Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Report From the Academic Front

The American Enterprise Institute recently held a symposium on political bias on college campuses. A reader at The Corner sums it up ,but here is a sample of some of the arguments of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) as reported by the reader:

1. It is no surprise that most faculty in social sciences are liberals, since those fields traditionally have been about questioning identity, writing "progressive" history, and other causes.

2. Among liberals, there is a tremendous range of opinion, and critics such as Klein are simplifying their ranks.

3. Outsiders haven't the "expertise" to police the faculty. Professors have undergone rigorous training that makes us trust their judgment more than that of journalists and the public.

4. Folks such as David Horowitz are mounting an intimidation campaign. (Bowen recalled his own experience having his class visited in the early 80s by rabble-rousers at Accuracy in Academia).

5. Conservatives prefer going into business, while liberals have a stronger social bent.

6. Most students come into college with too many conservative prejudices and they need to be shaken up.

7. He has never heard of a hiring committee that asked a candidate about political affiliation.

8. Finally, he said, "So the faculty is Democrat. So what?"

Yes, he actually argued these points. David French, of FIRE, took him to task for many of them. French said, " So what? Here's what: diversity orientation seminars that are manipulative and coercive; speech codes; star chambers; religious organizations asked to strip themselves of their religion; etc." He noted that if a discipline comes to define itself by an agenda (such as questioning the government), it's no longer a discipline.. Or rather, it's an agenda passing itself off as a discipline.

There has been a considerable amount written about the liberal bias of university campuses. The FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) person on this symposium brings up some of the consequences of the lack of academic diversity on campus (as opposed to the politically correct type of "diversity"), but all you have to do is go to their site to see instance after instance of how free speech is CONSTANTLY stifled on campus. And the stifling is being done by the same people who are demanding freedom of speech for people like Ward Churchill.

Clearly this person speaking on campus was not allowed to speak freely. He had his papers torn up, was verbally threatened; and bottles were thrown at him. Police escorted HIM and not the protesters away from the campus. As Kos presents it, it was a clear victory of some sort--but hardly for free speech. And it perfectly exemplifies the" freedom of speech" granted to anyone deemed as politically incorrect by the campus Left (If you want more examples, go to the FIRE site).

For a video of the AEI conference and some transcripts of papers, you can go here.

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