School Plan Blasted · 08 September 2003

GOP college proposal called McCarthyism

By Peggy Lowe, Rocky Mountain News
September 9, 2003

Democrats lashed out Monday at a GOP plan to get more Republicans on Colorado's college campuses, calling it academic McCarthyism and quotas for conservatives.

College professors, too, recoiled at the notion of ratifying the "Academic Bill of Rights," an eight-point plan that calls for more Republican professors and more "intellectual diversity" on the nation's campuses.

" This is affirmative action for conservative Republicans, to get them into universities," said Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, the state Senate minority leader. "There is something chilling and troubling about a movement like this."

As reported by the Rocky Mountain News Saturday, GOP leaders hope to pass next year a plan that calls for implementing the Academic Bill of Rights, either through legislation or the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

The idea is being promoted nationally by David Horowitz, a conservative lighting rod. His group, Students for Academic Freedom, says universities are hotbeds of liberalism that lock out conservative faculty, students and speakers.
Among Horowitz's ideas, which include getting state legislatures to require schools to use the plan, is the investigation of professors' political registrations and voting records.

That idea didn't work in the 1950s during the McCarthy era, Fitz-Gerald said, and it won't work now.

" They're going to create a climate of fear in our universities, fear of being the professor who says the wrong thing," she said.
Gov. Bill Owens, appearing on KOA radio's Mike Rosen Show on Monday, said he supports the plan but doesn't know how to mandate the idea to the schools. He repeated his belief that political science departments are loaded with liberal Democrats and should have more balance, but said he wouldn't want a school's funding tied to ratification of the Academic Bill of Rights.

" I don't think you can tie nor should you tie funding to any sort of quota system. I'm opposed to quotas in all of their elements," Owens said. "And I also would be opposed to a quota that would require a certain number, for example, of Republican professors."

Tim Foster, CCHE's director who also supports the Academic Bill of Rights, was questioned about the plan Monday at a meeting of the faculty council at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Foster echoed Owens, saying he would not want to see the matter become a legislative mandate because of the difficulties in implementing it.

But he told professors he sees some substance in Horowitz's criticism of academia.