Divinity and Diversity Part IV

Dean Elaine Heath and Professor Thea Portier-Young of Duke Divinity School (DDS) are apparently intellectually incompetent. When faced with disagreement, they are unable to express their ideas with cogent argument. Instead, these “Christian” academics prefer to destroy their colleagues, rather than debate them. In fact, their conduct towards a fellow Christian professor has been so egregious that any decent Christian school would have removed them from their faculty for conduct inconsistent with basic Christian values. Of course, that will never happen. DDS has long been Christian in name only.

In the case of Dean Heath, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to initiate a ludicrous charge of “unprofessional conduct” against Professor Paul Griffiths for the crime of simply refusing to share her commitment to radical racial identity politics. In the case of Professor Portier-Young, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to file an even more ludicrous charge of “harassment” against Professor Griffiths – for the crime of simply criticizing her agenda of advancing racial identity politics. Such actions are anti-intellectual, totalitarian, cowardly, and antithetical to basic Christian principles.

I have obtained emails from Professor Griffiths that detail the actions taken against him by Dean Heath and Professor Portier-Young. Here is an overview of what they reveal:

(1) The Discipline initiated by Dean Heath against Professor Griffiths. In February 2017, Dean Heath contacted Professor Griffiths and asked for an appointment in which she proposed to communicate her expectations for “professional conduct” at DDS. After a brief email exchange concerning the conditions for the meeting, an agreement was reached for a four-way meeting. The participants would include Dean Heath, Randy Maddox (Dean of DDS Faculty, as support for Dean Heath), Professor Griffiths, and Professor Thomas Pfau (as support for Professor Griffiths). That meeting was scheduled for March 6, 2017. Just before that date, Dean Heath cancelled the meeting without explanation. Shortly thereafter, Dean Heath proposed a new meeting on the same topic, but without Professor Pfau’s participation. Professor Griffiths responded by proposing a one-on-one meeting between himself and Heath. No agreement was reached and, to date, no meeting has occurred. In a letter dated March 10, 2017, Dean Heath initiated financial and administrative reprisals against Griffiths. The reprisals included a) banning him from faculty meetings b) banning him from voting on faculty affairs and c) banning him from future access to research or travel funds.

(2) Discipline initiated by Portier-Young against Griffiths, through the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). In early March, Professor Griffiths received a phone call from Cynthia Clinton, who is an officer of the OIE. It was disclosed that Professor Portier-Young had filed a complaint of harassment against him. The accusation was that Professor Griffiths had used racist and sexist speech in a manner that rose to the level of creating a hostile work environment. A meeting was then scheduled for March 20, 2017 between Griffiths and representatives of the OIE to discuss the allegations. Professor Griffiths then requested a written version of the allegations, together with all of the supporting evidence, in advance of the meeting. Clinton declined both requests. Consequently, Professor Griffith declined the meeting and sent a written statement to the OIE.

In response to the malicious accusations again him, Professor Griffiths decided to resign his position as a tenured professor at DDS. Why he decided to resign rather than fight will be the subject of the last installment in this five part series. It will also be the most important installment in the series.

Divinity and Diversity Part III

Dear Dean Heath (eheath@div.duke.edu):

I am writing to express my grave concern over some remarks you recently made during the course of an exchange among faculty members at Duke Divinity School (DDS). I have reproduced all three paragraphs of your email to DDS below. Following each paragraph, I have listed several questions. I hope you will take the time to respond to each one of them.

First, I am looking forward to participating in the REI training, and I am proud that we are hosting it at Duke Divinity School. Thea, thank you for your part in helping us to offer this important event. I am deeply committed to increasing our school’s intellectual strength, spiritual vitality, and moral authority, and this training event will help with all three.

1. What do you mean by intellectual strength, spiritual vitality, and moral authority? Could you offer concise definitions of each of these terms?
2. How did you arrive at the conclusion that Racial Equity Institute (REI) training “will help with all three” of the concepts I just asked you to define?
3. Have you ever considered that racial identity politics (e.g., the Duke lacrosse travesty) has contributed to the diminished reputation of Duke University?
4. Have you ever considered adding a component to REI training that would educate faculty about the harmful effects of making false allegations of racism against students and faculty at Duke University?

On another matter: It is certainly appropriate to use mass emails to share announcements or information that is helpful to the larger community, such as information about the REI training opportunity. It is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements–including arguments ad hominem–in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree. The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution.

1. Could you please define the following terms: ad hominem, racism, sexism, and bigotry?
2. How did you arrive at the conclusion that Professor Griffiths was making an ad hominem attack or otherwise engaging in racist, sexist, and bigoted speech?
3. Have you ever considered the possibility that your use of mass email to characterize Professor Griffiths’ speech as expressions of his “racism,” “sexism,” and “bigotry” would be seen as an ad hominem attack?
4. Are false accusations of racism, sexism, and bigotry acceptable in a Christian institution?
5. As a Dean at DDS is it your job to encourage the free exchange of ideas or to discourage the free exchange of ideas by making disparaging statements against those with whom you disagree?

As St. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, regardless of how exquisite our gifts are, if we do not exercise them with love our words are just noise.

Sincerely,
Elaine A. Heath, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral Theology
Duke Divinity School

1.Was your recent mass email attack on Paul Griffiths an act of love?
2. Do you understand the meaning of the words you use or are you just making noise?

That’s all I have for now. I look forward to your responses.

Sincerely,

Mike S. Adams
Columnist, TownHall.com
Professor, UNC-Wilmington

Divinity and Diversity Part II

Dear Professor Griffiths (pgriffiths@div.duke.edu):

I have written your colleague Thea Portier-Young to ask some questions about her recent interest in promoting racial equity training for faculty at Duke Divinity School (DDS). It struck me as odd that this would be a priority at DDS. So far, she has not given me the courtesy of a response. While I was waiting on her to respond, I decided to write to you to express my strong agreement with some comments you made in response to Thea’s request for members of the DDS community to attend such a time-consuming and obviously politically one-sided exercise in self-flatulation. In my view, your comments were right on target. I have reproduced your three-paragraph response below with some of my own observations included between paragraphs:

I’m responding to Thea’s exhortation that we should attend the Racial Equity Institute Phase 1 Training scheduled for 4-5 March. In her message she made her ideological commitments clear. I’ll do the same, in the interests of free exchange.

I simply want to comment that you have distinguished yourself as among a minority in higher education in 21st Century America – simply by calling for the free exchange of ideas on a university campus. I suspect that your decision to include a specific reminder that your comments were “in the interests of free exchange” was motivated by an expectation that you would be ostracized for expressing an unpopular opinion. Yet you spoke your mind anyway. Accordingly, I applaud your courage.

I exhort you not to attend this training. Don’t lay waste your time by doing so. It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show. Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual. (Re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history; I hope you’ll keep that history in mind as you think about this instance.

Your one sentence stating the incontestable truth that, “Re-trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history,” is sheer poetry. At universities all across the nation, academics from well-established disciplines such as English, history, sociology, and psychology have shown a willingness to sit through these lectures, which are almost invariably initiated and taught by career administrators.

Almost without exception, such administrators possess illegitimate degrees – either in “educational administration” or in some recently established pseudo-discipline ending in the word “studies.” To make matters worse, the administrators teach faculty about things such as proper English usage, racial history, sociological dynamics, and their psychological ramifications. In other words, these professors relinquish their own claim to authority within their own areas of expertise to ideologically driven bureaucrats.

There can be no other explanation for the concession than that they fear the reprisals of refusing to concede legitimate academic authority in their designated areas of expertise. This is the height of anti-intellectualism – not to mention individual cowardice. Again, you have shown courage in your resistance.

We here at Duke Divinity have a mission. Such things as this training are at best a distraction from it and at worst inimical to it. Our mission is to think, read, write, and teach about the triune Lord of Christian confession. This is a hard thing. Each of us should be tense with the effort of it, thrumming like a tautly triple-woven steel thread with the work of it, consumed by the fire of it, ever eager for more of it. We have neither time nor resources to waste. This training is a waste. Please, ignore it. Keep your eyes on the prize.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the Book of Galatians that, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In other words, there is no room for identity politics in Christianity. Apparently, you are among the few people in DDS who gets that. Again, I applaud you – this time for your discernment.

In closing, I just wanted to thank you for standing up to the rigid ideological conformity that has overtaken DDS – as well as the larger campus of Duke University. The fact that Duke has become an ideological echo chamber helps explain the poor decisions made in the course of the Duke lacrosse meltdown of 2006. If more professors had the courage to resist ideological conformity then Duke would have been spared the public relations disaster that followed the decision of over 100 professors and administrators to defame innocent Duke students in the name of “social justice.”

That single incident was a sufficient testament to just how divisive and unproductive racial politics can be. Thus, it stands alone as sufficient justification for ignoring the victim industry that has been fueling division in academia for far too long.

Best wishes in your future endeavors,

Mike S. Adams

Columnist, TownHall.com
Professor, UNC-Wilmington

Divinity and Diversity

Author note: This is the first installment in a short documentary series on the latest controversy at Duke University. Several more installment will follow.

Dear Professor Portier-Young (apyoung@div.duke.edu):

It is my understanding that on Monday, February 6, 2017, you sent an email to the entire faculty of Duke Divinity School, in which you urged them to attend a two-day 8:30 am to 5 p.m. “Racial Equity Institute” training program. I also understand that your email started an exchange that has resulted in harassment charges against – and, ultimately, the resignation of – a faculty member. As one who writes about free speech and diversity issues in higher education, I have taken great interest in that exchange. I have reproduced the lead paragraph of your February email below. Following that paragraph, I have listed some questions, to which I hope you will take the time to respond:

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

On behalf of the Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee, I strongly urge you to participate in the Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training planned for March 4 and 5. We have secured funding from the Provost to provide this training free to our community and we hope that this will be a first step in a longer process of working to ensure that DDS is an institution that is both equitable and anti-racist in its practices and culture. While a number of DDS faculty, staff, and students have been able to participate in REI training in recent years, we have never before hosted a training at DDS. Those who have participated in the training have described it as transformative, powerful, and life-changing. We recognize that it is a significant commitment of time; we also believe it will have great dividends for our community. Please find the registration link below. Details about room location will be announced soon.

1. Could you list some specific details concerning the “transformative” nature of racial equity training? In other words, exactly how were the lives of members of the DDS community “transformed” by the training?
2. In what ways were these “transformations” similar to their conversions to Christianity? In what ways were they different?
3. What exactly are the “great dividends” you expect the racial equity training to provide to your divinity school?

That is all I have. I look forward to your responses.

Mike S. Adams

Columnist, TownHall.com

Washington Post Reporter Called A White Nationalist

Washington Post reporter Cleve Wootson was recently given the responsibility of reporting on a lawsuit in which I am involved. The story he was assigned to write is actually quite simple. A California university unconstitutionally denied a student group’s request for funding to host a conservative speaker (me) on their campus. The decision to deny funding was a blatant case of viewpoint discrimination that is supported by a mountain of evidence. Thus, Wootson had an easy story to write if he simply stuck to the facts. Instead, his article wound up being a masterpiece of bad journalism.

Wootson begins his article with an image of campus violence that is totally unrelated to the group that invited me to speak. He then provides a list of “white nationalists” who have recently spoken on other campuses. He continues his journalistic hit piece by characterizing Charles Murray as a person who “has been called a white nationalist” – because, of course, anonymous accusations define the man. Only after sufficiently poisoning the well does Wootson get around to mentioning the point of the article.

It’s hard to miss what Wootson is doing here. He wants to link the plaintiffs in the California case to violence. Then, he seeks to link them to white nationalism in a case that has nothing to do with race. But the worst part of the article is probably his suggestion that Charles Murray is a racist, which is based solely on an anonymous accusation of adherence to “white nationalism.” Here is a newsflash for Cleve Wootson:

CLEVE WOOTSON HAS ALSO BEEN CALLED A WHITE NATIONALIST!

Of course, I don’t have to say who called Cleve Wootson a white nationalist because I am using the journalistic standards of Cleve Wootson and The Washington Post. Nor do I need to mention the fact that Cleve Wootson is actually black. I’m not interested in accuracy. I just know that calling someone a white nationalist is the best way to impugn his character and to shut him down when he is trying to speak. What’s good enough for the Washington compost and Cleve Wootson is good enough for me!

Of course, Wootson does not stop at smearing Charles Murray. He smears me in his article, too. For example, he falsely claims that I once referred to “abortion rights activists” as “animals” that “needed to be caged.” That is demonstrably false. My article “Caged Animals” did not make reference to abortion rights activists in general. It made reference to a specific group of activists who had to be placed behind an iron barricade by campus police after they were caught trying to shut down a pro-life event. Hence the title, “Caged Animals.” Wootson is obviously not Swift enough to understand the satire.

It is not enough to lie about me directly. Wootson, who has been called a white nationalist, also links to other articles that lie about me. Specifically, he linked to a petition started on Change.org by an unhinged leftist student from Colorado-Boulder. It contains the following gem:

“Most recently (Adams) wrote an article outing a young woman, using her full name, and mocked her sexuality and religion. Adams’s followers have since begun sending death threats to the student.”

A little research would have shown that the woman I “outed” was the president of an LGBT club who regularly did media interviews on LGBT issues and publicly identified herself as a “queer.” Those are not my words. Those are her words. A little more research would have shown that the accusations of inciting violence were thoroughly investigated. Unsurprisingly, they were proven to be false. No one’s “followers” threatened the fragile social justice warrior. It was just another campus hoax that leftists pretended to believe in order to give their lives meaning.

But none of this business about “truth” matters to Cleve Wootson, who has been called a white nationalist. He got his degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, which is a school that offers fake classes to its semi-literate athletes. He also writes for The Washington Post, which offers fake stories to its semi-literate audience.

Welcome to CSU-S&M

College administrators have a pretty easy job when it comes to free speech. They are simply there to facilitate a free and open marketplace of ideas while remaining viewpoint neutral on the controversies of the day. Sometimes, the universities opt to facilitate advocacy of ideas through the mechanism of mandatory student activity fees. However, the Supreme Court has stated unequivocally that the university can collect such fees only if they proactively ensure that the funds are allocated in a viewpoint-neutral manner.

In stark violation of their obligations under the First Amendment, California State University-San Marcos (CSU-SM) has decided to use mandatory student activity fees in a way that produces two outcomes: 1) Students at are compelled to subsidize speech with which they disagree. 2) Students are denied the right to use a portion of the fees to promote a contrary point of view.

There is nothing wrong with the first of those two outcomes. However, the second one is illegal. That is why my friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have decided to represent Students for Life in a federal lawsuit, which they filed against CSU-SM just last week.

To date, the greatest injustice uncovered in this case involves the revelation that CSU-SM collects $1,300,000 in mandatory fees every year and skims $800,000 off the top to pay the salaries of its administrators. Thus, it seems that these mandatory student fees are little more than job creation programs for bureaucratic activists who are otherwise unemployable. The problem is compounded by the fact that CSU-SM then illegally distributes the remaining half million dollars that is not going directly into their own pockets (hence the term “bureaucratic activists”).

The crux of the illegal distribution problem is that Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) has been given unbridled discretion to dole out the mandatory fees. Unsurprisingly, ASI has exercised this unbridled discretion to allocate the fees in a discriminatory manner. Specifically, ASI favors the viewpoints of two student community centers, the Gender Equity Center (GEC) and the LGBTQA Pride Center, which are both run by the administration.

The decision of ASI to allocate more than $296,000 per year to those two centers virtually guarantees viewpoint discrimination – given that it constitutes more than half of the money the administrators have not skimmed off the top of the collection racket in order to line their own pockets. In fact, during the 2016-2017 academic year, only $38,629 was allotted for the more than 100 student groups at CSU-SM who paid into the corrupt system. This means that a miniscule 3% of all mandatory fees extracted by the administration actually winds up in the hands of student groups to use for their own advocacy. That is about one-twentieth of what administrators pocket for their salaries.

To focus solely on the fact that these administrators are thieves is to risk obscuring the fact that they are also perverts. This year, the administrators gave money to the GEC to host “the ABC’s of LGBTQ: Queer Women” and the so-called “Pleasure Party.” The voluminous GEC spending on sex makes you wonder why they need a separate LGBQTA Center, which, not to be outdone, hosted “Kink 101.” For those wondering, “Kink 101” was an interactive workshop and discussion of bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism—and fetish-style practices. Talk about tying up your tax dollars!

There is more to the controversy than just the centers. Also at the heart of the controversy is a specific ASI allocation to sponsor an Arts & Lectures Series to bring speakers to campus to advocate for certain viewpoints. In contrast, ASI has denied Students for Life at CSU-SM’s request for speaker funding and have supplied two reasons for doing so: 1) ASI limits all student-run organizations to $500 per semester. 2) The student-run organizations are not allowed to use the fees to pay for speakers.

Under the current system, the only speakers members of Students for Life at CSU-SM hear are those they are required to subsidize, which are hired by administrators in the Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Pride Center. It should go without saying that members of the group disagree with the speaker viewpoints, which include advocating for abortion and sexually promiscuous behavior. Yet they are banned from bringing in their own speakers to present a contrary view.

I first learned about all of this last semester when Students for Life at CSU-SM applied for funding and invited me to speak on their campus about the issue of abortion. Unsurprisingly, ASI denied the funding request. That is when I put the students in touch with my old friends (and my former lawyers) at ADF.

As of this writing, ASI continues to provide funding through mandatory fees to the Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Pride Center, allowing them to pay to bring numerous speakers to campus, giving voice to their own views on a variety of topics that conflict with those of Students for Life, including abortion and human sexuality.

However, their chokehold on the marketplace of ideas will soon be broken and students at CSU-SM will be granted the right to bring in their own speakers with opposing viewpoints. In other words, CSU-SM has absolutely no chance of winning this lawsuit.

By defending the indefensible, these petty administrators give the impression that they enjoy inflicting pain upon themselves for pleasure.

University President Schools “Professor” On Free Speech

“Professor” Greg Thatcher of Fresno State was the subject of my last column here on Rightly Offended. If you read the column, you know that my friends at The Alliance Defending Freedom (see www.ADFLegal.org) have sued him. In response, he now says he thinks the lawsuit is “hilarious.” If Thatcher were an intelligent man he would start to take the lawsuit seriously – especially after a recent public statement by Fresno State University President Joseph I. Castro. As you read the following, try not to imagine the sound of a bus running over “Professor” Thatcher:

Fresno State supports and defends the right of students to free speech and the peaceful expression of ideas on campus. The university’s policy is clear: free speech on campus is not limited to a “free speech zone” or any other narrowly defined area. Universities have an obligation to encourage the free expression of ideas, values and opinions.

The students who wrote the chalked messages received prior university approval and were well within their rights to express themselves in this manner.

Those disagreeing with the students’ message have a right to their own speech, but they do not have the right to erase or stifle someone else’s speech under the guise of their own right to free speech. We are reviewing this matter and take the situation very seriously.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro

So, there you have it. Fresno State is not standing behind its fascistic public health professor as this case moves forward. They have thrown him under the bus with a statement, which unequivocally shows him to be in violation of the rights of the student/plaintiffs. You don’t need to be an expert in evidence law to understand that this statement is more than just relevant and admissible in federal court. It is also dispositive in the case against Thatcher. My free advice to “Professor” Thatcher is simple: Go get a lawyer and settle this case as soon as possible.

My free advice for those of you who have time on your hands (assuming you are not a fascist professor who is busy defending himself in a First Amendment lawsuit at his own place of employment) is to write a short “thank you” note to Fresno State University President Joseph I. Castro at this address: presidentjic@csufresno.edu.

We seldom hear university presidents make such strong an unequivocal statements in support of free speech. When they do, they need to hear from us.

Thatcher in the Rye

For the last fifteen years, I’ve been writing about the steady decline in respect for free speech on our college campuses. For those who think that dangerous trend is simply the fault of immature college students, I submit the case of Fresno State University Professor Greg Thatcher for your careful consideration. Before reading my response to Thatcher, please watch his brief sermon on the First Amendment by clicking on this link:

By way of background information, it was back in April that a Fresno State pro-life group received permission to chalk pro-life messages on the sidewalks leading to the university’s library. After they actually put some of the messages on the sidewalk, Thatcher, who teaches public health, confronted the pro-life students. In the confrontation, Thatcher alleged that the students could not chalk messages near the library, and could only engage in expression in the so-called “free speech area.” This is factually inaccurate as the university eliminated the speech zone in June of 2015.

After the president of the pro-life club explained that she had university permission to chalk messages in that precise location, Thatcher threatened to return and erase the messages. But then he did something even worse than that: He actually recruited at least seven students from his class to join him in the patently illegal enterprise of defacing constitutionally protected speech.

Fortunately, the pro-lifers caught the students on film. As seen in the video, they ran from the scene. Note that one fleeing student proclaimed a constitutional right to privacy while publicly violating the free speech rights of others. Thatcher, who is seen in the video wearing shorts and a tee shirt, then came to the rescue and told the pro-lifers, “The whole idea of free speech is that we have a free speech area on campus.” He then added, “Free speech is free speech in the free speech area. It’s a pretty simple concept.”

(Author note: The combination of unprofessional attire and dripping condescension is probably best explained by the fact that Thatcher majored in sociology as an undergraduate before discovering the more prestigious academic discipline known as “public health.”)

Just in case some people within earshot did not understand his elaboration on the “pretty simple concept” of free speech, Thatcher decided to walk over to one of the pro-life messages and offer a visual lesson by erasing it himself. Claiming that he was exercising his own free speech rights, he actually said the following: “You had permission to put it down. I have permission to get rid of it. This is our part of free speech.” He capped it all off by erroneously proclaiming, “College campuses are not free speech areas. Do you understand? Obviously you don’t understand.”

We learn at least five lessons from this incident – all of which I have been trying to express with clarity in my column for the last fifteen years:

1. College administrators, and increasingly college professors, erroneously think they have the right to paper over the constitution with their student handbooks and syllabi (creating things like speech codes and speech zones).

2. College administrators, and increasingly college professors, have so many policies that they cannot even keep track of them (most don’t even know where the miniscule “speech zones” are located).

3. College administrators, and increasingly college professors, think that destroying speech is actually protected speech (see the learned Thatcher in the video).

4. College administrators, and increasingly college professors, think the unconstitutional rules they have created apply to everyone but them (also see Thatcher expressing his “speech” in what he just deemed to be a non-speech area outside the “speech zone.”).

5. College administrators, and increasingly college professors, think it is their job to treat college students like children and shield their innocence by protecting them from “offensive” speech (hence the pun in the title of this column, which was inspired by J.D. Salinger).

In a nutshell, college campuses are free speech areas. “Professor” Greg Thatcher doesn’t understand that. But he is about to learn because pro-life students at Fresno State University are about to sue his little shorts off. And the administration should follow up on this case by firing Thatcher before he is granted tenure.

Otherwise, he will have a lifetime permit to abort free speech before it comes to term.

(Another author note: Go to www.ADFLegal.org to learn more about the fantastic lawyers who have taken this case. They are simply the best in the business.).

How To Treat Trans-Gendered Students

If you are teaching at a secular university and have not yet encountered a student who is going through (or has already been through) gender reassignment, you will before long. I had my first such experience a few years ago and I learned some valuable things in the process. Although my experience occurred within the context of higher education, much of what I learned is equally relevant in other settings. I have written the following with conservative Christians in mind, simply because they are the ones who struggle the most in trying to be compassionate without compromising their principles:

Always use the student’s preferred name. You might call the name of Charlene on the first day of class and be corrected by a voice asking to be called Charlie. Or Patricia might ask to be called Pat. Or the requested change could be something a little less smooth – such as Bruce demanding to be called Caitlyn. Regardless, always show respect for the person by using the name they prefer because it is just that – a preference. There is nothing inherently male or female about a first name. This is a non-issue. Don’t make it one.

Avoid using pronouns. Pronouns are different. When Bruce goes from simply asking to be called Caitlyn to demanding to be called “she” you have a potential problem. Calling Bruce “Caitlyn” is simply honoring a preference. In contrast, calling Bruce “she” is telling a lie. In a nutshell, Bruce is now asking you to accommodate his mental disorder by lying and saying he is something he is not. Just as there is a good reason to refrain from lying and saying “she” there is also good reason to refrain from saying “he.” The reason is that it is completely avoidable. When my first transgendered student asked to be called by a male name on the first day of class I had no idea that she would also become my best and most outspoken student. There were numerous times throughout the semester when her comments were so enlightening that I almost responded by saying something like, “Did everyone hear what she just said?” In such cases, when I came to the part of the sentence with the personal pronoun I simply substituted the student’s first name, which is more personal anyway. Professors who make an issue of this by sending around sheets of paper the first day of class asking for each student’s preferred pronouns are just being pretentious. This is another non-issue. Learn your student’s names and use them whenever you call on them in class. Issue resolved.

Don’t take the bathroom bait. Some people say that North Carolina’s HB2 was an “unnecessary law.” I agree. Had it not been for the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte passing a city ordinance (requiring all private businesses to allow access to any bathroom on the basis of perceived gender), the state legislature would have had no need to address the issue. Generally speaking, transsexuals have quietly used the bathroom of their choice for years with no problem – that is, until LGBT activists politicized the issue.

When my first “transitioning” student decided she wanted to walk into the men’s restroom just as I was walking out I simply ignored her. It was awkward to be certain. But it wasn’t worth calling in the bathroom police. If you are ever assaulted in a bathroom by a transsexual then do what you would do if a normal person outside a bathroom assaulted you: Call the police and/or defend yourself. If not, just go about your business. This is yet another non-issue. Don’t make it one.

Provide an alternate basis for student identity. I cringe every time I hear the phrase “LGBT people” because it implies that those who are outside of the heterosexual norm are somehow defined by their sexuality. As educators, we should have no part in the undignified business of encouraging people to build their identity around their sexuality. We cannot love people by actually encouraging the spiritual evils that victimize them – even when the culture praises us for doing so. Thus, whenever I see my former student (who is obviously going through radical hormonal therapy to appear male) I do not ask her how her gender identity transition is going. I ask her how her studies are going. I thank her for being such an attentive student. I tell her how much I enjoyed having her in my class. I let her know that she stands out because of her mind not because of her membership in a newly contrived class of victims.

This is really all you need to know about how to deal with the transgender issue. Best of all, my advice is free of charge. I guess some problems are so simple they don’t even require a diversity consultant.

one giant leap for person kind

author’s note: i first ran a version of this nine years ago but a recent incident at northern arizona university (nau) has shown that the feminist grammar nazis still have not given up. you may read about that nau incident by clicking here.

when they aren’t attending masturbation workshops and orgasm awareness festivals on unc campuses, our feminist “scholars” are usually thinking of new words to ban in order to make womyn feel more comfortable in the workplace. recently, one of the sociologists at unc-wilmington actually banned the use of the term “mankind” because of its “sexist” overtones. but i write today, not for the purpose of ridiculing this seemingly outlandish feminist censorship. in fact, i’ve decided to join in with some new class rules i’ll use from now on (but not n.o.w. on).

1. all capital letters will be banned. for some feminists, capital letters are a reminder of an erect penis. so, from now on, all my class correspondence will have erectile dysfunction. i regret that i cannot take credit for this idea. it has already been employed by feminists at appalachian state university (sociology department) and unc-chapel hill (english department).

2. i will also ban the word “man,” replacing it with the word “person.” in fact, wherever the letters “m,” “a,” and “n” appear consecutively within a word, they will be replaced with the word “person.” this will be difficult but we will person-age. some examples follow:

democrats tend to favor unfunded government person-dates.
hillary clinton wants to be the first to get a person-icure in the oval office, though not the first to be pleasured in the oval office.
karl marx co-wrote the communist person-ifesto, which is required reading in most gender studies programs.
bill clinton used to fondle women in the governor’s person-sion.
and, finally, we have too person-y person-hating feminists teaching in our universities today.

3. i will also ban the word “his,” replacing it with the word “her.” in fact, wherever the letters “h,” “i,” (or, when appropriate, “y”) and “s” appear consecutively within a word, they will be replaced with the word “hers.” t-hers could be a difficult task. some examples follow:

i really dig hers-panic women, especially jessica alba.
hers-tory shows that fdr really was surrounded by communist spies. alger hers-s was one of them.
she had to go to the hospital to get a hers-terectomy.

4. i will also ban the word “men,” replacing it with the word “people.” in fact, wherever the letters “m,” “e,” and “n” appear consecutively, they will be replaced with the word “people.” this could prove to be a real people-ace. some examples follow:

some think al franken is suffering from male people-opause. i really think liberalism, like socialism, is a people-tal illness.
i’ve really been trying to people-d my differences with illegal aliens but, unfortunately, none of them speak good english.
“people at work” was clearly among the worst bands of the 1980s. “a flock of seagulls” gets honorable people-tion.

now, some – who are not in n.o.w. – will say my new feminist word-banning scheme is a bunch of person-ure. but i think it’s nothing short of hers-terical. and i really hope i’m not sounding people- dacious to my readers.

another author’s note: for those who are not particularly swift, dr. adams is not really going to imple- people-t this scheme. but the story of feminists banning the word “mankind” is, unfortunately, ongoing and true.