North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

Academic Rights

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David Horowitz has drafted what he calls an Academic Bill of Rights. After a quick look see, I tentatively think I like the document.

These points I see as valuable, because I saw why they’re needed when I was a student:

5. Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

7. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.

As a student more than ten years ago, I has classes in the Political Economy of the Canadian Media that were relentlessly Marxist. You could write from another view, but you never heard it in class, and it wasn’t in the textbooks. I also saw an effort to create a right leaning newspaper lead to copies of that paper being destroyed. Who took them might be hard to prove, but I think the act was so thuggish that if those who did it were caught, I would have expelled them.

Horowitz comments on the document here, and says he consulted others on it:

By adopting the Academic Bill of Rights, an institution would recognize scholarship rather than ideology as an appropriate academic enterprise. It would strengthen educational values that have been eroded by the unwarranted intrusion of faculty members’ political views into the classroom. That corrosive trend has caused some academics to focus merely on their own partisan agendas and to abandon their responsibilities as professional educators with obligations to students of all political persuasions. Such professors have lost sight of the vital distinction between education and indoctrination, which — as the AAUP recognized in its first report on academic freedom, in 1915 — is not a legitimate educational function.

Because the intent of the Academic Bill of Rights is to restore academic values, I deliberately submitted it in draft form to potential critics who did not share my political views. They included Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Michael Bérubé, a professor of English at Pennsylvania State University at University Park; Todd guideline, a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University; and Philip Klinkner, a professor of government at Hamilton College.

I’m curious to hear what others might have to say. Were you also subjected to indoctrination in the classroom? My studies were in English and Mass Communications; I got the whole Chomsky Marxist deal to the point that I snapped and became the rapid right winger I am today.

Tip: The Buck Stops Here

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Written by Curt

December 22, 2004 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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