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Racist UMich Prospective Students Go on Group Chat...

Racist UMich Prospective Students Go on Group Chat, Forget their Admissions Are Provisional

On the day of the inauguration, University of Michigan prospective student Alex Whitley used a racial slur in the class’s public group chat. The organization Students4Justice want the admissions office to hold him accountable. For details on the event and to help spread the word, check out the Facebook event page here.

In addition to the slur, the chat quickly became a clusterfuck of bigotry and bad opinions, with racism, sexism, and cissexism tossed around in the abstract and targeted against specific students. As with many such debates, this wasn’t a healthy one. It ignored historical and political realities to make false equivalencies about race and accuse specific students of benefiting from affirmative action. It was a mess, and the university would be completely in the right to revoke admissions for prospective students who show that they’re going to harass their marginalized peers.

And now to get a few tired counter-arguments out of the way. Free speech is not under attack here, because if you want to toss around racial slurs, you can just go on Twitter or whatever number chan they’re on now.  There wouldn’t be a similar outcry if a student used the word “cracker,” but there shouldn’t be, because that’s an insult with as much real-world political force behind it as “butt-head.” If Alex Whitley does indeed have his admissions revoked, then it won’t be Students4Justice who got him kicked out but the heinous shit he said of his own volition in a public forum. And so help you god if anyone uses the word “coddled” in the course of arguing that a legal adult should not be held responsible for his actions.

Again, the Facebook link is here. Share the event!

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In a perfect world, I’d be a professor who teaches poetry using episodes of mediocre sci-fi procedurals, but for now, I’m just a tutor who watches a lot of TV. I got my BA from Kalamazoo College in English with a focus on creative writing, and someday soon I’d like to go back to academia.

Most of my formal teaching training was as a creative writing TA, but I’ve used those skills professionally more to tutor math and write data entry training materials. And though I’d like to focus my work on what I’m really passionate about (which is Netflix binges and outdated video games, mostly), it’s the craft of teaching and writing that keeps me coming back. That’s why I’m excited to be a part of High Faluter: I’m finding that academia doesn’t just stay in academia. And if I can bring crappy midbrow entertainment into academia too, well, all the better. You can find me on Twitter: @StewartFinnegan


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