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The College Fix’s Top 10 most outrageous stories of the 2022-23 school year

OPINION: A highlight reel showcasing just how far from reality academia can travel

Insane. Absurd. Outrageous. There is never a dull moment for daily readers of The College Fix.

Peppered throughout our blanket coverage of pressing issues facing higher education, such as attacks on free speech, the loss of due process and academic freedom, and the corruption of the curriculum, there are also the moments of inanity that far too often pop up on campus. We cover those, too.

Whether it’s a scholar seriously discussing the issue of transfish (you read that right) or an Ivy League university hosting a nearly naked nun dancing sexually with a rosary, frequently things on campus go off the rails, and we are here to sound the alarm. We tell the stories often skipped over by student newspapers and the mainstream press.

These stories not only serve as a canary in a coalmine, but sunlight is also the best disinfectant.

September: Air Force Academy tells cadets to use ‘gender-neutral language,’ avoid ‘Mom and Dad’

Many headlines over the last few years have discussed how critical race theory has infected the branches of the U.S. Military. The bad news is it’s hit our military academies as well. The United States Air Force Academy is supposed to be training cadets — the best of the best — to be ready to defend our nation from its many enemies at a moment’s notice. So why are they bothering with preferred pronouns?

“Include all genders” and “recognize diverse family formation” were among the instructions on an “Inclusive Language” slide shown to cadets. It was part of a training titled “Diversity and Inclusion: What it is, why we care, and what we can do.” The slide instructed cadets to use “partner” rather than “boyfriend or girlfriend” and “parents/caregivers/guardians” instead of “Mom and Dad.” Cadets were also told not say that they are “colorblind” or “they don’t see color” or “we’re all just people.”

October: Ecological restoration is like ‘gender confirmation surgeries,’ trans river scientist tells Princeton students

When we learned of the title and subject of this guest lecture at one of our nation’s Ivy League institutions, we wondered if it was a hoax or some sort of academic satire. It was not.

One of our campus reporters attended the event to confirm: they are totally serious. The “queer-trans-feminist river scientist” discussed research grounded in a “queer and trans focus on love and grief for rivers and fish” at an event titled “Underflows: Queer and Trans Among Rivers.” What will they think of next?

November: Topless ‘nun’ performs sexualized burlesque at Dartmouth drag show

Ever wonder what goes on at storied Ivy League universities such as Dartmouth? Look no further than our story from November on a drag show that featured a burlesque performance of a dancer dressed as a nun, proving that the only religion you can mock — and be celebrated for it — is Christianity.

The roughly three-minute dance began with the performer — who goes by “they” with a stage name of “Grim Noir” — kneeling. Then the dancer gyrated on a chair and stripped off their black robe, revealing tights with crosses on them and pasties covering their nipples. Performed to the song “Sinners,” the dance concluded with the performer touching their breasts and swinging a rosary around in the air before ending in genuflection.

December: Stanford language guide warns against saying ‘American’

Stanford University came under national fire after a 13-page language guide created by some of its administrators surfaced. It warned against, among many things, using the word “Americans” because the term “often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the America.” “Americans” was one of dozens of words and phrases listed in the “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative.” Other verboten phrases were “blind study” and “blind review.” Instead use “anonymous review,” the guide stated, because using the word blind furthers “an ableist culture.” The words crazy, clumsy, dumb, insane, lame, retarded, OCD and spaz were also in the no-go zone.

Phrases such as “bury the hatchet,” “low man on the totem pole,” “on the warpath,” “spirit animal” and “pow wow” were also warned against: “Culturally appropriative language misuses terms that hold meaning to a particular culture in a way that often lacks respect or appreciation,” the guide stated.

January: Scholars develop ‘Plantifa’ curriculum to promote eco-justice ‘guerrilla gardening’

Move over, Antifa! There’s a new sheriff in town. In order to stop horrible humans from destroying the planet two scholars have developed Plantifa, which is situated “at the intersections of anti-fascism, eco-justice, decolonization, and arts-based curriculum theories.”

“We feel that education rooted in a Plantifa curriculum can be one potential way for both teachers and communities to use a diversity of tactics to fight climate change and subvert power structures working against environmental justice,” the scholars wrote. The scholars suggest students engage in the practice of guerrilla gardening, “a subversive and communal eco-justice approach to environmental degradation and inequity.” Anti-fascist guerrilla gardeners, they write, assist “nature in breaking trespassing laws, where it is really the insatiable consumption inherent under capitalism which has trespassed Earth.”

February: Fauxcahontas — White female scholars keep pretending to be Native American

Every six months or so it seems another Native American scholar is outed as a plain ol’ white woman. Most recently was Erika Wurth, an English professor at Western Illinois University, whose claims to Native American ancestry were meticulously debunked by activists and researchers. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. The College Fix has covered at least four additional examples in recent years. For example, a “Pretendian” Native American UC Berkeley professor late last year admitted she actually is white. The common thread in these cases is women who have advanced in a variety of ways based on a false or unprovable identification as indigenous.

March: Michigan State inclusive language guide: ‘bunny,’ ‘gift,’ ‘America’ are offensive

The latest “inclusive language” guide offering came from Michigan State University, where now even words like “bunny,” “gift” and “nickname” are considered offensive. The guide stated that “in alignment with strategic efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion […] Michigan State University values communications practices that support belonging for all Spartans.”

In the Race and Ethnicity section, terms to avoid include “Blacks” (allegedly derogatory), “Caucasian” and “racial minority” (reasons not explained), and “at-risk.” But it’s the guide’s section on Global Identity that’s arguably the biggest head-scratcher. Deep-thinking Michigan State DEI officials believe the following “references to majority imagery” should be bypassed: “merry,” “Christmas trees,” “wreaths,” “holly,” “bells,” “gifts,” “reindeer,” “bunnies,” “eggs” and “chicks.”

April: ‘Bodily fluids’ film fest hosted by Oberlin ‘decolonial’ scholar

Oberlin College students recently organized a film fest with archived pornographic footage as part of a course on “decolonizing cinema.” Attendees at the event had a variety of viewing opportunities which “included a film created solely with the artist’s mouth, a 1970s-era feminist film on menstruation, and a 16-minute-long recording of an intimate performance in which one artist shaves another’s lower body.”

“The organization of this event started with a Winter Term project: Decolonizing Cinema History, taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Jennifer Blaylock,” the student newspaper reported. “The films screened at the event spanned a wide range of topics and forms, but were tied together by their focus on bodies and bodily fluids,” it reported.

May: Georgetown, oldest Catholic university in U.S., erects large mosque on campus

The oldest Catholic university in the nation literally erected a massive mosque on its campus. Construction has been underway for a few years and it was fully completed this spring semester. It was billed as a first of its kind in terms of having all the bells and whistles a mosque is supposed to have: ablution stations, a spirituality and formation hall and a halal kitchen.

The Catholic Georgetown is not shy about embracing Islam. Its news release touted the fact that Georgetown was also the first U.S. university to hire a full-time Muslim imam 24 years ago. In 2016, students at Georgetown University elected a Muslim student to serve as their student association president, a first for the school.

MORE: Here are 8 times ‘nooses’ on campus turned out to be hate crime hoaxes

MAIN IMAGE: Twin Design / Shutterstock; Inside, social media screenshots, courtesy photos

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