Duke spends over $50,000 on a tactical training session for activists dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, while a graduate student at LeMoyne College is expelled for writing that light spanking has a legitimate role in classroom discipline. A UNLV professor is engulfed in a whirlwind of controversy after making a remark about the financial planning habits of homosexuals, while a student at Occidental College is convicted of sexually harassing the whole school over the radio. Ward Churchill is defended by the academic community for declaring that victims of the World Trade Center bombing deserved their fate, while at Harvard, Larry Summers is demonized for daring to suggest that there may be innate differences between men and women.
Outrageous politicization and double standards continue to abound in higher education, and the Collegiate Network has once again chronicled the worst of those abuses in its 8th Annual Campus Outrage Awards.
The 2005 winners are:
First: At LeMoyne College, graduate student Scott McConnell was expelled after writing a paper rejecting multiculturalism and advocating light spanking in elementary school classrooms. Despite his exemplary grades, McConnell received a letter from the Director of his program stating: “I have grave concerns regarding the mismatch between your personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the LeMoyne College program goals…. You will not be allowed to register for any additional courses. Your registration for Spring 2005 courses has been withdrawn.” McConnell declared in his paper that he bases his teaching philosophy “upon the pre-1960’s learning when discipline was present in the learning environment.” He argues that the students should be told that “their job is to learn and my job is to teach.” McConnell has little sympathy for the sacred cows of modern educational philosophy. “The classroom environment would revolve strictly around the American culture and state culture, not multicultural learning,” McConnell boldly states in his paper. “I will help the child understand that respect of authority figures is more important than their self-esteem.” McConnell received an A- on the paper and an A for the course. He received A’s and B’s in all the courses he took in the M.S.T program. However, when he attempted to register for classes the following semester, he learned the school had expelled him.
Second: At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Economics Professor Hans Hoppe received disciplinary sanctions for making an economically verifiable argument that homosexuals engage less in long-term financial planning than heterosexuals because they typically do not have children. One of Hoppe’s students, Michael Knight, filed a complaint leading to a yearlong battle between Hoppe and the University (which Hoppe eventually won). Knight accused Hoppe of “stereotyping homosexuals…When the door closes and the lecture began [sic], he needs to make sure he is remaining as politically correct as possible.” In an interview with Professor Hoppe by the Collegiate Network, Professor Hoppe believes he lost a year of his life to the entire affair. The University’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Officer affirmed the complaint by Knight and recommended that Hoppe receive a reprimand and be suspended without pay for one week. A grievance committee made up of one student and Hoppe’s faculty peers was held on November 18, 2004. The committee upheld the original grievance and recommended that Hoppe be reprimanded and forfeit any merit pay for the current academic year. On February 9, 2005, Hoppe received “a non-disciplinary letter of instruction” from Raymond W. Alden, III, the university’s Executive Vice President and Provost, affirming the decision of the grievance committee, stating that Hoppe had created “a hostile learning environment” in his classroom, and instructing Hoppe “to cease mischaracterizing opinion as objective fact in the educational environment.” However, nine days later, the university’s president, Dr. Carol Harter, released a statement in which she acknowledged that professors “are entitled the freedom to teach theories and to espouse opinions that are out of the mainstream or are controversial…” nowhere in the statement did Harter apologize to Hoppe for what university officials put him through, nor were any individual university officials singled out for criticism. Knight, the student who filed the complaint, would have fit right in at LeMoyne College.
Third: At Carnegie Mellon University, SPIRIT, an officially sanctioned student group, hosted “New Black Panther Party” chief Malik Zulu Shabazz. Shabazz is a noted anti-Semite who publicly advocates killing Zionists and claims that whites are genetically disposed towards racism. Bodyguards armed with riot batons—a violation of CMU weapons policy—escorted Shabazz around campus, and black students and attendees were given preferential admission to the speech. During the speech, Shabazz asked all Jews to raise their hands and then warned those who did, “I’m watching you.” Shabazz has also claimed that Jews were complicit in the 9/11 attacks. A columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described the speech as “Farrakhan in Nuremberg.” A transcript of his speech is available on the web. Along similar lines, Duke University, hosted the annual Palestine Solidarity Movement conference. The conference included a recruiting session by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) during which an ISM co-founder told students how to illegally enter Israel and admitted that the ISM cooperates with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and PFLP terror groups. The university spent (in addition to space), $50,000 on security for the event. Security means, in this case, metal detectors to keep out cameras and recorders for this supposed “open dialogue” event.
Fourth: In an astonishing abuse of administrative power at Occidental College, campus shock-jock Jason Antebi was fired from his radio program and found guilty by the school’s Title IX Officer of “sexual and gender hostile environment harassment,” against his entire audience after three students were offended by sophomoric comments he made on the air. Additionally, when members of the student government came to Antebi’s defense, the University disbanded it, leaving $441,000 in student fees that will not be administered by the students’ elected representatives. For those of us who believe in free speech, this situation is positively Kafkaesque. All anyone had to do to avoid this “harassment” was turn off his or her radio.
Fifth: Harvard University President Lawrence Summers drew the ire of the politically correct crowd, and recently received a faculty vote of no-confidence, after suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could be one reason women are less likely than men to excel in the sciences. Nancy Hopkins, an MIT professor, walked out during the talk, saying that if she had listened to Summers any longer, “I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up… It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way.” Interesting that academicians rush to the aid of Ward Churchill, who stated that civilians killed on 9/11 were “little Eichmanns,” (referring to Hitler’s henchman, Adolf Eichmann) but Larry Summers putting forth a theory makes them sick. Summers has been a target of the Radical Left ever since he had the courage to question African-American studies professor Cornel West’s pseudo-scholarship and work ethic.
Popularly known as the “Pollys,” these awards for the worst campus outrages are given each year to universities to remind the public that political correctness, curricular decay, and violations of academic freedom and free speech remain an unfortunate reality thoughout much of higher education.
Sarah Longwell is Director of Political Affairs for ISI.