a con law professor (not mine) was accused of racism because he spent only 1/2 a class or so on Dred Scott. The BSA lead a walk out of his class following in protest of the "ommission."

Two side notes. First, the professor in question was an old style New York liberal Democrat who ended up being named US attorney for the Northern District by President Clinton.

Second, my con law professor, who was to the left of the professor accused of racism, spent maybe 5 minutes on Dred Scott. This professor felt that the case was really only of historical interest and he was not teaching history.

RR Ryan said...

Pogo: Thanks for the Florence King. My favorite misanthrope.

Pogo said...

FLS,

Maybe so.
But do you want your 2 year old child with fever and vomiting to see a doctor at 3 a.m. who took 11 times to pass the boards, and only then by getting extra time and access to the texts, and was given a lower bar to pass because the test was biased against transgendered dyslexics from Fukupistan, and who now has only himself to decide which way to go?

For medical doctors, speed of decision making under pressure is an essential skill. You can't fake it very well. And when I am a dad with a sick little kid I'm afraid might die on me, I don't give a shit what the doctor's problems and needs are, I want him or her to know their stuff and know it now.

Bruce Hayden said...

Pogo,

What was scary is that one of the guys I used to work with at a ski area was a semi-retired thoracic surgeon. He had worked part time at a hospital with a residency program. He tried to flunk an African-American who just didn't have the hands for surgery. No dice. The school forced him to pass the guy. As a result, this surgeon wouldn't trust a Black surgeon to cut on him, at least not until he had seem him work on someone else (and most of us don't have the skill to be able to discern this sort of competence).

Revenant said...

pogo -- performance on standardized tests predicts only how one will perform on standardized tests, not how one will perform in practice.

Performance on standardized tests is strongly correlated with intelligence, knowledge, decision-making skills, and time-management skills.

So no, it doesn't just predict "how well you will do on standardized tests". If you flunk a standardized test you are almost certainly deficient in at least one of the categories I listed above.

Revenant said...

As a result, this surgeon wouldn't trust a Black surgeon to cut on him

That's really one of the most poisonous effects of affirmative action. If you know that the standards for entry into your group are lowered for members of X you tend to assume that any given X you meet in your group has skills inferior to your own. Worse yet, you're right to assume it.

Middle Class Guy said...

It is about time that the tide turns and professors sue students; the new victimized cry babies of the world.

Thorley Winston said...

Back when I was in law school (Syracuse), a con law professor (not mine) was accused of racism because he spent only 1/2 a class or so on Dred Scott. The BSA lead a walk out of his class following in protest of the "ommission."

I decided a while ago that if I should ever a teach where some of the students decided to stage a walk-out, as the last one was leaving the room, I would say to the class “please take out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, we are going to have a pop quiz that will be worth forty percent of your grade.”

JohnTaylor88 said...

As opposed to affirmative action that accepts screwing people as a cost of elevating others, based on race?

Simon,

That is your abstract conceptualization of the consequences of affirmative action, not what proponents of affirmative action think. As a moral matter, you may be right or they may be, but your description of what they think is incorrect.

I would also note that the critique you have chosen of affirmative action is one of the weakest. Giving preference to rural inhabitants of economically depressed areas could be viewed as a racial preference for white people, and therefore as screwing others over on the basis of race, but that's an abstract extrapolation. What elite institutions are trying to do, and what they claim to being doing, is seeking to include a diverse array of people, which promotes their brand. Admitting an above average person for Appalachia (but below average in the wider population) is not a clandestine way of sneaking another white guy in; it's a direct way of getting in a poor guy from Appalachia, even though everyone knows that Appalachia is almost uniformly white. In any event, proponents of affirmative action don't care just about race, they care about a lot of factors, and someone like you, who abstracts out the racial question, may or may not be performing the correct constitutional analysis, but surely is not representing what proponents of affirmative action think and why they think it. It would make little sense to say "you are screwing people over on the basis of region!" So the force of your argument is premised in the emotional impact of the topic of race. In other words, you're race-baiting.

If you know that the standards for entry into your group are lowered for members of X you tend to assume that any given X you meet in your group has skills inferior to your own.

Well, but no. The reason affirmative action policies were instituted in the first place was the prevailing attitude that minorities are inferior and the difficulty they had getting admitted to higher institutions of learning. To pretend that the belief in racial inferiority is generated by affirmative action, rather than affirmative action being a response to preexisting prejudice, is not only revisionist thinking, but the kind of stuff I see on the Stormfront message boards. While I don't know enough about this professor to judge, I will say that assuming that minority beneficiaries of affirmative action are unqualified is a racist assumption, unless one also assumes the same thing of anyone else who receives bonus points for athleticism, geography, biography, and so forth. Or we could just accept that admissions boards aren't making determinations of pure merit, assuming that standardized tests show merit, much as the superdelegates need not necessarily follow the pledged delegates, even if it would make most sense.

JohnTaylor88 said...

Performance on standardized tests is strongly correlated with intelligence, knowledge, decision-making skills, and time-management skills.

As a former biglaw attorney who has always aced standardized tests, gone to school with people who aced standardized tests, and who has worked his entire life with people who aced standardized tests, you are 100% wrong.

JohnTaylor88 said...

I have no idea what planet you have to be living on for her comment to make sense

Cultural bias can be a problem on standardized tests, as the testing services that create the tests concede, as well as access to tutoring services, which tracks economic resources. But, no, that does not mean they're utterly worthless and 100% discriminatory.

But if you really cared about such issues, you'd be up in arms about hard math questions being removed from the SATs because boys do better on them and a writing section being added to boost the overall average score of female college applicants.

JohnTaylor88 said...

The answer has been to develop classes and whole programs of silliness (Black Studies, Queer Studies, Hispanic Studies, J-School (couldn't resist that one) where the AA cases who can't cut it in the real programs (and many ARE able to cut it) can shelter and get A's.

The reason people call comments like this racist is their incoherence. One could make the same charge about an entire English department. Or an entire Anthropology department. Or an entire Fine Arts School. Plenty of kids avoid math and science in college and take bogus courses instead. That isn't a racial thing, and to suggest otherwise is rather repugnant.

Revenant said...

That is your abstract conceptualization of the consequences of affirmative action, not what proponents of affirmative action think.

It is an accurate and objective description of the effects of affirmative action. It differs from "what proponents of affirmative action think" only inasmuch as proponents of affirmative action are out of touch with reality.

Giving preference to rural inhabitants of economically depressed areas could be viewed as a racial preference for white people

No, it couldn't, because nothing stops minorities from living in economically depressed rural areas. If benefits are being given to residents of rural Kansas and you want those benefits, move to rural Kansas.

Simon said...

Mort said...
"That is your abstract conceptualization of the consequences of affirmative action, not what proponents of affirmative action think. As a moral matter, you may be right or they may be, but your description of what they think is incorrect. "

Fair point - granted.

"Cultural bias can be a problem on standardized tests...."

That's true, but ex vi termini, cultural bias isn't racial bias, and (within reason) is far less pernicious.

"But if you really cared about such issues, you'd be up in arms about hard math questions being removed from the SATs because boys do better on them and a writing section being added to boost the overall average score of female college applicants."

I wasn't aware that was happening. I think it's a little reductive to assume that women do better than men at math; Anecdote is no substitute for data, of course, but my math is rotten and my wife is a math nerd. If there's good empirical data to suggest that women women do outperform men on writing sections, and that men do outperform women in math, then fair enough. But the threshold question is one of intent: are these changes being done based on a belief (well-founded or otherwise) that such is the case, for the purpose of rigging the gate? If so, yes, I'm opposed to that. I think that colleges should determine admissions based on merit, without a thumb on the scale. and while I think there's a great deal to be said for the value of diversity, I don't think that there's much to be said for diversity in race, gender, or any other inherent feature one might conjure up (as opposed to culture, background, ntional origin, religion and political views), or anything at all for placing a thumb on the admissions scale to achieve it. If it so happens that you have thirty slots and the top thirty list includes no white males, or no latina females, or no Brazilan homosexual catholics, I don't see that as a particular problem. It's valid in breaking a tie -- it goes too far to be so obtuse as to be reduced to a coin-flip when one applicant or the other would add diversity -- but that's about it.

If the foregoing produces a problem of balance, I'd submit that there are worse outcomes: it might force us to confront tough questions such as why the University of Michigan has no graduates of the Detroit school system, for example. If there is a failure of diversity at the college and postgrad level, we ought to level the playing field and if some discrete group is systemically underrepresented, figure out what the real reason for that is. And what I suspect we will discover, when we really look at it, is that the public school system in this country is broken beyond repair. Believe me, there's nothing like having a child in public schools to make you a believer in vouchers.

Beth said...

Simon, you're taking my comments in your own direction, but I allowed for that by not being more specific. You're talking about classrooms as the seat of AA, but it's admissions that's the locus.

Nothing that happens in my classroom is influenced by Admissions. My grading scale doesn't vary from student to student, and that's not just my little quirk. Part of my performance review includes meeting with my department chair to review my grading against departmental averages. People who grade too leniently consistently are not retained.

I do extra tutoring for students who are ill-prepared in writing and some are obviously AA students who have been admitted despite low test scores; most others are ESL students. I'll help them one on one, semester after semester, until they finally pass freshman comp. We're very careful not to pass students through the writing sequence until they're ready -- we know that only sets them up for failures, and that means we lose them in their second year. Perhaps it's no coincidence that we admit and graduate more minority students than any school in the city, including two HBCUs.

Paddy O. said...

Trooper, we've got the dirty jokes a plenty round here, so I guess I might post an Irish poem, from a poet I've recently really started to appreciate.

Ascetic

That in the end
I may find
Something not sold for a penny
In the slums of Mind

That I may break
With these hands
The bread of Wisdom that grows
In the other lands.

For this, for this
Do I wear
The rags of hunger and climb
The unending stair.
~Patrick Kavanaugh

Mortimer Brezny said...

Nothing that happens in my classroom is influenced by Admissions.

Right. This guy, Peltz, was just being a jerk.

Trooper York said...

Right back at you PaddyO:

Epic

I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffeys shouting "Damn your soul"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel --
"Here is the march along these iron stones".
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.
(Patrick Kavanagh)

Kind of fit's election season, I think of it often when I listen to Hill and Barry and Johnnie.

Also give Seamus Heaney a try.

Sharon said...

In my Con Law class at U of Alabama we had a heated discussion about affirmative action. I never heard anyone characterize someone else's comments as racist, and there were a lot of people who voiced anti-affirmative action arguments. Even though it was heated, the discussion was pretty respectful.

ThereasaR said...

Peltz didn't adjust anyones grades, thats completely out of line. For the record, the members of the BLSA chapter who accused him of racism officially retracted their complaint, and it doesn't matter now because his career IS actually ruined (he's been passed up for jobs and students at UGA where he was a visiting professor assumed he was a racist and asked for his removal before he even got started...thankfully we asked some questions and found out it was a bogus charge against him before doing anything stupid.)

There are so many rumors going around about things that he DIDN'T do or say...which I think is exactly why he was forced to sue the BLSA chapter at UALR...to clear his name.

For the record, his fiancee is black and was a member of BLSA at her school at one time. He doesn't tell everyone that because its none of their business. This really is a case of a few bad apples giving BLSA a bad name and in the process ruining a fine man's career. Rick Peltz is a stand-up guy and an excellent professor. These charges of racism were bogus and have since been retracted.