Human rights prof says Venezuelans better off under socialism

A law professor who specializes in human rights claims that Venezuelans are “better off” because of Hugo Chávez and are currently enjoying “free and fair” elections.

Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, argues in a recent op-ed for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that U.S. media coverage of Venezuela “ignores the fact” that the U.S. is the “greatest impediment to democracy” in Venezuela and “throughout Latin America.”

Kovalik asserts that the “true patriots” of Venezuela “resent” the “devastating economic sanctions” imposed by the U.S., claiming that a vote for current socialist President Nicolás Maduro “was a vote against U.S. meddling” in the country’s affairs.

[RELATED: College defends decision to host Venezuelan officials]

“Venezuela’s electoral an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election,” Kovalik claims. 

A 2017 World Report by Human Rights Watch (HRC), however, documents multiple instances of abuse against political opponents and citizens who were critical of the current Venezuelan government.

According to the report, between April and July of last year, “security force personnel have shot demonstrators at point-blank range with riot-control munitions, run over demonstrators with an armored vehicle, brutally beaten people who offered no resistance, and staged violent raids on apartment buildings.”

Likewise, the the human rights watchdog notes that the United States Attorney General’s Office reported 124 deaths that occured in Venezuela during “incidents related to the protests” as of July 2017. In August of the same year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is also said to have concluded that “more than half of the deaths had been caused by security agents.”

“Security forces often held protesters incommunicado on military bases for 48 hours or more, and in some cases, committed egregious human rights violations, including severe beatings, electric shocks or burns, and forcing detainees to squat or kneel without moving for hours,” the report adds.

[RELATED: UCF socialists: Republicans are ‘terrorists,’ &l

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Cornell considering enhanced punishments for bias incidents

Cornell University is considering “enhanced” punishments for misconduct that is “motivated by bias” along with dozens of other proposals for making the campus more “diverse” and “inclusive.”

As Campus Reform reported in October, Cornell created the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate in response to student demands sparked by a flurry of racially-charged incidents, including one in which a student caused a stir by chanting "build a wall." 

[RELATED: Latinos ask Cornell to punish frat for 'build a wall' chant]

The task force, which consists of three subcommittees, has now issued its final list of recommendations for improving campus climate, including dozens of specific steps the university can take to achieve its diversity objectives.

On June 8, university President Martha E. Pollack announced that she was “very appreciative of the care and thought that has gone into the report,” and assured students that “the recommendations it contains will lead to actions that have a meaningful impact on our goals of creating a more inclusive, welcoming, and just campus.”

Pollack explained that her leadership team would spend the summer reviewing the recommendations, pledging to “provide an update on [their] progress and overall implementation approach” in the fall. 

“I expect that some of the recommendations in the report, along with several of the diversity and inclusion initiatives underway since the fall semester, will already have been implemented by the start of the fall semester,” she added.

[RELATED: Cornell student gov refuses to outlaw political discrimination]

The subcommittee focusing on “campus experience” reported participating in “over 200 separate conversations with a broad cross section of community members,” as well as collecting data through an online survey which lead to a discovery of several “problems.” 

In its lengthy report, the subcommittee published an extensive list of recommendations, including the creation of “a university-wide diversity course requirement” that can provide students with a “minimum level of preparation for engaging effectively with a diverse world.”

The subcommittee also expressed concern that “diversity and inclusion are not sufficiently integrated with the core resear

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Weinstein warns Congress about cult of campus progressivism

Bret Weinstein warned Members of Congress last week that Evergreen State College is merely the most visible example of the despotic “cult” of social justice on college campuses.

Weinstein began his testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by alluding to the one-year anniversary of a protest at which 50 Evergreen students, whom he said he “had never met,” disrupted his class to accuse him of racism and demand his resignation.

The protests were originally sparked by the professor’s criticism of an annual “Day of Absence,” an event that asked white students and faculty to vacate the campus for a day of diversity programming.

[RELATED: VIDEO: white prof harassed for questioning diversity event]

Despite attempting to reason with the protesters, Weinstein recalled that the activists “had no apparent interest in the very dialog they seemed to invite,” and said that they were “shouting down my actual students, some of whom had known me for years.”

Campus police advised Weinstein to leave campus, saying they could not ensure his safety, but the protests continued to escalate, climaxing when students held the school’s president and other high-ranking administrators hostage until they agreed to fully comply with a list of demands.

The hostage-taking earned the students praise from faculty members, but drew a rebuke from the school’s Board of Trustees, which called the protest tactics “indefensible.”

Referencing his subsequent experience at Evergreen State, which later led to a $3.8 million lawsuit against the institution, Weinstein warned the committee that lawmakers “should take my tale as cautionary.”

[RELATED: Profs claim Evergreen State whitewashed campus meltdown]

Weinstein, however, warned against simply characterizing the demonstrations as a free speech crisis, asserting far more pernicious problems lurk beneath that surface.

“Is there a free speech crisis on college campuses? One can certainly make that argument, but that portrayal is at least as misleading as it is informative,” he said. “What is occurring on college campuses is about power and control—speech is impeded as a last resort, used when people or groups fail to self-censor in response to a threat of crippling stigma and the destruction of their capacity to earn

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Liberal speakers outnumbered conservatives 11-1 at Indiana U

A Campus Reform analysis reveals that Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB) hosted just four conservative speakers during the 2016-17 academic year.

Overall, IUB’s official calendar includes 117 events featuring speakers who either addressed controversial/political topics or are known for their political activity, about one-third of which could be categorized as left-of-center.

[RELATED: Liberals dominate nearly 2/3 of political events at Tufts]

The events ranged from commencement ceremonies and conferences to special lectures and exhibits that focused on issues of culture and diversity. Many of the invited speakers were academic experts and authors who have written extensively on relevant academic and public policy topics.

Campus Reform researched the political affiliations of all 117 speakers, taking into consideration their public statements and opinions as well as organizational affiliations, and determined that 44 of the speakers who appeared on campus during the 2016-17 school year demonstrated a left-of-center political leaning. 

The remaining 69 lecturers either delivered speeches on politically neutral topics or could not be effectively labeled as either “left” or “right” of center based on their past remarks.

[RELATED: Liberals dominate 96% of political events at Carleton]

Geoffrey Kabaservice, a history professor and researcher at the Republican Main Street Partnership, was among the right-leaning speakers who lectured at IUB during the last academic year, as was Terry Anderson, an advocate for free-market environmentalism who discussed environmental issues and policy. 

Both Kabaservice and Anderson were invited as part of the Ostrom Workshop Colloquium.

The left-of-center speakers included author Noah Salomon, researcher Christopher Bail, feminist activist Roxane Gay, and many others, who spoke on topics such as "For Love of the Prophet: The Art of Islamic State-Making in Sudan," “Terrified: How the Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations became Mainstream," and “The Social Justice Seminar: Confronting Racism and Healing our Communities.”

One of the most prominent speakers, from either side of the political spectrum, was liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who presented a lecture titled, "Lee Hamilton Wouldn’t Recognize the Place: What Has Become of Politics in Washington?"

Campus Reform's Campus Sp

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Profs deride weight loss as a Western value

Two professors argue in a newly published anthology on “feminist nutrition” that “athletic performance” and “longevity” are simply “Western values.” 

“Critical Nutrition: Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Bodily Nutrition”—one of 16 chapters in the book Food & Place: A Critical Exploration—was written by Temple University professor Allison Hayes-Conroy and her sister, Jessica Hayes-Conroy, who teaches a “Feminist Health” class at a small college in Upstate New York. 

In the chapter, the Hayes-Conroy sisters worry that mainstream nutrition science rests upon elite, white, and educated modes of thinking, and that the values mainstream nutrition promotes are “Western values.” 

Calls for healthy eating “remain embedded in contemporary culture and politics,” the Hayes-Conroys assert. “Countless recent studies offer insight into weight loss, longevity, or athletic performance—all predominant Western values.” 

[RELATED: UW-Stout students must appreciate ‘social differences’ to graduate]

They also argue that nutrition is not a “politically neutral science,” saying the concept of “critical nutrition” is predicated on the belief that “calls for healthy eating are never purely factual.”

“As we write this, a strawberry boycott is ongoing, protesting the treatment of Driscoll farmworkers, they note. “And yet it is rare, in the myriad calls for eating fresh fruits and vegetables, to see strikes and boycotts mentioned in the same breath as ‘healthy.’”

During World War II, they add, nutritional advice revolved around encouraging people to eat “foods that would give workers stamina, and thus help win the war,” whereas during preceding decades “eating well” was understood to mean “eating economically and knowing exactly how many calories different bodies needed, based on occupation, gender, age, and more.”

Those examples show that "healthy eating was tied to particular cultural beliefs and social identity—it was never a politically neutral science," they assert, going onto suggest that nutrition science is a regime of control that prioritizes different cultures over others. 

They are particularly concerned that while “the produc

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