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If you were to believe the house organ of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is indeed "rocking" the nation.  Triumphant self-congratulations aside, the view on the ground seems to be a little less charitable.

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Really?

The Young America's Foundation asserts that unless you're listening to the views espoused by the folks pictured above, your education is lacking. So what does this gang bring to the table that would complete your education?

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The deadline is fast approaching for students to submit their entries in the New York Times essay contest which poses the question: Is the college experience less critical to the nation than it was a generation ago? The contest is, in part, a response to Rick Perlstein’s essay "What’s the Matter with College?"

Free Exchange got a chance to talk with Perlstein about the essay, his views on college, and how he sees the current debates about politics and supposed "liberal bias" on campus.

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David Horowitz is screaming about totalitarians, racists, and radicals again.  I know you're thinking "What's new? That guy is obsessed with the Middle East."  True enough, but this time it's not the Middle East, it's the Midwest--Missouri, to be exact.  Seems he is all in a tizzy because the Missouri Secretary of State's office clarified a ballot initiative concerning affirmative action being put forward by Ward Connerly's questionably named American Civil Right's Institute.  Horowitz is claiming political meddling and accusing Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon of deceiving Missouri voters with the clarification.  Let's take a look.


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Chuck Norris, of all people, is trying to bring his chops (karate chops, that is) to the right-wing campaign to smear higher education as a dojo of liberal bias, using the time honored technique of quoting Thomas Jefferson to bolster the specious jujitsu of his rhetoric:

On December 27, 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote William Roscoe about his vision for the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819), "This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it."

[...]

What happens when the political and public educational pendulum swings from concern for the tyranny of sectarianism in Jefferson's day to secularism in ours?

Hmm... I wonder what Jefferson would have to say about the evils of secular education?

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The House just passed FY08 spending bills to change the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy by requiring researchers to make copies of their publicly-funded research available to the public on the internet for free. As SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access has said,

Widespread dissemination of research results is an essential, inseparable component of our nation's investment in science and a right of the American taxpayer...public access to research will drive taxpayer benefits such as accelerated scientific advancement, enhanced national competitiveness, and improved public health...mandatory NIH public access removes imposing barriers, making the results of taxpayer-funded research readily available online at no extra charge to every scientist as well as to small businesses, patients, physicians and clinicians, students and educators, and the American public - without disrupting the important peer-review process.

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Following up on Michael Connery's diary.

The US Senate is debating Senate Bill 1762, The Higher Education Access Act (PDF) which would cut excessive subsidies from banks and provide much-needed relief for college students and their families by raising the amount of federal grant aid available, particularly for the neediest students. It is good to see Congress focusing on real issues facing colleges, students and their families. But apparently when it comes to helping students go to college, some Senators aren't so willing to listen to the American public--perhaps a lack of sleep?

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We have to hand it to David Horowitz and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni - they're making a dent in shaping public perception of higher education in a manner that bears no relation to reality and works to support their policy agenda.  Leaving aside such arcana as the unreliability of internet polling and problems with the actual wording and context of the particular questions, a just-released Zogby poll (reported on at InsideHigherEd.com) showed that 58% of poll respondents think that "political bias" in higher education is a "serious problem," despite legislative inquiries and our own work that have demonstrated that the issue of political bias in college classrooms is far from systemic.

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Cross-posted from Free Exchange on Campus.

Did you get up today feeling like you were supposed do something? Perhaps file your taxes already? Call someone?  A birthday? A holiday?  Oh that's right! It's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Day (otherwise known as IFAD). 

What?  You didn't know about this?  Well, let us fill you in.


The Terrorism Awareness Project is a new program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center dedicated to waking up Americans--and particularly American college students--to the threat of militant Islam.  On April 19th, TAP will stage a nationwide Islamo-Fascism Awareness Day.

What does that mean?

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On March 9, Free Exchange coalition partner the American Library Association (ALA) issued a press release condemning Sports Illustrated for the "outrageous, patronizing and paternalistic" act of witholding this year's "Swimsuit Edition" from the nation's libraries.

The ALA rightly argued, "Not all library materials appeal to all library users, but an essential component of living in a democracy is respect for the right of individuals to choose reading materials suitable for themselves and their families."

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Cross-posted from Free Exchange on Campus.

Everybody certainly now knows that "truthiness" is a fundamental tenet of politics.  How else would we be able to separate out who knows the truth in their gut and those who want to over-think everything?  But still, there are those who continue to press for evidence to support public policy positions.  Luckily, there is an answer.

Here is the problem: academics, scientists, think tank fellows, and other trouble-makers are always talking about their "methods" (I think there is even something they call the "scientific method") and their "criteria" for conducting studies--you know the ones: testing hypotheses, double-blind studies, repeatability, objectivity, etc.  But what does that get us?  Just more studies, more questions, more complexity--and really, is that useful?  Of course it isn't.  What we need is some research that helps us prove what we already believe.  Because who can argue with research, right?

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Cross-posted from www.freeexchangeoncampus.org.

The City University of New York is considering a new policy that, in its vagueness, rivals David Horowitz's so-called "Academic Bill of Rights" for the chilling effect it could have on academic freedom. According to a story in today's Inside Higher Ed, the CUNY administration is asking the board to adopt a policy for dealing with student complaints that don't fall under any other established categories, such as discriminiation, sexual harassment or academic dishonesty. The proposal "sets up investigative responsibilities and creates panels to adjudicate those complaints in which a mutual conclusion [between students and their professors] can't be reached."

Inside Higher Ed continues, "[T]he CUNY proposal is very consistent with Horowitz's claim that there are categories of student complaints (he has tended to talk about inappropriate political posturing in class) for which most colleges don't have a current policy." 

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