Top Ten Campus Follies of 2002
(Editor's note: The Young America's Foundation, a group that promotes conservative ideas on the nation's college campuses, released this "top-ten" list of the most shameful/and or ridiculous campus events of 2002.)
10. Following a Young America's Foundation event at Ithaca College featuring Bay Buchanan, homosexual and feminist student activists demanded that the event be declared "biased" by the school's Bias-related Incident Committee. Although the speech was not ruled biased, committee hearings to determine whether an "incident" occurred are held behind closed doors and the accused is not informed of the committee's decision unless it determines that the student or student group should be referred to the judiciary committee. Furthermore, discussions on changing the definition of "biased" are also held in private.
9. An American University student was pinned down and handcuffed outside a Tipper Gore speech by plainclothes campus police who refused to identify themselves. The student was charged with stealing Gore's intellectual property by videotaping her speech, which was open to the public. The school claims that it made an announcement barring videotape recording of the event even though no such prohibition was on the flyers advertising the speech and print reporters covered the speech. The student had been critical of the university's president in the past and voiced concern over the $31,000 lecture fee the university was paying Gore. As a result of the event, the student was placed on probation and threatened with expulsion.
8. Vanderbilt University renamed its Confederate Memorial Hall dormitory to Memorial Hall, because the word "Confederate" makes some people uncomfortable. Also, Vanderbilt Professor Jonathan David Farley, an assistant professor of mathematics, wrote in the Tennessean that Confederates were "cowards masquerading as civilized men" and that "every Confederate soldier deserved not a hallowed resting place at the end of his days but a reservation at the end of the gallows." On his web page, Professor Farley has a picture of himself posing next to a poster of Marxist Ernesto "Che" Guevara, whom Farley says he considers a hero.
7. Incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill were required to read Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations . According to UNC Chancellor James Moeser, the book was "chosen in the wake of September 11th ," which was a "great opportunity to have a conversation on the teachings of one of the world's great religions." It is unlikely a book discussing Christianity will be chosen for next year's freshmen.
6. The new guidelines for teaching history in New Jersey public schools fail to mention America's Founding Fathers, the Pilgrims, or the Mayflower. Furthermore, the term "war" has been replaced with "conflict" and most of the references to inhumane treatment that many American soldiers endured in foreign wars during the 20th century have been omitted.
5. Officials at Lewis Elementary School in Barstow, CA, barred students from playing "cops and robbers" on the playground until they could determine if the game is dangerous. The school's principal threatened a third-grader with suspension if he did not stop playing the game. The school district's superintendent said officials want to establish guidelines for the game.
4. Harvard University re-invited controversial poet Tom Paulin after withdrawing the original invitation because students had complained of his statements comparing U.S.-born settlers in the West Bank with Nazis and how they "should be shot dead." The school reportedly re-issued the invitation to show support for free speech. Earlier in the year, however, two editors of Harvard Business School's student newspaper were reprimanded for publishing a cartoon in which they used the term "morons," criticizing the school's computer system.
3. According to the school newsletter, a Santa Monica elementary school principal banned the game of tag because "there is a 'victim' or 'It,'" which creates self-esteem issues among weaker and slower children, and "the oldest or biggest child usually dominates."
2. Texas school board administrators toned down the curriculum that teaches Texas independence by suppressing "us vs. them" perspectives in lessons about the Battle of the Alamo and the state's independence from Mexico. According to the social studies curriculum manager of the Houston Independent School District, the school board administrators made the change because they don't want "Hispanic kids, or any kids, to feel like we're teaching a bias approach" to the history of Texas.
#1. Bucknell University held a forum in response to articles regarding free speech on campus that appeared in the conservative campus paper, The Counterweight . The dean of students and the assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs were in attendance. During the forum, students called the articles "hate speech" and the dean of students said that he was sure the editor-in-chief of the paper intended to hurt people by publishing the articles. The school administrators made no attempt to protect The Counterweight staffers in attendance at the forum who were being threatened by other students, nor did they reprimand the students making the threats. In fact, the multicultural affairs dean commented that the staffers were "lucky" the offended students at the forum were "such good kids" or the staffers would be risking physical harm. The dean of students threatened to have public safety officials remove the staffers from the forum if they did not leave on their own.