Klara’s first Spanish word is “terremoto” (earthquake.) She pronounces it perfectly. 

We are reading this bizarre book about a family that goes on a picnic and never manages to eat anything or have fun because the only adult there is completely useless. The family has a dog called Terremoto. Klara decided that it doesn’t make sense for a dog to be called that and persuaded me that Terremoto is one of the girls in the story. Why she chose this particular girl and why she decided Terremoto can’t be a boy is a mystery. I’d so love for her to be able to explain but she isn’t even 22 months old yet. 

I find it absolutely fascinating how she figures out these things. 

Be Careful

I’m stunned with the number of ridiculous rumors that have proliferated recently about my alma mater. Wherever I turn, people tell me the most outlandish, crazy stories that none of witnessed first-hand. Everybody heard something from somebody that heard something from somebody else. 

It’s scary how easy it is to destroy reputations once you start playing the game of “broken phone.” Rumors, exaggerations, fantasies, hints – it’s all totally nuts. It’s especially disturbing that the people who so avidly spread gossip are scholars or scholars-in-the-making. We are supposed to care about evidence, knowledge, truth. 

It’s sad to see people descend into the depths of insanity just because it feels nice to gossip. I spent half a day today trying to make folks see reason but it’s useless. 

Union Tactics

So as you know, out Chancellor decided not to give us our backpay as a union-busting tactic. The money has been approved by the Board of Trustees and disbursed to the school, yet this one. . . individual is choosing to keep it hostage. 

On Wednesday, there was a big award ceremony at our university. Union people showed up with a huge framed certificate and said they wanted to award it to the Chancellor. The poor . . . individual got all proud and climbed onstage. The union folks said that the framed paper was actually the text of the email he sent back in summer to the university community promising that we’d be getting our backpay soon. And they asked him if he was willing to comment. Obviously, he had nothing to say. It all got in the papers and on social media.

I’m very proud of my union. 

What Changed?

Every week now we get reports of racist incidents on our campus. I’ve been here for 8 years, and there was never anything like this. Our student demographics have not changed, the tenor of instruction was not changed. But all of a sudden people started coming into the classrooms and the dorms and the shared areas to find racist slogans written on blackboards, doors, bulletin boards, etc. And I mean really vicious racist shit.

So what changed? I think we all know the answer. Students are mostly very young kids, teenagers many of them. I’m not trying to justify them but the young are like sponges. They absorb what’s in the environment and react to changing social norms. The perpetrators will be discovered, castigated, and probably expelled. But what about those who taught them that this vile shit is ok? When will they be punished?