Is this censorship or patriotism.? What is wrong with professor who teach race, gender, and class? Read the two articles below:
Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
January 27, 2005 Thursday, Home Final Edition
HEADLINE: BILL COULD LIMIT OPEN DEBATE AT COLLEGES ;
Lawmaker says profs are pushing agendas
BYLINE: Kathy Lynn Gray, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Legislation that would restrict what university professors could say in their classrooms was introduced yesterday in Ohio.
Judging from reactions in other states where similar bills have been considered, controversy won't be far behind.
Marion Sen. Larry A. Mumper's "academic bill of rights for higher education" would prohibit instructors at public or private universities from "persistently" discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views.
Senate Bill 24 also would prohibit professors from discriminating against students based on their beliefs and keep universities from hiring, firing, promoting or giving tenure to instructors based on their beliefs.
Mumper, a Republican, said many professors undermine the values of their students because "80 percent or so of them (professors) are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists" who attempt to indoctrinate students.
"These are young minds that haven't had a chance to form their own opinions," Mumper said. "Our colleges and universities are still filled with some of the '60s and '70s profs that were the anti-American group. They've gotten control of how to give people tenure and so the colleges continue to move in this direction."
Joan McLean, a political-science professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, said Mumper's legislation is misguided and would have a chilling effect on the free-flowing debate that is a hallmark of democracy.
"This is not the kind of democracy we think we're spreading when we hear President Bush's words. What we're celebrating is our ability to not control information."
Besides, McLean said, who would define what issues could not be discussed?
The language of Mumper's bill comes from a 2003 booklet by conservative commentator David Horowitz that lays out how students can persuade universities to adopt the "bill of rights." The booklet says it is "dedicated to restoring academic freedom and educational values to America's institutions of higher learning."
The issue has gone national.
Horowitz created Students for Academic Freedom, a group based in Washington that has chapters on 135 campuses, to promote his views.
On the other side, the American Association of University Professors, which has thousands of members at hundreds of campuses, argues that eliminating controversial issues from courses waters down academic freedoms.
Mumper said he's been investigating the issue for months and has heard of an Ohio student who said she was discriminated against because she supported Bush for president.
"I think the bill asks that colleges and universities be fair in their approach to their education of students," Mumper said. "They need to have their rights defended and need to be respected by faculty and administrators."
In a Kenyon College publication, President S. Georgia Nugent called Horowitz's thinking "a severe threat" to academic freedom.
"I see this so-called bill of rights, the platform that he has constructed, as one that would explicitly introduce into college and university appointments a kind of political litmus test," she said.
Mumper said he will "push this all the way" so that it's approved by either the legislature or by individual universities.
When a similar proposal was considered in the Colorado legislature last year, it was withdrawn after state universities agreed to some of its principles. The issue also has been debated in Indiana and considered in Congress.
Black Issues in Higher Education
Volume: 21 Issue: 2
Academic Freedom's Thin Line
Web site challenges perception of academia as a safe place for the exchange of
Luann Wright, founder and president of NoIndoctrination.org, a Web site devoted
to policing professors accused of harassing conservative students in their
classrooms, firmly believes that what she's doing is a public service.
“The university should be a marketplace of ideas, a safe place to explore a
variety of perspectives,” she says. “But I don't see that happening.”
What she sees, she says, is fear — “There’s so much of it out there.” Everyday,
Wright, a writer of science curricula for the gifted and a mother, says she
talks to the fearful: the students scared they won’t get the recommendations
that would pave their way to graduate school or the professions; the professors
who dare not speak freely in their own departments.
I have posting after posting where people just write in to say, Thank you.
"Thank you just for being there," she says.
Dr. Alvin Tillery, assistant professor of political science at the University of
Notre Dame, agrees about the fear and intimidation. The catch is that he thinks
Wright and her Web site are their source.
After a student complaint landed him on NoIndoctrination.org in early July,
Tillery says he found himself not only unable to refute the posting (due to
what Wright calls a server error, the rebuttal did not post until Feb. 17,
2004) but also exposed to a barrage of e-mail from conservative readers
apparently unconnected to but certainly angered by what they read on the site.
A typical example read, in part: "one-sided ideologs like you are finally being
exposed for what you are. thought youd (sic) like to see what the rest of the
world thinks." Harvard, where Tillery earned his Ph.D., "would be proud of
you. wouldnt it be easier to earn your money by actually teaching"
The Front Lines
Welcome to the front lines of the latest skirmish in the apparently never-ending
cultural war for the academy's soul. Fired by what they see as overwhelming
evidence of liberal group-think in the professoriate, conservative-leaning
individuals and groups are taking the battle straight to those whom they deem
On Feb. 10, the Duke Conservative Union stirred debate with an ad in the campus
newspaper that used voter registration records to make claims of overwhelming
liberal bias in the eight humanities departments. The ad claimed there were 142
registered Democrats and only eight registered Republicans among the group of
Meanwhile, the Young Conservatives of Texas made headlines as spring enrollment
got under way at University of Texas-Austin by publishing a “Professor Watch
List,” naming those “who push an ideological viewpoint on their students
through oftentimes subtle but sometimes abrasive methods of indoctrination.”
Professors from government, economics and humanities were prominent among those
And the campaign by activist David Horowitz for an “academic bill of rights”
continues to gather steam. A version of the bill, championing “intellectual
diversity” — i.e., more conservative representation — in hiring and teaching
practices, was introduced in the Colorado legislature last month, joining one
introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last October.
Not All That Conservative’
Discussions of academic freedom usually revolve around a professor's right to be
free of intimidation by departments, administrations, even state legislatures in
formulating their ideas or theories.
Web sites such as NoIndoctrination.org turn the discussion to the students’
rights — to be free of intimidation or coercion in the classroom.
For Wright, a soft-spoken woman who insists she is “not all that conservative,”
the call to action came in fall 2000, when she began hearing “alarming” reports
about her son’s required writing course at University of California-San Diego.
There were stories of students being polled about their beliefs on the use of
affirmative action in admissions — then browbeaten if they dared to dissent
from the teaching assistant’s view.
Wright says she might have tended to dismiss the accounts as exaggerated, until
she saw her son's reader. Four of the five essays dealt with the “what they
called the ‘ruinous pathology of Whiteness,’” she says. In the only dissenting
essay, the African American economist Dr. Walter Williams of George Mason
University “was set up as the straw man, and his ideas were totally
Wright says she spent a year and a half trying to get results from departmental
and administration officials at UCSD — and also researching the depths of the
problem at other schools. Stymied — “(UCSD) didn’t do anything; they just
shelved my complaints” — Wright was determined to use technology to “make them
step up to the plate.”
NoIndoctrination.org accepted its first posting in September 2002: a complaint
against the Warren College Writing Program at UCSD. And in the year and a half
of its operation, the number of complaints has swelled to … 113.
Scrolling through the complaints on the Web site, most of which are
unaccompanied by rebuttal, one gains an overwhelming impression of a
professoriate that is by turns arrogant, incompetent or just plain aggressively
abusive toward its charges.
There are horror stories: for example, the Penn State student whose humor
columns in the school paper met with this response from a teaching assistant:
"ALL THESE ARTICLES CONFIRM YOUR [sic] A RACIST MOTHER F****."
A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?
But one returns again and again to that number — 113.
Wright stresses that the numbers are so low because, unlike sites like
RateMyProfessors.com and RateaProf.com, she thoroughly investigates each
complaint — and throws out around 70 percent of them.
Dr. Jonathan Knight, director of the American Association of University
Professors’ department of academic freedom, tenure and governance, is
encouraged to hear that. But he adds, “There are just over a million teachers
in higher education, something like 14 or 15 million students, something on the
order of 3,600 colleges and universities and each academic year there are
literally hundreds of thousands of courses. It would be surprising if amidst
this vast, complex enterprise there weren’t occasionally students who felt
things weren’t going right.
“I don’t see what this Web site really accomplishes,” Knight concludes. “Even if
— and this is a big if — there is evidence that academics in the humanities and
social sciences are more progressive than the general population, it’s hard to
see that English majors are taking over the corporate structure of the world.
And there’s no suggestion that schools of engineering, law, medicine,
architecture, business, etc., are producing anything but the very best
practitioners of those respective professions in world.
“So to misquote a famous poet, there seems to be no there, there.”
So what precisely is “there”?
On the Web site, in the e-mails of targeted professors, one finds a whole fuzzy
world of impression and anecdote, of passionate conviction and hurt feelings.
Read the postings without benefit of rebuttals and one is astonished at the
level of casual cruelty and abusiveness visited on innocent youth. Read the
posting with rebuttals, and the picture … shifts.
A student at Western Kentucky University complains of a “Marxist agenda” in an
introductory sociology class in January 2004. One is concerned, until the
professor points out in his rebuttal a few days later that, in an introductory
course, an emphasis on Marx, one of the “founding fathers” of sociology, is
A student at Miami University of Ohio, unnerved by writer and activist Barbara
Ehrenreich’s appearance at a freshman orientation event, writes in November
2003, “I felt bombarded with left-wing views. Everywhere I turned, I was being
scorned for holding a conservative ideology. I couldn’t help but feel as though
my republican partisanship was being threatened … I cannot recall one instance
where a conservative view was presented by any university event or faculty.”
One is appalled, until a rebuttal by a university official appearing a few days
later points out that P.J. Rourke, Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes and Rudy Guiliani
all made appearances on campus that semester.
Read the postings alone, one hears the cry of pain and can’t help but respond.
Read the postings with rebuttals, one sees the same events, radically different
points of view and what appears to be no possibility of reconciling them.
On March 9, 2003, Serrena Stallmo, then 26 years old and a student at Long Beach
City College, wrote to Wright’s site to complain about Dr. Adrian Novotny, the
professor in her physical anthropology class.
Her posting read: “He would consistently interject his personal views, ie: The
White race should be ashamed of itself, I’m ashamed to be White, The system
should be more socialistic — Take from those who have and give to those who do
not, Women are too lazy to breast feed, We should be ashamed of our government,
Our government is nothing more than a giant warmonger, Democracy is nothing more
than a disguise for colonialism, The rest of the world has just cause to hate
us, We should pay reparations to All African Americans, etc...”
When she dared to argue with him on reparations, she added, “he yelled at me.”
Stallmo missed an exam due to illness and still managed a grade of 89.9 in the
course. She’s convinced if she had kowtowed to Novotny she would have gotten
the 10th of a point bounce to a 90. But when she complained about her grade to
the department head, she discovered Novotny was the department head.
For Stallmo, whose mother is Apache and whose father is Norwegian, the issue was
not liberal versus conservative ideologies — it was “abuse of power,” she says
“Some people consider themselves to be above reproach,” she says. “Student
concerns should be taken more seriously and thoroughly investigated by an
uninterested third party. In my particular situation, Dr. Novotny was the
department head and, therefore, the initial contact by which to address my
concerns. Needless to say — refer to Dr. Novotny’s rebuttal — he was neither an
impartial nor disinterested party.”
Novotny, on the other hand, remains convinced the issue was one of clashing
ideologies. Dismissing NoIndoctrination.org as “just another reactionary
right-wing ‘witch hunt’ site,” he says he quickly grew bored with debating the
critics who were inflamed by the strongly worded rebuttal he posted.
Novotny concludes the site has no value: “Neither the critic nor the webmaster
bothered to identify themselves so that I could respond to them by name. In
effect, I was the only one in the exchange whose identity was known. They hide
behind their anonymity — might as well wear sheets over their heads and
Indeed, it’s probably worth noting that Novotny received five glowing ratings on
RateMyProfessors.com around the same time as his dispute with Stallmo.
Meanwhile, Tillery of the University of Notre Dame’s political science
department winced at the caricature of himself that appeared on the Web site:
“Professor Alvin Tillery (Ph.D. Harvard) made it very clear from day 1 that he
was a liberal democrat, and that liberal democrats were ‘right’ and ‘the light
side of the force.’ His stated goal was to win students over to the cause of
liberalism. Every single issue was tied into how Republicans and conservatives
are evil and responsible for every problem in America….”
The student was particularly anxious to take up the cudgels on behalf of another
youth in the class.
“One student mentioned that he was in the NRA. After that, Prof. Tillery mocked
him for his political views every class. Every time Tillery pushed one of his
liberal points on the class, he would turn to said student and say, ‘don’t
shoot me now.’ It became so bad, this student dropped the class.”
Tillery rebutted the criticism, noting, in part, “I am truly sorry that the
young man who posted does not believe that humor is an appropriate teaching
As for the “NRA member,” Tillery noted that “not only did he remain in my class,
his absences resulted from his holding an off-campus job to pay for school, … he
also invited me to attend a party in honor of his graduation from Notre Dame
because, although he remains a committed conservative,’ my challenges to his
belief system, he asserts, had a profound impact’ on him.”
After his rebuttal was finally posted to the Web site on Feb. 17, Tillery
expressed regret the student in question never challenged him, as other
conservative students at Notre Dame have.
“I doubt if we will ever have a conversation about his issues, which really is
too bad,” Tillery says. “But if he does come forward, I hope that he will be
able to leave behind the hostility that he brought into my classroom.”
That seems unlikely. After finally seeing Tillery’s rebuttal, the student sent
this e-mail to Luann Wright:
I am very upset to tell you that Prof. Tillery outright lied in his rebuttal.He tried to play off his attempt to indoctrinate his students as humor, which is a gross misrepresentation of what occurred. Mr. Tillery is an extreme liberal and his stated mission is to win as many converts as possible. He turned the classroom into his pulpit, which is the very essence of
And so the culture wars continue.