- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2000

Students entering the teacher education program at San Diego State University must take a course on multicultural education that requires them to take "cultural plunges," rather than tests.

Those include taking trips to homosexual bars, visiting black churches if they are white and identifying themselves publicly as gay or lesbian even if they are not to better understand what it feels like to be different.

For their efforts at training new teachers, San Diego State has been named the top winner of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Polly Awards, handed out each year for outrageous examples of political correctness on college campuses.

In their third year, the Pollys are awarded on or near April Fools' Day to highlight "the zany, bizarre, and noxious tendencies of radical faculty and students on the nation's college campuses," said institute officials, who announced the winners Thursday.

T. Kenneth Cribb Jr., institute president, said the awards were created "to widely disseminate instances of outrageous totalitarianism, politicization of the curriculum and left-wing bigotry on college campuses."

"Many university deans and presidents decry the idea that political correctness exists and claim that critics of PC use exaggerated or outdated anecdotes," he said. "Here's proof to the contrary."

The institute, a conservative think thank in Wilmington, Del., solicits Polly nominations from students on campuses nationwide.

San Diego State student Megan Ike took the "Introduction to Multicultural Education" class last summer. She told an institute researcher she was surprised by the first day's exercises, which required her to wear a tag identifying her as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Members of the school's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Student Union spoke to the class and had each student affirm out loud his status as a homosexual, the institute said.

The students in the class were later asked lifestyle questions.

Miss Ike got: "If you were walking with your lesbian lover on campus and a couple of guys jumped out and started harassing you, how would you feel?"

"They were trying to get us in the frame of mind of what it felt like to be gay," said Miss Ike, who is not homosexual.

Students in her class of future educators were never warned that such exercises would be a part of the course, she said.

"This transparent attempt at political indoctrination would be a travesty in any department," said Winfield Myers, a senior editor at the institute. "Yet in a program officially sanctioned by the state to dispense permission to teach in public schools, it's truly frightening. Just when our public schools cry out for a curricular revolution, the educrats try to bring back the Cultural Revolution."

Other 2000 winners included:

• Cornell University, where resident advisers hosted a "Roman Orgy" party in a campus dormitory with funds from student fees.

"While organizers suggested that the party would consist of just massages and snacks, it was not long before the clothes started to come off," the institute reported. "The RAs even set the mood: dimmed lights, incense, and a bowl of condoms." The orgy's organizers were not punished by the campus administration, the institute said.

"Some students have always lived on the edge, but at Cornell they can use other people's money in their pursuit of vulgarity even as the administration turns a blind eye," said Mr. Myers.

• Student Government at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, which spent student fees on various items, including fine restaurants, luxury hotels, valet parking and junk food.

"Last year's expenses included more than $29,000 spent on travel," the researchers said. "Last fall, the finance committee approved funding for $50 worth of tobacco to be purchased for a campus organization, even as it launched its anti-smoking movement."

• The University of Texas administration, which canceled a scheduled speech by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

"During the few weeks before his arrival, campus protesters beat their message out: Henry Kissinger is nothing more than a war criminal. The Radical Action Network protested during the weeks leading up to the event, covered the campus with fliers, and held a teach-in to spread their message that Kissinger doesn't belong at UT. In the end, the UT administration caved in to the pressure from the protesters and canceled Mr. Kissinger's speech, claiming that his speaking on campus would cause an outbreak of violence and endanger the people in the auditorium," the institute said.

Last year, institute officials noted, UT police watched as protesters disrupted Ward Connerly, a leading opponent of racial preferences, at a debate on affirmative action.

"Perhaps this looks like an old story, but that's only because shouting down people has always been easier than engaging them in debate," Mr. Myers said. "It's a sure sign of intellectual cowardice."

• Harvard and Yale (tied). At Yale, when the "gay/lesbian club discovered satirical posters on campus celebrating 'Gay Avarice Week,' 'Gay Sloth Week,' and 'Gay Lust Week,' in response to the campus' celebration of 'Gay Pride Week,' club members tore them down and complained to the administration," the institute said.

"Yale's top brass reacted predictably by claiming it was a hateful attack by 'a very few sick individuals' and vowing that if the author were revealed, he would be … charged with policing alleged harassment."

At Harvard: "The gay/lesbian club plastered the campus with posters and fliers celebrating National Coming Out Day. Some students believed that the publicly placed materials were, at best, obscene, and that some were pornographic. Harvard's administration refused to stand up to the activists by claiming that the true issue was the protection of free speech.

"The administrations of these Ivy League schools reacted differently in the two cases: favored groups can get away with public displays of pornography, but anyone satirizing protected groups faces the wrath of officials in high places," the institute said.

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