You have to wonder what’s going on at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. – just across the bay from San Francisco.
It is by definition a Roman Catholic institution, founded and operated by the Christian Brothers.
That may be the definition, but the reality is that the college has fallen victim to the pervasive secularization afflicting just about every Roman Catholic college and university in the country.
What happened is encapsulated in the headline in the local newspaper, the Contra Costa Times, on April 27: “Saint Mary’s disciplines professor.”
It seems that the college administration punished a singing instructor for having “offended” a male senior who is black.
The complaint by the student, E.J. Youngblood, to the administration brought down the wrath of academic hell on Louis Lebherz, an artist in residence at the school who also is teaching classes.
What evil did Louis Lebherz bring down on E.J. Youngblood and other offended students in his voice class?
Why he was teaching and using historic music – using the original version of the classic song “Old Man River” which contains words about blacks and slaves the PC cops deem unacceptable. The current version of the show tune has been scrubbed clean.
According to college provost Beth Dobkin, that decision has affected Lebherz’ future teaching at the college. She told the Times, “It already has, but I can’t tell you to what extent. We’re continuing to discuss our future relationship with him.”
In other words, because the school considers the original lyrics racist, the teacher must be punished.
So his choice of a legitimate piece of historic music in a college class added up to what appears to be a critical infraction of St. Mary’s moral codes enforced on a music instructor by the college PC police and caused by a thin-skinned college senior who clearly isn’t ready to enter the real world after graduation.
What a mouthful. What a mess. But it gets worse. Not only was Mr. Lebherz called on the carpet and his future at the college called into jeopardy, he had to be made to grovel, publically.
He had to apologize to the class for using the original song lyrics. He wrote an apology letter to the “offended” student.
“I sincerely wish to apologize to you for my insensitivity in having a student sing a song which called attention to the racial problems that were and are a serious problem for our nation, and also for our own institution.”
Is he saying that slavery is a serious problem for our nation? Is he saying that goes on at St. Mary’s? How could he write that with a straight face?
St. Mary’s is running scared because it was criticized two years ago by regional accreditors because of alleged “shoddy race relations and a lack of diversity.”
Empowered by that, minority students on campus have been pressuring the school with accusations in the same vein concerning “campus intolerance” and the usual complaint in such situations, a lack of minority professors.
But the humiliation of the teacher wasn’t done yet. He was forced to attend “diversity training.”
It’s nice to know that an institution of higher learning, a Roman Catholic school at that, is making use of an insidious form of brainwashing. Reportedly, Mr. Lebherz complied.
Was the aggrieved student satisfied with the public humiliation and degradation of his teacher?
Of course not. He also wants the man fired.
But then, he says he doubts that will happen because Lebhertz’ brother is a college trustee. So, not satisfied with his claims of racism and being “offended” by words in a song, E. J. Youngblood raises the spectre of nepotism because the man wasn’t fired on the spot.
Talk about the politics of destruction. Kids learn it young, these days. Then to add insult to injury, college officials are complicit. How destructive to a decent, liberal arts education.
Be warned. If you’re an independent educator immersed in the traditional belief that the job of educating young people is to teach them to think logically so they can learn the truth and evaluate it in context, it would appear that St. Mary’s College, and others of its ilk, are not for you.
They will serve you up to the wolves and spare nothing in their humiliation of you before the administration, faculty, students and the public.
For what? To accommodate the thin-skinned racial sensitivities of a black student who hasn’t the basic intelligence to see that ignoring the facts of history doesn’t change them? How sad.
No one denies the reality of slavery, but to better and fully understand what was involved, how it worked and the effect on the people involved, our educational system should, and must, tell the truth – all of it – and do it with courage.
I wish Louis Lebherz would resist the pressure and show the ultimate courage.
Tell St. Mary’s, “I quit!”