A controversial mural depicting a KKK rally will remain in an Indiana University classroom despite protests from some black students that it was a form of harassment, reports The Herald-Times

But to mitigate the feelings of disenfranchisement the university will redouble its efforts to promote diversity on campus.

IU administrators said that before anyone can use the offensive classroom they must sit through a 30-minute diversity video and discussion. The university also promised to spend $5 million to attract and retain minority faculty and students, as well as start a One for Diversity fund that will help address the appalling absence of "multicultural" art across the campus.

The mural in question, painted by Thomas Hart Benton in 1933, provoked criticism from black students who said it created a hostile environment. It is one of a 26-panel series depicting the history of Indiana.

More Cow Cruelty

A Connellsville, Pa., high school's plan to put a cow out to pasture in order to make money for a prom will go on despite protests from a group of animal rights extremists that the fundraiser is demeaning to the animal, reports the Daily Courier.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals objected to the fundraiser, suggesting that it be "immediately replaced with a more humane and truly entertaining one." A cruelty caseworker with the group said it is opposed to any event that uses animals as a form of entertainment. "Specifically, it's very demeaning to the animal," she said.

In the contest, players pay $10 each for any number of 3,000 squares marked off on the school lawn. A cow is then led onto the lawn to do its business, and the square with the most pies wins $10,000.

Speedy's Exile

Cartoon character Speedy Gonzales has been deemed an offensive ethnic stereotype of Mexicans, and has been off the air since the Cartoon Network became the sole U.S. broadcaster of old Warner Brothers cartoons in late 1999.

Speedy's association with a coterie of drunken Mexican mice who lounge around the village, and his lazy cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, portrays Mexicans in a bad light, the network believes.

"We're not about pushing the boundary," said Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg. "We're not HBO. We have a diverse audience and we have an impressionable audience."

There is one place where Speedy can still be found zipping across TV screens, however, a place where the crude stereotypes he embodies don't touch a cultural nerve. That place is the Cartoon Network Latin America (including Mexico), where Speedy Gonzales is hugely popular. 

One Big Happy Family

A New Jersey community is being splintered by arguments over whom a new school building should be named for, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.

The squabbling centers on a school being built in New Brunswick to replace one currently named for Revolutionary War militia leader William Alexander. Hispanic leaders in town gathered signatures asking that the school be named for Eugenio Maria de Hostos, a Puerto Rican educator and writer.

When African Americans in town got wind of the effort, they also protested, suggesting instead that it be named after one of their own. Then the Mexicans really muddied the waters by parting with the Hispanics and demanding that someone from their heritage get the honor.

Some city and school officials suggest that tensions could be diffused if the school gets a purely descriptive name, or if it is named after someone with ties to New Brunswick's educational scene, leaving ethnicity as a secondary concern.

No one knows when a final decision on the name will be made. 

Sins of the Father

A Korean man in Wisconsin who claimed his arson conviction was based on race-mongering by the prosecution had his plea tossed out by an appeals court last week, reports The Associated Press.

A jury convicted Dale Chu of being party to arson with intent to defraud an insurer for a fire at his father's dry cleaning business. The fact that the prosecution mentioned his Korean ethnicity three times during the trial — suggesting that "Korean sons are automatons who blindly carry out the orders of their fathers" — was racist and aroused prejudice in the jury, Chu claimed.

Prosecutors described Chu as devoted and loyal to his father, "particularly because of his Korean culture," and said Chu expected to someday take over the business. He and his father planned the fire because the father needed the insurance money, they said.

That Word Is Back

Some pols in Massachusetts are complaining that the state's proposed curriculum standards for public school students are too eurocentric and exclude the significant contributions to world history made by Africa and Latin America, reports The Boston Globe.

"The study of humanity extends beyond the shores of Europe," says Darnell Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. "The rich mosaic we call humanity is incomplete when the focus lies solely on ancient Greece and Rome."

State officials say the charges simply aren't true, and point to the fact that sixth-graders must be able to answer this question: "Identify the locations, time periods, and achievements of the empires of ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai." 

From the Central Servers: 

Christina L. says: 

So let me get this straight...The faculty of the Washington University Law School is protesting the "discriminatory" practices of the military by discriminating against members of the armed forces? Stop the world I want to get off. 

Bill K. says:

Perhaps the Washington University Law School in St. Louis should no longer receive federal dollars of any kind. "This is not anti-lawyer, this is anti discrimination."

Jon W. in Charlotte, N.C., writes:

God bless those who dressed up in clown suits and made a mockery of all these ridiculous protests. I wish I had the time and money that all these protesting idiots of the world seem to have. More power to those clowns for the statement that they were bold enough to make!

Howard H. in Virginia Beach, Va., writes:

Fox News once again showed its bias toward "Big Circus" by failing to cover the anti-clown counter-demonstrators, consisting of mostly of mimes shouting "Cram it, Clown!"

Jim F. advises:

Officials at Lewis Elementary School in Barstow, Calif. may also need to bar students from running around with their arms outstretched on their sides pretending they are airplanes. After all, we know how dangerous airplanes are now.

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