Culture Wars, Must Reads

Cowardice at Columbia

On Thursday, April 11, shortly after 11pm, a black Columbia student named Alexander McNab walked through the gates of Barnard college—the undergraduate all-women’s school at Columbia University—after ignoring a security guard’s request to show his student ID. In search of a midnight snack, McNab got all the way to the library canteen before a public safety officer confronted him and asked for his ID a second time, a request McNab once again refused.

Several more officers had arrived on the scene and were continuing to request ID when McNab began yelling. What happened next, depicted in the video below, has become the subject of a national scandal: two officers pushed McNab’s upper body onto the countertop, at which point McNab finally handed over his ID. Public safety proceeded to verify that he was indeed an active Columbia student, at which point they left him alone.

Administrators reacted to the incident by placing the six public safety officers involved on paid leave until outside investigators reach a conclusion about their conduct. In the meantime, administrators have already reached theirs: racism. College deans sent an email to the student body—with the subject line “Addressing Racism on Our Campus”—in which they noted the “continued legacy of anti-black racism” and lamented that “such incidents continue to occur so close to home.”

The president of Barnard noted “a pervasive sense” among black students “that racial bias remains pernicious on our campus.” At a demonstration, student protesters chanted, “No police on my campus!” and “No justice, no peace/Fuck these racist police!” Barnard’s student government association wrote that the McNab “incident reflects systemic racism and police brutality against Black people throughout our nation.”

On the contrary, the McNab affair involved neither police nor brutality. Public safety officers (who don’t carry guns) used the minimum amount of force necessary to get McNab to comply with their request that he identify himself. They pushed him against a countertop for 20 seconds before letting him go. I challenge those who believe this was excessive to name an alternate course of action which would have compelled an unknown man to produce identification.

Everyone who tries to enter Barnard’s campus after 11pm gets carded to ensure that they are a student. This policy exists to protect Barnard students from the subset of men who make a nightly routine out of harassing college-aged women and following them home. Once they clear the front gates, Barnard women know that they’re safe from creeps, because security will bounce anyone without a student ID. (I know this because I live with two Barnard women, both of whom have experienced this exact scenario.)

There are only two ways to implement this policy: words and force. Public safety tried words, and when words failed, they used force. A refusal to employ force in this scenario would have been synonymous with abandoning the policy altogether, giving any creep in New York City free access to a closed, all-women’s campus in the middle of the night. (Try explaining that policy change to Barnard parents, who send their daughters to college in America’s largest city on the assumption that the school will at least try to prevent them from getting stalked, sexually harassed, or worse.)

So why did McNab, a Columbia student with a valid ID, refuse to produce it on demand? It’s unclear because on this point his story has been inconsistent. In an interview with the Columbia Spectator, McNab said that he knew about the ID policy but felt that it was enforced in a racist manner—whites often don’t get carded, he alleged. But in the video, McNab claimed he did not know about the policy, and added that he had never previously been carded when entering Barnard at night. To confuse matters more, in a cable news interview McNab said that no one he knows has ever been carded. Frankly, he seems to be making it up on the fly.

Nevertheless, some media outlets have accepted McNab’s claim that the ID policy is enforced in a racist manner. If you find it implausible that a progressive women’s college in the middle of New York City is enforcing de facto Jim Crow at the security gate, your skepticism is warranted. Yes, some Columbia students (mostly women) have come forward on social media and said that they don’t always get carded at night. I believe them. Those responsible for enforcing public safety—a job that is highly repetitive until it’s not—might occasionally let a person, especially a college-aged woman, through the gates without carding them.

But there’s no reason to suspect that the policy is enforced in a racist manner. All the white Barnard students I have spoken with say that they always get carded. Morgan Raum, a senior at Barnard said, “I have been asked to show my ID after 11pm on Barnard’s campus every time that I can remember, and I am a very light skinned Jewish woman.” My roommate, a blond-haired, blue-eyed white woman told me that in her three years at Barnard, she has never entered campus after 11pm without getting carded. Personally, I’ve never seen anyone—not even a white woman—slip through the gates at night without being asked to show ID.

In the absence of data on carding disparities by race, all we have to work with are competing anecdotes. It’s telling, however, that no white people have come forward and said they’ve walked into Barnard at night with impunity, refused multiple requests to show ID, yelled defiantly inside a library in the middle of the night, and been given a pass by campus security. Until a white person does come forward with such a story, the likeliest explanation of the McNab affair is that the officers were reacting not to his skin color but to his petulant histrionics.

Others have criticized Barnard security for sending too many officers to begin with. This criticism, however, fails to take into account the context in which security guards operate. To say that sending six officers was “excessive” ignores the fact that public safety officers, lacking clairvoyance, do not know in advance if an unknown man will turn out to be a harmless student, requiring one officer at most, or a mass shooter, requiring a small army. What’s more, if McNab had turned out to be a dangerous individual, the students criticizing public safety officers for their “excessive” response would now be angry that those same officers didn’t arrive at the scene faster and in greater numbers.

“Cowardly” is the only word that properly describes the way in which administrators have scapegoated public safety officers for enforcing a policy that administrators themselves put in place. Cowardly, too, is the way in which they have held McNab to a comically low standard of consistency in his storytelling. We are asked to believe that McNab was both aware and unaware of a policy which he had seen enforced in a racist manner but had also never seen enforced at all, not even on himself. Obviously, racism must be taken seriously. But these days mere accusations of racism, as if by magic, shut down the skeptical minds of otherwise intelligent people. In the wake of Jussie Smollett’s infamous hate crime hoax, we should all know better.      

The only winner to emerge from this fiasco is McNab himself. A talented and prolific essayist in the anti-racist mold, McNab has received national attention over this incident and has been invited to pen a personal essay about his experience for the Columbia student newspaper. This he can add to an already impressive collection of pieces bemoaning his experience as the proverbial black-man-in-America. For twenty seconds of physical discomfort, that’s not a bad outcome. 

I don’t mean to imply that McNab orchestrated this incident in the manner of Jussie Smollett. My guess is that he is a mostly sincere individual with a commitment to anti-racism so strong that, from the outside, it can seem indistinguishable from paranoia and bad faith. Put differently, the McNab affair would not be the first time an honest zealot saw racism where it didn’t exist. Nor would it be the first time that a community ostensibly dedicated to the pursuit of truth chose to entertain a person’s delusions of victimhood out of a sense that being on the right side of history is worth being on the wrong side of reality.


Coleman Hughes is a Quillette columnist and an undergraduate philosophy major at Columbia University. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spectator, City Journal, and the Heterodox Academy blog. You can follow him on Twitter @coldxman


  1. There is a lot that craven deans, provosts and presidents have to answer for.

  2. Assuming that McNab didn’t act in bad faith is charitable of you, and I think a good idea, at first.

    One thing that I find a tad dangerous here is that there is a perverse incentive. If you create an incident like this, whether by accident or deliberately, you get rewarded, both in social creda and status by your tribe, and possibly in monetary terms if you can sue and get a settlement.

    It seems to me likely, therefore, that this sort of thing can become a repeating motif in a person’s life. At first, they might point out a genuine problem or have some kind of explainable accident, but how long before they start doing what they have been rewarded for doing in the past? Then they become more vigilant and activist, always seeking the excuse for righteous anger, always seeking validation…

  3. What a talented writer. It’s such a pleasure to read a piece that makes so much sense, and is so witty to boot! Brings a calm to the mind that is so comforting where other commentators of a similar bent act to elevate feelings of anger and despair further. I’ve rediscovered a sense of optimism from listening to Coleman speak. Thank you so much for your contributions Coleman. They are absolutely essential, now more than ever.

  4. The students of Columbia deserve to be police-free.

    This would be a noble experiment in social justice, and I’d like to give it every chance to play itself out, not only for the students, but their parents as well, who want to know that their 18-year-old daughters will not be brutalized by uniformed thugs.

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  1. bumble bee says

    Perhaps what is needed in this country is to have an actual working definition of racism. It cannot be simply, in the eye of the beholder. It would also lend itself to clarifying to white Americans, as well as everyone else, what behaviors it encompasses. If everyone cannot spend the effort to define this word bomb, then there will not only be continued confusion and incidents, but the effort itself will get no where.

    My only resignation would be that it needs to include all racial input rather than being one sided. Currently, it’s anyone’s interpretation and that just breeds more suspicion and charges of racism.

    • Gary Nelson says

      Coleman Hughes’ lecture at Lafayette is as good as I can imagine.

      • Angela says

        He’s a great writer and hope someone like Joe Rogan would have him on his podcast so he could start building a profitable niche in the so called “IDW”.

        • Sam Harris had him on within the last year if I recall, and spoke VERY highly of him. I think he concluded by saying his writing was perfect and he needn’t change a thing. One can definitely sense the similar clarity and reasoning in their argumentative character.

    • DNY says

      Ah, but an actual definition of “racism” would not serve the interests of the left. Orwell was right that language would be corrupted to serve a political agenda, but was mistaken that this would be done by narrowing the meanings of words rationally so that only the Party’s ideas could be expressed. In the real-world analogue of Newspeak, words have their meanings expanded on the basis of emotion, and made fluid so that they can be twisted at need to support the agenda of the left.

      Thus, “racist” can mean what an old Webster’s dictionary defines it to mean, a person who espouses a policy the left believes (rightly or wrongly) is bad for racial or ethnic minorities (e.g. the notion that pursuing a colorblind society is “racist”) or who opposes a policy the left fancies benefits racial or ethnic minorities, a person who truthfully describes the view of any major school of sharia on matters like jihad, the treatment of apostates or sex slavery and takes a dim view of them, or even simply a person of European ancestry (under the “all whites are racist” mantra). And, the word can change meaning from when it is uttered to when it is being interpreted. What is more, all of the variant meanings are supposed to have the near-universal condemnation attached to the old Webster’s definition attach to them.

      The same can be seen with “health care” which can mean the services provided by physicians and allied health professionals, be coextensive with the standard English meaning of “health insurance”, or mean government-mandated and specified health insurance. Thus, any reform of the “Affordable Care Act” in the U.S. or of the NHS in the U.K. is called “taking away people’s health care”, even if there is a reasonable argument that the reform would make it easier to receive the services of physicians or allied health professionals. The same warm feeling one has toward a physician with a good bed-side manner is supposed somehow to attach to the faceless bureaucracy that “provides health care” (even though in the plain English meaning of the phrase it does nothing of the sort).

    • Bruno Van says

      The Left ‘s Ministry of Truth and captive media have already imposed an agenda aggrandizing definition of racism, “power + predjudice”.

      From a Leftist identitarian perspective, “power” is held solely by the cis gendered “male white patriarchy”.

      Thus all “approved” marginalized victim groups ( Asians and Jews not included) are tacitly exonerated, and all of the Left’s enemies are assumed racist until proven otherwise.

    • IU CAT says

      Perhaps what is needed are people who follow the rules and don’t just think of themselves.

    • Andrew says

      McNab’s behavior was puerile, contrived and banal. Typical post modernist cage rattling.
      Amusing in an 8yo. Is that all we’ve got?
      Give McNab the bill for the security teams’ time off. Pass on my respect for their part and my sorrow at the abuse they suffered.

    • Next time the campus police spot an intruder who refuses to ID himself, maybe they should leave him the hell alone.

    • Nathan says

      You misunderstand the whole psychology of this thing. This whole race obsession racket was never about clarifying objective and fair standards. At least not in this last five year resurgence. It’s been a source of identity for the left, especially millennials who feel a dearth of meaning in their lives as religion and America declines, and want to feel like they’re re living a historical moment like the 60s. So they convince themselves they’re on this moral crusade and invent bogeymen behind every corner and underneath every bed. But it’s all a farce and a LARP. It’s reached the point of near psychosis. Many people are living in a false reality.

      The amount of absolute horseshit that has passed for legitimate complaint in this last five years is completely despicable, and is leading to counterproductive results. Many people now truly despise the current left. More people are getting race pilled as they dig up the actual statistics on race and crime.

  2. E. Olson says

    Another fine contribution from Mr. Hughes, but I think he is far too gracious in describing the motives of McNab. This incident reminds me too much of the Starbucks incident, as they both seem to almost certainly be scripted ploys to gain attention in the name of “social justice” where the payoff for the “victims” is fame, publicity, and perhaps “reparations” from Columbia/Starbucks.

    • Stephanie says

      EO, agreed. His multiple contradictory statements preclude this being a good-faith misunderstanding to me. The brazen contempt for authority is also suggestive he was fishing for a reaction he could use for publicity.

      I imagine Mr. Hughes, being a fellow student and having a reputation of his own to look out for, has to be more cautious in ascribing motive publically than he might suspect in private.

      • Michael T says

        The major racists in the US today are the African-Americans.

      • Polly styrene says

        The security guards are the offended party, put in an impossible situation. If I were them I’d go on paid leave for stress. The only way to counter one claim of victimhood (even McNabs fake claim and provocative behaviour) is to be a greater victim.

    • '{)AB34234#R2=v says

      Apparently some black folk and some non-black folk believe it’s racist to ask any black for an ID.

      • stevengregg says

        Too many black people believe themselves exempt from the law.

    • No Sharia says

      Yep, it does look like a set-up. On many occasions I have witnessed similar behavior: a black guy or a black woman enters an establishment with a big chip on their shoulder. Then, when the service is not up to their liking (too slow, or the food not hot enough, or not enough cheese–whatever), they start cussing out the clerk/salesperson and yelling at the top of their lungs about how they are being mistreated.

      • scubajim says

        I agree. In the wait staff example (as Helen Pluckrose pointed out recently I believe, if the white waitress serves the black customer quickly then she is being racist. She is trying to get the black customer served on on their way as fast as possible. If the white waitress serves the black customer slowly then they are racist because they are giving sub par service (too slow, clearly disrespecting the black customer because she is racist)

        See you must START with the assumption all white people are far right mysogonist homophombic, transphobes and then “prove” it by how they act. (eye roll)

    • James Graham says

      I give Mr Hughes unqualified admiration for writing this.

      As for the criticism, note that he is an undergraduate at Columbia as is McNab.

  3. Simple solution: give them what they want and remove police from the campus. I’m sure a woman’s college in the heart of New York City will have no trouble at all if they adopt such a policy.

    • Lightning Rose says

      Exactly, HS. Leave these whinging snowflakes to protect THEMSELVES for a month and they’ll find out what “victimhood” REALLY is. Most of them are too naive and stupid to even know enough to lock their doors. Any security or law enforcement officer must always, ALWAYS err on the side of public safety. Would these twits prefer a dangerously deranged individual got through, and shot up the place? As the old saying goes, “Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!”

    • V 2.0 says

      I like this idea. At the very least it will be amusing to watch the fallout, those liberal parents suddenly becoming just a touch racist when their precious and innocent daughters are threatened… Gettin’ the popcorn ready….

  4. Barnard needs to give the crybullies what they ask for and entirely remove the police presence from campus. Sure, a few girls might get raped, but at least they won’t be racist!

  5. the gardner says

    McNab provoked the incident, now screams racism. Tiresome. Old.

    • GrumpyBear says

      It’s supply and demand.
      That’s the beauty of a free market economy. When there’s a shortage, you can create more, like Smollett did. In a planned economy, there would be lines of people around the block waiting to get their ration of racism.

      • Irrational Actor says

        “It’s supply and demand.
        That’s the beauty of a free market economy. When there’s a shortage, you can create more, like Smollett did. In a planned economy, there would be lines of people around the block waiting to get their ration of racism.”

        This just made my day. Thank you so much.

    • Stephanie says

      Amazing use of “convington” as a verb. This will now be a permanent part of my vocabulary. Can we make Smollett a verb, too?

      • scubajim says

        I think Smollett is an intransitive verb 🙂

        Thank you for the Supply and demand; it made my weekend

  6. scribblerg says

    Irrational essay. He depicts McNab as acting in bad faith, lying about the encounter and his motivations for it, yet in the end he lets McNab off the hook for what is certainly indentionally bad and anti-social behavior.

    What is clear from his statements though is that he was conscious of race during the incident and that his blackness was what drove him to not comply. Okay, now I know something relevant about him to evaluate the event. Facts matter, right?

    Restraining a grown man without risking injury to either party requires four (4) people. And they will be busy with a leg or arm of their own, so a 5th officer to supervise and keep others away from the scuffle is also quite normal. In fact, the officers reduce the risk of harm and pain to McNab by doing so. If they had to do it as one or two officers, they might have to use “pain compliance” via baton strikes or other painful physical actions to cause him to quit resisting. So, the idea that this was an excessive use of force is born of utter ignorance about how cops make use of force decisions and what tactics they use.

    I’m kind of sick of this endless reservoir of compassion for the offenders in this world. Imagine the poor public safety officers. You cannot just bail on this situation. You also learn in training that you can’t let a suspect continuously escalate a conflict and disagreement. An order in that circumstance demands compliance. And if he doesn’t comply, they can use an appropriate level of force to gain compliance. They did exactly that. In fact, they have a responsibility to do so as up until he’s restrained, he’s behaving as a threat and they have every right to assume the worst based on his noncompliance. They cannot let him run free, they have stop him and neutralize the threat. That’s what you do if you are doing security. And this guy’s behavior is the definition of posing a threat. Period. Dot. End of sentence. And oh yeah, whens the last time a 20yo female raped anyone in NYC? So please, cry me a river of discrimination nonsense. Should I bust out the white on black rape stats vs. the black on white ones? You won’t like them, as some years there are almost zero white on black rapes reported in the U.S. vs 13k for black on white rape. What, that didn’t come up in your black studies survey class? There is data to be more suspicious of him, if we want to go there. I do not, but I also live in freakin’ realsville.

    As for McNab, why on earth would I not be quite justified in suspecting him of bad intent? McNab is a race huckster for a living, already. And he lied about the encounter. And his behavior has no good explanation, like why on earth does he think he’s excluded from producing ID once asked. He seems to believe that if he did ever notice someone getting in to the campus without showing ID that this gives him permission to disobey legal orders. This is narcissism, solipsism – the disease of his Leftist generation. It’s me, me, me, me, me – nonstop. And look, he’s already gained notoriety and reward for doing so. I can reasonably suspect it all of him because he’s already acting in bad faith just in this incident.

    Saddest is the reaction of the administration but it’s to be expected. What’s ridiculous is being shocked by it. What’s useless is clutching our pearls for the thousandth time and shrieking and wagging our fingers and getting angry. And then winding down, while nothing changes until the next outrage, worse than the last, and we do it all over again.

    Me? I’m tired. I want some real change. I want this insanity to be dealt with head on and leftist idiots to be ripped from power across every institution of our society. Cuz that’s what it will take to fix this, folks. Wake up.

    • Stephanie says

      Scrib, I agree that Mr. Hughes let McNab off the hook too easily. Perhaps he has reason to believe such zealots can act in such a contradictory and self-serving manner while still believing themselves genuine, but I suspect that it has more to do with being gracious. Sadly, this might be a toned-down version of political correctness: you can call out bullshit, but only so far.

      It reminds me of the discussion following the fire at Notre Dame. Even purportedly “far-right” commentators (I’m thinking of Paul Joseph Watson in particular) are accepting the official take that it was an accident.

      I’m not saying that it’s appropriate to come out the gates raging “the Muzzies did it,” but considering arson was ruled out while the fire was still burning, the fire occurred at the beginning of Holy Week, a fire a month ago at the second-largest cathedral (Saint-Sulpice) was found within a few days to have been deliberately set, and hundreds of churches have been vandalized in the last few months, it is highly suspicious that the authorities ruled out arson so quickly.

      Why wouldn’t pundits already labelled “far-right” and “Islamophobic” at least raise the possibility that arson was prematurely ruled out for political reasons?

    • Blue Lobster says

      I agree with the thrust of your comment, scribblerg, though I don’t know if I would go so far as to characterize the article as wholly irrational. It seems, if you read between the lines, that Hughes likely would concur with, or at least be aware of the possible veracity of, the statement that McNab was “conscious of race during the incident and that his blackness was what drove him to not comply.” The description of McNab’s behavior as petulant and histrionic brings to mind precisely what I was thinking while reading about it: childish and infantile. I have interacted with and observed interactions with children who evince similar behavior enough to recognize the motivation for such tantrums. When a child knows that they can exert power over adults or authority figures by leveraging the fear of an outburst, especially publicly, in order to get what they want, they often will. The only way to discourage such behavior is to make it clear that it is absolutely ineffective and the only way to do that is to set and enforce very clear boundaries. It’s fairly obvious that McNab believed that, in the current political climate of the U.S., his blackness (along with the omnipresence of video recording) would grant him similar power born of similar cowardice such that he would be able to disregard the boundary in question. And, despite the fact that he was eventually compelled to produce ID, in the end he will likely be vindicated. Victimhood, real or perceived, is power.

      • scribblerg says

        Only if we allow faux victimology to blind us to truth. I guess that’s why I was so hard on the reasoning of the essay. It struck me as cowardly to not offer a full-throated condemnation of McNab. Note the author showed no such restraint for the administration. Yet the individual who committed the offense is let down more gently.

        I actually think that’s “the soft bigotry of low expectations” and in case folks don’t know, this anti-authority, anti-cop behavior, resisting all the time and then claiming abuse is standard fare in certain black communities.

        The path to this arrogance and hostility comes out of the ideas of “critical race theory” and “intersectionality” which encourages a fetishization of ones imagined victimhood. Brandishing such power so aggressively and provocatively as he has done here, or as Smollett did, is to be expected. We know what they are being taught in the university, should we really be shocked that some students take it seriously? Imagine the self-righteous rage he must feel after having his victimhood and the warped view of history of the Left shoved down his throat his entire life?

        I have no sympathy, however. You see, I grant him agency and the full ability to reason things out for himself. If he doesn’t bother, or chooses to ignore all the lies and contradictions, that’s on him.

      • A C Harper says

        “Petulant histrionics” – a phrase that could be used in so many situations to good effect.

        The downside of victim identity politics is that people assume that any opinion held by a ‘victim’ must be honoured – but in reality there are good opinions and poor opinions.

    • JohnLee says

      has he started his GoFundMe pledge drive yet (McNab)? he is obviously a race grifter, a la Smollette.

      Another great article, from Coleman Hughes. Reasoned and Well written

      Just spent a couple of hours reading NYT coverage (monday) front to back, and they had multiple headlines with the word ‘Inditements’ in blairing headlines in reference to the mueller report?!? has the MSM gone totally the rails? I read the report and there is no ‘there’ there.

      if the MSM goes down this insane clown posse rabbit hole, we will be stuck with Orange Man for #4moreyears.

    • stevengregg says

      Is not McNabb’s phony cry of racism the same as Professor Henry Louis Gates phony cry of racism when the cop asked for his ID in 2009? And, really, isn’t phony accusations of racism the norm? Is there any white person reading this who has not been the innocent target of a furious accusation of racism from some passing black person trying to get over on you?

      • Adrian P says

        I was thinking the exact same thing. In both scenarios, why not just show ID and be done with it? It reminded me of the time when I was still in high school, living at home, and my parents had left to get groceries and locked up while I was out for a run. I remembered my bedroom window was unlocked, so I climbed in. Some neighbor called the cops and a few minutes later a cop was at the door, asking about a break-in. I explained the situation, showed my driver’s license that had my name, photo and address of the house, and the cop ran it, came back and said, “Thank you. Have a good night,” and that was it. Maybe with my so-called “privilege,” I could’ve puffed my chest out, said, “F you! This is MY house! I don’t have to show you sh–!” and gotten away with it, but I didn’t really want to test that out. The cop was arriving at what he was told was a potential burglary in progress, so I needed to work with him to get it figured out, not escalate by being petulant and ascribing motivations to him that I have no way of knowing.

        And I think that’s the difference between certain groups. I was always taught that people are imperfect and to give them the benefit of the doubt and that, gasp!, I could actually be in the wrong in a situation (go figure!) even if my initial thought is that I’m not. And if there’s a way I can clear things up and move on, I should do so instead of escalating.

        But when you when have people who are raised to believe that they’re perfect, they can do no wrong, they’re above reproach and any question, challenge, reprimand or disagreement is just somebody being racist, it blinds them to the sense of entitlement such a perspective develops in them. Therefore, a simple request by a security officer to show ID when you’re walking around a women’s college campus in the middle of the night gets amplified from minor annoyance (if even that) to a racist microaggression that’s going to cause lifelong trauma, (but that I’ll be sure to cash out on in the form of free publicity and essay fodder).

  7. “…chose to entertain a person’s delusions of victimhood out of a sense that being on the right side of history is worth being on the wrong side of reality.”

    Damn, that’s a fine sentence.

    • scribblerg says

      Who cares? The idea is repugnant if we are to reason our way forward. And oh yeah, that sure sounds like “privilege” to me. How could that statement not be seen as convoking privilege? Pretty sentences are a dime a dozen – the truth and the good and virtue and a society in which we cooperate with each other is orders of magnitude more important.

      • @scribblerg, I’m not sure you understand the essay completely. I don’t even know what you’re trying to say here. In this well written concise sentence, Hughes is condemning the university, which claims to be on the side of Truth, for ostensibly caring more about appearing to be on the “right side of history” (as they and their cohorts see it) no matter what the truth or reality is.

        I don’t see how you can disagree with that, but if you do, you would need to show how on earth that sentence is ‘convoking privilege,” and whatever that exactly means anyway.

        • scribblerg says

          I could not have been clearer in what I wrote, yet you claim you “don’t even know what you’re trying to say here”. He gives McNab a moral out, and excuse in the end, with that supposedly clever sentence, That is morally disgusting to me and undermines the entire analysis of the essay. The “TRUTH” here is that McNab is a spoiled, privileged race huckster who set out to cause some kind of trouble when he refused to ID himself. There is no greater truth available from this incident.

          You seem incapable of rationally processing positions differing from your’s. There was nothing in my comment signaling a misunderstanding the author – note, you didn’t bother to cite an example my misunderstanding. This is just a throwaway line because your problem is that you don’t like my criticism, but can’t refute it.

          Last. The comment about the sentence is an aesthetic one, and I found it quite galling that this was what got noticed and pointed rather than the moral failure of the author to fully put the responsibility for this incident where it belonged. Note the author sought no need to offer any contextualization of the administration’s position and just blasted it. But McNab – despite overt acts of bad faith being described is given some kind of excuse in the end based on imagined victimization.

          I get it. You are a cultural cuck. Embrace it, but don’t dare talk down to me from that POV as you don’t have a leg to stand on morally or intellectually. And I know, you are unused to someone sorting you out like this – I don’t care about that either.

          • Scribbler… calm down.

            You’re starting to display some histrionic petulance.

          • Sean Michael Bearly says

            scrib – You display a similar victim mentality as McNab. Righteous indignation for the sake of indignation. At least McNab was reacting to real, though justified, physical force. You reacted to the tamest of comments, and then to the tamest reaction to your response, like a whiny college snowflake.

          • @Scribblerg’s inappropriate reaction to my comment reminds me that we have no idea who is behind each post. Social media, for good and bad, flattens the playing field and accords a voice to the mentally ill as well as the well; the drug addict as well as the sober person; the uneducated/no life experience with those of great wisdom and learning.

            In many ways this is good. I’ve heard many interesting voices from all walks. But the way it’s bad is that we as readers cannot access each person as we would were we to see them in life. In life, if I see a person with wild bloodshot eyes, unwashed hair, prone to bizarre outbursts, drinking and smoking weed, I would take his words as part of a package of the whole. But because we each can hide behind social media, we can’t use anything to evaluate the person except the words. Every time I see a wild hysteria-driven post, I wonder what the writer is like in reality; I imagine that meme of the heavy unbalanced ‘feminist’ shaking her first and screaming incoherently in SJW rage. In social media, her posts would carry the same weight as a ‘normal’ person’s. The way social media is set up, 10 or 15 of her might be all it takes to cause a company to fold in its support of something, or enough to force a university to drop a speaker, and so on. But in life, would we even engage such a person in conversation, or simply walk away?

      • Jake says

        I liked “My guess is that he is a mostly sincere individual with a commitment to anti-racism so strong that, from the outside, it can seem indistinguishable from paranoia and bad faith.”

        Masterful use of “seem”….

    • @scribblerg, in response to your complaint that reads “I could not have been clearer in what I wrote, yet you claim you “don’t even know what you’re trying to say here”. He gives McNab a moral out, and excuse in the end, with that supposedly clever sentence, That is morally disgusting to me and undermines the entire analysis of the essay.”

      The article was written about and was a condemnation of the administration of the school and its punishment of the security detail. If your issue is concerning Mr. McNab then perhaps you can write your own article detailing how you feel about this individual. It seems to me that the author, Mr. Hughes, took the high ground and did not presume to know the intentions of the agitator in question. Perhaps he had every intention of framing the security in a bad light before he walked in there. Maybe he didn’t hear the request for ID the first time they asked him and got frustrated and panicked. You weren’t there and you don’t know either.

  8. Not to be too repetitive,but Quillette might consider giving out yearly awards for the most noteworthy cowardly acts by academic administrators. I suggest again, the “Dancing Bear” award, which was the late Alan Bloom’s term for craven administrators failure to do their jobs,

    • Marian Hennings says

      I would prefer the term Performing Seal, as wild bears sometimes do dance upon consuming a good meal. I saw a grizzly bear do this in Glacier National Park after it dug and ate some apparently delicious roots. I was surprised as I had not realized wild bears did this.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Because of my background, when I hear ‘dancing bears’ I immediately think of heavyweight wrestlers. I wouldn’t like it applied to these fearful dunces, heavyweights are often some of the toughest guys around.

        I would prefer calling them craven dogs, cowering and rolling onto the backs and p**ing at the least little nasty word.

  9. Andrew Scott says

    From what I’ve read, he was sitting and eating with other students and was not acting in any threatening manner when force was applied. He was asked to produce ID and refused. He claims that before multiple security officers arrived he didn’t hear anyone asking him to produce ID.

    He should have shown ID. That much is simple. I’m fully on board with assertions that the security officers were obligated to enforce the rule. I don’t doubt that the rule is applied to everyone within reason, and I won’t quickly attribute what happened next to racism. It was likely stupidity.

    Words and force are not the only options. If the officers perceived an imminent threat to anyone’s safety then they acted correctly. But you do not assault a person for refusing to show ID. You tell them that if they do not produce ID or leave you will call the police. You might make a reasonable effort to explain the policy. You avoid escalation. And if the individual does not comply, you call the police.

    What you don’t do is lay one finger on an individual who has has not attempted to harm anyone and is not seriously threatening anyone. You let the police handle that. If the police screw it up, that’s on them. If you’re accused of racism for calling the police it’s easier to explain than physical assault..

    That’s elementary. If they haven’t received that training, what training have they received?

    As for six security officers arriving, that’s not as bad as it sounds, but if it’s handled as badly as this was then it’s just more fuel for the fire.

    • hail to none says

      @ Andrew Scott I don’t understand your recommendation that the security officers should call the police if they individual doesn’t comply. Isn’t it part of the security officer’s job to make sure people comply? How would things have turned out any better if the police were called? The student in question comes across as awash in privilege. I feel bad for the working-class security officers who have to deal with entitled students.

      • Andrew Scott says

        @hailtonone Law enforcement enforces laws. Security officers provide security. The individual was neither violent nor threatening. No one’s security was at risk. You absolutely do not touch another person under those circumstances.

        What is different if you call the police? The individual almost certainly complies as soon as you mention police. Then you’re done. No one gets thrown on a counter, no news story. The whole thing would have probably ended. Feelings would still be hurt, and accusations of racism might be made. I’d side with the security officers.

        If the police come – and it won’t go that far – then they are more likely to behave like trained professionals. Regardless, the security officers have done their job instead of behaving like rent-a-thugs.

        Don’t believe me. If the training and instructions these men received told them to physically tackle a non-violent, non-threatening individual who does not provide ID, I’ll admit that I’m wrong. That is not their training, they mindlessly used needless force, and now their stupidity has embarrassed people.

        • Blue Lobster says

          Andrew Scott,

          Law enforcement officers enforce laws. Campus Public Safety Officers, among other things, enforce University policies.

          According to the Columbia University Department of Public Safety’s Rights and Responsibilities brochure, among the duties of campus Public Safety Officers is to ensure that individuals on University property are affiliated with the University or have a bona fide reason for being on campus. The University is private property and it may restrict or deny access to anyone. Access to the campus, like any other private property, is a privilege and not a right. The University has every right to enforce this policy as part of it’s obligation to ensure the safety of everyone on campus and an individual requested by a Public Safety Officer to produce identification while on campus is obligated to provide it.

          Additionally, Barnard College’s Public Safety Department website indicates that among it’s duties is to respond to crimes and emergencies and that, if appropriate, a crime will be reported to NYCPD. It seems, in this case, that it would hardly be appropriate to involve the police as no crime had been committed. Why would Public Safety Officers contact police to inform them that an individual was refusing to comply with a lawfully given order to produce ID when the University has the right to remove that individual from the property if necessary? Do you really think that the standard operating procedure for Public Safety Officers ought to be to call the police when there is no emergency and no crime has been committed? This scenario, as alluded to in the article, is analogous to a hypothetical interaction between an unruly or unwanted individual and a night club bouncer. Should bouncers just call the police every time someone needs to be bounced? In fact, while I am not familiar with the laws of New York state, it seems possible that police might have declined to respond to this incident considering that it was essentially a civil matter between two private parties. Your comment indicates a mistaken belief in the necessity of engaging law enforcement on trivial matters which ultimately divert resources from genuine emergencies and criminal investigations.

          Furthermore, your assumption that simply mentioning the possibility of calling the police would have resulted in immediate compliance is just preposterous. Given the description of McNab’s behavior it seems entirely possible that involving police would have had precisely the opposite effect. He was playing a game and calling the police would have played right into his hands as it would have gone much further toward creating the appearance of an innocent black man once again being victimized by those in authority.

          • Andrew Scott says

            Blue Lobster,

            If it’s not serious enough to call the police, it’s not serious enough to lay hold of a man and pin him down. It’s that simple.

            Take five minutes to google “security guidelines for use of force.” Do you think I’m making this up? Hands-on force is called for when there is imminent threat. There was no imminent threat, and the rent-a-cops escalated to use of hands-on force. Yes, he should have shown ID. Anyone who feels that grabbing him and pinning him down instead is within a light-year of normal or acceptable lacks good sense and should neither be a security guard nor advise them.

            Repeat after me: “Sir, I’m not singling you out. I ask ten people to show me their ID every night. If I don’t ask to see yours I’m not doing my job. As soon as I see it we’re done and you can go back ro enjoying your meal.”

            That’s called civilized, and it’s what you do even when the other person seems unreasonable. Especially if they seem unreasonable. Or you attack them like a dumb animal and see how that works out.

            Would that have worked? If necessary, would threating to call the police have worked? I think so. We’ll never know because the security guards acted like knuckle-dragging apes who wanted the guy’s banana.

        • @Andrew Scott. Security should have just called their moms! If someone’s not doing what you ask them to you should NEVER touch them. That’s a no no. Gentle touches only! Even if your job is to screen people and they refuse the screening process. No.

          Even if your job is to protect a women’s campus and dormitory and men are entering without following the protocol your employers hired you to enforce. No.

          Seriously, how far from reality are you removed? Men rape women. Other men have to stop them. Men steal and attack and rob each other. Other men have to stop them. Your “absolutely no touching” edict is the infantile view of a privileged twit pretending rules that apply inside his own bubble of wealth and prestige should be enforced seamlessly in a perfect world filled with fair play and justice that doesn’t exist outside the fantastically narrow limits of his mind.

          Black, white, whatever…if a man gets past your guard post, you failed, and should be relieved. These men did their job and it’s sad that “men” like you can’t comprehend the value of what they do.

          • Andrew Scott says

            Ike, are we reading the same article? The one you’re reading is about someone getting raped. There’s no rape in the one I’m reading. Did you even watch the video? One woman was consoling McNab. Was she the one he was trying to rape?
            There’s some sort of cognitive dissonance happening here. When confronted with evidence that force was unnecessary you bring up rape. That’s messed up.

          • ARE we reading the same article? The one where a man walked through a security checkpoint onto a women’s campus? The campus where everyone is supposed to be id’d after 11 pm for the safety of the women who attend that school?

            What planet are you from where that doesn’t set off alarms in your head? What is the 11 pm checkpoint set up to accomplish? Stop the tooth fairy from leaving quarters? Newsflash: it’s to deter men from doing bad things. The men who were hired to protect the women on campus followed procedure in asking for ID. Mcnab refused to comply. IMO they have every right to stop anyone by any means necessary who refuses to comply with procedures designed to protect the women that live there.

            You think they should call the cops. I get it. You’re not the kind of person who could handle a confrontation with another person without having to rely on an outside authority (mommy)to arbitrate any dispute.

            Personally, I see three clear steps to this and any other checkpoint anywhere.

            Ask for needed items required to clear checkpoint (ID, passport, student ID…)
            If there are questions about protocol, politely answer and inform (possibly even a short explanation on why the checkpoint is in place “we’re protecting the women who live here”) so non compliance now has a real world frame of reference.
            Allow people who comply (and are cleared) through. Deny and restrain those who do not.

            You don’t need the cops to accomplish any of that.

        • Hyzenthlay says


          I’d agree that saying “please show your ID or we’ll have to call the police; sorry, that’s just our policy” would’ve been a better solution in a logical universe, but I also understand why they didn’t do it.

          I don’t know how much attention you pay to Lefty Twitter but there is currently a huge and vocal movement urging everyone NOT to call the police on black people, especially if they aren’t doing anything violent or threatening, as this guy wasn’t. The idea is that if you call the cops you’re putting their lives in danger, because the police might get itchy trigger fingers and shoot them on sight for being black. I think this claim is exaggerated but it’s pretty widely believed in some circles. I’ve seen numerous tweets that just consist of “do not call the police on black people” typed five times in a row, like a feverish mantra. I suspect the security officers had also been exposed to this type of messaging and had it drummed into their heads that calling the cops on a black person is racist and dangerous.

          They were in a situation where there was no good solution and basically anything they did would’ve looked bad or potentially escalated the situation. By trying to deal with it themselves, I suspect they were doing their best NOT to escalate. Didn’t work, obviously.

          • Andrew Scott says


            I know what you mean about being afraid to call the police on black people. There could have been some unwarranted backlash from that as well. But I can’t see grabbing someone and pinning him because you’re afraid that calling the police would seem racist.

          • Mark Mandell says

            You must live in Mayberry. If Barnard security called the NYC police and reported that they needed a policeman because someone was refusing to show his ID, security would still be waiting for a patrol car two hours later.

        • Saw file says

          “If it’s not serious enough to call the police, it’s not serious enough to lay hold of a man and pin him down.”
          One’s perception of reality would have to be more than somewhat skewed to not understand that this incident was obviously serious enough to summon the police.
          This person refused to comply with requests to prove he was a student. Until this person proved he was a student, it was reasonable to assume that he was trespassing. Trespass is illegal. Security can lawfully use appropriate force to restrain anyone engaging in trespass. Security did exactly what they should have done, given the circumstances of this incident.
          “It’s that simple.”

        • scribblerg says

          You know literally nothing about what private security people and police are charged with doing, nor how use of force guidelines and principles work.

          It’s very simple. If he doesn’t comply with the legal policies controlling entry to private property, he can be removed via force by the property owner. Fyi, the property owners have the right to remove him from the property via force if they choose to. Just as you have the right to use force to remove a person from your private property if you so choose.

          Let’s put it in the context of your property. A person you want to leave won’t. What do you do? Well, since my guess is you are a confused male with zero experience with violence, I suggest you call the police. But from where do they get their right to use force to remove him from your property? They gain it from your rights as a property owner, they are just acting as your agents in this situation.

          When a property owner hires security to enforce its guidelines for who can enter or not, that security detail can use force to gain compliance legally, without question. Just think about a bouncer at a bar, asking you to leave. Or a political event not in a public location – private security uses force to remove people all the time. Concerts, other group gatherings – happens all the time. The idea that after hiring security one should then call the cops? Idiocy, you child.

          That this doesn’t occur to you and you instead make up magical stories in your mind that give you good feelz is truly laughable. That you rely on others to use force as your agents and don’t even understand it is just sad. That you would stand up here and lecture the rest of us as to what is moral and correct in this circumstance is galling. Period.

          Fyi, he was sitting at that point in the story that you chose to focus on because the officers used the correct protocol to escalate to the use of force. You see, you ignorant loudmouth, restraining someone is hard to do. If you try to do so with with just one or two people, you will have to use something called “pain compliance” to subdue the subject. But if you get four trained officers (these security guys had this training), you can subdue a subject without causing him much pain, and with much lower risk of injury to the officers as well (each grabs a limb). This is 101 on stuff for any security officer or cop – but you don’t even bother understanding it, and instead preen idiocy at us.

          So instead of getting in a brawl with the guy with 1-2 security officers, they are waiting and he ‘s still refusing to comply, compounding his issues. You seem to think that the fact that he’s sitting and eating in a nonthreatening way means they can’t see him as a threat, lol. Could you be any more ignorant? They can assume he’s a threat due to his noncompliance with the request for ID as that’s what gives him permission to be on campus that late at night. That’s what makes him a threat. If he were to be threatening or fighting, they could have immediately gone to baton or mace or taser, but just because he sat down doesn’t mean he’s not a threat.

          It’s half-smart poseurs like you running their mouths about things they don’t understand that is ruining our society.

      • Andrew Scott says

        When they found him, he was sitting and eating with other students who did not feel threatened, because he wasn’t threatening anyone. The decision to use force or not must be made in that context. You do not use force when there is no threat. To act as they did shows a lack of good judgment and eagerness to use force for its own sake.

        I’m dumbfounded by how many comments minimize the value of handling situations in a non-violent way when it’s reasonably possible. What I’m hearing is, “Why should they have tried anything else in this non-violent, non-threatening situation when they could just apply force instead?”

        Are you the same people who cheer when a non-violent person gets dragged down the aisle of an airplane with a bloody face because he didn’t obey the flight attendants quickly enough? “Yeah, got him good! That snowflake will listen faster next time! He could have been dangerous. Haven’t you head of 9/11? Lives are at stake!”

        Apparently people who prefer force above any other option work as security guards, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they comment on blog posts too. Fortunately some semblance of a legal system still protects most normal people from your Steven Seagal-inspired vision of society.

        I read Quillette because – to be honest – it’s interesting to read about the screwed-up things SJWs do and say, which include equating words with violence. Most of the comments seem like a bunch of sane people with differing viewpoints encouraging reason and discouraging overreaction.

        This particular set of comments is at the far opposite end of the spectrum. This is real violence carried out unnecessarily and without anything near justification against a person who threatened harm to no one, and you people are cheering for it. What is wrong with you?

        • Saw file says

          ” What’ wrong with you?”
          This is a waste of words niw, but…
          You’re simply ‘gas-lighting’ (not recognizing your own sophistry) to reinforce a nonsensical nonrealistic pov.
          Your arguments have been ‘taken to the matt’, and you obstinately refuse to admit that you should rethink.
          Just tap-out, dude.
          The comment section in Quillette isn’t a contest, it’s a discussion.

        • “This is real violence”

          Congratulations! Your official snowflake certification credentials will arrive by mail in the next 5-7 business days.

          FYI your credentials may look like a pair of clown shoes. Ignore that fact and display them on your feet with pride where everybody can see just how qualified you really are.

        • Shamrock says

          You say security should have called the cops. If they did and the cops showed up and asked for Id and McNab refused, what should the cops do?

          They can walk away (which really isn’t an option), or they can use force and ensure compliance, which is what the security guards did. Do you see a different outcome or are you saying it should be the cops doing this and not the security guards?

        • Your sense of proportionality is all out of whack. And you are ignoring the context of what happened BEFORE they found him eating with friends. Being held against a counter for 20 seconds is not violence. It’s not even close to violence. No one in the comments is encouraging violence towards someone who is not a threat. They are merely supporting the idea of restraining someone who is a POTENTIAL threat. When someone is refusing to comply with commands the officers have no idea what he is capable of doing. Public safety is paramount. Their first priority is to secure the suspect in the interest of public safety. He wasn’t injured. His life wasn’t in danger. He didn’t suffer. These officers had already tried to resolve the situation without force. And they had already tried asking nicely. Andrew refused. He had already ignored their commands when they found him. He had already shown himself to be unreasonable. And they used the minimal amount of force necessary for him to comply.
          I’m 44 years old. I spent 12 years as a criminal and a heroin addict. I spent another 9 years in prison before changing my life. After 20 years in a culture of violence and crime and incarceration I now understand that our security and law enforcement officers are the line between civilization and darkness. When someone tries to push through that line, even in the small way Andrew did, niceties and politeness is not the appropriate response. Their response was perfectly proportional to the potential threat Andrew had already demonstrated himself to be, no matter how calm he might have been in the exact moment they found him. In general, people who are not a threat have no problem complying with the policies meant to protect us all. By not complying he opened himself up to the use of force, simple as that. I’ve been beaten by cops. I’ve been robbed by dirty cops. I’ve been slapped in the face by cops. I’ve had cops put their fingers in my ass looking for drugs. Despite all of that I still recognize the need for force when people refuse to comply. Because I know the world on the other side of that line law enforcement is defending.

          And just one more thing about your last sentence…you are misrepresenting the situation using slippery language, which I guess you have to do to hold your position. Obviously violence against someone who is not a threat is not justified. But that’s not what happened. He was restrained, which is not violence. And just because someone is not physically or verbally threatening the people around them does not mean they aren’t a threat. His non compliance and previous behavior was easily enough to justify 20 seconds of discomfort.

    • Stephanie says

      And then if the police are also afraid of enforcing the rules, they call the national guard. And then if the national guard are afraid of enforcing the rules, they call the FBI, and then if the FBI are afraid of enforcing the rules…

      Passing the buck along is a cowardly solution, and it undermines the authority of security guards. No police were needed, particularly given the many far more important calls they surely had to take that night. We should not need police to do the job of security.

      McNab was carded at the gate and allowed to travel a fair distance before being physically stopped. This entitled, sheltered brat was treated much more generously than the situation called for. Words didn’t work. At some point force becomes necessary.

      • Andrew Scott says


        The suggestion that leaving the job of the police to the police would somehow escalate to the National Guard is surreal. This is so simple. It’s already figured out in advance.
        The security guard tells the individual that he must leave, and that if he does not leave he is trespassing and the police will come. Unless the individual is intoxicated or deranged he complies.

        Then the police come. Perhaps this is where you are getting confused. The police do not require him to show his ID to the security guards. They tell him that he is trespassing ane must leave.

        Then he leaves. Amazingly, no one has yet been tackled because all are trained professionals.

        Or he does not leave. Then the police officer instructs him to turn around and place his hands behind his back. Still no violence unless the individual resists or attacks.

        Do you think I just made this scenario up? That’s how it works. The only reasons to skip past all that and get straight to tackling someone are if the security guard is untrained or if he really just wants to use force.

        It boggles my mind that people see immediate force as the only solution when the alternatives are well-known and much easier. I’m going to sleep slightly disturbed.

        • Stephanie says

          Andrew, your claim is that resorting to calling the police saves the security guards from the perception of racism (which someone above demonstrates is not the case), but police don’t want to seem racist, either. What do police do to avoid appearing racist? Who do they pass the buck onto if they don’t want to be suspended and dragged through the mud by the media?

          “Immediate force” is not at all what occurred. I would have had no problem if they had actually used immediate force: physically preventing someone who doesn’t show ID from accessing a female facility after dark should be obvious. Women’s safety is far more important than the sensibilities of an aggressive trespasser.

          That isn’t what happened. He was allowed to go where he pleased, ignoring repeated requests for ID. After an unreasonable amount of time (10 minutes? 20 minutes?) a minor amount of force was used and he yielded. Do you honestly think it would have been better if police had been there?

          He lied several times about why he did what he did. It seems clear that a sob story is what he was after. He got that with a push, but it would have played into his hands better if the police were called, and he could have gotten them to be the ones to use force. Your assumption he would have scared at the sound of police is absurd: police are exactly what he wanted there. He was playing into a narrative and “police called on student because he’s black” would have been that much juicier.

          We need to handle things at the lowest possible level, and avoid giving attention-whores what they’re after.

        • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow says


          Remember the shooting at Parkland? The kid who wasn’t supposed to be there but got in anyway because of the darker pigmentation of his skin? The kid who slaughtered numerous innocent people?

          I am a white female. I show my ID to get into the school where I work. I would expect security to DO THEIR JOBS if I refuse to comply. Why? Unfortunately, there’s a much greater risk if they don’t.

          Did he get into the library to “quietly eat” without showing ID? That’s not OK. How would security be able to predict that this wasn’t his final meal before committing the final spectacle?

          I know. You believe blacks should get special privileges that whites don’t. Because you’re racist.

          • stevengregg says

            One of the Sri Lankan suicide bombers got in the breakfast line before he detonated himself and everyone eating breakfast around him.

    • Larry Larkin says

      You’ve obviously never worked as a security officer, or talked to a properly trained security officer about how they go about their jobs.

      In this situation the security officers did it absolutely correctly. He was asked for his ID multiple times, he became more and more emotional in his refusals to provide the ID, and finally the security officers applied enough force to make him comply with causing him physical harm or putting themselves as risk of physical harm.

      Use of appropriate force, as was done in this incident, doesn’t imply application of violence, which you seem to think it does.

    • ga gamba says

      Words and force are not the only options.

      Other than words and force what exactly are “the other options”? Be precise. Specify.

      Reading your comment I find you mention more words being spoken but by other people. These are still words, are they not? If the police were called, they’d use words, wouldn’t they? And if the words were not complied with, they’d use force. I doubt they’d use barter, such as “I’ll let you look at my handcuffs if you let me look at your ID.” And ignore it isn’t valid because they’re well beyond that point. Perhaps a contest? Still, barter and a contest would require words, wouldn’t they? And if the person declines, what have you left?

      What does Columbia inform its student and employee population? In the If You Are Stopped On Campus By Officers From The Department Of Public Safety section of its Public Safety: Rights and Responsibilities brochure the university writes: “Therefore, when you are asked for your identification on campus, you have an obligation to provide it as a means of confirming your status and, consequently, your right to be on Columbia property. After you have produced your identification and verified your status, you are entitled to an explanation as to why you were stopped and questioned.” (Bold mine)

      An obligation? Golly, in this day and age? Nevertheless, it is a requirement. Dislike it? Transfer to another school or petition the uni admin to revise it to something less obligatory.

      It also writes: “Public Safety Officers routinely find themselves in situations with very little useful information and very little time to react to potentially life threatening situations. Consequently, officers are routinely trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and survival. This heightened sense of caution can sometimes create communication problems between officers and the public they serve.” (Bold mine)

      You write that McNab was not threatening. That’s how you perceive it. But, your perception counts for very little, if anything at all, because you’re not the one responding, are you? From the officers’ perspective and experience, a person blazing through the security checkpoint without presenting an ID and ignoring requests for it makes him a threat. There may even be signs posted telling people that after 11pm ID will be checked. Moreover, there is accumulated cultural understanding, both macro (the city and nation) and micro (the uni campus and its buildings), of procedures, the way things are done, each person acquires through the years. People are accustomed to see security officers at entrances and complying with rules, directions, and commands. Those who chose to disregard these most often experience a consequence.

      Secondly, officers not only deal with threatening situations, they address potentially threatening ones too, provided there is justification, such as blazing through a security checkpoint whilst ignoring the directions of the safety officers. “Let’s wait around until something worse happens” isn’t an appropriate procedure when the person has already proved himself breeching the rules, is it? This is a proactive approach applied in the expectation it will reduce actual threatening acts and worse outcomes. The old ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure maxim applies. Once confronted by security, McNab did nothing to reduce the officers’ perception. In fact, he chose to behave in a way that strengthened the perception. Because he’s stupid.

      Further: “At Columbia University, our Public Safety Officers have been trained and encouraged to interact with you in a professional manner and to treat you with respect. If you are stopped, questioned, or detained by a Public Safety Officer or other law enforcement official, it will help
      facilitate the encounter if you interact with him or her in a respectful and professional manner, as well.

      We realize it is difficult to be calm when you feel you have been unjustly stopped or questioned. However, the following suggestions have proven very helpful in ensuring that a police encounter does not escalate into a more serious incident. Remember always to:
      • Maintain your composure
      • Comply with any reasonable requests, particularly a request to produce appropriate identification
      • Conduct yourself in a mature and respectful manner
      • Avoid any action or language that might be deemed inappropriate or which might needlessly escalate the situation”

      Voilà! The constituents have been informed of their obligation, the reason for it, and how to behave. Further, they have told that safety officers have the right to stop, question, and even detain them. Having this knowledge, students and employees who choose to continue their relationship with the university have accepted the rules. Those who find them too burdensome or intrusive may go to freer pastures.

      Ultimately, your complaint about only words and force not being the only options appears bereft of any different and viable alternatives. All you’ve done is add more people to the mix, ones with guns, who too are using words, the threat of force, and force. As this ever growing group of people are milling around, policing shortfalls happen elsewhere. Moreover, there are those who will choose to see the addition of armed law enforcement as an escalation.

      Lastly, a general observation digressing from your comment. Does anyone else find it peculiar that progressives demand and justify untrained individuals, ones who often have a poor grasp of law, physically attack “Nazis” and also perform allyship by perpetrating threats and violence against others, yet at the same time endeavour to further constrain actual law enforcement, i.e. the fellas actually trained to handle such situations? Clown world, indeed.

      • Andrew Scott says

        Words and force are not the only options for those security guards. They are a deterrent. They use force if someone is in danger (which did not occur in this case.) Have you read anything about how and when security guards are supposed to use force? If you did you would discover that most guidelines are far more nuanced than “Tell them what to do and if they don’t, pin them.” You clearly haven’t read any of that. You apparently prefer to keep it simple because that makes use of force easier to justify.

        I’ve gone most of my life without realizing that you people even existed, although I should have pieced it together. I just like to assume the best about people. Apparently in this case I was wrong.

        It’s like I’ve wandered off into the Amazon rain forest and discovered some tribe of savages who are cut off from civilization. Did someone walk through your village and not understand you saying, “Stop,” so you pumped them full of poisoned blow darts and took their solar-powered satellite phone, and that’s how you have access to the internet? Do you wear clothes? Do you use toilet paper? Those are all reasonable questions to ask when you encounter someone who loves the use of force so much that they don’t even want to consider other possibilities.

        • George G. says

          I hear what you’re saying, but then you have to sit there for an hour or more waiting for the police to arrive. It seems like the threat of police would be empty at best.

        • ga gamba says

          Still, you choose to fail to provide an alternative to words and force. Have your forgotten your assertion? I quoted it for you previously. Lemme do so again, because maybe you forgot it during your recent Amazon adventure. Words and force are not the only options. It was your claim that viable alternatives exist, yet you cannot provide even one. Step up or shut up, as the kiddies in the school yards challenge.

          Anyway, I enjoyed you stumbling through the Amazon rainforest and dodging the cannibals’ blow darts. I envisioned you in a pith helmet.

          Did someone walk through your village and not understand you saying, “Stop,”

          Perhaps I live on North Sentinel Island and you are the intruder. If I recall how that played out with progressives in real life, they celebrated the murder of the intruder. “He earned what was coming to him. Don’t even bother to retrieve his carcass (if it hasn’t been eaten).”

          Yet one more contradiction to mystify those who observe these events and how they play out in the minds of the woke.

        • James Lee says

          Andrew, perhaps I’m confused. But from my perspective, it appears that you are arguing from a decontextualized and utopianist space that is not in contact with lived human reality… and you think the contrary view is the one which is otherworldly and fantastical.

          If a man walks past a security checkpoint and repeatedly refuses to show ID when asked, he is most definitely going to be viewed as potential THREAT by 99.9% of human beings. This is not normal behavior for any socialized human with an IQ over 80.

          I just can’t be upset that hands were placed on him with zero injuries inflicted. I am sure the security guards had their adrenaline racing, because that’s what happens in real life when faced with a potential threat.

          We live in an age of copycat school shootings committed by mentally unstable violent young men. In my opinion, the capacity to be disturbed (and maybe you personally aren’t) by this particular use of extremely minimal force could only arise from a worldview which is severed from basic elements of human nature.

        • fred roellig says

          There’s no way to leave a thumbs up, but I just wanted to say that as someone who has worked security, (gate guard at a nuclear shipyard), Andrew Scott is correct.

          • scribblerg says

            Oh, so you weren’t to use force if someone kept walking onto the nuclear facility you were protecting without responding to your security challenge with compliance?

            You are a liar. I did security at numerous facilities and I have no idea how you got trained. We were of course to use force only after numerous reasonable attempts to gain compliance. But at a certain point, even if the person was not escalating the conflict, if they refused to show ID or leave, we were to use force to gain compliance.

  10. GrumpyBear says

    Though not surprised, I really don’t understand the university’s response to this. They can’t genuinely believe that the officers were being racist for insisting on seeing his ID? So why do they instantly apologize and cave? What exactly is their thinking?

    I can understand struggling universities like Missouri or Evergreen being wary of alienating students, but Barnard rejects six out of seven applicants, and Columbia rejects 15 out of 16. Scaring away a few SJWs won’t harm them in the least.

    It’s good to see that UArts ( ) and George Mason U ( ) have the guts to do the right thing. Hopefully others will follow.

  11. Kevin Herman says

    Once again we have a black snowflake refusing to comply with a reasonable request over and over again and finally egging out of the law enforcement some minor use of force which is totally blown out of proportion and thereby becoming some kind of bizarro world martyr to self hating white people. Unfortunately ginned up stuff like this makes up a large portion of so called racist incidents in this country. I was in a convenience store the other day and clerk asked a young black women who really looked no older then 18 for her ID when she bought cigarettes. She of course didnt have her ID on her it was out in the car so she made a big fuss and went to get it. Then right after her a 50+ white women asked for cigarettes and wasn’t carded. The black girl flipped out saying this was racism at work. Never mind right on the counter was a government issued advertisements that said if you look under 30 you will be required to show id. How can we move toward a less racist society when the so called victims of racism manufacture a lot of these incidents themselves in order to get some kind of sick status points?

  12. Hyzenthlay says

    Any sufficiently advanced zealotry is indistinguishable from bad faith.

  13. Chad Chen says

    There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of racially charged disputes occurring in the United States every day. Many of these involve unambiguous evidence of racial malice by whites and Asians toward blacks. None of these cases are of interest to the Quillette audience.

    The case selected for the attention of the Quillette audience is one in which a black guy can plausibly be portrayed as an entitled, rebellious troublemaker making a nuisance of himself.

    What does that say about what the majority of Quillette readers want to hear, think and believe?

      • Ray Andrews says


        Why ask for proof of something that we all know is at least partly true? I suggest a better response would be to point out that incidents like this one do the cause of real elimination of racist events far more harm than good because they make the entire subject look ridiculous. SJWs with brains (is that oxymoronic?) would be the first to condemn this sort of non-event as a distraction from incidents of real concern.

    • Jairo Melchor says

      Well, the article is in the “Culture Wars” subsection.

    • Hyzenthlay says

      Where are you getting your numbers? Or are they just based on gut feelings?

      And to address your point (disregarding the arbitrary numbers): yes, obviously there is still real racism. There are still Nazis, white nationalists, garden variety bigots who just don’t like black people and who throw around the n-word in a disparaging way, etc. And yes, actual race-based hatred (i.e. the old-fashioned definition of racism) is heinous and should be condemned. But most people already agree that this kind of racism is bad, and the people who are committed to extreme beliefs like white nationalism often can’t be reasoned out of them, so I’m not sure if an article condemning Nazism or blatant bigotry would really change many people’s minds.

      When the left talks about racism today, however, they often aren’t talking about this stuff. They’re talking about concepts like microaggressions, implicit bias, and ambiguous encounters where racism can’t be proven one way or the other, but where it’s often assumed that racism was the motivating factor. The case above has already been signal-boosted and received quite a bit of attention, or it wouldn’t be featured here. Cases like this are where the debate is happening right now, and that’s not something the writers of Quillette decided; they’re just responding to what’s already being talked about in the culture at large.

      I think that many readers here would prefer to not be obsessing over racial issues at all. But when people’s careers and reputations are being ruined over accusations of cultural appropriation or microaggressions, it becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

      I do think it’s still important to call out actual racism when it happens, but I also think it’s important to push back against the excesses of victimhood culture. Because victimhood culture ultimately worsens racial divides and just exacerbates many of the problems it’s supposed to address.

      • American Nationalist says

        Please stop with the “white nationalist” when you really mean “white supremacists” – they are completely different – I am white and believe in our nation and thus consider myself a nationalist – I have no issues with anyone of color and know many Black and Asian American nationalists as well – I don’t know anyone who considers themselves a nationalist that has any problem with anyone of any color – this is a subtle twist the leftist media has pushed to make anyone afraid to say they believe in and love their country, specifically white Americans, as the left is pushing hard to fully incorporate it’s radical Socialist agenda on the American people – we are all Americans and believing in our country, our republic, our Constitution doesn’t not make one a racist in any way – peace

        • Hyzenthlay says

          “White nationalist” does not generally mean “someone who is white and also a patriot/nationalist.” It’s a term that people who want a white ethnostate generally use to describe themselves. The left didn’t come up with that; it’s how those people self-identify (they tend to prefer it to “white supremacist” because the latter has negative connotations).

          If you’re cool with people of all races living in the same country, great. But I’d recommend not referring to yourself as a white nationalist. It will give folks the wrong idea.

          • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow says

            Although it is necessary to point out that a large number of blacks don’t want to live among whites. That there is a push for separate spaces for blacks and/or other people of color on university campuses. Anecdote: “Passing for white” woman posts plea on Bedford-Stuyvesant FB group to find the parents of a black girl who bangs on her window every day, waking the baby and rousing the dog. Response from “the black community”? You’re a white gentrifier who deserves to have your windows banged on.

            Try riding the subway into Manhattan from Bed-Stuy without getting harassed because of your skin color.

            My hunch is that blacks are hell bent on keeping racism alive by all means necessary. It’s their identity, their raison d’etre:


          • ga gamba says

            I suppose if socialism is now simply ploughing the snow by a city employee in Stockholm a white nationalist gets to redefine things as it suits him. It’s that way nowadays. No common meaning at all. There’s my truth and your truth and Ray’s truth, and maybe they intersect, but if they don’t… no biggie. We have the big turd of whatever to celebrate.

            Of course, you have no obligation to believe AN’s assertion just as I know Sweden isn’t socialist.

      • hail to none says

        @Hyzenthlay– well put. Incidents like these are being highlighted by those on the left to indicate the pervasiveness of racism and there needs to be some well-considered pushback on concept creep.

        It’s interesting that we now live in a time when an ambiguous situation is automatically labeled (by many) as racist unless proven otherwise, rather than the other way around, which would seem to be more consistent with our traditional notions of fair jurisprudence.

    • the gardner says

      “….millions….every day….”

      You’ve completely discredited yourself, Chad Chen.

    • No Sharia says

      You can find those allegations in the mainstream media, since that’s their bread and bother. But when it’s the other way around, that is, black on fill in the blank, Quillette will published what the MSM will not.

    • Chad Chen says

      I have lived experience. As an Asian/Irish male to female trans, with lesbian tendencies, identifying as a 1960s victimized Afro American, I can attest to the bigotry of the “quillette” type. Understand me or you are RACIST

      • Shamrock says


        “identifying as a 1960s victimized Afro American” isn’t that cultural appropriation as you are not black?

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Chad Chen

      Hughes is commenting on an incident that is already in the news, and which occurred at his own University. Neither he nor Quillette are the ones who have turned this into a media issue. If there are millions of worse and more clearly racist incidents than this going on every day in the US, why has this one gotten more attention from the press? Surely the media should be focusing on reporting the hundreds of thousands of attempted lynchings of Subway restaurant patrons by MAGA hat-wearing Klansmen that occur each and every day in our nation.

    • stevengregg says

      I’ve never seen a white person mistreat a black person for race or any other reason. I have experience a thin dribble of racism from blacks. About every thirty times I ride the subway, a black guy tries to pick a fight with me. A black guy rear ended me and furiously accused me of the accident because I stopped. A black guy called my Mom at 2 am and threatened to rape and kill her. When my Dad told his boss, he said the same guy made the same threat to all the managers’ wives. And on and on.

      Most of the racial malice I’ve seen comes gratuitously and unprovoked from blacks.

    • The author of the article is neither white or Asian. So, what do you think it says about him?

  14. hail to none says

    I like that Hughes calls out “cowardice at Columbia” and lays the largest share of the blame at the feet of the administrators. If administrators reacted to these kinds of situations with integrity they would become less common. They are either ideologues or cowards, and in either case unworthy of their high-paid positions. Young people are calling upon authority for direction (what a change from the 1960s!), and authority is failing them.

  15. ianl says

    “They [Administrators] are either ideologues or cowards”

    Likely the latter, but this doesn’t matter. There is no feasible way of forcing behavioral change in these people. That’s why this type of blackmail works so well.

    • ga gamba says

      but this doesn’t matter


      Why rule out the intersection of spinelessness and ideological possession? All the woke have at least two identities nowadays.

  16. Jairo Melchor says

    I always dislike how in many of these cases of alleged racism, the subject in question never trusts the authority and just shows an ID the second the officers/guards ask them to.

    They put themselves on a corner every time they act defensive for absolutely no reason and then try to pin blame on the officers. All these cases look like punks thinking they are brave for not showing an ID and then jeopardizing the jobs of people.

  17. “Public safety tried words, and when words failed, they used force.”
    Exactly. As they should have.

    The real losers here are the Columbia deans who lack the courage their office requires.

    Good piece, as usual.

  18. S. Cheung says

    Situations like this explain the cynicism some people have towards things like BLM. It’s unfortunate, but understandable, in the face of obvious instances like this one where there is nothing to do with race. The guy could’ve been white, yellow, brown, or green – but if that guy is gonna walk into a women’s college after hours and not demonstrate a legitimate reason for being there, he should EXPECT to get confronted by security. The security didn’t have guns, but he’s lucky to not get tasered for refusing to comply.

    This case has nothing to do with the otherwise legit concerns with racial profiling, or with unarmed black guys being shot to death by police while being guilty of simply being black. But what makes this McNab moron a special kind of idiot is that people who are inclined to undermine BLM type stuff will conflate this pile of crock with real issues to justify their nihilistic attitudes.

  19. D.B. Cooper says

    It’s curious that McNab would be so inconsistent on the question as to whether he was aware of the ID policy or not; since he seemed acutely aware of such a policy when he referenced it in the opening paragraph of an article he wrote 2 years ago. Strangely enough, while giving assurances of McNab’s talent as an essayist, Coleman actually links to the article in question as evidence of his prolificacy, but not his knowledge of Columbia’s ID policy. It’s possible Coleman either didn’t actually read the article prior to linking to it or he just simply missed it by happenstance. In any event, I think we can put to bed the idea that McNab was unaware of the school’s ID policy.

    Of course, this still leaves us with the question of why McNab would ignore the officers’ multiple demands to produce his school ID. Establishing motive seems critical.

    • Kyle says

      Yes, in this article (, McNab demonstrates a sophisticated awareness of campus public safety issues. This awareness means that it would be impossible for McNab (now in his 4th year, I think) not ti know that showing IDs was a very important public safety policy at Columbia/Barnard (even if he thought it was a racist policy).

      So, it seems that accusing McNab of a Smollett-style effort–albeit a less contrived one–is fair. It is plausible that, knowing the rules and the stakes, McNab rushed past Security checkpoints knowing he would generate a confrontation, which he did and from which he is now profiting.

  20. Audence Lange says

    If Alexander McNab says he’s black, I guess I’ll take his word for it.

    He might want to do a few sessions in a tanning booth and get a perm, for marketing purposes.

    On the other hand, in a world where Colin Kaepernick is considered black …

  21. dkm says

    Are there no labor organizations there to defend the guards? They should sue both the college and McNab.

    • codadmin says

      Exactly. McNab is obviously a racist and this was a clear stunt.

  22. Barney Doran says

    Where is the socialist outrage? These guards should certainly be considered working class and McNab a privileged member of the bourgeoisie at a university where the tuition is in the $50000 + range. We’re waiting Bernie, AOC, and Omar.

    • hail to none says

      @Barney. Exactly. This incident is an outstanding example of privilege in action, with a student at an elite institution haughtily ignoring rules and dunking on the working class who are hired to enforce them.

  23. Philip says

    The real problem here is that institutions like Columbia no longer know how to react. They no longer know what is right or wrong or what their responsibilities are. They really don’t know what they should be doing. They have lost the ability to make clear sensible decisions because of the social pressures and the fear of being found on the wrong side of the new culture. The consequences can only result in catastrophe.

  24. the gardner says

    I shared this with my son who is a Columbia MBA student. He said the other morning he arrived on campus before 8AM and was approached for ID by a security guard. He complied. Went on his way. So was the security guard being racist when he approached my white kid? One could argue that asking for ID early in the AM near classroom buildings is less necessary than asking for it at night, near a women’s campus.

    He said he guessed about 10-20% of students at Columbia share McNab’s views—- any inconvenience is really racially motivated.

    What parasite has infected kids’ minds to jump to that conclusion? Just show the ID and move on. But no, McNab had to create an incident to invent victimhood. Get a life, pal! You are in one of America’s great universities. Go study and make something of yourself!

  25. GRPalmer says

    Smollett alert
    The guards had legal authority to demand his ID and he knew it.
    Total set up.
    Only racism was his behaviour, and the Administration slandering the guards doing their job.
    Race baiting set up.
    Did the College Administration ask why he refused to provide his ID?

  26. Robert says

    OMG, the horror! School safety officers were expecting a student to act like a functional, conscious, responsible adult.

    • Aerth says

      Yet another, after Yale Halloween idiocy, example how expecting students to act like adults can backfire. Maybe it is time to change policies and start treating them like spoiled brats they are.

  27. Harrison Bergeron says

    One would hope that if Columbia hired only black women security guards to secure Barnard women student’s safety then these sorts of complaints would go away. But I doubt it.

    • Komori says

      Just look at how Black Lives Matters treats black cops. It wouldn’t.

      • stevengregg says

        There are just as many complaints of racism by black criminals handled by majority black police forces as for majority white police forces. Detroit and Riker’s Island, for example.

  28. Just passing by. says

    However if McNab showed his ID he wouldn’t have been nabbed in the first place.

    And let’s not forget the people the cops are there to protect the students from.

    Some criminals go unchecked for years because they look just like everyone else or have people who cover for them. That’s in any social demographic.

    McNab got lucky.

    In my old neighborhood we had one scumbag who pimped out girls for pedophiles and a drug dealer who lived just behind us. We lived in the suburbs by the way.

    A lot of really little kids, who are McNab’s age now, have had their brains fried and their futures in Jeopardy.

    If McNab just showed his ID he wouldn’t have gotten nabbed. Some criminals don’t look like criminals and get all of us in a world of trouble.

    Just saying.

    • Andrew Scott says

      These weren’t cops. McNab isn’t a pedophile. (Jeopardy isn’t a proper noun, either, unless you mean that the kids in your neighborhood were contestants on the game show.) Maybe it’s time for someone to mention Hitler.

      The issue wasn’t that McNab didn’t show ID. For whatever reason, he acted unreasonably. He should have shown it and he didn’t.

      That’s not what this is about at all. It’s about what happened next. Regardless of what happened up to the moment when they pinned him on the counter, there was no justification to use force in the absence of any threat or danger.

      Did you watch the video? No one filmed because he got asked for ID. They filmed because the security guards attacked him.

      Perhaps he felt that there was a racist motivation behind asking him for ID. From what I’ve read that wasn’t the case. It doesn’t matter. As soon as they grabbed him it wasn’t about showing ID. It was about inappropriate use of force against a non-threatening individual when anyone with two brain cells to rub together could have at least tried to avoid that escalation.

      • Stephanie says

        Andrew, this absolutely is about McNab’s repeated refusal to show ID: if he had complied, that interaction would have been precisely as remarkable as the thousand such interacts occuring every day. Why would anyone absolve him of responsibility for the incident he caused, unless they have lower standards of conduct for black people?

        It may come as news to you that black people have the ability to read campus rules, sufficient intellectual abilities to understand verbal communication, and are not characterised by developmental disorders that render them hostile to authority. The way you talk about McNab it’s like he’s a small child or a dog. That is deeply condescending and I kindly suggest you reflect on the source of your perception that a black man cannot be expected to behave reasonably.

        You failed to answer ga gamba’s question above about what alternatives exist beyond words and give. You went off on a bizarre tangent about rainforests instead. It has already been explained to you that he was a threat at the time from the perspective of authorities. Your hindsight appraisal is irrelevant to that question. It has already been explained to you that the force applied was minimal and only used after verbal commands repeatedly failed. Repeating your arguments to someone new down the thread doesn’t mean they are no longer debunked.

        • Andrew Scott says


          He was not a threat. That’s the whole point. He was a person who should have shown his ID and didn’t. That is not a threat.

          Some people might make accusations of racism because he’s black, but this isn’t about racism.

          Many people are asked for their ID and they comply. For some reason he didn’t. What happened next – attacking him and pinning him down – was not something he caused. I’ll allow that he contributed to it. But he did not threaten anyone and he is not the one who introduced violence.

          The security guards quickly escalated to use of force without good reason. That is not what security guards are trained to do. As I’ve pointed out, you can Google it and read it over and over and over again.

          If he is required to show ID and does not, that has consequences which could have included restriction from the campus in the future. Being assaulted is not one of those consequences. If he threatens or assaults other people, physical confrontation may be a consequence, but he didn’t do that.

          Instead of reacting emotionally, why not do as I’ve suggested and read about guidelines for use of force by security guards? Are you concerned that it will burst your bubble in which people in uniforms can quickly assault non-violent individuals who don’t comply with their commands?

          You’re entitled to your emotions and opinion, but the law and civilization are not with you. We don’t behave like animals, not even when someone fails to produce their ID.

          • the gardner says

            @Andrew Scott—- the security officers asked nicely for ID and he was belligerent. He was spewing BS. What do you want the officers to do? Say, Pretty please? We’ll give you candy if you cooperate? Restraining him for 20 secs is not behaving like animals. They didn’t club him or even cuff him. You need to spend an evening with some officers to experience the real world. McNab was acting like a jerk, he got what he deserved.

          • S.Cheung says

            If the policy/rule/regulation/whatever is that those who enter a “restricted area” (women’s college after hours) must produce ID, and a person enters without doing so after several verbal requests, what do you suggest should be done? What do you suggest these guards have done, if not compel cooperation with a fairly benign level of force? And if you just let the guy go on his merry way regardless of whether he shows ID or not, then what’s the point of having the policy to begin with?

            How would they know McNab wasn’t a pedophile, if he didn’t tell them who he was by showing ID as requested? You also said they could’ve barred him from campus next time. That’s great, except who would they be barring…if they don’t know the guy’s name, having not seen his ID?

            Let’s suppose they ask nicely, McNab continues to ignore them, so they let him go…and he goes on to commit a crime. Would you say the security guards did their due diligence nonetheless?

            You acknowledge he could have averted all of this. And yet you would not consider his action (refusing to comply) as the proximate cause of what followed? How would your logic work in any other setting? I don’t have a ticket to the concert/sporting event/movie/theatre, but I’ll just walk in peacefully, and security won’t have a right to lay hands on me so as to facilitate throwing me out? I don’t have my boarding pass, but I’ll just walk through airport screening peacefully, and security can ask me nicely but can’t touch me? I don’t have my passport but I’ll just walk across the border peacefully and customs officers can’t literally kick my ass? What “civilization” are you living in?

          • ga gamba says

            You’re entitled to your emotions and opinion, but the law and civilization are not with you

            If only there were some type of device that one could use to perform queries before shooting from the hip. Sadly, this device only exists in sci-fi.

            You know, you really out to check these things about before asserting them, though, if you’re still trampling around in the dark rainforest of your imagination, it’s understandable you may be unable because you’re cut off from civilisation.

            The New York State Security Guard Act of 1992 requires that all people who work in the security industry have a security guard license and training to ensure that qualified individuals administer the duties of security and protection of people from harm and property from loss. Security guards employed in New York are required to register with the state and go through mandatory yearly training.

            In New York State penal law articles 35 and 140 apply.

            Article 35, for example 35.20:
            “2. A person in possession or control of any premises, or a person licensed or privileged to be thereon or therein, may use physical force upon another person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate what he or she reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission by such other person of a criminal trespass upon such premises. Such person may use any degree of physical force, other than deadly physical force, which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose, and may use deadly physical force in order to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of arson, as prescribed in subdivision one, or in the course of a burglary or attempted burglary, as prescribed in subdivision three.” (Bold mine.)

            A security guard is not only in control of a premises, s/he is licenced as well. S/he is allowed to use physical force against those who have criminally trespassed the premises.

            Article 140, specifically “140.30 Arrest without a warrant; by any person; when and where authorized.
            1. Subject to the provisions of subdivision two, any person may arrest another person (a) for a felony when the latter has in fact committed such felony, and (b) for any offense when the latter has in fact committed such offense in his presence.
            2. Such an arrest, if for a felony, may be made anywhere in the state. If the arrest is for an offense other than a felony, it may be made only in the county in which such offense was committed.” (Bold mine.)

            McNab was witnessed blazing through the security checkpoint without presenting ID by security officers, which is an offence committed in their presence.

            Further, Barnard College’s Public Safety Office writes: “Public Safety Officers are College employees who are unarmed and do not have law enforcement status. They are, however, authorized to detain and apprehend suspects and to maintain order on campus grounds.” (Bold mine.)

            The law and civilisation are clearly with Stephanie, chum. Perhaps there is some other fictional law and make believe civilisation you exist in?

            For a person who is so certain about things in real world, you really don’t have the supporting facts for such certainly, do you? Are you as wrong headed in all other aspects of your life, or is this just a special treat for readers here?

            I look forward to reading your next cockamamie contrivance. All feelz, no realz.

          • Sarah Allsop says

            @ Andrew Scott. I agree with Stephanie. You are sounding like a complete racist, holding a black student to a different standard than non-black students.

  29. C.Keck says

    Sounds af if the school’s administration got jussied. Highly unlikely that McNab didn’t plan the whole thing, with cameras nearby at the ready. If I had a day, that kid would get sanctioned.

    • JohnLee says

      nice, new verb ‘jussied’ – definition ‘taken by race con, specifically some authority figure’


  30. Ray Andrews says

    No need to point out how ideologically impure this is but I wonder if it might be pragmatic to implement overt racism in the hiring of security guards and maybe even cops: One must be darker than some chosen shade and/or be a certified member of a Victim Identity in order to qualify as a security guard on campus. Essentially, no whites need apply. On balance it might be the right thing to do given that it would defuse this sort of bullshit.

    It might not be practical but also one could envision, especially in bigger cities with lots of cops anyway, that whenever there is the need to dispatch a cop, the Identity of any possible suspects be matched. That is, if a rather dark negro holds up a convenience store, only a similarly dark negro cop can be dispatched. Thus in cases where a crime has been committed, but all available officers are of lighter skin, or of different Identity, the call will simply not be responded to since Racism would be systemic and implicit.

    Needless to say, this is an obvious task for Equitron. Just as Equitron determines everyone’s outcomes so as to enforce Equity, so Equitron knows which cop best matches any suspect. Equitron might even compute the outcome of any suspect/cop interactions ahead of time, thus insuring equal outcomes for all Identities.

    • ga gamba says

      On balance it might be the right thing to do given that it would defuse this sort of bullshit.

      Hasn’t defused the BS when it was a black cop allegedly abusing a black suspect. Black police officers have a “subconscious bias” against their own kind, don’t ya know? This, it’s still blasted as white supremacy even when the mayor is black, the police chief is black, the prosecutor is black, the majority of the commanders are black, and the majority of the force is non-white, such as in Baltimore. Further, Baltimore was one of eight cities participating in an experimental Obama administration police reform program run by the Department of Justice and its Office of Community Oriented Police Services. The programme was designed to provide policing that was less adversarial and emphasized a cooperative spirit in poor neighbourhoods.

      For a police officer to be promoted, s/he had to meet with a panel of six representatives of the community to discuss community policing, racism, and the like.

      I hope Equitron sorts this pronto.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @ga gamba

        “such as in Baltimore”

        It’s not enough that most of the cops are black, they have to all be black, and dark black at that and it has to be announced to the nation that not one single white person will be involved in the legal system in Baltimore. His implicit whiteness would contaminate the entire system.

        “For a police officer to be promoted, s/he had to meet with a panel of six representatives of the community to discuss community policing, racism, and the like.”

        That’s not exactly a bad idea tho is it? Let the community themselves decide if they want crime attended to even if that might mean guns are drawn, or if Black Lives Matter so much that the risk of an altercation is too high and the cops must stay away when the suspect is black.

        Seriously, let the community decide. If a cop displeases she’s gone, the panel decides who to hire to replace her. The thing is tho that they might have trouble finding magic cops who can control crime without ever doing a single thing that Mr. Rodgers wouldn’t do. Honestly. I don’t think such a cop exists, but if they can find an officer M. Gandhi who’s only weapon is love, and it works, then that will be truly fantastic in both meanings of the word.

        “I hope Equitron sorts this pronto.”

        Equitron is coming, but there are problems because the mini Equitrons are not reporting the data that is wanted and it is really, really hard to teach PC to an AI. What is missing is that to guarantee outcomes, Equitron must also be able to control incomes — that is ‘inputs’ or, well heck, $incomes too — that is Equitron must have complete control of our lives otherwise outcomes simply cannot be guaranteed.

    • K. Dershem says

      Ray, I thought you had decided to lay off the sarcasm …

      • Ray Andrews says

        @K. Dershem

        Well, I resolved to try harder ; – )

        Makes me think tho — one might distinguish between up-close and personal sarcasm directed at someone — being snide and sardonic — and Equitron which is more of a cautionary dystopian slippery-slope satire and not pointed at anyone in particular. But which does follow the logic of equal outcome thinking to it’s conclusion. I’m hand in glove united with the righties here when it comes to Equity — I think it is an extinction level bad idea. It’s the sort of idea that turns the sweet dreams of Marxism into the hell of Stalinism. It is all the more dangerous because it is so very close to a genuinely good idea — MLKs idea.

    • stevengregg says

      It won’t defuse the racial BS. Black cops get the same complaints of racism as white cops do. It’s the roles, not the race.

  31. Etiamsi omnes says

    The fact that cotton doesn’t readily grow in Canada has spared us many problems up here.

  32. codadmin says

    All ‘anti-racists’ on the fascist left are vile racists, clearly.

    • K. Dershem says

      Much like the actual racists on the reactionary right.

      • Shamrock says


        The racists on the extreme right admit, and are proud of, their racism. The far left pretends they are for diversity and deny their racism.

  33. Phil says

    McNab is an absolute arrogant idiot. If a security guard asks you for ID, you show ID. I don’t care whether you are black or white. Show the bloody ID. He is the architect of his own predicament. And the university is absolutely cowardly to capitulate because a petulant idiot decided that rules don’t apply to him. Ask Larry Elder. If you get pulled over by the cops, you put your left hand at 10’o clock on the steering wheel and your right hand at 2’o clock and play ball. And thus applied whether you are white or black, or any hue in between

    What a selfish and arrogant guy. If McNab had a 17 year old daughter attending a school and some random man walks in and refuses to show ID, how would he have felt? It’s all downside and no upside. The guards should be asking for ID. They are doing their jobs as far as I am concerned. And institutions seem to be abdicating their responsibilities on the basis of a fear and panic of being caught up in a race media storm, irrespective of the aberration of the behaviour at hand.

    What is evident is that some people are flouting rules, etiquette and sometimes even the law and then using the racial card to justify the legitimate of their behaviour and the alleged “faults” in the behaviour of people who are simply performing their (sometimes) dangerous jobs. This is shameful and reprehensible behaviour, and the university has sunken to deeper levels than this idiot. The media is also to blame for the state of chaos we are seeing.

  34. David of Kirkland says

    Just show your ID when asked. Don’t run from the police. Accept that you may experience more such interactions than others, due to racism or sexism or ageism or whatever. Life is not perfect. Try to behave, to cooperate, to use the very ID they issued for this purpose.
    Over time, actual behavior will reduce the stereotypes.
    If you act belligerent, that you don’t care about rules or even accept that security can be provided, talk back, run away, etc., then you feed the stereotype.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @David of Kirkland

      “Over time, actual behavior will reduce the stereotypes.”

      Yes, the only thing that can really eliminate the stereotype of black people being more likely to commit crimes is if black people start committing fewer crimes. Of course it is very unfortunate that the majority of black people who commit no crimes are still often viewed through this stereotype, but this problem will not go away as long as the stereotype is backed by the reality of disproportionate criminal behavior among black people in America. A cultural change on the part of the black community is needed before we can realistically hope to remove this prejudice from the public psyche. The behavior of the student here only reinforces the stereotype of non-cooperation with law enforcement/security officials, and it’s not clear to me that the security guards’ actions were racially motivated to begin with in this case.

  35. Leo Strauss says

    Thanks to Mr. Hughes for a clear and gracious article. Human motivation is often difficult to discern with certainty. It is opaque from the outside–and, unfortunately, our own motives are often opaque to ourselves. Thus, Coleman is right not speculate too much about what precisely was going in McNab’s head. It is better or at least more objective to lay out what is knowable–namely, that:

    1) It is a policy to check all id’s after 11pm
    2) All demographics have their id’s checked (with rare exceptions)
    3) McNab failed, multiple times, to produce identification.
    4) McNab was compelled to show identification, (and of course, this is the only part that was filmed).
    4) McNab, failed, multiple times, to get his story straight.

    Therefore, we cannot conclude that the incident was an example of racism.

    Hughes’ suggestion seems to be that McNab’s prior assumptions lead him to, in general, interpret events through a racial lens even when that lens isn’t warranted. We might lament that McNab isn’t more thoughtful about adjusting or recalibrating how he filters the world, but, I think Hughes is right to suggest that we cannot be certain that McNab deliberately calculated through this incident in order to achieve the outcome he got. It is more likely that McNab has fooled himself into believing that he didn’t do anything wrong and that he has encountered the racism he expected to find. It is very easy to fool oneself when passions of righteous indignation distort the mind; and a core problem with SJW, is that righteous indignation is constantly stoked, leading to overly hasty condemnations and false conclusions.

    I will add then, that I fear, on occasion, that Quillette attempts to stoke indignation in return. The present article by Hughes IS NOT an example of trying to stoke indignation, for the reasons I lay out above. Much to his credit, he lays out the facts and follows them as far as reasonable speculation can go, and no further. I am referring to a general trend in other Q articles that lay out the personal grievances of moderate liberals/conservatives, who get de-platformed or marginalized, etc. On one hand, it is good that we catalog events like that, and give people a chance to share their side of the story. However, see the Slate critique of Q. They don’t get everything right, and many Q articles transcend the critique made, but, as reasonable readers of a reasonable online magazine, we do have to be careful not to let our righteous indignation lead us astray. There are already too many internal and external obstacles to seeing the world as it is; we don’t need to go out of our way to add any more.

    • codadmin says

      The only thing stopping Quillette from being deplatformed itself is its lack of ‘righteous indignation’

      ‘Righteous indignation’, or ‘wokeness’, is only permitted for leftists. ‘Righteous indignation’ for non -leftists is called hate and racism, among other things.

    • Stephanie says

      Leo, it’s an interesting question. Does criticizing victimhood culture mean you cannot be victimised, or that even if you are you should pretend you were not? I’m seeing leftists insist so.

      Even pointing out rising violence against Jews, the normalisation of Jew hatred on the left, the blatant discrimination faced by men in family court, university admissions, and hiring, ect is dismissed by the left with snide comments parroting the right’s complaints about victimhood culture.

      I think we need to distinguish identifying injustice from peddling victimhood. I’m not suggesting one side is all right and the other all wrong. Rather we need rigorous statistical analysis that takes into account all relevant factors before concluding that systemic prejudice is a relevant factor, and thus government intervention may be warranted.

      For instance, the gender wage gap and the ethnic incarceration gap shrinks to extremely minor levels when relevant factors are considered. To evaluate if deplatforming is a partisan issue, we should similarly determine what proportion of speakers on the left and right are uninvited, adjusted for new, damaging information arising after the invitation was issued, cancellation of the event for unrelated, unsuspicious reasons, ect.

      • Leo Strauss says

        Stephanie–a fair point indeed! I suppose too, that your comment also brings out the original motive underlying identity/victimhood politics, is the acquisition of justice. It seems like SJW’s have become illiberal in the pursuit of that justice. I suppose all I meant, was that centrists do have to be careful not to be consumed or beset by the same problems in the pursuit of justice.

        In any event, I agree with you: it does NOT follow that rejecting identity politics entails just sucking it up and not calling out injustice where it exists.

  36. Joseph Conrad says

    Columbia University (except for the College of Journalism) is supposed to be a good school. I can understand how this guy got past the guard but tell me, how did he get past the admissions committee?

  37. Defenstrator says

    Part of the problem is that the bad actors are not held accountable. The officers should have banded together and come out swinging against the administration, and demanded an apology for implying they are racists. The only way to deal with a bullying is stand up to them.

  38. Claus says

    I live in the UK, I cannot imagine anyone here entering a university coffeeshop here or some other western european countries would be treated like this.

    1) There is the absurdetity of the need to show an id in a coffeeshop.

    2) The guy looks like a student, and the older officers should be a little bit more tactical when speaking to a younger man, a little bit more human. Explain why they need to see his ID, etc.

    3) The force used is completely over the top, they treat him like some sort of a potential terrorist.

    • codadmin says

      So you’re saying any old riff raff can stroll onto a female campus in the UK without ID?

      Makes sense, given UK is the home of the Rotherham outrage.

    • Skept-O-Punk says

      So tell me, Clause: Specifically what does a “student” look like? Alternatively, specifically what does a “potential terrorist” look like? Or, specifically, how does the appearance of an actual stalker or rapist differ from that of a “student”? Also, given the reality of ever-growing rape, sexual assault and so-called “grooming gangs” in the UK and Western European countries, why on earth would we look to Europe as an example of how to deal with this issue?

      And lastly, just exactly how deep is your head up the ass of your Moral Superiority Pony that you can’t see how ridiculous you are?

      • John Craigton says

        @codadmin / @skept-o-punk: I guess it is a cultural difference. Compare how the airport TSA works in the USA with how, say, you get treated in the UK when you go through airport security. It is a complete difference. In the US they are often impolite and “tough”. In most other countries where I have been, they are more polite and respectful, recognizing that you are human. Quite nice, you should try it if you haven’t yet.

        I think that there is a risk of escalation if you have security staff who are not treating the people they work with like humans. Asking for an ID in a no-risk situation is just asking for trouble.

    • Leo Strauss says

      Dude, Claus, read the article. He was on the all women’s campus of Barnard which is in NYC after 11pm. The policy of the college is to id EVERYONE on campus after 11pm. McNab refused to be id’d several times. This was not a random coffee shop.

      As a poster pointed out above, more security means less violence. It is easy to restrain one limb of a human being. It is very difficult for one person to restrain one other person.

    • stevengregg says

      Claus, do blacks in the UK perpetrate half the homicides? Do black communities perpetrate homicide at ten times the rate of the suburbs? Are there any black communities where blacks perpetrate homicide at forty times the rate as white suburbs? We have those in America and that experience affects our perspective.

  39. DLE says

    Everyone screaming racism is promoting rape culture. A male trespasser who refused to identify himself created a situation that may have put Barnard female students in a state of unease regarding their safety. Does anything more need to be said? 😐

  40. B Nelson says

    And this this travesty, and others like it, will continue until some women students are massacred by some one or more persons who get past security afraid to question them.

  41. IainC of The Ponds says

    Smollettov Cocktail – an inevitably queasy and head-spinning blend of ingredients, whose worthiness is evident only to its maker, chosen according to taste: essence of fabrication, tincture of unbelievable story, squeeze of blindingly obvious evidence trail, dash of totally incompetent accomplices, large splash of corrupt city prosecutors, and so on. Stirred and shaken in the imagination only. Must contain no spirit (of truth, enquiry, evidence, etc).

  42. Damon says

    One can only hope McNab tries the racial profiling act at LAX.

  43. Joe says

    Should have tazed him and then thrown him off a roof.

  44. Hestia says

    Clearly a set up by the student to get on the news. Another victicrat.
    These false accusations of racism are making me dislike minorities.

  45. This dude looks more like a thug than he looks like a student and oh yes, blame the public safety dudes for not being able to tell the difference and because of it, they asked him for an ID. Although, I assume that they also would ID those that look likes students as well!

  46. Mary says

    Coleman – what a brilliant essay! Your writing is superb, your reasoning unassailable. Thank you.

  47. Uncle Dan says

    Refusing to show identification while black = media hero/victim. Guards protecting girls from aggressive male intruder, following protocol = racist cops. Columbia University = institution of higher education. 2019 = 1984.

  48. Adam says

    Uh, how about a locked gate that’s buzzed open only after ID is shown. Problem solved.

    Also, why 11 PM? Do creeps and terrorists hide until that hour?

    Why is this so hard.

  49. Zan Zibar says

    I’m glad I hadn’t heard of this incident until reading this column.

  50. Itzik Basman says

    Good, solid piece by CH, thoughtful, clearly written, judicious, smart and wise, and correct.

    So, you expected maybe something different?

  51. MBlanc46 says

    Just another case of black entitlement. Mr McNab doesn’t have to show the guard his ID. It’s racist to be asked to show his ID. When pressed, he resists physically. But he’s black. That’s his right. Ask Eric Garner. So it’s the cops who are disciplined. Mr McNab is simply a ghetto punk, and with any luck, he’ll come to a ghetto punk end before too long. The real villain of this piece is the president of Columbia University.

  52. Morgan Foster says

    Another vote here for removing uniformed security guards, armed and unarmed, from the Columbia campus. City police should be barred from entry.

    Consider it an ongoing experiment in social justice. The kids will learn a lot from it.

    • Stubbs says

      When I was a student there in the sixties, I was told the daunting fence around Barnard was there for the protection of Columbia men.

  53. Jayden Lewis says

    Ta’Quan deserved to get his skull cracked. Force is the only thing the animals understand.

    • skept-o-punk says

      Your comment is truly despicable and only the flip-side of these Regressive racists. It is people like you that actually lend legitimacy to your counterparts on the Far-Left.

      • K. Dershem says

        Exactly right — the extremists feed one another. S-o-C, thanks for calling out JL’s stupidity.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Jayden Lewis

      Hopefully you’re trolling. Either way, you’re poisoning the discussion.

  54. Andrew says

    Many years ago when I was at Columbia as an undergraduate, a guy managed to get through security at a Barnard dorm. He attacked a female student, attempted to rape her, and stabbed her, badly injuring her. The irony is that it’s exactly because these events are increasingly rare that we can shout racism at the security guards who were simply doing their jobs–and increasingly thanklessly at that.

  55. Andrew says

    Did McNab know exactly what he was doing when he failed to produce his ID card? Did he provoke an incident that he knew he could use to prop up his own standing while supporting his ideological agenda? No one but McNab knows for sure, but this sure has the whiff of theater, orchestrated for the masses and for his own captive woke audience.

  56. Skept-O-Punk says

    Once again to deservedly expected reasoned and fair-minded article from Coleman Hughes. Mr. Hughes is in the thick of this insanity as a University student. Wishing him the best.

  57. Bill Culver says

    “petulant histrionics”
    Excellent turn of phrase to describe the behavior of McNab and his ilk. Childish spoiled brats.

  58. BillW says

    In the early 1920’s members of the European Socialist front “The Frankfurt School” (of applied Socialist theory) recognized that Socialism/Communism could not be forced upon the American society. It had to be plied from within the cultural constructs of the country, i.e., the media, educational and labor organizations. Many of “The Frankfurt School’s” members emigrated to America in order to establish a foothold in American society. Where did they set up shop?

    Columbia University.

  59. Mark says

    You suffer from acute ignorance. The Frankfurt School was not a “socialist front”. Its members did not emigrate to America as such, they were Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany. They did not “set up shop” at Columbia, that was but one of many universities they ended up at.

  60. Easy solution: abolish all police and other security at Columbia and other Ivy League colleges. Municipal police should also be banned. Problem solved!

  61. tommy mc donnell says

    anybody think mc nab might have deliberately refused to show his id to cause an incident?

    • GrumpyBear says

      “anybody think mc nab might have deliberately refused to show his id to cause an incident?”

      Is there anyone who doesn’t believe this?

  62. Rev. Wazoo! says

    Mr Hughes,

    Thank you for another excellent piece; your precocious accomplishments are impressive as is the succinctly crafted and profoundly insightful final sentence. I will enjoy sharing it widely.

    But please reconsider the conventional wisdom embedded in the title; the cowardice commonly misattributed to senior college administrators facing such situations mostly just provides camouflage for the main forces driving such behavior. Strategically maintaining fear of arbitrary punishment within the university in general whilst tactically cementing an alliance with their Diversicrocracy colleagues are the main forces driving such behavior.

    Such cowardice as exists is mostly regarding the latter and their growing power, mindful as senior administrators are of Larry Summers’ fate of being forced to resign as President of Harvard, they handle all such events with kid gloves. That ignominious brouhaha likely also cost him an appointment as Secretary of the Treasury under Obama, the kind of ‘real-world’ recognition and power which university presidents dream of to cap their careers.

    Meanwhile, what person in authority isn’t tempted by keeping everyone under them deeply worried that if they raise their voice in disagreement over one policy, they’ll find themselves suddenly in a professionally threatening contravention of an entirely different one – and with due process suspended. Bret Weinstein, formerly of Evergreen State College, objected to proposed hiring policies changes introduced by the president with the support his diversocracy but was belatedly reviled instead for alleged racism long after the infamous Day of Presence/Absence which he refused to participate in.

    This was not lost on other faculty there or elsewhere; trumped-up charges of racism, sexism etc can be deployed against troublemakers based on anything ever said or done and every suspension highlights the administration’s power to arbitrarily and drastically disrupt the lives of anyone they care to. Though peace officers may be nearer the bottom of the totem pole than TAs, adjunct faculty, assistant professors and so on, everyone is forcefully reminded to keep their head down and go along to get along.

    The mystification most feel about administrators caving into a few undergrads is predicated on inordinately complex and vague suppositions that eventual harm might come to those administrators through round-about, hypothetical and often unstated routes. Will enrolment, public funding or endowments drop precipitously triggering the trustees to dismiss the president? Hardly likely but the purported fears are never spelled out; merely left as a -nudge-wink miasma of forces too complex to analyze.

    Beware of such intimations for they are just those, not arguments. Occam’s razor suggests that more likely is the above model, simpler and more predictive for understanding these events. An atypical example is particularly illustrative: George Mason University’s president recently denied the headline demand of students and a petition for terminating Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh’s visiting professorship at its Antonin Scalia Law School (no less) while acceding to item #3 on the petition, doubling the number of paid Title IX positions for the diversocracy. The main goal was achieved while the Kavanaugh chaff confused the radar.

    Despite the difficulty of justifying Kavanaugh’s termination to a largely conservative alumni/donor base understandably thrilled at the prestige of a sitting supreme court justice teaching seminars in Constitutional law, the president still managed to cash in on the situation by using it as a pretext to expand his own fief and that of his allies in the diversocracy. As the old song goes, “Keep your eyes on the prize” which is what top administrators in an admittedly restive alliance with the diversocracy are doing to their mutual benefit. Now the number of man-hours available to harass dissidents into compliance when needed has been increased.

    More money has been siphoned away from education at an institution ostensibly dedicated to it, its administration is proportionately larger than its teaching staff and more powerful than before despite the eye-catching news that a supreme court justice wasn’t in fact fired from a university.

    This needs to be highlighted rather than camouflaged.

  63. Dong Lee says

    Our post-modern liberals are able to indulge in this sort of behaviour because human society is increasingly divorced from the consequences of its mistakes. Crime in America is at a historic low, and Columbia libraries will probably be okay for a long time even if they had no ID policy. University urchins instinctively feel this, so they parlay that safety into a dopamine dose of virtue-signaling.
    US is slowly getting to a point where black Americans will virtually demand to be exempted from law.

  64. Dong Lee says

    Two thoughts:

    One: Our post-modern liberals are able to indulge in this sort of behaviour because human society is increasingly divorced from the consequences of its mistakes. Crime in America is at a historic low, and Columbia libraries will probably be okay for a long time even if they had no ID policy. University urchins instinctively feel this, so they parlay that safety into a dopamine dose of virtue-signaling.

    And secondly: US is slowly getting to a point where black Americans will virtually demand to be exempted from law.

  65. Rev. Wazoo! says

    @Dong Lee
    “And secondly: US is slowly getting to a point where black Americans will virtually demand to be exempted from law.”

    Not just the population you highlighted as other populations are clamoring for this as well. But regarding blacks, we can see inroads to it in Canada where a hit-and-run driver killed person then covered their track, hiding from criminal responsibility. The judge gave a lenient non-custodial sentence crediting his fear of racist police. Now, maybe someone who accidentally hit a bicyclist but immediately stopped to render help, called and ambulance and the police etc might be let off from jail time but leaving the scene of the accident – and leaving someone to die – is rightly considered a serious crime in itself.

  66. Dee says

    There is definitely cowardice at Columbia, and its name is Coleman Hughes. Always sad to see a fellow black dude turn on his brothers. God knows in this campus there’s already enough enemies. But you do you, I guess. I’m sure you’ll get far in life stroking your intelligent superiority ego by stepping on those like you. Then you’ll finally be the white man you long to be.


      And you’ll (sadly) probably go far using the tired but still reprehensible Uncle Tom insult.

      Hope you survive the cowardly, evil Ivy League education you’re getting. Sounds like maybe you should’ve gone somewhere with less enemies, maybe like Howard?

      Oh wait, is that why you’re so angry…feeling a bit guilty for selling out, perhaps? Trying to prove you’re still down despite being more privileged than not only almost all of “your people,” but most white people, too?

      If that’s the case, I actually wish you luck getting over that, it must be difficult. It’s just too bad you have to take it out on other people in such a crude way. But it is understandable.

    • Jeffrey Shade says

      I’m sorry, but did you make a point? If so, please point to the sentence in your reply that makes an argument… and explain it. Otherwise, it just comes off as a really poor opinion that fails to state which part of Coleman’s essay you disagree with.

  67. Aleph from Paris (it's a place in France) says

    Great article. Thx.

  68. Pingback: Quillette Podcast 29 – Coleman Hughes on an allegedly racist incident at Barnard College - Quillette

  69. Tiffany says

    Yes he probably should have shown his ID and that’s stupid on his part (and retaliation w authority). But students occassionally do stupid things. If it weren’t for assumptive profiling I honestly don’t believe like so many officers would’ve arrived on scene. Not to mention, when he revealed his ID the case should have been settled. It’s a gross abuse of power, which is a separate disgusting matter altogether regardless of racial profiling.

  70. Pingback: Cowardice at #Columbia… | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)

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