Biology class is supposed to be about reptiles, amphibians and evolution among other things, but at one public university in Pennsylvania, President Bush is front and center – literally. A picture of the President’s face comprised of smaller pictures of soldiers who have died in combat is the centerpiece of a bulletin board at Shippensburg University.
According to Walt Bair, who graduated from the public school this past May, the board is located within the Franklin Science Center and is maintained by Dr. Pablo Delis, a biology professor. “At first, and from a distance, one would think that the board is an informational bulletin board. But, at a second and closer look, you can see what it is…nothing but liberal bashing of the American President,” says Bair.
The board reads like a advertisement bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee with some messages so bizarre you’d think Howard Dean himself was responsible for its content. Surrounding the disturbing photo of President Bush are several other pieces of left-wing propaganda: “I Think Therefore…I Voted Democrat;” “Ignorance And Arrogance Do Not Make Good Foreign Policy;” “Want Peace? Vote Bush Out;” “Bush, Cheney 2004: One Person, One Vote. Offer Not Valid In Florida Or Ohio;” “W – Stands For Wrong;” “Practice Abstinence in 2008: No More Bush. No More Dick;” “W – Like A Rock But Dumber;” and “Impeachment: It’s Not Just For Sex Anymore.”
Bair doesn’t think there’s any need for a bulletin board that expresses political views within a science building – especially one maintained by a biology professor. “Furthermore,” Bair says, “students will and most likely have refused to speak their minds in this professor’s class because of his liberal leaning. A student with the least conservative views or support for our president would most definitely fear retaliation from such a liberal professor.” Bair, who earned a degree in geo-environmental studies and spent two years as president of the College Republicans, says he knows of several students who also believe this board is inappropriate.
While he isn’t exactly sure who’s posting all of these anti-Bush, anti-conservative pieces, Bair says Professor Delis at least manages the board. The recent graduate, who used to walk past the bulletin board, says he’s never seen the message change. “The only thing that changes is that they occasionally replace one conservative parody with another…I have never seen any conservative point of view on the board except for the scribbles some students deface it with.”
Although Human Events made several attempts to contact Prof. Pablo Delis and administrators at Shippensburg University, no one responded to calls or e-mails except one professor who asked not to be quoted and referred us to the school’s spokesman, Dr. Gigliotti. Unfortunately, he, too, chose not to return our multiple calls and e-mails concerning the “bullying board.”
Before Shippensburg University gave Human Events the cold shoulder and refused to answer our questions, we had anticipated the school to defend the anti-Bush propaganda citing “academic freedom” – a vague and ambiguous phrase used by colleges and university’s to excuse the actions of radical teachers and their curriculums. While most graduates of Shippensburg University probably appreciate the benefits of their expansive and manifold education, shouldn’t the issue of “academic freedom” within a biology department concern matters of biology – you know, like evolution versus creationism or cloning or stem-cell research?
In all fairness, the “bullying board” does contain at least two postings that address topics closely related to science. One message says, “Dick Cheney: How Many Lives Per Gallon?” I’m not quite sure what that means, but since it hints at anatomy, I suppose a science teacher could claim “academic freedom.” The other message says, “American No-Carb Diet: No Cheney, No Ashcroft, No Rumsfeld, No Bush.” The “No-Carb Diet” is referenced by highlighting the first letter of each man’s name thus spelling out the word “C.A.R.B.” I guess this could fall under nutrition or food science.
Bair says he didn’t go to administrators to complain about the board because students’ “complaints against liberalism on campus often fall on deaf and liberal ears.” And as far as Prof. Delis’s actions in-class, Bair isn’t exactly sure what goes on since he never had the professor as an instructor. “I cannot say that I have heard of anyone complain about him making anti-conservative, Bush-bashing, or political statements during lectures. However, I think the bulletin board speaks for itself.”
It certainly does. And, it’s a shame that administrators at Shippensburg University – a public school where tax dollars help fund the educational endeavors – will not justify, comment on or defend the actions of Prof. Delis and the “bullying board.” Although it is paramount that college professors have the ability to afford their students a well-rounded education through perspective and insight, it does not mean educators have carte blanche when it comes to influencing the minds of our nation’s youth. Any action a college or university condones, it should also be able to defend and justify.
Some will object to this criticism of Shippensburg’s “bullying board,” claiming it’s an issue of academic freedom, as well as freedom of speech. They’re missing the boat. This is not about freedom of speech as much as it is an issue of appropriate speech. If Prof. Delis and other students want to express their political beliefs, a bulletin board within the school’s science building, maintained by a biology professor is not the appropriate place to do it. Someone needs to remind them, they’re supposed to be studying biology not “Bush-ology.” And if the school continues to allow such left-wing, Democrat propaganda to be posted within its halls of academia, someone then needs to remind Shippensburg that that ship is sinking if it hasn’t already sunk!