"This has everything to do with my being an outspoken conservative leader on campus"
Aurora, NY May 13th, 2005:
A Republican and conservative student leader at Wells College in upstate New York is alleging anti-conservative bias after the school suspended her just three weeks shy of her scheduled graduation.
Wells senior Nicole Krogman is the Co-Chairman of the Wells College Republicans and an editor of the Cornell American, a conservative publication at nearby Cornell University. She is the most high-profile conservative student at Wells.
In her final semester at Wells, Krogman undertook a non-credit bearing independent study tutorial with Professor Linda Lohn, Chair of Wells' American Studies Department.
There was minimal communication between Krogman and Lohn during the course of the semester. Suddenly, on April 5th, rather than hearing from Lohn, Krogman received notice from the college's "Community Court," a quasi-judicial body composed of students and faculty. She was informed that her tutorial project had to be completed within seven days, failing which she would be held "in contempt of court." Given the extensive nature of the work involved and the rush of end-of-semester assignments, it was not possible for Krogman to complete the project on such a short deadline.
Thereafter, the Community Court found Krogman in contempt of court, and suspended her for the remainder of the spring semester.
Wells College President Lisa Marsh Ryerson thereafter rejected Krogman's appeal of the ruling.
Krogman was subsequently informed by Diane Koester, Dean of Academics at Wells, that not only would she be suspended for the remainder of the semester, but that Krogman would not be permitted to take "incompletes" in any of her classes, meaning that her entire grade would be based on less than a full semester's work, without being allowed to submit final papers or exams, making up a significant portion of the grade. This would result in Krogman failing at least two other courses. As a result of such failures, Krogman would in turn be placed on academic suspension for a full year.
Ironically, Krogman was charged with "contempt" on April 15th, just one day after the "Republican Coming Out Day" that she and others in her college Republican club had organized, a day dedicated to encouraging "closet Republicans" on campus to reveal their political orientation in the face of the college's prevailing liberal culture. It was also the day that, at the invitation of the Wells Republicans, conservative commentator Star Parker spoke on campus.
Said Krogman: "I honestly do believe that this has everything to do with my being the most outspoken conservative on campus. It is my deep conviction that a liberal or feminist campus leader would never have received the same treatment."
Continued Krogman: "In her public statements in class, Professor Lohn has often displayed contempt for Republicans and conservatives. For example, as per my class notes for "Introduction to American Cultural Studies," on September 8, 2004 Prof. Lohn stated that "'family values' were Republican propaganda used as a 'racial manifesto' by the far right." In the same course, on October 27th, 2004, Professor Lohn condemned Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" for encouraging women "to submit to men's wishes." Lohn described "Christian values" as meaning: "accept your place in society."
Said Krogman's representative, Mark Finkelstein: "This is the latest and most extreme example of a pattern of bias against Republican students at Wells.
"In 2003, when the Wells Republican club published its study revealing that more than 90% of its humanities faculty members [including Prof. Lohn] were registered Democrats, Wells professor Jonathan Vawter responded with a campus-wide e-mail labeling Republicans "stupid," and calling for "lobotomies" for all Republicans. Shortly thereafter, Wells' student assembly denied the Wells Republicans' request for recognition as an official club, which would have qualified them for funding."
"This is truly cruel and unusual punishment. We demand that Wells immediately lift the suspension, give Nicole the opportunity to complete course work and finals, and graduate with the rest of her class on May 28th."
Next: Commencement Bias, 2005