So: Some University of Georgia professors are complaining about the selection of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the school's commencement speaker.
These professors claim because Thomas was accused - falsely, most rational people believe - of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings in 1991, that his visit "sends the wrong message" to a school that has been battling sexual harassment scandals during the past year.
These scandals have resulted since September in three resignations - of UGA professors.
Yet these folks are complaining about a visit from Thomas? Maybe the justice ought to be worried about those professors.
History to repeat?
Speaking of campus worries, a recent piece in the paper was pregnant with see-I-told-you-so for the Columbia County school system. They haven't learned from a mistake and are doomed to repeat it.
The story was about projections of next year's school population, and how it would affect need for portable classrooms.
One of the places that will need a couple of portables - not for full-time classrooms yet, but it's coming - is Cedar Ridge Elementary in Grovetown.
Cedar Ridge just opened, didn't it? Isn't this the school that was finished last year and opened in August? Yet it's already full?
Ordinarily, this would be a matter of saying, "Well, sure, it's in a high-growth area; of course it's getting new students."
But here's the problem, and as the recent high school rezoning shows, it's happening again.
When the school system was redrawing attendance zones in anticipation of the opening of Cedar Ridge, many nearby residents naturally wanted their children to attend the new school. And some of the families whose children attended North Harlem Elementary didn't want to leave their tight-knit community.
Orphaned between the two is Euchee Creek Elementary. Once the new lines were redrawn, Cedar Ridge - in one of the fastest-growing areas in the county - was already full. North Harlem's population was relatively unchanged.
But Euchee Creek was gutted. The school now has less than half its former population - barely 300 pupils in a zone with little growth.
The smart remedy would be to tweak the zones and pull some of those students from Cedar Ridge to Euchee Creek next year. No portables would be needed, and Cedar Ridge would have room to grow.
Politically that's about as popular as Clarence Thomas at a Martha Burk rally. So it isn't going to happen.
Instead, taxpayers will spend $10,000 to haul two portables to Cedar Ridge, while Euchee Creek's PTO struggles to raise money in a school whose entire population will fit in the Cedar Ridge lunchroom.
Ugly, isn't it? Yet we're going to see this imbalance again soon. When Grovetown High School opens in 2009, it will be in a fast-growing area and will fill up quickly.
Meanwhile, nearby Harlem High School's rezoned population will plummet to barely 800, with little growth expected. Quite reasonably, many Harlem parents are now worried about the impact to the school's athletic programs - not to mention its academics.
The county will have a few extra portables next year after Stallings Island Middle School opens and cuts overcrowding at Riverside Middle. The plan is to let the trailers sit at Riverside until they're needed elsewhere.
Avoid the rush: Go ahead and haul them over to Grovetown High. Or better yet, school officials should gut out an adjustment in the just-approved rezoning and shift some of those students back to Harlem.
Grovetown High won't open for a year. There's time to fix this. The will to do it? That's another story.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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