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Education And Political Correctness

March 20, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

Day after day stories come across my desk about some new campus controversy involving either free speech issues or the rights of conservative or Christian groups to organize and receive official recognition. This craziness is really becoming an epidemic and, unless one is a true news aficionado, the gravity of this epidemic is largely missed.
Let me just give you a sampling — a very small sampling — of what is happening on college campuses today.
I wrote a few weeks ago (February 8) about a group of business students at the University of Iowa who formed a Christian club called Business Leaders in Christ. The idea of the club was to bring Christian ethical values into students’ business roles and to provide a mentorship with Christian business leaders in the community. Its bylaws provided that officers would be elected by the group’s members, but officers — not each member — had to pledge allegiance to biblical principles
The group had been recognized by the university, but when a “gay” student wanted to run for office and announced his intention to take a same-sex partner, the group disqualified the person from the election and the school withdrew its official recognition. A federal judge, responding to the group, ordered it reinstated.
But, to prove that this was an isolated action, consider these examples:
A Christian student group at Wayne State University, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, was forced to sue the school after the administration stripped it of its official recognition because it required its leaders to affirm their faith. The group had been serving the campus for over 75 years without a problem.
“Asking religious leaders to practice what they preach isn’t discrimination, it’s integrity,” said the group’s lawyer, Lori Windham from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberties.
Apparently the university administrators didn’t agree. The school has over 400 student groups, all of which are free to select leaders who embrace the group’s mission — except for one Christian organization. Administrators canceled all of InterVarsity’s meetings. A suit against the university has just been filed by InterVarsity. The day after the suit was filed, the school decided that it would allow the group back on campus. It is unclear whether the school’s change is permanent.
Harvard also suspended a Christian student group, Harvard College Faith and Action, when it asked one of its officers in a lesbian relationship to step down. The group explained that it had clear character standards, including “sexual purity” before marriage and that the standards apply to all group leaders. The lawsuit is on its way.
In January the Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit in Houston against Lone Star College after one of its campuses (it is a six-campus system) de-recognized a conservative group, Young Conservatives of Texas, when the group posted a video of an abortion debate it sponsored with the school’s permission.
In order to be a recognized student group, it must have a faculty sponsor who is a full-time employee of the college. Seventy-five percent of the faculty is part-time and of the remaining 25 percent full-time it could not find a sponsor because of its conservative views, according to its 37-page lawsuit.
In Gretna, Neb., the public schools have forbidden the formation of a pro-life club because it is religious and controversial. The students had been trying to form the club for at least nine months, but the school claimed “separation of church and state” forbids it. Later the school claimed that it was “too close” to being religious and political.
The school’s lawyer stated that a Gay-Straight Alliance was sponsored by the school because it serves the purpose of preventing bullying. The Thomas More Society of Chicago/Omaha is representing the pro-life students.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is handling at least four cases involving schools that limit “free speech zones” to a small percentage of the campus. In Arkansas, Turning Point USA, a conservative group, is suing Arkansas State University for its restrictive speech policy.
“That policy unconstitutionally restricts speech activities to small zones on campus that total about one percent of the campus, requires advance permission for students to use the speech zones, and gives university officials free rein to restrict the content and viewpoint of student speech,” ADF argues.
In Massachusetts, ADF filed a similar case against UMass-Amherst. The difference between the suits is that UMass not only restricts speech to a small part of the campus, but it also restricts the days and times in which free speech may be exercised.
In East St. Louis, ADF is suing Southern Illinois University on behalf of a student group because the “free speech zone” restricts speech to less than .0013 percent of the campus. The school administration must approve any handout of any type and it is not bound by any written criteria for approving or disapproving handout materials.
And in Atlanta in early March, ADF filed suit against Kennesaw State University over a .08 percent free speech zone. Two weeks later it filed another suit on behalf of the Young Americans for Freedom over excessive security fees (a tactic used on several other campuses) for an event that features conservative speaker, author, and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (https://www.thefire.org/) “awards” a Speech Code of the Month. Last October, it criticized the University of North Georgia for punishing any speech that someone finds “demeaning or degrading.” You can imagine where that can lead: Your Christian ideas offend me!
A school board in Minnesota just settled a federal lawsuit that accused the Edina High School of violating the First Amendment rights of conservative students.
Colorado State is being sued because it refused to fund a pro-life student event. According to school administrators the event was not “unbiased.”
Political correctness comes in many forms. Texas State University posted an employment ad for two tenure-track math professors. The description of the jobs, assistant professor of elementary math education, included the following:
“We are especially interested in applicants whose scholarly interests and work, include attention to the concerns of race, ethnicity, multilingualism, immigrant, social class, gender, and diversity, broadly defined.”
Apparently that is what is needed in elementary education; wonder why Johnny can’t add?
The University of North Carolina last fall held a seminar on the 21 steps of condom usage. Too much information!
Not to be outdone, in January the University of Florida held a condom design challenge. Don’t ask; I don’t want to know! The university, also in January, held a “bleed-in” where students went around campus with fake blood on their pants to protest the lack of free menstrual products. Wonder if they were restricted to the free speech zone!
Anyway, welcome to the politically correct world of education. See what you missed out on when you were taught by nuns. And so it goes, and goes, until all semblance of good taste and political decorum are stripped from society as we teach the next generation values based on political correctness.
Watch out, it will soon be happening in your community. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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