Early in the last century college professors began campaigning for “academic freedom.” They wanted the right to be able to express themselves without there being a bar to gaining tenure. Eventually they got that right and tenure has protected them ever since.
Then in the 60’s, the “Free Speech Movement” got started by college students who wanted the right to speak out and/or protest what they thought was right or wrong at their colleges, as well as in the world.
You should think the confluence of both these campaigns would encourage the consideration of all ends of the political spectrum.
What appears to be happening today, however, is a stifling of free speech, as well as the freedom to censor and ban anything that’s anti-liberal and/or a conservative viewpoint.
You’ve probably seen the scorecard this year when it comes to commencement speakers: Condoleezza Rice, one of the most accomplished and admirable people in America, was called a “war criminal” by protesting students and faculty at Rutgers. The former secretary of state withdrew, as did Christine Legarde at $60,000-per-year Smith College. Madame Legarde runs the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but some members of the “Smith community” circulated a petition accusing the IMF of aiding “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” (That’s how the enlightened speak on campus these days.) So the first woman to run the IMF condones the abuse of women! It’s worth mentioning that Smith’s recent commencement speakers have included (uber liberals) Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, and Arianna Huffington. Seriously! But Christine Legarde is persona ultra non grata.
Prior to those outrages, $60,000-per-year Brandeis notoriously rescinded its decision to grant an honorary degree to the Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who actually suffered abuse in the form of a clitoridectomy at age five. She has spent her adult life crusading against the abhorrent treatment of women in much of the Muslim world. However, after hearing from Muslim groups, cowardly officials at Brandeis decided that Hirsi Ali is not worthy of being honored. Previous honorary degrees at Brandeis were bestowed upon left wing, Isreal-bashing playwright Tony Kushner and dictator-loving calypso singer Harry Belafonte.
Universities were once bastions of free thought and open discourse, but that is no longer the case, not if your “free thought” is based on Christian or conservative principles. According to a recent poll by researchers at UCLA, 63% of college professors identify themselves as “liberal” or “far left,” while just 12% are “conservative” or “far right.” And the imbalance has only been getting worse (or better, depending on your perspective) in recent years. Looks like Ward Churchill used to be the exception, but not anymore.
It’s almost no exaggeration to say that today our college campuses are the only place in America where you can still find anybody who believes in communism!
Because these professors are protected by tenure, they can force students to listen to their anti-American and often explicitly Marxist harangues daily…it’s almost impossible to fire them.
These radical professors are not hiding. They’re out in the open. They’re not just in our classrooms. They are running university departments and chairing hiring committees. They’re probably teaching your son or grandson, daughter or granddaughter.
- Before the November 2012 election, Florida community college professor Sharon Sweet allegedly told her students they must sign a pledge to vote for Barack Obama and Democrats for every office. She distributed printed materials taken from a website paid for by the Obama-Biden campaign.
- Mary Frances Berry, a professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, praises the virtues of the Soviet Union and believes that the threat blacks faced during the 1960s in the United States is comparable to the genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Berry wrote, “Calling Tea Partiers ‘racists’ is an effective strategy for Democrats.”
- At an Iraq War protest rally held at Columbia University, anthropology professor Nicholas De Genova declared that “the only true heroes were those fighting America’s armed forces” and that he wished for our soldiers “military defeat and death.”
- Not long ago, radical faculty at the University of Delaware launched an “ideological re-education program” referred to by the university as “treatment” for the “incorrect attitudes and beliefs” which students have been bringing to the university from their home environments. The program’s stated goal was for students to adopt university-approved views on politics, race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism.
- Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, told his students the 9/11 attacks were payback for “America’s past imperialistic practices.”
Please understand, under the first amendment, these people are entitled to harbor and speak out about anything they want. There is, however, a distinction, or should be, between speech as a private citizen and that of a teacher.
A teacher who has the responsibility to influence students must adhere to some factual basis for their beliefs, or at least offer some balance in their discourse.
Writing in the L.A. Times, Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute said:
“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that conservative speakers aren’t welcome on college and university campuses.
“In 2013, in the span of a few days, student protests disrupted a presentation by Karl Rove at the University of Massachusetts and one by Rand Paul at Howard University. That same week, former Bush administration official Robert Zoellick withdrew as a commencement speaker at Swarthmore College, while Obama critic Dr. Ben Carson did the same at Johns Hopkins.”
Hassett said, “In order to gauge how rare it is for a conservative to be invited to speak at a college graduation, I looked at event speakers in 2012 and 2013 from the top 100 universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges. From what I could best identify in 2012, only one Republican spoke at the 50 liberal arts colleges and only three in 100 universities. The results for 2013 were almost the same.
“America has become much more polarized over the last few decades, and observers have blamed politicians and gerrymandering. But some of the blame lies elsewhere. America’s institutions of higher education have become some of the most polarizing institutions in our society. Students who pass through them are remarkably well-prepared to join our uncivil political discourse.”
Perhaps most alarming in all this were the letters to the editor following Hassett’s article. In effect, they said Republicans and conservatives have nothing to say.
I’m not sure what was more frightening, the statistics Hassett offered or the reaction.
Apparently someone killed academic freedom and free speech and no one told us.