Daniel B. Klein and Charlotta Stern
PROFESSORS AND THEIR POLITICS:
THE POLICY VIEWS OF SOCIAL SCIENTISTS
By Sara Dogan
In a victory for academic freedom at Temple University, Provost Richard Englert took prompt action after he was notified by the Temple College Republicans that the official Honors Department listserve was used to send out a blatantly partisan anti-war email. The victory was somewhat tempered by the provost’s insistence that the email did not violate the university’s recently adopted academic freedom policy, but that it was simply a matter of “failure to comply with a process for administrative review.”
The email message which urged students to attend a protest of “The U.S. Occupation of Iraq” was forwarded to the entire Honors Department listserve by Temple employee Jackie Everette on March 14.
A flyer attached to the email contained vehement anti-war and anti-military language, exhorting students to “Come together with Temple Anti-War to demonstrate and speak out against the 4 years of butchery of Iraq.” The flyer claimed that the Iraq war has resulted in “Over $365 billion wasted” and the “use of tons of depleted Uranium causing long-term consequences to civilians and soldiers.” Students were instructed to meet at noon on March 16th at the Bell Tower on campus to engage in a protest of the war.
In an April 17 letter to Temple University Provost Richard Englert, Jack Posobiec, the former chair of the Temple College Republicans, urged the provost to investigate the matter as a violation of Temple’s newly-adopted academic freedom policy.
“Temple students are not well-served by the Temple Honors Department advocating a partisan political agenda,” Posobiec wrote. “On behalf of myself, [Temple College Republicans President] Ryan McCool, and Temple Students for Academic Freedom, I implore you to take the necessary actions to explain Temple University Policy 03.70.02 to the Temple Honors Department, and to ensure their compliance with this University Policy.” Temple University’s Board of Trustees adopted policy 03.70.02 on “Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities” last August following an unprecedented year-long process of legislative hearings inspired by Students for Academic Freedom. At the time of the hearings, not a single public university in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided student-specific academic freedom guarantees to its student body or provided students with a grievance procedure specifically to challenge such violations. Policy 03.70.02 remedied that situation at Temple by granting students the right to file a grievance if their academic freedom is violated.
One clause of the policy relevant to the email controversy states, “Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the information or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.” A partisan email sent through official university channels to an entire departmental listserve violates this standard.
“It’s frustrating as a conservative student to constantly have liberal policies shoved down your throat, especially when it’s an academic department like the honors department which had a duty to remain neutral,” said Temple College Republicans Chairman Ryan McCool. “If the College Republicans were holding a conservative event such as a pro-life rally, I sincerely doubt that the administration would be so quick to use University resources to announce it.”
Following the receipt of Posobiec’s message, Englert responded to the College Republicans, acknowledging that the email shouldn’t have been sent out. “I have determined that the posting of this announcement was the clear result of error by a staff member whose primary goal was to be helpful to a student who requested immediate action,” Englert wrote.
Englert additionally stated that he has “asked our Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies to review the appropriate processes for listserv postings with all staff and administrators in the Honors Program.” But the Provost denied that the listserve posting violated the University’s academic freedom policy, insisting, “I see the present case as a failure to comply with a process for administrative review.”
While the College Republicans are grateful that the immediate situation has been addressed, they are concerned about the provost’s failure to view the anti-war email as an issue of academic freedom.
“This blatant violation of academic neutrality at Temple University, in spite of the highly-publicized academic freedom policy now in place on campus, illustrates the urgent need for other schools to adopt Academic Bills of Rights to protect their students’ academic freedom,” said Students for Academic Freedom Chairman David Horowitz. “While I commend Provost Englert for taking prompt action on this issue, I urge him to reconsider the question of whether Temple’s academic freedom policy applies in this case.”
Students for Academic Freedom is a national initiative dedicated to restoring academic diversity and educational values to America’s institutions of higher learning. The organization recommends that colleges and universities adopt an Academic Bill of Rights to ensure that these principles are respected. The Academic Bill of Rights is available on the organization’s website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org.
Our organization has been attacked in recent days by members of the media and others who questioned the validity of the story of a University of Northern Colorado student who was asked to write an essay on her criminology exam explaining “why President Bush is a war criminal.” According to our original report, the student wrote instead about why Saddam Hussein is a war criminal and was given a failing grade. These attacks were initiated by Prof. Mano Singham in a March 3 column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and were quickly picked up by mediamatters.org and other news sources who implied that we had made the whole thing up.
As the following articles illustrate, we have confirmed the existence of the student, the professor, and the exam. Officials at the University of Northern Colorado have produced a copy of the question which they claim was on the exam, but which doesn’t match the student’s recollections. The professor claims to have destroyed all copies of the actual exam, leading us to question how he could suddenly have come into possession of this particular exam question. Moreover, though the wording of this question differs from what we have reported, it still requires students to come up with a pre-determined answer to a very controversial issue. This is indoctrination and a violation of the tenets of academic freedom. For more information, please see the articles below.
Media Attacks and Reports:
Media Attacks and Reports on the UNC case
Response from Students for Academic Freedom:
University of N. Colorado President Kay Norton Confirms Existence of Student’s Complaint
“…and actually last year, a young woman did raise a question about what she thought was an inappropriate examination question, I referred her to our procedures, she followed them, and I’m pleased to report to you that the original version of what would have been an inappropriate examination question proved not to be what was actually on the examination, and so the process worked.”Listen to audio file here.
- U. Northern Colorado Exam Timeline
- The Case of the Colorado Exam
- UNC Officials, Prof Feed Controversy
- Debate Over Academic Freedom
- Colorado: The Student Speaks
- Correction: We Were Right
- Once More Into The Breach
- Statement on University of Northern Colorado Case
- Correction: Some Of Our Facts Were Wrong; Our Point Was Right
- University of N. Colorado Story Confirmed
March 3 and 4, 2007
Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street, NW Washington, DC
|REGISTER TODAY! Contact Stephanie Knudson at [email protected] or at 323-556-2550, ext. 209.
David Horowitz and Students for Academic Freedom are hosting their second annual Academic Freedom Conference on March 3 and 4, 2007, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, following the conclusion of CPAC. Registration is FREE for students, non-profit employees, Hill staffers, educators, and interns!
This event will include a special reception with Senator Rick Santorum and David Horowitz on the evening of Saturday, March 3, and a morning breakfast, panels, and lunch debate, on Sunday, March 4. When making your CPAC reservations, please plan to stay over through Sunday so you can attend this special event (CPAC hotel rates will apply though Saturday night for students attending this conference).
At the First National Academic Freedom Conference last year, students, educators, legislators, and non-profit leaders came together to examine the growing crisis of politicization occurring in America’s K-12 schools and universities. In the months since that first historic conference, Students for Academic Freedom has achieved several substantial victories. A select committee of the Pennsylvania State Legislature found after a year-long process of hearings that not a single campus in the state provided student-specific academic freedom rights and grievance procedures. Even before the report was officially released, two major state campuses, Pennsylvania State University and Temple University, took measures to remedy this deficiency by adopting new policies which for the first time will give their students an official claim to academic freedom and will provide grievance machinery if their rights are violated.
This academic freedom policy at Penn State now applies specifically to students:
Penn State Policy HR 64: It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators.
Despite these victories for our cause, grave abuses of academic freedom continue to abound on college campuses. Discussing why these abuses continue to take place and how they can be combated will be the key theme of this year’s conference.
The conference will feature many exciting speakers and events including Senator Rick Santorum and a debate between SAF Chairman David Horowitz and American Association of University Professors President Cary Nelson on what is probably the most important campus issue of the day – students’ academic freedom.
The conference will also feature student and Marine corporal Matthew Sanchez who took on the issue of anti-military bias at Columbia University after he was harassed and called a “baby killer” by his fellow students for proudly serving in the Corps.
In an effort to make it possible for students and supporters from across the nation to attend, we are holding this year’s conference directly following the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which takes place each winter in Washington, DC.
Registration is FREE for students, non-profit employees, Hill staffers, educators, and interns! Registration for general public is $150.00.
Student hotel rates are available at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Please contact the hotels directly for reservations. Omni Shoreham at (202) 234-0700 and the Marriott at (202) 328-2983. For updated Conference information visit www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org .
|For more information or to register for this event, please contact Stephanie Knudson at [email protected] or at 323-556-2550, ext. 209.
note: times and speakers are subject to change
Saturday, March 3, 2007
5:30 pm Reception
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Book Signing: Indoctrination U.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
9:00am Panel 1: Faculty and Administration Harassment of Students
Moderator: Morton Blackwell, Leadership Institute
Matt Farrar, Florida State University
Matt Sanchez, Columbia University
Michael Abdurakhmanov, Pace University
Jason Walter, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Logan Fisher, Temple University
10:30am Panel 2: Classroom Indoctrination: What Can We Do?
Moderator: Pennsylvania Rep. Gib Armstrong
Nate Walton, Bates College
Steve Miller, Duke University
Todd Taylor, Penn State University
Tom Robins, College Republican National Committee
12:00-1:30pm Lunch Debate: Political Indoctrination and Harassment on Campus: Is There a Problem?
Moderator: Scott Smallwood, Chronicle of Higher Education
David Horowitz, Chairman, Students for Academic Freedom
Cary Nelson, President, American Association of University Professors
By David Horowitz–Frontpagemag.com–04/03/04
Readers of the New York Times article posted in today’s issue of FrontPagemag.com will appreciate that this is a milestone in the efforts of the academic freedom movement to reform higher education and restore the integrity of the educational mission to our institutions of higher learning. We have changed the original title (“Taking Liberalism Out of Liberal Arts”) because we thought it was misleading. This is a problem of our political lexicon created by the left’s successful determination to hide its totalitarian agendas and history behind the term “liberal.” Actually, the purpose of the academic freedom movement is to restore liberal values — tolerance, inclusion, fairness — to academic institutions where leftists posing as liberals have created an environment that is intolerant, exclusionary and anything but fair.
How so? Last week I was in the Boston area to speak at three liberal colleges, including Brandeis. My speech at Brandeis was scheduled for Tuesday as a climax to Conservative Coming Out Week, an event organized by the College Republicans to show the family flag as it were. College Repubicans at Brandeis are routinely harassed by professors, administrators and students. One out of control academic Gordie Fellman, a sixties radical who never grew up, is the organizer of the Faculty Coalition Against the War. Bad enough to have a professor setting an example of how not to be scholarly or professional. Worse that when conservative students (there appears to be only one conservative professor — and he is not about to demonstrate) organized a counter-protest in favor of the war, Fellman went over to them and called them “freaks.” Fellman is known for making “personal evolution” — a third of a student’s grade. What Fellman seems to mean by this is that students who take his course are expected to evolve into good progressives.
As noted, I was to speak on Tuesday. On Thursday, the administrators in charge of events told my hosts that they could not hold my speech in the “Atrium” as scheduled. The reason given was that the Atrium was an open space and students passing by might be “offended” by what I said. This is a school that rolled out the red carpet for Angela Davis, a lifelong Communist who once received a Lenin Prize from the East German police state. This is a school that boasts about the presence of Dessima Williams on its faculty. Williams is a former member of the Communist dictatorship in Granada, who has not had second thoughts about her politics. The regime came to an end when her political comrade, Bernard Coard who was Minister of Defense, murdered half the cabinet including the pregnant Minister of Education in a coup d’etat. Coard was subsequently removed by the U.S. Marines.
And of course this is a university which appears to think it’s ok to have a professor call his students “freaks” because they disagree with him about the war in Iraq. (It is also, by the way, a university at which a speech to be given by former UN ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick was canceled by the university itself which said it couldn’t guarantee her safety.
The events administrators at Brandeis wanted to shift my speech to a classroom with twenty seats. The College Republicans resisted and it was eventually held in a theater that was closed so that students passing by wouldn’t be offended.
However, prior to the speech professors in three classes, including a Spanish class that devoted a full ten minutes to the subject, warned students not to attend my talk because I was a bad person and would say bad things.
Conservative students at Brandeis and virtually all the other schools I have visited are treated as second class citizens. It is this situation that Students for Academic Freedom was designed to address. We have organized Students for Academic Freedom clubs on 133 campuses and that is just since September. Our website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org has been visited 125,000 unique individuals since September as well. We have passed legislation on the Academic Bill of Rights in Georgia and gotten the university system in Colorado to agree to put its protections in place. We have legislation proceeding in 7 other states and the US House of Representatives. And we have made a big enough impact to come to the attention of the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times.
While the Times story is refreshingly fair, it understates the progress we have made. The fact is that the Brown Administration has publicly embraced the inclusion of “intellectual diversity” in its diversity mandate. It has also made good on its promise by providing money to Brown’s College Republicans to bring a conservative speaker to campus after the leftwing student activities board denied the requested funds. I spoke to top administrators at three schools and the Chancellor of Higher Education for Massachusetts while I was in Boston and all agreed to consider including “intellectual diversity” in their diversity programs. When you think about it, it’s pretty difficult for anyone committed to diversity to say no to this request.
My final quibble with the Times story is that it fails to mention that I have answered the Orwellian attack on the Academic Bill of Rights by the American Association of University Professors. You can read my response on our academic freedom website here along with the AAUP statement. The AAUP has posted its own comments but consistent with its leftwing politics has failed to post my response.