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Old School Style

There are a couple of stories floating around about just how much the teaching profession has learned from the professional unions -- mainly the thuggery. But this is thuggery teacher-style -- meaning that it's carefully directed and targeted to teach a lesson.

First up, a guy in Oregon ran for Congress. Art Robinson challenged one of the more "progressive" Democrat incumbents, and gave him a decent challenge.

And shortly after the election, Art's three children -- all well into what were apparently stellar academic careers in some very challenging hard science fields -- all ran into major difficulties with their studies. "Major difficulties" meaning "expelled from the Ph.D. programs they had invested several years into."

Next, also in Oregon (more specifically, a community called McMinnville), the teachers' union is in rather lengthy contract negotations with the school board. One local resident -- who happened to be the manager of a bank branch -- expressed a rather mild opinion on the matter: that the board should do all it can to minimize the loss of teachers, to the point of freezing pay and increased benefits.

Well, the local teachers' union didn't agree with that sentiment. And they disagreed even more with her having such an important job with a credit union with whom they did a great deal of business -- so they worked for her termination, and succeeded.

So, for the audacity of challenging one of the most liberal members of Congress, a man finds his three children expelled from a school with very substantial ties to said member of Congress. And for not agreeing completely with the teachers' union demands, another woman finds herself out of a job.

Now, both these stories are still unsubstantiated. There could be elements that have not been revealed thus far in these accounts that could be very relevant. For example, Ms. VanBlaricom could have made her statement on credit union letterhead, implying -- or even explicitly stating -- that her opinions were those of her employer, and that's certainly grounds for firing. In the Robinson case, all three siblings could have been involved in some kind of academic dishonesty or fraud that tied all three together.

But the charges are very serious. Robinson has made very specific charges, naming specific individuals and citing specific acts -- he's putting his neck way out if he's lying. And there is evidence that teachers' union officials actively sought her firing as a reprisal for her speaking out.

These stories need to be investigated, and investigated thoroughly. If these accusations of retaliation and reprisals by "teachers" punishing those who dare challenge them have even a shred of truth to them, then those "teachers" need to be punished, and punished hard.

There are lines that must be drawn. There are boundaries that must be respected. There are limits that must be obeyed.

And those who break them must pay the price.

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Comments (13)

Sorry but the left just doe... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Sorry but the left just doesn't see it that way. Rules, like taxes, are for the little people.

These people see power as something to be used for personal gain and agrandizement. There is no responsibility that comes with power unless it is a responsibility to self.

I read the story about Art ... (Below threshold)
Stan:

I read the story about Art Robinson, yesterday. There is, as Paul Harvey used to say: More to the story. There are also allegations that the professors have been stealing the work that Mr Robinson's children have been doing and claiming it for their own. If this is true, there could be a major scandal that would make Ward Churchill look like a choir boy.

As troubling as it is that ... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

As troubling as it is that the bank manager lost her job because of her political views, that is fair play. It's definitely hardball, but if you are in a business that has clients and/or customers, you have to be careful about alienating them.

Now the case where the kids get punished because of the "sins" of there father, that is a whole different story. Even if it was the father himself who was punished, the college in question is OSU. That's right Oregon State University. It is illegal for a government university to punish its student because it disagrees with their speech. To punish someone because of their parent's speech takes it to a whole separate level of unfairness. The people engaging in this behavior need to be punished, and not with some slap on the wrist.

Liberals are fascists.... (Below threshold)
Michael Lang:

Liberals are fascists.

Speaking of lines, has Barr... (Below threshold)
914:

Speaking of lines, has Barry grabbed a picket and fought for statist's rights in Wisconsin yet?


Oh wait...He is still quibbling with quidaffy over a czar position.

As to the subject at hand. I'm sure ACORN has the same disciplinary problems within their ranks. Just call in a panther or two when a little friendly persuasion is needed.

914,Barry used his... (Below threshold)
jim m:

914,

Barry used his Organizing for America operation to bus in union members from Illinois and Minnesota and to help rally as many people as they could in Madison.

He doesn't need to carry a picket when he is funding the protests and promoting the rights of his friends over those of all other Americans.

I was being humorous jim.</... (Below threshold)
914:

I was being humorous jim.


Jay, I live in Corvallis an... (Below threshold)
Murgatroyd:

Jay, I live in Corvallis and know several professors in the engineering department at OSU. I think you'd be wise to hold off on making any definite pronouncements about the Robinson kids until all the facts are in. Alas, that could take a while -- the university operates under very strict Federal regulations about what they can and can't say about students. As one of my friends put it in e-mail today when I asked him what was going on, "... OSU is bound by Federal privacy rules and thus cannot give out any information on any students or what they are doing. For example, if a parent calls me to ask how their kid is doing, I not only can't tell them, I am also not allowed to even acknowledge that their kid is at OSU." The Robinson kids could expedite the process if they were to give OSU written permission to make their student records public. AFAIK, they haven't done that.

There might be skullduggery going on or there might not be; some of the controversy may be misinterpretation by Robinson of bureaucratic rules and federal regulations as "proactive malice."

That's a very good point, M... (Below threshold)

That's a very good point, Murgatroyd. Note that the original World Net Daily article talks about the immediate danger to the three Robinson children and Professor Higginbotham, but that none of these dismissals/firings/expulsions have actually happened yet.

As things stand today, Jack Higginbotham and his students and staff, along with Joshua Robinson are in immediate danger. Bethany Robinson is slated for dismissal soon after and without the Ph.D. that she has nearly completed. The dismissal of Matthew Robinson may not be far behind. And the danger to Professor Higginbotham's other students is likewise very high.

Of course, if none of this ever happens and these students all graduate on time, I'm sure that Art Robinson will pat himself on the back and proclaim that it was his efforts that prevented the vast left wing educational conspiracy from derailing their education by exposing their dastardly plans before they could come to fruition.

Murgatroyd I disagree. If t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Murgatroyd I disagree. If there was concrete evidence about these three students that warranted suspension of the PHd program, the left would have "leaked" it out by now. Since they are now stringently following the "rules" makes me very suspicious.

JT, I know you are busy but I need more doses of JT's posts. I feel like I am on a diet. I am having withdrawl. I got a monkey on my back. I need more fixes man. ww

excellent xposure for this ... (Below threshold)
epador:

excellent xposure for this problem
from what I've seen and read this story has legs
it's interesting that many of the naysayers point to weirdness and religion as examples of why the kids deserve to be booted (reading linkedthreads)

I got e-mail this morning f... (Below threshold)
Murgatroyd:

I got e-mail this morning from a friend in EECS at OSU:

OSU sent this out this morning:

> Since Robinson began making these claims last fall,
> university leadership has had ample opportunity to look
> into them through the Office of the Provost, the Graduate
> School and the Office of the Dean of the College of
> Engineering, and can say, categorically, that the
> allegations and attacks are unfounded and without merit.

That doesn't prove anything, of course, but it does show that this has received a wide vetting internally, with lots of people having had the chance to question the students' treatment. They can't all want political payback. And none of them is worried about his or her job security.

Yup. Makes sense.

I suspect that what happened was:

* Older kid's advisor moved to University of Michigan, took his federal grant funding with him.

* Older kid's new advisor didn't have funding to support the kid's project, told kid he couldn't support him past a certain date.

* Middle kid (girl, home-schooled), misinterpreted a dirty joke or a clumsy pass at a party as a "sexual assault," complained to higher-ups without going through normal chain of command, pissed off her advisor.

* Father misinterpreted bureaucracy and federal regulations as malice, decided to "get in their faces."

Art Robinson also might have figured a little publicity about this wouldn't hurt his chances when he runs against DeFazio again in 2012.

Here's what tipped me off that Robinson might have been misinterpreting things:

It is also rumored that Higley, a long-time associate of Palmer's and who is adamant that Bethany leave OSU, may dislike Bethany because of criticism Higley received when department students complained of sexual assault at wild drunken parties of OSU nuclear engineering students during taxpayer-financed trips to scientific meetings. These incidents may have been more likely because Higley had failed to report to OSU authorities an earlier instance of milder sexual harassment against Bethany, probably because Bethany – a brilliant but very mild-mannered, conservative, homeschooled Christian young lady – does not share Higley's views.

Doesn't this sound just the tiniest bit ... implausible? "Sexual assault at wild drunken parties of OSU nuclear engineering students"? WTF? Why wasn't I ever invited to any of these in grad school?!

Murgatroyd I disagree. I... (Below threshold)
Murgatroyd:

Murgatroyd I disagree. If there was concrete evidence about these three students that warranted suspension of the PHd program, the left would have "leaked" it out by now. Since they are now stringently following the "rules" makes me very suspicious.

Good grief, WildWillie! What makes you think there are leftists in a nuclear engineering program?

Read Art Robinson's statement with the same skepticism that you'd have if Bill Clinton had written it. Look for all the weasel-words and innuendos and tell me what you'd think if this were a left-winger making charges about conservatives.

Here,let me fisk this one sentence:

It is also rumored that Higley, a long-time associate of Palmer's

Of course they're long-time associates! They work in the same department!

and who is adamant that Bethany leave OSU,

Note that this is consistent with the advisor saying "I really want you to finish your thesis work and graduate before the deadline!"

may

... or may not ...

dislike Bethany because of criticism Higley received when department students complained of sexual assault at wild drunken parties of OSU nuclear engineering students during taxpayer-financed trips to scientific meetings.

Scenario: The NSF or DOE provided funding to send a few professors and grad students to a conference or convention in another city. Somebody had a party in a hotel room, alcohol was available, and some nerd made a clumsy pass at her. So how is this the responsibility of the advisor? The students -- plural -- who complained probably were Bethany and her brother.

See how this looks when you apply a de-Clintonizing filter?




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