ENG 12 at Bronx Community College: “Why the US Military Sucks”

Updated: June 16, 2014


By Havoc13

(NEW YORK CITY)—So there’s a course at Bronx Community College formally titled “Why the US Military Sucks.” OK, that’s not true at all, the course is actually called English 12 not “Why the US Military Sucks.” Nor is it called “Why you’re going to get PTSD, murder civilians, rape your peers, and kill yourself if you come anywhere near a recruiter.” But based on what is actually being taught and promoted in the course, it apparently might as well be.

A person claiming to be a student at Bronx Community College (BCC) forwarded us a copy of what he said was the final exam for the English 12 course he took last semester. The exam, sent to us via iPhone, appeared to demonstrate an EXTREMELY inappropriate and possibly even illegal anti-military and anti-veteran bias. A cropped version of the original photo is shown to the left. Because of the size of the print and the angle at which the photograph was taken it’s a bit hard to read so we did a rough transcription, which we provided below. Go ahead and take a moment to read through it, we’ll wait.


BCC testENG 12 Final Exam

Take Home Part (worth 40% of the final exam)

Write a two-page letter (double spaced) to someone you know or someone from your imagination who is thinking about joining the military. If you don’t want this person to join the military, try to discourage him or her by writing about the issues you have learned from your ENG 12 course. In order to receive full credit you must write about all the items below:

If you are in favor of this person joining the military, assume that he or she has already had a preliminary meeting with a recruiter and therefore has been told about all the benefits the military has to offer. However, you want this person to be fully informed before making a decision, so in your letter you focus on the issues you have learned from your ENG 12 course. In order to receive full credit you must write about all the items below:

1. The dishonesty of recruiters who choose to omit vital information when they are trying to persuade young people to join up.
2. The possibility of getting PTS(D). Discuss the causes, symptoms, interactions with loved ones, employment, alcohol and drug addiction, etc.
3. Read “Learning to be a Lean, Mean Killing Machine” (Article H in Supplementary Readings) and discuss the process of turning a recruit into a killer.
4. Rape and sexual harassment in the military.
5. The increased possibility of committing suicide. What are some of the reasons veterans commit suicide?
6. Why killing civilians is part of modern war.
7. Recommend that the person read Thank You For Your Service and explain why he or she should read it.
8. Radiation poisoning from depleted uranium munitions.
9. Alternatives to military service.

The latest you can submit this is 2:00 on the day of the final exam. You may submit it any time before then.

Namaste! Asalaamu Aleicum!



Pretty interesting, right? Feel your blood boiling a little bit when you read it? We sure did. Now, according to BCC’s own course description students in English 12 “Study and application of the principles of organization, rhetoric, and literary analysis; expository writing and research based on thematically linked readings; development of critical thinking. Research paper with MLA documentation required.” (emphasis added)“Thematically linked readings?” Our guess is that the “theme” of ENG 12 at BCC is military-bashing with a healthy dose of far-left political rhetoric. Stay classy, BCC.


Seems legit! Great Job IVAW.

We couldn’t find an online version of the syllabus or the course readings, but we were able to look up the two readings listed on the final exam. The first, “Learning to be a Lean, Mean, Killing Machine,” is nothing more than a quasi-Marxist rant, bereft of any critical analysis or objective reasoning. Moreover, the author proudly affiliates himself with Iraq Veterans Against the War, a fringe and thankfully waning anti-military movement perhaps best known for burning US flags, assisting “war resisters” (AKA military deserters), and promoting conspicuous fakers like Jesse MacBeth as public faces for the group. The author of the piece is also credited as being “retired,” a near-impossibility as he only served a total of five years in the Marines. Well, at least IVAW and related sites are consistent in their (lack of) fact-checking.

We, however, take fact-checking seriously so as part of the due diligence research we do before writing an article like this, we contacted the head of BCC’s Department of English, Dr. Robert Beuka. To our surprise, and to his credit, he responded immediately and candidly to our email. He confirmed the authenticity of the exam, and informed us that it was in fact utilized in an ENG 12 course at BCC. He further explained that after a veteran complained about the exam, that it was replaced with a different one and that this situation was “resolved to the satisfaction of our Veterans Services Office.” We’ll be following up on that later, but for now we’re taking Dr. Beuka at his word, and appreciate him responding to our initial query.

Great; so this exam got tossed out. But how did a college professor think that something like this was even in the realm of acceptable behavior in the first place? Is this what really passes for taxpayer-assisted higher education these days?

Well, apparently, harassing and discriminating against the military community has been standard behavior at Bronx Community College for some time now. In a school where students proudly take credit for regularly harassing military recruiters, is it any real surprise that that the professors feel comfortable enough to come up with a final exam that no reasonable person would think has the SLIGHTEST whiff of objectivity?

What are the veterans who take that class going to think when they look over the syllabus for a required class, knowing they have to take it in order to graduate, and then seeing how much of an anti-military agenda the professor has?  How are they expected to retain the slightest iota of dignity when their professor, and more than likely their entire class, is so clearly an irresponsibly against everything that veteran stands for? They can’t. Not only is a veteran’s dignity at stake, his grade is likely in jeopardy as well in the face of this kind of bias. For a veteran population already marginalized by mainstream America, with military suicides at an all-time high, and with so many veterans suffering in silence from a variety of physical and mental ailments, how is something like this even possibly OK?

The answer is, or at least should be, this is decidedly NOT OK. There is no room whatsoever in this ‘exam’ for anything approaching the “critical thinking” that this course supposedly requires. If a student in this course wants to pass ENG 12, a course required for graduation, he or she has to suffer through an entire semester of ulterior motive-driven, anti-military rhetoric, culminating in an exam conspicuously and deliberately designed to portray the US military, and those who serve in it, in the absolutely worst possible light. The professor who came up with this exam should be fired, and the department head should take appropriate steps to ensure that something like this NEVER happens again. Where is the accountability? Where is the course validation? What passes for objective, critical thinking at Bronx Community College? Unfortunately, at this point we still have more questions than answers.

We firmly agree that there should be nothing above criticism, especially in a college classroom. Not everyone has what it takes to serve in the military, and there are many professions and life paths that are critical to the long-term success of our nation. The US military also has its share of issues, and it is good to shine a spotlight on those. But to use a college class as cover for someone’s thinly-veiled social agenda is unacceptable—or at least it should be. This exam magically waves away any possible benefits of joining the military, such as national service, health care, a competitive paycheck, camaraderie, the GI Bill, and helping the troubled people of the world in times of disaster, disease, or war. It also ignores how a military career is a ticket into the middle class, something that was certainly of issue to use when we were considering life after high school and might be of interest to BCC’s students as well.

We say that this exam should never have been given in the first place. The fact that the teacher was forced to change the exam seems to support our initial assessment. We’re not experts on the law in New York State, but we’re pretty sure that discrimination against veterans is illegal, and it’s hard to see what’s happening at BCC right now as anything but. It is our sincere hope that someone with more influence than us can put this situation under a microscope.

At any rate, feel free to check our facts and provide feedback, especially if you’re a veteran who attends BCC or any other school where something similar to the ENG 12 scandal took place. We’d love to hear from you. Think we’re wrong with our assessment of BCC? Let us know! Think we’re on the money? Tell us why. We guarantee we’ll at least listen to what you have to say.

For all of you veterans out there struggling to make it in a world where the chips seem stacked against you—you are not alone.




  1. leftoftheboom

    June 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    In creating the society in which we live, and by defending it, we have allowed alterations to the fabric of our nation to stand unchallenged because to defend against one challenge, we must infringe upon the rights of all. Each generation changes the standards of acceptable and who are we to say no?

    In my mind, that is the issue with everything. It is the defense that the NRA uses for guns; that the ACLU uses for affirmative action; and so on and so forth. Pick any hot button issue and you will find someone defending it because of higher principles. I am sure there is someone out there who would be willing to defend just about anything. Accuse anyone of anything and some will justify and defend them.

    There is a belief, misguided from the intent of the founders in my opinion, that in order to protect the freedoms of the individual, you have to allow everyone the ability to spout oral feces at any given moment. Even the Supreme Court has held up, Stolen Valor Act I, that lying in public is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, and aren’t our elected officials happy about that?

    No one is willing to draw the line and state that any particular behavior is not acceptable and should be punished, murder, rape, there is always an excuse and a plea for leniency no matter what. Even if it is only family, someone will defend any action. Everything is some color of grey and subject to interpretation by a thousand voices resulting in a cacophony of noise that does not actual address, well, anything.

    We gave our service without price and by price, I mean the right to demand that citizens respect us, the right to call them when they are not living up to our standards, the fact that we cannot impose such standards at all. We often, because we are made up of members of our society, have to cover the stains on our honor as one of our own displays active stupidity in public and so dilutes the image.

    There will always be one voice or a dozen crying stupidity into the night and someone will pull out a smart phone and record it to give them global access.

    So we address that test with this article. The school did not have to pull it. We just have to know about it and we just have to comment on it and our opinions will counter theirs because that is the voice of choice. Were they wrong? Possibly. Do they have global reach? Everyone does. Did they say anything that really mattered? Not in the slightest. I think there are more readers to Ranger Up than would ever sit in a classroom and see that test. Why are we even outraged? It could be argued that this is a symptom of the greater evils that assail us. It could be argued that the deaths of Veterans at the VA’s inadequacies are directly related to such attitudes in public and we would not be wrong because you can make the argument. But be careful lest someone realize that quite a few people in the decision making process to come up with hidden lists were former military themselves.

    We can put a price on Freedom. We can demand that people obey our every whim.

    Or we can attack the English 12 class with kindness. Thank them for exercising the freedom we grantee and offer insights that they might not be aware of. Invite the teacher to spend a day with the military and see what they are against. Call it a research opportunity.

    Or we can dictate the behavior of our society. And where might that leave us?

  2. jerod

    June 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I would like an immediate review of combined IQ score in equivalent age group of BCC and compared to the Military. Bet I know who wins and most don’t live in the Bronx

  3. Joshua Beebe

    June 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Personally, I think the student that took the picture should bring it to the college’s dean. Most of them are fairly reasonable and willing to listen, so long as they present a clear picture of what they want. They will have greater sway than some random person, even a veteran if the college’s mentality isn’t over inflated, from the internet.

    Luckily, I go to a college that is extremely helpful to veterans. I had an English class a few years ago where the professor specifically selected works relating to the military (e.g. The Naming of Parts by Henry Reed and Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est). Not all colleges are like this. I’ve had my share of conversations with anti-military students, which generally end with a shrug and a casual “it’s your right to believe whatever you want.” If a take home exam is enough to change someones mind about the military, then they probably weren’t interested in joining in the first place. Yeah, it’s stupid, but in the grand scheme of things what can you do?

  4. Nemo

    June 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Easy enough to pass by spinning each. I’m not saying it is right but you could pimp smack that prof with basic logic in a majority of those points. Or redirection to equal claims in areas of civilian life.

  5. mike

    June 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Having them read “thank you for your service ” is this “professors” way of literally only giving his students half the story of the american veterans experience in iraq. The book is a sequel to “the good soldiers”, and while the book has its critiszm for alleged anti bush stance, the good soldiers takes its place among the best war books ever, and it masterfully details the courage, self sacrafice, and loss of infantry troops in 9 nissan during the surge. It is most likely that one cannot read that book and simply just be in awe of the american serviceman that is was left off the syllabus. Asshole.

  6. Jay

    June 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    LMAO, where on earth did you guys get that pic of the “ranger”?

  7. Michael Smith

    June 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    So I’m not exactly sure how respond to this, but it has been the majority of my experience in the classroom that professors and students both value what I have to contribute to the class when it comes to the subjects of military service, etc. I attend the University of Memphis, nestled in the laziest city in the United States where the standard conservative voice is outnumbered 4 to 1, and though I have experienced my fair share of disagreement from lefties (and the occasional wtf? from righties largely due to my non-conventional viewpoints), most of the professors I talk to appreciate what I have to offer and are willing to discuss rather than lecture, and I find that fellow students are thrown off guard by non-traditional approaches.

    My only major issue that I have ever had with a professor was when I attended Northern Virginia Community College. It just so happened to be a literature professor (ENG 112) teaching us those same critical thinking skills when it comes to literary works. All of our pieces were from late 19th century feminists, and I noticed a trend of marginalizing what the male students had to contribute in open discussion. I also suspected this based on my grades, but that could be subjective on my part. I mean let me tell you how consistent I was. I got one A (90%) and the rest of my six papers were a near even split between 87-89 (4 to 2).

    As far as the freedom of speech anecdote that has been touted before, the constitution doesn’t say that you are free from consequences of your freely spoken words. A prime example for that to me is the Stolen Valor Act controversy and non-vets slapping on the shiniest fruit salad they could find at the flea market. While there may be no legal recourse or punishment for being a valor thief, the simple fact is that anyone can call that human being a liar and make statements about his/her failure to honorably serve and say things directly relating to the lack of honor in that situation because they are true statements relating to that individuals actions. But they shouldn’t be held criminally accountable for anything, since their actions (albeit dishonorable and shameful) did not directly damage any one individual or falsify records of an official entity, they have only falsified themselves. And for the cases where their deceit has led to a direct injustice, then let their dishonor be a nail in their coffin.

  8. Death to America's Enemies

    June 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Thankfully, I go to Liberty University.

  9. Anonymous

    June 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Of course, “critical thinking” = Whatever my Leftist ’60s-leftover professor says if I want to pass.

  10. david

    June 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I experienced the same at bristol community college in fall river mass the eng teacher Mrs motta yes real name told me and I quote your not special its not fair to the other kids and going to afghanistan was your choice when I asked if i could miss two classes for a training operation. Most teAchers are liberal hippies who hate america . Also, I was told by financial aid thst its unfair I can “double dip” while collecting gi bill and tuition free waiver. Just a bunch of Obama voters

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