The Chancellor of the University of Maine system is reviewing a taxpayer funded course that offered free credit hours to students participating in a trip to Washington, D.C. to protest Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“The use of institutional resources to advance a partisan agenda violates Board policies established to ensure Maine’s public universities remain non-partisan and politically neutral,” said James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Inviting arrest for college credit goes much further, violating the trust our students, their families, and Maine taxpayers have placed in our universities and could result in serious professional consequences.”
Big League Politics first reported Wednesday:
“Students can earn 1 credit FREE for enrolling in this Pop-Up course on “Engaged Citizenship,” the email said. “The requirements of the pop-up include: busing overnight to Washington D.C. to join activists, political action groups and social justice organizations to meet Sen. Collins. Rally up around the FBI investigation of the Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.”
The email describes the trip’s agenda, which includes the students being “escorted to the capitol Thursday morning.”
“This Pop-Up Course is Tuition FREE for all matriculated USM undergrads,” according to the email. Tuition fees waved at completion of course.”
A Google doc attachment asks students what type of protest they are interested in – including whether they are willing to get arrested, and informs the students that “bail is about $50/arrest,” instructing them to “have a plan.”
Glenn Cummings, University of Southern Maine president, released the following statement:
“This pop-up course was hastily arranged in the past 24 hours, without the knowledge of the Provost or myself. It was not appropriately reviewed nor went through proper channels. As soon as the Provost and I were apprised of the course, we immediately pulled the one-credit offering. We also made sure that no USM monies were being used for the trip. University policy makes it absolutely clear that our public, taxpayer funded institutions must be non-partisan in terms of political activity and institutionally impartial in all political, religious and social matters that are unrelated to our universities’ core mission of education, research, and public service.”
But late Wednesday evening, Susan Feiner, a former professor at the school said that school was indeed funding such “pop-up” courses, and that trips like the one to D.C. to protest Kavanaugh are the designed purpose of the courses.
“Dr. Feiner is technically retired,” Cummings said in a statement. “Dr. Feiner acted in a very rogue manner. Her behavior was inappropriate. It was unacceptable.”
FLASHBACK: Three Recent Supreme Court Justices Were Confirmed Within 45 Days
There’s ample precedent for a quick confirmation.
There are 45 days until the November 3rd presidential election, and there’s ample precedent for an expedited confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice in such a timeframe following a vacancy.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday, setting up a possible contentious confirmation process to fill her seat. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pledging that a tentative Trump administration nominee for the position will receive a vote on the Senate floor, despite outrage and indignation on the part of progressives falsely maintaining that McConnell is breaking precedent he set by refusing to confirm Merrick Garland. President Obama tried to get Garland confirmed when the opposing party controlled the Senate, a divided government that does not exist in 2020.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg herself was formally nominated by President Clinton on June 22nd, 1993. Her confirmation process began on July 20th, and she was confirmed on August 3rd, with a total of 42 days elapsing between her nomination and confirmation.
John Paul Stevens’ nomination was advanced and confirmed in a speedy 19 days, and Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed in 1981 in a total of 33 days.
In fact, every single Supreme Court nomination of the past 45 years was nominated and voted upon within a shorter duration of the time remaining in Donald Trump’s first presidential term.
Yes, Trump has time to nominate and get his nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court. EVERY SINGLE VOTE ON A #SCOTUS NOMINEE OF THE LAST 45 YEARS was voted on in less time than what Trump has between now and the end of his current term. pic.twitter.com/og5aOZsiw1
— Matt Batzel (@MattBatzel) September 19, 2020
There’s actually wide precedent for nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice within the confines of President Trump’s first term, and Democrats are being untruthful or erroneous to suggest otherwise.
McConnell is beginning initial work to advance confirmation hearings, with potential liberal Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski presenting themselves as possible holdouts. It is possible to approve a judge with 50 votes in the Senate and a Vice Presidential tiebreaker.
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