Monday, September 12, 2016

The problem at Saddleback College (throwing Margot under the bus)

     It’s been another banner day for the right-wing loutisphere—and, so, too, for the Neville Chamberlain Appreciation Society. (See Saturday's The YAF brouhaha: righties flip out, leaving slime and worse.) Clueless right wing louts have continued to post disturbing denunciations of Saddleback College administration, academia in general, and especially a certain history instructor who was recently videotaped taking down illegally posted 9-11 posters on campus.
     This has continued, not just in the predictable right-wing places—Breitbart.comThe Blaze—but on Saddleback College’s own Facebook page! Evidently, little if anything is done to curate remarks at the latter site, and so it was left to various faculty, at least here at IVC, to contact Jenny M of Public Info and complain.
     Understandably, they don’t like to delete comments (said Jenny) but they have been monitoring the Facebook remarks and deleting those judged problematic. OK?
     Huh? In fact, plenty of hateful and appalling remarks can be found on Saddleback’s page (see below) right now. Some of us have been monitoring the site for days, and there’s no indication of the alleged curation or culling. (Possibly, Jenny needs to upgrade her concept of hateful verbiage to include “bitch” and “cunt.”)

This comment can be found on Saddleback College's Facebook Page (as of 7:00 p.m. today (9/12/16))
     I called the Jennster myself, and she was quite friendly. I asked her about the hateful (and sometimes violent—see above) Facebook comments and the stunning decision, evidently made by college officials, to invite the leader of the student group (Young Americans for Freedom's Audra Leslie) to lead the pledge at today’s Saddleback College 9-11 event!
     How can this be, Neville? Nasty right wing louts working hard to generate fact-challenged blogospheric feeding frenzies and to terrorize policy-upholding faculty? That’s who gets invited to say the pledge at the big 9-11 event?
     It seemed to many of us that, with that, the college had officially thrown Margot under the bus.
     But here’s how Jenny explained the situation to me. "We need to change the subject now," she said. We need to take the focus away from Margot and return it to the 9-11 event. That's why they invited the YAF kid to lead the pledge.

Appearing on Saddleback's Facebook Page: "Audra Leslie of Young Americans for Freedom 
(YAF) lead the Pledge of Allegiance."
     That's nuts. Some of us at least at IVC were hopping mad, and we started strategizing. Among other things, we planned to attend this afternoon’s meeting of the Faculty Association (aka the union), at IVC, to make our displeasure known.
     In the meantime, as per the right wing loutisphere’s playbook, the instructor in question, now thoroughly demonized, has had her personal information promulgated, not just on Breitbart.com, but on the college Facebook page! And so the Big Ugly is on: she’s received the predictable threats and has had to take extreme steps to protect herself. Even her office mate doesn’t feel safe, and no wonder. (Have you read some of these comments? Some of 'em are bad, really bad.)
     Well, at 3:00 today, three of us from IVC’s School of Humanities (plus a Humanities Faculty Rep and Lewis Long) were present to make our case. Lewis successfully motioned to move up the “other items” portion of the agenda. Then, the union prez briefly explained the brouhaha for those still out of the loop. The instructor in question, he said, simply acted in accordance with the existing policy for postings and thus deserved none of the invective she received. Efforts to get the critics to recognize that Margot was simply acting in accordance with district policy (policy, by the way created by a restriction-happy conservative board that sought to muzzle student criticism) went nowhere. The feeding frenzy was on.
     The discussion that followed lasted at least a half hour. Here are my notes:
  • Many faculty in the room were unaware of the situation, but, upon hearing the facts, they seemed to share our concerns.
  • Lewis explained that, as a union, at the least we could and should press the safety issue raised by the situation.
  • Some faculty seemed moved by an impulse to ban and muzzle the YAF kids. I (among others) suggested that such a move is contrary to an embrace of free speech and, beyond that, it would give these louts precisely what they want: something to crow about.
  • I
    From Audra's Twitter page
    noted that lots of right-wing organizations have a curious but effective MO, which was illustrated by an incident occurring at IVC last Spring. A "preacher" and his crew came to campus and, quoting the Bible, proceeded to spew obnoxious remarks: women shouldn’t go to college, Mohammed was a pedophile, etc. Many students were offended and outraged that anyone would be allowed to say such things on the grounds of the college. Some of us—and, to his credit, the President of the college—came to the Bible-toters’ defense, explaining that, though we may hate what they have to say, they have a right to their opinion. (In fact, the “preacher” did receive abuse from some students.) It soon became clear that the preacher's organization tours college campuses, attempting to provoke intolerance of him: taunts, threats, spitting, banishment, etc. The trick is to video the intolerance, edit the footage for maximal cherry-pickular impact, and then release it to the hungry freaks of conservative social media. Boom!
  • Plainly, that’s what these YAF kids (or their flag-pledging leader) are about. They filmed the instructor who, quite correctly, as per the district’s AR8000 (a policy created by a right-wing board that sought to minimize speech that had been critical of them), took down “never forget” posters that had been illegally posted on campus buildings. Voila! The video went viral, “proving” once again that liberals are afoot in academia, oppressing the poor defenseless right-winger who wishes only to love her country.
  • Fear was expressed that, by appeasing this group, we were in fact setting a precedent and inviting these right-wing guerrillas to monitor instructors, taping or filming their remarks, editing them for maximum effect, and then promulgating them on the right-winged crazy-towns of the internet.
  • It was suggested that we call for the application of our free speech policies fairly and even-handedly, whatever a group’s politics.
  • Someone noted that a member of the SC faculty evidently joined the frey, condemning the instructor on their personal Facebook page.
  • Those who run the college Facebook page should be encouraged to do a much better job curating hateful comments.
  • The union Prez should meet with SC Prez Burnett, communicating our concerns.
  • And so on.
More later.
Audra with pal and felon Dinesh D'Souza

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roy,
For someone who is anti trolls, you are sure feeding them on this.
The pledge was not a slam against Margot. Not even sure how you could read that into it.
You cannot be for free speech and cull unwanted posts on the web at the same time.
The YAF kids were asses and the college found a way to remain calm and not make it worse and yet, still respect the dignity of the day.
And don't throw stones in glass houses. IVC still has Chris Mac Donald and Glenn and Kathy don't disagree with me Schmielder or I will talk too much.

Anonymous said...

Whose responsibility is to take down the posters? Is it the instructor's? I don't believe so. The instructor should have informed campus police or college officials who then would have instructed staff or security personnel to remove the posters.

Anonymous said...

The OC Register's comments sections used to be full of such attacks. They finally had to discontinue ALL comments because it cost too much time to monitor and besides, they served little purpose. Saddleback might consider that for the time being.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that if you were trying to support Margot that doing this post will only make things worse for her?

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's take the focus away from Margot and vilify the public information department. Helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for going to the meeting. Clearly this situation has revealed issues that would eventually come for fore regarding the districts's social media policy. Yes, the Reg has disabled comments altogether.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the admin addressed the nature of the comments incited by the YAF student actions with the YAF students. I am sure that the students reassured the admin that they do not approve of such attacks and will publicly disavow such speech and discourage such hateful anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic speech. I am sure they are doing so now on their own Saddleback YAF FB page. I am sure that the attacks and threats against Prof. Lovett that their actions inspired must really disturb them. Otherwise what indeed is that "Liberty and Justice for all" clause in the pledge mean? Right?

Anonymous said...

Why does taking action, speaking truth, inspire such fear about making things worse? How much worse can they get people? Look around. Trump. Ignorant people defying facts. And you who know better are afraid to stand up to them.

Roy Bauer said...

8:04 - You say that I have "vilif[ied] the public information department." To vilify is to speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner. I certainly did not do that. What's the matter with you?

Roy Bauer said...

7:53, what do you advocate, then? Saying nothing? Doing nothing? Waiting for it all to fade away? Very foolish.

Anonymous said...

Free speech is for all left or right.
So the next time you see posters illegally posted. Remember this Foo.
Lovett or Leavett.

Anonymous said...

FYI: the Saddleback College Facebook page has now removed down the "ratings" section (where commentators can comment then "rate" the college with a certain number of stars). A number of people were using that area to bash Margot, the college in general and many others.

During the last few days, due to this activity the number of "stars" given to Saddleback College dropped precipitously.

By comparison, the IVC FB page still has stars and comments in this area.

Thanks for your focus on these issues.

Anonymous said...

Re: 7:36pm question: Who has the authority to remove posters? Was Margot the faculty mentor for this club trying to gain approval? Why did she take it upon herself to walk through campus ripping down posters? Can any faculty member remove posters they think are outside the guidelines of a policy? There had to have been a better way of handling this. This site is more than familiar with nasty trolls; it's a shame Margot has had such vitriol thrown her way. Like I said, maybe there was a better way to handle it.

Anonymous said...

What about all the clueless, left wing, racist,louts that only want to deny others their first amendment rights to free speech, association and assembly? They think they own the bulletin boards and will always try to shout down those who disagree with their radical leftist views. They know their phony party is one of slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK and obstriction and they cannot change the historical record, so all they can do is try to pin it on the Republicans. How pathetic!

Anonymous said...

I do not think one has to be deputized to take down materials on campus. I've done so on and off through the years, mostly clearing out materials that are outdated so other materials can be posted.

Anonymous said...

We're not talking about "old, outdated material" here. Good for you for deputizing yourself to remove such.

Anonymous said...

Some people love the chain of command. Others simply act.

Anonymous said...

Typical faculty arrogance. Get over yourselves; actions have consequences.

Anonymous said...

The chain of command would have likely kept Margot from taking the bait on what was obviously a set up. But you faculty know best.

Anonymous said...

Given that Margot was enforcing district policy, and given that the policy's restrictions reflect the wishes of a conservative board that sought to muzzle students critical of administration/trustees, contrary to the YAF kids (and the entire rightwing blogosphere), it is clear that her action and the cancelling of the YAF event are in no sense an instances of The Man (qua Liberal/Leftist Academia) keeping down the poor downtrodden conservative. That's the big take-away here. --Roy B

Anonymous said...

Hmm... interesting. - A

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