Letter to McMath · 12 August 2004

August 12, 2004

Dr. Robert C. McMath, Jr.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies
and Academic Affairs
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332

Dear Dr. McMath,

I was pleased to hear that you are raising the issue of intellectual and political diversity on campus with your student faculty committee. However, I was somewhat disappointed in your letter. The situation at Georgia Tech is difficult to understand given what you say is your commitment to intellectual diversity and fairness. You have a professor who is extremely vindictive towards conservative students, who has ridiculed their beliefs in class, and even gone so far as to fail them for their conservative views. The same professor accused a student of being "ignorant" for having a positive view of the economic policies of the President of the United States. This class, moreover, was a required course for the student's major. Since to my knowledge nothing has been done to discipline this professor and no apology has been made to the student in question, it is difficult for an outside observer to see what practical support your administration is actually giving to the idea of intellectual diversity in your classrooms.

When our chairman David Horowitz was on the Georgia Tech campus, he met with Dean Stephanie Ray and asked her to support the student in question. Dean Ray immediately recognized that this was a diversity issue and offered her help. We would like you to work with Dean Ray to formally incorporate the clause we have proposed in your diversity rules so that every professor and administrator at Georgia Tech understands the gravity of this issue and the seriousness with which the Georgia Tech Administration regards it.

We are also concerned, of course, by the apparent political favoritism exhibited by your institution towards members of the Democratic Party, and by political figures with an extreme bias against the present Republican Administration. Molly Ivins, a well-known leftist and antagonist of the president, was the honored speaker at the Founder's Day ceremonies for the Ivan Allen College in 2003, and recipient of the highly prestigious Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service. Although this
was a ceremonial event at which students and their parents of all political persuasions were present, she used the occasion to make entirely inappropriate attacks on President Bush, as though Founder's Day were a partisan political event. The spring of 2004 brought a visit by Democratic extremist Cynthia McKinney who has accused the President of plotting 9/11 and accepted campaign funds from terrorist sources (after the money was rejected by Mayor Giuliani). McKinney was invited by the School of Public Policy to be the keynote speaker at its "Globalization Summit."

We would like to see a policy statement from the University reaffirming its educational, non-partisan purposes. We would like to see a university policy that professors need to respect the differing political and religious views of their students and that no student will be graded on the basis of their political or religious views or subjected to partisan abuse in class. We hope that you will include a statement regarding intellectual diversity in a letter to the organizers of the Founder's Day event which would urge them to select more appropriate honorees or to instruct those they do select in what is appropriate for such occasions. We would also like to see honorees from the conservative and/or Republican side of the political divide so honored and/or invited as speakers by the School for Public Policy and the Ivan Allen College. We would like to see a more equitable distribution of speakers in general.

And we would like to see the following statement on diversity incorporated into your diversity policy.

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom
1015 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-969-2467
Fax: 202-408-0632
www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org


Statement on Diversity:

This office was established with the premise that expanding diversity within the university enhances the educational experience and furthers the understanding of the entire scholarly community. An atmosphere of civility and mutual respect towards difference is indispensable to the educational process and enables the free interchange of ideas that is the basis of scholarship. These differences may be immutable or changeable, cultural, ethnic, religious, intellectual, ideological or political. Each of these qualities is integral to the identity we form as individuals, and all are essential to creating a vibrant university community composed of individuals with unique perspectives and backgrounds. The university must commit itself to a policy of inclusion, respect for difference, and fairness, and guarantee the same rights and freedoms to all its members to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom.


cc: Dr. G. Wayne Clough, Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Senator Zell Miller, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, Ben Scaffity (Education Advisor to Governor Perdue), U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, U.S. Representative Jim Marshall, U.S. Representative Denise Majette, U.S. Representative John Lewis, U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson, U.S. Representative John Linder, U.S. Representative Mac Collins, U.S. Representative Charlie Norwood, U.S. Representative Nathan Deal, U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, U.S. Representative Max Burns, U.S. Representative David Scott, State Senator Eric Johnson, State Senator Bill Hamrick, State Senator and Senate Education Committee Chair B. Joseph Brush, State Senator Vincent D. Fort, State Representative and House Higher Education Committee Chair Louise McBee, State Representative Mable Thomas, State Representative LaNett Stanley-Turner, Georgia College Republican State Chairman Britton Alexander, Dean Stephanie Ray, Ruth Malhotra (Georgia Tech Student), President of Century Strategies Ralph Reed