Teachers Subject Class to Opinions · 23 October 2003

Professors impose personal views during classroom instruction

By Pablo Wegesend--Ka Leo, 10/23

Let's say you are registering for classes next semester. You'll need a few classes to fulfill your core requirements and your major requirements. At the same time, you or your family is paying hard earned money to pay for all those classes. Your parents probably make less money than those professors teaching your class.

So you intend to take Poetry and Drama to fulfill a literature requirement. Do you want to spend hard earned money on that class to hear a well-paid professor talk about his hatred for the President, even though that has NOTHING to do with the topic of Poetry and Drama?

So you intend to take a class on Juvenile Delinquency, either as an elective or as a requirement for your sociology major.

Do you want to spend hard earned money on that class to hear a well-paid professor whine about the coach's salary, even though that has NOTHING to do with the topic of Juvenile Delinquency?

Do you want a well-paid professor who spends class time venting out his/her opinions while thumbing his/her nose at those who disagree?

If you answered "No" to any of these questions, you better watch out. You will be accused of McCarthyism, censorship and ideological bullying. Just for (gasp) believing that professors ought to do what the taxpayers, students and their families pay them to do. Which is to (gasp) stick to the topic they were assigned to teach, and (gasp) to respect the diversity of opinions.

You might think I'm exaggerating about the accusations of McCarthyism. But that is how professors at public Colorado universities reacted when Colorado Governor Bill Owens supported the Academic Bill of Rights.

What could be wrong with an Academic Bill of Rights? What is the Academic Bill of Rights anyway? The Academic Bill of Rights is a creation of David Horowitz, a former liberal activist turned conservative activist.

Horowitz was worried about the climate of many campuses in the U.S., where those who don't toe the leftist line are intimidated by the politically correct thought police.

So what is in the Academic Bill of Rights?

Here a few excerpts. Tell me, is it really that scary?

"No political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process.

"It has been recognized that intellectual independence means the protection of students - as well as faculty - from the imposition of any orthodoxy of a political, religious or ideological nature.

"The 1915 General Report admonished the faculty to avoid taking advantage of the student's immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher's own opinions before the student has had an opportunity to fairly examine other opinions upon the matters in question."

Those words basically summarize the spirit of the Academic Bill of Rights, which you can get a copy of here.

So why are some professors scared of the Academic Bill of Rights?

It's the same reason why rapists don't like laws against rape or thieves don't like laws against theft. They don't like the possibility of getting punished for abusing their power.

They'll have to find another venue to vent their ideology instead of taking advantage of young minds who are there to get qualified for good jobs, not to hear some well-paid professor whine about the President, the war on Iraq or the coach's salary.

The abuses of power by professors has been documented by the already mentioned David Horowitz.

Horowitz received a letter from a former Marine at a Colorado public university. The former Marine was upset that his professors have told him that wearing his uniform is "inappropriate" and "offensive."

The former Marine also said the professors force anti-American viewpoints about wars he has fought in, and lost friends in. (source: "The Battle for Bill of Rights" http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9853)

Cal Lutheran, a theater professor, told his class that he is a Democrat and advised Republicans to drop his class.

Excuse me, but what does party affiliation have to do with theater? And that was in a class where Ronald Reagan's granddaughter was attending. (source: "The Battle for Bill of Rights" http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9853)

And remember those questions in the beginning of this editorial? These were based on my observations on this campus.

So who are the real McCarthyists?