Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling it an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to pass a replacement before he begins phasing out its protections in six months.

As early as March, officials said, some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will become eligible for deportation. The five-year-old policy allows them to remain without fear of immediate removal from the country and gives them the right to work legally.

Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the change at the Justice Department, both used the aggrieved language of anti-immigrant activists, arguing that those in the country illegally are lawbreakers who hurt native-born Americans by usurping their jobs and pushing down wages.

Mr. Trump said in a statement that he was driven by a concern for “the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system.” Mr. Sessions said the program had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

Protests broke out in front of the White House and the Justice Department and in cities across the country soon after Mr. Sessions’s announcement. Democrats and some Republicans, business executives, college presidents and immigration activists condemned the move as a coldhearted and shortsighted effort that was unfair to the young immigrants and could harm the economy.

“This is a sad day for our country,” Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, wrote on his personal page. “It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it.”

Former President Barack Obama, who had warned that any threat to the program would prompt him to speak out, called his successor’s decision “wrong,” “self-defeating” and “cruel.”

“Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us,” Mr. Obama wrote on Facebook.

Both he and Mr. Trump said the onus was now on lawmakers to protect the young immigrants as part of a broader overhaul of the immigration system that would also toughen enforcement.

But despite broad and longstanding bipartisan support for measures to legalize unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, the odds of a sweeping immigration deal in a deeply divided Congress appeared long. Legislation to protect the “dreamers” has also repeatedly died in Congress.

Just hours after the angry reaction to Mr. Trump’s decision, the president appeared to have second thoughts. In a late-evening tweet, Mr. Trump specifically called on Congress to “legalize DACA,” something his administration’s officials had declined to do earlier in the day.

Mr. Trump also warned lawmakers that if they do not legislate a program similar to the one Mr. Obama created through executive authority, he will “revisit this issue!” — a statement sure to inject more uncertainty into the ultimate fate of the young, undocumented immigrants who have been benefiting from the program since 2012.

Conservatives praised Mr. Trump’s move, though some expressed frustration that he had taken so long to rescind the program and that the gradual phaseout could mean that some immigrants retained protection from deportation until October 2019.

The White House portrayed the decision as a matter of legal necessity, given that nine Republican state attorneys general had threatened to sue to halt the program immediately if Mr. Trump did not act.

Months of internal White House debate preceded the move, as did the president’s public display of his own conflicted feelings. He once referred to DACA recipients as “incredible kids.”

The president’s wavering was reflected in a day of conflicting messages from him and his team. Hours after his statement was released, Mr. Trump told reporters that he had “great love” for the beneficiaries of the program he had just ended.

“I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,” he said. But he notably did not endorse bipartisan legislation to codify the program’s protections, leaving it unclear whether he would back such a solution.

Mr. Trump’s aides were negotiating late into Monday evening with one another about precisely how the plan to wind down the program would be executed. Until Tuesday morning, some aides believed the president had settled on a plan that would be more generous, giving more of the program’s recipients the option to renew their protections.

But even taking into account Mr. Trump’s contradictory language, the rollout of his decision was smoother than his early moves to crack down on immigration, particularly the botched execution in January of his ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

In addition to the public statement from Mr. Sessions and a White House question-and-answer session, the president was ready on Tuesday with the lengthy written statement, and officials at the Justice and Homeland Security Departments provided detailed briefings and distributed information to reporters in advance.

Mr. Trump sought to portray his move as a compassionate effort to head off the expected legal challenge that White House officials said would have forced an immediate and highly disruptive end to the program. But he also denounced the policy, saying it helped spark a “massive surge” of immigrants from Central America, some of whom went on to become members of violent gangs like MS-13. Some immigration critics contend that programs like DACA, started under Mr. Obama, encouraged Central Americans to enter the United States, hoping to stay permanently. Tens of thousands of migrants surged across America’s southern border in the summer of 2014, many of them children fleeing dangerous gangs.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, indicated that Mr. Trump would support legislation to “fix” the DACA program, as long as Congress passed it as part of a broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border, protect American jobs and enhance enforcement.

“The president wants to see responsible immigration reform, and he wants that to be part of it,” Ms. Sanders said, referring to a permanent solution for the young immigrants. “Something needs to be done. It’s Congress’s job to do that. And we want to be part of that process.”

Later on Tuesday, Marc Short, Mr. Trump’s top legislative official, told reporters on Capitol Hill that the White House would release principles for such a plan in the coming days, input that at least one key member of Congress indicated would be crucial.

“It is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said in a statement. “We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.”

The announcement was an effort by Mr. Trump to honor the law-and-order message of his campaign, which included a repeated pledge to end Mr. Obama’s immigration policy, while seeking to avoid the emotionally charged and politically perilous consequences of targeting a sympathetic group of immigrants.

Mr. Trump’s decision came less than two weeks after he pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who drew intense criticism for his aggressive pursuit of unauthorized immigrants, which earned him a criminal contempt conviction.

The blame-averse president told a confidante over the past few days that he realized that he had gotten himself into a politically untenable position. As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take, and when he discovered their full impact, would change his mind, according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to comment on it and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But ultimately, the president followed through on his campaign pledge at the urging of Mr. Sessions and other hard-line members inside his White House, including Stephen Miller, his top domestic policy adviser.

The announcement started the clock on revoking legal status from those protected under the program.

Officials said DACA recipients whose legal status expires on or before March 5 would be able to renew their two-year period of legal status as long as they apply by Oct. 5. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children could face deportation as early as March 6 to countries where many left at such young ages that they have no memory of them.

Immigration officials said they did not intend to actively target the young immigrants as priorities for deportation, though without the program’s protection, they would be considered subject to removal from the United States and would no longer be able to work legally.

Officials said some of the young immigrants could be prevented from returning to the United States if they traveled abroad.

Immigration advocates took little comfort from the administration’s assurances, describing the president’s decision as deeply disturbing and vowing to shift their demands for protections to Capitol Hill.

Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, called Mr. Trump’s decision “nothing short of hypocrisy, cruelty and cowardice.” Maria Praeli, a recipient of protection under the program, criticized Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump for talking “about us as if we don’t matter and as if this isn’t our home.”

The Mexican foreign ministry issued a statement saying the “Mexican government deeply regrets” Mr. Trump’s decision.

As recently as July, Mr. Trump expressed skepticism about the prospect of a broad legislative deal.

“What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan,” he told reporters. “But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”

As for DACA, he said: “There are two sides of a story. It’s always tough.”

In: nytimes

What’s Keeping Asian-American Lawyers From Ascending The Legal Ranks?

While the number of Asian-American lawyers and law students increased greatly in recent decades, there are still few Asian-American lawyers in top positions in the legal field. Tawatdchai Muelae/Getty Images/iStockphoto

In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the U.S. to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University’s law school, and passed the bar exam.

He became the first Chinese-American lawyer in the U.S. in 1888, when he was admitted to the New York bar. But not all states were as welcoming. When Chang applied for a California law license in 1892, the state’s Supreme Court denied his application citing bar association rules, which precluded noncitizens from joining. Chang was unable to become a citizen because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

More than a century later, Chang’s descendants petitioned for their relative to be granted posthumous bar admission and brought the case before the California Supreme Court.

In 2015, the California Supreme Court reversed the ruling. “Even if we cannot undo history, we can acknowledge it and, in doing so, accord a full measure of recognition to Chang’s path-breaking efforts to become the first lawyer of Chinese descent in the United States,” the judges wrote in their decision.

“That case got me thinking about the fact that Asian-Americans have been formally excluded from the legal profession as Chang was, and of course, [with] all the informal barriers,” says California Supreme Court justice Goodwin Liu, who reviewed the case. He said he realized he hadn’t seen a comprehensive study of how Asian-Americans came into the legal profession — so he took it upon himself to lead one.

In the study, Liu shows that though Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing minority group in the legal field, there’s still a stark lack of Asian-American lawyers in top positions in this country.

In 2015, 10 percent of graduates at the top-30 law schools were Asian-American, according to the study. Yet they only comprised about 6 percent of federal law clerks and 4 percent of state law clerks. Compare that to white students, and you’ll see a striking contrast: 58 percent of students from top-30 schools were white, but still landed 82 percent of all federal clerkships and 80 percent of all state clerkships.

Liu and his co-researchers also found that while Asian-Americans comprise 5 percent of lawyers in the U.S. and 7 percent of law students, only 3 percent of federal judges are Asian-American, and three out of 94 U.S. Attorneys last year were Asian-American.

The study noted that some obstacles Asian-Americans face include a lack of access to mentors, as well as stereotypes of Asians as being unable to assimilate or socially awkward.

“Whereas Asian Americans are regarded as having the ‘hard skills’ required for lawyerly competence, they are regarded as lacking many important ‘soft skills,’ ” the researchers wrote.

The study also pointed out that there’s a dearth of Asian-American lawyers in public service roles:

It is notable that few Asian Americans appear motivated to pursue law in order to gain a pathway into government or politics. … Greater penetration into these public leadership roles is critical if the increasing number of Asian American attorneys is to translate into increasing influence of Asian Americans in the legal profession and throughout society. A major challenge is to encourage Asian American lawyers to pursue public service roles and to eliminate barriers for those who do.”

When asked to break out the data further by ethnicity, Xiaonan Hu, one of the researchers, told NPR that she noticed Filipino-American and Indian-American respondents were more likely to say they enrolled in law school to work in government or politics than, say, Japanese-American or Korean-American respondents. Two percent of respondents who were Japanese-American and 3 percent of Korean-Americans ranked the entry into government or politics as a top motivator for going to law school, compared to 11 percent of Filipino-Americans and 5 percent of Indian-Americans.

So what could account for this?

It doesn’t seem like it’s as much about those groups [being] MORE interested in government and politics, but less averse to it,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, wrote in an email.

“For Filipino Americans, many of them made advancements in government and local politics in California and Hawaii, where they have large populations and there were relatively long-standing Filipino communities,” Ramakrishnan, who also runs the project AAPI DATA, said.

“Indian Americans, by comparison, are much more recently arrived in the United States (with their population booming in the last 2 decades). That normally would mean that we would not expect them to be involved in politics. But, past research indicates that prior experience with democracy and high English proficiency tend to mean greater political participation.

And while there are rampant structural issues that need to be addressed, Chris Kang, former National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, said that emphasizing role models can sometimes be powerful.

When Kang was working with the Obama administration as Pres. Obama’s Deputy Counsel, he helped appoint federal judges. Kang said he and his team tried to highlight each new justice’s ethnicity and gender.

“It wasn’t just, ‘the first Asian-American judge in the district,’ but we really went and highlighted ‘the first Vietnamese-American, the first Filipino-American,’ ” Kang told NPR.

If there’s someone of your particular ethnicity — or an Asian-American woman, [where there’s] only been two to the federal bench before — seeing now a dozen of them starts to make a difference,” Kang said, “and you start to think as you’re going into law school or you’re a lawyer considering what’s next for you, that a judgeship might be possible.”

In: npr

Contra el ecumenismo del odio

El Vaticano critica a los fundamentalistas xenófobos e islamófobos en un artículo de la revista de los jesuitas visado por el propio Papa y por el secretario de Estado

El papa Francisco, entre Ivanka (izquierda) y Melania Trump (derecha), en una audiencia en el Vaticano el 24 de mayo pasado. ALESSANDRA TARANTINO (REUTERS)

¿Quién se acuerda de Charles Maurras? Murió hace más de 60 años mientras cumplía cadena perpetua por complicidad con el enemigo alemán durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Fue extraordinaria su influencia intelectual sobre las derechas más extremas europeas, incluidas las españolas, a través de su partido antisemita, ultra y monárquico, Action Française, sobre todo entre las dos guerras mundiales. Igual de extraordinaria fue su tormentosa relación con la Santa Sede, que terminó con su excomunión y las de su seguidores y con la inclusión de un puñado de sus escritos y de la propia revista que dirigía en el Índice de Libros Prohibidos.

El tiempo de las excomuniones y del Índice de los Libros Prohibidos queda lejos, olvidado ya. Roma ya no hace cosas así, al menos desde el Concilio Vaticano II. Pero si las hiciera, no hay duda de que ahora tendríamos algo parecido a un caso Maurras a propósito de las turbulentas ideas y propuestas políticas del presidente Trump y más concretamente de su consejero estratégico Steve Bannon,un príncipe de las tinieblas que inspira las políticas más extremistas de la actual Casa Blanca, como el muro con México y el muslim ban o prohibición de entrada en EE UU a ciudadanos de seis países musulmanes.

Steve Bannon es católico, mientras que Donald Trump nació en una familia presbiteriana. La religiosidad personal de ambos es más que dudosa, como le sucedía a Maurras, hasta el punto de que fue el agnosticismo del escritor francés el que le condujo a la condena eclesial. Bannon se ha divorciado dos veces a pesar de la indisolubilidad del matrimonio católico, y de Trump se desconoce si practica o si tiene siquiera alguna idea religiosa. Pero en ambos cuenta la religión como visión política del mundo, y ahí es donde el Vaticano tiene algo que decir y lo ha dicho, uniendo además en una misma crítica al catolicismo integrista y al fundamentalismo evangelista que tan buen servicio les ha rendido al Partido Republicano para ganar en las elecciones presidenciales.

Aunque el mensaje es bien claro, en cuanto a quien lo emite y a lo que dice, la vía escogida por el Vaticano es sutil e indirecta. Ha sido la revista de los jesuitas Civiltà Cattolica la que lo ha transmitido, a través de un artículo, titulado ‘Fundamentalismo evangélico e integrismo católico en Estados Unidos, un ecumenismo sorprendente’, firmado por su director, el italiano Antonio Spadaro, y por el protestante argentino Marcelo Figueroa. Un católico y un protestante denuncian precisamente la colusión de católicos y protestantes extremistas estadounidenses en un mismo pensamiento al que califican de “ecumenismo del odio”. Según el diario italiano La Repubblica, el papa Francisco en persona, el secretario de Estado Pietro Parolin y el secretario para las Relaciones con Estados Unidos, Paul Richard Gallagher, han corregido y visado el artículo.

El papa Francisco rechaza la narrativa del miedo y de la inseguridad, sobre la que Trump y su derecha alternativa construyen muros ideológicos

La primera característica de esta desviación teológica es el maniqueísmo, un “lenguaje que divide la realidad entre el Bien absoluto y el Mal absoluto”, cuestión en la que los autores citan al propio presidente Trump y que sitúa a los inmigrantes y a los musulmanes entre las amenazas al sistema de vida de Estados Unidos.Una segunda característica que denuncian Spadaro y Figueroa es el carácter de Teología de la Prosperidad que comparten los dos extremismos católico y evangelista. Su evangelio para ricos, difundido por organizaciones y pastores multimillonarios, predica una idea autojustificativa de que “Dios desea que sus seguidores tengan salud física, sean prósperos y personalmente felices”. La tercera característica es una defensa muy peculiar de la libertad religiosa, en la que extremistas católicos y protestantes se unen en cuestiones como la oposición al aborto y al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo o la educación religiosa en la escuela, y propugnan un sometimiento de las instituciones del Estado a las ideas religiosas e incluso a la Biblia muy similar al que inspira al fundamentalismo islámico.

Esta visión del mundo proporciona una justificación teológica a la guerra y alienta la esperanza religiosa con la expectativa de un enfrentamiento apocalíptico y definitivo entre el Bien y el Mal. Las afinidades con la idea islamista radical de la yihad son bien claras. El artículo denuncia la web de extrema derecha Church Militant, que atribuye la victoria de Trump a las oraciones de los estadounidenses, propugna la guerra de religiones y profesa el llamado dominionismo, que es una lectura literalista del Genésis en la que el hombre es el centro de un universo a su entero servicio. Los dominionistas consideran anticristianos a los ecologistas y observan los desastres naturales y el cambio climático como irremediables signos escatológicos de un final de los tiempos apocalíptico, que no hay que obstaculizar, sino todo lo contrario.

No es posible comprender esta fuerte arremetida del Vaticano contra la extrema derecha estadounidense sin recordar la intervención de Steve Bannon en una conferencia celebrada en el Vaticano en 2014, en la que denunció la secularización excesiva de Occidente y anunció “la proximidad de un conflicto brutal y sangriento, (…) una guerra global contra el fascismo islámico”, en la que “esta nueva barbarie que ahora empieza erradicará todo lo que nos ha sido legado en los últimos dos mil o dos mil quinientos años”. También hay que situarlo en el marco de tensiones entre la Casa Blanca y el Vaticano a propósito de Oriente Próximo, especialmente tras el primer viaje de Trump en el que pretendió conectar con las tres religiones, islam, judaísmo y catolicismo, pero terminó convirtiéndose en un reforzamiento de la alianza con Arabia Saudí y un estímulo al enfrentamiento con Teherán, con consecuencias inmediatas en el bloqueo a Qatar.

El pontífice no solo discrepa de sus propuestas sobre ecología, inmigración o impuestos, sino que rechaza su estrategia en favor de Riad

Curiosamente, Spadaro y Figueroa defienden las raíces cristianas de Europa, pero con una argumentación inversa a la que se escuchaba en tiempos de Ratzinger, de la que ha desaparecido el supremacismo cristiano y blanco. “El triunfalismo, la arrogancia y el etnicismo vengativo son exactamente lo contrario del cristianismo”, aseguran. El artículo termina recordando que el papa Francisco combate la narrativa del miedo y la manipulación de la inseguridad y de la ansiedad de la gente, evita la reducción del Islam al terrorismo islamista y rechaza la idea de una guerra santa contra el islam o la construcción de muros físicos e ideológicos. Con la denuncia del ecumenismo del odio, el Vaticano sitúa a Steve Bannon y Donald Trump en un infierno ideológico análogo al que abrió las puertas a Maurras en 1927, ahora hace justo 90 años, en el que se encuentran condenados los políticos que utilizan la religión para dividir en vez de unir a los seres humanos.

En: elpais


Fake News al estilo de Diario Exitosa (y su Director Martín Valdivia): En busca de una Interpelación

El día de hoy fue publicada una portada tendenciosa, por no decir amarillista, del Diario Exitosa, referida a una supuesta falta cometida por la actual Ministra de Educación Marilu Martens. La “denuncia” hecha por el diario “informa” que el hijo de la mencionada funcionaria fue beneficiado con una beca del Programa “Beca 18”.

Tendencioso titular del Diario Exitosa

La raíz de la denuncia proviene una ex trabajadora del programa Beca 18 quien aduce que fue despedida luego de no otorgársele esta subvención al hijo de Martens. La verdad es que ella era funcionaria de confianza de libre designación y remoción.

Al respecto, es interesante ver como el diario ha sobredimensionado esta situación de forma muy tendenciosa cuando:

1. Confunde el programa Beca 18 (subvención económica para buenos estudiantes con serias limitaciones económicas) con la Beca Presidente de la República (abierto para que cualquier ciudadano peruano pueda postular para estudiar un postgrado tanto en el Perú como en el extranjero).

2. La Constitución Política de 1993 señala que todo peruano tiene derecho a requerir o solicitar ante una autoridad publica un servicio o el otorgamiento de un derecho (art. 2.20).

3. El hijo de Martens aplicó a la subvención económica que otorga la Beca Presidente de la República, lo que es muy distinto a haber sido beneficiado con ella. Obviamente su ficha socioeconómica lo hizo no elegible.

4. La aplicación a la beca fue realizada en el año 2014, Año en que Martens aún no era Ministra de Educación (Funcionaria Publica), sino asesora, es decir funcionaria de confianza. Al respecto se puede notar la diferencia conceptual entre ambas categorías en la ley 30057, artículos 3.a y 3.e.

5. El hijo de la Ministra Martens ya era mayor de edad al momento de realizar el tramite en cuestión, ella no lo hizo postular a la beca. Dicho derecho esta consagrado en la Constitución Política del Perú de 1993 y las normativa emitida por PRONABEC (impedimentos para los familiares directos de trabajadores del programa).

6. El diario en cuestión aprovecha la paupérrima comprensión lectora de algunos peruanos para realizar una denuncia que hace agua por todos lados: “Ministra Marilú Martens hizo postular a su hijo en el programa Beca 18”.

7. Es interesante confirmar que el actual Director del diario en cuestión es Martín Valdivia Rodriguez (al respecto leer: Ex director de diarios, El Chino y El Men, ahora es director de Diario Exitosa). Obviamente este tipo de pasquines no solicitan declaración de la parte involucrada y publican con la mayor frescura una noticia tendenciosa (tiran la piedra y esconden la mano).

Si bien existe libertad de expresión y de prensa en el país, no es posible que se realicen acusaciones que no tienen asidero real. El titular de Diario Exitosa es un insulto a la labor informativa del periodismo en el país. Asimismo, no sorprende que los intereses por llevar a la actual Ministra a una interpelación en el Congreso estén motivados por grupos religiosos ultraconservadores que se la tienen jurada a cualquier Ministro de Educación que no comulgue con su postura anti inclusiva y que avala los crímenes de odio contra la comunidad LGBTQI (léase evangélicos radicales), asi como los propietarios de varias “universidades chicha”. Ver: Pleno aprobó derogatoria del DL 1323 en un duro golpe contra los crímenes de odio.

Diario Exitosa ha patinado horrible así como muchos borregos y “Trolls” de la oposición, quienes simplemente reaccionaron e insultaron sin analizar la fuente de la “noticia”. Incluso las declaraciones de los congresistas Lourdes Alcorta y Yonhy Lescano Ancieta demuestran una ignorancia supina sobre el caso. Ello dice mucho del nivel de comprensión y análisis de muchos peruanos en redes sociales, lo que asusta en demasía ya que el Perú puede llegar a ser un excelente caldo de cultivo para el desarrollo del triste y creciente fenómeno denominado “Fake News”.

Free Speech Advocate On The State Of College Campuses

Greg Lukianoff. Image:

Greg Lukianoff heads the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which advocates free speech. He tells Steve Inskeep that freedom of speech on college campuses has been attacked recently.


We are in the middle of college graduation season, which is a season of high-profile commencement speeches. In 2017, some of the speeches are about speech, how we debate one another. On Friday, for example, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told Wellesley College, her alma mater – the graduates there – that it’s too easy to avoid hearing anyone who disagrees with us.


HILLARY CLINTON: We can shut out contrary voices, avoid ever questioning our basic assumptions. Extreme views are given powerful microphones. Leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism have tools at their disposal that were unimaginable when I graduated.

INSKEEP: Some of the shutting out of contrary voices happens on campus. This year, planned speeches have been shut down from Berkeley, Calif., to Vermont. Many of those kept from speaking were politically conservative. But it all bothers a man who identifies as liberal, Greg Lukianoff. He’s a First Amendment lawyer and the head of an organization called Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which advocates for free speech on campus.

How common is it that a speaker who’s controversial or perceived as controversial is thrown off a campus or threatened with being thrown off the campus?

GREG LUKIANOFF: Overall – not that common. But it’s amazing that it happens at all, given that, particularly when it comes to commencement speakers, over the years, universities have become a lot more small-C conservative about who they invite. So they’re already being very careful with who they invite. So the fact that, in 2016, we saw 42 attempts to get speakers disinvited, both commencement and otherwise – we didn’t consider that a good trend. Let’s put it that way.

INSKEEP: How do people go about trying – attempting – to disinvite speakers?

LUKIANOFF: The way we distinguish is if the goal is either to get that speaker off the campus – essentially, that speaker can’t speak here – or to shout them down or, worst of all, of course, to engage in violence to prevent the speech from going on – like happened at Berkeley back in February.

INSKEEP: OK. So 42 times in one year – and there’ll be some more this year as you tally it up.

LUKIANOFF: And that was the worst year we’d seen. We have about 15 years of research on it. And we have – we actually have the largest database on disinvitation attempts because that’s really what we count because that is how we sort of take the temperature for tolerance, for listening to people you disagree with on campus.

INSKEEP: Is this reflecting the education itself – what’s happening in the classrooms?

LUKIANOFF: You know, I’m really wondering about that because, for most of my career – I’ve been working – fighting – for defending academic freedom and free speech on campus since about 2001. And for the overwhelming majority of my career, the single best constituency for free speech on campus were the students themselves. And people are sometimes kind of surprised to hear that.

And I’m like, no, no. Most of what we were fighting were administrators. It’s only around 2014 – 2013 – that we started seeing a lot of push by students for people to be disinvited, for new speech codes and new speech restrictions.

INSKEEP: Why don’t we listen to an example where there was a speaker on campus? And many people on campus disagreed with his point of view. It was the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence. He went to Notre Dame in my home state of Indiana and delivered a graduation speech. Let’s listen to a little bit of that.


VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness – all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech.


INSKEEP: So Vice President Pence takes this opportunity on a campus to speak up for freedom of speech. As he’s doing it, some – not all – of the graduates are standing up and walking out of the speech. And there was a Notre Dame student who tried to explain to CNN why she thought that was. Her name is Aniela Tyksinski.


ANIELA TYKSINSKI: The walkout was in response to the fact that members of our own community felt unwelcome, uncomfortable, and even unsafe with the invitation of Mike Pence. And so political discourse should be happening in other contexts at this campus, not at our commencement.

INSKEEP: OK. So let’s just walk through that incident. Mike Pence speaking up for Notre Dame but criticizing campuses in general – the students saying, many of us felt unsafe. What do you make of all that?

LUKIANOFF: Well, I definitely think what the students did was entirely appropriate. I’ve been frustrated and saddened to see, in many cases, students either refused – they tried to shut down events in some cases or shout speakers down – in the case of Charles Murray and some cases – in the case of Ray Kelly at Brown several years back.

I do get a little worried when I hear people talking about using the word unsafe to mean basically uncomfortable. I do think that leads to problems where people sort of conflate opinions with violence. And that’s something that I’ve been increasingly seeing on campus. They don’t make a major distinction between those two things.

INSKEEP: Violence increasingly doesn’t mean setting a fire at Berkeley to stop an event. Violence means saying words that people don’t want to hear.

LUKIANOFF: And that’s a very bad trend. I wrote about – I wrote a short book called “Freedom From Speech” a couple years ago. And I said, if you create a situation in which a professor – when you say you feel unsafe, they assume nine times out of 10 you mean something more like uncomfortable. That’s a very dangerous situation for people who are genuinely unsafe. Certainly, like, when I was in college, if you said you were unsafe, you’d be like, oh, my God, we have to call the police. What do we need to do? Watering down terms that are so central to people’s actual safety is dangerous.

INSKEEP: So you like that the students at Notre Dame…


INSKEEP: Those who protested found a way to speak themselves…

LUKIANOFF: Absolutely, yeah.

INSKEEP: …Without actually interrupting Vice President Pence. What did you make of what Vice President Pence had to say?

LUKIANOFF: You know, of course, I’m always happy when people have nice things to say about freedom of speech. I did – we did chuckle a little bit, though, at the idea that Notre Dame is great on free speech. We classify them as a red-light school, which means that they have at least one speech code on campus. Now, Notre Dame doesn’t have to promise freedom of speech because it’s a private school. But they do.

INSKEEP: How common are speech codes, as you just called them?

LUKIANOFF: So when we first started evaluating most major colleges, it was around – 75 percent of universities maintain red-light speech codes. But there have been, like, 60 lawsuits (laughter) against speech codes since 1989. So they’re now down to about 40 percent.


LUKIANOFF: We are seeing some actual progress on that.

INSKEEP: They’ve been going down. Would you describe your own politics?

LUKIANOFF: Liberal atheist, as I sometimes get picked on for (laughter).

INSKEEP: OK. So you’re being literal – liberal atheist. As a liberal atheist, do your fellow liberals get a little upset when you criticize people who are criticizing conservatives or trying to stop conservatives from speaking on campus?

LUKIANOFF: It depends on who. You know, like, my oldest friends totally get it. But I will say it can be pretty exhausting to be in the middle of the culture war all the time because it is a situation where nobody assumes good intentions on the other side. They’re totally with you if it’s a speaker they like. But they totally hate you if it’s a speaker they don’t.

INSKEEP: So you’re OK even with Charles Murray, very controversial academic speaking on a campus.

LUKIANOFF: Yeah. I think that we need better practice in how to listen to people – even opinions that we despise.

INSKEEP: Greg Lukianoff, thanks very much.

LUKIANOFF: Thank you.

INSKEEP: He’s head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.


BREAKING: Howard University professor reports settlement in Brazilian wax case


By  July 14, 2017

Howard University has reached a tentative agreement with the law professor it found responsible for sexual harassment over a test question about a hypothetical Brazilian wax.

This afternoon, professor Reginald Robinson’s attorney, Gaillard T. Hunt, released the following statement:

We have discussed the case with the University and we believe we have reached a mutually satisfactory solution. Professor Robinson regrets if anyone was offended by the test question.

FIRE reported on the case last week, which we noted at the time was part of a larger pattern of colleges and universities punishing constitutionally protected expression under the guise of addressing sexual harassment.

You can read more about the case in our press release.

Check back to Newsdesk next week for more on this development.

Schools: Howard University Cases: Howard University: Professor Subjected to 504-Day Investigation and Sanctions for Hypothetical Test Question Involving Waxing


Case given by the professor translated in spanish:

Pregunta 5.

P es dueño y manager de “Day Spa & Massage Therapy Company, LLC.” P atiende tanto a hombres y mujeres. Entre otros servicios, P ofrece “Brazilian wax” y “bikini wax” – también llamados “Sphynx”, depilada total, o depilación estilo Hollywood.

Para prestar estos servicios, P contrató a A, un esteticista, certificado y licenciado por la escuela ubicada en el Estado en que P realiza sus actividades.

Un día, T visitó la compañía de P. T nunca había buscado tales servicios, pero sus amigos habían elogiado el trabajo de P. A se encontró con T en la mesa de atención. T pidió un Brazilian wax. -¿Un brasileño completo o modificado? -preguntó A a T. T parecía confundido, entonces A procedió a explicarle que un Full Brazilian (“FB”) implicaba depilar totalmente a T desde el ombligo hasta las nalgas,  por lo que un FB requería que T esté desnudo de la cintura para abajo. Un FB además requiere que A toque el cuerpo de T y realice los ajustes necesarios para que este pueda acceder a todos los folículos del vello púbico de T. Asimismo, A le explicó a T cómo sería un “Modified Brazilian” (“MB”). Un MB le dejaría una fina franja de pelo en la parte superior de sus genitales, es decir, un “landing strip” (pista de aterrizaje). Así, T optó por un Full Brazilian.

Una vez más, A le explicó a T que tendría que tocar sus genitales para completar la depilación. T estuvo de acuerdo y firmó en el Contrato de Servicio el espacio donde reconoce la información brindada por A. T se desvistió en un salón privado, donde también bebió un té de hierbas caliente. Por pedido de A, T, quien estaba desnudo de la parte de abajo, se acostó en la mesa de depilación. Una vez sobre ella y con los tonos instrumentales como fondo, T cayó en un sueño ligero. Finalmente A completó el FB. Al despertar, T se sintió físicamente incómodo, preguntándole a A si lo había tocado incorrectamente. A, le dijo que no, y sintiéndose ofendido, se fue.

Semanas después, P recibió una carta del abogado de T, en la que T alegaba que A lo había tocado inapropiadamente, generando que T buscara consejería y medicación para tratar un Trastorno de Estrés Post-traumático. Habiendo trabajado con A durante 10 años, P respondió que A era un esteticista certificado y licenciado, que nunca había tenido quejas presentadas por sus clientes. T demandó a P, y por testimonio de A, Los abogados de P y T descubrieron que A había tocado a T correctamente durante el FB. Sin embargo, T todavía siente que los tocamientos de A fueron impropios. En la demanda, T alegó que A, envuelto en una aparente posición de autoridad, lo había inducido a través de representaciones falsas a confiar razonablemente en él, de modo que A podría causar daño a T mientras actuaba en el marco de su labor. Si P se hubiera opuesto, en efecto diciendo “Sí, ¿Y qué?” a los pedidos de T, ¿la corte se encontraría a favor de T?

(A) Sí, porque T había establecido que A era un empleado que fue colocado como esteticista, lo que permitió a A hacerle daño a T.

(B) No, porque T expresa e implícitamente consintió  los tocamientos de A en cualquier manera razonable para que este le proporcione el servicio FB que aquél solicitó.

(C) Sí, porque P se benefició de los ingresos pagados por T en razón del servicio realizado por A.

(D) No.

Law prof’s exam question on Brazilian wax is deemed harassment; is academic freedom threatened?


A Howard University law professor says academics everywhere should be concerned by his school’s response to a 2015 exam question about a Brazilian bikini wax.

The school determined in May that the question by Professor Reginald Robinson constituted sexual harassment under school policy, report (sub. req.) and Inside Higher Ed in a story noted by TaxProf Blog.

The school placed a letter of reprimand in Robinson’s file, ordered him to attend sensitivity training and required him to submit future exam questions for advance review, according to a letter written on Robinson’s behalf by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The exam question, part of Robinson’s agency law course, asked whether the owner of a day spa would win a demurrer motion in a suit filed by a customer who claimed improper touching by the licensed aesthetician who performed the procedure. The exam question asserted that the customer had slept through the wax, but thought something improper had occurred upon awakening.

The aesthetician had warned the customer about touching that would take place during the procedure, and the customer acknowledged in writing having received the aesthetician’s information, according to the exam hypothetical. (The correct answer was that a court would not find in favor of the customer.)

After the exam, Robinson asked volunteers to discuss the test questions. One volunteer said the customer would not sleep through a Brazilian wax. Robinson switched focus, and when the volunteer declined to explain her answer choice, Robinson sought answers from another volunteer, according to FIRE’s letter.

Two students filed a complaint. An administrator who found the question constituted sexual harassment cited use of the word “genital,” the students’ suspicion that the question was crafted to reveal personal details about themselves, their belief the revelations had a negative impact on them, and the administrator’s belief that the exam scenario wasn’t necessary to teach the subject.

In its June 16 letter, FIRE asked Howard University to rescind the sanctions and to respond to its request by June 30. Howard did not respond by the deadline, according to a FIRE press release.

Howard’s punishment “does not comport with its own definition of sexual harassment or its promises of academic freedom,” FIRE wrote in its letter. “It poses a severe threat not only to professors’ rights but also to students’ ability to learn all areas of the law, including learning how to analyze situations that may make some students uncomfortable.”

Robinson released a statement about his case through FIRE.

“My case should worry every faculty member at Howard University, and perhaps elsewhere, who teaches in substantive areas like law, medicine, history, and literature,” Robinson stated. “Why? None of these academic areas can be taught without evaluating and discussing contextual facts, especially unsavory and emotionally charged ones.”

In: abajournal

1 2 3 4 5 9