North Dakota, chickenshit capitol of the world (plus a bonus poll!)

Professors Molly Secor-Turner and Brandy Randall of North Dakota State University were recently awarded a $1.2 million federal grant. Good news, right? The state should be happy, the university should be happy.

NDSU is turning it down and returning the money.

WHY? Because this is a grant to provide comprehensive sex education to teenagers in the Fargo area, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood. The state legislature, stacked as it is with regressive conservative jerkwads, freaked out and went scrambling to find a legal way to forbid it. And the president of the university, Dean Bresciani, is going along with it.

“Whether technically or not, in my evaluation, it’s not respecting the intent of our Legislature,” he said. “And that’s close enough to me. We’re not looking for loopholes to work around our Legislature; we work in respect of our Legislature.”

Bresciani said the recent discovery prompted him to freeze the funding. If the money can’t be redirected appropriately, he said, it will be returned to the federal government.

“What we’ve found is a very specific codicil of the law that makes it clear that it cannot be with Planned Parenthood,” he told Hennen. “And unless we can work around that, and again I’m not holding out hope on that, we’ll have to go to the direction of returning the resources.”

I have some words for you, Bresciani: your mission, as the president of a major university, is to improve the knowledge of the citizens of your region. Your faculty know that. Your students are going to your school for that purpose. When your legislature is actively working to undermine the mission of a university, it should be your job to oppose them. I know, they hold the purse strings; but that’s why you get paid the big bucks, because you have the difficult job of negotiating with idiots to serve a higher purpose. If you’re just going to cave in and do their bidding, well, the legislature could save even more money by simply hiring a dullard who would say “yes” to everything they ordered. Or did they already do that?

Oh, wait. Maybe that’s too many words, too long, too difficult. How about one word?

Chickenshit.

That’s a chickenshit move by a chickenshit administrator serving a chickenshit legislature.

Better?

What’s also rotten, as the paper makes clear, is that the North Dakota legislature is dishonestly strong-arming the university. There is no specific law that says the university cannot receive this federal grant. Here’s the stretch they made:

In 2011, North Dakota lawmakers approved a law effective as of July 2012 that requires K-12 schools in the state to ensure any sexual health curriculum “includes instruction pertaining to the risks associated with adolescent sexual activity and the social, psychological, and physical health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity before and outside marriage.”

However, the NDSU professors awarded this grant previously told The Forum that law wouldn’t apply to their program because it was to be taught outside of the schools and only to those teens who voluntarily agreed to participate with parental consent.

Not only is that a chickenshit law, it doesn’t apply. And man, but North Dakota really wants to keep their young people ignorant.

Oh, look. The paper has a poll to go with the article.

Do you agree with the NDSU president’s decision to freeze funds for a sex ed program in partnership with Planned Parenthood?

Yes 37.7%

No 54.1%

Don’t know 8.3%

Comments

  1. The Mellow Monkey says

    That bit about the chickenshit law not even applying is the most damning part. There is simply no way to spin that beyond “lying and trying to keep people ignorant.”

  2. Randomfactor says

    Website wanted me to log in to vote. I checked the totals and “No” is currently ahead.

  3. gAytheist says

    I think we’ve already broken the poll. I keep getting the helpful message “an error occurred”.

  4. allencdexter says

    I grew up in North Dakota. It’s a firmly entrenched part of the Bible belt, which means it’s a repository of addled idiots. That idiocy set me up for a couple of decades in a cult and more decades of slow growth toward sanity.

  5. chigau (無味ない) says

    …very specific codicil of the law that makes it clear that it cannot be with Planned Parenthood…

    seriously?

  6. crayzz says

    And I can’t register ’cause the site won’t recognize my canadian zip code. What’s with american websites? I’ve seen a whole bunch of them deny access or registration over my zip code (which evidently works just fine, as I receive mail).

  7. Dick the Damned says

    Jumpin’ Jeezus on a stick, doesn’t any common sense & decency seep across the Canadian border?

  8. shouldbeworking says

    NDSU is carrying on the fine American tradition of always agreeing with the government. The Founding Fathers would be so proud.

  9. says

    An emerging pet peeve: BIBLE BELT. You know I travel a lot around this country, and you know what I’ve learned? Just about everywhere I land, people tell me they’re in the bible belt. They tell me they’re the buckle of the bible belt. Everywhere.

    THERE IS NO BIBLE BELT. The entire goddamn fucking country is the bible belt.

  10. says

    why am I finding out about this here? *sigh*

    Disappointing to see that over a third of the voters so far have said “Yes.” :/

    the Forum is a christian paper, in fact if not in name.

  11. says

    The competitive $1.2 million grant, awarded in September to two professors after state officials turned down the money through the Affordable Care Act

    I think I might have to move across the river.

  12. Moggie says

    The US can be divided into “bible belt” and “bible pants”. Given North Dakota’s location, it’s part of the former.

  13. raven says

    When I was in college back in the dark ages, one of the new girls in the group started going out with a guy we knew wasn’t too careful.

    One day we asked her what she was using for birth control.

    Girl: “What’s birth control?”

    She was from North Dakota. She learned a lot in the next ten minutes. Emergency, remedial sex ed.

  14. grumpyoldfart says

    North Dakota really wants to keep their young people ignorant.

    They’ll be able to earn a few bucks scavenging the city garbage dumps – and they’ll be too dumb to care or complain.

  15. mobius says

    @PZ #13

    The entire goddamn fucking country is the bible belt.

    Yeah, but Oklahoma is the buckle on that belt.

    (Just kidding…at least a little.)

  16. shouldbeworking says

    Given the apparent widespread nature of the xian insanity, perhaps we should refer to it as as the god-girdle?

  17. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    In 2011, North Dakota lawmakers approved a law effective as of July 2012 that requires K-12 schools in the state to ensure any sexual health curriculum “includes instruction pertaining to the risks associated with adolescent sexual activity and the social, psychological, and physical health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity before and outside marriage.”

    The funny thing about this? Taken seriously, it would ban abstinence-only “education” and allow only comprehensive sex ed. The latter does include information about the risks involved, along with methods (including abstinence) for reducing risk. Abstinence-only “education,” though, does not provide instruction in any actual content; it’s a collection of lies, misrepresentations, and intimidation. Thus, if the North Dakota law were actually enforced as written, comprehensive sexual-health education would be the only legally allowable option.

    (…of course, comprehensive sex ed would also include teaching about how marriage, whether legal, social, or religious, isn’t a magical shield against STIs, abuse, lack of sexual fulfillment, etc. — but the law refers to teaching about “the” risks and gains of particular courses of action, not “an exaggerated and/or false list of” risks and gains, so again ab-only is out.)

  18. robro says

    Wasn’t North Dakota the subject of a recent thread herein about sexual violence and exploitation surrounding the oil boom? Or was that South Dakota…maybe not much difference.

    It’s not clear the poll requires logging in. The message is, “Please log in to submit a poll.” I assume this means to start a new poll.

    re Bible Belt—Amen! It’s more the Bible Muumuu…it’s everywhere. Not even just here in the Nitwitty States. SF and vicinity isn’t too bad, but we’ve still got plenty of bible thumpers around (e.g. Harold Camping over in Alameda). The local version is mostly Catholic and Mormon, but they ship in the fundie protestants from the valleys.

    I have to counter one thing, though: I went to college at the buckle of the bible belt…Carson-Newman College in East Tennessee, a fine Southern Baptist school. However, perhaps the whole thing is more like one of those S&M fetish appliances with lots of buckles.

    The town water tower declared the school “A Safe Place for Your Child.” My philosophy professor, himself an ordained SB minister, pointed this out with irony saying that colleges should never be “safe places” intellectually. To put proof to his position he encouraged me to study Herbert Marcuse and to pursue conscientious objector status. But that was the 60s.

  19. Rey Fox says

    includes instruction pertaining to the risks associated with adolescent sexual activityl

    Sounds good.

    and the social, psychological and physical health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity before and outside marriage.

    And here we veer into bullshit. What, exactly, are the “physical health gains” that come with sexual abstinence? Particularly “before and outside” marriage? How does the body know when it’s entered into a legal contract with someone?

  20. says

    The message is, “Please log in to submit a poll.” I assume this means to start a new poll.

    no, it just means the people working at the Forum fail at English.

  21. Rip Steakface says

    I would venture to say that Colorado, the Northeast, and everything west of the Cascades and north of San Francisco isn’t part of the Bible Belt.

  22. madscientist says

    Unfortunately ass-licking is promoted these days. Any large managerial structure is guaranteed to be stuffed with ass-licking self-serving sociopaths. The shit of society is richly rewarded while most folk struggle to barely scrape a living.

  23. bisonlib says

    I’m an NDSU alum and will be sending the dean a piece of my mind. More importantly, I was able to vote in the Forum poll on my iPhone without registering. To vote a second time on my iPad, I had to register. In the intervening 2 hours, only 6 more votes had been racked up.

    So, those of you not wishing to register with the rag I delivered as a kid, try voting on your phone. The Thundering Herd needs to hear from The Horde!

  24. robro says

    Rip — The Bible Belt is alive and well around SF. There are a lot of soft Christians, Christian New Agers, and even gay Christians (which seems like it should be an oxymoron, but there you go). Sacramento, which is technically north of SF, has some really big fundie churches that rival those in Texas or Southern California. There are a lot of churches around Santa Rosa, a working class, agricultural town. I have friends in Marin who go to church all the time. There are quite a few fundamentalist, protestant Hispanic store front churches here in SF. And then there’s the huge Catholic and Mormon presence. Everybody knows about the Catholics, but Mormons also settled California in significant numbers. One of the 79 Mormon tabernacles is located in the Oakland hills and can easily be seen from San Francisco. There’s at least one large Mormon temple in SF.

    However, it is easier to ignore here than in the South, until there’s something like Proposition 8.

  25. ckitching says

    There has to be a bible belt. How else do you keep the New Testament shirt tucked in, and prevent the Old Testament trousers from falling down?

  26. says

    While I have grave concerns about what my president did, for the record, NDSU is not turning down the grant and returning the money.

    President Bresciani froze spending until questions of the grant’s legality can be answered. Nothing more.

    The politics in this mess are truly disgusting.

  27. says

    San Francisco = Alabama? That’s ludicrous. I grew up in AL and then spent two years in the Bay Area, and the idea that SF is just as bible belty as AL is insane.

  28. Rich Woods says

    @bluentx #29:

    If Oklahoma is the buckle then Texas is the hol(e)y underwear or greasy jeans or…

    …the skidmark on the skivvies?

  29. David Marjanović says

    I think I might have to move across the river.

    Sounds good to me.

    Yes 284 (35.4%)
    No 455 (56.7%)
    Don’t know 63 ( 7.9%)
    Total Votes: 802

  30. mothra says

    Just so others outside of ND have a conception of the weapons grade stupidity involved in dealing with our state legislature. One legislator a few years ago, somehow learned the salient fact that insects lack a pancreas. He then went on to complain about research dollars being spent when all farmers needed to do was to spray their crops with sugar water.