Letter to University of Georgia President Michael Adams · 16 September 2004

September 16, 2004

Dr. Michael Adams
Office of the President
University of Georgia
The Administration Building
Athens, GA 30602

Dear President Adams,

I want to express my concern over an outrageous situation at your school which raises the issue of professional behavior of faculty and specifically the abuse of the classroom for partisan agendas. Professor John Morrow teaches a class on the history of the World Wars. On the first day of class this semester, Professor Morrow - by his own account (posted on the History News Network) described President Bush and Vice President Cheney (who played no role in either of these wars) as "chicken hawks" and cowards (referring to them in fact as "chicken shit") and "liars."

Here is Morrow's own defense of his remarks as posted on the History News Network: "In regard to the use of the epithet 'chicken shit,' I stand by it as well… 'Chicken shit' ….refers to people who do not have the courage of their convictions. I applied the term specifically to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided service in Vietnam, a war they both allegedly supported. I stated, furthermore, that it was ironic that Bush, who was able to avoid Vietnam service through the Guard, now had no difficulty sending the Guard to extended duty in Iraq, with the result that patriotic grandfathers-Bush's contemporaries who served their country in Vietnam-have died there. Bush talks tough when the lives of others are on the line, but he did not act tough when his own life was at stake. The president should not say that he would have served if called, when he well knows that he was not going to be called to duty."
A student, Bradley Alexander, challenged the professor's partisan remarks and his profanity. The student's objections were peremptorily dismissed. As a result of these exchanges, Alexander dropped the course, fearful of possible consequences to his grades and unwilling to subject himself to such irrelevant partisan tirades for an entire term.
For sixty years, the American Association of University Professors has regarded such irrelevant remarks by professors on controversial matters as a violation of students' academic freedom. In its 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the Association declared: "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject." The rationale is obvious. Professors and students are not equals in a classroom setting. Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not-so-subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the President and have conservative views. They are a breach of the obligations professors have to their students-including their Republican students-to create an environment conducive to learning.

The Academic Bill of Rights which we are proposing and which has passed the Georgia Senate 41-5, will make such classroom behavior a violation of university policy. As a result of our efforts in Colorado, a professor of law who told his students that the "R" in Republican stands for "racist" and who called a student who challenged him a "Nazi" has been reprimanded by the Dean of the Law School. In addition, all public universities in the state of Colorado are instituting student rights in these matters. Respect for intellectual diversity is as important as other matters of diversity. We would like to see a policy supporting respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity incorporated into university policy.

Bradley Alexander is under attack from this professor in public forums like the History News Network. He is concerned that his academic career at the University of Georgia, where he is a history major, may be in jeopardy. We urge you to take action in this case to have Professor Morrow apologize to Bradley Alexander and the students in his class. We further urge you to issue a statement that it is university policy that partisan political agendas have no place in an academic classroom and that professors should show respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity and should not introduce into their teaching controversial matters which have no relation to their subjects.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. I look forward to your response.


Sincerely,


David Horowitz
Chairman
Students for Academic Freedom


Encl: Victory in Colorado, the Academic Bill of Rights, Letter to President Adams on Intellectual Diversity

Cc: U.S. Senator Zell Miller, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Ben Scaffity (Education Advisor to Governor Perdue), U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, U.S. Representative Charles Norwood, U.S. Representative David Scott, U.S. Representative Denise L. Majette, U.S. Representative Jim Marshall, U.S. Representative John Lewis, U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson, U.S. Representative Max Burns, U.S. Representative Michael Collins, U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, State Senator Brian Kemp, State Senator Carol Jackson, State Senator David Adelman, State Senator Ed Harbison, State Senator Faye Smith, State Senator George Hooks, State Senator Ginger Collins, State Senator Michael S. Meyer von Brerr, State Senator Nathan Dean, State Senator Randy Hall, State Senator Regina Thomas, State Senator Robert Lamutt, State Senator Robert Brown, State Senator Rooney Bowen, State Senator Ross Tolleson, State Senator Sam Zamarripa, State Senator Terrell Starr, State Senator Tim Golden, State Senator Vincent Fort, State Senator B. Joseph Brush, State Senator Eric Johnson, State Senator William Hamrick, State Senator Don Balfour, State Senator Preston Smith, State Senator Charles Clay, State Senator Don Thomas, State Senator Liane, Levetan, State Senator Dan Moody, State Senator Thomas Price, State Representative Alisha Thomas, State Representative Amos Amerson, State Representative Bobby Eugene Parham, State Representative Calvin Smyre, State Representative Chuck Harper, State Representative Don Edwin Wix, State Representative Don Parsons, State Representative Douglas Dean, State Representative Edward Stephens, State Representative Gail Buckner, State Representative James Skipper, State Representative Jay Roberts, State Representative Keith Heard, State Representative LaNatt Stanley-Turner, State Representative Lawrence Roberts, State Representative Lester Jackson, State Representative Lynmore James, State Representative Mable Thomas, State Representative Mark Butler, State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver, State Representative Nikki Randall, State Representative Pat Dooley, State Representative Ron Borders, State Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, State Representative Susan Burmeister, State Representative Thomas Bordeaux, State Representative Louise McBee, State Representative Pat Gardner, State Representative Lee Howell, State Representative Tom Buck, State Representative Sharon Cooper, State Representative Bill Hembree, State Representative Calvin Hill, State Representative Chuck Martin, State Representative Barbara Mobley, State Representative Quincy Murphy, State Representative Dubose Porter, State Representative Ed Rynders, State Representative Len Walker, State Representative Bob Smith, Georgia College Republican State Chairman Britton Alexander, University of Georgia Student Bradley Alexander, Georgia Tech Student Ruth Malhotra, President of Century Strategies Ralph Reed