Campus Roundup: George Mason University to Offer Course on Trayvon Martin

Even before the Trayvon Martin verdict was announced, the university planned to offer an academic course on Martin’s life and death in the context of racial politics.

College_CampusA regular column dedicated to reporting on the slanted teaching, mis-administration and sheer insanity of our nation’s colleges and universities.

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  • Even before the Trayvon Martin verdict was announced on July 13, George Mason University, located in Fairfax, VA, announced that it planned to offer an academic course on Martin’s life and death in the context of racial politics. The course, titled “Race and Politics, Trayvon Martin,” will be taught by Prof. Rutledge M. Dennis, who teaches in the African-American Studies, Sociology and Anthropology departments. According to the course description, the class “will examine how racial and cultural politics were driving forces in the public debates and controversies surrounding such cases as the Scottsboro Boys in Alabama, Robert Williams in North Carolina, Emmett Till in Mississippi, Medgar Evers in Mississippi, Martin Luther King in Georgia, Angela Davis in California, O.J. Simpson in California, Rodney King in California, and currently, Trayvon Martin in Florida.”
  • Audrey Jarvis, a student at Sonoma State University in California, was working at freshman orientation on June 27th when an employee of the University’s Associated Students Productions asked her to remove her crucifix necklace claiming that it might offend or intimidate the freshmen they were recruiting. The employee, Erik Dickson, told Jarvis that he had received a letter from the chancellor of California State University stating a policy against wearing religious items.  Five days after Jarvis was asked to remove her cross, SSU President Ruben Armiñana denied the existence of such a policy and issued an apology stating “Somebody made a mistake…you are free to display whatever religious instrument you wish.”
  • Asked by a reporter whether he supported the Republican plan to lower interest rates on student loans, a Georgetown student responded “I don’t think I support anything the Republicans do. I think all of them should probably be put to death.” The response was caught on video.
  • Tulane University political science professor Melissa Harris-Perry who made headlines several months ago for her statement that “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents” reacted to George Zimmerman’s acquittal by stating publicly that the verdict made her wish she didn’t have sons: “Last night, I thought, I live in a country that makes me wish my sons away. Wish that they don’t exist, because it’s not safe.”
  • UC-Berkeley Law Professor Jonathan Simon reacted to the Zimmerman verdict by declaring that the jury suffered from racial prejudice, even if they might not be aware of it: “Imagine that Trayvon was a 17 year old female, a 54 year old white male, or even a 17 year old white male. In all of those cases the prosecutors would have had an easier job convincing the jury that Zimmerman acted recklessly in firing his gun… In convincing the jury that George Zimmerman was reasonable in fearing for his life, the defense had a wind at its back that would not have been there had Trayvon been female or white.”

Further News From the Campuses:

Georgetown student says all Republicans should be ‘put to death’ []

A Georgetown student advocated for the extermination of all Republicans on Tuesday when asked if he supported the GOP’s plan to reduce student loan interest rates.

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University of Alabama at center of free speech debate []

TUSCALOOSA | A pro-abortion rights student organization at the University of Alabama and a civil liberties group have asked the university to re-evaluate its grounds-use policy, arguing that it is contradictory and unconstitutional.

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University to Offer Class on Trayvon Martin []

The Trayvon Martin case is already making its way into the classroom. This fall, George Mason University in Virginia will offer a sociology class called “Race and Politics, Trayvon Martin.”

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Looking for Bias []

Does the University of Colorado need to do a survey to determine that many at the Boulder campus are liberal? And does a liberal-leaning faculty and student body mean that anything is wrong there? Those are among the questions raised by last week's Board of Regents vote to look into political diversity at the system's flagship at Boulder and its three other campuses.

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Cross Necklace Controversy Sweeps SSU Campus [Sonoma State Star]

Sonoma State made national headlines earlier this week in response to an Associated Students Productions employee’s request for Audrey Jarvis, a junior working freshman orientation, to remove her cross necklace. Jarvis is now working with Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal organization defending religious liberty, to seek a religious accommodation from SSU.

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Faculty Report on Academic Freedom in FAU "Step on Jesus" Controversy: "Senior Administrators Dismally Failed" [New Times Blog]

The FAU faculty senate's academic freedom committee has released its first report on the school's "Step on Jesus" controversy of last spring. Meticulous and detailed, its conclusions are a blistering indictment of the administration of former school President Mary Jane Saunders.

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University of Central Arkansas Reviews 'Speech Code of the Month,' Promises to Revise Policy []

In a victory for free speech on campus, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) has promised to eliminate a speech code that FIRE identified as our “Speech Code of the Month” for July 2013.

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Learn About Trayvon Martin on Your Own Damn Dime []

Campus Reform learned last week that George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA plans to offer a class on Trayvon Martin this fall. Given GMU’s reputation as bastion for leftist thought, this class will no doubt be used to canonize the slain Florida youth while demonizing the now acquitted George Zimmerman. No doubt Professor Rutledge Dennis of the Sociology and Anthropology Department plans to tear apart the verdict, arrived at by 6-person jury, and press upon the way he understands the narrative from his perch in the ivory tower in Fairfax Station.

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It Takes a Collectivist []

Months ago, in my Common Sense e-letter, I took issue with Tulane University Professor Melissa Harris-Perry — who hosts an eponymous MSNBC weekend show — for declaring, in one promotional ad, that “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

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Prof ‘Wishes Sons Away’ In Wake of Zimmerman Verdict [The College Fix]

Tulane University political science professor Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts a show on MSNBC, said after the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict that she wished she didn’t have sons because they’re not safe in America, an apparent long-held belief of hers.

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California Schools Will Train Kids to Sell Obamacare [The College Fix]

There’s something disturbingly Orwellian about this, when the state comes directly at your kids in order to “educate” them in support of a left-wing political agenda.

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Ball State Sparks Controversy For Hiring Guillermo Gonzalez, Intelligent Design Proponent []

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Canned for Speaking Out? []

It's not unheard-of for a college to tell a faculty member partway through a probationary period before tenure that things just aren't working out. And that may well be why Weber State University failed to rehire Jared Lisonbee, a professor of child and family studies. But the timing of his termination – after he and his wife spoke out against plans to name a new family program after a Mormon leader who has expressed controversial views on gays, women and intellectuals – has raised suspicion about what motivated the decision.

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Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards [Commentary]

Perhaps the Obama administration was not expecting a great public outcry this spring when it unveiled a “blueprint” for how campuses across the nation will henceforth need to handle complaints of sexual misconduct. Under the scheme as announced on May 9, colleges must crack down on a wide array of sexually oriented conduct defined as “unwelcome” to one or more persons, including many instances of what the feds quaintly term “verbal conduct,” better known as “speech.”

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