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28 November 2006 @ 07:55 am
What you have is the opposite of that.  
Was a student expelled from his art school for being an atheist or for being a jerk? That is indeed the question in this article, but not what I want to point out just now.

Quoting school president Dr. Steven Goldman on whether or not the school has any policies on what can or cannot be discussed outside of class time:
"We have an academic community in which people are free to explore ideas."

No. No, you don't. You have an academic institution where people need to be careful what they say and to whom they speak. You have proven this by allowing a citizen of the Disunited States of the Offended to make a stink and get taken seriously. Her feelings were hurt? Her position was challenged? Yeah, see, that's what can happen when everyone is actually free to explore ideas. Differing opinions get aired and existing ones get tested. She didn't like what the other guy had to say and so she bitched to a teacher? The moment you have an academic administration take that seriously, you no longer have any kind of free or academic atmosphere. You have a collegiate atmosphere, perhaps, but no one ever claimed that there was a necessary correlation between real academic endeavor and being a college.

We live in a society where the loudest opinion counts for more than the simplest fact. Explain to me (quietly) how that is a good thing.
Current Mood: disgusted
mincotmincot on November 28th, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
This is one of those cases where I want to know a LOT more about what happened. The school cites on their side a pattern of behavior and recommended psychiatric evaluation. That's pretty strong language from an academic institution. Their reported immediate focus on his behavior rather than on his viewpoint makes me wonder *How* he expressed his views. Did he express them--this time and others--in an academically open way? Was he hectoring and bullying; did his body language and behavior imply a threat beyond his words? We don't know from this article.

I agree with you that the woman was a total twit, and in any genuine discussion her views would be heard and quickly sidelined, but I want to know more before I get outraged over the Disunited States of the Offended. At present, given this article, I am leaning toward "he was expelled because he was a jerk, repeatedly," rather than "he was expelled because some princess poptwat didn't want to hear an alternative opinion." I will be interested in following this case and see what the lawyers he has contacted have to say (i.e. the behavior theory might be inaccurate after all).
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on November 28th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't even care about the guy. I couldn't give a damn what happens to him or how his case is settled, assuming he has one. Indeed, if he's crying discrimination to avoid the consequences of his own actions, then he's a fucking idiot who deserves the expulsion.

However. I have never heard of a person being expelled from a college for being a loud-mouthed jerk. If he physically assaulted someone, kick his ass out. If he sexually harrassed someone, kick his ass out. If all he's done is be a complete prat, then people, grow the fuck up. People like that are a dime a dozen in the real world, and you can't go crying to the authorities to have all the icky, nasty, obnoxious people removed from your otherwise perfect little reality. The world is not and cannot be sanitized, and we're doing ourselves a grave disservice by avoiding that truth and paying even lip service to these whiny proles who want the public sphere to be an intellectual and emotional safety zone.
bronxelf_ag001 on November 28th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
the problem is we don't know *what* happened. the president of the college isn't talking *at this guy's request*. the article is putting a spin on this so intense it has its own magnetic field. but the actual information is sorely lacking. frankly they both sound like fuckwits.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on November 28th, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
The way I read the article was that the president of the college was unable to comment to the article without the student's explicit permission. I didn't read that as the student telling the president not to comment, just that he hadn't explicitly authorized comments.

(shrug) Like I said, the important thing to me wasn't the guy or what was happening to him. It was the bullshit-laden "we're a free academic community here" cop-out.
The Archangel Robriel: Fuckbrain Pillarchanglrobriel on November 28th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
*nods* Sounds to me like the guy has some "issues" involved that have more to do with him being overly aggressive and likely unstable than with this discussion over leprechauns etc. If the students and the faculty were starting to feel that, due to his demeanor, they were unsafe with him continuing to attend classes I can see why the school is taking action. Asking him to get a psychiatric evaluation seems to imply, to me anyway, that they've thought this particular student was unstable for awhile now. I have known students who were expelled for being loudmouthed jerks, actually. In the present jittery societal environment where every maladjusted student is viewed as a potential shooter, schools are getting a lot more quick to sideline the mentally ill. Actually that very subject came up on my professional therapists article feed not two weeks ago - the fact that colleges have become so freaky about liability issues where mentally ill students go that they're beginning to throw a -lot- of students out the minute the students get a diagnosis that the college finds "troubling". It's a highly disturbing recent trend that I fear will only get worse in the present societal climate.

That being said, the more I hear about stuff like this the more I'm starting to feel like being an athiest needs to be a protected class, actually. The vitriol and discrimination that I've seen levied against athiests who insist upon actually having a different perspective and point of view on the whole god/spirituality issue has been pretty major. There are tons of obnoxious, hyperaggressive Christians out there in the world but it seems like they just don't draw the amount of fire that a fairly mild mannered but stalwart athiest does. And the Waah-Waaah choir is, of course, always in fine form and ready to go bleat to an administrator the minute anybody makes them feel "uncomfortable". Lord knows it happened to me enough times at the recent unlamented grad school.
By all means, let's reign in the mavericks rather than teaching the Waah-Waah's to frickin' grow a pair and deal with the fact that life is full of people and places and things which may be challenging or (gasp!) different than you!!
I found myself thinking "Oh I can't wait until these little brats graduate and find themselves in the art world - which is FULL of bullies and aggressive nasties and egomaniacs, psychotics, sociopaths and otherwise "uncomfortable" people. Who're they going to bleat to then?"
Jon Reid: in ur congresscrossfire on November 28th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Who're they going to bleat to then?

The government. To pass laws and amend constitutions against things that they find unpleasant or disagreeable.

Sound familiar?
Ace Lightning: brainacelightning on November 28th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
sent for psychiatric evaluation...
when i was in junior high school, i was sent for psychiatric evaluation, because i was observed to be "maladjusted and out of touch with reality, possibly even delusional". you see, on Career Day, i had gone to the presentation given by an airline pilot, which was an obviously impossible career choice for a young girl - the FAA didn't even issue that class of license to females. when i made it clear that i wasn't doing it as a joke, my guidance counselor sent me to the school shrink, because i obviously didn't have a firm grip on reality.

Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on November 29th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: sent for psychiatric evaluation...
Ace Lightning: brainacelightning on November 29th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
i just can't quite make the leap from "expressing an atheistic point of view in a possibly obnoxious way" to "needs psychiatric evaluation". i mean, in my case, it was pretty clear-cut; at the time, "everybody knew" that a woman was about as capable of doing anything seriously technical as a cat was capable of playing the saxophone, so to believe otherwise was clearly not "realistic". but my son the psychologist has pointed out many times that "asshole" is not a psychiatric diagnosis. what makes it even stranger is that this is an art school, where bizarre and obnoxious behavior is not only expected, but cultivated.