Academic Freedom News · 15 October 2004

Academic Freedom News
October 15, 2004

Indoctrination at Ball State University

Recently Students for Academic Freedom was approached by Brett Mock, a student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, about serious problems of not just indoctrination, but also intellectual and political bias by various professors and university officials.

As we began to bring these issues to light, the attack on Brett and others that supported him became intense and unrelenting. Ball State University has only paid lip-service to Brett's and others complaints. At no time has the University done a serious inquiry into the problems and concerns of the students. In typical fashion the Ball State administration blindly supported the professoriate and never once attempted to protect or to even address the concerns of the students. Not once, through an ordeal that has now been going on longer than a month and has seen many reports in newspapers and on websites across the country, has the administration attempted to contact Brett or any other student making allegations.

It is obvious the administration does not care about the violation of student's academic freedom. The administration at Ball State does not care about the education of students, they only protect professors that attempt to indoctrinate students into their line of reasoning.

Below are some examples of the egregious problems at Ball State, a tax-payer funded institution:

  • During the spring of 2004 Brett Mock enrolled and took a Peace Studies course taught by Professor George Wolfe. Professor Wolfe, who before teaching and being placed in charge of the Peace Studies department was a professor of saxophone in the music department, created an atmosphere hostile to any other opinion than his own.
  • When a book report and presentation were assigned to the class, Professor Wolfe refused a student request to review a book presenting a theory of non-peaceful resolution to conflict.
  • Many articles were distributed in class criticizing U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq and highlighting casualties, while no article was presented defending the decision to go to war.
  • Professor Wolfe offered extra credit to students who attended a university-sponsored trip to Washington, DC for the purpose of protesting the war in Iraq. No funding or extra credit was granted to students who would have preferred to show their support for the war on terror.
  • Students were recruited to radical organizations as part of the class program.
  • Dr. Beverly Pitts, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs conducted an investigation of the matter concerning Brett Mock and the Peace Studies Program. From her investigation she found nothing wrong with the Peace Studies Program and Professor Wolfe. One glaring mistake that Dr. Pitts made during her investigation was, she never once contacted Brett Mock. That is akin to the police clearing a suspect and never speaking to the victim. You can read our response to Dr. Pitts at: Investigation of Peace Studies Program.
  • For the freshman reading program the students were assigned the anti-capitalist book Fast Food Nation. The book which is an anti-capitalist, anti-business and anti-agriculture rant was to be read and discussed on campus. No other book was provided and or listed for students to read so that they may hear both positions on the subject matter. When you pared the book with the list of speakers that were to address the freshman student body the motives of the university became clear. Ball State has become a strong-hold in the anti-capitalist, anti-America movement. The list of speakers are: Mylan Engel Jr., a Northern Illinois University philosopher who argues that eating meat is immoral; local organic farmers Dave and Sara Ring; Rodney Walker, a former worker at Seldom Rest hog farm who blew the whistle on alleged environmental violations and animal abuse at the farm; and Chris Bedford, a national campaign coordinator for The Humane Society of the United States.(the list of speakers was published in the Muncie Star Press) You can read a full accounting of this issue at: Ball State University Press Coverage
  • Last year the freshman reading program was assigned Nickel and Dimed another anti-capitalist book. The book was written by, Barbara Ehrenreich, who is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest advocate for socialism in America.

Brett and others are not asking for the removal of Professor Mock nor are they asking for just one side of an argument to heard. They want is for both sides of arguments to be welcomed on campus. When you have an anti-capitalistic book being assigned, the university should also assign a book that is pro-capitalism. In short they want the university setting to be a place of education and not indoctrination. Universities will go out of their way to protect the academic freedom of professors, they should provide the same courtesy to the students for which the institutions were built. We have given the Ball State administration a tool in which to do that, the Academic Bill of Rights and to immediately issue a policy statement asserting that intellectual diversity is a primary educational value and the university is not to be used as a partisan political platform.

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Yours in the struggle,

Bradley Shipp

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