In January, the University of California reversed itself and agreed to accept for transfer credit a course taught by Professor David Clemens at Monterey Peninsula College, “Literature By and About Men.”
In December 2004, Clemens complained that the University of California had rejected his literature course for transfer credit because, the university claimed, the course had a “narrow focus” and “no comparable course in lower division” existed at any of the University of California’s nine campuses.
Clemens wrote following the university’s decision that,
While I don’t question U.C.’s woeful admission that not even one campus offers a course in literature by and about men, U.C. does accept, for lower division transfer from community colleges, such English courses as “Images of Women in Western Literature” from Saddleback, “Contemporary Women Writers” from Santa Barbara, “Women Writers” from Foothill, “Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Multicultural Voices in Literature” from Diablo Valley, “Women in Literature” from Santa Rosa, “Images of Women in Literature” from Santa Monica, “Changing Images of Women in Literature” from Butte, “U.S. Women’s Literature” and “Her Story: Women’s Autobiographical Writing in Multicultural America” from Chabot, “Literature By Women” from Sierra, and “Literature By and About Women” from Shasta, among dozens of other clearly thematic literature surveys.
By what process can U.C. analysts find “Literature By and About Men” not comparable to “Literature By and About Women”? Apparently, U.C. sees comparability as defined only by gender, not by level or type of course, thereby applying a standard of gender discrimination that produces an inequitable, politicized curriculum and differential treatment based solely on sex.
After Clemens wrote about his course’s rejection on a number of web sites dedicated to academic freedom, the University of California initiated its own appeal of the course’s rejection. According to a press release from NoIndoctrination.Org,
Shortly thereafter, Professor Clemens learned that U.C. had a change of heart. It decided it would initiate its own unusual appeal of the course’s rejection. Dawn Sheibani, UC’s Principal Analyst for Community College Articulation, explained to Professor Clemens that U.C.’s rejection was in part because “we have never seen this before” while admitting that such reasoning sounded like “Catch 22.”
After further review by U.C. faculty, “Literature By and About Men” has now been accepted for transfer, making it the only English course in the nine campus U.C. and 109 campus California community college systems to survey “multiple sources, enactments, and depictions of maleness, manhood, and masculinity in essays, films, short stories, and poetry either by men or about men.” “I’m sure the publicity played a big part in U.C.’s decision to recant,” states Professor Clemens.
A Victory for Gender Equity at the University of California. Press Release, NoIndoctrination.Org, January 24, 2005.
Sex and the Multiversity. David Clemens, December 20, 2004.