The Hispanic elite have decided that the best way to control the lives of millions of Latin immigrants and illegal aliens flooding into America’s cities is to prevent them from learning English. The elites can then preside over a separate, parallel “Hispanic Nation,” full of angry, illiterate victims of “white racism.”

Recent developments at the City University of New York (CUNY) reveal the nature of “bilingualism” as the best method yet devised to prevent students from learning English. While eight of CUNY’s 17 two- and four-year colleges have English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, Hostos, Bronx, and Kingsborough community colleges have “bilingual” programs. However, Hostos is unique in having been founded in 1970 as a “bilingual” (read; English-free) college.

A Bronx-based bastion of Puerto Rican separatism, Hostos Community College became a cause celebre this May, when students boycotted the English Writing Assessment Test (WAT), a graduation requirement at all CUNY colleges. It seems that the passing rate for the WAT had dropped from 20 percent in 1995 to 12.8 last year. The boycotters complained that the test was too hard, and had too much influence on their final grade. After all, their professors were giving their class work passing grades. Why were strange professors grading the exams? One student explained to a reporter that she “knew” English, just not how to speak or write it. Backing her students. President Issaura Santiago-Santiago decreed that Hostos would go its own wav, and no longer require the WAT. But CUNY Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds, besieged by a disgusted public, mocked by editorial writers at the Daily News (“Tutor U.”) and New York Post, and pressured by Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki to raise achievement levels, instructed Santiago otherwise.

Actually, Hostos had already instituted its own, dumbed-down version of WAT. But because only 15 percent of her students could even pass this exam, Santiago changed the house rules to make the new test account for only 30 percent of a student’s final grade, thus enabling a student to graduate despite flunking the exam. An Hostos instructor told me that the school had already illegally graduated students who had never passed their English classes.

In the men’s rooms, signs request “Este es su bano, Favor, Mantener limpio.” Hostos’ halls, elevators, and many of its classrooms ring exclusively with the sound of Spanish. Full-time positions are divided among well-to-do Hispanics, white feminists, and blacks, few of whom attended CUNY. Posters celebrating “Racial Justice Day” depict two white cops beating a prostrate, faceless “minority” with nightsticks, while trumpeting ¡Sin justicia, no hay paz! (No justice, no peace!). School documents abound in improper English: “All things considered, what is you overall rating for this courses?”

In The Bronx, Hostos is called “la fabrica” (the factory), though “el prision” might be more apt. Its predominantly female immigrant and Puerto Rican migrant students take language and social science courses in Spanish. (Separatist professors insist to bewildered students that studying Spanish will help their English grammar.) Many instructors in Hostos’ ESL classes assign no homework at all, or do not correct what they do assign. Professors and administrators champion belligerents who consider the requirement to speak English in English class a sign of “disrespect.” Serious students complain of their classmates, “They just here for the money.” Hostos’ two-year graduation rate is .4 percent. That’s right: only four out of 1,000 Hostos students graduate after two years with an Associate’s degree.

To CUNY’s multicultural professoriate, liberal Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and upstate conservative Governor George Pataki are indistinguishable. Backed by the Village Voice, activists blamed New York police for “instigating” the March 1995 City Hall riot over the CUNY budget. At the scene, however, I observed disciplined officers arresting bottle-throwing students egged on in part by the “role model” professors who had canceled classes to “show solidarity” with them.

Two-thirds of Hostos’ 4,700 students are reportedly on welfare. When Mayor Giuliani insisted that students on the dole work 26, then only 20 hours a week for the city, CUNY officials were outraged that recipients should have to work at all, and demanded that all “workfare” jobs be at students’ schools. Giuliani suspects that students would be allowed to study while at “show-no” campus jobs. New York’s City Council supports allowing campuses to determine workfare assignments, effectively eliminating the work requirement. Also winning him no friends at CUNY, Governor Pataki’s plan to reduce the “double-dipping” of Federal Pell and New York State Tuition Assistance Plan grants would have cost 66,000 of CUNY’s projected 215,000 (1996-97) students up to $1,000 per year, saving the state over $44 million. But a State Assembly suffering election-year jitters overrode the governor last year.

Community college students at Hostos, Bronx, and Kingsborough already get full credit for classes taken in Spanish, most of which look the same as English language courses on their transcripts. The CUNY ESL Council puts ESL classes on a par with foreign language classes, proposing that students receive academic credit for such classes. The spring 1994 “Report of the CUNY ESL Task Force” emphasized that immigrants did better academically than their American-born CUNY classmates, as if this were good news. The American-born students in question often function on a grade-school level. ESL officials note in private that a rising percentage of Latin students are illiterate in Spanish. Spanish-language courses are given by Hispanic instructors whose loyalty to Hispanic students often compromises their grading.

In fact, many of Hostos’ ESL instructors illegally coach their students with the exam questions in advance, thus invalidating the results. Many students even write their essays in advance, or hire them out, and copy them from crib sheets. And yet, as a veteran ESL professor who coaches her students reports, 50 percent of her students still manage to fail her class.

To gauge the impact of “bilingualism,” consider the following, complete essay written in a “college-level” class at Bronx Community College by a Dominican-born, New York high school graduate:

I am going to college, to learn a profession for my future. My major is computer Science. In this moments is difficult, to someone get a good job. It is Important, you go to school to learn, because you finish major. After that do you get a good job, in Important company. They pay a lot money, do you could a position in the society and every do you Want, for that I am going to college.

Sue Dicker, Hostos’ director of ESL placement, argues that immersion wrongly gives pride of place to the “majority” language, to the detriment of “minority” (read; foreign) languages. Incredibly, Dicker claims that immersion programs seek to eliminate students’ first language. Imagine the response in the Dominican Republic, if English-language advocates demanded an end to the dominance of Spanish! Considering that polyglot countries (e.g., India) have survived only by forcing all groups to learn a common language, the multicultural defense of minority sovereignty is a case of backdoor colonialism.

In the fall of 1995, Spanish-born Hostos professor Rose Aruffat distributed in the English Department a portion of an essay that attacked conservatives who rejected “any suggestion to expand and reorient bilingual education programs to promote bilingual students’ literacy skills in their primary language” and who opposed the “expansion of bilingual education [that] would transfer status and power (as well as jobs) to minority groups who have the linguistic and cultural abilities to work in such programs.” Note the second-class role the writer envisions for English. For separatists, “bilinguals” is a code word for “Hispanics.” Thus, a candidate illiterate in English and Spanish, but who has a Hispanic surname, would have a better chance of landing a “bilingual” job than a non-Hispanic white fluent in both languages.

Despite millions of successful cases, CUNY’s ESL Council insists “there is no evidence” that immersion works. The Council’s crusade against CUNY’s vastly cheaper and more effective language Immersion Institutes, which opened in October 1995, anticipates the loss of untold millions of dollars in patronage jobs and student aid checks, and the loss of “hate control.”

Why should American taxpayers support students lacking any intellectual promise, much less immigrants (or illegal aliens) learning a foreign language? How could students have received American high school diplomas, whether in Puerto Rico or New York, without knowing English? Why are colleges being used to teach ESL?

No other country recognizes a right to university matriculation (or to financial aid, for that matter) for illiterate immigrants. When we spoke last July, CUNY spokeswoman Rita Rodin was extremely defensive: “You can’t compare [CUNY] with other systems. There are many different factors. You have to allow for the different starting points.” Such caveats could invalidate all grading and testing, and justify unlimited financial aid.

Hostos was the scene of a near riot on February 26, as student and staff goons loyal to President Santiago menaced faculty supporters of Dean of Faculty Carlos Acevedo, whom Santiago had suddenly fired. Acevedo’s supporters claimed that Santiago had scapegoated him for the failures of Hostos’ bilingual pedagogy, which both sides supported. Another bilingualism supporter, Bronx County Democratic chairman Roberto “Bobby” Ramirez, anticipates “the day, when a New York city mayor speaks Spanish.” Resenting Ramirez’ Bronx machine, a naturalized Dominican student flying through paralegal studies at Bronx Community College intends to sign up as Republicans as many of his conservative Catholic and Pentecostal fellow countrymen as possible.

There was a time when a large chunk of CUNY’s professors were City College alumni. Now, but a few relics remain. A Puerto Rican City College graduate recalls with a wan smile the aristocratic Puerto Rican professor she admired during the 1950’s. “She said that after the revolution, she would be the minister of education. . . . Thirty years ago, I supported the civil rights movement. Now, I regret it.”