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Old 02-13-2005, 01:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Academic 'Bill of Rights' or Government Censorship?

I wonder how we can do this in a country that protects freedom of speech.

Quote:
College sophomore Charis Bridgman tends to keep quiet in class if she thinks her professor might disagree with her Christian-influenced ideas. The 19-year-old says schools such as her Otterbein College in suburban Columbus should be a place for open discussion, but she feels some professors make students afraid to speak up.

"They might chastise me, or not even listen to my opinion or give me a chance to explain,'' she said.

Professors would have to include diverse opinions in classrooms under legislation being pushed in Ohio and several other states by conservatives who fear too many professors indoctrinate young minds with liberal propaganda. Such measures have had little success getting approval in the other states.

"I see students coming out having gone in without any ideological leanings one way or another, coming out with an indoctrination of a lot of left-wing issues,'' said bill sponsor Sen. Larry Mumper, a former high school teacher whose Republican party controls the Legislature.

The proposal in Ohio to create an academic "bill of rights'' would prohibit public and private college professors from presenting opinions as fact or penalizing students for expressing their views. Professors would not be allowed to introduce controversial material unrelated to the course.

Professors dismissed the bill as unnecessary and questioned whether its supporters had ulterior motives, such as wanting more conservative professors.

Similar legislation failed in California and Colorado last year, while the Georgia Senate passed a resolution, which is less binding than a bill, that suggests adoption. The California bill, which would affect only public schools, has been reintroduced and faces opposition from professors and student groups. An Indiana bill is nearly identical to Ohio's.

The Ohio legislation is based on principles advocated by Students for Academic Freedom, a Washington, D.C.-based student network founded by conservative activist David Horowitz.

"It doesn't matter a professor's viewpoint,'' Horowitz said in an interview. "They can be a good professor, liberal or conservative, provided they pursue an educational mission and not a political agenda.''

Mumper said he is concerned universities are not teaching the values held by taxpaying parents and students.

He questioned why lawmakers should approve funding for universities with "professors who would send some students out in the world to vote against the very public policy that their parents have elected us for.''

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlates...795751,00.html
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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posh. get a mouth, and use it. i argue with my profs all the time...most often i lose, but i've won a couple rounds too.

it doesn't really matter what issue, but when i see people who complain that they have to be quiet in class because the prof doesn't agree with them...i don't have pity. take a risk, and advocate for your viewpoint. see how defensible it is.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I went to a public university for 5 1/2 years and I wasn't indoctrinated with the liberal propaganda. I don't know how much of it is a political agenda or how much is because its just a bit of a left-leaning environment, but there does seem to be a left-slant to a lot of professors' viewpoints. I remember I had one libertarian professor, and a number that were openly liberal. I don't remember one professor that was conservative, but I do remember that for the most part I was offered both sides of an arguement; sometimes it came from the professor, sometimes from students.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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every professor would do this, I find something like this just laughable

jeez, just argue with the man. They will probably win the arguement, but you probably will gain some respect from them.(if you didn't argue something idiotic)
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am glad to see something like this. Judging by your reactions, you all have had openminded professors. Often this isn't the case, many professors not only give opinion as fact, but stifle any opposing views. I have seen numerous occurences of this as a political science major. If a professor at a state-sponsored school cannot respect divergent opinions, they should not take public money.
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmithee
I am glad to see something like this. Judging by your reactions, you all have had openminded professors. Often this isn't the case, many professors not only give opinion as fact, but stifle any opposing views. I have seen numerous occurences of this as a political science major. If a professor at a state-sponsored school cannot respect divergent opinions, they should not take public money.


A professor is not the same as a high school teacher... In fact, many are not even teachers, per se.

Professors are hired to do research and publish... teaching is just one of their duties.

The real job of learing in higher education, falls to the student. The prof is really only there to facilitate this process. You may not agree with them... more power to you. You have just learned another lesson about the real world.
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmithee
I am glad to see something like this. Judging by your reactions, you all have had openminded professors. Often this isn't the case, many professors not only give opinion as fact, but stifle any opposing views. I have seen numerous occurences of this as a political science major. If a professor at a state-sponsored school cannot respect divergent opinions, they should not take public money.
That's the point, tho. I have profs that i really disagree with. I've taken grades that were far worse that i deserved for doing so.

So what? There's no need for a law to protect people from this. Voice your opinion, if you think it worth it, and take the results. This is a protection from responsibility, not a freedom.
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If they think they can legislate objectivity, they should start with the media. Otherwise they should quit complaining.
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Old 02-13-2005, 03:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
If they think they can legislate objectivity, they should start with the media. Otherwise they should quit complaining.
There's two things wrong with this:

1. "The Media" isn't a single entity. A state-funded university is. And it's a state-controlled entity at that. I doubt that people would start advocating for state-sponsored news.

2. Media organizations are for-profit businessees. A higher education institure isn't measured by the bottom line. If objectivity was profitable, i'm sure more news outlets would also be.

I don't see what this has to do whatsoever with freedom of speech, unless you take the point that conservative students are having their first amendment rights violated. How many people here would feel the same if a professor instituted a "don't ask don't tell policy" and any gay student was risking a lower grade by letting it known their homosexuality. It seems that people here are only complaining because those with their particular political views are in charge of universities, and they don't want to see that change or allow differing opinions to be allowed.
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Old 02-13-2005, 03:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
If they think they can legislate objectivity, they should start with the media. Otherwise they should quit complaining.
Clinton! It's Clinton's fault!

(since we are setting up strawmen to attack )

Seriously,

There are certainly professors that are more than willing to penalize students based on their view points; to argue otherwise is to argue against human nature as well as many documented cases.

So I don't see why anyone would object to this bill, as it protects a liberal student's rights as well as a conservative one's.
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Last edited by Lebell; 02-13-2005 at 03:47 PM..
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't object to the bill in principal. It just seems to me something rather arbitrary and difficult to enforce. I have news for you folks, if i were to waste valuable time in my biology class arguing with the professor about the inherent logic of creationism, i would deserve whatever grade docking i ended up with. Would this type of completely valid consequence be prohibited by this pseudo bill of rights?

In the real-outside-of-college world, saying what's on your mind, even when you should have every right to do so, can result in undesirable consequences. Even in taxpayer funded situations. It's called choosing your battles and it is an essential skill.

I haven't heard any evidence of widespread left-wing indoctrination. In fact, if i may refer any of you to recent national voting trends, it would appear that any effort focused on left-wing indoctrination has failed miserably.

Last edited by filtherton; 02-13-2005 at 04:18 PM..
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i guess i believe in the principle of the law... but i don't think such a thing to be enforceable by law.

anecdotally, i do know many people who complain that their poli-sci professors will grade their papers according to how they align with what they think the professor would like to hear. several have specifically said they just fill papers will ideological butt-kissing and have learned it's much better to keep their ideas to themselves.

not a big fan of legislating every last thing. i think we should just apply pressure where we are able and let it all shake out without getting lawyers involved.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
I don't object to the bill in principal. It just seems to me something rather arbitrary and difficult to enforce. I have news for you folks, if i were to waste valuable time in my biology class arguing with the professor about the inherent logic of creationism, i would deserve whatever grade docking i ended up with. Would this type of completely valid consequence be prohibited by this pseudo bill of rights?

In the real-outside-of-college world, saying what's on your mind, even when you should have every right to do so, can result in undesirable consequences. Even in taxpayer funded situations. It's called choosing your battles and it is an essential skill.

I haven't heard any evidence of widespread left-wing indoctrination. In fact, if i may refer any of you to recent national voting trends, it would appear that any effort focused on left-wing indoctrination has failed miserably.

I agree that this bill will be hard (and that's an understatement) to enforce, but I think it's more a symbolic gesture. I can also see some problems with it's enforcement in relation to more scientific fields. But currently in social sciences I always have to weigh my prof's opinion when answering questions or doing essays.

As for relating to "real-life", college is supposed to be different. It is supposed to be a place where ideas can be exchanged freely and knowledge of differing things gained. It might be idealistic, but I think that the whole idea of college is idealistic in itself, so maintaining that feel is something I think it's good to work for.

And as for voting trends, I think that the political lean of the country shows more about the age of voters than what goes on at campuses. It's generally accepted that as people age, they tend to get more conservative views, and also it's shown that as age increased voting generally increases.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmithee
I agree that this bill will be hard (and that's an understatement) to enforce, but I think it's more a symbolic gesture. I can also see some problems with it's enforcement in relation to more scientific fields. But currently in social sciences I always have to weigh my prof's opinion when answering questions or doing essays.
Most social sciences are a vast mishmash of competing theories. I think it is fairly normal for a person to be a little bit ethnocentric about their chosen philosophies. Why would you want to learn a subject from someone who lacks conviction?

Quote:
As for relating to "real-life", college is supposed to be different. It is supposed to be a place where ideas can be exchanged freely and knowledge of differing things gained. It might be idealistic, but I think that the whole idea of college is idealistic in itself, so maintaining that feel is something I think it's good to work for.
I think college is about learning to think critically about the world around you. Part of that is figuring out the myriad different ways that people can be full of shit. It is also important to be able to pick your battles and understand the idea that sometimes the most effective thing you can do i a given situation is to keep your opinion to yourself. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as indoctrination. I don't think currently that there is any shortage of idea exchange on university campuses.

Quote:
And as for voting trends, I think that the political lean of the country shows more about the age of voters than what goes on at campuses. It's generally accepted that as people age, they tend to get more conservative views, and also it's shown that as age increased voting generally increases.
You might want to let bill sponsor Sen. Larry Mumper in on this fact. He seems to think that indoctrination is an issue relevant to this matter.
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton
Most social sciences are a vast mishmash of competing theories. I think it is fairly normal for a person to be a little bit ethnocentric about their chosen philosophies. Why would you want to learn a subject from someone who lacks conviction?
Having conviction is one thing, but being closed to well-argued logical opposing views in a field that hasn't come to decicive conclusions about what you differ on is another thing. If I make a logical point, and there is nothing definite factually that opposes my point, I shouldn't be punished just because someone disagrees with me.


Quote:
I think college is about learning to think critically about the world around you. Part of that is figuring out the myriad different ways that people can be full of shit. It is also important to be able to pick your battles and understand the idea that sometimes the most effective thing you can do i a given situation is to keep your opinion to yourself. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as indoctrination. I don't think currently that there is any shortage of idea exchange on university campuses.
I agree, but it's hard to learn to think critically if only one side is ever presented. Then you aren't thinking, you are being told. And judging by what i've seen, there is a definate lack of exchange on campus.



Quote:
You might want to let bill sponsor Sen. Larry Mumper in on this fact. He seems to think that indoctrination is an issue relevant to this matter.
I don't see any real "indoctrination" but more a leaning. It is true that many college students probably absorb more liberal ideas at a university than they would otherwise, but to me that's not the issue nor do I see it as a big problem. I'm more worried about those who have differing opinions being allowed to voice those. And what some senator thinks is irrelevant to me, if the result is what I think is for the best. As they say, the ends justify the means.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmithee
How many people here would feel the same if a professor instituted a "don't ask don't tell policy" and any gay student was risking a lower grade by letting it known their homosexuality. It seems that people here are only complaining because those with their particular political views are in charge of universities, and they don't want to see that change or allow differing opinions to be allowed.
Lost points on a paper for using "homophobic" because the prof said that it "made it sound like there was something wrong with opposing homosexuality."

They get federal money, and i don't really give a rats ass. I knew i was going to lose respect for it...it was a conservative place. I didn't expect the grade to suffer, but that doesn't change things.

Lebell...the cure is worse than the disease. that's why i oppose it. What's neutral? What's objective? When you choose to take a course with a prof, you are giving them the chance to evaluate your scholarship. that evaluation may be fair, it may not be. but you asked for it.

not presenting "opinions as fact" is SO laughably unenforceable as to be completely absurd. such a law will never stand on the grounds that it is completely vague as to what the prohibited behavior is.

if students are penalized for speaking out...have them take it up with the dean. there are ways of doing this that don't place the government in charge of policing academic discourse.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Gents,

I counter that it WILL work, simply because it will serve as a very real reminder that academics are there to TEACH students how to think, not to make them little Republicans, Democrats, Communists or whatever..

This is not a matter of disagreeing with your biology teacher of the ATP cycle or with your math teacher over how to do a Fourrier transform. It is about expressing your views in a politics class that Nixon wasn't such a bad president and not having the gal wearing Birkinstocks give your paper a "D" for it. It is about expressing your view in a law class that the 10 commandments has no place in modern jurisprudence and not having the old guy at the front who listens to Rush on the way to work mark you as "unsatisfactory".

While it would be great if all academics could separate their personal feelings regarding social issues from teaching, the fact is that some can't.

A school I'm very familiar with, CU, is a good example of such a place. I've had friends attend there that say it is better to keep your opinions to yourself in certain classes than risk retribution.

That is WRONG, plain and simple, and I would welcome legislation to remind academacians of the fact, especially ones like Ward Churchill.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmithee
Having conviction is one thing, but being closed to well-argued logical opposing views in a field that hasn't come to decicive conclusions about what you differ on is another thing. If I make a logical point, and there is nothing definite factually that opposes my point, I shouldn't be punished just because someone disagrees with me.
You shouldn't be punished, but it is very likely that you will be. How would this law effect that? Do you trust the law to make the often arbitrary decision as to what constitutes a logical, unopposed point?

Quote:
I agree, but it's hard to learn to think critically if only one side is ever presented. Then you aren't thinking, you are being told. And judging by what i've seen, there is a definate lack of exchange on campus.
I don't know about you, but i know when i my professors are trying to sell me something. I don't need balanced pedagogy, i need someone who puts things into my head for me to evaluate as i see fit. The people who think on their own do so already. The people who can't think on their own can always find someone who can to tell them what to think.

Everyone is allowed to voice their opinion. Why should those who disagree with a professor be granted special protections based solely on how they choose to behave?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
Gents,

I counter that it WILL work, simply because it will serve as a very real reminder that academics are there to TEACH students how to think, not to make them little Republicans, Democrats, Communists or whatever..

While it would be great if all academics could separate their personal feelings regarding social issues from teaching, the fact is that some can't.

A school I'm very familiar with, CU, is a good example of such a place. I've had friends attend there that say it is better to keep your opinions to yourself in certain classes than risk retribution.

That is WRONG, plain and simple, and I would welcome legislation to remind academacians of the fact, especially ones like Ward Churchill.
While i agree that it is wrong, i don't see how the law would work. How would you even implement a law like this? Require government set standardized curriculum for all universities in the law's jurisdiction? Who decides what "objective" curricula consists of? How easily could the law be abused by disgruntled students?

All teaching is opinionated. You don't need teachers to teach facts, books can do that just fine.

Last edited by filtherton; 02-13-2005 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 02-13-2005, 08:19 PM   #19 (permalink)
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It's a godsend when a student actually stands up and tries to defend a position with a logical argument. I think most professors would agree with me on that.

It's great when a student comes into your office and actually wants to discuss something intellectual, rather than ask what's going to be on the test and how you're going to grade it.

And it's absolutely wonderful to see somebody who has enough self confidence to speak out in class and try to defend a position. There's nothing like a few argumentative sparks flying to get people interested and excited in a subject.

If anything, I probably reward students for arguing with me. Once I argued with a student in my office for about an hour about creationism. She was older, in her 40s, a southern baptist with a great sense of humor who was concerned about my soul. I calmly gave her all the standard arguments, but she wouldn't budge. We even sort of insulted each other, laughing all the time. I told her she would be the first to know when I change my mind.

Always enjoyed seeing her on campus, she would say "I'm praying for you!" and we would both laugh.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:38 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Statisctics have shown that as people attain higher levels of education they tend to become more liberal politically. Do I think this has anything to do with it? Probably not.

Along the lines of Filthertons previous comments... If a student is so weak-minded that the he will listen to his professors' political beliefs and take them as fact, then that person will be just as easily influenced by a variety of other things. One would hope that people are capable of forming their own political beliefs instead of just absorbing those of others. Also, if a professor really is that much of a dick about opposing viewpoints, that would probably decrease his reputation among the students, at least to the point where they won't take everything he says as fact.

Do I think it's proper for professors to stifle differing opinions? Of course not, but they're just professors and they're human too. Not every professor is perfect, and there are a lot that are really only marginally qualified or are just straight-out terrible teachers. I've had a handful in my day. You want better professors and a better academic environment? Go to a better school (going from Stevens to RPI has taught me that lesson). If the professor sucks that much, talk to the department head or the dean if he won't listen.

Beyond my belief that legislation would not be effective in this circumstance, I believe that there are better solutions to the problem.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:45 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
Gents,

I counter that it WILL work, simply because it will serve as a very real reminder that academics are there to TEACH students how to think, not to make them little Republicans, Democrats, Communists or whatever..

This is not a matter of disagreeing with your biology teacher of the ATP cycle or with your math teacher over how to do a Fourrier transform. It is about expressing your views in a politics class that Nixon wasn't such a bad president and not having the gal wearing Birkinstocks give your paper a "D" for it. It is about expressing your view in a law class that the 10 commandments has no place in modern jurisprudence and not having the old guy at the front who listens to Rush on the way to work mark you as "unsatisfactory".

While it would be great if all academics could separate their personal feelings regarding social issues from teaching, the fact is that some can't.

A school I'm very familiar with, CU, is a good example of such a place. I've had friends attend there that say it is better to keep your opinions to yourself in certain classes than risk retribution.

That is WRONG, plain and simple, and I would welcome legislation to remind academacians of the fact, especially ones like Ward Churchill.
Lebell, I find your advocacy for legislating these issues misses the point that
the students pass through the school and the professors are the school's
personality. As a moderator of a political forum, I am disappointed that
you seem so eager to take up the side of those who have an agenda of
control by what seems so far to be predominately conservative state legislatures. An advocacy that circumvents, or intimidates the faculty and
administration of our public colleges should be a last resort.

The following appears on the website that is the catalyst for this political
movement
Quote:
<a href="http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/">http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/</a>

Students for Academic Freedom
Mission and Strategy:

I. Mission Statement p.
II. The Principles Explained p.
III. Campaign Themes p.
IV. How to Implement These Goals p.
V. How to Research Campus Abuses p.
VI. Frequently Asked Questions p.
VII. Academic Bill of Rights p.................

.......V. Suggestions For Researching Campus Abuses

1. Research the party registration of faculty members in the social sciences and humanities, and in other fields that deal with social, political and economic issues. A “how to” guide is provided in the booklet Political Bias In American Universities, available from the Students for Academic Freedom Information Center (www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org) Not all disparities are the result of discrimination, but the effects of political litmus tests in hiring and promotion can be dramatic. .................
It would be less troubling if the advice was to "Research the party registration of faculty members" before enrolling in the school, and then
adding the results of that research to the other factors an applicant
would use in deciding what school to enroll in. The agenda here seems
to be about stifling the opinion of the existing personality of the school
by gathering intelligence for the potential targeting of faculty members.

The "problem" that this solution is aimed at remedying seems much less
objectionable in a supposedly free society than what this legislative solution
could cause. Revulsion is my predominate reaction....sheesh !!!!!

Last edited by host; 02-13-2005 at 10:52 PM..
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
whosoever
 
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lebell...i'm just *really* unsure of how it could even begin to work. who decides what's fair? who overrides the proffessor's grade, if it's politically motivated?

what would the government sanctions be if these rules weren't carried out perfectly?

signing up for a course is telling the prof that you want them to evaluate your work.

if you don't trust them to do that fairly...why are you taking the class? if the whole school is like that...why are you there at all? if you have that little trust in the grades, that you want the government involved...what does that say about the school?
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:58 AM   #23 (permalink)
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This is all I'm going to say...

Had a French Prof who saw me one day in uniform in his classroom. Now this was during the beginning of the Iraq war, and being french he was obviously not fond of Bush.

I noticed a considerable grade drop on my assignments from that point on. Went from mostly A's and B's to C's and D's. I confronted him about it and he said it was to teach me compassion for the rest of the world.

I went to the dean about it and he said I couldnt do anything without proof. Since I didnt record it I had none... I ended up failing that class (With a 94 mid-semester).
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:29 AM   #24 (permalink)
 
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i am really not sure of the point of this legislation.
i do not think it necessary, nor do i think it would stand if it was passed.

in the interest of full disclosure, i teach at a university.

i find it curious the gap that seperates how university teaching is understood from outside as over against how it is understood inside....

anyway, the bottom line so far as i am concerned is this: if you teach in a university setting, you have a tremendous amount of coercive power that the students hand you as a function of their orientation toward Grades. there is little that you can do to counter this. one result is that it is all too simple to impose your beliefs on students--all you have to do is let yourself forget about the coercive nature of being in a classroom setting. because it is so easy, it appears as something to fight against.

secondly, students do not seem to enter university with any particular skills at thinking for themselves. it is simply not something that is emphasized in high schools. what they are good at is following directions. most of my teaching works at a philosophical level and is aimed at trying to help them along the process of thinking for themselves. i try to isolate, clarify, and pull apart the systems of thinking that inform various works. ideally, i try to bring them to a point where they have to choose to continue functioning in an unexamined way. but i have no committment to the content of that choice--it can go in any direction.

i try to emphasize a critical relation to texts that i assign. i am explicit about the fact that politics informs the selection of texts, but also that there is a distinction between politics as they inform a historical analysis, say, and politics as is understood in the big wide flat world of american life. in formal argument, you can and should expect the frames to be explicit, the chain of deductions coherent, etc. it si fair game to criticize texts for what their assumptions force out of consideration, for example. in the big wide flat world of american politics, you rarely get to that level.

i have and have had conservative students. they do not constitute a particular target for me--i do not remember any pattern in terms of how these students fare. sometimes they object to what i being done in class--if their objections are well-formed, that's fine. it makes things a bit more interesting to tangle with them. at the level of their work, what matters is that they think about the premises of the arguments that they make--there is no real distinction between conservative and other students at this level--i could not imagine penalizing a student for their politics as such.

but what i find curious is the number of mediocre students who try to claim that the problem lay not with the mediocrity of their work, but in the "fact" that they are being persecuted unfairly for their conservative beliefs.

more curiously still, i know a number of conservatives who teach at universities and they tend to be more rigid, more doctrinaire than their "left" counterparts. sorry, but that seems to be the situation. i dont see a whole lot of complaining about that. i dont see much in the way of legislation proffered to counter it, either. go figure.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:30 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Seaver
This is all I'm going to say...

Had a French Prof who saw me one day in uniform in his classroom. Now this was during the beginning of the Iraq war, and being french he was obviously not fond of Bush.

I noticed a considerable grade drop on my assignments from that point on. Went from mostly A's and B's to C's and D's. I confronted him about it and he said it was to teach me compassion for the rest of the world.

I went to the dean about it and he said I couldnt do anything without proof. Since I didnt record it I had none... I ended up failing that class (With a 94 mid-semester).
Yes... this sort of thing sucks. It happens. But without proof where is a new law even going to help you...

A similar example:

My wife went to a prominent journalism school in Canada. One of the profs there was a notorious pig with the women in his classes. He gave good marks to women who wore shorter skirts. He would make sexist comments, all the time. He would take marks off or fail women who took him to task on this... His actions were well documented by many women in different graduating years.

My wife and some of her classmates took their issues to the Head of the J-School. He was sympathetic and offered to support them if they chose to file complaints or even go so far as to press charges...

He also added to this, that if they ever wanted to work as journalists they should carefully consider their actions. Taking these steps against a very prominent person would brand them as troublemakers, etc. They would have a very difficult time getting work once they graduated.

They chose to *not* pursue the prof.

Sure enough, the following year another group of women did pursue the prof for his actions... and sure enough they were dragged through the mud and painted as "spurned", "jealous", "incompetent", etc.


It's wrong but sometimes you just have to pick your fights.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:32 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roachboy
but what i find curious is the number of mediocre students who try to claim that the problem lay not with the mediocrity of their work, but in the "fact" that they are being persecuted unfairly for their conservative beliefs.
This was largely my experience when I was a TA...
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:11 PM   #27 (permalink)
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but what i find curious is the number of mediocre students who try to claim that the problem lay not with the mediocrity of their work, but in the "fact" that they are being persecuted unfairly for their conservative beliefs.
I understand this probably happens... but I would appreciate if it could be reworded so not to seem like a personal attack (considering it directly followed my last post).
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:35 PM   #28 (permalink)
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When a Dispatch reporter asked the bill's sponsor what constituted "controversial matter" to be barred from the classroom, he didn't exactly narrow things down: "Religion and politics, those are the main things." There goes any discussion of Thomas Jefferson in my history classes, or Martin Luther King or -- well, pretty much any discussion of anything. The bill discriminates because it applies only to "humanities, the social sciences, and the arts," and leaves, thereby, those card-carrying Communists in business departments free to continue denouncing the evils of compound interest. And yet it is simultaneously so broad that the state's Bible colleges would have to shut down entirely. If this bill passed, we would either have to ignore it completely or stop teaching.

.......

Not the least curiosity here is that the very same people who, 10 years ago, ridiculed the campus speech codes as "political correctness" now want to impose the most extreme sorts of speech codes through force of law and outrageous intimidation. The very people who howled about the debunking of the great Western traditions of free speech and critical reason are now engaged in a frontal action that can only squelch free speech and establish a radical subjectivity as the rule of the day.

After all, anything any student wishes to find discriminatory, under the law, could indeed be removed from the classroom; education would devolve into whatever pandered to the individual bias of every student. Truth, that noble thing conservatives always say they seek, will become the same degraded thing that it has become with the likes of Limbaugh, Fox News, and Horowitz: mere "spin." The radical right, it seems, has learned well from the postmodern left.

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Old 02-14-2005, 03:29 PM   #29 (permalink)
 
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seaver: i didnt mean it as a personal attack at all...
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Old 02-14-2005, 06:56 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Lebell,

how do you reconcile your support for a bill that purports to protect unpopular speech/opinoins, and end your comments by pointing out that people like Ward Churchill should remain silent?

I haven't met any liberal professors who target their students, but I have to grade papers in an extremely conservative city. I drop points when their logic and/or writing is shaky, but not for political viewpoint. Students often confront me about whether I or the professor will please not take exception to their viewpoints. I never do on its ideological basis, but the sad fact is undergrad writing is shockingly horrific. If you all are so concerned with the grades students are pulling, take a peek at your kids' homework and actually teach them to read and write. A skillfully constructed sentence would be bonus. Most of us can't even grade grammar due to the fact that sentences are constructed so poorly and we don't have time. But I don't see a bill addressing those issues.

I don't object to the notion that professors are left-leaning in the social sciences. I read a recent article stipulating exatly that in the LA Times and: 1) attributed it to the different places conservatives will go to earn money, corporations (more, less ideologically motivated), and liberals will go (less, more ideologically motivated), education.

2) academia priviledges carefully constructed arguments and open-mindedness. Average "conservatives" don't value the first, instead eschewing things that appear to be ivory tower, and conservative ideology is opposed to openness by it's nature, instead seeking to maintain status-quo.

Those are the points of the article and anyone can dig it up if they'd like. It was written in an op-ed piece within a month ago.
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Old 02-14-2005, 08:13 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Smooth,

I justify it fairly simply.

A university's primary function is to instruct students not to promote a professor's personal and political beliefs. But this still isn't how I justify it.

I don't subscribe to the notion that a tenure automatically protects what is essentially a public employee (CU is a state funded college) when they something say or write something incredibly offense.

Can Ward Churchill say such things? Yes, as defined by the First Amendment, he can. Does he have the right to say whatever he wants on the tax payer dime? IMO, no.

I can respect the idea that Churchill should be allowed to say whatever he wants to academically (as in his much publicized essay), and I am still wondering if I am being influenced by the nature of his essay and how offensive I found it.

But FYI: as to freedoms and supporting unpopular speech, every year the Sons of Italy try to hold a Columbus Day parade through downtown Denver. And every year, a group called AIM (American Indian Movement), which is composed of radical Indian rights activists, disrupts it. And Ward Churchill is right in there disrupting it with them.

So apparently Mr. Churchill only wants freedom of speech for things he thinks are worthy of it (i.e. his speech, not other people's).

That is beyond the philosophical question you asked, but I would be dishonest if I didn't acknowledge that it probably affects my POV on the matter.


As to your own students, crappy writing is also beyond the scope of the philosophical points I raised. In other words, crappy writing is crappy writing and should be marked down appropriately.

But the fact remains that there are teachers who will let their personal opinions affect their grading and this is the issue that should be addressed.
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:10 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I wonder how we can do this in a country that protects freedom of speech.

......................The Ohio legislation is based on principles advocated by Students for Academic Freedom, a Washington, D.C.-based student network founded by conservative activist David Horowitz.

"It doesn't matter a professor's viewpoint,'' Horowitz said in an interview. "They can be a good professor, liberal or conservative, provided they pursue an educational mission and not a political agenda.''

Mumper said he is concerned universities are not teaching the values held by taxpaying parents and students.

He questioned why lawmakers should approve funding for universities with "professors who would send some students out in the world to vote against the very public policy that their parents have elected us for.''



http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlates...795751,00.html
If you read the information at this link,<a href="http://mediamatters.org/etc/about.html">http://mediamatters.org/etc/about.html</a> it will answer the question as to why investigative journalist David Brock created the website and the organization in May, 2004. Media Matters
exposed the fake white house "reporter" who used the fake name "Jeff Gannon", just two weeks ago. There is more on Gannon in the newest posts
on the "The GOP gets caught in yet another media scam" thread on this Politics forum. Now David Horowitz is held up for examination, a similar process to the one he advocates subjecting college instructors to.
Quote:
<a href="http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/02/02/white_house_friendly_reporter_under_scrutiny?mode=PF">http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/02/02/white_house_friendly_reporter_under_scrutiny?mode=PF</a>

David Brock, the former investigative journalist who made his name revealing aspects of former President Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs, said he was watching last week's press conference on television and the "soup lines" question sparked his interest because it "struck me as so extremely biased." Brock asked his media watchdog group, Media Matters for America, to look into Talon News.

Quote:
<a href="http://mediamatters.org/items/200502140002">http://mediamatters.org/items/200502140002</a>

<b>David Horowitz paid controversial Jesse Helms advisers to advise him</b>

David Horowitz -- the right-wing pundit who has recently sought to defend himself against charges of racism by baselessly branding one of his critics, radio host Al Franken, a "racist" -- paid nearly $300,000 to Rotterman & Associates, a Republican media consulting firm that helped run the racially divisive campaigns of former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), a review of the tax filings of Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture shows.

The financial records tying Horowitz to the Helms political machine specify only that the payments to Rotterman were for "consultant" services to Horowitz's center. In North Carolina, Marc and Karen Rotterman, who head Rotterman & Associates, have worked for Republican campaigns using race- and gay-baiting political tactics.

Horowitz has penned a series of racially provocative attacks that have caused critics to conclude he is a bigot, including an August 16, 1999, column for Salon.com titled "Guns don't kill black people, other blacks do," a February 2001 campaign to publish an ad titled "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea -- and Racist Too" in college newspapers across the country, and his 1999 book, Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes.

More recently, in a January 26 posting on the History News Network website about "Why I Am Not Celebrating" the 90th birthday of the African-American historian John Hope Franklin, the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and chairman of President Clinton's Commission on Race, Horowitz referred to Franklin as "the most honored and generally revered African American historian of slavery," then attacked Franklin's response to his anti-reparations ad by characterizing his writing as that of "a racial ideologue rather than a historian" and "almost pathological." In the piece, Horowitz, who has no academic credentials as a historian, sought to defend his claim that "free blacks and the free descendants of blacks" benefited from slavery.

Through it all, Horowitz has sought to portray himself as a strong supporter of civil rights. In a November 30, 2004, column, he wrote that "there is no single cause -- except America's wars against totalitarian foes -- to which I have devoted myself more consistently that than that of racial equality. Not a shred of evidence exists to the contrary."

Horowitz is president and co-founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC) and the editor-in-chief of FrontPageMag.com, the CSPC's online journal. The center's agenda includes right-wing campus organizing and opposing affirmative action programs. CSPC is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) public charity. As such, the organization must file a Form 990 with the IRS every year, in which it is required to disclose, among other things, the top five independent contractors to which it has paid more than $50,000 for "professional services." CSPC's Form 990s for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 reveal that the organization paid Rotterman & Associates $167,417 in 2003 and $121,193 in 2002 for "consultant" services...........
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Old 02-15-2005, 12:14 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by martinguerre
posh. get a mouth, and use it. i argue with my profs all the time...most often i lose, but i've won a couple rounds too.

it doesn't really matter what issue, but when i see people who complain that they have to be quiet in class because the prof doesn't agree with them...i don't have pity. take a risk, and advocate for your viewpoint. see how defensible it is.

Depends on the professor. I know one "minority studies" prof who refuses to give ANY white male a grade higher than a "B", REGARDLESS of what they say. I still run into her sometimes. She's still teaching, but I'm no longer a student and have a far-more "responsible" job than she does, and it pisses her off to no end. To rip off a line from Mel Brooks: "It's good to be da King!"
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:34 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by daswig
Depends on the professor. I know one "minority studies" prof who refuses to give ANY white male a grade higher than a "B", REGARDLESS of what they say. I still run into her sometimes. She's still teaching, but I'm no longer a student and have a far-more "responsible" job than she does, and it pisses her off to no end. To rip off a line from Mel Brooks: "It's good to be da King!"
And you didn't say anything to the university president? I'll agree completely with martinguerre whom you quoted. Being an undergrad (history/political science) student and having to take mostly "liberal" classes on religion, politics, and history, I have seen people speak up for their religious beliefs in many of my classes. Even if I don't agree with them I think it is incredibly ballsy to speak their mind in the middle of a packed lecture hall. Be pissed off at the professor all you want if you don't feel like chiming in, but at the end of the day you're still accountable for the information he/she teaches.

I've said it on the TFP before, if you don't want your firmly held high school beliefs challenged and want to live a life devoid of any questioning of those beliefs...don't come to college. If you aren't open minded enough to consider other peoples viewpoints stay at home with mommy and daddy, let them teach you what the "real" world is about.

That said, this bill is rediculous. Students have every right to give professors their point of view, but the responsibility lies solely on those students. I know professors at my university would even look highly upon you after discussing those issues with them...as long as you're willing to actually discuss and be open minded, and justify your position.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:24 AM   #35 (permalink)
 
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I don't subscribe to the notion that a tenure automatically protects what is essentially a public employee (CU is a state funded college) when they something say or write something incredibly offense.

Can Ward Churchill say such things? Yes, as defined by the First Amendment, he can. Does he have the right to say whatever he wants on the tax payer dime? IMO, no.

I can respect the idea that Churchill should be allowed to say whatever he wants to academically (as in his much publicized essay), and I am still wondering if I am being influenced by the nature of his essay and how offensive I found it.
here we get to one of the hearts of the matter, really: conservatives tend to oppose tenure. except for themselves, and ceo-types for various corporations--then it's fine. just as the right would prefer to break the teacher's union in public education--not by direct confrontation on the question of whether there should or should not be such a union, but by fabricating a range of critiques of public education as such and moving from there to advocating private/church basement schools.

within the campaign against tenure, you only ever see isolated factoids floated about: ward churchill writes an essay that offends the delicate sensibilities of conservatives, therefore the problem must be tenure because it provides a space for what they see as impunity. the vast amount of material generated across the university system by thousands of other folk goes unnoticed: the general question about tenure and its relation to that production go unposed.

you could aslo look at tenure as a device for sheltering academic production--its other-than-lucrative modes of writing for example--and as a way to preserve freedom of inquiry from the corrosion of political and economic pressures. debating this view would come down to what value you place on the fact of academic inquiry--whether for example, you imagine that there should be a particular space preserved for it in american society, whether you imagine that there is any necessity for a correlation between economic and cultural attributes in the fashioning of the corporate elite of tomorrow. because like it or not that is what higher education is about--the reproduction of upper cadres in the american labor pool.

within this bigger function, the question of debate is interesting--it might be an experience that enables the kind of "thinking outside the box" you read about in management literature, which is among the features of "managing change" that these folk are supposed to indulge as part of their professional activities. in a situation of great uncertainty, the ability to step outside existing political and corporate ideologies--or at least to relativize them--can be a prerequisite for survival. this stepping outside or relativization is itself a skill--it is not something that can be undertaken arbitrarily in a moment of finance-driven illumination--but perhaps it is precisely this that conservatives are uncomfortable with.

dont fool yourself: universities have adapted to this changing political situation for their own interests---there are few tenure track jobs available, but many many jobs for adjuncts. flexible labor--except that most adjuncts that i know are far more radical than their tenured compatriots. but that is harder for conservatives to oppose, really, because it does not fit into their mythos--agents exposed to market pressures, to instability in their basic mode of living, should by their "thinking" be more docile, more complaint--because they are more expendable (the "discipline of the market").
in the final analysis, the result of most conservative argument on this (and other) matters is to make everyone equally expendable. except for members of the economic elite, who they would shelter by driving the whole system of repoduction into a private, and thereby invisible, space.

it seems to me that this whole move is self-defeating.


another point: it seems that the same arguments that circulate in rightwing land about public vs. private high schools are structuring the pseudo-debate about tenure in these circles. i cant help but think that what they really want, taken to the limit, is the destruction of the public tout court, and its replacement with a privatized scenario in which class reproduction is made apolitical seeming by shoving its mechanisms back into the private sphere--where only the children of the wealthy get access to a wide-ranging education--where public universities would operate as part of a vast ideological circle jerk shaped by conservative anxieties that maybe, just maybe, their worldview is fundamentally dysfunctional---public universities would be charged with a direct reproduction of the existing order. leave the critical thinking to the economic eliltes, who deserve it.

better maybe to focus on things like ward churchill and whether his writing offends conservatives--at least by that route, it sounds like you might--in principle--have the beginnings of a case to make.
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:53 PM   #36 (permalink)
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And you didn't say anything to the university president? I'll agree completely with martinguerre whom you quoted. Being an undergrad (history/political science) student and having to take mostly "liberal" classes on religion, politics, and history, I have seen people speak up for their religious beliefs in many of my classes. Even if I don't agree with them I think it is incredibly ballsy to speak their mind in the middle of a packed lecture hall. Be pissed off at the professor all you want if you don't feel like chiming in, but at the end of the day you're still accountable for the information he/she teaches.

I've said it on the TFP before, if you don't want your firmly held high school beliefs challenged and want to live a life devoid of any questioning of those beliefs...don't come to college. If you aren't open minded enough to consider other peoples viewpoints stay at home with mommy and daddy, let them teach you what the "real" world is about.

That said, this bill is rediculous. Students have every right to give professors their point of view, but the responsibility lies solely on those students. I know professors at my university would even look highly upon you after discussing those issues with them...as long as you're willing to actually discuss and be open minded, and justify your position.

Sorry, the University knew of her practices, and her course was REQUIRED for everybody in the criminal justice field. No passee her coursee, no graduatee.

I hate to tell you this, but the "real world" generally refuses to listen to the crap that liberal professors put out, which is why they are in academia. They flock to academia because they can't hold a job in the "real world". There are still MARXISTS teaching political science in American universities. Hell, even the Russians have turned their backs on Marxism. If you think college is the "real world", you're gonna be HURTING once you graduate, and end up with your first job being one where you ask "Grande, vente, or tall?" all day long.

Daswig, B.S., J.D., and has a REAL job in-field.
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Old 02-15-2005, 04:32 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
here we get to one of the hearts of the matter, really: conservatives tend to oppose tenure. except for themselves, and ceo-types for various corporations--then it's fine. just as the right would prefer to break the teacher's union in public education--not by direct confrontation on the question of whether there should or should not be such a union, but by fabricating a range of critiques of public education as such and moving from there to advocating private/church basement schools.

...snip...
Hmmm.

All I can say is that your long, convoluted post is based on several assumptions in this initial paragraph, all of which are wrong.
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:27 PM   #38 (permalink)
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daswig,

Did you ever wonder that maybe, just maybe, the study of the history of humanity and religion and politics has in fact MADE social science professors liberal? Once you've had the priviledge of studying the Bible from a historical perspective you learn all kinds of wonderful things like: a) the Flood never even happened (or at least the thousands of people it supposedly drowned have no idea it ever happened), b) the tower of Babel never existed, c) the shepherds, the magi, and the manger were never in the same place (a bastardisation of the gospels), and d) organized religion has killed more people in the name of god than anything in the history of the world.

Things like that make you cynical, and make you question the government; make you think that "Hey! People have been screwing people over in the name of god for thousands of years, maybe I shouldn't buy into whatever new propaganda they are spewing!"

If questioning authority, be it religious or political; and causing you to challenge your own beliefs and actually THINK for one fucking second is liberal "crap"...then I guess I'm up to my eyeballs in the brown stuff.

Just because you have to learn about a certain belief, like Marxism, doesn't mean that a professor is a communist. Just because you actually have to learn about evolution doesn't make your biology teacher a godless liberal. And just because your professor makes you a bit uncomfortable by saying, "Guess what people? No WMDs!" does NOT give you the right to silence him.

Might I also ask daswig what you do in the "real world" that is just so goddamn amazing?
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:50 PM   #39 (permalink)
 
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lebel: geez. and here i thought it was fairly straightforward.

live and learn.

but tell me if your "accountability" argument concerning ward churchill does not reduce to an opposition to tenure. which would be a priori necessary for the kind of "monitoring" you seem to support for professors who teach at public universities--and therefore on the sacrosanct "taxpayers dime"
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:50 PM   #40 (permalink)
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daswig,

Did you ever wonder that maybe, just maybe, the study of the history of humanity and religion and politics has in fact MADE social science professors liberal?
Nope. I put it down to their lack of basic intellegence and inability to function in the "real world" driving them to become academics. "Social science" is "soft science". It's like the law. It's not rational, it just is the way it is, and thinking frequently changes. For example, when I was in undergrad in the 1980's, things which were considered gospel then are now considered to be quite suspect. Reality hasn't changed, what's changed is the perceptions of the faculty.
Quote:

If questioning authority, be it religious or political; and causing you to challenge your own beliefs and actually THINK for one fucking second is liberal "crap"...then I guess I'm up to my eyeballs in the brown stuff.
That's not what's going on. What's going on is POLITICAL INDOCTRINATION, nothing else. Some people see through it, but others who are not as intellegent get turned into ideological zombies.

Quote:
Just because you have to learn about a certain belief, like Marxism, doesn't mean that a professor is a communist.
No, what makes them communists is the belief that the communist system will work if we just give THEM control of the goverment so that they can implement it properly. They ignore the literal MOUNTAINS of bodies created by governments during the 20th century by people trying to do exactly that.

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And just because your professor makes you a bit uncomfortable by saying, "Guess what people? No WMDs!" does NOT give you the right to silence him.
Given the fact that they did indeed FIND WMDs, that makes him or her factually wrong. People have a free speech right to say what they want. They do NOT have a free speech right to say what they want on the Government's dime. I have no problem with Churchill saying whatever he goddamned well pleases. But he can do it on a soapbox on a streetcorner, NOT using governmental assets.


As for my job, well, I'd rather not say, since I don't want people going and screaming to my "bosses" or the Governor. Sufficed to say, however, I don't serve coffee at Starbucks.
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