February 9, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Putting the loco in loco parentis

The New York Sun reports on "a proposed bill of rights aimed at protecting college students from political indoctrination in the classroom," a creation of lefty-turned-righty author David Horowitz.

The "Academic Bill of Rights" calls for students to be graded based on their reasoning and not their political beliefs. The measure also requires that professors offer diverse reading lists and "not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.... The bill also seeks to upend ideological conformity on campuses by insisting that decisions to hire and fire be made without regard to an academic's political views.

Josh Gerstein goes on to report:

Mr. Horowitz said his campaign for the measure has been bolstered by recent controversies about what he described as "extremist" professors at Columbia University and the University of Colorado.

Columbia is investigating allegations that professors in the school's Middle East studies department acted inappropriately toward students who expressed pro-Israel views.

And last week, Hamilton College in upstate New York canceled a speech by the then-chairman of the ethnic studies department at the University of Colorado, Ward Churchill, after it was disclosed that he had compared the victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center to the notorious Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann.

How are these two cases similar? The first, if true, may speak to Horowitz's point, that a professor was bullying students for their ideology. But the Churchill case is really about stupidity, not coercion. If a student gets an F because he's Zionist, then he deserves some sort of "protection." But do students really have a right not to hear from teachers who say stupid things?

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Comments
#1

Agreed. Gerstein is missing the point. I wonder how this bill would affect religious universities.

Posted by: elf at February 9, 2005 2:40 PM
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