The University of California, Berkeley, has suspended junior Andrew Martinez for attending class nude. It seems that nudity is not illegal in Alameda County, where the university is located, so local officials couldn't stop Martinez. And nudity didn't violate university regulations, so what did Martinez do wrong? He ran afoul of the university's anti–sexual-harassment policy. Martinez may eventually be expelled from Berkeley.
James Bateman is another student who is having trouble with his school over his style of dress. The principal of Bateman's Colorado City, Arizona, school sent the 14-year-old home with instructions to change his clothes after the boy wore a T-shirt with a picture of Batman's foe The Penguin. The principal said that the shirt was a sign of devil worship.
Speaking of religion, John Hinton thought he might find some spiritual sustenance at Harvard Divinity School. But in one class students were asked to talk about what they thought was central to Christianity. After listening to the discussion for several minutes, Hinton thought that something important was being ignored, so he volunteered "Jesus." He was immediately derided by the others for being "Christocentric."
Three years ago, Francis Scott Key High School in Union Bridge, Maryland, had its first female student try out for the football team. The school's lawyers had advised it that it had to accept her under Title IX, which forbids sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Tawana Hammond, a 17-year-old who had never played organized ball, was tackled in her first scrimmage and allegedly suffered injuries that required the removal of her spleen and half her pancreas. Hammond has now sued the school for $1.5 million. She alleges that the school did not properly inform her of the risks of playing football.
Traditional values may be in danger even in that most traditional of countries, England. On a crowded London train, no one said anything as a young couple engaged in oral sex. But when the two lighted post-amour cigarettes, angry passengers called authorities. The pair were fined for violating antismoking laws.
Spike Lee told magazines and newspapers that if they wanted to interview him regarding his film Malcolm X they would have to send a black journalist. He did this to highlight that many major magazines and newspapers didn't have black staff members. But Lee turned down a request for an interview by the only black writing film criticism for a national publication. David Ehrenstein interviewed Lee twice for the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, but now he can't get to the director. Ehrenstein suggests that maybe it's because he now works for The Advocate, a gay and lesbian journal.
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be ecologically correct. Berkeley, California, City Council member Nancy Skinner thought that she would do the right thing and avoid nasty chemicals when sprucing up her apartment. She bought a milk-based paint from the Berkeley Ecology Center. But after being applied, the paint turned sour, leaving her apartment with a smell that she can't get rid of. She had to abandon her home and all of her clothes.
Meanwhile, animal-rights protesters marched outside actress Cybill Shepherd's home in Los Angeles. The marchers, including Roseanne star Sara Gilbert, were protesting Shepherd's role as spokeswoman for L'Oreal cosmetics. They say the company tortures animals when testing its beauty products. As yet, no one has protested Shepherd's torture of movie audiences.
And finally, Los Angeles Laker center Vlade Divac had the best excuse I've heard from an athlete showing up for preseason training overweight: "We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".