USC's Professor Darry Sragow calls Republicans "losers" to his class. No, Darry, you're the loser.
USC’s Professor Darry Sragow calls white Republicans “losers” to his class. No, Darry, you’re the loser. You’re a bully. It’s guys like you that made me seek out a different worldview when I was at USC because I wanted nothing to do with jerks like you. I will never donate to USC. Ever. “Fight on”? Not for you.

People sometimes ask me why I don’t have much school spirit for my alma mater, USC. I often tell them that it’s because I went to college after I had been in the military, and that because I was older I didn’t quite relate to some of the kids who were excited to be away from home for the first time. However, when I’m comfortable with a person I also make sure they know my lack of nostalgia is also due in part because of the intellectual bullies I encountered — professors who sought to inculcate their statist worldview through any means necessary.

Some were nice about it; they respected my views, but saw nothing wrong with giving extra credit for attending anti-war rallies or screenings of Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine.’ Others, not so much.

Not sure what I’m talking about? See Exhibit A: Professor Darry Sragow. From Campus Reform:

A professor at the University of Southern California (USC) appears to have used a fall semester 2012 political science class to deliver sustained and angered attacks on Republicans, who he characterized as old, white, racist, and “losers.”

In a 15 min. video secretly captured by USC student Tyler Talgo, political science Professor Darry Sragow also appears to endorse the illegal suppression of Republican votes.

“You lose their information on the election in the mail,” he suggested when a student asked him how to keep Republicans from voting. “I mean there is lots of ways to do it [SIC].”

A teaching assistant (TA), who also appeared to work for the university, then seemed to suggest Black Panthers could be placed at polling stations to intimidate Republican voters.

Rather than rebuking the TA, Sragow appeared to confirm the suggestion.

These are the types of “educators” USC employs. Tuition? Over $40,000 a year. Even worse, when my then-girlfriend (now my wife) was taking a class by Fadwa El Guindi (who I believe is now working in Qatar), she was informed that Osama bin Laden was “misunderstood in our time … just like Jesus was misunderstood in his time.” I asked my wife if she recorded the lecture, and because she has always been rather apolitical, she did not.

The point is this: How would the white conservative student feel in Sragow’s class? How confident would he feel in speaking his mind to a guy who thinks conservatives are “losers” for … being white? What if that student was like me, who had to work overnight shifts, take out loans, and save money wherever he could to make it at the “University of Spoiled Children”? For someone whose loans or GI Bill is dependent on a strong grade point average, would that student speak up? I know that in more than a few classes I bit my lip, and in others I chose my words very carefully.

Since when is a classroom supposed to create a stifling atmosphere?

Here’s what I wrote of my college experience when I reflected on it in 2010:

Fresh out of the Army, I began attending classes.  It wasn’t soon after 9/11 that my college professors would start lecturing me about the “real” military, which was so far removed from what I had experienced that I had no choice but to deem them all idiots…or liars.  One professor was even bold enough to joke, “Only redneck Republican hicks who are happy to get a free pair of boots join the Army.” It was at this point that I decided to investigate all the colors of the political spectrum.  After realizing that there were bright, vivid shades that were being blatantly ignored, I made it my personal quest to research them on my own.  And so began the transformation of someone who would have considered himself a default Democrat into a card-carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. …

Had I not been in the military, there’s a good chance I would have believed what my professors had said (like many of the other young, impressionable kids).

I bought the lies — at first. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until they do something to make me question their trust. And it was only when my professors blatantly began lying about the U.S. military that I said to myself: “If they’re lying to me about this, then what else are the lying to me about?” It turned out they were lying about everything.

I shudder to think where I would be right now had I never signed up for the Army. It was an experience that not only helped me focus on what I needed to do to be the person I wanted to be, but it gave me the life experience to see through the lies of men like Darry Sragow.

The student who exposed this hack has done his fellow Trojans a great service. If USC President Max Nikias is smart, he will take corrective action immediately. But I doubt he will move; his instinct will probably be to dig in and hope that this all blows over. And in a world with 24-hour cable news, that’s a good bet. But like I said: I will never donate to USC. Ever. And if USC thinks my wife, the soon-to-be Dr. Ernst, is going to open our bank account? Don’t bet on it.

I can think of many places where my money would be better spent. USC is filled with a bunch of academic bullies who call themselves “Trojans.” No thanks. I’ll be doing my best to support real war fighters. The Wounded Warrior Project is a great start, but there are many military organizations that are just as deserving.

I guess these days you’re a “loser” if you’re white and grow up to be a productive member of society … who doesn’t break the law … pays his taxes … starts a career … puts in an honest day’s work … takes responsibility for his life and expects others to do the same. If that’s the definition of ‘loser’ according to USC, then I embrace it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, this “loser” needs to exercise, shower and go to bed. I have a job I need to get up for tomorrow morning.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

124 comments

  1. Yeah, I can relate. During my brief college experience, I had pro-liberal, anti-conservative professors. Even a math professor was using his class to espouse anti-conservative rhetoric, believe it or not. Not to mention my English prof spending half the class time telling us how wonderful she thought Obama was and how we were “racist” for opposing him.

    1. They aren’t rational people, to be sure. Not to mention my sociology professor- a vegan and radical animal rights activist- decided that she needed to show us “Super Size Me,” even though it had nothing to do with the class at all.

    2. ‘Super-Size Me’ actually made me laugh, even if it total B.S. Hey, did you know that if you shove burgers and grease down your gullet for three meals a day for 30 days your body won’t feel so hot? Who knew.

      If you haven’t seen ‘Fat Head’ you should check it out on NetFlix. It’s really low budget, but it has a lot of substance.

      And speaking of “vegan”…

    3. My father used to tell me those who can’t do… teach. It has become more obvious to me as I grow older most of my professors were themselves the losers, could not make it in the real world so they returned to academia, I even had a few admit this. The real world rejected their close minded elitist views so now they throw this unrealistic crap on college students. Think about it how many of your professors were unreasonable jerks?

  2. LOL. Yeah, it’s basic common sense that such a thing would happen. The whole movie was BS, and I saw through it immediately (I actually first watched it in 10th grade, shown by a “health” teacher who would munch down huge bags of chips during class and down it with a 12 liter of Mountain Dew)… it’s called moderation.

    And yeah, I’ll check out Fat Head sometime. Anything that refutes Spurlock’s BS is definitely worth watching, in my view.

    1. If Mr. Sragow said that black people were a bunch of “losers,” I have a feeling he would be gone overnight.

      Since USC is a private institution, they can do whatever they want. At no point did I call for him to be fired. I said “corrective action,” which can mean any number of things. I would hope that at a minimum someone tells him he needs to conduct himself much more professionally and not create an atmosphere anathema to a truly “liberal” education.

      With that said, if USC determines that his employment is going to cost them enough losses in alumni contributions that it isn’t worth it to keep him around, so be it.

    1. I graduated from USC in 1971, when it was still a very conservative school. I haven’t lived in CA for over 30 years, and I knew how the state had changed, but I was still shocked to see this. When I was there, we “dressed” for classes (women never wore jeans or slacks to class). It was during the Vietnam War, there were plenty of demonstrations at UCLA and other campuses, but the administration made sure there was no disruption of classes at USC. In fact, the football team (!) prevented one attempt to lock students out of a building. Angela Davis tried to come to campus to “raise awareness,” but she was not permitted.

    2. Interesting stuff, Martha. Thanks for sharing. I really do appreciate the first hand knowledge.

      California has gone off the deep end. I don’t think they’re ever coming back. Wait until the entire state wants a bailout from the American taxpayer…

  3. Heh. My public school teachers were so bad: The phys ed teacher smoked, the shop teacher was missing fingers, the cooking/culinary arts lady was divorced (rumor was the flies chipped in to get her kitchen screen door fixed), and — no lie here– the guidance counselor was a staggering drunk who was driven home frequently by the bartender at closing time.

    All appearing daily at a public school near you, taxpayers.

  4. Douglas, excellent article; I’ll be pleased to forward it to others who are, like me, following this unbelievable story. Thank you for your service.

    I can’t help but wonder how Steven Spielberg, who is on the Board of Trustees at USC, feels being associated with an “institution of higher learning” that has on their faculty a white mustached guy who spreads propagandized hate speech, indoctrinating young minds to adopt a prejudiced view, while denigrating an entire group of people in order to marginalize them in the eyes of society.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, SLC. I appreciate it.

      Even if Spielberg wants to turn a blind eye to this kind of thing, it doesn’t matter. One day he will be gone, and the money he’s donated will dry up. And my only hope is that enough people figure out what’s going on at these schools so they too can withhold cash. I am not loyal to a school or a person. I am loyal to a set of principles that guide my life. So long as USC as a whole does not uphold those principles, I will search out institutions that do.

      Again, thanks for your input.

    2. RE: ” I am not loyal to a school or a person. I am loyal to a set of principles that guide my life”. That is a great attitude to adopt.

    1. Yes, I have to assume that a lot of Republican “losers” have donated a lot of money to USC. Its nice facilities didn’t just magically show up out of nowhere. Although, given Sragow’s worldview, it’s entirely possible that he thinks that. His ideological allies have a hard time understanding how wealth is created.

  5. USC alumni (and hopefully, tenured faculty as well) must flood the University with letters of protest. The bitter, hateful ravings of this aging Bolshevik reflect badly upon USC’s many distinguished faculty members, and diminish the degrees of its alumni. Does this now pass for academic scholarship and wisdom at USC?

    1. When I was at USC (as a music major), there were world renowned musicians on the faculty: Gregor Piatagorsky, Jascha Heifetz, Malcolm Hamilton, Alice Ehlers, Daniel Lewis – to name but a few. The music faculty is still excellent, boasting probably the most famous classical composer in the world at this time, Morten Lauridsen. There was Leo Buscaglia in The School of Special Education (of all places!). If you haven’t heard of him, check him out at Wikipedia, and contrast him with Darry Sragow. Students stood in line to get in Buscaglia’s classes, because he was so inspiring. In the years 1968-1971 I never had a professor pushing any agenda; they taught their subject matter, period. We had great respect for nearly all of our professors. Granted, there was still the sorority/fraternity crowd, but they were not in the Music School. And even the music majors enjoyed the football games (some played in the marching band) to see — O.J. Simpson! Who suspected he would end as he did?

    2. The marching band was always a favorite of mine. Those kids put in a ton of work. They were up early in the morning, and I could hear them practicing. The first few weeks it sounded like a marching band boot camp.

    3. I agree with you. As alumni, and as former faculty of USC, a handful of people can say all they want, makes threats all they want, and it still won’t change the fact that the faculty handbook at USC grants complete and total academic freedom to people like this. However, if flooded by responses of protest from faculty, students, alumni, and especially donors? Yes, we’ll see results.

  6. Professors suppose to teach facts and he is just giving a diatribe of his beliefs that I don’t share. If my child was in his classroom I would demand an apology and a full refund from the university. No wander that kids graduate from colleges today can’t find jobs. Thanks for the idiotic racists professors lake Sragow. Shame on him and the University!

    1. There’s just one thing though, and please know that I’m siding with your feelings, but I have to tell you this. Your child attending USC isn’t actually a child. He or she is an adult, even if you pay the tuition, and you can demand an apology if you like, but the university is going to say “I’m sorry, we don’t owe you an apology, but if you’re son/daughter requests one, we’ll see to it that it’s accommodated if and only if it’s in order.” I only say this as a former student and faculty member of USC. I’ve actually heard things along these lines before where a parent would make a complaint to a department chair or dean, and the response was always “I’m sorry, we can’t speak to you, we can only speak to your son/daughter.”

  7. USC has issued a statement in defense of this man in the name of “academic freedom.” They read it out loud on the Fox program, “The Five.” One can only hope that money still talks, and that pocketbooks of old, white, racist alumni will be snapping shut.

    1. I suppose “academic freedom” now includes calling white people losers and creating an environment where impressionable young white kids will be afraid to speak up. Interesting.

      Like I said, I will never donate to USC. I can not speak for my wife on this blog, but I do not foresee her donating either.

    2. I listened to what your professor said and as near as I can figure you are pissed off because he’s right about his analysis. The Republicans in CA got their asses kicked last time and the time before that too, and so did Romney time last election, for the exact reasons he predicted.

      You should have gone to a school where they would lie to you and tell you what you wanted to hear. It’s obvious you can’t take the truth. And it’s obvious you aren’t smart enough to pick a school that will cater to your delicate sensibilities. You want to blame this guy for your own lack of due diligence.

      Are you claiming that California Republican membership isn’t 82% white? Are you claiming that Republicans won their last couple of elections in California? Are you claiming that Republicans didn’t try to intentionally make voting more difficult to help out their losing side?

      Or are you pissed off about being a loser (in the election) and not having your professor lie to you and call you a “winner?” Yeah, lets give Romney a ribbon and call him a winner, because dang it, he tried really hard.

      Your professor didn’t call you a whiner, but if he did, he would have been correct. You aren’t just a loser when it comes to electoral politics in California, you are a whiny loser. That’s the worst kind. Sorry to have to break it too you yet again, but repetition is the key.

      PS My dad is a USC alumni, he attended after returning wounded from WWII, on the GI Bill. He’s never voted Republican in his whole life. So I doubt you will enlist him in your little whine fest. But good luck, loser 🙂

  8. I too am appalled at this moron professor. I personally never experienced any “liberal indoctrination” in any of my classes at USC, although my religions of the east professor did not really know what a “christian cult” was (i.e. Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses) according to evangelical Christians. But as a Christian myself, I had friends who were enrolled in a specific class where the Bible was used and the “professor” who was supposed to be an “expert” frequently did not know basic Christian doctrine and what Christians actually believed. In fact, a room mate of mine and good friend (Kent) who was Navy ROTC who was in this class finally got sick of his incorrect portrayal of Christian doctrine that he spoke up and set the record straight. The good news is that this professor actually welcomed my friend’s critique if I remember correctly. After being corrected several times by Kent, this professor one time was explaining a facet of Christian doctrine and then at the end of it, asked Kent if he got it right to which Kent said that he did. Kent told me that the whole class erupted in laughter when this happened. The professor in this case was humble enough and academically honest enough to be corrected. But back to Darry. He needs to go and I believe he actually will end up leaving one way or another. The dollar is mighty and many alumni of USC are Republicans. The dollar will eventually win for our alma mater and the university will stop hiding behind so called “academic freedom” when the donations begin to dry up and believe me, the more this story gets coverage, they will dry up. I mean, can you believe that sorry excuse of “academic freedom”. Can you imagine what would happen if they played that card if they had a faculty member spouting his personal belief that he agrees with the original Constitution of the United States that basically says that a black slave is 3/5 of a person (Article 1, section 2) and that the 14th amendment that corrected that should never have been passed? There would be HUGE demonstrations to fire that professor (led by Rev. Jackson and Al Sharpton). The bottom line is that C. L. Max Nikias needs to do the right thing and take corrective action against Darry. Not only that, but also put all professors on notice at all levels that nonacademic diatribes like name calling of any group will not be tolerated by our prestigious university. And make no mistake, it is OUR university. Fight On !!

    PS: Note to Pat Haden: Lane Kiffin is an ass and he needs to go as well.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mike. Yes, the it’s funny how “academic freedom” has a shifting definition; it all depends on who needs to be defended. I can’t imagine what classes on religion are like today, given the backdrop of gay marriage, etc. I wonder if Christianity is getting a fair shake. Magic 8 ball says: Not likely.

      In regards to the American history .. that’s another thing I’ll refrain from getting too into here. I can go on for awhile on the 3/5 rule. All I will say is that professors across the country give a warped revisionist history of the U.S., and what we’re left with is a population of Chris “Happy White People’s Independence Day” Rocks.

  9. I have composed a letter to:

    Dr. Michael Quick
    Executive Vice Provost
    Office of the Provost
    University of Southern California
    Bovard Administration Building 102
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019
    uscprovost@usc.edu

    Provost Elizabeth Garrett is actually the one who issued the “academic freedom” statement, but it looks like Quick is second in command. There is a fax and phone number under his name too.

    I could post my letter here too, if you wish, but it will be modified to eliminate my contact information and married name.

    As Sragow is only adjunct faculty, I suspect his contract might quietly not be renewed, so USC won’t appear to have caved to “right-wingers.”

    I sincerely hope that USC alumni will inform the Office of the Provost of our displeasure. There is no need for USC to go out on a limb to defend this crude, vulgar man (listen again to his language in that video). His continued presence at USC diminishes the degrees earned by the alumni, and is a slap in the face to USC’s many distinguished faculty members.

    1. You bet we are! this guy is a hater (Sragow) and he needs to go. His ranting and hatred towards white people was so awful. There was no teaching, no critical thinking, just hate. My husband and I have already pulled out of a large donation and I will not chair a benefit for the LAS school. Never.

    2. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, ME AND SC. That’s my big issue here. There’s a difference between being a liberal professor and just being some guy going off on a hateful tangent in the front of the class. His presentation was not professional at all (to put it mildly). If that’s what SC is going for kids could simply read the message boards of any number of hateful websites.

  10. Douglas: Excellent article! Like you and those leaving comments on your blog, I was extremely upset by the original story and video about Mr. Sragrow. I wrote a letter to President Nikias and received the standard reply from Provost Elizabeth Garret. I then received a subsequent e-mail from the Provost’s Office that included an attached statement from the director of the USC Unruh Institute, who I know and for whom I have the greatest respect. However, I felt compelled to send the following reply to the Provost’s Office:

    To the Office of the Provost: Thank you for your reply to my original complaint about the behavior of your instructor Darry Sragrow and for sharing with me the response of Dan Schnur. While I appreciate these responses, I must be truthful that I am still am not satisfied.

    The issue is not that Mr. Sragrow is a Democrat or that he criticized the Republican Party or whether there is political balance on the faculty. The issue here is professorial bullying that shuts down the reason why there is a university in the first place — the encouragement of learning and the free exchange of ideas.

    If you read the statements by the student who posted the video of Mr. Sragrow, you will see two things: 1) that Mr. Sragrow’s actions cut off free debate in his classroom because students self-censored themselves rather than confront Mr. Sragrow (the student said that he remained silent because he felt his grade would suffer if he spoke up), and 2) that Mr. Sragrow’s behavior was not isolated, but, according to the student in question, was one of a number of instructors who ““indoctrinate students with their political agenda.” If you look at the social media response by other recent students who have studied at USC you will find similar comments.

    Of course I realize there’s academic freedom for instructors, but USC should not hide behind that facade and ignore a significant problem which affects students and their ability to get the type of education for which they and their parents think they are paying to receive. Until I am convinced that the university is serious about this problem and not just engaging in damage control, I will, sadly, not support my alma mater.
    Sincerely,
    Lance T. Izumi, J.D. ’83

    1. Lance,

      Thanks for the response. You are spot on. Some people are trying to act as though I oppose liberal professors in general, and they could not be more wrong. It is possible to be a liberal professor — and professional — at the same time. I know because I have had a few. However, when someone creates an atmosphere that stifles the free exchange of ideas, as was the case here, we have a problem. Correction: USC has a problem.

    2. Sadly, i will not support my alma mater either until i am convinced that the university is serious about addressing the “indoctrination of its students” by these hateful professors.

  11. My letter was sent out today:
    April 13, 2013
    Dr. Michael Quick
    Executive Vice Provost
    Office of the Provost
    University of Southern California
    Bovard Administration Building 102
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019
    uscprovost@usc.edu

    Re: Lectures of Darry Sragow

    Dear Dr. Quick:

    It was with great disappointment that I heard the statement of Provost Elizabeth Garrett, as it was read aloud tonight on the Fox television program, The Five. Provost Garrett has reportedly defended the inflammatory and insulting rhetoric used by adjunct professor, Darry Sragow, under the vapid catch-all of “academic freedom.”

    A series of lectures by Darry Sragow (recorded by one of his students over a period of several months) revealed a bitter, hate-filled man. His shocking insults were leveled at an entire race of people, and the entire Republican Party, whom he considers to be “old, white, racist, stupid losers.” He fancies himself The Guardian of the Downtrodden, while people who do not vote his party line are — The Enemy. It seems not to have occurred to Sragow that he might be insulting the parents who pay the tuition of his students. Neither does he recognize that assassinating the characters of people whom he does not even know is inconsistent with the “liberal” ideals he purports to espouse. (Now that is stupid!)

    In the films I saw, there was no evidence that Sragow had even prepared his lectures. He just stood in front of the class — pontificating, ranting and raving, secure in the knowledge that none of the students in his captive audience would dare to contradict or challenge him. His language was vulgar, crude, uncultured, and obscene; in short, his delivery was more appropriate for a street thug than for a faculty member of a major university. He vented his spleen against Mitt Romney (several times mistakenly referring to him as George Romney), and even provided additional irrational venom for the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney! Her crime? She reminded Sragow of American women from the 1950s.

    Does insulting, offensive behavior now constitute “academic freedom” and intellectual scholarship at USC? There was nothing “academic” about anything Sragow said: it was a simple hate-fest.

    I graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1971 (and earned a Master of Music degree the following year in Florence, Italy at Rosary College). My father, Edward W. La Rocca, was a member of the adjunct faculty for a number of years in USC’s School of Engineering. Our family has always been proud of its association with USC. It is inconceivable to me that a university whose distinguished faculties have included exceptional leaders from all disciplines, is now defending a man who insults the very parents and students whom he is supposed to serve.

    I can only wonder how many other “old, white, stupid, racist losers” like myself, will not be considering donations to USC in their estate planning. By defending Darry Sragow’s vulgar behavior under the guise of “academic freedom,” the University has disrespected its many accomplished alumni and faculty members, in favor of one perverse “old, white” Bolshevik leftover.

    Sincerely,

    Martha La Rocca, B.M. 1971
    (Married name included in my letter to Quick, but omitted here.)

  12. That class looks great. Sragow’s a top strategist at the state level, and was laying out his analysis as the events happened. How many kids get to be taught by a pro like that? I’m a Dem, actually very far on the left, sometimes Green, but would love to take a similar class from someone on the far right who is an in-the-trenches strategist or speechwriter.

    You learn the way the opposition is organized, and then you try use that to your advantage.

    What makes the Republicans “stupid” is that it’s supposed to be the Democrats that bait the racists, and cause conservative minorities to flee the GOP and vote for a Democrat. Now, the Republicans are using racial resentment and anti-immigrant sentiment as an organizing principle. That is stupid.

    1. Nice. Thanks for the share.

      Yes. This one hit a nerve, because you know that there are other profs like this. It’s just that this one just so happened to be caught on camera for an entire semester.

    2. I’m hopeful there may be some Republicans and/or Trojans (a.k.a. “stupid white” people) who are either employees or clients of Dentons (Sragow’s day job, and primary source of income).

  13. USC is paying this man tens of thousands for what USC students could hear for free on any Sunday news program on TV. Whether or not you agree with him, he should be delivering a bit more than a campaign consultant interviewed on some news program. TV is free, USC is not.

  14. I am a former USC (Dornsife) professor, and a graduate of USC (Rossier) (MS ’92 and PhD ’97). I happen to be a 44 year old white republican, far from “angry, old or racist,” and as deeply a member of the Trojan Family as can be. While I disagree with Mr. Sragow on a personal level, and I do find his ignorance astounding, I can’t say I’m offended by his comments, nor am I dissatisfied with Provost Garrett’s opinion on the contents of his lecture.

    His commentary is entirely his opinion, and his First Amendment rights entitle him to have as well as share it–even if anyone else disagrees with him, or we all realize his comments are laden with logical fallacies. I’m entitled to my own opinion, too! (of him, and of the values of the democratic party), and believe me I have them. I’m intelligent enough to rise above what he said and not take it to a level of insult and injury.

    In addition to his First Amendment Rights, he also reserves the right to Academic Freedom, which most universities handsomely provide to all faculty, even adjuncts. As much as I dislike and disagree with what Sragow said, neither Provost Garrett nor President Nikkias have to do anything about him, or what he said, because they realize that Sragow was legally within his right to say what he chose to say. The only way they could take any kind of corrective action with him is if what he was teaching truly had nothing to do with the class or the lecture, or he caused someone in the class degradation, embarrassment, or emotional harm. Best part here is that Sragow KNEW this, and was fully confident in saying what he said because he knows his entitlements as a faculty member. The Dean’s Office at USC (Dornsife) could choose not to rehire him as he’s an adjunct and without tenure, BUT, on what grounds? He could turn around and sue USC for wrongful termination.

    And frankly speaking, USC doesn’t care what you (the students) or us (the faculty) think. Sad, but true, and I learned that on day one when I was a student there. They have enough money (believe me) that our opinions of Professor Sragow, or their poor judgement in hiring people like Professor Sragow, mean nothing and are of no consequence to them.

    We can dislike it all we want. We can suggest corrective action. We can criticize him. We can criticize USC. However, at the end of the day, the man was still within his rights that the constitution provided to him; within his rights that the university provided him; and if I let every ignoramus in the world offend me, I’d be the angry, old, bitter, white man Sragow so colorfully calls a republican.

    1. Thanks for the comment, J. However, at the end of the day all you’ve done is pontificate in a way that detracts from the central point: Sragow is an unprofessional clown who creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to the free exchange of ideas for impressionable young minds. I would hope USC would expect more from its professors than something I could find by flipping on a low-rated cable news show.

      I’m not sure why you invoke the First Amendment, when the federal government has nothing to do with this debate. Obviously he can say whatever he wants, but that doesn’t mean he is shielded from the consequences of his actions. Would USC defend his “academic freedom” if he said black Democrats were all “losers” in a room filled with black students?

      You defeatist attitude (i.e., USC doesn’t care what [we] think”) is telling. And yet you still claim to be “deeply a member of the Trojan Family”? How incredibly sad.

      While I don’t buy your argument for a second, let’s say I did: You would have just made the case for not donating to the school even stronger.

      Your entire response is one straw man after another. Getting upset with Dr. Sragow is somehow indicative of an old white man who is offended by every ignoramus who crosses his path? Please. If you’re going to play apologist for a partisan hack, you’re going to have to do better than that.

      I can see why you defend Sragow. You seem to be cut from the same cloth.

    2. You’re sorely misunderstanding me. Pay careful attention.

      I have a love/hate relationship with USC. I don’t agree with some of what they do, and while I find that my opinion didn’t matter while I was there, I don’t disagree with the university’s mission as research institution. One bad faculty member on public display like this doesn’t overshadow the rest of the institution in my eyes, and I experienced both bad and good while studying and working at USC. I’m not boycotting an entire institution for a few idiots retained because of hiring and retention policies that need an update.

      I do not for a moment advocate for what Sragow said. I’ve merely stated the fact that he is protected by Academic Freedom, even as an adjunct, and I’m saying that perhaps we’ve allowed Academic Freedom to go too far. If you want to suggest changes to the Academic Freedom policy, be my guest…if you want anyone to take you remotely seriously, then you’d better be quite the donor, or seek a seat on the board of trustees. Unless they’re losing a major donor, they’re not shedding tears over your condescended state, and since you indicate you have no intentions of touching USC or their endowment with a 10 foot pole, metaphorically speaking, then let me further assure you that your opinion will certainly accomplish nothing other than demonstrating that you have the temperament of a 6 year old. You want to mean something to them? Then you donate. Since you’ve stated you won’t? Then all of your arguments to them are completely invalid. You surely realize this, no?

      I call First Amendment here because it’s my First Amendment right to do so (lol). And if Professor Sragow wants to offer opinions like this, as stupid as they are to us, well, the constitution says he can, even while on and employed at this university. Let me remind you that you also exercised your own constitutional rights while you were a student of USC as you mentioned in your post that sometimes you bit your lip and other times you chose your words carefully, so please, let’s not forget that America is about sharing our opinions (even if ridiculous) or keeping our mouths shut when we have perfectly valid points to make.

      You mention consequences against him–what consequences? He’s not being sued, and he’s not losing his job. And if he does, he has a wrongful termination claim going for him (because of the law) and I guarantee you the university doesn’t want to touch that. So again, where are these consequences you mention? If Sragow had said “black California democrats are losers” unfortunately, yes, he’s still protected. I can’t help that, and neither can you. Know your place, Mr. Ernst. Do you think that Sragow, a lawyer, didn’t already know full well he was protected before this garbage came out of his mouth? You can’t be that naive. He very well knew what he said and knew he could get away with it.

      You indicate that I’m detracting from the point that Sragow is an unprofessional clown whose work isn’t conducive to the free exchange of ideas for impressionable young minds. Wrong. I’m acknowledging that to in fact be the case! Obviously Tyler Talgo’s young mind wasn’t impressionable enough to buy Sragow’s opinions. And you’re wrong if you think I’m advocating for Sragow’s retention. I’m simply stating in black and white that while I don’t like what he said, and I acknowledge that you and many others don’t like what he said, the fact is that he said it anyway, and neither the university nor you can touch him for it (again, unfortunately so). The only thing I get from what you’re saying here is that you’re offended and you don’t intend to be a donor. I get it. Now tell me…who at USC cares? Let me know when you have an answer for that. USC doesn’t have a complaint hotline up and running yet.

      Finally, I’m not personally offended by Sragow. No. And do you know why? Because I’m intelligent enough to look beyond this man’s non-sense, and realize that what he’s saying doesn’t hurt me because I know what he says are merely generalizations and mistruths that never have or will apply to me. Do they apply to you? If you’re finding what he says so offensive that you need to go to this extreme to express your disgust, then I’m concerned you actually believe what Sragow says of us republicans, and that makes you weak-minded and unworthy of the USC diploma you earned. It also shows that you, sir, have a defeatist attitude.

      Would I like to see him terminated? Sure. I never advocated for him to keep his position, did I? Now ask me what I can do about it because the law and constitution protect him. Cut from the same cloth? Not a chance. I’m stating facts that govern his employment in light of his ignorance (as much as I abhor them), and he’s stating opinions, which USC says he’s permitted to do, and in fact, I’m sure you realize that you, me, and all the other former students of USC have paid people like this man for their opinions, and we’re reasonable enough to understand that some opinions we’ll love, some we’ll hate, some will perplex us, but there’s no refund or warranty on our purchase. We agree to that when we enter the university. How is that cut from the same cloth, btw?

      I’m not sure how you make the straw man argument out of what I’ve said here. I’m not even sure I believe you know what the straw man argument is. I’m not weakening or overgeneralizing the heart of the issue, nor am I detracting from it. Facts are facts. And just so there’s no further misunderstanding, I dislike what he said, I dislike the fact that he represents my university, I’m not advocating for the university to retain him, and I do indeed get the point you’re trying to make on this forum. Put that on the record. Now here’s my point to you, Mr. Ernst….in light of everything you’ve said, with respect to how much sense it makes, with consideration of your feelings, do you honestly think that Max Nikkias or Elizabeth Garret are shaking in their boots over what you think? Especially since you shot your mouth off on a public forum stating your dislike of the university and disinterest in donating to it, and, of all things, indicating your disdain and disrespect of the professoriate in general? If no one at USC cared before about what you thought, imagine how little they care now. Your goal has been shot down to the ground, you realize.

      And I don’t have a defeatist’s attitude, I have a realist’s attitude. I realize the impact of my words, and how far they can realistically carry me. Do you?

    3. Look at your bizarre, long-winded, condescending professorial rant. A man after Sragow’s heart. Funny how you tried to frame the argument in ways I haven’t, when if you would have read “carefully” you’d see that I was making the same case as Martha LaRocca — the one you agreed with:

      I agree with you. As alumni, and as former faculty of USC, a handful of people can say all they want, makes threats all they want, and it still won’t change the fact that the faculty handbook at USC grants complete and total academic freedom to people like this. However, if flooded by responses of protest from faculty, students, alumni, and especially donors? Yes, we’ll see results. (emphasis added)

      You say that the only way to make a difference is with a flood, but then call the drops of water that make up that potential flood “temperamental” children. Interesting. Almost 2,000 people have read this piece since it was written only a week ago. If only a small fraction of those decided to write a letter or make a call or comment in The Daily Trojan Message boards, then I have done my part. While you sit back and admire yourself, guys like me and women like Martha are trying to get the water going in the right direction.

      “Finally, I’m not personally offended by Sragow. No. And do you know why? Because I’m intelligent enough to look beyond this man’s non-sense.”

      Again, that was never the point. It doesn’t matter what you — Mr. Intelligent — thinks. It’s what is going through the minds of the kids sitting in his class. There is no doubt that whether or not the kids “buy” his bilge, that he creates an atmosphere anathema to the free exchange of ideas.

      Your insults are classic. I can imagine you with a smug smile on your face as you wrote them. I almost wish we were face to face so I could hear you go “Hurrrrrm” after each of them. (e.g., “I’m not even sure I believe you know what the straw man argument is — [Hurrrm].”) It’s like you fashion yourself SC’s very own William Frank Buckley when in reality you’re just Jr. Sragow.

  15. Doug, the more you try to pull your schtick with this professor, the more you prove his point that you have the temperament of a 6 year old.

    J: well said.

  16. I think some important points are getting buried here in some verbose professorial pedantry. Sragow is an adjunct. 1) Adjuncts are not high up on the academic totem pole. His contract is probably renewed annually (or not, depending upon the needs and whims of the University). If they don’t renew his contract because “we don’t need you this semester,” he wouldn’t have grounds for a lawsuit.

    2) Universities are businesses. Sragow may be free to hold his opinions, but he wasn’t hired to air them. He was hired to teach. In the videos posted online, he clearly wasn’t doing that. He was venting his spleen against people he hates. There was no evidence that he did any preparation for his classes. Instead he was ranting against a woman who has multiple sclerosis, who never did him any harm, but whom he detests because she reminds him of “women from the 1950s.” Where was the academic inquiry in that? He was also heard using language that was completely inappropriate for a professor teaching a college course. In short, one student felt he was not getting his money’s worth for the high tuition USC charges, and decided to expose this fraud. USC cannot afford to retain an adjunct faculty member who damages the University’s reputation, and its product.

    1. The difference between you and Martha La Rocca here is that her very thoughtful and articulate response was not front loaded with an article that makes claims that the entire professoriate is a left-wing conspiracist group with an agenda, or that anyone under the designation of “faculty” is a liar. She criticized academic freedom without disrespecting the people who gave it to people like Sragow. She spoke from her heart, you spoke from the tip of your acid tongue. Do I believe her contribution to this cause would get results before yours does? Yes. She used tact. You didn’t. Your article reads two ways 1) I’m a military man, so pay me respect, you liars, and 2) I don’t like what he said, so I’m picking up my sack of marble and running home to pout. Oh, and instead of realizing from my first comment on this forum that I was on your side, yet merely stating the obstacles that lie ahead because of First Amendment rights and Academic Freedom, you became even more irate and caustic and decided to attack me. Do you always attack people who share your (most) of your views?

      Lastly, don’t tell me that personal offense to Sragow’s comments weren’t the impetus for why you wrote your article. Come on now (lol). You let him get to you. You got hot under the collar, and your article’s closing comments profoundly and categorically solidify that your ego was bashed, so please don’t try to defend to me that that’s NOT what your rhetorical dog and pony show was about from the moment you decided to take on the issue.

      I’m going to say, yet again, that I agree with most of your views. You can take personal offense to Sragow if you’d like. I choose not to because what he says is blatantly untrue and does not apply to me. It doesn’t apply to you either, and you’re intelligent enough to realize that–you just let it get to your heart before it got to your head. And if you want to accomplish anything, you have to first acknowledge that Sragow was given rights, by our country and by our university, that are going to stand in the way of making a difference, not ripping those rights to shreds, or the entities who gave it to him. THAT, Mr. Ernst, is how I would see you accomplishing something productive here.

      I’m with you! I just don’t share your caustic attitude about it, and I’m realistic about how the goal can be met.

    2. For someone who says so much, you say very little.

      So by your own admittance you read my piece as follows: 1) I’m a military man, so pay me respect, you liars, and 2) I don’t like what he said, so I’m picking up my sack of marbles and running home to pout.

      Both are laughable interpretations, but then you act as if I wouldn’t pick up on your “I’m a PhD, so pay me respect, you child” tone (projection, much?) — and respond appropriately. Hilarious.

    3. Wrong yet again, Mr. Ernst….

      “For someone who says so much, you say very little.
      So by your own admittance you read my piece as follows: 1) I’m a military man, so pay me respect, you liars, and 2) I don’t like what he said, so I’m picking up my sack of marble and running home to pout.
      Both are laughable interpretations, but then you act as if I wouldn’t pick up on your “I’m a PhD, so pay me respect, you child” tone (projection, much?) — and respond appropriately. Hilarious.”

      I stated my degrees, and you’ll notice with years, one singular time to establish that I too am USC alumni that had not one, but two experiences as an SC student. You, on the other hand, play military more than once, and while I respect what you did or do as military, I don’t believe it has once ounce relativity in arguing the point you’re trying to make. In fact, you use your military background to demonstrate your acquired disdain (i.e. what you learned in the military informed how you feel about academia, and btw, that does not help your case to the university–rather, it discredits you) whereas I establish my credibility of holding two degrees from USC with an intent to demonstrate to you, and to others here, that I ought to know how our alma mater operates—especially since I too was faculty there.

      You’ve blown what I’ve said entirely out of context and proportion to avoid answering any questions I’ve asked you, or address the real problem in a way that would logically meet your goal.

      My interpretations are clearly laughable to you. You believe yourself! Listen, I get you’re offended by Sragow. Don’t pretend you’re not. You are. Don’t try to pretend we’re not out for the same goal. We are. If your military expertise qualifies you (by some stretch) as an expert on education administration, then I would hope my hands on experience in the field, particularly at this school, would more than do the same.

      And one could say that for someone who says so little, you actually say too much, in fact, far more than you should if you’re trying to make a plea for corrective action to well-paid administrators who care little about your point after you’ve berated and degraded what they stand for. Don’t you get that? lol.

      If you want corrective action, as we all do, then be tactful about how you request it. Sending the message to our president and provost that they are liars, that all of their faculty are frauds and liars, and that you have no respect or regard for them or for what the institution stands for? Where did you foresee that would get you? Honestly. Just answer THAT question, don’t answer any OTHER questions, or insert banal remarks, just answer the question….where did you foresee your caustic attitude getting YOU, a non-donor, an anti-faculty, anti-alumni advocate (who is, btw, attacking people trying to agree with him), going to get you, or help everyone here in general accomplish our goal?

      Just answer that, please! lol. Your attitude and choice of words is undermining all of us who are trying to do the right thing.

    4. If this blog post is so useless, why have you spent so much time commenting here? As I said, almost 2,000 people have read this post in the short time it’s been up. It has been linked to and referenced and shared on other sites. It has been read (and appreciated) by Mr. Talgo, the student who posted the video in the first place. I’m very happy with the response this blog has generated. Sadly, you seem to think my ability to influence others is limited to this blog. It’s a strange mistake that others have made. I voice my opinion on other platforms and in other forums. I’m sorry if that escapes you.

    5. No sir. What escapes me is how you can’t answer one simple question.

      What escapes me is how you think (not by how you’ve responded to me or others, but with the bitter comments in your article) that you think our president and provost (if they’ve read anything here) are going to respect a single word you’ve said.

      What escapes me is how you don’t understand that by you carrying a banner of hatred to combat some other person’s (Sragow’s) hatred, you’re not undermining the rest of us who are trying to accomplish this tactfully and with respect. THAT is what escapes me, and you still have no answer for it. Hate begets hate, Mr. Ernst. Tact and respect go much much further. I’m sure you agree.

      When I submit my plea letter to management, I’m personally naming YOU, and excluding myself from any association with you, or people who support your hatred of faculty, alumni, or the core values for which USC stands, and I’m doing that because again, it aims to tactfully achieve the same goal.

      Case closed. If you want any tips on tact? Follow Martha LaRocca. Great exemplar for tact. If you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my day job–the one for which you have so much disregard and disrespect, the same job that promoted you toward earning the degree you did, where you did.

    6. Martha is a sharp cookie. I particularly liked when she referred to your “verbose professorial pedantry.” Spot on.

      I don’t hate anyone, ‘J’. Life is too short to walk around with hate in my heart. Go ahead and name me in your letter. (or was that supposed to be ‘ME’?) If a bunch of SC bureaucrats don’t like me, I’m sure I’ll live.

      Best,

      Doug

    7. You’re going for clever, Mr. Ernst, and it’s not working in your favor. Instead of inserting banal remarks, I’d place more emphasis on solving a problem without insulting the people who exist to help you with it (i.e. modify some of your article to remove anything you outright know will flip off President Nikkias and Elizabeth Garrett).

    8. Agreed on point 1, but I totally disagree on point 2. If you want a school that will only teach the basic material – go to Cal State or listen to a podcast. You pay the big bucks to attend a school like USC, or work your butt off to get into Berkeley or Stanford, to get taught by opinionated, important people who are “in the game.” You want to learn what separates the geniuses and important players from the rest. I bet 90% of his class is the basics. Years later, it’ll be the 10% of the class that was biased and opinionated that his students will remember.

      Also, this video is very selective. It’s just the most controversial parts.

    9. I had plenty of opinionated (liberal) professors who I found to be quite smart and thought provoking. It’s possible to be opinionated and professional at the same time.

    10. Agreed Martha. Just a few things. Yes he’s an adjunct, but if you take a look at the faculty handbook (should be able to find it online), all faculty regardless of rank (and that includes tenure, clinical or adjuncts) are guaranteed the same academic freedoms. Unfortunately, as I stress unfortunately, the language of the contract does protect what he said, and that’s what Elizabeth Garrett is using to defend Sragow even though you can tell she’s mortified by what happened; it even protects his right to use foul language. Disappointing, I know, but true.

      And yes, because he’s adjunct, his department can terminate his assignmnet if he’s no longer needed for the assignmnment. Here’s the catch 22, and this is why I say that Sragow has recourse—if his position is canceled, and he believes it’s because of this incident (no doubt he would), he has a case because the burden will then be on the department chair to establish that the reason Sragow was terminated was “not” because of this.

      The only reason why I bring any of this up is because I was on the university judicial bored some years ago. This isn’t the first time things like this have happened, and that’s why I keep trying to reiterate here that I don’t support Sragow, and I don’t believe the university should retain him, but the language of the contract which is the basis for the Academic Freedom policy needs to be changed so that legally they can terminate him, and that this entire incident should set a precedent for making the change.

      Your letter was great!

    11. Thank you. I assume that “university judicial bored” was a typo (then again, maybe not). But I see your point. I have been an adjunct faculty member myself (not at USC), and it was made clear to us that a school needs paying customers. We were told by the administration to “go the extra mile” with students whose first language was not English. Engage in racism, ageism, sexism, and insult people (as Sragow surely did), and you risk killing the golden goose. Whatever steps USC may take to deal with this bad publicity, I do not believe Sragow is going to thrive and benefit. Nobody likes to deal with a person as angry and bitter as Sragow is (and pay big bucks to do so). The best thing that could happen is that nobody will sign up for his class.

  17. There is nothing “liberal” about making sweeping generalizations, stereotypes, and character assassinations about people Sragow doesn’t even know. Isn’t that contrary to the whole point of Western Liberalism? It is not that his opinions are “controversial” or on the cutting edge. He expresses utter hatred and contempt in those videos (in obscene, vulgar language) for people who are “different” from himself. Why is it acceptable to do that to white people, but not to people of color? There is no defense for this man (in fact, his behavior was completely unmanly, attacking Ann Romney as he did). He is not worth whatever money USC is paying him, and he is not worth whatever the students are paying for his class. There are probably hundreds of GAs and TAs at USC who could teach that class better than he does.

  18. Well then, Mr. Ernst, you’re still serving to undermine us. So you go ahead and have a nice day knowing that when your plea gets to where it ultimately needs to go, you’ve hurt the cause rather than helped it with the anti-faculty, anti-alumni, anti-academia, anti-everything rants that insult the powers that be, whom you need, in order to accomplish what you’re setting out to do. Enjoy!

    1. Mr. Ernst is too busy building his brand as a Breitbart wannabe to actually engage in constructive dialogue, but it’s quite fascinating watching him attack someone who mostly agrees with him.

    2. Yes Lizard, lol, it is fascinating. I can’t really make sense of it. I do agree with about 90% of his argument, I just don’t identify with his seething anger, and I guess that upsets him…or it could be because I represent a profession he despises perhaps? Don’t know. My only point, and I mean my “only” point is that while I don’t like what happened and I’d like to see something done about it, there are roadblocks here that prevent anything from being done about this (USC’s Academic Freedom Policy, and the First Amendment). And if anyone does want corrective action to be taken, then the entire university community needs to petition for changes to the language of the contract so that correcting Sragow’s action fit within the parameters of an updated policy on Academic Freedom. Getting that done is hard enough, but when you insult the University, President, Provost, the Faculty, etc, it moves us further away from the possibility. Doug doesn’t get that (I guess). He never really argued anything about this particular case with me, he just looked for ways to try and refute anything I said for God only knows what reason, but when things really eroded to the point where I stopped engaging with him was when he wrote up a mock response, to me, and tried passing it off as someone else’s response in bizarre attempt to make it looks as if someone else was trying to refute my comments. lol. Odd, but true. lol. I’m a linguist, and you can look right at what he wrote and see from the syntax and stylistics that every word of the bogus response was written by him. Also the fact that no account but his was associated with the response haha. Anyway, I’m glad to see common sense is present somewhere within all of this.

    3. Actually, you stopped engaging when I asked you to identify yourself and state whether or not you’re openly a Republican on your campus. Interesting.

      I have thousands of Twitter followers, work for a newspaper, I’m on multiple social media platforms, and anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that some of my readers send me private messages. Nice try.

      Update: Given that ‘J’ thinks he’s such a great linguist, I don’t feel bad in the least pointing out that he might just be the worst linguist in the world. The reader who took him down a notch was my same intelligent friend who predicted Romney’s downfall in Colorado. Now I really feel bad for ‘J’s’ students. Yikes.

    4. You really don’t get the motivation for the post, do you? I guess you didn’t “read carefully.”

      The point is this: How would the white conservative student feel in Sragow’s class? How confident would he feel in speaking his mind to a guy who thinks conservatives are “losers” for … being white? What if that student was like me, who had to work overnight shifts, take out loans, and save money wherever he could to make it at the “University of Spoiled Children”? For someone whose loans or GI Bill is dependent on a strong grade point average, would that student speak up? I know that in more than a few classes I bit my lip, and in others I chose my words very carefully.

      This piece was for all the students who, like me, had to struggle financially to put themselves through school. I paid for my education. Me. Not “daddy and mommy.” And so, when I had professors who I feared would penalize me if I was openly conservative, I would have to censor myself. This blog post was not for Nikkias. It was for all the kids like Mr. Talgo who have to deal with professors who call them “losers” on a daily basis.

    5. J, it’s clear to those of us who are thoughtfully considering the regrettable actions on the part of this professor that you are threatened by Mr. Ernst. You come across as petty and trying to sound more intelligent than you are, and are only providing great entertainment in the form of Mr. Ernst’s responses to you. I sense in you a bit of envy, malice yes, and a host of attention-getting tactics that would rival my five-year-old. Look in the mirror as you’re typing your verbose sophistry; the fevered look in your eyes will be the clue.

  19. A douglasernstblog.com reader hilariously takes down ‘J’, summing up his commentary perfectly:

    Apathy, can’t do anything about Sargow; hiding behind academic freedom.
    Really Doug, I’m on your side.
    You don’t donate, why speak?
    I say I respect your service, but I bring it up constantly, so I’ll use it as a club.
    Oh no, Doug challenged me, um…. I will do something…..tactfully!
    Why aren’t you so tactful?
    This discussion continues, I too will say Martha is great so I can deflect by turning her into a human wishbone for no reason.
    Answer the question.
    Answer the question.
    Bah military! for the third time (but I respect you)
    You don’t donate, watch what I get done, cuz I am better.
    Must write letter with Doug’s name, even though I started this by saying Sargow should have freedom to say whatever, but Doug, I’m on your side.

    Update: Just to further embarrass ‘J’ (since his ‘out’ is to act as if I’d make up reader responses, when all day I’ve shown a willingness to call him out), I’ll note that the reader was the same guy who predicted Romney’s downfall in Colorado.

    1. Doug Ernst. Lol. I wholeheartedly believe you just typed up that response yourself and passed it off as someone else’s comment in a really bad attempt to save face since you have no more bargaining chips with which to argue, and on that note, you’re a disturbed person. I’m not interested in attempting constructive discussion with someone who isn’t capable of it.

    2. Yes I do Doug because you’re humiliated by your own words and failure to cogently argue. I’d like to respond to that person privately rather than through you if he or she actually exists, and I’m not talking about a chat with your wife who is likely a subscriber.

      We share a common goal here, Doug. We just have two different ways of reaching it. No more no less. You think insults and subversiveness are the direction to take this, I think tact and respect are a more effective way. Nuff said.

    3. Again, you don’t read carefully, do you? I said in this post that my wife isn’t particularly political. She’s more interested in delivering babies than blogging.

      What’s your name, ‘J’? Are you openly a Republican on campus?

      Update: ‘J’ was quick with the quips until he was asked to identify himself. Telling.

    4. hahahaha. The only embarrassment is your own. The syntax in that ridiculous contrive, and the syntax in your article post election have literally nothing in common. And if by a 2% chance I’m wrong, well, way to go for coaxing a friend into doing something to help bring you up from the dirt (something you couldn’t do yourself, I suppose), and wasting his time. hahaha. Goodbye, Doug.

    5. You are wrong. And now it’s here for all the world to see. Thanks again, Jr. Sragow.

      Nothing like telling a self-made man that he couldn’t bring himself up from “the dirt.” Next thing you know, you’ll be telling your students about all those white “losers.”

  20. No sir, you know what’s telling? You writing a bogus commentary on my responses to you, passing them off as someone else’s, and covering your tracks because you weren’t receiving any support from anyone for your juvenile remarks that are, at this point, so far off topic that no one remembers where any of this began. That’s literally mental. I barely have words for that. I’ve never seen that before. If you’re at all familiar with Socrates, or the Socratic Method, Socrates in a nutshell said that you can’t have a reasonable argument with someone who is unreasonable, hates reasonable discourse, or lacks all logic. Case in point, that’s you. You don’t have any interest in discussing what took place at USC, you’re just looking to show off rhetorical prowess, which by the way you don’t have, because if you did, you’d have the ability to stick to the argument and defend your point rather than deflect in 30 different directions to discuss anything BUT the relevance of this incident. So it’s simply that I don’t have anything more to say to you, Doug lol (that…and I refuse to identify myself to someone seemingly crazy). Say whatever you like, fabricate as you wish, deflect, berate, insult. Your comments are as worthless to me now as Professor Sragow’s. What you think or say no longer matters from the point you fabricated your commentary. That’s when it struck me that you’re not lucid enough to have conversation.

    1. You’re right. I’ve engaged with you all day. In fact, I’ve engaged in some marathon sessions with Lizard19. But yet for some reason, in my 600+ posts I just randomly decided to make up reader email just for you. And despite the fact that I’ve linked to plenty of evidence that I interact with readers outside of this forum (shocker: guy who works in Washington, DC for a newspaper has contacts who email him), you stick to the story. Odd.

      Any objective observer can see that you were desperate for an out and grasped at the first one you could come up with. And now they can see that my friend from Colorado schooled you, and that you just might be the worst linguist of all time. No wonder you defend SC so much on Sragow; your skills are lacking.

      So keep refusing to acknowledge who you are and where you teach. We couldn’t have you admitting that you’re a Republican, could we? Most of the Republican professors I met kept it under wraps. I understand. Trust me. I do.

    2. I can’t help it lol, just one last thing, Doug, and then I have to be done because I have other things to do on a Thursday night….this friend, the one for whom you anonymously post his messages because he doesn’t want to be identified—some reason, is there, why he can’t or won’t post anonymously on his own? lol. He needs your assistance? Of course no objective reader is wondering about that now, but the only thing I’m more looking forward to is how you’re prepared to explain it.

      I have to thank you because I’m using you, our conversations (if you can call them that) and your blog in general as material for one of my classes.

      Anyway, thanks again!

    3. Folks, J. is a classic text-book liberal who is wrong and knows he’s wrong and needs attention. Those like him jump on and try to replace sound, cogent arguments with polemic dysentery, dripping with sophistry gleaned from our lapdog media and – as evidenced here – our once beloved universities. It’s very clear he views Mr. Ernst as an older brother or father figure that must be disputed despite an intrinsic admittance of valid points and clear truth, similar to a teen rebelling against a value-laden lesson with smirks and potshots. I’ve learned how to deal with these immature, sad tantrums: ignore. They hate it. His remarks reveal a classic attention-getting paradigm, necessary -no, vital – to those who sit alone at night (despite the consistent insistence of having “other things to do”) and in a vast vacuum of loneliness, crave any attention, even that of a rival tone, which frankly as we can surmise, is all the attention that’s left.

    4. And if it is alright with Mr. Ernst, we will give King Solomon, that very wise servant of God, the last word; apt, if I do say so myself. Let’s see if our dear Mr. J proves him correct:

      As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
      Proverbs 26:11

    5. I’m not sure what it is that you, or a few others here aren’t understanding, but the only point I was trying to make is that Sragow was inappropriate. Unfortunately, the university will protect what he says (even though they’re mortified by it) because of a policy they put in place long before Sragow came along. It’s a roadblock to achieving progress with this, and if you’d like to achieve progress with this, you’d probably not want to insult the people or the institution who oversee the modification of such policies. Letting the university know from the start that you hate them, their faculty and what they stand for logically seems to me like an awkward and out of place way to suggest corrective action.

    6. Ok, Doug, for everyone’s sake, we’ll keep this at a respectable adult level. At least I’m willing to, if you’re willing to. I’ll also try to keep responses brief. I admit, to myself and even to my students, and my family that yes, I’m long-winded and opinionated.

      What is it that you want to do about Sragow? Somewhere you mentioned corrective action, and I think somewhere perhaps you said that didn’t necessarily mean termination. What did you have in mind?

    7. I don’t care what USC does, so long as at the end of the day he acts like a professional and students like Tyler Talgo no longer feel as though if they speak up their grades will suffer. For all I care someone can bring him into an office and say, “Get your act together or you’re gone.” If that works, great. If not, then other options can be explored.

      I don’t need to say any more. Tyler Talgo sums it up quite well.

      I’m not sure if my own blog post influenced #6 or not, but it’s an accurate description of what I went through.

      6. Students should not have to choose between changing their ideology to earn a higher grade or speaking out during class and risk receiving a lower grade. (Many students are on loans, grants or scholarships that require them to maintain a certain GPA, so this choice is even more unfair to them.)

    8. I hear what you’re saying. The real quagmire is that they can’t do that to Sragow, even though I’m certain they’d like to have that discussion with him, but because they’ve offered a contract that according to the fine print of the language, allows him to behave as he did, it would end up being a violation of his rights (hysterically). The only one thing SC could do is have the department chair suggest he offer a more objective view in his classes…not tell him he has to, or he’s gone, but “gently suggest” that he try it so as not to instigate further publicity. If a chair or even a dean gave that ultimatum, Sragow could file a grievance and probably win based on what’s written in the contract.

      I work with a ton of people who legitimately need to be terminated. Doug, no joke, I work with an alcoholic who, 6 years ago, vomited on four students in the front of her class while hungover, sleeps in her office during the day with an open door, smells of gin, cancels classes constantly, and because of the rules of tenure, we can’t get rid of her. We’ve tried. We’ve pleaded with our Dean and the Provost. That’s slightly off topic because that’s a tenure issue as opposed to an academic freedom issue, but the two privileges which are grossly abused by several (not all) are not dissimilar.

      I do agree that students being lectured to under those conditions are likely feeling stifled, or at least those, who like Talgo, were in disagreement. Some were on Sragow’s bandwagon. I mean the whole rotten thing is catch 22 because the university tells the students that they have the right to express their opinions against a professor in class, while realistically speaking they can’t, and then you have the university telling the professors they can say and do anything they like, when they’d rather they not do that, and if management says something to the professor, the professor turns around and files a grievance based on violation of rights.

      The only option that might stand a chance is the one we discussed yesterday (a letter from disappointed alumni). Outside of that, when you say other options can be explored, what did you have in mind? I’m all ears.

    9. This is where we go our separate ways. If I’m hearing you correctly, you’re basically saying that Sragow has a blank check to say whatever he wants under the guise of “academic freedom.” If that’s true, that’s incredibly depressing.

      As far as what those other options are, I would defer to people like you, who are in the know. I don’t know the ins-and-outs of university bureaucracies. However, I have to believe there are creative ways to do away with someone who is not carrying out his duties in a professional manner.

      I guarantee you that if I walked into the newsroom and puked on my boss I’d be thrown to the curb ‘Fresh Prince’ style. If tenured professors can puke on their students with impunity … we are certainly in a sad state of affairs.

    10. You’re hearing me correctly, yes. Faculty, be them tenured, tenure-track, clinical (the category I fall under), and adjunct are essentially given the blank check, so to speak, under the language of academic freedom. Elizabeth Garrett, somewhere along the way, corroborates this. And Indeed it’s abused. As I’d said in an earlier post, I think academic freedom has gone too far, and I’d love to see it modified.

      Let me give you another good one that’s going on with me right now in one of my own classrooms and frustrates me to no end. I have two TA’s teaching a 1 unit lab in conjunction with my 3 unit course, and these guys are so far to the left I cringe each time I look at them. Since our semester began, both have geared their lab lessons to have students constantly examining the marriage equality argument, LGBT rights, and language of the law in Proposition 8. I expressed to them, and to my chair, that 1) Christian students came to me to let me know how uncomfortable they felt, and 2) I didn’t want agenda based lessons being taught as part of my labs. My chair informed me that even they, as TA faculty, are entitled to freedom of speech, and the only way I can can grieve this or request their termination is by demonstrating that what they’re teaching in my lab is misaligned with my curriculum–and so far as I’m concerned it is because I’m teaching Aristotlian Rhetoric, and they’re teaching RuPaul… but these two tools found a loophole to justify what they were doing, and I’m stuck with them for three more weeks. Meanwhile I have angry students whose values have rightfully been offended, and because of the Academic Freedom policy, I, as well as my students, have to deal with it.

      Here’s why I even mention all of that. Sragow is going to get away with what he said free and clear unless someone in that class can claim and prove that his rant had nothing to do with the curriculum, emotional harm was caused, or that there was some form of retribution against them. That’s the only way the blank check you mention gets voided.

      You’re right, there are creative ways to let people like this go, the problem is that people like Sragow are wise to this and look for every which way to turn termination on its ear because of some loophole in a overly liberal contract, or lack of proof on someone else’s part to establish that what they’re doing was worthy of termination.

      Appalling, I know!

  21. And our Dear, Contrite Mr. J proved Solomon correct LOL. As they so often do.

    Well, time for wine and pizza. Mr. Ernst, you made your point, very well I might add. Keep up the good work, but keep a canine barf bag handy. There are so many more precious minds to unindoctrinate, and it can be a messy, yet essential, job. ;D

    1. SLC, I thought you were ignoring? For someone avoiding “petty” you’re gunning for it full-speed.

      Look I’m not here for trouble. I’m here for discussion. Doug and I had a disagreement that got ugly, we’ve mutually agreed to keep civil discussion going. He and I are both USC grads, we don’t like what happened, we’re entitled to our opinions, so we’re discussing it. Let it be, will you?

    2. I’m in a tough spot as a moderator, SLC. You (and King Solomon) are correct. However, I feel compelled to respond to people until they say something that is so beyond-the-pale that I’d have to censor the post. I’ve had a few people over the past few years just write a long string of expletives, for example. Even then I don’t always delete the comment because … resorting to that sort of thing can be educational.

      There are two other issues:

      1. Sometimes you get these guys who come here and they feel as though they need to have the last word. Always. But the thing is this: They’re on my turf. This is my blog. That will not happen unless I want it to. If I go into ‘J’s’ classroom or his website, I will gladly give him the last word. If I go onto Lizard’s blog, I have no qualms giving him the last word.

      2. Liberalism likes to hide its true nature. Therefore, I like to keep conversations going because the longer you string someone along, the more likely their true nature will reveal itself.

    1. Martha did you see this inside of the article?

      “Currently, the university has not taken any actions against Sragow. It is also unclear whether Talgo breached university policy by secretly recording Sragow’s lectures.”

      I was waiting for something like this to surface. Here’s another potential roadblock. I only know this from experience on the Judicial Board–if the professor states in the syllabus that phones or recording devices are prohibited in the classroom, or that the professor may not have his lecture recorded without permission, then the student is held at fault.

      This could really pose a problem. It’s yet another straw for Sragow to grasp at if ultimately faced with termination.

    2. Other options? It’s taking on a life of its own, growing into a huge mess. Tyler Talgo may face legal ramifications, but that won’t help Sragow in the long run, who will look like a real creep, suing a student. USC could buy out Sragow’s contract and pay him to go away (as Rutgers is now doing with its athletic department mess). Failing that, maybe it’s time to call Don Corleone…..

  22. No, it won’t do anything in the long run for Sragow, but for the here and now, Sragow could still end up keeping his job, and Talgo could end up suspended because the university would be required to take action against him, and suspension, I believe, gets placed on a student’s transcripts. I’d love to hope that we could buy out Sragow’s contract and send him away if nothing else legally could be done, but I have a hunch a stubborn creep like this would keep his position over a buyout simply out of spite. I also have a hunch that because of Sragow’s lack of decorum, he’d get a rise out of suing Talgo. You’re right! What a mess! My good friend was our Alumni President 2010-2011. She has so much clout with the Board of Trustees. I’m getting in touch with her today to see if there are any words of persuasion she can or would be willing to share on behalf of the alumni. My next call is to Don Corleone 😉

  23. There are many many Jews like Sragow who feel exactly the same way about (gentile) whites as he does. But only in recent decades are they feeling comfortable enough to say such things openly.

  24. I wrote multiple responses to this incident. While I completely agree with your premise…what this student did is hardly an example worth emulating. I know Sragow personally and I took the same class. This is not one of those instances of a stifling environment for Conservatives. If there’s an argument to be made, it’s that a professor should not be wasting time spouting his views when the course costs thousands of dollars…but that it’s bullying conservatives? No. College students aren’t children. I did, they can too. Exposing that a professor is liberal doesn’t make anyone less liberal and it doesn’t teach any of your classmates WHY the professor is wrong. That’s why this kid did a serious disservice to conservatives at USC.

    You can read my article here: http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/13209
    And Debra Saunders’ article that she interviewed me for here: http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2013/04/16/free-speech-hidden-cameras-dont-mix-n1568769/page/full/

    1. So because you’re awesome and you spoke up, then Tyler Talgo took the wrong approach. Got it.

      I know you, Emily. I respect you. But not everyone is a conservative activist.

      I paid for USC myself. Did you? I’m not sure if you know what the full weight of USC’s tuition feels like when you’re 22 and shouldering it yourself. And then on top of that your GI Bill, loans, etc. are dependent on keeping a high grade point average. So on top of paying USC’s tuition and my rent and my food you’d want kids like me to have to deal with the bureaucratic BS that happens when professors knock your grade for speaking up? When did I have time for that? I shouldn’t have to deal with that.

      At the time I was not a conservative activist. I was just a kid who was trying to put himself through a very expensive, very prestigious school. Professors like Sragrow turned me into an activist because I was so upset with the way they ran their classes.

      You come across like Bill Kristol in your piece. While I generally think he is a smart man, in this instance that is not a compliment.

  25. Wow okay.

    1. Whether or not one is an activist is not the issue here. It’s about being able to articulate and defend (or reform) your beliefs and arguments. That’s part of what college is for…especially if you choose to be a political science major.
    2. Talgo is an “activist.” He wrote about the 2012 elections before, he’s been in College Republicans, and he is who I’m discussing here.
    3. I actually did pay for USC (and am still) and I am 22, and I AM shouldering it myself.
    4. I too had scholarships dependent on GPA, and I was usually one of the most talkative students in all of my classes…I never got a grade I felt was unfair. I think far too many people overestimate the quality of their work and look for something else to blame for their B’s or C’s. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if you believe you “shouldn’t have to deal with that,” maybe you shouldn’t have majored in political science.
    5. There is a proper method for handling a professor who you feel has graded you unfairly.
    6. Dealing with people we don’t like and bosses who are unreasonable and coworkers/classmates who get faster promotions or better grades and may not deserve it is a fact of life. The sooner we learn to deal with it the better off we will be. I have a problem with Talgo’s action because he’s making excuses for his own failure (as an activist, I might add) to speak up in class, in order to get his 15 minutes of fame. While it is sometimes warranted, I think the “fear” of getting a bad grade is grossly exaggerated and it is used as an excuse for college republicans to develop this victim mentality that we so despise in the left. What they need to learn to do is be that much better. It might not be fair, but life is isn’t fair, and you’re not 10 years old when you’re sitting in that college classroom with a leftist professor
    7. You’re writing about a very specific event from a very edited video clip featuring a professor that you have never had, don’t know, and don’t know the context of the discussion. I am not defending what he said, but I will say that the video clip mischaracterizes this professor and I have taken the exact same class with him. You know when a professor is intolerant of your beliefs and Sragow does not give that impression at all. His TA is a College Republican for crying out loud! What you seem to have a problem with, and I do as well, is the problem of liberal professors who actually DO stifle debate. Sragow isn’t one of them.
    8. I did work for the man so I guess that makes sense. I don’t, however, think he would agree with me on this. Since most people hate Bill for his neocon views, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. I simply think Talgo, who wasn’t around when me and the rest of the statewide college republicans were actually doing things to try to win elections, shouldn’t be parading around as if he is the messiah of young conservatives because he recorded a video of a political operative being, well, political, and was too craven to speak up in class.

    1. I should have noted that I don’t know what you majored in…if it wasn’t political science then I take back what I said.

    2. No problem. And I should note that while I was being snarky with my “awesome” comment, I really do think you’re awesome. 😉 I’m also jealous of your time overseas…but that’s another story.

    3. 1. I wasn’t a political science major at USC.

      2. I don’t care what Tyler is. What he did serves students who are not activists. We can agree to disagree.

      In graduate school (when I was a Political Science major) I did an experiment. I bashed Bush. I got an ‘A’. Then, I took a conservative approach. I got a ‘D’ on my paper and a note saying I wasn’t putting forth “graduate quality work.” You can feel as though people overestimate their work all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that a lot of professors are biased and DO take it out on conservative students.

      It seems as though you have a thing against Talgo because of college Republican in-fighting. So be it.

    4. It isn’t only about professors being “biased.” It’s about institutional group-think. Conformity. Go-along-to-get-along. Like that song in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” — “I do things the company-way.”

      Many professors know what they have to do and say (and when to keep silent) to conform to the ideology now prevalent in academia, in order to get tenure, and hang on. These people could never identify with Thomas Paine, if they ever read him in the first place.

    5. I went to college to learn about the best and brightest that has ever been written. Sadly, most of the real education (e.g., Paine) I did by buying my own books and reading in my spare time.

    1. Sadly, I think most programs are filled with these guys. My graduate school experience was no different. When I worked for Heritage I travelled around the country for almost three years to many colleges, and it was the same pretty much everywhere we went. It was very tough at times to even find a professor who would work with us to help promote events.

  26. Let me add that most of you are responding to a video, TAKEN SECRETLY, of a man teaching a PHILOSOPHY OF POLITICS class. As such, do you truly have a right to rush to judgement? Additionally, ALL of you were taught by teachers….some good and some bad. Teacher bashing is shameful! “These guys” spend hours preparing to teach, lead, and challenge their students. Are you so insecure that you cannot rise to this and question what might have been meant? SHAME ON YOU!!!!!

    1. “Secret”? Sounds like something an anonymous poster who abuses the ‘Caps Lock’ button would do. You’ll have to forgive me for not taking you seriously, given that you conveniently ignored what was actually said by Mr. Sragow. It’s also been my experience that people who go around “shaming” others (easy on the exclamation points there, buddy), usually don’t have much to add to the conversation. In fact, they usually just comment to make themselves feel good.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the punctuation store. You used up all the exclamation points and I need to buy more.

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