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Explosive Lawsuit Accuses Northwestern University of Reverse Racism in Hiring

Signs cover the fence at a pro-Palestinian encampment at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. on April 28, 2024. Photo: Max Herman via Reuters Connect.

Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law discriminated against white male applicants in its faculty hiring process, according to a new federal lawsuit citing as cause the US Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling that affirmative action in higher education is unconstitutional.

The sharply worded complaint, filed by Faculty, Alumni, and Opposed to Racial Preferences, opens a new front in the conservative movement’s attempt to proscribe what scholars and activists have described as an insidious pattern of reverse discrimination, which, while intending to assuage the lingering effects of racism in the US, has fostered a new “anti-white” bigotry that penalizes individual merit and undermines the spirit of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Taking aim at “inclusive” hiring practices, the suit focuses on a component of affirmative action in higher education that is not widely known among the American public, such as “cluster hiring” — programs which aim to hire bunches of minority professors at a time — and “diversity recruitment” stipulations which all but guarantee that scores of white men, or individuals perceived as white, are denied employment in academia.

“For decades, left-wing faculty and administrators have been thumbing their noses at federal anti-discrimination statues and openly discriminating on account of race and sex when appointing professors,” court documents filed in the US District Court of Illinois say. “They do this by hiring women and racial minorities with mediocre and undistinguished records over white men who have better credentials, better scholarship, and better teaching ability.”

It continues, “The practice, long known as ‘affirmative action,’ is firmly entrenched at institutions of higher learning and aggressively pushed by leftist ideologues on faculty-appointment committees and in university [diversity, equity, and inclusion] offices. But it is prohibited by federal law, which bans universities that accept federal funds from discriminating on account of race or sex in their hiring decisions.”

The complaint goes on to allege that high-level officials went to great lengths to conceal the law school’s allegedly discriminatory hiring practices, going as far as banning frank discussions about them on a digital messaging forum to avoid “litigation risk.” This code of silence, it argues, enabled the rejection of a job application submitted by Professor Eugene Volokh, a “renowned legal scholar” who has taught law for three decades and is cited in numerous opinions issued by the US Supreme Court. Volokh also clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to serve on the country’s highest court.

“The idea of appointing Professor Volokh was supported by many of Northwestern’s public-law faculty,” the complaint says. “But the appointments committee that year was chaired by former dean Dan Rodriguez, who repeatedly pushed for race-based hirings as dean and refused to even invite Professor Volokh to interview. Because of Rodriguez’s intransigence, Professor Volokh’s candidacy was never even presented to the Northwestern faculty for a vote, while candidates with mediocre and undistinguished records were interviewed and received offers because of their preferred demographic characteristics.”

Volokh was “blocked” from teaching at the law school because he is white, the complaint continues, noting that another white candidate, Ernie Young, was denied a job despite holding a prestigious position at Duke Law School and publishing a mountain of legal scholarship in the thirty years since he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1993. It adds that Pritzker Law was allegedly so committed to excluding accomplished white men from its faculty that it hired Destiny Peery, a Black woman of color who was awarded a tenure-track position “even though the faculty at Northwestern was fully aware of her abysmal academic record as a student at the law school” and had “expressed concerns that Peery was unqualified for an academic appointment and incapable of producing serious scholarship.”

The complaint’s allegations stand to be controversial for its challenging a system that purports to redress the legacy of anti-Black discrimination and sexism and for seeking to apply civil rights laws to white men, a demographic that is described by leading progressives as “privileged.” However, non-white students, both male and female, have complained about the discriminatory effects of racial preferences, which has in practice punished intellectual achievement in pursuit of “social justice” and was even outlawed in California, a state where whites are a minority, decades before it was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.

“Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is among the top law schools in the country, and we are proud of their outstanding faculty,” Northwestern University said on Wednesday, as reported by ABC News, in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “We intend to vigorously defend this case.”

On Friday, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, founder of higher education antisemitism watchdog AMCHA Initiative, told The Algemeiner that, in addition to undermining civil rights, racial preferences have fostered antisemitism on college campuses. Admissions and hiring committees packed with progressives ideologues, she said, not only prefer non-white candidates, they also aim to ensure that new hires are ideologically progressive — and, moreover, anti-Zionist. The effect of this, she explained, is that Jews in higher education, whom mainstream progressive ideology classifies as white, are also subject to discrimination, an issue The Algemeiner has covered extensively.

“Racial preferences pit racial identity against the meritocracy, and one of the reasons that Jews have became so prominent in academia is because it is a system that rewards talent, character, and grit. Jews tend to be well-educated and highly achieving, and when an institution’s primary concern is the quality of the individual as opposed to the color of his or her skin or perceived background, Jews excel,” Rossman-Benjamin explained. “What the university stands for, academic integrity and excellence, are values that have lifted Jews up in America, and, in addition to being critical for advancing humanity, they have been one of the most important sources of our strength in this country.”

She continued, “However, when you impose academia criteria that have nothing to do with those values and nothing to do with academic integrity but everything to do with a political agenda that really at its core is discriminatory and hateful — and antisemitic — you make the university not just a hostile place for Jews but also a hostile place for learning.”

Rossman-Benjamin further argued that progressives have effortlessly “captured” higher education institutions over the past several decades and that their predominance in academia and the explosion of antisemitism on campuses across the US are directly linked.

“What’s so interesting is that the way you know that contemporary progress is not just a fraudulent and bankrupt ideology but an evil one, is that it produces antisemitism,” she continued. “Antisemitism is a bellwether of its malevolence. If it were positive and healthy, it would lift people up — but it isn’t. In fact, it is hurting them in the deepest ways.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Explosive Lawsuit Accuses Northwestern University of Reverse Racism in Hiring first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Putin Jails US Reporter Gershkovich in Sham Trial

A Russian secret court found U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich guilty of espionage on Friday and sentenced him to 16 years in a maximum security penal colony in what his employer, the Wall Street Journal, accurately called “a disgraceful sham conviction.”

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old Jewish American who denied any wrongdoing, went on trial in the city of Yekaterinburg last month after being accused of trying to gather sensitive information about a tank factory.

He was the first U.S. journalist accused of spying in Russia since the Cold War, and his arrest in March 2023 prompted many U.S. and other Western correspondents to leave Moscow.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Gershkovich did not commit any crime and has been wrongfully detained.

“We are pushing hard for Evan’s release and will continue to do so,” Biden said in a statement. “Journalism is not a crime.”

Video of Friday’s hearing released by the court showed Gershkovich, dressed in a T-shirt and black trousers, standing in a glass courtroom cage as he listened to the verdict being read in rapid-fire legalese for nearly four minutes.

Asked by the judge if he had any questions, he replied “Nyet.”

The judge, Andrei Mineyev, said the nearly 16 months Gershkovich had already served since his arrest would count towards the 16-year sentence.

Mineyev ordered the destruction of the reporter’s mobile phone and paper notebook. The defense has 15 days to appeal.

“This disgraceful, sham conviction comes after Evan has spent 478 days in prison, wrongfully detained, away from his family and friends, prevented from reporting, all for doing his job as a journalist,” the Journal said in a statement.

“We will continue to do everything possible to press for Evan’s release and to support his family. Journalism is not a crime, and we will not rest until he’s released. This must end now.”

Gershkovich’s friend, reporter Pjotr Sauer of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, posted on X: “Russia has just sentenced an innocent man to 16 years in a high security prison. I have no words to describe this farce. Let’s get Evan out of there.”

Friday’s hearing was only the third in the trial. The proceedings, apart from the sentencing, were closed to the media on the grounds of state secrecy.

Espionage cases often take months to handle and the unusual speed at which the trial was held behind closed doors has stoked speculation that a long-discussed U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange deal may be in the offing, involving Gershkovich and potentially other Americans detained in Russia.

The Kremlin, when asked by Reuters earlier on Friday about the possibility of such an exchange, declined to comment: “I’ll leave your question unanswered,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Among those Russia would like to free is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for murdering an exiled Chechen-Georgian dissident in a Berlin park in 2019.

Officers of the FSB security service arrested Gershkovich on March 29, 2023, at a steakhouse in Yekaterinburg, 900 miles (1,400 km) east of Moscow. He has since been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.

Russian prosecutors had accused Gershkovich of gathering secret information on the orders of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency about a company that manufactures tanks for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The Uralvagonzavod factory, which he is accused of spying on, has been sanctioned by the West. Based in the city of Nizhny Tagil near Yekaterinburg, it has publicly spoken of producing T-90M battle tanks and modernizing T-72B3M tanks.

Earlier on Friday, the court unexpectedly said it would pronounce its verdict within hours after state prosecutors demanded Gershkovich be jailed for 18 years for spying. The maximum sentence for the crime he was accused of is 20 years.

Russia usually concludes legal proceedings against foreigners before making any deals on exchanging them.

‘WRONGFULLY DETAINED’

Gershkovich, his newspaper and the U.S. government all rejected the allegations against him and said he was merely doing his job as a reporter accredited by the Foreign Ministry to work in Russia.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is open to a prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich, and that contacts with the United States have taken place but must remain secret.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Washington was working every day to bring home Gershkovich, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan and other Americans.

He declined to go into details when asked why Putin would reach a deal on Gershkovich’s release ahead of the U.S. election.

“Any effort to bring any American home is going to be part of a process of back and forth, of discussion, potentially of negotiation,” Blinken said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“Depending on what the other side is looking for, they’ll reach their own conclusions about whether it meets whatever their needs are, and we can bring someone home – and I don’t think that’s dependent on an election in the United States or anywhere else,” he said.

Mark Warner, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, called Gershkovich’s sentence “outrageous,” and said he thinks “it’s clear that the Russians view Evan almost as a bargaining chip at this point.”

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Warner declined to discuss whether efforts are underway to arrange an exchange for Gershkovich’s release, but said “all options have to stay on the table” with regards to how the Biden administration responds.

Friends who have exchanged letters with Gershkovich say he has remained resilient and cheerful throughout his imprisonment, occupying himself by reading classics of Russian literature.

At court appearances over the past 16 months – most recently with his head shaven – he has frequently smiled and nodded at reporters he used to work with before he himself became the story.

Since Russian troops entered Ukraine in 2022, Moscow and Washington have conducted just one high profile prisoner swap: Russia released basketball star Brittney Griner, held for smuggling cannabis, in return for arms dealer Viktor Bout, jailed for terrorism-related offenses in the United States.

The post Putin Jails US Reporter Gershkovich in Sham Trial first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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VP Harris Hits Fundraising Trail Amid Ongoing Calls for Biden to Quit Race

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will headline a fundraiser in Massachusetts on Saturday as President Joe Biden faces continued pressure from fellow Democrats and big money donors to end his floundering campaign.

Biden and top aides on Friday vowed to continue with the campaign, even as major donors signaled they were unwilling to open their checkbooks unless the 81-year-old president stepped aside.

The crisis-in-confidence in Biden’s ability to win has placed a huge spotlight on Harris, widely believed to be the most likely replacement if he steps down.

Her fundraising events, including the one on Saturday in Provincetown, Massachusetts are getting added interest from donors who want to signal they are willing to coalesce around her potential bid for the White House, according to three Democratic fundraisers.

More than one in 10 congressional Democrats have now publicly called on Biden, who is isolating at his Delaware home with a case of COVID-19, to drop out following a disastrous debate last month against Republican former President Donald Trump that raised questions about the incumbent’s ability to win the Nov. 5 election or carry out his duties for another four years.

Biden’s campaign hoped to raise some $50 million in big-dollar donations in July for the Biden Victory Fund but was on track for less than half that figure as of Friday, according to two sources familiar with the fundraising efforts.

The campaign called reports of a July fundraising slump overstated, noting that it anticipated a drop-off in large donations due to vacations. It said the campaign still has 10 fundraisers on the schedule this month.

Harris assured major Democratic donors on Friday that the party would prevail in the presidential election as more lawmakers called for her running mate, Biden, to stand down.

“We are going to win this election,” she said on a call arranged on short notice to calm donors, according to a person on the call. “We know which candidate in this election puts the American people first: Our president, Joe Biden.”

Harris attended the call “at the direct request of senior advisers to the president,” one of the people said, an account confirmed by another person familiar with the matter.

The post VP Harris Hits Fundraising Trail Amid Ongoing Calls for Biden to Quit Race first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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