Report: WSU Profs Threaten Bad Grades if Students Use ‘Male,’ ‘Female’

August 31, 2015

By Joe Newby at

On Saturday, Campus Reform said that students at Washington State University have been told their grades will suffer if they do not “defer” to non-white students. Moreover, students may suffer consequences if they use non-politically correct terms like “illegal alien,” “male” and “female.”

The syllabus for Selena Lester Breikss’ “Women & Popular Culture” class, for example, specifically says that “referring to women/men as females or male” will not be tolerated. “If I see it or hear it, I will correct it in class since it can be a learning moment for many students. Repeated use of oppressive and hateful language will be handled accordingly – including but not limited to removal from the class without attendance or participation points, failure of the assignment, and – in extreme cases – failure for the semester.” Breikss’ syllabus does not provide an alternative for “male” or “female.”

Breikss is not the only instructor with strict rules enforcing liberal political correctness, Campus Reform said. Those enrolled in Rebecca Fowler’s “Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies” course will face harsh measures for using the term “illegal aliens.” Fowler cites the Associate Press stylebook, which no longer sanctions use of the term. Students are told their grade will suffer one point every time the term is used. Other forbidden terms include “white man” and “colored” persons.

Fowler told Campus Reform in an email that “the term ‘illegal alien’ has permeated dominant discourses that circulate in the news to the extent that our society has come to associate ALL unauthorized border crossings with those immigrants originating from countries south of our border (and not with Asian immigrants, for example, many of whom are also in the country without legal documents and make up a considerable portion of undocumented immigrants living in the country).” She added: “The socio-legal production of migrant illegality works to systematically dehumanize and exploit these brown bodies for their labor.”

Students who wish to do well in Prof. John Streamas’s “ Introduction to Multicultural Literature” class, Campus Reform added, are expected to “defer” to non-white students. “Reflect your grasp of history and social relations by respecting shy and quiet classmates, and by deferring to the experiences of people of color,” his syllabus says. He also took a gratuitous swipe at Glenn Beck.

“Insensitive whites such as Glenn Beck complain that, for example, they are not allowed to say the ‘n’ word without being labeled racist but that black men use it among themselves all the time,” he wrote in his syllabus. “To ‘earn’ the right to that word, Beck must first endure 500 years of racism. When you see such words in our books, consider their context.” He also falsely claimed that conservatives “happen to think that the very best books and ideas come from white people — they have an investment in proving themselves superior.” He offered no proof to back up his claim.

In 2006, Streamus was investigated after calling one student a “white s**tbag,” Campus Reform said. The final report called his conduct “immature” and recommended he refrain from using such language in the future.

“Several other WSU professors require their students to ‘acknowledge that racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other institutionalized forms of oppression exist’ or that ‘we do not live in a post-racial world,'” Peter Hasson added. Ari Cohn, a lawyer with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said he found the course requirements contradictory.

“It is notable that one of the syllabus provisions warns: ‘The subject material of this class is sensitive and controversial. Strive to keep an open mind,'” he said. “How are students supposed to approach these sensitive and controversial materials at all, let alone to keep an open mind, if they have to fear that a misconstrued statement, or one that unreasonably offends a classmate will lead to a grade reduction or even removal from class?”

Schools: Washington State University