A Pennsylvania college professor has found herself under the microscope for deducting points from students’ introductory biology quizzes for not selecting an answer that defined President Donald Trump as a “eugenicist.”
According to Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group for American young people, one of adjunct assistant biology professor Betty Ferster’s students at Gettysburg College contacted YAF through the organization’s Campus Bias Tip Line. The student declined to go on the record with their name for fear of retribution but did submit screen shots of the quiz.
Students were told the correct answer to the question, per the screen shot embedded in the YAF story, was “Mr. Trump is [a] ‘Eugenicist.'”
Ferster explained the accompanying choice on the quiz as “the ‘science’ of human improvement through better breeding. It was discredited in 1939 but Mr. Trump thinks he’s smart because his uncle was an MIT professor and healthy because he has good genes — we don’t know if he’s healthy, they haven’t released the results of his last check-up. He’s orange.”
The other options Ferster provided for the quiz question were “Epigeneticist [sic],” “Euglena” and “Entomologist.”
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “Eugenicist” — the response Ferster claimed was correct on the quiz — is defined as “a student or advocate of eugenics.” The same dictionary defines “eugenics” as “the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations (as by sterilization) to improve the population’s genetic composition.”
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and a known eugenicist, weighed in on the topic of eugenics in a 1919 article titled “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” writing that “before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control.”
Sanger compared birth control advocates to eugenicists who are “seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.”
The answers considered incorrect on Ferster’s quiz were the following: “Epigeneticist” — spelled “Epigenesist” by Merriam-Webster — or “an adherent of epigenesis”; “Euglena,” or “any of a genus (Euglena) of green freshwater flagellates often classified as algae”; and “Entomologist,” which is “a person who is trained in or working in entomology,” or the study of insects.
The school claims Ferster apologized for the quiz, which was apparently administered in the spring 2020 semester.
“Gettysburg College and the instructor both recognize that this incident is inconsistent with our commitment, detailed in our Freedom of Expression Philosophy, to sustain a community in which all members feel their ideas, opinions, and beliefs are respected and protected, even when those ideas are not shared universally,” a college spokesperson told Fox News.
“The instructor has acknowledged it was a mistake in judgment and explained to us that, when a student expressed concern last spring, she apologized.”
David Nadeau, who says he is a former student of Ferster’s, responded via Twitter to an Oct. 12 Daily Wire story about the quiz, referring to the instructor as “arguably the worst professor at Gettysburg College.”
Dr Ferster is arguably the worst professor at Gettysburg College. She is the by far the prof I’ve had the most displeasure in taking a course with. This is just another incident in recent months that proves how incompetent the administration and staff are at this school.
— Dave Nadeau (@davidnadeau20) October 12, 2020
“It is not easy to live openly as a conservative on a progressive college campus,” Secrest wrote.
Secrest, who said she had been a YAF member since her freshman year, noted that she easily befriended students on both sides of the political fence.
“As far as I can tell, the negative reaction to my membership is only mitigated by my somewhat gregarious personality. Because of my friendliness, I am often given the benefit of the doubt,” she wrote.
“Yeah, she’s in YAF but she’s actually pretty reasonable.
“Yeah, she is a member, but she isn’t like what I thought.
“Yeah, she’s a YAF exec, but she is really nice!”
But Secrest described a tense atmosphere between YAF students and members of another campus group, the Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective.
She said after a false allegation was made that Gettysburg’s YAF members “laughed in the face of a rape victim” during a roundtable event, “these rumors spurred the Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective to interrupt our weekly gathering, a confrontation between our group of seven and its 15-plus person membership, which resulted in a shouting match and our meeting getting shut down.”
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