Oregon Live:Fourteen Oregon public schools that have fought to maintain their Native American-themed mascots in the face of state changes must pick new names by 2017, the Oregon Board of Education ruled this week.
State board members voted unanimously against an amendment that would have allowed schools to continue to call their athletic teams and other student organizations nicknames such as the Warriors, Braves, Indians and Chieftains.
“It’s a great victory,” said Sam Sachs, one of the activists who has fought to ban the names. “They stood their ground and said we’re not going to do it.” Native Americans have been asking state leaders to ban tribal-themed mascots since 2006.
Schools in Banks, Molalla and Roseburg still used Native American mascots. Seven Oregon schools called themselves the warriors. (Another, Aloha High School, earned a reprieve after proving its warrior mascot was Hawaiian, not Native American).
The state board studied the issue for years before agreeing, in 2012, to do so. The board ordered all schools with Native Americans mascots to choose new ones. Those who didn’t would lose state funding.
Republican legislators fought back. State Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, and Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, proposed bills that would allow some schools to keep their name. Governor John Kitzhaber vetoed a 2013 proposed bill but a year later agreed to allow schools that have the OK of an Oregon tribe to use a mascot with tribal significance.
The 2014 bill also directed the state board to come up with the rules for the agreement process. State officials created work groups to develop the rules and propose an amendment to existing standards that would allow some tribal mascots. Workgroup members spoke with members of nine federally recognized tribes. Some, such as the Siletz, did want to allow a local high school to use a tribal mascot. The workgroup considered whether to allow schools to ask permission from multiple tribes. They debated time frames for receiving approval.
Board members reviewed studies that said Native mascots promote discrimination, pupil harassment and stereotyping. They studied dropout rates and discipline data. Both painted bleak pictures: Last year, 3,130 Native American students enrolled in Oregon high schools. About 200 of those attended schools with Native American mascots. They comprise about 2 percent of enrollment but represent 4 percent of dropouts. They also are disproportionately suspended.
Finally, education board members agreed to vote on an amendment allowing some schools to keep their names. They rejected it, essentially reaffirming the initial 2012 decision to ban Native American mascots.
“For (the board), this really is a civil rights issue,” said Crystal Greene, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “It’s an equity issue. They felt like the action that had been taken in 2012 was an important one, and that this was in the best interest of kids.”
In February, the Banks School District asked more than 1,000 community members who they felt about changing the school mascot. Nearly 95 percent voted to retain “the Braves.” At least one school has changed its mascot during the back and forth. Last year, The Dalles High School dropped its mascot, the Eagle Indian. They played this year as the Riverhawks.
And this month in Lebanon, crews began working to sand down their gym floor to remove a logo of a Native American. A Native American “warrior” still appears on the school’s website and in its hallways.
So with this “civil rights” and “equity” issue now resolved, I look forward to seeing a positive reduction in the disproportionate number of Native America students who drop out and are suspended.
Campus Reform: Americans are “unable to handle” their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, according to one Texas professor.
In a recent column for the Dallas Morning News, John Traphagan—a professor of religious studies and anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin—lambasted Americans for wanting to boost gun ownership and expand concealed and open carry laws. According to Traphagan, the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colo. and recent biker gang shoot-out in Waco, Texas illustrate an epidemic of “ongoing violence” which he says Americans have become anesthetized to.
“There is simply no need for a civilized society to tolerate the type of gun-related violence that Americans seem to accept as normal,” Traphagan wrote. “Other modern industrial countries have realized… that it is unnecessary for people in a free society to have easy access to guns.”
According to Bloomberg Business, the number of individuals killed in mass shootings in the U.S. over the last three decades equals fewer “than a tenth of 1 percent” of the number of people murdered in America during that same time frame, as estimated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Still, Traphagan maintains that Americans, as a whole, “do not seem to be able to handle gun ownership in a way that permits maintenance of civil society. [T]he evidence is clear — a heavily armed population in the U.S. is not secure because our culture does not seem to lend itself well to allowing the proliferation of guns,” Traphagan wrote.
Instead of allowing for widespread private gun ownership, Traphagan says the solution to preventing additional shootings is to enact additional laws that “prohibit many forms of gun ownership, significantly [curtail] or [eliminate] access to and the ability to purchase guns, and [implement] programs in which the government confiscates or purchases illegal guns already in circulation among the public.”
Traphagan cites the implementation of strict gun control laws in countries including Japan, Australia, and South Korea as standards the U.S. should follow. “Americans need to recognize that one of the greatest threats to national security is their own heavily armed population,” Traphagan wrote. “We need to enact legislation that will greatly reduce gun-related crimes and protect people from the dangers associated with widespread gun access and ownership.”
However, according to a comprehensive 2007 study by criminologists at Harvard University, stricter gun laws in European countries have failed to effectuate significant change. “There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate,” the authors of the study wrote, adding, “though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.”
Traphagan concludes by asserting that Americans are better off living in a society that is secure “because people have peace of mind and experience freedom from violence” than in a secure society where “everyone is ready to shoot on another.”
Despite Traphagan’s confidence in stricter gun laws, Americans have demonstrated mixed feelings towards measures to enhance gun control. According to a 2013 Rasmussen report, less than 20 percent of Americans viewed stricter gun control laws as the most effective means of reducing the number of mass shootings and 62 percent said they do not trust the government to “fairly enforce gun control laws.”
Perhaps the good professor should take a class in Constitutional Studies.
WSBTV: A DeKalb County middle school teacher and coach has been arrested after a mother claims he allowed students to have sex in his classroom closet. Quinton Wright was arrested Tuesday afternoon and has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Channel 2’s Tom Regan spoke with the parent Monday, who said she couldn’t believe what was happening.
“I was in a state of disbelief when I read all these messages,” the mother said, asking to remain anonymous. The mother told Regan she looked at her 14-year-old son’s phone and discovered a shocking exchange of text messages last Thursday between him and Quinton Wright, a math teacher and coach at Champion Theme Middle School in Stone Mountain.
“Basically he’s allowing the students to have sex in a storage room of his classroom,” the mother said.
“He told my son you can have it from 7:30 to like 8:30,” the mother said reading some of the messages. “’Did you tell the girl what’s going to happen? That she cannot tell anybody?’ basically don’t tell anyone I’m allowing you to use my room.” The mother said the teacher also sent her son a calendar showing teachers’ schedules and a text saying he did not have condoms.
“It’s very sickening and disheartening, because we trust administrators and educators when we drop our kids off at school,” the mother said.
The mother told Regan she pulled her eighth-grader from school Friday and contacted the school’s principal and police. She said she also filed a complaint.
The DeKalb County school system removed the 25-year-old teacher from the classroom.
The student’s mother told Regan she was suspicious of the teacher from earlier behavior. “He called me when the kids are at their eighth-grade prom and asked if he could come over and take pictures with the boys before the prom, and I said no,” the mother said.
Fox News: One of the nation’s largest public school systems is preparing to include gender identity to its classroom curriculum, including lessons on sexual fluidity and spectrum – the idea that there’s no such thing as 100 percent boys or 100 percent girls.
Fairfax County Public Schools released a report recommending changes to their family life curriculum for grades 7 through 12. The changes, which critics call radical gender ideology, will be formally introduced next week.
“The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself – the created order,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.
“Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”
The plan calls for teaching seventh graders about transgenderism and tenth graders about the concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum — but it sure smells like unadulterated sex indoctrination.
Get a load of what the kids are going to be learning in middle school:
“Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state. “Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination.”
Eighth graders will be taught that individual identity “occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“Individual identity will also be described as having four parts – biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual).”
The district will also introduce young teenagers to the “concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum.” By tenth grade, they will be taught that one’s sexuality “develops throughout a lifetime.”
“Emphasis will be placed on an understanding that there is a broader, boundless, and fluid spectrum of sexuality that is developed throughout a lifetime,” the document states. “Sexual orientation and gender identity terms will be discussed with focus on appreciation for individual differences.”
As you might imagine – parents are freaking out. “Parents need to protect their kids from this assault,” said Andrea Lafferty, president of Traditional Values Coalition. “Who could imagine that we are in this place today – but we are.”
Last week, the school board voted to include gender identity in the district’s nondiscrimination policy – a decision that was strongly opposed by parents.
Lafferty, who led the opposition to the nondiscrimination policy, warned that the district is moving towards the deconstruction of gender. “At the end of this is the deconstruction of gender – absolutely,” she told me. “The majority of people pushing (this) are not saying that – but that clearly is the motivation.”
School Board spokesman John Torre told the Washington Times the proposed curriculum changes have nothing to do with last week’s vote to allow boys who identity as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. He would have us believe it was purely coincidental.
To make matters worse, Lafferty contends parents will not be able to opt their children out of the classes because the lessons will be a part of the mandatory health curriculum.
However, Torre told me that parents will indeed be able to opt out of those classes “including the sexual orientation and gender identity lessons.”
“They are not being forthright with the information,” Lafferty said. “They are not telling people the truth. They are bullying parents. They are intimidating and they are threatening.”
I must confess that I’m a bit old school on sex education. I believe that God created male and female. My reading of the Bible does not indicate there were dozens of other options. However, I’m always open to learning new things – so I (Todd Starnes) asked the school district to provide me with the textbooks and scientific data they will be using to instruct the children that there are dozens and dozens of possible genders. Here’s the reply I received from Torre:
“Lessons have not been developed for the proposed lesson objectives,” he stated. “Because of the need to develop lessons, the proposed objectives would not be implemented until fall 2016.”
In other words – they don’t have a clue.
And the Family Research Council’s Sprigg said there’s a pretty good reason why they can’t produce a textbook about fluidity. “It’s an ideological concept,” he told me. “It’s not a scientific one.” He warned that Fairfax County’s planned curriculum could be harmful to students. “It’s only going to create more confusion in the minds of young people who don’t need any further confusion about sexual identity,” he said.
The board will introduce the changes on May 21. Lafferty said she hopes parents will turn out in force to voice their objections.
The College Fix: A popular yet openly liberal communications professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has publicly disparaged Republicans and the Tea Party, and declared capitalism will be responsible for the deaths of millions, has been tapped to receive an honorary degree.
Sut Jhally, a communications professor at UMass Amherst who tweeted “The New Republican Party – American Terrorists,” among many other controversial statements, will receive the recognition from Simon Fraser University this fall, its website states.
Jhally is a prolific filmmaker and author whose work spans decades, and he continues to be an academic darling among leftists. The honorary degree is one of many awards he’s received over the years, including “best professor.” But some conservative, libertarian and pro-Israel students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have found his bias to be overt and intimidating.
“I fully support First Amendment rights for everyone. I also think his comments are false, outrageous, offensive, and demonstrate the hypocrisy of UMass,” Soroche Kohistani, a student and member of UMass GOP, told The College Fix this week. “For a professor to make such statements about Republicans or opinions different from his [own] is meant to intimidate and indoctrinate students.”
And while Jhally is often praised on RateMyProfessor.com, with an A-minus grade on the website, comments about his bias are also evident.
A review from May 7 of this year stated: “The class is ‘media, PR & propaganda’ but ironically the whole class is his own propaganda, especially when he gets to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. From the beginning he left out facts and demonized Israel – NOT OK.” Another from Dec. 2014 noted: “Sometimes is a bit preachy with his agenda, very liberal (shocker), but its not too bad.”
Other students find his class to be “mind blowing” and “life changing,” RateMyProfessor reviews note.
So what has he said outside the classroom, exactly? SoCawlege.com, which last week broke the news about Boston University assistant professor Saida Grundy’s tweets disparaging white college males and declaring slavery is a “white people thing,” focused in on Jhally’s online statements this past week as well.
Increasingly, Twitter is becoming a tool to expose the thoughts and biases of professors, and Jhally is no exception. In a series of tweets in 2013, he declared “The New Republican Party – American Terrorists,” and in another called conservative members of the Supreme Court “frat-boy fascists.” Both of these tweets, respectively, were link to articles (here and here) that do not mention the phrases or terms Jhally used, which indicates calling the GOP American terrorists and conservative members of the Supreme Court “frat-boy fascists” is the professor’s own editorializing.
Jhally also tweeted in 2013 the Tea Party wants to bring America back to a “pre-civil rights” era, and in another stated the Second Amendment was ratified in order to protect slavery. His Twitter account has been inactive since January of this year. Professor Jhally did not respond to a request for comment from The College Fix.
The professor is no stranger to controversial statements. He has a history of denouncing traditional American values and institutions, such as capitalism. In a 2010 speech, Professor Jhally said:
“[A]dvertising is the most powerful and sustained system of propaganda in human history and its cumulative cultural and political effects, unless very quickly checked, will be responsible for destroying the world as we know it. In the process of achieving this, the masters of the advertising system, global corporations, bent on nothing but private profits, will be responsible for the deaths of … millions of people, mostly non-Western. In addition, the peoples of the world will be prevented from achieving true happiness. Simply stated our survival as a species is dependent upon minimizing the threat from advertising and the commercial culture that has spawned it.”
Jhally’s apparent support for communist notions was also illustrated in a 2013 tweet in which he bemoaned the misrepresentation of Hugo Chavez upon the dictator’s death. Some students, however, have found it ironic that a communication professor supports a regime that repressed independent press and built up a state propaganda machine. The UMass Amherst communication department website states Jhally teaches the undergraduate classes “Advertising as Social Communication,” “Gender, Sex and Representation” and “Media, Public Relations and Propaganda.”
Additional tweets of the professor’s highlighted on SoCawlege.com include one in which he tweeted a link to a Glenn Greenwald piece on the Islamic beheading of a British soldier in the U.K. The piece argued that the act shouldn’t be called terrorism, mostly over semantics.
According to an open UMass’s database of educator salaries, Jhally earns roughly $100,000 annually from the public university.
This is what your hard-earned tax dollars are subsidizing!
Alexandra Samuels reports for USA Today, May 12, 2015, that Ricardo (Dick) Dominguez, associate professor at the University of California-San Diego who teaches a course called “Performing for Self,” is asking students to pose naked for a final exam as a “nude/naked gesture,” whatever that means. Reportedly, the gesture takes place in a dark room lit by candlelight.
Dominguez’s rationale for the assignment is that nudity has been a core part of performance art since the mid-20th century. He says, “The core canvas for many performance artists has been, and continues to be, the nude or naked body. If students are to learn about performance art as practitioners, this history of the medium is crucial for them to experience.” Blah, blah, blah.
After some current students in the course complained, Dominguez defended himself in an e-mailed statement that students were “aware from the start of the class that (the gestures are) a requirement” and that he has taught the class for 11 years without complaint. Dominguez says students who feel uncomfortable with the assignment or feel the gesture “will be too hard for them to do,” can drop the class since it’s not a degree requirement. He insists “I have always been willing to work with students to help them navigate the process, during my office hours and in the context of the class.”
Dominguez also cryptically offers that “Our advising team is also very willing to discuss the options for doing the performance without having to be actually nude or naked.”
Jordan Crandall, chairman of the university’s visual art department, also defended Dominguez and described the class as an “extremely successful one” in the visual arts department.
In an email, Crandall said that while the gestures are necessary to complete the course, getting completely naked isn’t the only way to pass because students can do the gesture in a number of ways without having to remove their clothes because “One can ‘be’ nude while being covered” — whatever that means. Crandall adds, “the ambiguity around the question of ‘nudity’ and ‘nakedness’ is intentional. It is intended to be provocative, to raise issues. That is what performance art does.”
Shanise Mok, a former student who had taken Dominguez’s naked course in 2012, also leapt to his defense, insisting that the nude “gesture” allowed her to “challenge” herself “intellectually.”
Mok said, “It was clearly outlined in the first class (just like any other first day where professors go over the syllabus) that the final gesture would be a ‘naked’ one and what we could expect that day. We were not ‘forced’ to do anything. I was only…forced to think about how I can take my own art to another level. We all had the choice to drop or to find our own creative way to meet the nude or naked prompt as artists should. I personally feel strongly about making the human body an okay thing to talk about. We all have a body — nipples, butts and pubic hair in all their glory — and it doesn’t need to be sexualized by the news – which is why artists step in to desexualize it and turn the human body into something we can love and appreciate as an art form.”
Mok’s LinkedIn page says she presently is unemployed and that her most recent job was a 6-month stint as a “teen education & recreation specialist” at Redwood City Public Library, which ended in February 2015.
Call me a cynic, but I doubt Shanise Mok making national news saying she was “intellectually challenged” by stripping naked is going to help her find gainful employment.
While searching on the Internet for Dominguez’s naked class, I also came across this other piece of weird higher ed. news from October 2012.
A math professor at Michigan State University (MSU) stripped naked, ran naked through his classroom and down the hallway, screaming “There is no fucking God!” before police apprehended him.
Students said online that the professor, who was not charged with a crime and whose name was not released by the university, was “eccentric” and that they “could probably have seen this coming.”