A Suppression of Thought on Campus?

By Montecito Journal   |   November 2, 2021

MIT’s earth, atmospheric sciences department just cancelled a lecturer on climate because the speaker, at another venue and on a different subject, expressed an opinion arguing that universities are too obsessed with “diversity, equity, and inclusion” or DEI “which threatens to derail their primary mission: the production and dissemination of knowledge.” That cancellation actually proved the lecturer’s point. So much for “inclusion” of “diverse” viewpoints.

MIT like Yale, Michigan, and so many universities nowadays, insist on DEI values, but what they really should expect is human decency? These DEI values now being promoted on campus should be part of a “code of conduct” or goals of accepted behavior in any college community-and elsewhere. They are not a university’s aspirational academic goals like scholarship, reason, inquiry, and hard work. Trying to make people respected and valued is not a university’s mission but a conduct goal. You cannot make someone be decent, you can only lead by examples of decency, respect, and civility. The exact opposite of what the Earth Science Department at MIT showed the lecturer they cancelled.

But even worse, the DEI movement on campus has become perverted to mean the “one truth” and dominates the aspirations of teaching, curriculum, admissions, hiring, activities, and even research agendas. Take diversity, it should involve a wide range of beliefs, values, and experiences essential to the spirit of inquiry and exploration that lies at the heart of academic life. Who wants a campus where everyone is alike? But diversity, as it is understood on campus today, means something quite different from that; it means critical race theory, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Diversity, in this sense, is not an academic value. Its origin and aspiration are dogmatic and more like the “bureau of correct thinking”. Now, diversity encourages minority students, and eventually all students, to think that a departure from certain beliefs or “truths” is in fact the university’s mission to correct. This turn of events has caused DEI offices to spring up on campuses demanding correct thinking and enforcing ideological commitments from new comrades, err, faculty including loyalty oaths. This type of coercion to the “truth” violates freedom of speech and conscience by demanding ideological allegiance with no oversight.

For college students, the search for “truth” is important as a process of subjecting one’s own opinions and feelings to more durable measures of worth. It instills habits of self-criticism, modesty, and objectivity. There is a distinction between what people believe it is and the truth itself. I am not entitled to call something true merely because I believe or feel it is true. My beliefs do not eclipse all others in a debate.

I worry for our students and faculty at SBCC, UCSB, and all colleges, for the suppression of thought and speech that is now occurring on campuses. I believe it is simply against human nature and therefore it will end. When I do not know. Right now, I can only shout: “wake up people — from your wokeness!”

J.W. Burk

A Bigger Goal

Dear Jo Patterson and all others that may support her position (Montecito Journal, Letters, October 21).

Speaking for myself, I’ve been in the antique auto hobby most of my life. Over these past many years, I’ve resurrected dozens of very old and often rare automobiles, they give me immense pleasure.

I’ve been honored to represent AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Santa Barbara Region as its president for many years. This club of like-minded men and women use their unique vehicles for their pleasure and always offer them to a vast number of charities in their fund-raising efforts.

I’ve been involved in the Montecito Motor Classic since its inception. 

The only purpose for the tremendous effort put forward by hundreds of volunteers and generous donors was to support our Police Activity League.

The 200-plus cars that paid $150 each to enter helped this cause.

Whether a car show or Art Museum, the public comes to witness the “Rembrandt,” or in this case a Lola MK6 GT and others.

So, Jo, be thankful for all your blessings and praise all those that are making our community a better place.

Dana Newquist

In Support of the Auto Industry

Allow me to comment and respond to Jo Patterson, page 8.

Car restorers, collectors, owners typically support a large auto industry in this city and county. Most of the cars pay a lot to these businesses for upkeep, storage, mods of all types.

These auto businesses pay taxes supporting our community, to say nothing about the car owners’ taxes: California car licensing every year, California car purchase taxes, California state taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, federal taxes, gas taxes — it goes on and on.

What is the difference if one has a nice boat in the harbor, or a second home somewhere, or a second car for that matter, or a special antique watch collection or a nice Montecito home, or send our kids to private schools?

Some of these “extravagances” may be pure pleasure. Some are why we worked so hard to settle here.

But it is true we could just dispense with them all and live in an apartment in Iowa.

Special and collector car owners are typically very philanthropically supportive with time and money to Santa Barbara.

It is a great hobby with significant paybacks.

Roger Drue

Fueling Murillo’s Campaign

The city of Santa Barbara was an early leader in fossil fuel divestment, adopting a socially responsible investment policy excluding investments in fossil fuels, tobacco, and weapons in 2017. Mayor Cathy Murillo voted in favor of that morally and fiscally responsible policy, and her opponent, Randy Rowse, voted against it. Since then, massive pension funds in cities like New York have divested, and even BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager, has begun to do so. BlackRock’s internal reports found that divested portfolios “experienced no negative financial impacts,” and in fact generated higher returns.

Maintaining this kind of environmental leadership in Santa Barbara is crucial as another massive oil spill damages our ocean. After that recent spill, Orange County’s Huntington Beach became the 100th Pacific Coast municipality to pass a resolution opposing offshore drilling. Santa Barbara was early on that list. Ever since the 1969 Oil Spill, Santa Barbara has played an important role in ocean protection. That’s why it would not be appropriate for the mayor of Santa Barbara to headline a city event sponsored by fossil fuel companies, including ones that caused the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill and that are actively seeking new permits.

Instead, the Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously to hold their own inclusive State of the City event and to minimize participation in a fossil-fuel sponsored one held by the chamber of commerce. In contrast, none of the other mayoral candidates had any compunction making their political speeches at the fossil-fuel funded event.

Mayor Murillo is the only candidate willing to stand up to fossil fuel interests, and she’s the only one with years of experience chairing the City Council’s Sustainability and Community Choice Energy committees that are successfully navigating a path to 100% renewable energy, EV charging infrastructure, bike lanes, the State Street promenade and more. Vote for steady and experienced leadership. Vote to re-elect Mayor Cathy Murillo on November 2.

Katie Davis, Chair

Murillo: A ‘Trusted, Valued’ Leader

Greetings, I have grown up in Santa Barbara, am involved in providing entertainment and producing fundraising concerts, am a Special Olympics Coach, and have worked as a Special Educator helping those with special needs for many years. I have had the privilege to know Mayor Cathy Murillo and watch her contributions to our wonderful city of Santa Barbara. I endorse her serving for the next term as our mayor as do many city leaders. She is trusted, valued, and respected by most of the community, and her diligent work to guide our city through multiple challenging times in our history should be applauded.

There are many people I know who work within the City of Santa Barbara who have spoken of her steady leadership, and positive choices, program development, and votes to better serve Santa Barbara in the short term and long term. She has navigated her position expertly through the Thomas Fire as well as in a pandemic, which greatly affected our city, community, and business. She followed the mandates and guidelines set by the State of California and made some tough choices that helped many and affected many. Cathy has a strong love for Santa Barbara and gives all that she has to our city. She does not make decisions unless she is certain that it is to the benefit of those who live and work in Santa Barbara.

She has been endorsed by numerous agencies and community leaders. Cathy takes on the tough issues of homelessness and offers solutions. She has a plan for affordable housing. She was part of the group of people which has helped to revitalize State Street and has been instrumental in helping small businesses to recover. Santa Barbara is no different than any other city that has been devastated by the Pandemic with loss of business and loss of family and friends we love. Sadly, some people have chosen to target her for the pandemic. Cathy did not cause it, nor did any other mayor in any other city. We have all witnessed the hard work of those who work for the city of Santa Barbara to help rebuild. We are still being affected by the pandemic, and the city of Santa Barbara are working diligently to navigate this daily, and we are recovering due to the strong leadership in place.

She has also worked hard on helping to protect and strengthen our youth programs, libraries, and parks. Cathy listens to her constituents and does not make decisions alone. She is part of a City Council and many other city leaders who make decisions as a group on how to best help us as a community. We need to vote for Cathy Murillo for Mayor so that her strong leadership and multiple years of experience can continue to help build back Santa Barbara stronger than it’s ever been. She is trusted, and her leadership is valued and respected greatly.

Nancy Singelman

When Being ‘Liberal’ is an Oxymoron

I am bemused by Ms. Bond’s “Leaning Left” letter (Montecito Journal, October 21). Who are these “newcomers . . . who embrace the ever-increasing role of government?” Moreover, I do not find “woke” to be a pejorative term, as she does. Merriam-Webster defines it as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” Unfortunately, the word has been weaponized by the Right. So, like “politically correct” before it, it has come to connote the opposite of what it means. Bond also throws in the word “socialist” and wonders how wealthy people can “spout the rhetoric of the new socialist movement.” Well, why should not wealthy folk be for what that so-called “movement” espouses, e.g., Medicare for all, Green New Deal, voting rights, legal abortions? Does Bond feel it is contrary to their status and good fortune to be for such proposals? That being a wealthy progressive or, God forbid, “liberal,” is an oxymoron. That they should be doing whatever it takes to protect their wealth by paying limited taxes and let the less fortunate lift themselves up by their own bootstraps or, even better, by trickle-down voodoo?

Steven Gilbar

Bearing to T…..T..Talk About Our Gentrification!

Carlos, The Bear, was in his temporary den, trying to keep a low profile, reading last week’s Letters to the Editor in the Montecito Journal with his headlamp on. Next to him lay a copy of the book, “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lots Its Soul,” authored by Jeremiah Moss, that he recently picked up at our local library.

He could not help but note the parallels between what was happening in NYC and the latest events here in the Village of Montecito. He was impressed by the response to Little Alex’s displacement from the Country Mart, but worried that The Cito was in danger of losing its Village appeal to moneyed special interests and greedy landlords.

Having read that there are over 200 Starbucks in New York City and how whole blocks of that famous city had been swallowed by chain stores, Carlos was concerned. Do we really want, or need, another high-end restaurant, bank, or real estate office in our local venue? He thought, with a bear’s eye view.

He felt it was time to take notice and talk about our gentrification!

Michael Edwards

Tajiguas Landfill an Example for All

The $150-million project at the Tajiguas landfill was an amazing feat. The idea of turning our waste into enough energy to run the landfill and have power for some 3,000 homes was mind blowing. Only about 15% of the waste would be truly waste. Amazing!

The Alisal Fire had a different idea. With uncontrollable winds the fire did some 20 million dollars of damage to the plant.

Ironically, Santa Barbara County is now trucking its trash over 50 miles to Santa Paula.

Our green waste is going to Oxnard and our beloved recyclables are headed to Ventura.

To get the plant online it will take several weeks. Until then, how ironic is that we will be using a countless amount of energy to ship our waste?

As always Mother Nature will have the final say to what happens in our backyards, our city, our county, our state, our country, and our planet. You can fool people, but you cannot fool Mother Nature.

Steve Marko


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