Discrimination at Cal Poly? Say it isn’t so

March 13, 2013
Roger Freberg

Roger Freberg

OPINION By ROGER FREBERG

(Editor’s note: This is part two in a two-part opinion piece.)

“It’s not every day that left-leaning academics admit that they would discriminate against a minority.” – Washington Post

College life today

College has changed since the 70s. For one thing, it is ridiculously expensive these days. Parents are paying $60,000 per year at private universities, and I think the price tag is leading to a lot of new questions.

Question: Do you still have to be a good “parrot” of your professor’s political ideology to succeed?

Answer: Yes, you do!

Question: Is it worth it?

If you talk to Cal Poly students today, you will find that the political climate on campus is much more extreme than the one I experienced in the Vietnam era 1970s. Nowadays, it’s not enough to conform to your professors’ ideas in essays and papers; you can expect to be humiliated on a regular basis if you are conservative and are expected to ridicule others if you are not.

So, why do faculties feel so free to publicly humiliate the students in their charge? One reason is that they know they are among like minded friends. There are no peers or supervisors on campus who might complain about their boorish behavior. Their bad behavior unfortunately extends beyond the classroom, marginalizing not like minded faculty and restricting access to things like sabbaticals, grants and opportunities to all but ‘their people.” My wife hasn’t had a sabbatical in years, even though she continues to try, but that is another story. She knows why and has a good sense of humor about it.

In walks Jonathan Haidt

Over the past few years, a psychologist named Jonathan Haidt (formerly at the University of Virginia, now at NYU) began to challenge his colleagues about the lack of conservative voices in psychology. After all, psychologists talk a lot about stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination; he felt a need for balance was missing. At a convention of personality and social psychologists, Haidt asked the proverbial question to over 1000 attendees, “How many of you are conservatives?” Would you be surprised to learn that only three hands went up?

“This ‘statistically impossible lack of diversity’ likely leads to discrimination against political conservatives and an unwillingness to consider alternative hypotheses in research, Haidt told the audience” (as reported by Napp Nazworth).

Haidt said that there are two risks from a lack of intellectual diversity. First, this limits the questions that will be asked. Secondly, existing data will be skewed and misinterpreted. Most people raise an eyebrow or two when they are presented ‘facts’ that are designed to manipulate your opinion or actions. Holy Sequester!

Only skewing the facts Ma’am

Let’s see the misinterpretations at work. Gender studies professors believe that biological differences between men and women, other than reproductive systems, are “small and behaviorally insignificant.” At the same time, they will argue that 100 percent of sexual orientation is the result of, you guessed it, biological differences. They seem blissfully unaware that the sexual orientation researchers used the existing studies on the difference between men and women’s brains as a starting place for their work. Biology is okay when it fits the leftist world-view, but otherwise it’s meaningless. This is why some many people have lost faith in bad science in general and many debunked scientists in particular.

We also see academic articles smugly reporting that conservatives are more “fearful” than liberals, based on arousal measure like eye blink rates. A better understanding is to note that most of the American military tilts conservative, and it is unlikely that Marines are more “fearful” than a bunch of liberal college professors. Instead, perhaps we could say that conservatives respond to perceived threat more than liberals do. This could go a long way in explaining differences between the political groups in matters of foreign policy. Conservatives see a problem on the horizon and liberals don’t see it until it falls into their laps.

The unwillingness to look at data straight without the filter of political bias, is not just an academic problem, but one that has cost many lives. Several years ago, the FDA was running clinical trials for a new heart medication. At first glance, the data looked unimpressive. But then some bright, unbiased researcher noticed that the drug only worked extremely well on African-Americans, but not people of other races. Instead of approving the drug with instructions for physicians regarding who would benefit, the FDA sat on the drug for several years out of fear that the approval would show that race was somewhat biological, rather than just a “social construct.” If your grandmother had died during those years because of someone’s misguided political correctness, how are you supposed to feel?

As the eminent Harvard linguist Steven Pinker once said, “facts are not biased.” It’s how people use facts that can be biased.

Over a beer with Inbar and Lammers

In the audience of one of Haidt’s talks were two Dutch psychologists, Yoel Inbar and Joel Lammers. They simply could not believe what they were hearing and seeing, and over a beer (probably Heineken, they are Dutch), they decided to test it out. They sent questionnaires to all members of their professional organization (SPSP) representing personality and social psychologists. Their findings were amazing, as reported below:

“1) the best estimate we have of conservatives in social psych is 6 percent (presumably almost all grad students);

2) there really is a hostile climate for conservatives, and

3) conservatives are likely to face active discrimination when they try to publish or apply for grants or jobs.

The Inbar and Lammers findings are explained in Inside Higher Ed, and on many blog posts such as Assoc. for Psych Science.” — Jonathan Haidt’s University of Virginia webpage

We have all heard the stereotypes offered by leftists — conservatives are stupid, too money-grubbing, and too closed-minded to enter academia. Inbar and Lammers paint a very different and more sinister and realistic picture:

“More than a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate. One respondent wrote in that if department members ‘could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them.’” – Washington Post

Inbar and Lammers also point out that based on numbers alone, the discrepancy among personality and social psychologists meets the legal definition of discrimination (Teamsters vs. United States, 1977).

Okay, you’re thinking, social psychologists are a relatively small group of faculty. Surely not all faculties are like that?! Well, as my wife’s dissertation advisor, Robert Rescorla, was fond of saying, “it’s an empirical question.”

The Cal Poly experiment – A case of discrimination

One enterprising Cal Poly undergraduate recently undertook a replication of the Inbar and Lammers study, with an expanded view. First, he surveyed all departments across four CSU campuses, receiving nearly 700 responses, and second, he asked mirrored questions about whether liberals experienced discrimination and whether conservatives would discriminate against liberals. (In the second part of this article, he will share his results with you.)

His research has already gathered a lot of attention. It has been accepted for presentation at the prestigious Association for Psychological Science (APS) annual convention in Washington, D. C. in May and also at the Western Psychological Association (WPA) annual convention in April. He also shared his work with Yoel Inbar, who was very supportive of what he had done.

Next came the reality test, the Cal Poly student wondered how can you show that biased individuals will actually follow through with active discrimination. He decided to present his project to Cal Poly’s selection committee to see if it would be chosen to be one of 10 sent on to the CSU research competition. As expected, his project was not chosen; in fact, it was enthusiastically not chosen by one account. Just for reference, some of the selected projects, one in particular, was professionally embarrassing.

Specifically, the Cal Poly selection committee objected vehemently to the axis labels on his histograms and questioned just about everything but his manhood. I’m not kidding. Frankly, some unqualified committee members were making observations and criticisms about his use of statistics with apparently little understanding of the topic. By contrast, one outside reviewer thought that his study was a remarkable dissertation project (leading to a doctorate) and found it hard to believe that is was merely a study by an exceptional undergraduate.

Does the study by the young researcher show that Cal Poly meets the “legal definition of discrimination?” My guess is that they probably do, but you can read it for yourself soon enough.

Stay tuned for the Cal Poly Research “that you were never supposed to know about” in part two.

Roger Freberg is a San Luis Obispo resident who is using his retirement to write a culinary-inspired blog, comment on important local events and occasionally enjoy getting sued for his journalistic excellence.

 


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r0y

This was just to help pave the way for COMMON CORE – one of the most insidious creations of mankind, when looked at in-depth.


We never saw it coming, and we’ll just be expected to comply… and now we have all the new college grads, properly “educated” to be mere data-drones, passing through Corporate/Governmental dictates directly to our youngest.


Our education system is beyond seriously flawed, and most people (teachers included) do not even realize how far down the rabbit hole we are.


rogerfreberg

Take a day off and make something yummy for those you love… here’s my favorite St. Paddy’s Day Recipe:


http://karenfreberg.com/CornedBeefPie.htm


Slowerfaster

Oh My Gosh !

At first reading, i thought it was a recipe for cannibal Irish stew !


Then, I read slower. PRAISE !


Had to have a Bushmill’s and a Guiness to settle me nerves !


Ted Slanders

Roger,


To take the limelight off of you, for obvious reasons, you’re now turning your main topic into a Martha Stewart recipe thread? Huh? You should have included an appropriate hard drink for this recipe too. As if the Irish need another reason to drink.


Listen, as before, I don’t expect you to answer this post of mine, as you didn’t with me addressing your ever so wanting post below where you proffered that “the enemy of the school system is the left.” So, just get back and use your time, as you’ve done already, to continue acquiescing and apologizing to the alumni here at CCN regarding your over zealous position to the topic at hand.


It’s entertaining to watch you bounce around on said topic. Reminds me of Mitt Romney when he ran for president and failed the first and second time.


rogerfreberg

A LITTLE MORE BACKGROUND — “INDOCTRINATE U”


This film was done a few years ago and met with catcalls from the left and academic administrators along with claims that these things never happened… but seeing how attacks on ‘free speech’ have grown and become institutionalized on university campuses, it was a foreshadowing of bad things to come. Oh yes… Cal Poly was one of the stars… are you surprised?


INDOCTRINATE U http://www.indoctrinate-u.com/intro/


(sections are also available on YouTube)


Majorities never worry about free speech… minority opinions do.


rogerfreberg

Okay…. guilty as charged. I do tend to throw the proverbial fire bomb and watch. It is so much fun.


However, this is quite a different case.


My main purpose of addressing this issue in two parts was to: first, set a little background on the area of political discrimination on campus first explored by Inbar and Lammers within the substructure of Social Psychologists; and secondly, introduce PART2 which is the study of Cal Poly and their den of iniquity.


My hope is that with the realization that the so called ‘good guys’ of Cal Poly are actually spewing, stammering hate mongers ( was that over the top? I cant really tell) that discriminate on anyone not agreeing with their particular point of view. ;) Okay, saying that was fun and I am sure that there are a fair few guiltily squirming out there… but get over it.


Inbar and Lammers wrote a nice report and here’s the link:


http://www.academia.edu/1989546/Multifaceted_Problems_Liberal_Bias_and_the_Need_for_Scientific_Rigor_in_Self-Critical_Research


The real problem is not one of false perception by paranoid conservatives… but an analysis of what leftists and liberals have said and reported very clearly…. that they will block the hire, promotion, grants and benefits of their profession from those not agreeing with them… and conservatives in particular.


Now… what is to be done about such a hostile workplace? Cal Poly needs to change,too.


Slowerfaster

Oh, grow up! The false victimhood is nauseatingly pathetic.


rogerfreberg

Data is the Data.


I am always amazed that when the left sees the data, confronted with the facts and backed into a corner… they retreat with the same old tired out slogans of distraction… Why not just use your typical epithet of “the survey is just WRONG!”.


When a critical mass of professors say they will discriminate… when they say they will block grants and papers … when they say they ‘hate’… we should believe them.


Cal Poly needs to change.


Slowerfaster

Oh, Horsefeathers! This is just typically unimaginative boilerplate conservative activism, masquerading as ‘research’.

it begins with the premise that there is institutional discrimination against conservatives on US college campuses and then fills in the blanks with it’s own manufactured and suspect ‘data’. Proves nothing, except a proclivity to find self-fulfilling conclusions.


This reminds me of the “Brooks Brothers Riot”, that was presented as evidence to abort democracy in the 2000 presidential election.


These are the tactics of today’s reactionaries: create a phony crisis where none exists; then use the fracas to justify and push their far-right agenda.


Willow

Typical liberal – won’t accept reality – attacks the messenger with emotion & name-calling, not facts. Obviously, you must luv Poly. As a former student and former employee at Poly, I can attest to the blatant sex discrimination, age discrimination, religious discrimination, and political-view discrimination. Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it don’t happen. Free-speech, and free thinking, on campus is basically locked-down as everything must be pre-approved by a bunch of arrogant academic know-it-all liberals who think leading you over a cliff into the abyss of ignorant prejudice and just plain mean arrogance is what makes one a better human being. Surely anyone with half a brain can note the correlation between increased “liberalism” and increased moral decay that’s taken place across the country over the last 40 years. Don’t spew back insults (a diversionary tactic used by the ignorant) – look it up.


Ted Slanders

willow,


Quit your crying and whining! If you could afford to go to Cal Poly, then why didn’t you pick a religious college that suits “your” flavor of religion and politics to be spoon fed your way of thinking? By going to Poly you accepted it’s alleged protocols while being there and didn’t do anything about it accept to complain. If you didn’t know these alleged facts beforehand, then you didn’t do your homework, so don’t act like a baby after the fact!


YOUR QUOTE: “Surely anyone with half a brain can note the correlation between increased “liberalism” and increased moral decay that’s taken place across the country over the last 40 years.”


YOUR FOLLOW UP QUOTE: “Don’t spew back insults (a diversionary tactic used by the ignorant) – look it up.”


CONCLUSION: Then using your terms of ignorance, you’re ignorant!


Case closed.


OnTheOtherHand

Without seeing the study details and the analysis of the results, it is hard to judge the conclusions Roger has reached. However, I suspect that there may be at least some truth to it based on my (admittedly distant) observations of the personalities involved — especially in the Liberal Arts programs.


Case in point: Adam Hill. I won’t get into many of the critiques of his actions here but I do want to focus on his personality and attitude. I suspect that as a member of an authoritarian establishment called “the Faculty,” he has had a long career of assuming that his expertise in one field automatically carries over to others. It is highly doubtful that students challenged his opinions on ANY subjects in the classrooms — at least not without consequence.


I suspect that he never even considered that views opposing his own could possibly be valid when he entered the political field which may explain why he has been so arrogant in his expression and frustrated/angry in his responses to those that challenge him. He may even have been surprised to find that his positions could be questioned by intelligent people once he moved outside the echo chamber of academia and shocked that his normal demeanor is considered arrogant by substantial numbers of the general public. In other words, I speculate that he is basically a chronologically advanced version of the spoiled rich kid who suddenly found that the rest of the world didn’t share his parents adoration for him.


I also suspect that he is far from unique in the academic world in this sense.


Slowerfaster

Author Thomas Frank explains the contemporary conservative groupthink in his last two books.


These excerptx from “What is the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America” :

“While earlier forms of of conservatism emphasized fiscal sobriety, the backlask mobilizes voters with explosive social issues…which is then married to pro-business economics”.”

“Whereas liberals are thought to erupt self-righteously whenever they feel like it, conservatives believe that they are never permitted to say what they really think”.

“The backlash is a theory of how the political world works, but it also provides a ready made identity in which the glamor of authenticity, combined with the narcissism of victimhood is available to almost anyone”.


And from “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule”:

“The big government that ( conservatives) rail against is, by and large, their government. For a political faction to represent itself as a rebellion against a government for which it is itself responsible for may strike you as a supremely cynical maneuver”.


OnTheOtherHand

So your point is that “Conservatives” share many of the same flaws as “Liberals?” I guess that is a plausible statement.


Ted Slanders

Just a quick sidebar, since my godly arrival here at CCN, I must say, it is refreshing to actually see ol’ Roger following up on his statements for a change, instead of using his normal “hit and run” tactics.


Subjectively, Rogers stand alone responses are seemingly prescripted, but what the hell, it’s a start for him to actually engage for a change.


For the present, congratulations Roger!


lolomike

Slowerfaster and her/his cohorts, in their blind dash to bash, actually reinforce the thesis of this article. Saying I can holler the loudest and longest, with names, catcalls and slurs proclaim that since I don’t agree with you, you are wrong. What ever happened to intelligent debate?


This always happens on blogs where postings are anonymous. Make an idiot of yourself, no one will know who you are.


Mike Smith

Lolo, MT


Slowerfaster

“What ever happened to intelligent debate?”


The intelligent debaters are gone.

No more William F. Buckley’s or Barry Goldwater’s. Responsible, thinking, real conservatives like Everett Dirksen, Dwight Eisenhower …even Richard Nixon, who could still compromise and cut a deal. Gone.


We’re dealing with a splinter… an extremis minority of enemies of the New Deal, McCarthyite witch hunters, Jim Crow racists, John Bircher haters of everything, Randian supremacists, economic royalists; and assorted nihilists, tribalists, and escapees from mental institutions.


No sane person can have reasonable conversation with these types Anyone would be crazy to try to.

They define the terms by their beliefs . Their unflinching and vehement devotion to notions that have been disproven, unworkable, and just plan wrong is stunning.


liberalsforamerica

I believe the intelligent debaters are gone because they wish not to have to deal with debating or arguing with those as conceded and ignorant as yourself. Bring some facts to the table that may discredit or disprove the above information wrong. Bring an actual argument forward rather than wasting our time and your own time hammering those with different beliefs other than yours with slander and immaturity. You are the epitome of just the perfect senseless disgrace to the leftists of the modern day. Get off your couch and find something more appropriate and useful to do with your time rather than bagging on something you have no knowledge, facts, or arguments against.


isoslo

What a conceded and ignorant response


rogerfreberg

agreed… well said.


Willow

Anyone can post the same rant right back at ya.


rogerfreberg

Oh PlEEeeeease…


“Debate” isn’t what you desire… its censorship. You did a nice job of rambling… but no facts, Jack.


Slowerfaster

Uh, no. It’s only ‘censorship’ ( to you ) when facts disagree with your premise.


Your loose opinions, strawman arguments, and choreographed ‘polls’ don’t count as facts.


liberalsforamerica

Then put up some facts of your own. Pretty simple really. All you have to offer is bickering and ignorance. If you don’t like what you’re reading then leave. It’s quite simple really. No need to stay and try to claim falsehood to something that you have no facts against, as you’re only making yourself look like an idiot.


liberalsforamerica

Yet then again I suppose this is the liberal way of doing things nowadays, so it really comes as no surprise at all to me.


rogerfreberg

I love liberals …and leftists even more… I really do. They make me smile.


No one can prove a conservative’s point any better than when a wild eyed leftist who starts ranting and raving about folks who disagree with their belief structure. It is their self doubt and insecurity showing.


Cal Poly has long claimed that they are the ‘conservative alternative to Berkeley’… a claim they make every time they go out and try to raise money; but this is simply not true. They are — in the words of one professor — more interested in “rewarding compliance than in fostering achievement” It is said that the new Provost intends to cancel the academic honors program as it interferes with their vision of equality. Cal Poly markets itself well… but the truth is quite different.


When we look at the true enemy of education… just look to your left.


—————


Oh by-the-way… since there has been some second amendment talk… this may surprise some of you, but gun ownership like membership in the National Rifle Association cuts across party affiliations and ideological beliefs. We may not be able to agree on who should be president, for example… but we can agree on the second amendment. We have often been called ‘the third party…’ and there are more of us than the other two.


Ted Slanders

Roger,


“When we look at the true enemy of education… just look to your left.”


Roger, you’re so correct on this premise! As but one example, just look at those damn LIEberals in how most of them don’t want the Judeo-Christian Creation truth taught in schools, but they want the students to rely upon Satanic Science! What a joke, huh?


Seriously, who could believe in the LIEberals that promote Evilution, where we’re allegedly made from primordial soup and star stuff, and evolved into what we’re today? Where they state the earth is millions of years old, and that the earth is not the center of the universe, and the earth is not flat. What a scientific joke to the true Christian that actually reads ALL of their bible!


As you’re aware, it is far easier for the conservative Christian to believe, and to promote within our schools, the bible’s Creation narrative, where the earth is only about 6-8 thousand years old. In that Adam was formed out of clay, Eve being created from Adam’s rib, the infamous “talking snake”, aka, Satan, the Tree of Knowledge, the flaming sword “flashing” back and forth (Gen 3:24), and the other biblical events of this narrative.


Yes Roger, in the year of 2013, the left is most certainly the enemy of religious logic 101 in our schools. Our children must be biblically indoctrinated with like material as shown above so they are able to join the world in a serious and respectful manner, praise!


kettle

If you don’t believe the primordial soup and star stuff then you must be waiting for his return.


http://i.imgur.com/JcZo916.png (credit to B. Hicks)