Thursday, April 13, 2006
Bellevue College's Condoleezza Quiz (Updated)From National Center Executive Director David W. Almasi:
Reverend Wayne Perryman of Mercer Island, Washington received disturbing news from a member of his congregation who is a student at the local Bellevue Community College. The student found the following question on a handout meant to help her prepare for an upcoming final exam:Addendum, 4/13/06: More from David Almasi:Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. The height of the watermelon above the ground t seconds later is given by formula h= -16t2 + 20t + 300.The student's complaints about the wording of the question were ignored, so she took them to Reverend Perryman.
a. How many seconds will it pass her (she's standing at a height of 300 feet) on the way down?
b. When will the watermelon hit ground?
Shocked and appalled at this thinly-veiled insult to our nation's secretary of state, Reverend Perryman sent an e-mail to Project 21 and others noting: "If they used this same problem and substituted Condoleezza's name with Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, there would be mass protest and they would shut the college down."
Things changed after Reverend Perryman began spreading the word and local media picked up the story. BCC's president has apologized for the inclusion of the question and promised an investigation to find out how it got on the test in the first place. The current chairman of the school's math department is reportedly blaming his predecessor. When reached on the phone this afternoon, Reverend Perryman said he was on his way to the school to meet with officials about what else may need to be done and to find out who is going to take the blame.
Project 21 member Mychal Massie
had this to say about it all:This is a flagrant example of the inculcation and indoctrination of black students and others with racial animus and prejudice towards those they should emulate. It is well-documented that the greatest threat to black families and the economic mobility of young blacks is the pandemic number of school dropouts. This incident provides an unambiguous example of the prejudice that so many educators harbor, and how it can hurt our students and our nation over the long run.
Bellevue Community College administrators now report receiving hundreds of critical e-mails. On campus, the uproar has led to an open-campus meeting yesterday in which BCC President Jean Floten apologized for the inclusion of the racially-offensive question.This item originally was posted 4/12/06, and updated 4/13/06.
In a telephone conversation I had with Reverend Perryman this afternoon, he told me the emotional meeting revealed that there is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at BCC affecting both students and professors. He said that white students noted they'd seen the offensive question for years, but were scared to stand up for something they thought was wrong. He said professors wept because they felt their views were not being heard, and said President Floten declared that all of this is "nothing less than institutional racism."
The teacher who most recently distributed the practice test containing the offensive question has not been named by college administrators, but it is reported that person apologized and has requested "cultural-sensitivity training."
The rest of the campus may have to brace for the same kind of barrage of political correctness. At yesterday's meeting, President Floten proposed a buffet of racial-sensitivity measures that include the hiring of a two new administrative positions related to cultural sensitivity, increased funding for sensitivity programming and general sensitivity training and tracking on campus.
Reverend Perryman was quoted by the Seattle Times as saying there are no "microwave solutions."
During our call, Reverend Perryman told me he was more interested in broad institutional changes than PC window-dressing. He noted that an eight-hour training session will not fix the hateful anti-conservative environment that permeates college campuses and allowed this particular situation to happen without challenge.
Up until now, Reverend Perryman noted, the environment at BCC - an environment duplicated at institutions of higher learning nationwide - validates such bias. Rather than initiate new sensitivity training, he said, administrators must ensure that students are being educated and not indoctrinated. In the case of BCC, he said, a qualified math department chairman would not have allowed such a question to appear on a test.
If it is found that these administrators cannot be trusted to ensure a balanced, unbiased curriculum, Reverend Perryman told me, an independent review board should be created.
Reverend Perryman is still very much involved in the situation at Bellevue Community College. He's not planning to back down. With a good bit of luck, perhaps this small local college will be the straw the broke the camel's back with regard to political intolerance in higher education. Maybe Reverend Perryman will be remembered as the David who slew the academic Goliath.
Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:30 PM