“If these kids are the future, we are screwed”: Berkeley students demand take-home midterm exam instead of an in-class test because their “well beings” are hurt

October 10, 2017 • 11:00 am

The termites continue gnawing deeper into the foundations of American universities. Here’s a new incident that happened at the University of California at Berkeley, and shows not only the deep sense of entitlement that many students have, but their lack of respect for both their professors and the way education is supposed to work.

When Harley Shaiken, a professor at the Berkeley Graduate School of Education with an impressive expertise in Latin American studies, arrived at class recently to administer a midterm exam, he didn’t expect to be sandbagged by the students. But he was: a group of them, apparently of Hispanic descent, stood up and demanded that he cancel the test and instead assign “a take-home essay with significant time to prepare”.  They were, they claimed, too stressed out by events like the Mexico City earthquake and the hurricane in Puerto Rico to take an exam, and hectored the other students, who wanted to take the exam, as being unempathic and enmeshed in their white privilege.

The whole episode was filmed in the 11-minute video below, and Shaiken, while listening and offering due respect to the students, stood his ground and refused to cancel the test. When the students said they’d complain to the Ethnic Studies Department, he said they were welcome to do so.

This is all reported in greater detail in a post by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley’s website (Why he’s reporting it I don’t know. He appears to be a combination of a libertarian and a social progressive, but in this case, his politics seem irrelevant.) Turley’s report on the video, which you can also watch below (some of the audio is hard to make out):

The protesters insisted that their “well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives.”  Shaiken (who is an expert on Latin American studies) balked at the notion that Berkeley was an oppressive environment: “This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech.”  The effort to dialogue with the protesters only made things worse and one shouted: “Have you ever checked ‘unlisted’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’? I don’t think so!”  The students further objected that Shaiken could not teach workers rights in Mexico as a white man.

Shaiken begins by trying to say that he “admires” their passion, but the protesters quickly cut him off.  He then tried to give his own bona fides as a regular protester and denounced right-wing protesters on campus. He said that he is part of protests on the left all of the time but refuses to let “right-wing demonstrators” shut down the school.  When he mentions the “integrity” of the school, the protesters smirked and dismissed him. Shaiken offered to give them a forum in the Thursday class to discuss this issue (though it is a bit unclear why the other students have to sit through another diatribe on the issue as opposed to setting aside time outside of class).  He then tried to get the students to let the other students complete their exams and speak with him outside.

When other students objected to their disrupting their class they were then attacked and told to shut up and listen: ” Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you’re trying to do? . . . you need to listen to us.”

Finally, rather than speak with Shaiken outside of class, the protesters took their complaints to the Department of Ethnic Studies.  However, they remained long enough to denounce the students who waited to take their midterm exams as fostering white supremacy  . . . because they were at Berkeley for an education.  The student insisted “I don’t know why you’re still, like, sitting down, y’all. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. Y’all can take your fucking test, but people are dying out there.”  She added “you can take your f–king exam but people are dying out there.”

Here’s the video, with a YouTube commentary apparently written by Shaiken:

If these kids are the future, we are screwed. Noteworthy parts: 3:404:589:15, and 10:20.
This is a protest that occured right at the start of a midterm exam in one of my classes at UC Berkeley. As the exam was about to be passed out, students went to the front of the lecture and began reading their grievances with the class and the professor. When the professor refused to postpone the exam the students left and went to complain to the ethnic studies department. I do not know whether or not they will be able to retake the exam or if they will get a 0.

I’d suggest a zero, since they simply walked out of the exam. I admire Shaiken for keeping his cool, which I don’t think I’d be able to do, but then again I’ve never been faced with anything like this:

Given his stance, I doubt that Shaiken is going to give these students a substitute essay midterm, though he may let them take the exam late (I’ve done that for students with real excuses, though it’s a bother because you have to make up an entire new exam). I’ll write to Shaiken and Turley to see what happened. Were the students suffering serious psychological issues—and that’s not obvious from the video—I’d refer them to counseling and perhaps let them take the test later, but it’s more parsimonious to assume they just don’t want to take the test.

But I agree 100% with Turley’s take on this ludicrous interruption:

We have seen students openly block speakers and disrupt classes on campuses across the country without any discipline from their schools. I recently discussed how students prevented a Northwestern professor from teaching a class with a visitor from INS — leading only to an expression of disappointment from the university.  I do not view such disruptions as exercises of free speech but the denial of free speech and free thought.

. . . Like the Northwestern professor, Shaiken was extremely supportive of the students despite their disruption and he openly identifies with the causes of the left. That does not matter.  These students repeat terms like “privilege” like some mindless mantra that shuts down any dialogue and dismisses the arguments of the speaker.  Indeed, as previously discussed, [he’s referring to the William and Mary protests], some members of groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa have expressly denounced free speech and the liberal democratic model.  Such  views reject the very foundation for learning and higher education on our campuses.  Yet, too many university officials are cowed by these protesters and evade their responsibilities of protecting academic freedom.

h/t: Patrick

143 thoughts on ““If these kids are the future, we are screwed”: Berkeley students demand take-home midterm exam instead of an in-class test because their “well beings” are hurt

  1. ‘The student insisted “I don’t know why you’re still, like, sitting down, y’all. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. Y’all can take your fucking test, but people are dying out there.” She added “you can take your f–king exam but people are dying out there.”’

    Well, go do something about it. Don’t stand in a classroom and complain about the test, leave the school and do something you think is useful. Berkeley should help them on their way by expelling them.

      1. I really don’t want to work with these people when they graduate. They will probably expect to be able to take time off for every world crisis because it stresses them out.

        1. I do not, alas, control the hiring here, but if I did I am sorry to say whole disciplines would be nixed. Got an English degree? A “Studies” degree? A Sociology degree? NEXT!

          STEM, or Law. It’s sad to say that. When I was younger it wasn’t true, and I defended Arts majors when I was in school. But the termites are too nearly ubiquitous now.

        2. My friend owns a surveying company and one of his young employees frequently called off work if he didn’t feel 100%. He was told if he could stand and hold the rod, he was well enough to work.
          Employers need you to work, that’s why they hire you.

        3. I really don’t want to work with these people when they graduate.

          You wouldn’t be working with them for long before they got the heave-ho.
          During the 2014 typhoon season, we had some 40 Filipinos in the drill crew (cheaper than Americans, no pension or health care costs) on board while their homes were getting a major hammering. 12-hour shifts continued. Crew changes continued (2 days travel from Manila to the heliport, plus however much travel in the Philippines) as normal. We did lay on some extra comms time for them to phone home – off shift, of course.

        4. I probably won’t hire thes kids who feel they’re entitled and aren’t willing to put in hard, good solid work…they can just move along. Theres a McDonalds on every street corner where they will expected to work.

    1. That’s exactly what the Freedom Riders did, but somehow I suspect those individuals had more moral and personal courage in their little finger than an entire class of contemporary privileged crybullies.

  2. I remember my first course in grad school. It was an undergrad class that seemed interesting and I remember the prof announcing the first test. As I was writing “Test: date, time, topics, etc.” in my notes I was amazed to hear whining students complaining they had something else important to do on that date and a discussion ensued as to what the best date for the test was to be. I was gobsmacked. I had never heard such a display before. The year? 1969 The college I matriculated from” SF State, you know, the Free Speech Movement, the riots, the tear gas, the demonstrations? The hippie college in California. I heard not a single whine about a test date.

    It ain’t new and it was handled correctly. The message, your life doesn’t stop because of current events. If your house was actually destroyed because of the earthquake, or you’ve just spent 72 hours rescuing survivors, slack will be cut. Otherwise, life goes on.

    1. It ain’t new and it was handled correctly. The message, your life doesn’t stop because of current events. If your house was actually destroyed because of the earthquake, or you’ve just spent 72 hours rescuing survivors, slack will be cut. Otherwise, life goes on.

      Well said.

    1. Naw, these days the liberal arts are nothing more than expensive daycare. The school ain’t failing you until there is nothing left in your parents (or the taxpayers) wallet.

      I guaren-fucking-tee that students putting themselves through school don’t have time for this trash. Who is paying tuition for these clowns?

      (Hint: Its your taxes!)

      Funny that Trump won, huh. Only one way to explain that puzzle – half the country is absurdly racist and also hates women.

      I’m working on a plan that will satisfy everyone: Universities should print free diplomas for whoever requests them.

      The Right loves saving money, and the Left will be glad to know that degrees held by privileged (white) men can now also be distributed to deserving minorities.

  3. Cal alum (class of 2012) here, who happens to also be a dual citizen of Mexico and the US. This display of the self-entitled, victimhood mentality is all too common among ethnic studies majors. They were PC bullying Dr. Shaiken and their classmates while hijacking the tragic earthquakes for their own selfish goals (i.e., to avoid taking the test in-class like their class mates). It sickens me. Much like your Dr. Coyne, I commend Dr. Shaiken for staying so claim in the face of this type of disruptive behavior.

  4. Employers, only hire people over 40. We are not delicate flowers, and our well-being is not hurt by nominal levels of stress.

  5. Has higher education in America really come to this? That anyone would consider much of anything for these babies except kicking their butts out? Sorry but I fortunately grew up in another world. They are obviously cowards who only do this kind of thing in groups but otherwise do not go through reasonable channels to bring complaints to others. For the teacher and other students, there to learn, this is perfect nonsense.

      1. ” Now Facebook trying to silence those who are protesting violence against children.”

        First, it’s Twitter not Facebook that is trying to “silence” Blackburn and “protesting violence against children” is an utterly Orwellian way to frame what Blackburn is doing.

        Also. Twitter (and Facebook, if it had happened there) are private organizations and are free to police what is allowed on their sites, including any political crap. US law and their respective TOUs back me on this.

        1. I agree Mr. walters’ framing of the issue was ridiculous, but, while Twitter has the legal right to censor whatever it wants, we really need to fight back (especially when they’re censoring ads by political candidates). Twitter, Facebook, and the internet in general have become the de facto public forum in the modern age, and the First Amendment was meant to keep speech in the public forum from being censored. If social media companies continue to censor more and more, we should be very concerned.

          1. Well sure, it’d be nice if Twitter and Facebook didn’t become the tool of the regressive left (too late for wishing that, I suppose) but, in the end, we can’t complain when they censor people. Our host does it here as well. I get it that Twitter and Facebook are so big and ubiquitous that they are like a public forum. But they aren’t.

            1. They’re not just big. Social media is basically a duopoly consisting of Twitter and Facebook. I think we have every right to complain when they engage in censorship, and we should. We might not have a legal argument, but there’s certainly a very important philosophical and pragmatic one.

              1. Agree. But that’s an is versus ought argument and tangential to the point I was making; it was Twitter (not FB) and characterizing Blackburns outright political lie as “violence against children” is appalling.

  6. This incident is but one example of many of a society coming apart at its seams. In the political arena, Pew Research reports that the partisan divide has never been greater. The cultural divide between left and right has grown as well and has opened the door for the emergence of extremists who hog the headlines. The perennial question becomes more important: Can the Center hold? The stability of a society not characterized by tyranny depends on the cultural differences between its constituent parts to be relatively narrow. That is, there needs to be a consensus on accepted cultural norms. When this consensus breaks down, so does the society. The various conflicts in the Balkans over the centuries illustrates this. In the U.S., Donald Trump has exacerbated the cultural divide. We can only expect things to get worse as long as he remains president as the grievances of social groups grow and fester. I cannot predict the future, but I do know that no empire lasts forever. The prospect of the United States becoming a second tier nation, continually wracked by internal strife, is not an impossibility.

    1. I agree with the main thrust of your comment, but wonder how much Trump exacerbates the cultural divide, rather than represents one side of a cultural divide which, to this outside observer, was obvious long before Trump began his run for the presidency.

    2. obama and the Democrats played divisive identity politics — especially the race card — for eight years. trump is the result, not the cause.

      1. Matt, surely you aren’t suggesting that Obama was some sort of identity politics firebrand? He was positively milquetoast as far as lefty-lefterson politics go. Trump is not the result of an Obama presidency, he is the result of growing white resentment and anxiety regarding privilege loss. If Obama could win against all of those semi-qualified white men (and one particularly well qualified white woman), who else was being deprived of their ‘deserved’ profession?

        I jest, in part. But those Trump supporters I know certainly didn’t grow their animus towards our democracy during the Obama presidency. It had been there for a long time.

        1. You call it “privilege loss”; they’d call it “job loss.”

          obama & his supporters used the race card whenever it personally benefitted him. He also repeated the gender wage gap lie. And there was his ‘bitter clinger’ comment. He was horribly & intentionally divisive.

          Sure, his policy was corporatist-center. But his demagoguery was heavy on the identity politics.

  7. This is virtue signaling on steroids. Clearly, these kids are so traumatized by the natural disasters, they need to sit in their safe space rather than take action to help the family members and friends they are supposedly so concerned about.

    1. It’s all about them and how things make them feel. I hope they never have a depressed or sick family member because then they’d probably yell at that person for making them feel stressed.

      1. I don’t think these actions are about how these tragedies in other places *actually*& make them feel, but what they can personally extract from the tragedies. Any tragedy is now an opportunity to gain benefits.

        1. I think that’s a fair assessment. It takes some serious mental gymnastics to turn a hurricane and earthquake into an example of white privilege. Plus, the horror of students paying good money for school daring to take a test while disasters happened thousands of miles away that have no direct effect on them! And, of course, as a cis white male, none of what I say matters in the oppression olympics of intersectional politics…

      2. I hope they never have a depressed or sick family member because then they’d probably yell at that person for making them feel stressed.

        Sounds like something my mother would do. :p

  8. The students who chose not to take the exam should get a nice 8-1/2″ x 11″ zero in red ink on their blank exam forms. Those involved in disrupting the class should at a minimum also be censured in writing. Another similar incident should get them kicked out of the class.

    1. And all the other students who were disrupted should get bonus marks to compensate for the distraction.

  9. The problem with a lot of these encounters is that the professors essentially agree with the logic of the protesters. They can’t fight them off convincingly, or give them what they need which is a robust, rhetorical arse-kicking, and they can’t do any of that because they’re intellectually embedded in the same political universe, where identity is a kind of trump card in any debate.
    The professors and the white student onlookers might not be as extreme or as shameless in their attempts to avoid exams(I dearly wish I’d thought of that back when I was at uni – I’m convinced there’s some kind of hidden, minority identity I could have weaponised so that my 3% attendance record wasn’t held against me), but they believe essentially the same things, and that’s why they always just sit/stand there, taking their medicine.

    So these students go through their uni life convinced that all they have to do to win an argument is point at themselves – you see the consequences of this when they face off against someone from Spiked Online, or any other right-wing/libertarian organisation: they get marmalised.
    It’s painful and embarrassing to watch; there’s a kind of look of confusion that I’ve gotten used to seeing on the face of young left-wing activists when they encounter someone who doesn’t agree to play by their particular rules; some right-winger whose politics are often pretty obnoxious but who has the enormous intellectual advantage of not carrying around three hundred separate dogmas about identity in their back pocket.

    In the marketplace of ideas identity politics is dying. The only reason it’s managed to survive this long is by rigging the market on campus in favour of itself. Whenever it steps outside it gets brutally exposed. But how are any of these young minds ever going to be weaned off it when the professors they’re hectoring, and calling white supremacists, professors who should be standing up for themselves and giving these interrupting students some lessons in intellectual humility, believe in it too?

    1. “It’s painful and embarrassing to watch; there’s a kind of look of confusion that I’ve gotten used to seeing on the face of young left-wing activists when they encounter someone who doesn’t agree to play by their particular rules; some right-winger whose politics are often pretty obnoxious but who has the enormous intellectual advantage of not carrying around three hundred separate dogmas about identity in their back pocket.”

      We must not dismiss white identity politics. The right wing gives the impression that identity politics is a phenomenon limited to the left. This is simply not true. The bedrock of Trump’s appeal is white identity politics. Just about everything he does is to show how he supports white people, who are supposedly under siege from everyone else. When one criticizes identity politics, it must be with the understanding that it can be found on both the right and the left, causing the American social fabric to unravel. I do not know the extent to which this trend in apparent in other nations.

      Also, in the U.S., unfortunately, identity politics is far from dying. It has probably not been more prominent since the 1920s.

      1. Not to derail the conversation, but can you expand on this; “It (Identity Politics) has probably not been more prominent since the 1920s.”

        I am not sure what you are referring to in the late 20s and am curious. Thanks.

      2. I think it is on its way out. I admit that the people who subscribe to it have doubled down on it since Trump’s ascension, but the general public tolerance for this stuff is dwindling away rapidly.

        In fact, the people making the most noise about it are the right – they know what a valuable weapon it is for their side and there is an entire cottage industry of blogs, websites and YT channels dedicated to reporting on ‘idiot leftists’ stories like this one. It’s ugly, white grievance-mongering, and it’s blown out of all proportion, but it works for them and they’ll keep weaponising it until the left changes tack and realises that they are doing their opponents’ political PR work for them.

        1. I agree it is blown out of proportion but only in the sense that they make it appear to be a far more common occurrence than it is.

          It works for the right wing because on this they’re right – or rather, correct. They should be calling out the left on this crap. It works for them because most everyone knows they’re justified. They are laughing at the valuable gift we’ve given them as the electoral pay-off will be big.

          The left has long been useful idiots for the right and these days we on the left are ever so much more helpful. The right should be happy about this as one thing is certain – the left will NOT learn from these mistakes.

          It’s why we keep making them.

          1. The right are correct in calling out obnoxious, divisive illiberal leftists, but I don’t give them an enormous amount of credit for that considering they are simultaneously playing exactly the same identity-based game with their own young white male audience.

            And their reaction to stuff like this is telling: there’s no concern or reasoned discussion about how to move forward – there’s only unabashed glee, and delirious screeching about ‘societal oppression of whites’.

  10. It’s hard to believe these are graduate students. Their behavior is similar to my 15 year old son’s teenage rants against rules. As long as there is an adult in the room to deal with this appropriately and tell them No to their demands, hopefully they will learn that there are rules and consequences. Entitlement does indeed come to mind as well. Regardless, clinging to victim status as justification will just not turn out well for these students. I’ve seen it over the years with parents that constantly gave their kids the message that they were victims and nothing was their fault. They didn’t learn to take responsibility, but moreover they truly internalized that they were victims. Their futures have dimmed and it is truly sad. I suppose all this is to say that I hope their are more professors like this and parents that give their kids the message of responsibility.


      Oh my. That means they somehow made it through the ~4 years of undergrad… I wonder what degree they could have possibly gotten

  11. We just sent out progress reports for students who are failing courses midterm and one student replied that she didn’t appreciate a “triggering email to cause anxiety” Can’t imagine what the F would trigger at the end of the semester.

    1. I’d be tempted to respond with something like: “If you want to write/design a message that communicates to a student their failing grade in a way that doesn’t trigger your anxiety, I’d be more than happy to consider using it next semester.”

      Then you can just send their own message back to them when the time comes.

  12. They deserve a zero for not taking the test. If the professor allows them to retake it, they should have 15% deducted for missing it the first time. They need to learn how the world works.

    1. You’re too kind. Our nuclear and physics profs used a day or two half-life to compute points for any late assignment. 🙂

    1. It has reached the business world in some respects. 35 years in IT and every company I’ve worked for has brought in a tangential department whose only purpose is to make people feel better.
      They’re usually the first to go when money gets tight.
      Investors will only put up with so much when their money is on the line.

    2. I fear it. I haven’t seen too much of it but I’ve seen some. People who think that it is quite alright to slack off and let other people work hard instead.

  13. I assume this students are there on public money. If they are not then they are simply acting as consumers who want ‘value for money’.

    1. Yep. Actually, it’s worse –

      “CAUTION: Educated student of color”.

      Not only arrogant, but begging for a fight. It implies that you’re going to treat them as some sort of intellectual inferior and – as a direct consequence – the temptation to do just that is almost overwhelming.

      Wearing a stupid shirt like that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.


  14. How, utterly revolting.

    These students took two natural disasters which have caused real suffering to other people, appropriated that suffering and made it about their emotional state, in order to not have to write a test that they likely hadn’t studied for.

    I mean, empathy should be used to say “Hey how can I help you?”

    Not, “Hey how can I use your problems to get out of writing this exam?”

    1. Yes, coddled in the privilege of higher education while people suffer in disaster zones as they use the suffering of real victims to shirk their duties to maintain their privilege. Good grief. No matter how stressed I got in school, I was so grateful to be there & so happy that there was a way for me to be able to go. I didn’t want to cheat; I wanted to learn and work hard.

    2. Well said.

      To me, that’s the most immoral aspect of this: that while they claim to care deeply about the misfortune of others they are actually simply trying to capitalize on it. What could possibly be more disrespect to the victims of those disasters?

    3. IF any of them had close family who were actually involved in the disasters, they should approach the professor individually and personally and request (not demand) some appropriate accommodation. And I would hope the prof would be sympathetic.

      They should NOT turn it into a political demonstration.


    1. If you were to read this article by Lee Drutman carefully, you would realize that he is arguing that identity politics can best enhance the Democratic Party’s chance of success. This strategy is quite plausible as a means to counter the white identity politics of the Republicans. The wisdom of the strategy in terms of raw electoral politics can be debated, but it’s pure right wing propaganda to imply that there is something illegitimate about it, since identity politics has been the ace in the hole of Republicans since Nixon’s southern strategy.

      1. It’s right wing propaganda to suggest that what was shameful even for Tricky Dick would be shameful for Democrats too?

        1. Politics isn’t bean bag. The idea is to get out as many voters as you can to win elections. From the Democratic perspective, if a strategy of identity politics gets out voters that would not of otherwise voted, then I’m all for it. No matter what they do, it is unlikely that Democrats can significantly increase their share of the white vote. The alternative is to continue losing, resulting in the country ruled by Trump and the Republicans for the foreseeable future. Sorry, but I don’t want to see the Democrats to unilaterally disarm as much as Republicans try to dupe them into doing so.

          If there is some other strategy that will work better for the Democrats then, certainly, that should be implemented. If not, then the identity politics should be used to as a counter to the Republican white identity politics. A mister nice guy in politics is a mister unelected guy.

          1. … it is unlikely that Democrats can significantly increase their share of the white vote.

            If the Democratic Party stopped the identity politics and returned to its populist roots, of course it could.

            … if a strategy of identity politics gets out voters that would not of otherwise voted ….

            Any gains there are negated by losing the white, working class vote.

            The alternative is to continue losing, resulting in the country ruled by Trump and the Republicans for the foreseeable future.

            Since 2009, Dems have lost both houses, 2/3 of governorships and 2/3 of state legislatures, and now the WH. Their strategy has been a massive failure. Time for a new one.

            1. Yes, he rather plainly said that he does not think employing identity politics in aid of defeating the Republican Party is shameful.

              1. Right. You are agreeing with me. He doesn’t think it would be shameful. He thinks it’s rightwing propaganda to suggest it would be shameful.

    2. There is nothing inherently wrong with identity politics. Everyone has their own problems and wanting government to do something about them is the precise reason we bother having elections and election campaigns.

      The real problem is the “My way or the highway” approach that has become entirely too common in America.

      This has meant that it has become relatively trivial to play each identity off against each other, turning the intersection in intersectionality into a traffic jam with everyone screaming epithets at each other.

      I don’t know what the solution is, but right now it looks an awful lot like a whole bunch of people getting nowhere noisily.

      1. Yes, there is no common ground. I can be a white person with white privledge but maybe I can identify with someone who is poor regardless of colour, because I was once poor, or I can identify with someomeone simply because they explain their circumstances to me or I witness racism inflicted on them, etc. In current identity politics, it is considered impossible to identify with someone who is not of your identity so you just never reach common ground, even though it makes absolutely no empirical sense.

        1. Hell, you’ll be yelled at for trying to identify. “How dare you pretend you know what it’s like! I’m [marginalized identity]! Why don’t you take your white privilege and fuck off.”

          1. “allies” are some of the most hated by the identity PC police. Just look up phrases similar to “why feminists shouldn’t trust MALE allies” and stuff like that and you’ll see how much contempt people steeped in these ideologies have for those that don’t match their group.

      1. I don’t profess to be an expert on electoral strategy. Within the progressive movement there is a great debate as to whether identity politics should be emphasized or not. This debate got really hot when the writer Mark Lilla chastised progressives for the emphasis on identity politics. Others, such as Drutman, take a contrary view, which by the nature of American politics cannot be casually dismissed as you do so. In any case, my position is purely pragmatic. I hope that the strategy chosen by the Democratic leaders is a winning one. If a successful strategy entails emphasizing identity politics, I have no problem with that.

  15. If the state of the world is disrupting their lives to the extent that they cannot deal with school, they should withdraw. As for Shaiken being white, and therefore not qualified to teach about Latin America, I would just point out that as descendants of Spanish and Portuguese colonists and immigrants, many Hispanics actually are white. I can’t think of anything less like to win my sympathy, though, than having my bona fides questioned like that.

  16. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. It would be more than generous to allow them to make it up. It’s fair to give zeros. Shaiken handled that really well.

  17. Well there goes the theory that TESC was like that because they accepted 98%.

    I am trying to figure out how to print comments in 3 point type, because apparently I am taking up too much space …

  18. I see 4 underdeveloped kids in that video. We’ve seen many kids protesting nonsensical things lately in the news, but how prevalent is it?

    I deal with students in tech/computer science programs, as well as fresh-out programmers and I’ve never seen an inkling of such behavior, so it’s surprising when I hear of these nonsensical protests.

    I want to see some useful numbers on this kind of behavior before I accept that the end of western civilization is upon us.

    1. What we are really seeing is a widespread collapse of moral courage in highly visible parts of the culture. Few will stand up to a twittermob, or petulant fools acting like crybullies. But in wider America this is not going unnoticed, and not going over well. Want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

    2. I haven’t heard of any of this stuff happening on IT programmes.

      You have to actually graduate and get a job with Google before you encounter ideology-driven nutcases.

      It’ll filter down eventually though.

  19. The process of earning a degree in higher education is not a democracy, but is instead a meritocracy. Those who have not earned the degree do not get to say how their degree should be earned.

    1. Somewhat related – open source hacker Eric Raymond on “Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs”:


      It’s the same basic story seen elsewhere. The SJWs, in this case, refer to the “pervasive cult of meritocracy”. Lol.

      J. Peterson has talked about this too – the rejection of basic competence by the far left.

      1. Let’s be fair, and say it’s not just by the far left. Trump certainly isn’t a ringing endorsement of merit. I think, though, that at both ends of the spectrum (or horse shoe), where the still rational ‘should’ turns into the authoritarian ‘must,’ there has always been a rejection of any standard which would seem to undercut the idea that any thing can be achieved with force (greater than the previously employed, of course). This includes the idea of competence (carrying with it the more cautious trait experience), as well as those annoying facts.

      2. One of the commenters to that article you linked made a very cogent point, I think, that the “old left” attacked genuinely powerful institutions, not individuals. [According to the commenter] the fascists were the first to victimise individual people and it was their methods, rather than their philosophy, that made fascism a dirty word.

        The SWJ’s are never happier than when ganging up on individuals, and in order to hide (even from themselves) the fact that they’re simply bullying, they have to pretend that their victims are somehow the oppressors. “Speaking truth to power” and all that BS. It dovetails neatly with their narcissistic persecution complex.


  20. Unbelievable! And this all came to be in my lifetime. I can remember well exam time at the U of Chicago. 6 hour exams in RMH time. It was intimidating but it was SOP, part of being in college and the only “complaints” were, as one left the building, “I know I failed”, as. we compared notes. A sort of trial by fire for which we eventually got a degree for which I am still grateful. Where did these current babies come from? The self-esteem movement of the last couple of generations? It is pathetic and deplorable.
    They are Road Runners and reality is around the corner.

  21. Is it possible that this is a stunt?

    I want to remind people that things are very different at other Universities, and I see the complete opposite here where I teach. Students who take a full load of classes often have to work nights, and it is not uncommon for them to be dealing with child care or some other extra situation. They have so much on their plate that it staggers me, comparing what many of them are dealing with in relation to what I had to deal with when I was their age.
    I often discover too late that a student took an exam while having to work a late shift the night before, and had another exam that day. They generally don’t say a word, and they are affected because of it. So to the many who are in effect saying ‘kids these days’, they need to know that this problem does not apply everywhere.

    1. That’s my wife. She works a full time job plus overtime and takes a full load at college. Barely sleeps and this quarter has worked it out with her employer to take an extended “lunch” so she can take a morning class as she is getting close to graduating and it’s getting harder to find afternoon / night classes. I don’t know how she does it… Actually I do, she schedules her time down to the minute for homework, study, with little breaks to relax. For every idiot millennial you see in these videos I believe there are scores more like my wife who bust their ass and have zero time for such nonsense.

    2. This is not a new trend. I think it’s probably always been the case that people who enter Uni older, or support themselves as they go through, tend to be more pragmatic about the experience rather than ideological. For them college is training rather than ‘an experience.’

  22. If the earthquake had hit Tehran rather than Mexico City, or if Vanuatu rather than Puerto Rico had been flattened in a storm, would these students still have demanded time off from their exams? If not, why not? Are they racists or something? Don’t they care about the suffering of Iranians or Melanesians? What a disgusting display of Hispanic privilege!

  23. These students are just fascist racist bullies and I wish the prof had drawn a line with some of their insults and behavior.

    I really shouldn’t watch stuff like this. I’ll be in a bad mood for a few hours now. Why can’t someone address all of this decisively for the left? Where is Helen Pluckrose when you need her?
    I’m thinking we should get a giant spotlight that we’ll use to cast an image of a pluckrose (?), or a plucked-rose on the clouds so Helen Pluckrose will know we need her to write another article.

  24. Hahahaha and I remember just accepting it when my Hreek professor occasionally surprised us with a sight test that counted for real marks. You did well if you were keeping up with your homework and coming to class.

  25. I can’t get over this. I remember that you had to have a pretty good excuse like you’re in the hospital or there is a death in the family to not take an exam. I even wrote them during bad snow storms. The only time I missed one is when I got into a car accident just before reading week and my professor was kind enough to let me write the exam in his office during Reading Week. I was very grateful that he did that and never would have demanded like these students.

      1. Yes, I think I had to show an accident report & doctor’s note but I’m sure my prof would have been happy to just believe me. I was willing to write the exam ASAP because it was fresh & I didn’t want to restudy.

    1. I had a blind friend who took a 4 hour take-home exam with me proctoring. He finished with an hour to spare! Then when I went to collect his papers, we realized his typewriter ribbon had been out the entire time; his ‘paper’ was just blank pages. So we fixed the ribbon, he rewrote from memory what he could, and when we turned it in we simply told the professor what happened. No extra time, no redo. But I’d like to think the professor at least considered the issue in grading.

  26. There are half a dozen reasons I don’t want my children going to college, but these types of incidents top the list. Industrial technology training in high school followed by apprenticeships are the path we’re planning. Besides, schooling is not the only way to educate yourself. There is plenty of excellent material available online or through streaming that is either free or very reasonable.

    1. Unfortunately, that decision may not be in their best interest. Most companies, even some of the trades, are expecting a degree. Hell, we require a degree to work in our call center. It’s getting ridiculous.

      1. I’m thinking specifically about construction. My sons expressed interest in such a career so I looked into it and learned of union apprenticeships that will pay them while they learn the trade. They could then be 22 years old with no debt and four years of training, savings, and experience. By contrast, I know guys with 100K in college debt, making $37,000 doing what they went to school for.

        1. Who did you have to pay and how much, to get those union apprenticeships? I’m not joking. I know from personal experience that these don’t come cheap nor are they available to just anyone.

  27. Remember, the “much skeptical” regressive left and SJWs keep on insisting we are imagining all of these incidents.

  28. I have the feeling that universities are admitting too many people, and that many of them aren’t there on academic merit.

    Grow up kids.

    1. and the standards are a bit too low even for those already admitted… second year is hell but first year isn’t so bad at least up here in Canada. I mean, it’s much harder than high school but it’s still not bad. That’s in science, anyway. I suspect most other areas it’s a joke

  29. I can’t remember where I read this, but the author was pointing out the paradoxical and contradictory demands of such students:

    “You need to understand my experience!”
    “You can’t understand my experience!”

  30. These are the same people who, when I am
    finally old, decrepit, feeble and unable to truly effectively fight back, are going to be The Governors of stuffs … … The Deciders. The ones who decide … … inside governments, inside militia, in medical “care”, within local communities … … .for. and upon me and mine what are going to be the policies and the laws that are going to have upon Old Me … … huuuuge impact.

    Watching such shenanigans as this one, this … … my future fate … … has for some three and more decades now quite frightened me. I am not going to be able to resist their inanities and their stupidities, their weaknesses and their selfish yet so punishing – of – others’ activities.


  31. I’ve been teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences for 18 years at several universities and I’ve noticed over the years that more and more students are less willing or able to to dealing with things that I would expect them to take on as students: attending class, doing assigned readings, taking notes, writing exams, writing *period*, meeting deadlines. All this is enabled by university administrations who want to ’empower’ students by giving them more and more leeway. I’m not sure how much of this is driven by the “student as customer/consumer” mindset that is now prevalent. I’m all for accommodating students with actual medical or psychological issues, although I think you’d be better off taking a break from school if it’s impacting on your academic performance that much.

    1. I’m not sure how much of this is driven by the “student as customer/consumer” mindset that is now prevalent.

      I think there’s several factors at work.

      First, let’s not discount the ‘old fogie’ effect; as we get older, we tend to remember our generation as being better than it was, and better than the current one. No doubt there were many incompetent students when you were in college too, you just don’t remember them or how many there were.

      Second yes, I think the ‘customer’ approach is part of it. Probably only has an indirect effect on student mindset, but it certainly helps explain the spinelessness of some administrations.

      I think a third problem is the shift in the US to seeing higher education as less of a ‘bonus’ and more of a ‘requirement.’ It’s great that a higher percent of kids are going to college. But even good trends (IMO this is) can have downsides (IMO this does). A bigger % of kids going to college likely means more of the lower end of the maturity distribution is going to college.

      And lastly, let’s not forget that the media is sensationalist. The fact that 8 stories about shark attacks run in a week doesn’t mean we’re suddenly beset by killer sharks; it means one media story made a lot of money and there was bandwagoning. Likewise, while we should be concerned about these stories, a quick googling tells me there are about 20 million people (11.5 million of them under 25) in college right now. 1, 2, 5, 10, even 50 stories about ‘Liberal Students Behaving Idiotically’ doesn’t necessarily mean that behavior is taking over our schools; it may just mean those stories generate a lot of revenue.

      1. we tend to remember our generation as being better than it was, and better than the current one

        I’ve read that this often holds true for any memories in general; hence, the common nostalgia that has resulted in colloquialisms like “the good old days.”

        Also, I think you have nailed in no small part a big part of the Trump phenomenon. “Make America Great Again.” People are clamoring for the great days of yore in the 1950s though many forget if you weren’t a while male Protestant, things were often pretty bleak. Let’s not forget the numerous improvements science has yielded that has improved everyone’s lives by orders of magnitude since then.

        I suppose the SJW crowd in our colleges now may be a side effect of this. Yes, we have problems but not on the same scale as what WWII, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam wrought. Thus, kids have time to make up ridiculous assertions about white supremacy; unfortunately, this only serves to diminish real arguments about when systemic white privilege is an issue (there are some, but the term is bandied about so often that it almost always misses the mark).

    2. You might want to look into Jordan Peterson’s recent (ie ~2 weeks ago) video on the topic of the disability authoritarians. He talks to a professor who refused to give accommodation for a student to write a 2 hour exam in 8 hours (yes, 4x the normal amount of time).

      Pretty insane how low the standards can get

  32. [Protestor] ”Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you’re trying to do?

    Well, yeah, isn’t that obvious? They want to take the test; of course they want everyone quiet and in their seats.

    This is like those obnoxious people who get offended at being shushed in a movie theater during the showing. ‘Are you trying to silence me?’ Well, yeah; what did you think I was trying to do?

    [Turley?] I do not know whether or not they will be able to retake the exam or if they will get a 0.

    [JAC] I’d suggest a zero, since they simply walked out of the exam.

    An individual who approaches the professor during office hours and gives them an emotional story about their family in the hurricane affected area maybe gets a delay. But a responsible student does that before the test date, as soon as they know they’re going to be affected. You don’t spring ’emotional distress’ on the professor the day of the test. What’s more, actively disrupting the test for others has zero to do with the emotional distress claim.

  33. As one of those who’d rather be taking the exam, you could always play it their way and claim that their loud-mouthed, disruptive temper tantrum is causing *you* emotional distress.

    Something tells me that wouldn’t fly with them; the hogging of victimhood wouldn’t allow it.

  34. We’ve created an entire generation of narcissistic crybullies — little monsters, really.

    I’m reminded of a Twilight Zone episode, where a 10-year-old boy with supernatural powers terrorizes the adults around him, who scrape and beg to avoid his wrath.

    These students, like the ones on so many other campuses, have learned to manipulate and exploit the ‘I Have To Pee’ Bridges in their world. Their power is the ostensible lack of privilege which in practice gives them nearly untrammeled privilege and power.

  35. I still believe that the “New World Order” is only a conspiracy theory. But I also think that *in practice* the “Long March through the Institutions” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_long_march_through_the_institutions is taking place. Left wing thought is cultivated in higher education and the graduates then work their way into senior jobs – all through self-organising tendencies rather than some Secret Master Plan.

    Left wing thought weaponises other peoples’ victimhood and uses each case as a marker on the Long March encouraging progress. Of course each category of victim (the working man, gay people) is callously abandoned once the Long March has passed that particular category, whether or not the victimhood has been resolved.

    You can even make the case that ‘ordinary progressives’ are also being abandoned beside the route of Long March.

  36. As several commenters have noted, there are plenty of Latino, Black, Brown, Yellow, Green, and Purple kids who are serious about their education. The noisy little group in Professor Shaiken’s class were, I would guess, a minority among the minority, opportunists who were trying to milk the current academic culture for all it is worth, spouting identity politics clichés.

    I further guess that this group’s major was “Ethnic Studies” (the place to which they threatened to “complain”); and in that department they spent their time imbibing the empty-head verbiage they deployed in the episode of the midterm exam.

    Much of this tragicomedy was dealt with, presciently it seems, in Robert Hughes’ excellent book “The Culture of Complaint”, published in 1993. The culture-in-formation he described (and demolished) then has now become commonplace on some campuses, and around certain Departments and Centers.

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