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  1. #1
    The Patient
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    1st Amendment lawsuit - UVA Student Questions Microaggressions

    https://reason.com/2021/04/07/microa...charya-threat/

    A Medical Student Questioned Microaggressions. UVA Branded Him a Threat and Banished Him from Campus.
    Kieran Bhattacharya's First Amendment lawsuit can proceed, a court said.
    ROBBY SOAVE | 4.7.2021 2:30 PM

    University-of-Virginia-Rotunda
    (Mark Lagola)
    Kieran Bhattacharya is a student at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine. On October 25, 2018, he attended a panel discussion on the subject of microaggressions. Dissatisfied with the definition of a microaggression offered by the presenter—Beverly Cowell Adams, an assistant dean—Bhattacharya raised his hand.

    Within a few weeks, as a result of the fallout from Bhattacharya's question about microagressions, the administration had branded him a threat to the university and banned him from campus. He is now suing UVA for violating his First Amendment rights, and a judge recently ruled that his suit should proceed.

    Here was what the student said.

    "Thank you for your presentation," said Bhattacharya, according to an audio recording of the event. "I had a few questions, just to clarify your definition of microaggressions. Is it a requirement, to be a victim of microaggression, that you are a member of a marginalized group?"

    Adams replied that it wasn't a requirement.

    Bhattacharya suggested that this was contradictory, since a slide in her presentation had defined microaggressions as negative interactions with members of marginalized groups. Adams and Bhattacharya then clashed for a few minutes about how to define the term. It was a polite disagreement. Adams generally maintained that microaggression theory was a broad and important topic and that the slights caused real harm. Bhattacharya expressed a scientific skepticism that a microaggression could be distinguished from an unintentionally rude statement. His doubts were well founded given that microaggression theory is not a particularly rigorous concept.

    But Nora Kern*, an assistant professor who helped to organize the event, thought Bhattacharya's questions were a bit too pointed. Immediately following the panel, she filed a "professionalism concern card"—a kind of record of a student's violations of university policy.

    "This student asked a series of questions that were quite antagonistic toward the panel," wrote Kern. "He pressed on and stated one faculty member was being contradictory. His level of frustration/anger seemed to escalate until another faculty member defused the situation by calling on another student for questions. I am shocked that a med student would show so little respect toward faculty members. It worries me how he will do on wards."

    According to Bhattacharya's lawsuit, the concern card generated interest from an assistant dean in the medical school, who emailed him and offered to meet. The assistant dean assured him that "I simply want to help you understand and be able to cope with unintended consequences of conversations."

    Bhattacharya responded that contrary to anyone's assertions, he had not lost his temper or become frustrated with the panel:

    Your observed discomfort of me from wherever you sat was not at all how I felt. I was quite happy that the panel gave me so much time to engage with them about the semantics regarding the comparison of microaggressions and barbs. I have no problems with anyone on the panel; I simply wanted to give them some basic challenges regarding the topic. And I understand that there is a wide range of acceptable interpretations on this. I would be happy to meet with you at your convenience to discuss this further.

    Then a dean of student affairs asked to meet as well.

    Meanwhile, the Academic Standards and Achievement Committee met to to discuss the concern card. This committee voted to send Bhattacharya a written reminder to "show mutual respect" to faculty members and "express yourself appropriately." The committee also suggested that he get counseling.

    On November 26, this suggestion became a mandate: The student was informed that he must be evaluated by psychological services before returning to classes. Bhattacharya repeatedly asked university officials to clarify what exactly he was accused of, under whose authority his counseling had been mandated, and why his enrollment status was suddenly in doubt, according to the lawsuit. These queries only appear to have made UVA officials more determined to punish him: Bhattacharya's mounting frustration with these baseless accusations of unspecified wrongdoings was essentially treated as evidence that he was guilty. At his hearing, he was accused of being "extremely defensive" and ordered to change his "aggressive, threatening behavior."

    He was ultimately suspended for "aggressive and inappropriate interactions in multiple situations." On December 30, UVA police ordered him to leave campus.

    UVA's administration engaged in behavior that can be described as "gaslighting." Administrators asserted that Bhattacharya had behaved aggressively when he hadn't, and then cited his increasing confusion, frustration, and hostility toward the disciplinary process as evidence that he was aggressive. And all of this because Bhattacharya asked an entirely fair question about microaggressions, a fraught subject.

    His lawsuit contends that UVA violated his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for speaking his mind. UVA filed a motion to dismiss the case, but a district court judge ruled that the suit could proceed.

    "Bhattacharya sufficiently alleges that Defendants retaliated against him," wrote the court. "Indeed, they issued a Professionalism Concern Card against him, suspended him from UVA Medical School, required him to undergo counseling and obtain 'medical clearance' as a prerequisite for remaining enrolled, and prevented him from appealing his suspension or applying for readmission."

    It is vital that UVA lose this case, and lose badly. Students must have the right to question administrators about poorly formed concepts from social psychology without fearing that they will be branded as threats to public order. That's the difference between a public university and an asylum.

    Update: This post initially identified Sara Rasmussen as the professor who filed the complaint, but it was Nora Kern, a co-organizer of the event. Both are defendants in the lawsuit.



    I have listened to the audio of the initial exchange and I am not sure how anyone could clam he was "antagonistic toward the panel", or that he had any "level of frustration/anger" towards the panel.

    Also the fact they at first "suggested that he get counseling" and then, tried to mandate "that he must be evaluated by psychological services before returning to classes", before finally saying unilaterally, and suspending him for "aggressive and inappropriate interactions in multiple situations." is just insane.

    Here is a link to the audio on Soundcloud the student in question starts speaking at 28:45 in the recording.

    Sadly I see this probably heading to the Supreme Court as a 1st Amendment lawsuit, and taking years to resolve. Though I hope he wins because this is some next tier attempted brainwashing bullshit.

  2. #2
    good luck to him, but knowing the inclination of authoritarian left wingers these days he's done fucked up, no one is allowed to question the narrative and get away with it..
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  3. #3
    The piece of shit argued that he should benefit from the protections of a statute "intended to provide relief for those who sufferd at the hands of Klan violence."

    He may have a First Amendment case against the school, but in a perfect world, that alone would have the courts throw his ass out on the street. Laughing as they did so.

  4. #4
    The Unstoppable Force Kaleredar's Avatar
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    Forgive me if I take the analysis of a place like “reason.com” with a grain of salt. That article is full of editorializing, such that I neither believe its obviously stinted take on the situation, the OPs take, or the take of the guy that posted second that just read the thread title and posted.

    Maybe post a more equitable link and we can have a discussion.
    “Do not lose time on daily trivialities. Do not dwell on petty detail. For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.” ~ Emily3, World of Tomorrow
    Quote Originally Posted by Wells View Post
    Kaleredar is right...
    Words to live by.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    good luck to him, but knowing the inclination of authoritarian left wingers these days he's done fucked up, no one is allowed to question the narrative and get away with it..
    Yet Right Wingers are currently banning Transgenders in Schools in many states across America.
    Americans are the Chinese of the west. The main reason people tolerate them is because they are too big to ignore.

    "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack." - Roger Stone (Trump's Friend, Ally, and Campaign Advisor)

  6. #6
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Given that the disciplinary measures have nothing to do with the content of his speech, he's got more than an uphill battle.

    Just for others who want to look, I know the OP linked it I'm just doubling up for clarity, in the audio link in question, the guy starts talking around 28:45. So you don't have to listen to the whole thing (it's just the question period for the panel, not the panel itself).

    Having listened to it, he's coming off aggressive and dismissive. Rapid speech, sharp phrasing, raising his voice, etc. Directly insulting to the speaker at one point, calling into question the validity of her research. If that's how the subsequent encounters went, then he's probably up shit creek; repeatedly refusing to adjust his demeanor in encounters with faculty demonstrates that he is the problem.

    This case really isn't about speech at all. It's about a student's dismissive and aggressive conduct towards faculty, not the content of what he was saying.

    His responses in his own words, challenging the university's authority itself, just underscores how probably-valid the action taken against him is. Hell, trying to make this a First Amendment case probably works to demonstrate what a belligerent guy this is and how completely unwilling he is to take any responsibility for his own poor conduct.

    Edit: oh, and Reason's editorializing here is just fucking gross. Hugely biased bullshit. They don't seem to have made any attempt to give UVA's faculty any benefit of the doubt.

    Like, they say "all of this because Bhattacharya asked an entirely fair question about microaggressions, a fraught subject." First, microaggressions are only a "fraught subject" for far-right types upset that they're being called to account for hostile conduct. Second, his question was not "fair", he dismissed the panelist's answers and called her research into question based on nothing but his personal desire to discard her findings. Third, not just because of that question, based on "aggressive and inappropriate interactions in multiple situations" as he continued to refuse to amend his conduct as UVA gave him multiple opportunities to do so.
    Last edited by Endus; 2021-04-09 at 05:24 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    If that's how the subsequent encounters went, then he's probably up shit creek; repeatedly refusing to adjust his demeanor in encounters with faculty demonstrates that he is the problem.
    That's pretty much exactly what the school is arguing. Including meeting with a couple different members of faculty and his behavior at the disciplinary hearing.

    You can read the a case file here:
    https://casetext.com/case/bhattacharya-v-murray

    One thing I do find suspicious here is the timing of the No Trespass Order, and its seemingly convenient use as a shield against allowing him to continue to appeal the suspension. But I guess that would depend on how much he riled up 4chan into being 4chan...at least enough to get the attention of the school police.
    Last edited by s_bushido; 2021-04-09 at 05:22 AM.

  8. #8
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    One thing I do find suspicious here is the timing of the No Trespass Order, and its seemingly convenient use as a shield against allowing him to continue to appeal the suspension. But I guess that would depend on how much he riled up 4chan into being 4chan...at least enough to get the attention of the school police.
    The case file's interesting.

    I presume the police have the statements in question they issued the NTO over. I'd really want to see them before I took a position on it, but it's entirely possible that he was ranting on 4chan or Reddit and someone pointed them out to faculty, who handed them over to the police. If they issued an NTO over them, my first instinct is that they must've been pretty significant. If it turns out the police are just issuing NTOs at the university's request, without any justification, sure, that's a problem, but that seems less likely to me given this guy's public conduct.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    good luck to him, but knowing the inclination of authoritarian left wingers these days he's done fucked up, no one is allowed to question the narrative and get away with it..
    Dude, you think you not being able to legally shoot up synagogues is authoritarian.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zython View Post
    Dude, you think you not being able to legally shoot up synagogues is authoritarian.
    this lie is old, no Zython i will not kill folks for you.
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  11. #11
    "micro" is the new "non"

  12. #12
    Titan
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    The whole concept of microaggressions sounds like something made up by thin skinned individuals who will be incapable of surviving in the real world where people criticize them or say things that might be inappropriate to them.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rennadrel View Post
    The whole concept of microaggressions sounds like something made up by thin skinned individuals who will be incapable of surviving in the real world where people criticize them or say things that might be inappropriate to them.
    "Incapable of surviving" is a strange way of saying "can become President of the United States."

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rennadrel View Post
    The whole concept of microaggressions sounds like something made up by thin skinned individuals who will be incapable of surviving in the real world where people criticize them or say things that might be inappropriate to them.
    its not a new concept, its very old infact, just renamed and with the change in societal power, now used against new targets.
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    its not a new concept, its very old infact, just renamed and with the change in societal power, now used against new targets.
    Is this a thread about "cancel culture" now?

    (you people make this shit way too easy)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    Is this a thread about "cancel culture" now?

    (you people make this shit way too easy)
    well yeah, y'all love using the same oppressive behaviors of the 1950s right wing. of course you enjoy it. you going to call me a trump supporter again or a white supremacist because i have the audacity to call you bullshit for what it is? The systemic racism y'all want to create in society is just as horrid as the previous flavor. lol
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    The systemic racism y'all want to create in society is just as horrid as the previous flavor. lol
    The best part about this is that in this case, this particular specious argument was one of the things the court outright rejected. Sorry. See my first post in this thread.

    But anyway, you're not being persecuted for being white just because you've tied your whiteness to your political stances, and have convinced yourself that people criticizing/ostracizing whatever regressive dogshit you believe in means that they're criticizing/ostracizing you because you're white.
    Last edited by s_bushido; 2021-04-09 at 09:02 AM.

  18. #18
    The Insane Kathandira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antipathy1018 View Post
    Adams and Bhattacharya then clashed for a few minutes about how to define the term. It was a polite disagreement.

    "This student asked a series of questions that were quite antagonistic toward the panel," wrote Kern. "He pressed on and stated one faculty member was being contradictory. His level of frustration/anger seemed to escalate until another faculty member defused the situation by calling on another student for questions.

    Bhattacharya responded that contrary to anyone's assertions, he had not lost his temper or become frustrated with the panel
    Due to the disagreements on how the incident played out. I'd need a video of the entire conversation before I can pass any judgement on who is in the right here.
    RIP Genn Greymane, Permabanned on 8.22.18

    Your name will carry on through generations, and will never be forgotten.

  19. #19
    I'm missing the part where it's listed what he did and said that caused the problems.

  20. #20
    So I didn't really know what micro aggressions were in an academic context before reading this. I had heard the term before but never cared to look into it. The term reminded me of that Tim Roth show back in the day where he solved crimes by reading micro expressions and body language (which was a pretty cool show for the first couple seasons, plus I love Tim Roth)

    I don't see what the big deal its. its just a term used to describe a particular set of behaviors that communicate negative attitudes towards marginalized people. I also read some of the criticisms of it and there are some points there that are worth discussing (like if we assume microaggressions are a thing, I would argue they can be targeted at anyone, not just marginalized groups, even if they are more common among those groups)

    Listening to the recording, I do think the author of this article is trying really hard to paint this guy in a good light, he claims he wasn't aggressive in his questioning, which I disagree with. I think Endus nailed it in his comments. I've also read elsewhere (I think it was on reddit) that the guy has had some other issues with the faculty as well prior to this instance (this is unsubstantiated, but felt i would mention it anyway).

    So it may just turn out this guy is just an ass and it doesn't really have anything to do with his criticism of microaggressions

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