Campus Follies Include 'Gender Blind Dorm' and Anti-War Professors

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - A conservative college group has unveiled its list of top ten campus follies for 2003, and topping the list are a "gender blind" dormitory and a professor who required her students to write anti-war letters to President Bush.

Each year the Young America's Foundation, an educational organization promoting conservative ideas on the nation's campuses, finds incidences of bias and political correctness and compiles them in its annual list of the top ten most shameful campus events in the country's education system.

Number one goes to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, which offers a "Gender Blind" dormitory floor for incoming students who aren't sure about their sex. Students who ask for the floor will have roommates appointed without regard to their sex - perceived or otherwise, according to YAF.

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.

Prof. Nicholas De Genova of Columbia University in New York City said 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 18 American soldiers ambushed and killed in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993.

The third campus folly goes to Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., where a professor forced students in her Speech 106 class, a required course, to write anti-war letters to President Bush and penalized those who refused, according to YAF.

When some students asked for permission to write supportive letters instead, the professor refused and told them their grades would suffer if they did. The college sanctioned the professor and apologized to students.

The Roger Williams University administration in Rhode Island froze funding and criticized a conservative campus group for advocating diversity of thought through the group's publication, The Hawk's Right Eye.

Student activist Jason Mattera said the administration's harassment began when his group published newspaper articles countering what it viewed as criticism of Christianity, freedom of association, and diversity of thought made by two university sponsored guest speakers - Judy Shepard, mother of slain homosexual Matthew Shepard, and James Dale, a homosexual man excluded from the Boy Scouts.

Shepard said during her speech that, "churches are damaging us as a society. They don't allow us to grow." Dale lashed out at the Boy Scouts and trivialized its right of free association, Mattera said.

In New Jersey, a 14-year-old student, whose father and stepfather are in the military, was suspended for five days for drawing a stick figure of a U.S. Marine shooting a Taliban fighter. School officials said the picture was "highly inappropriate" and the school took the matter "very seriously."

The sixth campus folly features a group of parents and teachers at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., who want to rename the school because former President Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder and the group claims it is insensitive to leave the name of a slaveholder on a building with a large black student population.

Next up, the president of the University of Arizona, who sent a formal letter to the class of 2003 informing the students that they would have to discontinue the tradition of throwing tortillas at their commencement, because the president thought it was disrespectful to many of the school's Hispanic and Native American community members.

But members of the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs organization said they knew the tradition was celebratory and not meant to offend.

In an effort to make transgender students feel welcome at Smith College, an all-female school in Massachusetts, students voted to remove all feminine pronouns from the school's constitution and replace them with gender-neutral ones. That "campus folly" was number eight on the list.

Number nine goes to school officials at Park Ridge Elementary School in Nampa, Idaho, who forbade an 11-year-old from wearing a patriotic t-shirt to school.

The shirt depicted a monument at the Fort Lewis military base in Washington State with "Iron Mike" hoisting a rifle with a star in the background. After public pressure, the school reversed its decision, admitting that the shirt did not violate its policy on clothing depicting guns or gangs.

And number 10 on the list goes to Gonzaga University officials, who "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 group said.

The flyer advertised a lecture by guest speaker Dan Flynn, titled, "Why the Left Hates America," also the title of Flynn's book. At first the administration approved of the flyer, the foundation said, but then changed its mind after professors complained about the use of the word 'hate.'

In a letter obtained by the foundation, Gonzaga's Office of Student Activities informed the conservative student group that a complaint was made against it because some felt "the Left Hates..." printed on the flyer was "discriminatory."

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