“Thou Shalt Not….”

TRUE FACT: Louisiana is poised to become the first state in the nation to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in all public-school classrooms, including those in colleges and universities.  The proposal recently passed the Louisiana legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature (Associated Press, May 30th). 

Of course, both public and private institutions of higher learning display a stunning potpourri of curious stuff in their buildings.  Here’s a current sampling:

— An 1871 recipe for bread pudding appears on the wall of every classroom at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.  The recipe honors the mother of George Strong, the school’s first president.  Strong maintained that his mom made “the best damn bread pudding east or west of the Mississippi.”  

— An iconic photo of Farah Fawcett, the star of TV’s Charlie’s Angels, adorns all of the classrooms at the University of Florida.  President Ben Sasse notes with pride that “Ms. Fawcett embodies — and I do mean emBODIES — the hopes and dreams of every Gator on our campus, whether they be female or male.”

— At Williams College in Massachusetts, a flashing warning sign in every hallway indicates the actions that should be taken in the event a Republican is discovered in the building (“Break Glass, Remove Axe, Eliminate Threat”). 

— A pine-tree automobile air-freshener dangles from the inside doorknob of all classrooms at the University of Houston.  According to a University spokesperson, “it can get awfully hot and humid on our campus, and if the air conditioning shuts down, we need something to take the edge off.  There’s no sweat like Texas sweat.”

— A full-color, 8″ x 10″ photo of a deer tick is placed above every toilet and urinal at Connecticut College.  The New London school is located near the state’s coastline, where Lyme Disease was first identified.  The College’s Director of Health Services notes that “many of our students sleep naked in the woods in the spring, so we want them to know what to watch out for.”

— At Babson College, a business-focused school in Massachusetts, a replica of the first silver dollar earned by founder Roger Babson is encased in a shimmering glass snow globe suspended from the ceiling in every classroom.  As Stephen Spinelli, Babson’s President, puts it, “students should be reminded of our core values whenever they look to the heavens.”

— Rules for playing Uno, the classic card game, are posted in every dorm room at Abilene Christian University in Texas.  “Let’s face it, we’re known as THE party school of the Bible Belt,” says ACU’s Dean of Students.  “Why not own up to it?”

— Crude crayon drawings of dinosaurs can be found on at least one wall of every classroom at Rhode Island College.  The artwork is by six-year-old Timmy Galvenetti, grandson of Psychology Department secretary Bernice Galvenetti.  It is not clear if Ms. Galvenetti obtained permission to put up the drawings.  (“A grandmother doesn’t need permission to do these things,” she claims.)

— At DePaul University, the dust jacket from Presidential historian David McCullough’s final biography — Tony Danza: A Life — is affixed to every door on campus.  No one seems to know why.