Saturday, April 10, 2021

Not All Animals Are Equal

“Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions”

Wow, this story out of the Academy has it all: gaslighting, reeducation, power, control…did I mention control?

A Medical Student Questioned Microaggressions. UVA Branded Him a Threat and Banished Him from Campus. And along with the story it becomes official: independent thought is no longer tolerated on college campuses. First Amendment rights need not apply. We’ve come a long way baby.

new thought policeWelcome To The New Thought Police, Baby! They’ll Do All Your Thinking For You.

And now, the story.

The setting: University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, 2018.

The characters: Kieran Bhattacharya, medical student and the University and the rest of the administrative functionaries working for the university.

The crime against humanity: Bhattacharya expressed a scientific skepticism that a microaggression could be distinguished from an unintentionally rude statement. His doubts were well-founded given that microaggression theory is not a particularly rigorous concept.

The Chief UVA Narc: Nora Kern, assistant professor. AKA “Karen”

Initial action taken by “Karen”Kern: Kern filed a “Professionalism Concern Card”

Wait, what? A “professional concern card?” That sounds like something worthy of Monty Python, or minimally SNL, back when they were funny. But since today’s “concern bears” have no sense of humor, especially when it comes to their own earnest convictions a “concern card” is what you’ll get. It read in part:

“This student asked a series of questions that were quite antagonistic toward the panel. He pressed on and stated one faculty member was being contradictory. His level of frustration/anger seemed to escalate until another faculty member defused the situation.”

OMG!! Not antagonistic! Call the Thought police! Students are not allowed to be antagonistic on campus, unless it’s aimed at rightwing speakers we wish to have canceled.

But back to our story: Karen’s “concern card” caught the attention (and concern) of an  assistant dean in the medical school, who contacted Bhattacharya, assuring him that “I simply want to help you understand and be able to cope with unintended consequences of conversations,” i.e. educate him properly on the impact of his actions.

Bhattacharya responded in his defense, but was ignored, or to be more correct he was gaslit; they used his increasing confusion, frustration, and hostility toward the disciplinary process used against his right to free speech as evidence that he was aggressive.

Clearly he had not learned his lesson yet.

8c659fb35f9ea0f9fc73cab9d5b2486cGeorge Orwell, 1984

Re-education was mandatory.

The Academic Standards and Achievement Committee met to to discuss the concern card. This committee voted to send Bhattacharya a written reminder to "show mutual respect" to faculty members and "express yourself appropriately." The committee also suggested that he get counseling.

On November 26, this suggestion became a mandate: The student was informed that he must be evaluated by psychological services before returning to classes. Bhattacharya repeatedly asked university officials to clarify what exactly he was accused of, under whose authority his counseling had been mandated, and why his enrollment status was suddenly in doubt…These queries only appear to have made UVA officials more determined to punish him: Bhattacharya's mounting frustration with these baseless accusations of unspecified wrongdoings was essentially treated as evidence that he was guilty. At his hearing, he was accused of being "extremely defensive" and ordered to change his "aggressive, threatening behavior."

He was ultimately suspended for "aggressive and inappropriate interactions in multiple situations." On December 30, UVA police ordered him to leave campus.

Long story short: he’s currently suing UVA for violated his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for speaking his mind. I’m not placing any odds on his chances of taking them to the cleaners. We live in strange times.


Where all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others. I’m sure you understand.

not pc cat