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After reading this article I wonder if the right is planning on infiltrating and conquering? If the majority is 'right' and rules and undemocratic what then?

Published on Sunday, December 26, 2004 by the Associated Press  
Conservatives Flip Academic Freedom Debate
Liberal professors are accused of attempting to indoctrinate students. But some teachers say pupils are trying to avoid new ideas.

by Justin Pope

Published on Sunday, December 26, 2004 by the Associated Press  
Conservatives Flip Academic Freedom Debate
Liberal professors are accused of attempting to indoctrinate students. But some teachers say pupils are trying to avoid new ideas.

by Justin Pope

At the University of North Carolina, three incoming freshmen sue over a reading assignment they say offends their Christian beliefs.

In Colorado and Indiana, a national conservative group publicizes student allegations of left-wing bias by professors. Faculty get hate mail and are pictured in mock "wanted" posters; at least one college says a teacher received a death threat.

And at New York's Columbia University, a documentary alleging that teachers intimidate students who support Israel draws the attention of administrators.

The three episodes differ in important ways, but all touch on an issue of growing prominence on college campuses.

Traditionally, clashes over academic freedom pitted politicians or administrators against instructors who wanted to express their opinions and teach as they saw fit. But increasingly, students are invoking academic freedom, contending that biased professors violate their right to classes free from indoctrination.

In many ways, the trend echoes past campus conflicts -- but turns them around. Once, it was liberal activists citing the importance of "diversity" in pressing their agendas for curriculum change. Now, conservatives have adopted much of the same language in calling for greater openness to their viewpoints.

Similarly, academic freedom guidelines have traditionally been cited to protect left-leaning students from punishment for disagreeing with teachers about such issues as U.S. neutrality before World War II and involvement in Vietnam. Now, those same guidelines are being invoked by conservative students who support the war in Iraq.

To many professors, there's a new and deeply troubling aspect to this latest chapter in the debate over academic freedom: students trying to dictate what they don't want to be taught.

"Even the most contentious or disaffected of students in the '60s or early '70s never really pressed this kind of issue," said Robert O'Neil, former University of Virginia president and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Those behind the trend call it an antidote to the liberal dominance of university faculties. But many educators, while agreeing that students should never feel bullied, worry that they just want to avoid exposure to ideas that challenge their core beliefs -- an essential part of education.

Some also fear that teachers will shy away from sensitive topics or fend off criticism by "balancing" their syllabuses with opposing viewpoints, even if they represent inferior scholarship.

"Faculty retrench. They are less willing to discuss contemporary problems and I think everyone loses out," said Joe Losco, professor of political science at Ball State University in Indiana who has supported two colleagues targeted for alleged bias. "It puts a chill in the air."

Conservatives say a chill is in order.

A recent study by Santa Clara University researcher Daniel Klein estimated that among social science and humanities faculty nationwide, Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one; in some fields, it's as high as 30 to one. And in the last election, the two employers whose workers contributed the most to Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign were the University of California system and Harvard University.

Many teachers insist personal politics don't affect teaching.

But in a recent survey of students at 50 schools by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which argues that there is too little intellectual diversity on campus, 49% reported some professors frequently commented on politics in class even if it was outside the subject matter. Thirty-one percent said they believed that there were some courses in which they needed to agree with a professor's views to get a good grade.

Leading the movement is Students for Academic Freedom, with chapters on 135 campuses and close ties to David Horowitz, a onetime liberal campus activist turned conservative commentator. The group posts student complaints on its website about alleged episodes of grading bias and unbalanced, anti-American propaganda by professors -- often in classes.

Instructors "need to make students aware of the spectrum of scholarly opinion," Horowitz said. "You can't get a good education if you're only getting half the story."

Conservatives contend that they are discouraged from expressing their views in class, and are even blackballed from graduate school slots and jobs.

"I feel like [faculty] are so disconnected from students that they do these things and they can just get away with them," said Kris Wampler, who recently identified himself as one of the students who sued the University of North Carolina. Now a junior, he objected when all incoming students were assigned to read a book about the Koran before they got to campus. "A lot of students feel like they're being discriminated against."

So far, his and other efforts are having mixed results. At UNC, the students lost their legal case, but the university no longer uses the word "required" in describing the reading program for incoming students (the plaintiffs' main objection).

In Colorado, conservatives withdrew a legislative proposal for an "academic bill of rights" backed by Horowitz, but only after state universities agreed to adopt its principles.

At Ball State, the provost sided with Prof. George Wolfe after a student published complaints about Wolfe's peace studies course, but the episode has attracted local attention. Horowitz and backers of the academic bill of rights plan to introduce it in the Indiana legislature -- as well as in up to 20 other states.

At Columbia, anguished debate followed the screening of a film by an advocacy group called the David Project that alleges some faculty violate students' rights by using the classroom as a platform for anti-Israeli political propaganda. (One Israeli student claims that a professor taunted him by asking, "How many Palestinians did you kill?") Administrators responded this month by setting up a committee to investigate students' complaints.

In the wider debate, both sides cite the guidelines on academic freedom first set out in 1915 by the American Assn. of University Professors.

The objecting students emphasize the portion calling on teachers to "set forth justly ... the divergent opinions of other investigators." But many teachers note that the guidelines also say that instructors need not "hide [their] own opinions under a mountain of equivocal verbiage," and that their job is teaching students "to think for themselves."

Horowitz believes that the American Assn. of University Professors, which opposes his bill of rights, and liberals in general are now the establishment and have abandoned their commitment to real diversity and student rights.

But critics say Horowitz is pushing a political agenda, not an academic one.

"It's often phrased in the language of academic freedom. That's what's so strange about it," said Ellen Schrecker, a Yeshiva University historian who has written about academic freedom during the McCarthy area. "What they're saying is, 'We want people to reflect our point of view.' "

Horowitz's critics also insist that his campaign is getting more attention than it deserves, riling conservative bloggers but attracting little alarm from most students. They insist that even most liberal professors give fair grades to conservative students who work hard and support their arguments.

Often, the facts of particular cases are disputed. At Ball State, senior Brett Mock published a detailed account accusing Wolfe of anti-Americanism in a peace studies class and of refusing to tolerate the view that the U.S. invasion of Iraq might have been justified. In a telephone interview, Wolfe vigorously disputed Mock's allegations. He provided copies of a letter of support from other students in the class, and from the provost saying that she had found nothing wrong with the course.

Horowitz, who has also criticized Ball State's program, had little sympathy when asked if Wolfe deserved to get hate e-mails from strangers.

"These people are such sissies," he said. "I get hate mail every single day. What can I do about it? It's called the Internet."

© 2004 Associated Press

Originally posted to roseeriter on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 12:19 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am all for questioning authority like (4.00)
    Military commanders, the ignorant President, irrational bosses etc., and often challenged the nuns and priests in catholic high school, but...

    this article sounds like trouble to me.

  •  Yes to your question - (none)
    see Brown Shirts.  Digby also covered Dr. Snider's situation a day or two after I did.  This is a campanion to their push for "creationism" in their continuing effort of reduce the odds that Americans will have critical thinking skills developed well enough to appreciate that the GOP sells us a crock of shit.
  •  College Repubs (4.00)
    The College Republican movement survives solely by doing sensationalist things to get their point across.  Like trying to get teachers they don't agree with to get their tenure rejected, utilising various forms of litigation, and frankly, bullying whomever they can just because they can.

    They're just a bunch of angry guys who like to whine.  Like on my campus, they do practically nothing while we in the College Dems work to bring speaker after speaker to campus, get the Dem message out, etc. and they have the gall to write the newspaper about how many Liberal speakers there were on campus, and how it represents "liberal bias".  No, sorry guys, you just sat with your thumbs up your rears while we did something called "work".  The school had nothing to do with it.

    The only saving grace of the College Republican organization is that they're so crazy, that when they grow up they will hopefully take the rest of the party off an electoral cliff with them.  

    "The future will not belong to the cynics. The future will not belong to those who stand on the sidelines"-Paul Wellstone

    by Sauceman on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 01:01:33 AM PST

    •  May be true...but (none)
      I am concerned that in too many states it does not matter how conservative/crazy a candidate is as long as he/she is supported by the Republican party.  Look at the Senate races in NC & OK.  Both of those races had way out of the mainstream Republicans and "moderate/conservative" Democrats and they both still lost (by considerable margins).

      So I think we need to also work on the Republican party as well bringing them to nominate more mainstream candidates to hedge our bets.  We can be competitive against mainstream Republican candidates if we want to be.

  •  The Best Defense is a Good Offense (none)
    Attack the legitimacy of the bastards in their think tanks, stolen government offices and in all the plush suites of Big Media.

    They'll forget all about chasing hippie professors around college campuses, I assure you.

  •  That you are asking this shows you have missed (4.00)
    the warning signs.

    This keeps happening over and over again to the Left.

    Where is this stuff coming from? people cry.

    Why is it coming out of nowhere now?

    Ans: it isn't, it's been there all along. You just weren't paying attention to what your enemies were doing.

    I say this, as someone who thirty years ago was being raised as a Theocon, and thus read all the conservative magazines lying around the house, and all these memes - from the Islamic Menace and the Brown Peril sweeping over contraceptive-mentality Europe with its declining birthrate to the Destruction of Christmas by the Evil SecularMaterialstAtheistFeminists to the horrific nature of homosexuality - were splashed across the pages every week.

    You guys didn't recognize "Dred Scott" in the debates. I've heard that used, and quite openly - none of these are secret even if they are obscure publications, you could go down to a big library and read The Wanderer or the National Catholic Register and find all of them there - since 1975.

    The infiltration and taking over of colleges has been part of their master plan for forty-odd years. Read about NAS and the other academic institutions of the Paleocons founded decades ago - there's nothing sudden nor random about it, it's just that now they have the leverage to get even more public attention for their causes, being on the side of the ruling Party.

    More info here:
    Foundations & Empires

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 03:51:21 AM PST

    •  Hey Thanks (none)
      for the link to the short CS Lewis piece "Why I am a Democrat."  I am putting this up on my wall and sending it to all my right-wing Christian acquaintances who want to make America into a 'Christian Nation'.

      Dialog macht Sinn / Dialogue makes sense

      by DowneastDem on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 04:17:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've got some more like that (none)
        Biblical Liberalism

        Psalm 120

        Isaiah quote

        all PDFs free for download/print/forwarding.

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 04:30:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It took me 15 minutes (none)
          of hunting all over this diary for the link DowneastDem mentioned and well worth it, what a beautiful little essay, my thanks added. Thought CS Lewis was British?

          (none / 0), (none / 0), it's off to Kos we go, with a...

          by doorguy on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:10:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Equivocation. (none)
            He was explaining why he favours Democracy to Fascism and Marxism. He was also very staunchly Conservative - he often joked about wanting to form a Stagnation Party. But it's a nice essay nonetheless.

            Join the battle against cosmic evil!

            by gzt on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 07:58:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oops, I was thinking of a different essay. (none)
              Democracy to Theocracy in that case. There's another one where he discusses what I mentioned...

              Join the battle against cosmic evil!

              by gzt on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 08:00:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  He was actually closest to libertarian (none)
              but small-l, the "Distributivists" of the Oxford Movement, rather than our "Go Greed!" Republicans-who-smoke-dope big-L libertarians. (Likewise Tolkien, who once said that he was an anarchist, where it really counted, only not the bomb-throwing sort.) It really got started with the Arts & Crafts movement and Morris and Yeats, the idea of giving up on gross consumption and capitalism and trying to live small, make what you could yourself, including your own entertainment, and avoid hubris.

              They were by and large fierce anti-imperialists. (There is a stunning anti-imperial rant in The Two Towers, several in fact, that reflects this.) "Little Britain" was the ideal, to live within ones' means as a country and not to make "patriotism" nothing more than despising everyone else's. They were all for nosy neighbors staying out of your personal life, and that included the government as the collective nosiest neighbor of all, and against mindless conformity and that included social conformity, religious conformity, and totalitarianism as the most egregious conformity of all.

              "An it harm none" was where they drew the line, in principle, at what the government ought to be involved in - in practice of course everyone disagrees on what constitutes public harm, but this current sort of "curtain-twitching" prurience is about the antithesis of what Dionyisian romantics like the Oxonians were all about, no matter how devout of Christians some of them were.

              "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

              by bellatrys on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:59:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Conservattive complaints (none)
      in the four cases I've read about amount to Christ in Christmas Terrorist Threat Warnings. We progressive liberal Democrats and family ought to clearly articulate a position supporting those complainants and vigorously investigating their allegations. To do anything less is, IMO, immoral and akin to permitting black box voting: ultimately, it will destroy the institution.

      Moreover, we ought to encourage more complaints from students. We ought to facilitate them, we ought to form boards and committees in every school to hear complaints and we ought to advertise in college periodicals, etc., that those facilities exist within the system.

      That's exactly the educational reform platform I marched for in Tallahassee, Fla., in 1969, just before Christmas as I recall, and what's good for us geese, we of the gander ought abide.

      A faculty member who feels inclined to "...retrench. They are less willing to discuss contemporary problems...," ought to go find a real job. If they don't get up every morning burning to challenge their students they don't have much purpose on a legitimate university or college campus, do they?


      (none / 0), (none / 0), it's off to Kos we go, with a...

      by doorguy on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:02:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  P.S., the march (none)
        was organized by the SDS.

        (none / 0), (none / 0), it's off to Kos we go, with a...

        by doorguy on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:03:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It all depends (none)
        on where and when a faculty member says something that offends the ears of a student.

        We might imagine that the boards you suggest would have the authority to weigh any complaint, but when you look at the hierarchical structures of some universities, you realize that the top dog often has the final say regardless of any input from a committee or board. At Cal-Berkeley, a faculty member was recently denied tenure for his study of genetically modified corn, precisely because of his opposition to Monsanto. Certain pro-Monsanto interests protested hi study. His case went through a variety of boards and committees, all of which backed him unanimously. however, the truly powerful interests at the university put pressure on the President to deny the professor's tenure.

        As well, Students for Academic Freedom almost never take their case to the appropriate deans. We already have avenues inside universities for dealing with such complaints. You have to wonder why these students would rather have a press release. Take it to the Dean. I often receive questions about teaching materials from my Dean, usually having to do with parental complaint6s. It's part of the job.

        "If cows and horses had hands, they would depict their gods as cows and horses." Xenophanes

        by upstate NY on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 11:20:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  La Plus Change, Le Meme Chose (4.00)
    In the 1950s, it was the Communists.  By the 1960s the American Association of University Professors was important enough that academic freedom was the issue and students demonstrated at Berkeley for free speech.

    In the 1980s, it was political correctness, the allegation that Conservatives could not get a hearing on campus because of "political correctness".  For how Conservative professors promote these movements, see David Brock's Blinded by the Right.

    Then in NC in 2002, it was the controversy over a book about Islam that Jerry Falwell decided was a little to sympathetic.

    In the NC Primary, Republican Walter Jones (NC-3) spoke at a rally for one of the Republicans running against Democrat David Price (NC-4), saying that Price had not criticized the University of North Carolina for pushing a non-Christian, liberal agenda.  According to the article (AP?), the chair of the political science department at Duke University also spoke and aired his frustration with administration that do not push Western Civilization.

    This is not rebellious kids.  These students are nothing but the Thomases and Blackwells of college student attitudes; they hope to get good jobs from  carrying water for the Republican party.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:43:57 AM PST

  •  It's a concerted effort... (none)
    George Will wrote an article a couple of weeks ago whining about how 'liberal' college campuses are.

    It's becoming a talking point for the Repubs.  The universities are one of the few places they haven't infiltrated, taken over, and dominated.  They're fishing for a strategy to do so.

    Watch out.  

    Bush denies presidential timber.

    by Lumiere on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 05:58:39 AM PST

  •  actually, i believe this. (none)
    i remember in my latin american politics class, the teacher was real tough on this girl and gave her a low grade who was anti-castro (her parents fled from cuba before she was born and told her all these stories), but the fact that she didn't agree with the revolution, the teacher singled her out and gave her a low grade.  the girl was real professional about it too.  she handed in her papers early in binders with transparencies, etc.
    i would hand in things late, typing them up during the class when they were do, scribble some communist sympathyzing stuff, and always get an A+.

    in philosophy 101, i didn't know how christians would be able to breathe.  sure, it was great for me and some others who were agnostic/atheist, but the christians just kept their mouths shut from what seemed to be to avoid being challenged or intellectually put down.

    in english 101, the teacher would regularly ridicule islam and say that he would never want to live in such countries where you have to pray to allah 3 times a day facing (is it north) and sit down with your face to the ground when it had nothing to do with composition and i'm talking about 10-11 years ago, before most of us knew anything about islam.

    while i agree with the importance of open your horizons and not balancing out research and science with "less scholarly work," there certainly is room for improvement in the tolerance area.  sometimes classes were more like editorials than just education.  the part above about students getting offended by the koran is just ridiculous.

    Meme for the season: "Power before principle Republicans" Ex: "Today, we saw yet again the Republicans place power before principle as they attemped to..."

    by lostinbrasil on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 06:48:46 AM PST

    •  Not my experience at all (none)
      I'm a practicing Catholic, and I survived just fine in philosophy 101--and several upper-level and graduate-level courses in the philosophy of religion, all taught by a man I would classify as a pretty militant atheist.

      The thing is I know how to argue properly, and so (obviously) does the professor in question. In my experience, the people who have trouble in situations like this philosophy class are the ones for whom "argument" means "spouting taglines from Sunday school" (or Faux News, or the RNC) and asserting them as proven facts.

      There's a world of difference between being able to offer a reasoned argument for why one believes abortion to be wrong and merely insisting that it has to be wrong a priori because the Bible says so (which, of course, it doesn't) or, worse, "My pastor/priest/minister/favorite political person told me so." "Ipse dixit" hasn't worked as a philosophical argument at least since the Enlightenment.

      "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
      Now let's take our country back!

      by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 06:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly. How does a Christian read Nietszche? (none)
        If they are going to be offended by anti-Christian writings, then let's tos Nietszche out of the university system altogether.

        "If cows and horses had hands, they would depict their gods as cows and horses." Xenophanes

        by upstate NY on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 08:13:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd agree with that (none)
          but more because Nietzsche was a muddle-headed thinker and not because he's allegedly anti-Christian. (And although I haven't read much of his oeuvre, I must say that what I have read of his work isn't all that anti-Christian.)

          "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
          Now let's take our country back!

          by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 08:50:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I beg your pardon (none)
            Calling Nietzsche muddle-headed & then, immediately saying you haven't read him is not a winning argument.

            Muddle-headed? My my.  Read him.

            Or, if you have no interest in doing that, then please don't pass judgment, okay?  Restrain yourself.  Because, though I usually value your posts a lot, that was a really stupid remark.

          •  He's anti-theist, anti-metaphysics. (none)
            You can't take Nietszche on if you're completely unwilling to question your own beliefs.

            If you read The Gay Science and you don't see it as an attack on Christianity, then I'm not sure you've read it at all. That being said, I don't think its attack on religion is the central guiding factor in the book.

            I'm someone who comes from a very religious family. My exposure to literature and philosophy was incredibly important in my rejection of my religious beliefs. Literature and philosophy emphasize secularism and humanism. I'm not saying that an exposure to Western Lit. will automatically turn you away from God. I am saying that it does happen to a lot of people.

            The important thing to remember is that we always choose for ourselves. We can't pretend however that a lot of Western lit. and Philosophy has not been hostile toward religious sentiment. If we are to teach these traditions, then naturally a religion such as Christianity will be contested.

            At some point, we have to agree to be offended and/or we have to censor the Western Canon. I look at it as an either/or choice.

            "If cows and horses had hands, they would depict their gods as cows and horses." Xenophanes

            by upstate NY on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 11:29:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope (none)
              The Gay Science wasn't on my reading list. We read parts of Ecce Homo and one other work whose name escapes me at the moment. The Ecce Homo was at times (or could be interpreted to be) anti-Christian/anti-Semitic. But then there were other passages that seemed neutral or even directly in line with some Christian traditions/schools of thought. But perhaps that wasn't a representative work.

              "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
              Now let's take our country back!

              by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 12:23:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  When less thinking is more (4.00)
    I teach composition at a large community college in PA and have always been free to teach in any fashion I choose as long as the requirements of the course are fulfilled. Of course, composition is a rather straightforward subject: write effectively and clearly about any given topic. This sounds rather simple, but if a student can't think well they can't write well either. My method of getting them engaged in thought is to pose a daily question--a process I begin by doing something like holding up a $20.00 bill and asking them to tell me what "money' is. Basically, no subject or topic is off-limits if phrased correctly. And what's my point? To make them truly think deeply about anything and everything they take at face value without question. The trick is to get them beyond the easy response, a process that expands both my understanding and theirs--and their ability to articulate the same. It's a search for answers, but answers based on their own well-reasoned conclusions. This is what education is about, or should be.

        This brings me to the dilemma I've faced recently, the political polarization of contemporary society. More and more I've experienced resistance in ways I haven't before. Frankly, I don't care where a student falls on the spectrum of belief--as long as they adequately understand and can articulate their stance. No student ever suffers because they believe differently than I do. In fact, I praise and honor any student who can logically defend and advocate their beliefs, regardless of what those beliefs are. In one sense, these students have never been as free to say what they mean of believe before.  All that's required is that they say it well.

        All of which brings me to people like David Horowitz and the Students for Academic Freedom. Their agenda has nothing to do with academic freedom. What they want is power. The power to damp down dissent; the power to dictate modes of thought; the power to politically control discussion; the power to change the face of American political expression in the one place where wide and deep thinking is still alive and thriving. Frankly, they make me sick.

    "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace." Tacitus, c. 55-120 A.D.

    by agincour on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 06:56:36 AM PST

  •  Nihil nove sub sole (none)
    They've been bitching about the alleged liberal bias in academe for about as long as I can remember. Hasn't seemed to have much of an effect on the composition of the faculty, although I do think the average student body is more conservative now than it was in my undergraduate days 20 years ago. The Chronicle of Higher Education just did a major feature on allegations of liberal bias on campus: they found that while there are a very few instances of real bias against conservatives, for the most part the allegations are no more than "sound and fury, signifying nothing," in the words of the immortal Bard.

    I find it highly amusing (and deeply cynical) that some of the people who bitched most loudly and most often about "political correctness" and campus speech codes as violations of First Amendment rights now seem to think they're fine and dandy, as long as they can be used to force the "librul" professors to spout Faux News and RNC talking points, treat scientific data as merest speculation, and allow any allegedly conservative student that is so minded to disrupt any class on the grounds of professorial bias.

    "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
    Now let's take our country back!

    by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 07:02:39 AM PST

    •  Most students are bigots anyway, aren't they? (none)
      All I ever hear about is college students dressing up as black men and wearing chains, or college students beating a lesbian into unconsciousness and then holding celebratory rallies, or students passing out magazines saying gays rape and murder children, or students beating up Muslims.

      Most young people today are Nazis in training. Why even bother. They are lost to us. That is why colleges are so full of hate. I wouldn't want to ever go on a college campus and tell anyone I'm bisexual, or that I support abortion rights. Most of the students would lynch me. They hate homosexuals and women and the right to choose.

      •  No f**king way (none)
        I work at the university where I'm also a graduate student. We're pretty typical of the major second-tier public institutions. I've never seen any student in black-face here (though we have a large number of black students). And while the student newspaper has featured some typically Neanderthal-esque columnists of late who have ranted about the evils of LGBT folk, they haven't gone unchallenged. The campus has an active LGBT organization that is officially recognized, it has a "Safe Zone" program like the one that's been attracting attention in Pennsylvania (I think that was it) of late, and the university's Constitution and Bylaws specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I've yet to hear anyone suggest removing that provision, and I feel confident in saying that such a motion, if ever made, would fail to receive a second--and would never pass the required 2/3 vote.

        "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
        Now let's take our country back!

        by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 07:29:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What campus are you at? You're in Chicago, (none)
          aren't you? Are you saying your university is suddenly having more anti-gay ranting? What have they been saying? Or has it always been there? The attacks against gays are how it starts, because they know that no one will object. Then they start in on women, and on other races and religions.
          •  No (none)
            I'm not in Chicago, I'm near it.

            Nor am I saying that there are more anti-gay rants: it's the usual BS that uninformed idiots have been spouting every year since I can remember. Someone will write an inflammatory letter to the student paper and a small flame war will erupt that lasts for a week or so, and then everybody forgets about it--exactly as they have done for at least the last 10 years.

            They'll have a hard time "starting in on women" here, considering that women make up more than half of the student body. Nor would I expect that racist BS would get terribly far, given that something on the order of 20 percent of the students are black, and another 10 percent are Asian. I forget what the exact number of Latinos is, but I do remember that our in-house research suggests that it's likely to double--or more--in the next decade, given the demographics of our service region.

            "Je ne regrette rien" -- Edith Piaf
            Now let's take our country back!

            by musing85 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 08:47:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Most young people today are Nazis in training? (none)
        That's quite a statement.

        Care to back it up with something other than overgeneralization?

        Not going to say that bad things don't happen in college. I went to the U of Iowa. There were rapes. There was a splash of racism. There was some homophobia.

        I did not however see anyone with a Swastika or trying to sell Mein Kampf. Most of what I saw had to do with tolerance.

        I will concede if you give me proof of this vast Nazi takeover of youth...of which I happen to be a part of.

    •  And the <i>Chronicle</i> (none)
      is a (classically) conservative publication.

      (none / 0), (none / 0), it's off to Kos we go, with a...

      by doorguy on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 07:16:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  emboldened (none)
    Of course, they've been working (in their over-funded way) on this issue for years. Now, like the fundies, they have upped the pitch and tempo of their rant.  There is the same sense of 'entitlement' that parades across the cable networks 24/7.  Over and over again, they declare they've won. They're the majority. It's their time.

    They want to dominate the discourse in every arena of the culture with their brittle perspective(primarily horseshit, of course).

    The danger we face is very real, I think, and twofold: they're rolling in money, always a factor, & the very real possibility that their principle tactic, which has always been and always will be intimidation, is beginning to work.

  •  This is sort of true (none)
    But then again, in my two years in college, it's not like the professors are lying or anything, or maybe that's b/c I'm biased. In my medical ethics class, the professor noted that Kerry had a plan to use the over 200,000 tax cuts for healthcare, but that Bush doesnt really have a plan for healthcare. That's true. One Republican in the class got angry when we started talking about the Canadian healthcare system, saying it wasnt better than America's b/c we have a free market. And then the prof had to point out no, not really, there's a lot of government regulation which keeps prices very high. He also stated that he thinks the number of insured will be higher when Bush leaves office. I guess this was a class that involved politics a bit, and I havent noticed bias in any chemistry or calc class. And the conservatives whine a lot about this though and have for a while. Makes me wonder why they dont just go to Bob Jones University.

    We went to war based on intelligence given to us from a guy named Curveball. Why isn't this the biggest scandal ever?-Jon Stewart to Wolf Blitzer.

    by JP2 on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 09:29:34 AM PST

  •  It's more organized than you think (none)
    There is a group called "The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)" that goes around suing schools. From their website:

    The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience...

    I used to champion these guys when I first heard about them (note: I am a libertarian), but then I noticed that they appeared to sue only on behalf of conservative students and conservative opinions. I guess liberal students in trouble need not apply. Of course, I could be wrong, but I haven't seen it on their website

    A few lawsuits and Universities will bend, even when they are in the right, rather than face expensive litigation.

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