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I left a comment on that Oracle op-ed defending the decision to delete the department chair's letter. Let's see if they post it.

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This is a sharp, clear analysis. I appreciate your work on this—especially because I’m a Hamline faculty member.

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As a Muslim, I gotta say these Muslims are embarrassing me.

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Jan 6, 2023Liked by Ken White

Thank you for this, I finally have a career goal, to become an Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence…

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Hamline's president's statement “respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom” is going to create a lot of problems for other professors on campus. Will fundamentalist Christians argue that an evolutionary perspective in biology classes creates harm? The administration did not think this through.

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It's not merely that Muslims differ about the acceptability of depictions of Muhammad. _This_ depiction was drawn by a 14th-century Iranian Muslim. The only real culture war here is between Muslims, and I find it quite offensive that non-Muslims like most of the protesting students and the college administration took a side.

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Thank you. Much appreciated discussion. It resonated for me when you pointed out the issue with flinging around the term Islamophobia. Good essay.

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Jan 6, 2023Liked by Ken White

Sorry but I have migraines and I don't read a 40 page email, so I had to unsubscribe regardless of the topic and I wish you all the best

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“Hamline teaches us it doesn’t matter the intent, the impact is what matters,” Huddleston said.

Self-inflicted impact, at that. Did she not hear the advance warnings? If not, she wasn't much of a student either.

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Also want to say thank you.

I also wonder if there is a need for analysis of consistency or hypocrisy on these "proclaimed standards." Does it prevent history classes teaching the wrongs of the crusades because that might offend Roman Catholics? Certainly, Columbus is out of the curriculum under this standard. Almost anything taught, despite any warnings runs the risk of upsetting both Roman Catholics and Indigenous people. Certainly, as an indigenous person myself, I hope we can at least discuss residential schools. I mean, the Pope admitted the church did wrong, but this standard certainly prohibits the topic if there are Catholics in the room. Where do we stop? So, when we test this standard, we find it unusable in any academic format. But I also wonder if the persons proposing this standard live by this standard when its analyzed in other situations. It's a lot different to cry "fire him" for speech that I don't like, when I have speech that I don't want to be judged by the same standard; or at least expect to be allowed to explain why my speech should be allowed.

On another track, I am currently back at school as an Art History Student. The discipline is struggling with how to deal with representation, especially in the area of curation. I see lots of people trying hard to discuss and deal with these issues. But that can only occur if we are allowed to respectfully talk about the issues instead of facing a disproportionate response launched with the intent to kill rather than help the discussion. We are all lessened by this.

Again, thank you.

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“I’m like, ‘this can’t be real,’” Wedatalla told the Oracle. “As a Muslim, and a Black person, I don’t feel like I belong, and I don’t think I’ll ever belong in a community where they don’t value me as a member, and they don’t show the same respect that I show them.” 

Victimhood, seems to be his raison d'etre of existence.

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Fuck, this is so good.

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this is a really excellent and clear summation of the principles, and it's so galling. GAH.

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"The people running the Oracle who made this decision shouldn’t be taken seriously as journalists or scholars and shouldn’t get jobs in journalism."

They will be running the New York Times by the end of the decade.

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I agree with Ken that this is one of the most egregious examples of disproportionate response to unpopular speech in academia. However I regularly visit the website for The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Judging from the number of cases they have handled over the past decade, this is a far from isolated instance. I fear for the future of discourse in our democracies, as these student make their way into the work world. We are already seeing the consequences of this in journalism, entertainment, and the tech industries.

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I am curious, while we are on the subject of definitions, how they are defining “Islamophobia”. I would have thought that the definition would include something stating that the intent of the speech in question was to denigrate Islam in some way. Actual Islamophobia is execrable and should be treated as such but when the term is simply a by word for things I don’t like regardless of whether they fit a reasonable definition of the term then it begins to erode and undermine the term. Eventually, the term ceases to have value as a descriptor of unacceptable beliefs or behaviors. This is not ok. If my first thought upon hearing someone called a Nazi or a groomer is, “Are they really a Nazi or a groomer or do they just hold views you don’t like,” then we have done harm to discourse. People who absolutely do not deserve these labels will suffer because of them and people who absolutely do deserve them will get away with it because people are skeptical of these labels. This is, of course, not a new phenomenon but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be striving against it.

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