Alumni Support for the Academic Bill of Rights · 28 June 2004

Editor's note: We are pleased to post this letter from University of Southern California alumna Susan Salisbury to USC President Dr. Steven Sample explaining her hesitation to donate to the university until the administration clarifies its position on the Academic Bill of Rights. Students for Academic Freedom is grateful to Susan and all alumni who take a stand for the rights of current students to receive an education free of indoctrination.

Dr. Steven Sample
President,
University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, California, 90007

RE: Request for Alumni contribution

Dear Dr. Sample,

Recently I received a telephone call soliciting a donation from me because I am an alumna of USC. I have two degrees from USC. My son attended USC as did my mother. I feel a great loyalty to USC and have made donations in the past. I would again willingly. But before I do I would like to know the university's position with regard to the right of students and faculty at USC to hold and to express, in an appropriate manner, their own political and religious views.

I have no doubt about your own commitment to the principal of academic diversity and intellectual freedom, however I am concerned about whether the university has taken an explicit position recognizing the right of students to be free from political indoctrination in the classroom and religious discrimination as well.

I am sure you are aware of the Academic Bill of Rights developed by Students for Academic Freedom and David Horowitz. Just in case you don't have a copy, I am enclosing one.

It may seem uneccessary to you that such an explicit policy be adopted, yet the stories I hear about the academy of today from students at different schools trouble me emough that I have become convinced that such an explicit statement is necessary.

It is an unfortunate fact of life on university campuses today that there are more than a few faculty members who are so convinced of the correctness of their own political views that they see nothing wrong in using their classes in expository writing or German or biology to overtly express their political views and to label as Nazis ( yes, that exact word) those of their students willing to express disagreement with them.

Students should be able to learn a foreign language without having to endure a lecture on socialism every day. They should be able to take a class in geology without having to hear our president repeatedly denigrated for not having signed the Kyoto treaty or being subjected to an atheist professor's repeated denigration of anyone who is stupid enough to believe in God.

These are incidents that have occurred on college campuses other than USC. At USC, my own son was assigned a politically laden essay topic after the professor had expressed her own leftwing political views on the subject. He felt, as most students in the class felt, that the "smart" thing to do was to parrot her views back to her. What did this propagandizing have to do with freshman English?

The problem is that, without an explicitly adopted policy, students subjected to such improper propagandizing, feel they have no remedy but must express political sentiments they do not agree with in order to succeed academically.

These days students who feel that they have been subjected to inappropriate statements about their gender or their race or their minority religion, have a complaint procedure available to them. They should have access to some policy statement that defends their right to have their own political and , if such be the case, Christian, religious views.

There can be no academic freedom which accepts only one point of view. The academic bill of rights recognizes that true academic freedom must embrace diversity of thought as well as diversity of race, sex and economic background.

I look forward eagerly to your reply.

Very truly yours,
Susan D. Salisbury

B. A. International Relations 1964
J.D. Law 1972