Dr. Wairimu Njambi is an Assistant Professor of "Women's Studies" at the Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Honors College, a feminist, and an apologist for some of the misogynistic cruelties perpetrated against women.
Much of her scholarship, for instance, is dedicated to advancing the notion that the cruel practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is actually a triumph for feminism and that it is hateful to suggest otherwise. According to Njambi “anti-FGM discourse perpetuates a colonialist assumption by universalizing a particular western image of a 'normal' body and sexuality.”
Not confined to her academic writings, such claims form the basis of her teaching at FAU. In the spring of 2006, for instance, Njambi co-taught, with her husband, William O'Brien, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, a class called "Meanings of Nature.” According to numerous students, under Njambi’s direction the class was little more than an exercise in America, male, heterosexual, and religion bashing.
Political disquisitions on race were a recurring feature of her course. The Kenya-born Njambi once boasted to the class that when she is "racially profiled" at airports, she insists that security personnel inspect her (white) husband's bags, too. (Dr. O'Brien, by all accounts a fair and kind man, often had to steer her back to her course topic during such instances.) Njambi would also present in class her own political writings. Among them was her article "Negotiating Spaces of Dislocation and Transformation in the Study of Women" which she co-wrote with a Sierra Leone native, and which claimed that “no progress is made to include both African American faculty and students” in American universities -- an odd assertion, considering how quickly Njambi went from newly arrived immigrant to full-time professor.
Njambi’s assignments picked up where her in-class political sermons left off. A proponent of “critical race” studies and “feminist theory” -- inventions of leftist activists not to be confused with serious scholarship -- Njambi assigned only readings consistent with her political views. Thus students were forced to read books such as White Privilege, an attack on whites by feminist author Peggy McIntosh. Another assigned reading was Northwestern professor Dorothy Roberts's, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty. Specific focus was given to Chapter 5 of the book, which bemoans America's "lack of instituting universal health care like every other industrialized country.” Other readings included selections from the work of Jonathan Ned Katz, a historian who argues that heterosexuality, rather than a neutral fact of nature, is a “social construction.” Students also had to sit through a screening of Michael Moore’s television series “The Awful Truth.” Njambi introduced the presentation by hailing Moore as a hero. "Some people think Michael Moore is anti-American. A better way to look at him is the common, hard working man,” she insisted.
Many students took umbrage with these one-sided assignments. Fearing lowered grades, however, they rarely challenged Njambi. Their fears were well-founded. FrontPageMag.com discovered that Njambi would mark students’ research papers with large question marks whenever they used words like "mankind" instead of “humankind”. A note from Njambi would chide them to “please use gender neutral terms." Similarly, when she presented a Catholicism-bashing audio tape by Julia Sweeney, a former Saturday Night Live cast member and little-known actress who wrote a book about “breaking away" from Catholicism, some students protested that the exercise was “completely unnecessary” and noted their displeasure on the course evaluation. Njambi gave no follow-up assignment, evidently in the belief that a 30-minute diatribe against Catholicism was sufficient for her purposes.
Njambi also pointedly dismissed students’ concerns. On the day that students filled out evaluations of her course Njambi told them point-blank: “I know a lot of you are not thrilled with some of the content in this course and with my views. But I am letting you know now that I will not change." Not surprisingly, many students went on to describe her course as "the worst class I have ever taken."
Njambi found her lone supporters among students who shared her commitment to political activism, some of whom knew her from her role as the advisor to the campus' Feminist Student Union. Her prized pupil was a male, who also happens to be the president of the union. Of his experiences at FAU he said, "I hate this school, and the only reason worth coming is to talk to Dr. Njambi about social issues." Njambi’s influence can also be seen in the thesis projects written by student’s to whom she served as an advisor. One was titled, “Technologies of Changing/Blurring Genders, From Drag Performance to Transsexual Surgery." Another, called "The Construction of Gender through Corsets and Brassieres," claimed that women’s make-up was “oppressive” and addressed the “historical construction of maleness and femaleness.”
In the fall of 2004, just a month before the presidential election, Njambi won the approval of her Feminist Student Union when she helped to bring MoveOn.org's celebrity-filled college tour to spend a few hours on campus -- in effect sanctioning a pro-John Kerry demonstration. One feminist campus leader later recalled with admiration that Njambi was "impervious to all the famous people around us, busy making sure all of our renowned guests got a copy of the Feminist Student Union Newsletter."
It is a curious irony of modern-day feminism that a woman who justifies the misogynistic torture of young women is admired by self-styled feminists. And it is one of the defects of the modern-day university that a political ideologue is afforded a class to promote her tendentious views.
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