Vandalism for credit

Via Right Reason, another weird story from the Claremont colleges: Two students painted anti-SUV slogans on SUVs as a class assignment. (They used some sort of washable paint.) The professor said the students misinterpreted her instructions to express their “political voice.”

The students expressed environmental concerns about SUVs by writing statements such as “I use 33% more gas than a car,” “consumption machine,” and “I heart pollution.”

“It was not a well thought out action,” said Professor Yvonne Houy, who teaches a course titled Political Activism in Film and Media at Pomona. Recently, she told students in the class to exercise their political voice, not imagining that the two students in question would decide to fulfill the assignment in such an atypical — and illegal — manner.

Later, a memo from the dean said the students had received written approval for the vandalism before defacing the cars; Houy she said she’d “inadvertently” approved the idea. Houy is a professor of German Studies.

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Comments

  1. Foobarista says:

    Do they get bonus class credit for being guests at the county lockup? That goes along with the “political voice” thing…

  2. Mad Scientist says:

    Well, I guess the good professor is going to learn the virtue of hard work. The hard work required to pay for the damages. Reversing vandalism of that type is quite expensive. To repaint a door on my Envoy is something close to $600.

  3. Richard Nieporent says:

    So Pomona College approves a course taught by someone in the German Department on political activism in Film and Media. Just what expertise does Prof. Huoy have to teach such a course? The answer of course is none. It appears that Leftwing activism trumps scholarship at our elite colleges. If this is what passes for education at our “progressive” colleges, maybe we should be more worried about the students who excel in high school as opposed to the ones who don’t do as well and can’t get into these elite colleges.

  4. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    While I don’t understand why this course is listed as a “German Studies” course the problem was not as major as is stated in Joanne’s post. The anti-SUV slogans were not spray painted on but painted on using a washable substance. One article speculates shoe polish and that appears to be the case from the pictures.

    Yes, Claremont colleges is a very weird place and I would not send a child there. But perhaps (guessing) the Liberal ideology classes are taught in German? If so, I can see that it would be fun to take such a class if the instructor was concerned about the student’s ability to express their ideas as opposed to the ideas the student was trying to express.

    Clarification: I read this Blog a lot and I have never known Joanne to post anything as fact that was less than accurate. I do not mean to imply that she deliberately misrepresented the damage as being more extensive than it was.

  5. My daughter at Pomona writes:

    “The thing that’s even funnier is that when I went to lunch yesterday there were two people with petitions by the lunch line. One was asking for us to sign to ban suvs or something like that and the other was asking for us to sign to ban vandalism.”

  6. Andy Freeman says:

    > The anti-SUV slogans were not spray painted on but painted on using a washable substance. One article speculates shoe polish and that appears to be the case from the pictures.

    Everything is washable. If you’re suggesting that shoe polish comes off easily, I’ll be happy to demonstrate otherwise on your stuff.

    And, even if whatever marker they used come off easily, that doesn’t change things. Disagree? I’ll be happy to chalk your clothes and see how you feel about “temporary” vandalism.

    It’s past time to be making excuses for thugs.

    Pick a side. If you think that they’re right, and their victims deserved it, say so.

  7. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    Andy,
    Sure, you have a deal. You can come and put shoe polish on the windows of my car and I get to spray paint your car. No big difference between the two.

    If you chalked any of my expensive clothes then I would be mad but I would probably laugh it off. If you were to throw paint on my leather jacket and my clothes then you have committed a felony and you better hope that there is a law enforcement officer around to arrest you.

    You are an embarrassment in all honesty. I don’t understand what it is in some people’s nature that makes them think that those who disagree with them are evil. That is one of the main problems with our current political/social system in my opinion. We are not content to disagree with someone and to think that they may have made a stupid mistake. No, we have to think they are “thugs” and we have to “Pick a side”. According to the wisdom of the day George Bush is Hitler and John Kerry is a traitor to his country. No trying to understand where the otherside is trying to come from. No trying to understand our Brothers and Sisters. No, let’s pick sides against those heathens who do not agree with us.

  8. Andy Freeman says:

    > You can come and put shoe polish on the windows of my car and I get to spray paint your car.

    Touchy about the “no big deal” being revealed as significant aren’t we.

    > I don’t understand what it is in some people’s nature that makes them think that those who disagree with them are evil.

    And the misunderstanding evidently extends to accurately identifying said people.

    Disagree all you want; I don’t have any problem with people who disagree.

    But, if you’re a thug, or a thug apologist, don’t think you’re an angel, regardless of your position.

    And, if you’re going with “it was a mistake”, you don’t get to argue “but it was nothing”.

    The non sequitors and tangents were flying a bit thick for me to notice, or care, whether RtHC was claiming that they weren’t thugs or that it was bad manners to point that out.

    Bit of advice – this is an education blog – the local bling is test scores.

  9. “Washable paint”: Back when I was a kid at Halloween time, this was called “soap”, the kind that comes in bars. And even that takes a fair amount of work to clean off a car windshield. Some of the worst-behaved kids would use paraffin wax, which is quite hard to remove from glass, and even harder to get off of paint without damage. Shoe polish (if that’s what it was) is not water soluble and is based on some kind of oil or wax. It’s not washable. I’m not sure if it would be scrubbable without damaging the finish.

    First off, this professor and her two stooges, I mean students, should be out there cleaning off cars. If there’s paint damage, garnish her wages to pay for paint jobs.

    Second, Claremont better make sure she teaches only German in the future.

  10. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    Markm,
    From the pictures I saw the substance looked like shoe polish and was on windshields.

    I agree totally they should be out scrubbing off the cars. That would be a punishment that would fit the crime. If there was any actual paint damage caused then my opinion is that it moves from prank to crime.

    The class was offered as a German class so technically she was teaching a German class. If the purpose of the class is to discuss a contemporary issue in the German language then I can see the benefit. If the course is not taught in German then I can’t see how it belongs in the German department but since I don’t send my children to Claremont and I don’t pay California taxes I am not overly worried about any odd ideas Claremont might have. If I was a parent considering where I might want to send my child to college I know that given all of the problems Claremont has had it would not make the list of colleges to be considered.