Conservative Challenges Senate to Affirm Academic Freedoms · 15 March 2006

Filed under: Kansas, Press Coverage

Conservative Challenges Senate to Affirm Academic Freedoms

By Tim Carpenter--The Capital-Journal--03/16/06

If conservative David Horowitz is correct, the women's studies departments at the two largest public universities in Kansas are engines of political indoctrination that produce an endless supply of leftists.

Horowitz, president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in Los Angeles, told a House committee on Wednesday that suppression of academic freedom by these faculty at The University of Kansas and Kansas State University was shaping a generation of radical Democrats.

"To Republican legislators, I would point out that programs such as these are essentially taxpayer funded recruiting programs not only for the left, generally, but for the Democratic Party in particular -- especially its most liberal wing," he said. "Is that an appropriate way for the education taxes of Kansas citizens to be spent?"

He asked the House Appropriations Committee to pass a resolution reminding professors of a duty to pay more than lip service to the idea of academic freedom. The panel took no action.

Horowitz said women's studies departments at KU and KSU violated academic policies of the Kansas Board of Regents by offering courses that guarantee students a partisan view of the subject.

"Radical feminism is not an academic category or enterprise," he said. "It is a sectarian political movement."

Reginald Robinson, president of the Board of Regents, said the resolution wasn't needed.

"While Legislative interest in this area is understandable," he said, "even the most carefully crafted move toward state involvement in this realm poses risks that could undermine the very academic freedom values we all cherish."

KU chancellor Robert Hemenway said faculty on the Lawrence campus offer a broad perspective of womens' studies.

"It's not a program that expects anybody to be indoctrinated or have only a single inflexible view of feminism," he said.