Settlement requires ‘anti-hate training’ for internet troll
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
Tuesday, December 18
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — An internet troll who harassed a black college student with racist messages on social media has agreed to a court settlement requiring him to get “anti-hate training,” apologize in writing and on video and publicly renounce white supremacy.
Tuesday’s settlement agreement would resolve Taylor Dumpson’s claims against one of the defendants she sued in April over an online harassment campaign orchestrated by a neo-Nazi website publisher.
Her lawsuit says The Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin directed his site’s readers to cyberbully her after she became the first black woman to serve as American University’s student government president.
Dumpson sued Anglin and two people who harassed her online. Her settlement agreement is with Oregon resident Evan James McCarty, who posted on Twitter under the pseudonym “Byron de la Vandal,” an apparent reference to Byron De La Beckwith, who assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963.
Dumpson’s attorneys previously asked the federal court in Washington, D.C., to enter default judgments against Anglin and another defendant, Brian Andrew Ade, for their failure to respond to the suit. Anglin and Ade aren’t involved in the settlement.
Dumpson’s ordeal began a day after her May 2017 inauguration as student government president, when someone hung bananas with hateful messages from nooses on the university’s campus. Authorities investigated but didn’t identify any suspects.
Anglin posted an article about the incident, including links to Dumpson’s Facebook page and the American University Student Government’s Twitter page. In response to an announcement about Dumpson’s whereabouts, McCarty tweeted a picture of bananas captioned, “READY THE TROOPS,” and wrote, “OOGA BOOGA,” in another tweet directed at her, her suit says.
Dumpson, now a 22-year-old law school student, said she wants her lawsuit to “hold people accountable for their bigoted actions.” She believes the partial settlement “could raise awareness of issues of racial justice, while also providing for educational benefits.”
“I guess I was open to the idea that even the perpetrator of a racially motivated act of bias could still be more or less reformed,” she told The Associated Press.
Her lawyers hope the settlement agreement could become a model for encouraging others to abandon white supremacy. McCarty agreed to apologize directly to Dumpson in a video conference that she can record for advocacy and educational purposes.
He also agreed to attend at least one year of anti-hate training sessions with a licensed therapist or a qualified counselor, and to complete at least four academic courses on race and gender issues. In addition, McCarty must complete at least 200 hours of community service promoting “racial justice and civil rights” and publicly advocate against hate.
“This advocacy could take many forms, such as direct outreach to other white supremacists to attempt de-radicalization,” the agreement says.
Dumpson is represented by attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Kristen Clarke, the Washington-based group’s president and executive director, said the agreement should have a “chilling effect” on those who anonymously spew hate online.
“At the end of the day, our settlement should send a strong message to white supremacists and neo-Nazis all across the country that they will be held accountable for their conduct,” she said.
Anglin’s site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda in Nazi-era Germany, and includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.” Domain name registration companies Google and GoDaddy yanked the site’s web address after Anglin published a post mocking the woman killed by a man who plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
Dumpson’s case is one of three federal lawsuits filed against Anglin by targets of his racist and anti-Semitic trolling campaigns.
Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh sued Anglin in April 2017, claiming anonymous internet trolls bombarded her family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information.
Muslim-American radio host Dean Obeidallah sued Anglin in his native Ohio in August 2017. Obeidallah’s federal suit says Anglin falsely labeled him as the “mastermind” behind a deadly bombing at a concert in England.
Dumpson’s suit says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and “feels constantly afraid and on edge,” terrified to leave her home at night.
“It’s one of the first things I think about in the morning and one of the last things I think about when I go to sleep,” she said.
Her suit asks the court to rule that the defendants violated the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977 and the D.C. Bias-Related Crimes Act of 1989. The court hasn’t ruled yet.
How T.M. Landry College Prep failed black families
December 18, 2018
H. Richard Milner IV
Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education, Vanderbilt University
H. Richard Milner IV is Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He has received funding from the Heinz Endowments and the Grable Foundation.
Vanderbilt University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Of all the challenges that vex black parents, perhaps none is more frustrating than to be forced to send their children to schools where their children’s talents go unrecognized, overlooked, ignored or even squashed.
As I argue in my book – “Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms” – teaching in a way that recognizes the strengths of black students takes considerable training. This is especially true in a system where the majority of teachers are white and middle class.
As a scholar of race and urban teacher education, I see a major disconnect between what schools offer black students and the realities that black students face outside the classroom.
Given how often public schools fail black children, the allure of a “college prep” school – even if it is in a nontraditional school environment – becomes easy to understand. A school like that is seen not only as an alternative to the regular public schools but as the doorway to the most elite educational institutions of higher education in the nation – and all that earning a degree from one of those institutions entails.
Gateway to elite schools
And so it was with T.M. Landry College Prep – an independent private school located in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. The school doesn’t list race or ethnicity in its student profile. However, promotional materials and news reports suggest the majority of the student body is black.
The school began to garner widespread attention in 2017 after students and school officials posted a series of videos of Landry students being accepted into some of the nation’s top colleges and universities – including Ivy League schools. The image of elated black students clad in college sweatshirts as they learned they had been accepted into the likes of Harvard and Yale made for striking theater.
T.M. Landry had seemingly cemented its status as a model school for black students who hail from families that were struggling to make ends meet.
Beset by allegations
Unfortunately, it now appears that this dream school was actually a nightmare.
As reported by The New York Times, the husband-and-wife co-founders of the school – Michael and Tracey Landry – allegedly falsified student transcripts and exaggerated or lied about students’ life stories in order to make them more attractive to college admission committees looking to diversify their student bodies.
The school is also under investigation by Louisiana state police for allegations of abuse. The accusations against Michael Landry range from striking students to making one student eat rat feces.
People are rightly incensed about what the students at T.M. Landry reportedly had to endure.
Beyond the allegations of abuse, there were also academic practices that raise serious questions about T.M. Landry’s approach to educational success. For instance, the high school students spent an excessive amount of time on ACT practice tests – “day after day,” according to The New York Times.
“If it wasn’t on the ACT, I didn’t know it,” Bryson Sassau, a T.M. Landry student who took the ACT three times, told The New York Times as he lamented how ill prepared he was for college.
Rethinking education’s purpose
But even if Sassou and his fellow students at Landry had been prepared for college, would that necessarily make T.M. Landry a good school for black students?
As one of many scholars who studies the interplay of race, culture and education, I believe the true measure of a school’s worth is not the extent to which its students get accepted into elite institutions. But rather, I’d measure a school by the degree to which it inspires students to engage in collective efforts to improve the human condition.
In fairness, T.M. Landry College Prep’s creed includes a line that states: “Commitment to the betterment of self and society as a whole.” The degree to which the school infused that into its daily coursework is questionable.
This is particularly important for black students in the United States, who hail from a population that experiences gross disparities in a broad range of areas, from health and wealth, education and justice, and from infant mortality to life expectancy.
Educational researcher Gloria Ladson-Billings has questioned the overemphasis on test scores. She has stressed the need reframe the way society thinks about education – to go from focusing on the so-called “achievement gap” to an “education debt” that reflects how much more should be invested in the education of children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. I have stressed the need to focus not on achievement gaps but rather on “opportunity gaps” that show inequities in systems, structures and practices, among other factors, that can prevent children from reaching their potential.
Given the unique history that evolves from America’s “peculiar institution” – slavery – and the many ways in which it has impacted black identity, education must also equip black students with knowledge and skills they need to analyze, critique, question and write about the ways in which they’ve been miseducated.
Even at its best – that is, even if the school wasn’t facing allegations of abuse or that it doctored student transcripts and came up with fake sob stories to get them into college – if the school’s focus was primarily concerned with test prep, T.M. Landry was not a truly transformative school that black students need and deserve.
True transformative schools don’t just work to help black students better fit into the existing educational and social system. They don’t want to just contribute another “beat the odds” story about how so called “merit” and “hard work” can help them overcome centuries and decades of class and race inequity and oppression.
Schooling vs. education
What black students need – more than anything else – is less schooling and more education.
Schooling is “a process intended to perpetuate and maintain the society’s existing power relations and the institutional structures that support those arrangements,” as Mwalimu J. Shuiaa states in “Too Much Schooling, Too Little Education: A Paradox of Black Life in White Societies.”
Education, on the other hand, is an emancipatory process of lifelong learning that enables students to study and read the broader society and work to disrupt injustice.
Schools like T.M. Landry that just want to “school” black students well enough to get into the Ivy Leagues so that they can earn a degree, acquire material things and the trappings of success – all the while fitting into the existing power structure – are problematic. Such schools may appeal to black families because of their negative experiences in traditional public schools, but they don’t really enable students to challenge the status quo.
Indeed, as Audre Lorde has argued, the “master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” And as James Baldwin has stressed in his famous “Talk to Teachers,” during these times of anti-blackness, racism, xenophobia and discrimination writ large, it is time to “go for broke” in order to teach black children to break out of the existing social order. In order to do that, educators must radically shift what education is – and who decides what counts as academic and social success.
As of the publication of this article, the school’s co-founders, Michael and Tracey Landry, had stepped down from the school’s board but will continue to teach at the school.
PUCO adopts agreement in Duke Energy Ohio rate cases
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Ohio Public Utilities Commission
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Dec. 19, 2018) – Today the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) adopted a settlement agreement resolving a number of high profile cases in the Duke Energy Ohio electric service territory.
“With today’s decision, Duke joins Ohio’s three other electric distribution utilities in having regulatory certainty into the mid-2020s,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Over the next six years, Duke will make investments to improve reliability and modernize the electric grid, in line with the PUCO’s PowerForward initiative.”
The Commission’s order resolves Duke Energy Ohio’s distribution rate case, electric security plan, reliability standard case, and power purchase agreement.
Duke’s base distribution rates will be lowered by more than $19 million annually, and establish a rate of return of 7.54 percent. Duke will provide $772,000 in annual funding for various low-income assistance programs in coordinationwith the city of Cincinnati and People Working Cooperatively.
Duke’s electric security plan (ESP) will continue to set default generation rates through competitive auctions through May 2025.
Duke will continue to make grid modernization investments and capital improvements during the term of the ESP, subject to annual cost caps and ongoing Commission review. Grid modernization efforts will allow competitive electric suppliers and third-parties access to usage data, enabling them to offer innovative products and services to their customers.
Duke will file an application with the PUCO to make investments in to-be-identified battery storage projects through a new pilot.
Through this Commission’s order, Duke will pursue more aggressive annual reliability measures during the term of the ESP. Duke will also continue its five-year vegetation management program to ensure system reliability.
Duke will recover/credit the net proceeds from selling power from its share of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation into the regional marketplace through the non-bypassable Price Stabilization Rider, consistent with previous Commission decisions for AEP Ohio and Dayton Power & Light Company.
As a result of today’s decision, a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month will see an increase in their monthly bill by approximately $1.57. However, the Commission also noted that a pending proceeding related to a rate reduction as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will help to mitigate this rate increase.
A copy of today’s Commission opinion and order is available on the PUCO website www.PUCO.ohio.gov by clicking on the link to Docketing Information System and entering case 17-32-EL-AIR in the search field.
On July 22, 2016, Duke Energy Ohio filed an application to adjust its minimum electric reliability standards, and separately filed an application to include its OVEC obligations in its Price Stabilization Rider.
On March 2, 2017, Duke Energy Ohio filed an application with the PUCO to increase its base distribution rates by $15.4 million annually.
On June 1, 2017, Duke Energy Ohio filed an application for approval its electric security plan.
On Sept. 26, 2017, PUCO staff filed a report of its investigation regarding Duke Energy Ohio’s application to increase its distribution rates. PUCO staff recommended reducing Duke’s annual distribution revenues.
On Oct 23, and Oct. 26, 2017, the PUCO held local public hearings in Middletown and Cincinnati to receive public testimony related to Duke Energy Ohio’s proposed electric security plan.
On Oct. 30, and Nov. 2 2017, the PUCO held local public hearings in Hamilton and Cincinnati to receive public testimony related to Duke Energy Ohio’s application to increase distribution rates.
On April 13, 2018, a settlement agreement was filed, intended to resolve the signatory party’s issues in the distribution rate case, electric security plan, and reliability standards application. The settlement agreement was signed by Duke Energy Ohio, PUCO staff, city of Cincinnati, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Hospital Association and People Working Cooperatively, Kroger, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group, and Walmart.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility servicesat fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
Why feminism should not be about fixing men
By Matthew Johnson
It’s a dating adage that you can’t fix a man. I’m not so sure why this is never applied to larger social concerns. The simple truth is men do not want to be fixed. Enlightened? Possibly. Transformed? Perhaps. But fixed? No. Think of an intelligent, attractive, and successful woman who takes on a far less intelligent, attractive, and successful man as a project: How can I get him to dress better or speak better or consider my needs better? (and so on). This is part-stereotype for the purpose of emphasis and part-sordid reality.
I bring this up not to talk about dating pitfalls but to talk about men’s anti-violence, pro-feminist initiatives, such as MenEngage. My concern is that these initiatives, while noble, resemble the approach of a woman seeking to mold the perfect man out of a deeply flawed suspect-man. In other words, he is viewed with suspicion until he does xyz for n weeks. This is not only condescending toward the man in question but also runs counter to a characteristic approach to empowerment. For example, a women’s empowerment approach tends to focus on what a woman needs for herself in order to be stronger, happier, and more confident and not what she can do to better please or empower a man or men in general. If the latter approach were taken, feminists would surely condemn it — calling it oppressive and patriarchal.
I am not saying it is equally oppressive to take this approach with men’s empowerment, but it is likely to meet as much resistance from self-respecting men as the equivalent approach would from self-respecting women. And men’s resistance would not only come from powerful men reinforcing the status quo but also from men who find themselves near the bottom of the hierarchy due to socio-economic and political factors. These men will likely ask, ‘what about our empowerment? Doesn’t gender justice and equality also apply to us?’ Despite the famous words from the Declaration of Independence, not all men are created equal in a capitalist, patriarchal society.
Speaking for myself — and I consider myself pro-feminist — I would not be interested in going to a workshop where the central goal was to modify my behavior for the sake of women’s empowerment. Of course, if it were determined that I was speaking or acting in violent or oppressive ways, then a behavior change would be the clear solution. But changing men’s behavior should not be posited as the end-all-be-all before the discussion has even begun. Despite all the academic speak about systems of oppression, feminists are loath to talk about how (some) women benefit from those systems. It’s not as if every woman on earth is actively fighting against patriarchy or considers it sufficiently evil to fight against at all. The 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump in 2016 did not do so because they are stupid or brainwashed, they did so because they saw a Trump presidency — and patriarchy by extension — as in their current best interests.
This reflects a larger issue in modern feminism: It has a public relations problem, as Lauren Reiff puts it. It clings to a “conflict narrative” when it could opt for a more cooperative strategy. That strategy should begin with engaging men on their level in a participatory way — toward the goal of convincing them that both individual and systemic change is in their best interests. They should not only be empowered to value women and treat them as equals but also value themselves. And they should value themselves not as walking-talking stereotypes, but as partners, caregivers, hard workers, scholars, activists, artists, poets, lovers, visionaries, trailblazers, and so on. Without this focus, a well-intentioned men’s anti-violence initiative will become just another gender roleplay, where men are manipulated into aspiring to yet-another unattainable standard of behavior for the so-called good of society — and a large number of men will continue to resist serving as someone’s fix-it project. We can do better.
Matt Johnson, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is co-author of Trumpism.