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Odd man in

"Odd man in" Continued...

Issue: "All-American adoption story," Nov. 21, 2009

Q: How did they show that dislike, and how is it getting to be more than dislike? Just funny things. When I was a Democrat I'd put a sign on my door that said, "Clinton/Gore '96," or something like that. I decided just for the fun of it to put up a "Bush/Cheney 2000" poster on my door. Some of the professors got together to raise a charge against me. I sent an email to every professor in the department saying, "You have been involved in an experiment on tolerance and diversity, which unfortunately you have failed. For several years the Clinton sign has been up there and you didn't say anything about it, but now that the Republican poster is up, you are offended." It was funny.

Q: Many of your columns report political correctness at universities. Where do you get your information? I just got off the phone with a professor calling me from California. He teaches psychology and said that women are more prone to depression than are men, and there's a biological reason for that. The women's studies department found out about it and started demanding that he be removed from teaching the class. We have feminists on college campuses these days who believe that there are no inherent differences whatsoever between men and women: There are no differences at all except those that come from culture and patriarchal oppression.

Q: You don't like campus "speech codes" that prohibit criticism of religion, lifestyles, or other matters that might irritate some folks. Speech codes purport to give students a constitutional right to feel comfortable, which makes no sense because the First Amendment guarantees that you will feel uncomfortable, with regularity. If you don't like it, move to Cuba, because this country was founded upon the idea of a very robust exchange of ideas. The very notion that you can somehow create an environment where no one is offended-first of all, that's not a university. But also, that isn't their goal. Their goal is to selectively enforce the speech codes in a way that is unconstitutional.

Q: You wrote about a situation where UNC-the University of North Carolina-officials told a Christian group to remove a part of its constitution saying that members should believe in God, because that requirement is "intolerant." You were supposed to sign a nondiscrimination clause that not only allowed into your Christian organization people of all different religions, but allowed them to run for office: A Christian organization with a Muslim president, a Hindu vice president, a Buddhist secretary-maybe a Christian could be treasurer?

Q: Language about belief in God was labeled "exclusive" and "intolerant"? I went through a public records process and found that many Christian organizations were being told similar things. This is what racists used to do to the NAACP back in the 1950s in Alabama: They used to say, "Because you're tax-exempt, you must allow Klansmen to hold offices, and you must allow people who believe that segregation is a good idea to join the organization." And that went to the U. S. Supreme Court in 1958, which said that relevant beliefs are not arbitrary discrimination (which the 14th Amendment had set about eliminating) but simply a way of bringing about the First Amendment freedom of association.

Q: What happened? In the 1950s the Supreme Court had said, if it's not arbitrary, it doesn't violate the 14th Amendment. In 2003 people at the University of North Carolina who claim to be the czars of tolerance were using old Klan tactics. They should be embarrassed by this. I began to write about it. I honestly hoped they would back down. It took me 18 months of making phone calls and writing letters to Christian organizations for one of them to finally come forward and file a federal lawsuit. Within six months of doing that, via federal court injunction, we had the policy struck down. That was a struggle, and the biggest part of the struggle was getting the Christian organizations to step forward. Unfortunately, that is too often the case.

Q: What is your "Spread the Wealth" grading policy? I wrote a spoof email to my students saying that I was going to come up with a new grading system. I said, "A lot of students make A's, and they really have more points than they need. No one really needs that many points, and there are a lot of poor people out there failing who really need more points. So, after Exam 1 I'm going to take points away from people who have A's and give them to people who have F's so we can have more equality in the classroom. We're going to cut it down to 3 levels: B, C, and D. After the 2nd Exam, we're going to rethink that and look at the average, and I'm sure that some people will have B's and D's, and that's really not fair. So we're going to compress it and give everyone C's."

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