Marching Through Georgia · 26 February 2004

Filed under: Press Coverage


By David Horowitz--FrontPageMagazine.com, 02/27/04

Last week I went to Atlanta to testify at hearings before the Higher Education Committee in the Georgia legislature on Senate Majority Leader Eric Johnson's legislation to pass the Academic Bill of Rights. (Text of the bill at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org) A final hearing will be held this week. In Colorado the Education Committee of the House just passed academic freedom legislation based on the Academic Bill of Rights. A professor attempted to intimidate one of the students testifying at the hearing and thus proved the case. Academic bullies of the left do in fact attempt to coerce students into following their party line. To restore the integrity of our higher educational system, something needs to be done. An Academic Bill of Rights is a good place to start.

The political left, which has instituted thirty-year blacklist against conservatives on college campuses has naturally declared war on academic freedom and on the Academic Bill of Rights in particular. It has been attacked by the American Association of University Professors as a "grave threat to academic freedom." What could be more Orwellian? This is an organization that supported speech codes, that defended the terrorist Sami al-Arian and that has not lifted finger to help a leftist anthropologist who is currently being crucified, along with the entire anthropology department at Emory, for an ill-considered and self-referent metaphor that some black professors didn't like. In fact they waited two months to be offended by her remark, which is the time it took them to figure out they could turn a profit on the incident - they're demanding new a new hire and expanded resources for themselves as an expiation for the offense. (Details of the Emory case at www.erinoconnor.org; for the exchange between the AAUP and myself see www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org.

Objections have been raised that the academic bill of rights is legislation and legislators might abuse any power it gives them. This is pure hypocrisy on the part of those who do not oppose the vast bureaucratic and intrusive machinery of affirmative action and diversity - which effect of far more ambitious legislation than I have put in place All the legislative developments so far are non-binding resolutions. Of course they do serve notice on the intolerant left that its time may have come. This is sufficient to generate the animus.

In the second place, the remedy for concerns about legislation is obvious. If universities adopt the policy themselves, there will be no legislation. In fact, the principal utility of the legislative moves so far has been get the problem noticed. Two weeks ago the Chronicle of Higher Education - the most important journal in the field - ran a large spread on the academic bill of rights. You can bet that the entire administrative establishment of the higher education system has discussed the bill of rights as a result. So far, not a single administrator has contacted me to discuss it. That is an indication of the problem - and of the battle we are facing. I have news, however, for these administrators and the intolerant politically left faculty whose abusive practices they are protecting: every conservative legislator in the country has been subjected to your abuse, and sooner or later they are going to act to put as much legislation in force as is necessary to end that abuse.

What kind of abuse? The students whom I met with and who testified in Atlanta had these stories (among others) to tell. In a course required by state law of all Georgia freshman on the Political Constitution, a professor harangued his class for the full class hour on the necessity of socialized medicine. In a psychology course a professor ranted about the evils of Republicans and the Bush Administration. In a speech communications course, the teacher asked if there were any Republicans in the class. A female student raised her hand. She was summoned to the head of the class. The lecturer asked her to tell the class why she was a Republican. She replied that Republicans were for smaller government, lower taxes and a strong defense. The teacher then proceeded to lecture the class on why Republicans were stupid.

After the session, I went out to dinner with a group of students from Emory. I had been invited to speak at Emory by the College Republicans18 months before. I was the first stand alone conservative speaker the College Republicans in four years. My predecessor was University of California regent Ward Connerly who was driven off the stage by a raucus and threatening left and never finished his speech. Before I even got to Emory the Emory Black Student Alliance fought to prevent me from coming. They tried to stop the Collegiate Council from voting me funds. They tried to impose restrictions on what I could say. When I got there I spoke on Academic Freedom. Naturally I used the left's attacks on me during my reparations campaign as an example of the lack of academic freedom on college campuses.

When I left, the Black Student Alliance complained to the college administration and the College Council. They said I strayed from the topics I was allowed to talk on (because I had mentioned reparations). They demanded an apology from the College Republicans and they demanded that the college Republicans give back the money they had paid me. They succeeded in changing the rules for speakers so that controversial speakers (i.e., conservative speakers) could only appear if there was someone else on the platform to refute them or if they had a moderator to put them in their place if they strayed from their approved topic.

A week or so before I arrived, the College Republicans tried to invite me again. They submitted a "bill" to the College Council. Immediately they were summoned to appear before 5 deans and administrators who told them what a bad idea it would be if I spoke; that it would divide the community; that minority students wouldn't apply for admission if I spoke on campus again. No argument was too unprincipled or too low. The Black Student Alliance circulated a paper saying that I was a "white Republican" whose hobby was "bashing blacks" and that my speech a year and a half before had exhibited "racism and classism." The Associate Director of Student Life warned that it "has a massive potential to get ugly, ugly," if the Council voted to fund my speech and referred to the students requesting the funding as "haters." The College Council was duly intimidated by these efforts and voted 11-4 to reject the request.

The week before they had voted $7500 to fund a speech by Jello Biafra. The same Council recently voted to turn down Dennis Prager because he would be the "second pro-Israel speaker" this year.

Here is a link to an article by Emory student Ezra Greenberg about these events. I have asked the Emory students to write a full account of this episode so the rest of America can understand why our campuses are so racially polarized. (At Emory Black Students, Asian Students, and white students are all self-segregated.) Ninety percent of the racial tension on college campuses is a consequence of the heightened racial consciousness that administrators have fostered.

We are only the beginning this battle, and we will not let up until we have restored educational values to these universities. Among these values is ending the status of conservative students as second class citizens in their university communities.