The Trump administration is putting pressure on the University of North Carolina and Duke University to change their joint Middle East studies program or risk losing federal funding.
The Education Department sent the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies a letter on August 29 criticizing the program for disproportionately portraying “the positive aspects of Islam.” The Associated Press reports that the agency demanded that the two universities reform the program by September 22 or lose a grant they’ve been receiving for nearly a decade.
The National Resource Center gives grants to programs that promote foreign language learning.
The Education Department claimed in its letter that foreign language and national security have “taken a back seat to other priorities” that have “little or no relevance” to the grant’s principal objectives.
The agency also wrote that the program puts “considerable emphasis” on the “understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”
The program has until the deadline of September 22 to send a “revised schedule of activities” and detail how each is connected to foreign language and national security.
“It is patently false that the Department is reviewing the program as being too positive on Islam,” a department spokesperson told The Hill. “We’re reviewing UNC-Duke’s use of grant funds because we are concerned that they have not followed congressional requirements for the program — that students must learn a foreign language and hear diverse regional perspectives.”
“Our inquiry has nothing to do with their program having an Islamic bias,” the spokesperson continued. “Pro-Islamic programming isn’t the concern — it’s the lack of diversity and foreign language learning.”
A spokesperson representing the Duke-UNC consortium declared in a statement that “the Consortium deeply values its partnership with the Department of Education and has always been strongly committed to complying with the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program.”
“In keeping with the spirit of this partnership, the Consortium is committed to working with the Department to provide more information about its programs,” the spokesperson added.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos‘s investigation into the consortium started after Congressman George Holding forwarded her a letter criticizing the program for holding a conference with “severe anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
DeVos stated that she was “troubled” by the letter and would look into the consortium, The Associated Press reported.
Ideally, the federal government would not be subsidizing these education programs.
Instead, private entities or at least state governments would be funding university programs.
What this case shows is American university’s embrace of political correctness culture, where certain religions like Islam are given a positive spin, while other faiths like Christianity get constantly demonized.
Even in the 21st century, Islam still has a ways to go in reforming many of its brutal practices, something many universities across the nation whitewash.
Universities should be about free inquiry and fierce debate, not PC coddling.
And in no way should taxpayers be financing universities’ PC curricula.
Black Rifle Coffee Does Not Support Second Amendment Hero Kyle Rittenhouse
At this Time, Cons
Black Rifle Coffee, a coffee company based in Salt Lake City, is not defending 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.
The company said that it was against a tweet that Blaze Media reporter, Elijah Schaeffer, posted that featured Rittenhouse wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company shirt captioned “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America.” Rittenhouse was released on November 20, 2020 after supporters were able to raise $2 million for his bail.
In the tweet, Schaeffer posted a discount code for the coffee. Sara Tabin of The Salt Lake Tribune noted that online Twitter users “questioned whether the coffee company had a sponsorship deal with Rittenhouse and accused it of supporting murder and hate.”
This prompted Black Rifle Coffee, the sponsor of the Slightly Offens*ve podcast, to release a statement on November 21 declaring that it is not sponsoring or supporting Rittenhouse.
Initially, there was a misunderstanding about the company withdrawing its sponsorship of Slightly Offens*ve. However, a spokesperson for the company told the Salt Lake Tribune on November 21 that “We are not fluctuating our ad spend.” The coffee spokesperson added “We did have a conversation with Schaffer, and he understands that the post was a mistake.”
She stressed, “We don’t traffic in national tragedy and to us, that’s what this is. We are not legal experts or members of law enforcement. We fully support all law enforcement officials and believe in the integrity of the legal system.”
The spokesperson reiterated that the company will maintain its sponsorship of Blaze Media. She explained: “Our concern is that use of the discount code in the post did not reflect our values. That’s a concern we’ve addressed with the journalist and that he understands.”
Blaze employees “make decisions about how to allocate ad dollars within the Blaze,” she remarked. Although the spokesperson did not go into further detail about the company’s status as a podcast sponsor, it noted that the coffee company and the Blaze are in talks about “how to move forward with the allocation of ad dollars.”
Black Rifle Coffee positions itself as a pro-Second Amendment, conservative company that was founded by veterans. Black Rifle Coffee co-founder Evan Hafer released a statement on November 21 declaring that “We do not support legal advocacy efforts. We do not sponsor nor do we have a relationship with the 17-year-old facing charges in Kenosha, WI.”
At the moment, Rittenhouse is facing two counts of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a Black Lives Matter riot back in August. In addition, he’s being charged with one count of being a minor in possession of a firearm. During the riots, Rittenhouse was attacked by Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse was carrying an AR-style rifle as he was walking down the street to protect private property from looters.
It is disappointing to see supposedly pro-Second Amendment businesses fold to the mob. Although the Left is very effective at mass politics and causing certain businesses to get cancelled, some businesses will have to take a stand. Submission to these radicals only encourages them to become bolder in their attacks.
Can Americans actually grow a spine for once?
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