EDITORS' PICKS: Top 5 outrageous stories of 2021

Below are the five articles the Campus Reform editors have selected as the most outrageous stories of 2021.

For more than 10 years, Campus Reform’s coverage of liberal bias in higher education has reported on crazy, even outrageous, incidents on America’s college campuses. 

This year alone, Campus Reform reported on a variety of courses, events, and movements that have happened at American higher education institutions that perpetuate anti-American ideals and values, some of which include supporting defund the police movements

Below are the five stories the Campus Reform editors have selected as the most outrageous of 2021. 

5.University tells students say ‘picnic’ or ‘policeman’ because they are ‘offensive’ terms

The Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC) at Brandeis University has released an “Oppressive Language List” on its website that encourages the school community to cease using the term “policeman.”

“Police Officer” is the university’s preferred term and appears under a set of “Possible Alternatives” for language that PARC deems to be “violent,” “identity-based,” “person-first,” “culturally appropriative,” or that “doesn’t say what we mean.” 

PARC designates “killing it” and “trigger warning” as “violent language” due to their “connections to guns for many people.” The university office also includes “picnic” in the same section, alleging that the word is historically associated with lynchings.  

Reuters has previously reported on the word “picnic” and found that it “does not originate from racist lynchings.”

4. EXCLUSIVE: Virginia Tech syllabus apologizes for instructor’s White skin

Virginia Tech University Department of Human Development and Family Science removed Crystal Duncan Lane from teaching a course after she apologized for her Whiteness in the course syllabus.  

April Few-Demo, the head of the Department of Human Development and Family Science, sent a message to students in Human Development 1134 to announce that Duncan Lane had to be removed from the course due to “a special circumstance.” 

Assistant Vice President of University Relations Mark Owczarski confirmed to Campus Reform that “Ms. Duncan Lane began the fall term teaching four classes; she is now teaching two classes.”

Campus Reform reported last month that Duncan Lane inserted a “Who I am” section in her Human Development 1134 syllabus in which she discussed her race and experience with racism. 

“I am a Caucasian cisgender female and first-generation college student from Appalachia who is of Scottish, British, and Norwegian heritage. I am married to a cisgender male, and we are middle class. While I did not ‘ask’ for the many privileges in my life: I have benefitted from them and will continue to benefit from them whether I like it or not,” Duncan Lane’s statement read.

Virginia Tech subsequently replaced the instructor.

3. Profs help push program that claims math is ‘racist’ because it requires a ‘right answer’

An Oregon Department of Education newsletter from February promoted an online course designed to “dismantle” instances of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom.”  One example of “white supremacy” highlighted by the course was “the concept of mathematics being purely objective,” an idea which the resource stated is “is unequivocally false.” 

The program, known as “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” describes itself as “an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students” that provides “opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice.”

The “feedback advisors” for a portion of the program include William Zahner, who is an associate professor at San Diego State University; Melissa Navarro Martell, who is an assistant professor at San Diego State University, and Elvira Armas, who is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University in California.

“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the guide states. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”

2. Bard College course: ‘Abolishing Prisons and the Police’

One Bard College course offered during the fall 2021 semester taught students how to “sell” abolishing prisons to Americans.

The course was part of the school’s Hate Studies Initiative, an initiative that investigates the “Inquiries into the human capacity to define, and then dehumanize or demonize, an ‘other,’ and the processes which inform and give expression to, or can curtail, control, or combat, that capacity.”

Other courses that offered under the initiative include “Stalin and Power,” “Technology, Labor, Capitalism,” and “Sexualities.”  

1.  Surveillance on campus: Universities give students tools to report on each other’s COVID violations or ‘bias incidents’

Michigan State University’s Culturally Inclusive College Sharing System (CIC) enabled the university to “track and respond to behaviors and situations that work to support or detract from [its] goals of a safe and supportive environment.”

Similar COVID-reporting strategies at other universities encouraged students to report peers who do not comply with COVID-19 regulations. 

Until the Fall 2021 semester, University of Cincinnati students were required to use the UC COVID Check App every morning. Without a “green pass,” students were barred from entering campus facilities. 

In late September, Penn State University suspended 117 students for not complying with COVID-19 testing requirements. 

That same week, Purdue University disciplined 27 unvaccinated students for missing surveillance testing required for unvaccinated students.