2003 Polly Awards
(cont. from Front Page)
2. University of Mississippi: During celebrations of the 40th anniversary of desegregation at the University, racist graffiti was found scrawled on the dormitory doors of three black students. One University Police official threatened that the students responsible would be prosecuted for "criminal charges, possibly a felony, or it could be a federal offense." One month later, the punishment was ratcheted back to community service hours and therapeutic "reflection papers" when three black first-year students confessed to inciting this campus storm.
3. Georgetown University: If racist graffiti at OLÕ Miss warrants fifteen-page "reflection papers," what is the proportionate punishment for killing a fellow student -- a ten-page reflection paper and counseling? Georgetown meted out this stiff punishment to the student responsible for the February 2000 death of sophomore David Shick. Ruled a homicide,
ShickÕs death occurred after a drunken altercation with other Georgetown students. U.S. Attorney Wilma Lewis declined to press charges, implying Shick's role in the fight may have precluded a conviction. Georgetown kept the case largely secret (even from the victimÕs parents), invoking the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, until results of the investigation were released to the public in December 2002. ShickÕs parents sum up the appalling nature of this tragedy: "Is it any wonder that colleges and universities do not want to disclose how they deal with violent offenders on campus? The climate of secrecyÉallow[s] colleges and universities to manipulate the process in order to preserve their reputation." Such light sanctions ultimately beg the question: "What does one have to do to get ousted from Georgetown?" The next time a student is found with hard-core narcotics, or caught plagiarizing a senior thesis, Georgetown is going to have a tough time making a case for expulsion.
4. Cornell University / University of California at Berkeley (tie): CornellÕs Gannett Health Center has decided to sell vibrators to students demonstrating, in the words of one Cornell official, "a commitment to affirming women's sexuality." And after winning a "Polly" last year for funding the criminal ethnic separatist student group, MEChA, Berkeley still hasnÕt learned the consequences of allocating student fees to radical student groups. The U.C. Berkeley Queer Alliance receives $9,000 in student fees, which the group uses to maintain an online message board on which students discuss campus locations where they can engage in illicit sexual activities. The group has also drilled a series of "glory holes" in BerkeleyÕs bathrooms to encourage these trysts. Though the University Student Code of Conduct outlaws "conduct which threatens the health or safety of any person," Berkeley has done nothing to moderate the groupÕs website.
5. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: The Durham Herald Sun reported that UNC associate professor Martha Lamb was pressured to resign after several students accused Lamb of making them feel uncomfortable by creating a hostile learning environment. LambÕs crime? During a lecture to her students she observed that in the 1960s she heard the comment made that N.A.A.C.P. was an acronym for "Niggers AinÕt Acting Like Colored People," but, Lamb continued, today one would rarely hear such a remark. All 16 students attempted to or dropped her course in protest for LambÕs benign historical reference. Lamb ultimately resigned.
The eagerly anticipated "Polly" awards have become the national standard against which outrageous episodes of political correctness are measured. The Washington Post has referred to the "Polly" awards as "the coveted Campus Outrage Award for loony political correctness." The Wall Street Journal has called the annual awards "a great public service." A complete list of the winning entries is available on Collegiate NetworkÕs website a (www. www.collegiatenetwork.org) and on PR Newswire.
The Collegiate Network was founded in 1979 to nurture student journalists and provide an alternative voice on the college campus through a network of 80 college newspapers that focus public awareness on the politicization of American college classrooms, curricula, and student life - and the resulting decline of educational standards.