Will Oberlin Learn Its Lesson?

Short answer: No, they won’t.

Dean Raimondo at the trial

Longer answer: Check out the dean of students (and also assistant to the president for equity, diversity, and inclusion!) Meredith Raimondo, who was near the center of the Gibson’s Bakery case for collaborating with students to harass Gibson’s Bakery.

Raimondo came to the deanship from Oberlin’s department of “Comparative American Studies,” which, Oberlin’s website informs us, was “newly formed” around 2003. I’ll bet it was “newly formed.” That ought to be the first red flag. What is comparative American studies? I suspect at Oberlin it means comparing the United States to Nazi Germany and finding the U.S. coming out the worse. Here’s part of the description from the department’s website:

The department invites students to consider the relationship of different communities to both the nation-state and to each other, ranging from issues of settler colonialism and empire building to social justice movements. Courses investigate power and agency through analysis of intersecting structures of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability and citizenship.

Here’s a list of four “sample courses” from the department’s website:

Sorry—I should have warned readers that it was more of a stool sample of courses.

I tried to see if I could find any syllabi from Raimondo’s courses online, but had no luck. Her Oberlin bio merely states, “She has taught courses spanning the themes of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity studies, social justice, and HIV/AIDS.”

According to a 2016 report in The Tower, Raimondo appears to traffic in the anti-Semitism fashionable at places like Oberlin these days:

According to several online syllabi, Raimondo’s classes feature readings from academics including Joseph Massad, Lisa Duggan, Judith Butler, and Jasbir Puar. As Andrew Pessin indicated in The Algemeiner, all of these academics have previously been accused of espousing views that are intolerant of Israel and Jews. . .

The syllabus [note: this link is dead] for Raimondo’s 2013 seminar on “Transnational Sexualities” included a paper by Puar titled “Citation and Censorship: The Politics of Talking About the Sexual Politics of Israel.” Puar’s piece, which she presented at a German university in 2010, calls Israel a “not only racist, but also, apartheid state,” and features critiques of what she calls Israel’s practice of “pinkwashing,” its ostensible efforts to distract from “its repressive actions toward Palestine” by emphasizing its progressive policies towards LGBTQ individuals. The paper concludes with a reflection on “the ways in which accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ function in academic and activist contexts to suppress critiques of the implicit nationalism within Israeli sexual politics.”

But wait! There’s more!

As co-chairwoman of a task force charged with revamping Oberlin’s Sexual Offense Resource Guide, Raimondo helped draft an extensive, non-mandatory policy in 2014 that called on faculty use trigger warnings in their lessons.

Anything could be a trigger—a smell, song, scene, phrase, place, person, and so on,” the guide read. “Triggers are not only relevant to sexual misconduct, but also to anything that might cause trauma. Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues of privilege and oppression.” It also instructed professors to “Remove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.”

As long as this kind of ideological pedagogy permeates the Oberlin curriculum, they won’t learn a thing. Make them pay every penny of the punitive damages. Then set up a table selling donuts just off campus.

UPDATE: One of our favorite Saturday TWiP meme suppliers sends this.

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