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.
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Dallas County Safer-at-Home Order in Effect Until April 30, Could be Extended
On Friday, April 3, 2020 Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins clarified that his Safer-at-Home order is in effect until April 30. This came after the commissioner’s court signed off an extension of the county’s disaster declaration until May 20 earlier in the day. This led to confusion about how long the stay at home order would remain in place.
According to members of the commissioner’s court, the extension of both the disaster declaration and Safer-at-Home order were greenlit until May 20. The vote to approve the extension of the disaster declaration was conducted on Friday morning during a special meeting of the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court. At the meeting, Jenkins shared numerous Wuhan virus projection models illustrating a rise in the number of which are expected to peak in the county on April 20.
However, Jenkins clarified on Friday afternoon that the Safer-at-Home orders and the Disaster Declaration are different documents and that the commissioner’s court approved the extension to the Disaster Declaration, although it was still up to him to determine the effective dates of his Safer-at-Home order.
On Twitter, Jenkins revealed that the Safer-at-Home order will now go into effect through April 30. Jenkins noted that he has the power to extend the Safer-at-Home order until May 20 if he has to, since the disaster declaration had been approved until that date.
Jenkins tweeted, “Based on the extension of the Declaration of Disaster granted today, I am extending the Dallas County Safer at Home Order to April 30. The Declaration of Disaster is necessary to provide the tools to lead you through this. The Safer at Home Orders are the rules we ask of you.”
Based on the extension of the Declaration of Disaster granted today, I am extending the Dallas County Safer at Home Order to April 30. The Declaration of Disaster is necessary to provide the tools to lead you through this. The Safer at Home Orders are the rules we ask of you.
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) April 3, 2020
County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who represents the southern portion of Dallas, was the only person who voted against the plan claiming that the restrictions that are currently in effect are “choking” his constituents and recommended that the court allow pawn shops to stay open as an essential business so that people could have easier access to cash.
“We’re going to just kill off an entire community in the next 60 days.” Price declared. “Pick our poison. We either go with COVID-19 and die or we just economically die.”
Certain businesses have been greatly impacted by these closures.
Bar owner Joe Hinkson revealed that he’s lost more than 90 percent of his business.
“I’m livid,” Hinkson stated. “A bar has a short shelf life typically and to survive and prosper and grow in the 10-year period, and be open for 11 years and have something like this happen.”
However, the more progressive urban centers in Texas will look to find ways to make people’s lives miserable.
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