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The Year's Ten Worst Moments in Education By: Rick Parsons
Young Americans for Freedom | Friday, December 26, 2003

Our nation’s education system continues to be weighted down with incidences of bias and political correctness. Young America’s Foundation compiled a list of the top ten most shameful campus events in America’s education system in 2003:

10. Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA) administration officials censored a conservative student group’s flyer advertising a Young America’s Foundation organized lecture because the word “hate” was used on the flyer. The flyer in question featured the topic of guest speaker Dan Flynn’s speech, “Why the Left Hates America,” which is also the title of his book. The administration first approved the flyer then rescinded the approval after some professors purportedly complained of the use of the word “hate.” Furthermore, in a letter obtained by the Foundation, Gonzaga’s Office of Student Activities informed the conservative student group that a complaint was made against the group because some individuals felt “the Left Hates…” printed on the flyer was “discriminatory.” The letter did not identify who raised objections to the flyer.

9. Park Ridge elementary school officials in Nampa, Idaho told an 11-year-old student to stop wearing his patriotic military theme T-shirt to school. The T-shirt depicts a monument at the Fort Lewis military base in the state of Washington. It shows “Iron Mike” hoisting a rifle with a star in the background. After public pressure, school officials reversed their decision and admitted the T-shirt did not fit under the school’s policy prohibiting clothing depicting guns or gangs.

8. Students at Smith College, an all-female school in Massachusetts, voted to remove all feminine pronouns from the school constitution and replace them with gender-neutral ones. The editing of the constitution is part of an effort to make transgender students feel more welcome on the campus.

7. The president of the University of Arizona sent out a formal letter to the class of 2003 stating that tortillas will not be allowed at their commencement. Throwing tortillas is a tradition at the university’s graduation ceremony, but the university president thought the tradition was disrespectful to many of the school’s Hispanic and American Indian community members. Members of the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs (CHSA) organization said they know the tradition is celebratory and not meant to offend.

6. A group of teachers and parents at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, California is pushing to rename the school because Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder. Supporters of the name change say that it is insensitive to leave the name of a slaveholder on a building with a large black student population.

5. A 14-year-old New Jersey student was suspended for five days for drawing a picture of a stick figure U.S. Marine shooting a Taliban fighter.  School officials said the student was being punished for the drawing, that it was “highly inappropriate,” and the school took it “very seriously.”  The student’s dad and step-dad are in the military.

4. The Roger Williams University (RI) administration froze funding and attacked a conservative campus organization for advocating diversity of thought through the group’s publication, The Hawk’s Right Eye. The university’s president, Roy Nirschel, sent an email to all students and faculty denouncing the paper and claiming the organization flirted with racism and “crossed seriously over the lines of propriety.” He went on to state that while the university affirms “the right of campus organizations to hold different points of view and to disagree, the university will not condone publications that create a hostile environment for our students and community” and added that the university is “too busy for hate.” Student activist Jason Mattera says the harassment by administration officials began when his group published articles in their newspaper countering attacks on Christianity, freedom of association, and diversity of thought made by two university sponsored guest speakers this fall. The guest speakers were Judy Shepard, mother of slain homosexual Matthew Shepard, and James Dale, a gay man excluded from the Boy Scouts. Shepard stated during her Welcome Week speech that “churches are damaging us as a society. They don’t allow us to grow.” Dale castigated the Boy Scouts and trivialized its right of free association.

3. A professor at Citrus College in Glendora, California forced students in her Speech 106 class, a required course, to write anti-war letters to President Bush and penalized their grades after some refused. When several students asked if they could write letters supportive of Bush’s policies instead, the professor refused and informed the students their grades would suffer if they wrote such letters. The college sanctioned the professor and apologized to the students.

2. Professor Nicholas De Genova of Columbia University stated during a six-hour university teach-in on the war in Iraq that he would like to see “a million Mogadishus”—a reference to the eighteen American soldiers who were ambushed and killed in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993.

1. Wesleyan University in Connecticut now offers a “Gender Blind” dormitory floor for incoming students who aren’t sure what sex they are. Students who ask for the floor will have roommates appointed without regard to their sex, perceived or otherwise. The rooms will be set aside for transgender students, described as those students born with ambiguous genitalia or who don’t identify with their physical sex.

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