The Top 10 Nuttiest Campus Events in 2006

‘Tis the season for traditional fare, and here it’s been tradition to take one last, not-so-fond look back at ten campus events of the expiring year that made us blush, cringe, or otherwise experience unpleasantness. Such as:

10. Inclusion by invitation only. A conference at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill entitled “The Politics of Inclusion: Higher Education at a Crossroads” turned out to illustrate academe’s idea of inclusion by being a highly scripted, by-invitation-only affair.

9. The First Ammphmmph. An audit of speech codes with the UNC system and found that 13 of the 16 campuses had overly restrictive speech policies that could not be upheld in court. The report said that UNC schools were “failing miserably” to uphold speech rights.

8. Athletics tail wags the dogs. NC State fires its head basketball coach and offers one potential successor, Rick Barnes, up to $2.2 million annually (it wasn’t enough). UNC-Chapel Hill fires its head football coach and hires successor Butch Davis for $1.86 million annually, with a retention bonus worth up to $1.1 million for staying for five years.

7. But in Bizarro world, that means we won! In 2004, the Christian outreach fraternity Alpha Iota Omega sued UNC-Chapel Hill for derecognizing it since it required members to subscribe to the beliefs of the group. During the legal wrangling, UNC-CH changed its policies governing student groups to allow belief-based groups to choose membership according to agreement with those beliefs. Therefore, the judge ruled that the issue was now moot — at which point, UNC-CH congratulated themselves publicly for their “victory.”

6. Haven’t jihad enough? A cartoonist for The Daily Tar Heel depicts Muhammad musing over terrorism done in the name of Islam as showing him from his “worst” side. The Muslim Student Association registered its offense, and shortly afterward UNC-Chapel Hill Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Jablonski called the cartoon “hurtful” and Chancellor James Moeser said the paper should apologize.

5. So many cities, so little time. The UNC system sets its sights on the N.C. Wesleyan College as a potential “UNC-Rocky Mount.” Justifications of the idea include (1) Rocky Mount is the largest N.C. city without a UNC institution and (2) that part of the state is like a Third World country and needs “UNC-RM” for economic development.

4. Hey, even Third World “countries” need dentists. Legislators approve funding for another dental school in the UNC system, this one at East Carolina University, saying there aren’t enough dentists in Eastern N.C. Strangely enough, several U.S. states don’t have any dental schools but still manage to find dentists.

3. They want to give us money? What’s next — lynching? Asked about the prospect of accepting funding from the Pope Foundation, which also funds several other university programs as well as the John Locke Foundation and the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a few N.C. State humanities professors went ballistic. Philosophy professor David Auerbach called the grant funds “dirty money,” while “diversity studies” head Sheila Smith-McKoy said it would be like “tak[ing] money from the KKK or the Nation of Islam.”

2. Allah-dega nights. A Muslim student from Iran runs over nine students in the Pit at UNC-Chapel Hill, saying he did it for Allah and to send a message to the U.S. government out of revenge for killing Muslims overseas. Naturally, the big issue for the administration was … not to call the jihadist’s attack on innocent students “terrorism.”

1. Guilt by reason of whiteness. Duke lacrosse: everyone knows what happened. And everyone save, apparently, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong knows what likely didn’t happen. But only some race-pimping professors at Duke could blame “violent, white, male, athletic privilege” and say the “spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Boulevard, regardless of the truth of the most serious charges.”