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Thread: Zionuts

  1. #961
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #962
    tfw you tweet before you read

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  3. #963
    I read the letter...what's the issue? What am I missing?

  4. #964
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  5. #965
    what the fudge

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  6. #966
    And that's what the left side of the political spectrum looks like...
    Hope is the denial of reality

  7. #967
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    And that's what the left side of the political spectrum looks like...
    that's what I'd look like if mfers came for my ice-cream
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  8. #968
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    what the fudge


    Their Cherry Garcia is being taken from them. What sort of reaction were you expecting?
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  9. #969
    American Ph. D. student falls victim to concerted BDS campaign:

    https://theintercept.com/2021/09/28/...demic-freedom/
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  10. #970
    The Israelis who are too quick to get involved in American domestic issues are the ones who complain loudest when the US meddles in Israeli politics. I actually think the college acted appropriately; there's no reason a dean can't hear the concerns of a foreign diplomat (as long as they don't give in to those demands). But it's disgraceful for Israel to try to undermine American academic freedom.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  11. #971
    I want to know why USA tax payers are paying for their Iron Dome? If they can't afford to pay for their own protection maybe they should negotiate in good faith for peace or move someplace less hostile.
    .

  12. #972
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    The Israelis who are too quick to get involved in American domestic issues are the ones who complain loudest when the US meddles in Israeli politics. I actually think the college acted appropriately; there's no reason a dean can't hear the concerns of a foreign diplomat (as long as they don't give in to those demands). But it's disgraceful for Israel to try to undermine American academic freedom.
    What's Hebrew for "Wolf Warrior"?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  13. #973
    And clearly this is the most anti-Semitic anyone witnesses in the South.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  14. #974
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    The Israelis who are too quick to get involved in American domestic issues are the ones who complain loudest when the US meddles in Israeli politics. I actually think the college acted appropriately; there's no reason a dean can't hear the concerns of a foreign diplomat (as long as they don't give in to those demands). But it's disgraceful for Israel to try to undermine American academic freedom.
    What, is turnabout not fair play?
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  15. #975
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    What, is turnabout not fair play?
    "How dare you tell us not to violate the human rights of 20% of our population. We reserve the right to tell your grad students what they should and shouldn't be teaching."
    Hope is the denial of reality

  16. #976
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    What, is turnabout not fair play?
    Uhhh, what? Have US diplomats been telling Israeli universities to punish their grad students for teaching Israeli students about ongoing American crimes against humanity, or criticizing those crimes?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  17. #977
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Uhhh, what? Have US diplomats been telling Israeli universities to punish their grad students for teaching Israeli students about ongoing American crimes against humanity, or criticizing those crimes?
    The academics have been using their academic freedom to "undermine" Israel (certainly in the perspective of those types of Israeli pressure-pushers) so it seems perfectly reasonable for them to respond in kind, yes? Doesn't mean the University officials ought to go along with them, but then it's not necessarily the case that Israel or anyone else should be falling in line to any or all pressure bought to bear on them by BDS or other related groups/movements. Now the Congress-critter, that might be another story. She's in a position to do more than use speech and advocacy.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  18. #978
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    The academics have been using their academic freedom to "undermine" Israel (certainly in the perspective of those types of Israeli pressure-pushers) so it seems perfectly reasonable for them to respond in kind, yes? Doesn't mean the University officials ought to go along with them, but then it's not necessarily the case that Israel or anyone else should be falling in line to any or all pressure bought to bear on them by BDS or other related groups/movements. Now the Congress-critter, that might be another story. She's in a position to do more than use speech and advocacy.
    When you, as a country, can't tolerate criticism from a grad student in a foreign country, you really need to take a look in a mirror.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  19. #979
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    The academics have been using their academic freedom to "undermine" Israel (certainly in the perspective of those types of Israeli pressure-pushers) so it seems perfectly reasonable for them to respond in kind, yes? Doesn't mean the University officials ought to go along with them, but then it's not necessarily the case that Israel or anyone else should be falling in line to any or all pressure bought to bear on them by BDS or other related groups/movements. Now the Congress-critter, that might be another story. She's in a position to do more than use speech and advocacy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    When you, as a country, can't tolerate criticism from a grad student in a foreign country, you really need to take a look in a mirror.
    Y'know, there's two nearly unrelated questions here. The first is whether this grad student has any business teaching a university class on the 'The conflict over Israel/Palestine', whatever that is. The second is whether a representative of the Israeli government has any business trying to keep said student from teaching said class.

    On the first question, I would have my doubts as to how effective this person can be in educating her students given her public statements on the issue. I obviously don't know her and her Twitter account appears to be shut down, but the screenshots that were circulated a month ago are certainly problematic. Two of them are merely that, problematic - one in support of BDS efforts on campus, and the second referring to 'Zionist dirtbags' - these raise reasonable questions about whether the grad student would be prepared to provide a thorough and thoughtful education on the topic for her students. But one could reasonably argue that her personal views may not affect her professional ability to engage and educate her students, and her personal activities need not be disqualifying. (One of these days I should tell you about my professor the Holocaust denier.)

    However, the most concerning tweet was directly related to her strategy for teaching this kind of course. She identified as an 'anti-imperialist' (again, whatever that means) and clearly stated there is only one 'legitimate side - the oppressed' and clearly dismissed the ideologies of 'Western Imperialism, Zionists, and autocrats'. If this provides a realistic view into how she teaches courses on this issue, I would indeed think she is doing her students a disservice. One needn't embrace or applaud ideologies one finds personally repugnant, but it's important to represent them authentically in one's teaching; to do otherwise would make it very challenging for a student to gain any reasonable understanding on the topic at hand. If I were a student at UNC, I would likely avoid the class had I known this information about the instructor's teaching strategy. If I were her supervisor, I would be concerned about her ability to faithfully teach the subject manner in a way that left students with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of a complicated and contentious topic.

    Which brings us to our second question: should a representative of the Israeli government have gotten involved (I will ignore the actions of various domestic pro-Israel pressure groups - their tactics are distasteful at best and smack of McCarthyism, but are part and parcel of the greater culture wars being fought in the US over academic institutions)? I find it likely that the Consul General views this as a success - Israeli diplomats are frequently given general instructions to aggressively engage with efforts to mainstream BDS and other rhetoric that seeks to delegitimize Israel (with universities and political bodies major areas of focus), and they probably see the brouhaha as a good thing. I disagree; I think it makes them look petty and manipulative, and sticks in the craw of American sensibilities regarding e.g. freedom of expression (even though first amendment rights hardly apply here).

    But I do think that Loki's wrong, here. The issue isn't that Israel can't take criticism from some no-name grad student teaching a minor course. The issue is that Israel sees BDS rhetoric as uniquely dangerous (much more so than general anti-Israel sentiment present on many college campuses) and seeks every opportunity to delegitimize its supporters. They don't care about Ms. Broderick; they care about the potential cultural shift she represents, and want to use every tool at their disposal to delegitimize voices like hers.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  20. #980
    They are afraid US taxpayers might defund their Iron Dome.
    .

  21. #981
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    They are afraid US taxpayers might defund their Iron Dome.
    Being, you are very fixated on this issue. Frankly, Iron Dome funding is a nice to have for Israel, not a must have - and the funding is essentially already committed due to an agreement made back in the Obama administration where Israel would share intellectual property on a highly sophisticated weapons system in exchange for US funding of its deployment. Obviously the US could quibble on precisely how much funding they will continue to provide going forward, but the basic structure of the deal is well established. It's also hard to see things like funding of US aid for Israel (whether through one-off appropriations like Iron Dome tranches or the annual funds agreed under a deal every decade) being substantially under threat any time soon; the political support is dramatically lacking in either party.

    Israel's concerns about BDS focus on much more basic questions of legitimacy; they are one of the few countries in the world that substantial portions of the world refuses to acknowledge the existence of, and attempts to delegitimize their standing in the Western world are seen as extremely concerning (and, additionally, offensive). In the long term, BDS rhetoric becoming mainstreamed in US discourse could be very damaging - military financing would be the least of their issues.

    That being said, if a few billion dollars a year to purchase relative quiet in that corner of the Middle East is really bothering you all that much, I'm actually in favor of phasing out direct US aid to Israel. The country is in a very different place than it was back in the 70s and 80s, and their major security threats no longer have high tech patrons with seemingly depthless pockets. Israel wouldn't like to have to replace that aid through a combination of budget cuts and a bigger military budget, but they'd manage.

    In many ways I think it would be better for Israel - for one, the force structure in Israel is heavily influenced by the fact that they have a need to buy US made equipment to the tune of $3-4 billion a year. US made stuff is great, but it biases their force structure to certain kinds of solutions that may not be optimal for the Israeli threat environment. Classically, Israel spends a lot of money on high end US fighter jets when they might do better with lower tech (and cheaper) variants for much of their missions. Furthermore, Israel's purchase of US made munitions in large quantities is directly cannibalizing the domestic defense industry, especially wrt to certain guided missile systems where Israeli firms excel. Israel has always had a special relationship with the United States, long before the advent of substantial military aid in the early 70s - even long before the state was officially founded! This relationship has been overshadowed by this 'all important' military aid in recent years, and would probably be strengthened without that encumbrance and distraction. Then their partnership could focus on substantial areas of cooperation, joint development, and shared values and interests - not a big check for weapons.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  22. #982
    Any leverage available should be used to let Israel know they cannot continue on the path they are following. It worked in South Africa and it will work in Israel.
    .

  23. #983
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    When you, as a country, can't tolerate criticism from a grad student in a foreign country, you really need to take a look in a mirror.
    That'll be for the Israeli voters to decide. If they're willing to use their tax dollars to have consuls and other officials waste their time and breath with that kind of thing, they can keep voting for parties which allow or encourage it.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    But I do think that Loki's wrong, here. The issue isn't that Israel can't take criticism from some no-name grad student teaching a minor course. The issue is that Israel sees BDS rhetoric as uniquely dangerous (much more so than general anti-Israel sentiment present on many college campuses)
    That's where I came in. Rightly or wrongly, BDS is viewed by these officials and their backers as not merely attempts to influence Israeli policy but to undermine the Israeli state itself. And from that perspective, it is entirely reasonable for them to engage or agitate against those pushing such behaviors.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  24. #984
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    On the first question, I would have my doubts as to how effective this person can be in educating her students given her public statements on the issue. I obviously don't know her and her Twitter account appears to be shut down, but the screenshots that were circulated a month ago are certainly problematic. Two of them are merely that, problematic - one in support of BDS efforts on campus, and the second referring to 'Zionist dirtbags' - these raise reasonable questions about whether the grad student would be prepared to provide a thorough and thoughtful education on the topic for her students. But one could reasonably argue that her personal views may not affect her professional ability to engage and educate her students, and her personal activities need not be disqualifying. (One of these days I should tell you about my professor the Holocaust denier.)

    However, the most concerning tweet was directly related to her strategy for teaching this kind of course. She identified as an 'anti-imperialist' (again, whatever that means) and clearly stated there is only one 'legitimate side - the oppressed' and clearly dismissed the ideologies of 'Western Imperialism, Zionists, and autocrats'. If this provides a realistic view into how she teaches courses on this issue, I would indeed think she is doing her students a disservice. One needn't embrace or applaud ideologies one finds personally repugnant, but it's important to represent them authentically in one's teaching; to do otherwise would make it very challenging for a student to gain any reasonable understanding on the topic at hand. If I were a student at UNC, I would likely avoid the class had I known this information about the instructor's teaching strategy. If I were her supervisor, I would be concerned about her ability to faithfully teach the subject manner in a way that left students with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of a complicated and contentious topic.
    You seem to hold a very rosy view about how decisions about who teaches classes are made. The grad student is teaching the class because there's probably no one else who wants to teach it. Furthermore, faculty at an R1 don't give a damn about political sensitivities surrounding some classes. They're far too busy doing research and trying to obtain course releases. The only way they'd get involved is if multiple students complained about what's happening in the classroom. As far as I'm aware, there were no such complaints. Heck, the person who taught a similar class at my previous institution was at least as off the rails as this grad student (in the same direction). The only reason we're not talking about him is because he doesn't (or at least didn't) have a social media presence.

    Which brings us to our second question: should a representative of the Israeli government have gotten involved (I will ignore the actions of various domestic pro-Israel pressure groups - their tactics are distasteful at best and smack of McCarthyism, but are part and parcel of the greater culture wars being fought in the US over academic institutions)? I find it likely that the Consul General views this as a success - Israeli diplomats are frequently given general instructions to aggressively engage with efforts to mainstream BDS and other rhetoric that seeks to delegitimize Israel (with universities and political bodies major areas of focus), and they probably see the brouhaha as a good thing. I disagree; I think it makes them look petty and manipulative, and sticks in the craw of American sensibilities regarding e.g. freedom of expression (even though first amendment rights hardly apply here).

    But I do think that Loki's wrong, here. The issue isn't that Israel can't take criticism from some no-name grad student teaching a minor course. The issue is that Israel sees BDS rhetoric as uniquely dangerous (much more so than general anti-Israel sentiment present on many college campuses) and seeks every opportunity to delegitimize its supporters. They don't care about Ms. Broderick; they care about the potential cultural shift she represents, and want to use every tool at their disposal to delegitimize voices like hers.
    America believes Islamic terrorism is a threat, but if American consuls got involved every time a Pakistani grad student praised the Taliban, we'd (rightly) be a laughingstock. All this episode did was create sympathy for a deeply unsympathetic person and probably increase interest in BDS. The grad student now has a bigger soap box. Pro-Israeli groups are now on the defensive instead of having an easy fight against an "anti-Zionist" grad student.

    If this done by a country with which the US enjoyed less friendly ties, we'd be calling in their ambassador for a dress down. I already made the point about why I think this is all unwise from Israel's perspective. But from America's perspective, this is an attack on free speech and academic freedom in the US. We're not some kind of a banana republic to have those threatened by a foreign power. It certainly doesn't help Israel that academic freedom is the most effective argument against BDS (as far as their opposition to Israeli professors teaching or lecturing in the US). Who wins here other than the grad student?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  25. #985
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    You seem to hold a very rosy view about how decisions about who teaches classes are made. The grad student is teaching the class because there's probably no one else who wants to teach it. Furthermore, faculty at an R1 don't give a damn about political sensitivities surrounding some classes. They're far too busy doing research and trying to obtain course releases. The only way they'd get involved is if multiple students complained about what's happening in the classroom. As far as I'm aware, there were no such complaints. Heck, the person who taught a similar class at my previous institution was at least as off the rails as this grad student (in the same direction). The only reason we're not talking about him is because he doesn't (or at least didn't) have a social media presence.
    Oh, I have no doubt that she wasn't selected for the class so much as given it by default. That's why my main focus was on whether a student would be interested in taking the class with her as an instructor, not whether the university showed poor judgment in having her teach it. I do think, however, that if an issue was raised organically (rather than manufactured by an outside group), it isn't exactly rocket science that she's probably not the best person to teach the subject.

    I guess it's hard for me to imagine something similar happening in one of the classes I taught (or attended) since there's less political sensitivity. But let's imagine that a class examining the 2008 financial crisis was being taught by a grad student who, in their free time, publicly railed against greedy bankers and calling for an overthrow of capitalism - and talked about how they couldn't possible teach 'both sides' of an economic crisis? It's not that this isn't a valid lens through which to view the 2008 financial crisis, but it does make one wonder if the students in the class will be well served by this instructor.

    There is a reason why I generally avoided classes with such obvious agendas during school, though. Perhaps the students who choose to attend the course are getting exactly what they signed up for.

    America believes Islamic terrorism is a threat, but if American consuls got involved every time a Pakistani grad student praised the Taliban, we'd (rightly) be a laughingstock. All this episode did was create sympathy for a deeply unsympathetic person and probably increase interest in BDS. The grad student now has a bigger soap box. Pro-Israeli groups are now on the defensive instead of having an easy fight against an "anti-Zionist" grad student.
    I'm not sure this specific grad student has a bigger soap box, but certainly BDS gets more buzz every time something like this happens; Israel is notoriously bad at recognizing this, but I kinda understand why. The reasons why an American consul would be laughed at if they did this to a Pakistani grad student are manifold: the Taliban (and, more broadly, Islamist terrorism) is certainly a threat to the US, but it's far from an existential one. Outside of nuclear war the US faces effectively zero existential threats, so can afford to be rather blase about things. The US' basic existence hasn't been seriously questioned in nearly 200 years. The world also generally agrees with the US that the Taliban (and Islamist terrorism more broadly) are bad news, so going after one kook is overkill.

    But Israel has none of these luxuries - they view BDS as a fundamental threat to their global legitimacy, they see it gaining momentum in at least intellectual circles in the West, and it sharpens their general anxiety about their state's fragility in the world and very real existential threats and the worlds utter disinterest (or open hostility) to helping manage these threats. I don't think it was wise what they did, but I think your comparison is far from appropriate.

    If this done by a country with which the US enjoyed less friendly ties, we'd be calling in their ambassador for a dress down. I already made the point about why I think this is all unwise from Israel's perspective. But from America's perspective, this is an attack on free speech and academic freedom in the US. We're not some kind of a banana republic to have those threatened by a foreign power. It certainly doesn't help Israel that academic freedom is the most effective argument against BDS (as far as their opposition to Israeli professors teaching or lecturing in the US). Who wins here other than the grad student?
    This is only an attack on free speech in the colloquial sense, Loki. It certainly is an attack on academic freedom, and I already highlighted the general American attitude here that Israeli officials aren't getting. But we certainly do have foreign powers meddling in our curricula already, to a far greater degree (and rather more effectively) than Israel's rather piecemeal and blundering approach. Surely you're well aware of the degree to which China has been influencing/buying the curricula (and IP) of college professors across the US... and until very recently no one gave a shit as long as the checks cleared.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  26. #986
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Any leverage available should be used to let Israel know they cannot continue on the path they are following. It worked in South Africa and it will work in Israel.
    A more appropriate tool would be things like preferential trade ties, diplomatic relations, etc. Iron Dome is jointly-developed and reduces Israeli civilian casualties from Hamas' deliberate efforts to strike Israeli civilian areas. When Hamas missiles do get through, Israeli leaders come under more pressure to mount massive military campaigns that inevitably kill far more Palestinian civilians.

    Iron Dome helps keep the temperature of the conflict down in a way that is constructive and — at this point — reduces deaths on both sides.

  27. #987
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Oh, I have no doubt that she wasn't selected for the class so much as given it by default. That's why my main focus was on whether a student would be interested in taking the class with her as an instructor, not whether the university showed poor judgment in having her teach it. I do think, however, that if an issue was raised organically (rather than manufactured by an outside group), it isn't exactly rocket science that she's probably not the best person to teach the subject.

    I guess it's hard for me to imagine something similar happening in one of the classes I taught (or attended) since there's less political sensitivity. But let's imagine that a class examining the 2008 financial crisis was being taught by a grad student who, in their free time, publicly railed against greedy bankers and calling for an overthrow of capitalism - and talked about how they couldn't possible teach 'both sides' of an economic crisis? It's not that this isn't a valid lens through which to view the 2008 financial crisis, but it does make one wonder if the students in the class will be well served by this instructor.

    There is a reason why I generally avoided classes with such obvious agendas during school, though. Perhaps the students who choose to attend the course are getting exactly what they signed up for.
    I sincerely wish that a substantial number of students took a class in something because they really wanted to understand all the nuances of the topic. The actual criteria are: is the course easy, is the professor easy, is there a lot of work, does it fit my schedule, is the topic interesting (roughly in that order). I'm sure the 2 students in that class who only took the class to gain a deeper understanding of the Middle East were disappointed.

    Do you know how many econ classes are taught by people whose theoretical frameworks failed to account for something like 2008? My guess is a majority.

    I'm not sure this specific grad student has a bigger soap box, but certainly BDS gets more buzz every time something like this happens; Israel is notoriously bad at recognizing this, but I kinda understand why. The reasons why an American consul would be laughed at if they did this to a Pakistani grad student are manifold: the Taliban (and, more broadly, Islamist terrorism) is certainly a threat to the US, but it's far from an existential one. Outside of nuclear war the US faces effectively zero existential threats, so can afford to be rather blase about things. The US' basic existence hasn't been seriously questioned in nearly 200 years. The world also generally agrees with the US that the Taliban (and Islamist terrorism more broadly) are bad news, so going after one kook is overkill.

    But Israel has none of these luxuries - they view BDS as a fundamental threat to their global legitimacy, they see it gaining momentum in at least intellectual circles in the West, and it sharpens their general anxiety about their state's fragility in the world and very real existential threats and the worlds utter disinterest (or open hostility) to helping manage these threats. I don't think it was wise what they did, but I think your comparison is far from appropriate.
    There were Marxist econ professors during the Cold War. Quite a few of them. They were allowed to teach their Marxist nonsense, including in many of the top universities in this country.

    This is only an attack on free speech in the colloquial sense, Loki. It certainly is an attack on academic freedom, and I already highlighted the general American attitude here that Israeli officials aren't getting. But we certainly do have foreign powers meddling in our curricula already, to a far greater degree (and rather more effectively) than Israel's rather piecemeal and blundering approach. Surely you're well aware of the degree to which China has been influencing/buying the curricula (and IP) of college professors across the US... and until very recently no one gave a shit as long as the checks cleared.
    UNC is a public institution. Trying to punish someone for their political speech (which is what Israel was attempting to do) would be a free speech issue. Any public university punishing a student or instructor over their support (or opposition to) BDS would be a free speech violation (in addition to an academic freedom one).

    There's a growing number of people who recognize the pernicious role those Confucius Institutes play. I would strongly oppose having one in my university (not that anyone would listen).
    Hope is the denial of reality

  28. #988
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I sincerely wish that a substantial number of students took a class in something because they really wanted to understand all the nuances of the topic. The actual criteria are: is the course easy, is the professor easy, is there a lot of work, does it fit my schedule, is the topic interesting (roughly in that order). I'm sure the 2 students in that class who only took the class to gain a deeper understanding of the Middle East were disappointed.
    Thanks for the reminder of what a good student I was, Loki. The only two that I ever even considered when I was looking at classes were the last two. I actively pestered the toughest Poli professor we had to bring back his hardest course (a seminar on negotiation). Sadly, he refused to do it until two years after I graduated, so he could do a book-writing sabbatical and teach abroad for a year first.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  29. #989
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Thanks for the reminder of what a good student I was, Loki. The only two that I ever even considered when I was looking at classes were the last two. I actively pestered the toughest Poli professor we had to bring back his hardest course (a seminar on negotiation). Sadly, he refused to do it until two years after I graduated, so he could do a book-writing sabbatical and teach abroad for a year first.
    You should have gone on to grad school. That's where the handful of students like you congregate to trade horror stories of their undergrad classmates. Big issue for poli sci is that most majors are only there for law school. Some of them are super smart, but they have minimal interest in politics. I think the UNC class was a history one, but my guess it's either a gen ed. or known as an easy A.

    Shouldn't have gone to a research university.

    P.S. it's never too late to go (assuming you can survive on $20k for 5-6 years).
    Last edited by Loki; 10-04-2021 at 05:04 AM.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  30. #990
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I sincerely wish that a substantial number of students took a class in something because they really wanted to understand all the nuances of the topic. The actual criteria are: is the course easy, is the professor easy, is there a lot of work, does it fit my schedule, is the topic interesting (roughly in that order). I'm sure the 2 students in that class who only took the class to gain a deeper understanding of the Middle East were disappointed.
    I had a very limited number of non-technical classes that I could fit into my schedule; I picked each with care, researching the professors and past course evals. 'Easy' was never my criterion. Frankly, if you're at a top tier university you're paying $50k+/year for the privilege - the least you could do is get a lot out of it. I have no doubt that the students you're talking about exist (and may even abound), but frankly that wasn't the majority of my classmates who I associated with in engineering/science or the humanities. Pretty much everyone was overloaded with coursework/reading/labs/problem sets/research projects... and a good chunk of us were also holding down part time jobs and various extracurricular commitments. Some people were more hardcore than others, but outside of some jocks I knew, few people were looking to coast through.

    That being said, I would never have taken a humanities course taught by a random grad student anyway...

    Do you know how many econ classes are taught by people whose theoretical frameworks failed to account for something like 2008? My guess is a majority.
    Theoretical frameworks having trouble accounting for once in a century kind of problem? Shocker. There's a difference between 'not fully understanding/explaining a situation' and 'having a dogmatic belief that my position is the One True Reality and refuse to teach other perspectives'.

    UNC is a public institution. Trying to punish someone for their political speech (which is what Israel was attempting to do) would be a free speech issue. Any public university punishing a student or instructor over their support (or opposition to) BDS would be a free speech violation (in addition to an academic freedom one).
    I am not an expert on constitutional law, but I am not sure that this is an accurate understanding of free speech protections (nor that assigning a different teacher would qualify as 'punishment'). Totally agreed that it would violate academic freedom.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

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