This week the Fool of the Week is an unnamed teacher at Bellevue Community College in Washington state.
This teacher is in the math department of the college. Several students complained in March about the wording of a question on a practice test for a math final. The question read: "Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300 foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second." The question asked when the watermelon would hit the ground based on the formula provided.
The question is bringing cries of racial insensitivity. As soon as the name in the question is read, Secretary of State Rice is brought up in one's mind. And the students mentioned if it is claimed that she was not the person in mind, how many people are there with that name and that spelling of it? And how many people named Condoleezza are associated with a Federal Building? When the students felt they were not taken seriously with their complaint, they met eith the chairman of the math department who agreed to remove the question from the department's files. Rev. Wayne Perryman, a Mercer Island civil rights activist sent out e-mails to friends across the country asking for support. It created a snowball effect and the college has received hundreds of e-mails.
The president of the college, Jean Floten, held an open campus meeting and emotionally apologized for the offensive math question. She praised the courage of the students to come forward with their concerns towards attitudes behind the question. President Floten did not mention the teacher's name.
Floten sent an e-mail to students, faculty and staff saying she took "personal ownership that this act of institutional racism could happen despite a collegewide initiative pursued over many years to establish a safe and tolerant place for all to learn."
She did the right thing.
You may notice this is my second post on a Friday. I must be feeling it today.
Little Kendrick is still missing.
Reminder: The time is running out to submit a question for my blog interview with Basil. Go to www.basilsblog.net and ask away. He will send me the questions Sunday evening. When I respond and he puts them up on his site, I'll let you know.
Happy Good Friday.