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Four of the Latest Academic Scandals
Stanford, Stanford, UVA & Edinburgh
In a perfect world, Karlstack would’ve broken each of these 4 stories.
Alas, other journalists already covered them over the past couple of weeks, so I’m not going to conduct 4 new in-depth investigations, because, well, I can’t really add any value that way. The legwork is already done.
Instead, I will summarize each of these stories to keep you in the loop.
“Why don’t I just read the ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ to stay in the loop?” you may ask yourself. “Why get my academic scandals from Karlstack?”
For one, it’s tiresome following a million different websites and refreshing their front page every morning to see if anything juicy has happened. By curating the most explosive stories and sending them straight to your inbox, I am saving you time.
More importantly, the Chronicle is dogshit and is staffed by far-left hacks; compare my recent #MeToo article with theirs, for example. If you read both, you’ll be shocked at how surface-level, biased, and incompetent their coverage is. One is hard hitting & original investigative journalism, the other is as shallow as a puddle, written for no other reason than to run interference for the woke mob.
If I am being honest, I let my ego get the better of me when this Chronicle article came out, and I sent their editors a scathing email about how dogshit they are, which of course they ignored... but it felt good to blow off some steam.
Anyways, without further ado, here are the 4 latest scandals that you should know about if you care about the utter collapse of the academy. Maybe you have heard about 1 or 2 of them… but I highly doubt that you have heard of all 4; the news cycle moves fast these days, and the mainstream press has incentives to downplay/suppress them.
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Scandal #1: UVA's Jussie Smollett Moment
I am covering this scandal first not because it is the most important, but because it’s the most straightforward to wrap your head around. It’s also the funniest — or most enraging, depending on your worldview.
This story is about a woman named Zaynab Bintabdul-Hadijakien, who was her high school’s valedictorian in 2020, before matriculating to the the University of Virginia.
This story was first reported by The College Fix. They obtained a police report 2 weeks ago via freedom of information request that showed Zaynab is “the primary suspect in a vandalism against the University of Virginia Black Cultural Center.” She was arrested and charged with a crime for this incident, although I can’t find exactly what crime she was charged with.
She (allegedly) threw a rock through a window at UVA’s Black Cultural Center. She was caught because she did it on camera. Police watched video footage that shows her throwing a rock through the window.
Presumably, the point of this fake hate crime was to blame it on white supremacy or the KKK or whatever, but her motives haven’t been proven in court yet. UVA said it was definitely not racially motivated, but refused to comment beyond that.
I think she’s mentally ill. When served with a warrant, she apparently asked the cop to shoot her, and another part of the police document says that an officer responded to a woman in “crisis.” Her potential mental illness doesn’t excuse her from faking a hate crime, though — this is serious shit — stoking racial tensions for outrage/victimhood is reprehensible to say the least. Will she be charged with a hate crime? Don’t hold your breath. She’ll get a light slap on the wrist… if that.
This rock throwing incident was initially condemned by the UVA chapter of the NAACP, but the NAACP “did not respond to a request for comment … when asked if it planned to release another statement with the knowledge now that the suspect is a black individual.”
The lesson here, as trite as it is, is that the demand for white supremacy hate crimes far exceeds the supply.
The other takeaway is that the media is biased.
If a white MAGA-bro was charged with attacking the Black Cultural Center, CNN, MSNBC, CBC, Axios, Huffington Post etc. would spend weeks freaking out about it, you wouldn’t be able to escape the coverage.
A white male would’ve been expelled by now.
Alas, this story never made it to anything approximating mainstream media, it was mostly swept under the rug.
Scandal #2: Top Psychologist Canceled by Woke Mob
This next scandal is most authoritatively covered by Lee Jussim on Substack:
Beyond that Substack coverage, this story never really went mainstream either. It was covered by the Chronicle, as well as a couple second-tier conservative outlets like Quilette & Washington Free Beacon, but beyond that I can’t find it anywhere.
Fiedler’s crime is that he dared to accept for publication an anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) paper written by cognitive neurophysiologist Bernhard Hommel. This is an “anti-CRT” paper because it is focused on eviscerating a 2020 article by Stanford University psychology professor Steven Roberts.
Roberts is black. Thus, it’s racist to criticize his paper.
Roberts’ paper which Hommel attacked is called “Racial Inequality in Psychological Research: Trends of the Past and Recommendations for the Future” and it is pretty much exactly what you picture it to be… marxist word-soup that complains about white editors, white authors, structural inequality, etc. etc.
It’s more complicated, though, than just “Fiedler accepted a paper going against Roberts”. This saga involved a whole convoluted shitshow about editorial process, publishing norms, and abuse of power, and there are months of back-and-forth emails to pore over between editors. I don’t want to to get too lost in the weeds — but in essence, I glean what happened is that when Fiedler sent Hommel’s paper out for review, the 3 referees that he sent it to wrote such poignant reports that Fiedler then invited them to publish these reports in the journal, too. Then he invited Roberts to publish a second paper responding to these reports.
You’d think Roberts would be thrilled about being handed an additional publication on a silver platter in one of the top journals in the world, but instead of accepting the free publication and responding to his critics in a scholarly manner (why not just eviscerate them back, in the journal? If they are wrong you should be able to easily prove they are wrong using logic), he went with the nuclear option and uploaded a manifesto crying about racism and editorial malfeasance. In this manifesto, Roberts accuses Fiedler of being “unsound, unscientific, ad hominem, and racist” and engaging in “general editorial incompetence and abuse of power.”
I’m genuinely surprised that he didn’t accuse them of lynching.
He missed out on some easy woke brownie points there.
One hilarious sticking point in this kafkaesque clusterfuck is that one of the referees, Lee Jussim, wrote this in his referee report:
To be sure, if some psychologists in some fields wish to devote extra effort and attention to samples of color, I have no objection. Special attention to samples of color deserves a place in psychological science. Let’s not pretend, however, that such samples are somehow inherently scientifically more rigorous than ones that more closely approximate the demographics of the underlying population. Scientists who wish to plow their fields with mules should permitted to do so; they should not, however, pretend that those mules are horses or suggest that, unless others give up their horses, they are doing something scientifically suboptimal.
Note the bolded text about a mule — this is a reference to the Fiddler on the Roof, where one the songs quips:
“Of course, there was the time he sold him a horse, and delivered a mule.”
They sing about the mule at the 5:48 of this video (sorry, I don’t know how to timestamp Youtube videos on Substack):
Roberts cried racism and claimed that the line "parallels people of color with mules" which is a "well-documented racist trope used to dehumanize people of color."
Robert's cries of racism worked — his manifesto led to a petition being circulated in the psychology profession calling for Fiedler’s dismissal. The petition was signed by roughly 1,400 psychologists… they all freaked out on Twitter, too, but I am not going to post thousands of their angry tweets here. You can imagine.
Their petition calling for Fiedler to be fired is as shrill and histrionic as you would expect it to be. Not only does it call for Fiedler to be fired, but it calls for:
Empower and fund your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to recommend and enact meaningful policy changes to address racism and intersecting dimensions of exclusion throughout the entire society, including in decisions about future APS journal editors.
Read: give us money
Draw on the many available recommendations for disrupting racism in publication practices. Considerable work already conducted by task forces at SPSP and APA) to improve representation, create accountability metrics, provide editor and reviewer guidelines to avoid common racist practices, develop feedback systems for when those guidelines fail, and practice and communicate inclusive journal values.
Read: give us affirmative action
Conduct remedial training for all editors on editorial ethics and anti-racism.
Read: mandatory reeducation camps
Grant [Dr. Roberts] any additional reparative action he might deem necessary.
Read: Give Roberts a blank cheque for whatever he wants.
A counter-petition arose, as it so often does, supporting Fiedler. This one was signed by just under 300 brave professors.
This is a common theme I repeatedly see in academic scandals — warring petitions.
After seeing so many petitions, and counter-petitions, and counter-counter-petitions, at this point I find it extremely tiresome and childlike. I understand that people have the right to sign their name to oppose something they disagree with, but 100% of the time it ends up being a dogpile where one woke side pretends they are in the moral right simply because they have more people. The other side, invariably, has less people willing to stand up risk their career to say “CRT and DEI is unscientific,” so they always lose.
Here is a good example of such a warring-petition scandal in the math world:
Within 2 days of these petitions, the executive director of AJP‘s publisher stated that Fiedler had violated the journal's "diversity and inclusion policies” and demanded that Fiedler resign or be terminated.
Two days later, Klaus Fiedler resigned.
Fiedler says that he never had a chance to present his side of things to the APS, and that “the whole controversy played out while he was attending a conference in Israel, and so unable to fully engage with his critics.”
This is the reality facing academics today: One can be accused of a career-ending transgression at any time, convicted without trial, and summarily dispatched by an employer seeking to appease the performatively aggrieved.
— The Quillette Editorial Board
Seizing control of this journal is a major coup for the woke.
The long march through the institutions continues.
Scandal #3: President of Stanford Under Fire For Research Misconduct
This is a huge story. The President of Stanford University might not survive it.
It was first reported by Theo Baker, an undergrad at Stanford who works as a staff writer for the Stanford Daily.
After breaking this original story, he follows up with three more stories:
Speaking as someone who has covered dozens of academic scandals and has read more articles about research misconduct than I care to admit, I will say that this is some of the strongest original reporting I have seen recently, so kudos to Theo Baker… even if he does have “he/they” pronouns in his Twitter bio.
It should be noted that while Baker did the original reporting, he didn‘t uncover the fraud himself, per se. He just broke the story to the masses. He got this story by browsing PubPeer, a site that allows scientists to identify suspected anomalies in publications.
The Stanford President is alleged to have manipulated imagery and digitally altered pictures in at least 5 of his papers — he photoshopped his results.
What usually happens in these types of cases is that if you have 5 papers under investigation for something as blatant as photoshopping your results, the rest of your papers become under investigation, and those are usually fraudulent as well. It’s usually a house of cards.
We'll how it ends — Stanford has opened its own investigation.
To be continued.
Scandal #4: Troons Shut Down Free Speech at the University of Edinburgh
This is a huge scandal unfolding in Scotland right now, but you probably haven’t heard about it because it never went worldwide. But trust me, the UK is freaking out right now, with this story being featured in all their biggest papers.
Even Greta Thunberg has inserted herself into the fray, for some reason.
What happened in this episode is that the University of Edinburgh was supposed to screen a documentary called “Adult Human Female” on December 14th, two days ago. This is is a movie about women fighting for their sex-based rights, and was invited to screen at the University by the Edinburgh Academics for Academic Freedom (EAAF).
Many trans/LGBT groups didn’t want it to go ahead, but surprisingly the University of Edinburgh administration slapped them down. A university spokesperson said: “We stand by our decision to let AFAF hold the screening of Adult Human Female. As part of our commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom, it is our duty to make sure staff and students feel able to discuss controversial topics and that each event allows for debate."
When it came time to actually screen the film, however, trans activists blocked the doors with a human barricade so that nobody could enter the room. It got so rowdy that security then asked everyone to leave the building, so the event did not go ahead.
You can watch part of the scuffle here:
Obviously, this incident is concerning because the use of force to prevent the free exchange of ideas and to shut down public events is… bad. Very bad. It’s a heckler’s veto.
The fallout is still unfolding, and politicians such as Tess White, the Shadow Minister for Public Health, Women's Health and Sport, have already started grandstanding about it.
I suspect this is a pyrrhic victory for the trans/fascist community — they’ve shut down the screening, but in doing so, have Streisand-effected the movie by placing it at the center of national discourse in the UK, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that an order of magnitude more people will see it now. Great advertising.
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