Metro State campus is in downtown Denver
Students in an English class at Metropolitan State College in Denver have been told to assemble criticisms of GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin that “undermine” her, and students say they are concerned about the apparent bias.
“This so-called ‘assignment’ represents indoctrination in its purist form,” said Matt Barber, director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, whose sister, Janna, is taking the class from Andrew Hallam, a new instructor at the school.
The instructor also, according to students, is harshly critical of President Bush during his classroom English presentations. He reportedly has allowed students who identify themselves as “liberal” to deride and ridicule those who identify themselves as “conservative” or Republican.
“So much for critical thinking. What’s happening in that classroom represents a microcosm for what’s happening with the angry left around the country,” Matt Barber told WND. “The visceral and even abusive reaction Hallam and some of his students are having against Sarah Palin and Republican students in the class is occurring on a much larger scale among left-wing elitists throughout the media, academia and the larger Democratic Party.”
The assignment was just one issue that several students raised. Hallam, who previously told students he expected them to be “courteous,” assigned an essay about Palin’s nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
“Arguably, the entire event was designed to present Sarah Palin in an idealized – indeed, as if her life is like a fairy tale in which America could be included if she is voted into office with John McCain,” he wrote in a copy of the assignment provided to WND by students. “Note her body language, facial expressions, the way she dressed, what she said and who she pointed out or talked about in her speech. How do these elements form a ‘fairy tale’ image about Sarah Palin as a person and as a politician that the Republican Party may wish its members and the American public to believe? How may the story ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and/or Tanith Lee’s ‘Awake’ be used to compare the image of Palin with fairy tales, especially as they portray women, their behavior, and their lives?”
He said students should find commentaries that criticize Palin.
“Using clear reasoning, explain how these sources may undermine or otherwise paint a different picture of Palin as a person and as a politician than what she or the Republican Party may wish the American public to believe,” he said.
There was no opening for students to find commentaries or statements supporting Palin or her positions. But Janna Barber, who is among the students who have raised concerns about the instructor, said she would do the assignment and include a number of supportive arguments as well.
There was no answer at Hallam’s phone number, and a WND e-mail to him did not generate a response over four days. Cindy Carlson, the head of the Metro State English department, said she was unaware of the concerns. She said Hallam was available for two hours a week, one hour each on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“People who irrationally lash out in such a way do so for a reason. In this case, I believe the reason is fear,” Matt Barber told WND. “Sarah Palin has connected with a majority percentage of Americans and the polls reflect that connection. She poses a direct threat to Barack Obama’s candidacy and they know it. She’s about to upset the applecart. She’s about to undo much of what they’ve accomplished. Imagine Sarah Palin as a role model for millions upon millions of young girls. Imagine those young girls embracing life over death on the abortion issue, embracing true feminism over radical feminism. They absolutely can’t allow that to happen and will stop at nothing to destroy her. We expect liberal bias from the media and those in academia. But this time around, the bias is off the charts. It’s exposed the left for who they truly are, and we have Sarah Palin to thank for it.”
Matt Barber told WND his sister is one of five students who have been belittled by the teacher, and “bullied and harassed” by other students “because they support McCain-Palin.”
The students had documented a series of incidents in which Hallam reportedly told his class, “Bush-bashing is one of my favorite things to do.”
In another class, the students report, Hallam said he loved swearing and the f-word was his favorite word.
“He used the f-word a few more times that day,” they reported.
When Hallam handed out the Palin writing assignment, the students reported “he said he would give the Republicans a chance to speak about it and asked who in the class was a Republican. Five of us raised our hands. When we did, [one other student] … said ‘F*** you!’ Mr. Hallam did nothing about this. At the end of the class period, after a lot of the Republicans had voiced their side of the issue, another kid said, ‘They’re full of s***, but we let them talk anyway.’”
Gov. Sarah Palin and ABC’s Charlie Gibson yesterday
A video shows Palin asking the congregation to pray that the nation’s leaders would send troops to Iraq “on a task that is from God.” But Gibson, apparently getting his information from an Associated Press story, frames the question with the assumption Palin is contending the U.S. was sending troops to Iraq on a mission from God.
“Are we fighting a holy war?” Gibson asked.
Palin disputed the characterization, pointing out she was paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, who said, “Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.”
The Times said Gibson “went on to take a second part of her comments out of context. Palin had asked the group to pray ‘that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.’”
But Gibson dropped her reference to praying, the Times said, and instead quoted Palin as saying the war was God’s plan.
The McCain campaign also criticized ABC’s characterization of Palin’s statement.
“Gov. Palin’s full statement was VERY different from the way Gibson characterized it,” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said.