Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
A few days ago, I wrote a blurb about ex-Colorado University professor Ward Churchill, a left-wing radical who was fired by CU and has now lost his lawsuit in court. I called Churchill a misfit who basically hates his country. I stand by that comment. I also mentioned that he was far from being the only misfit in American universities. I would like to expound on that from the point of view of a part-time teacher (not professor) at a California university. I want to emphasize that my comments are not directed at all professors or even most of them. Yet, there is a sizable number of professors in American universities for whom the tag of misfit does apply. The issue in the physical sciences is not so big, but in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the left dominates almost completely. As a result, students get a lot of indoctrination instead of education.
As one who went to college in the 1960s, I witnessed the upheaval that spilled onto our college campuses. It was a decade of general upheaval in the US, and rare was the college campus that escaped turmoil. Many of my fellow students somehow came to the conclusion that they owned the campus. Thus, when some issue came along, they would take it upon themselves to take over and occupy university offices including those of chancellors and presidents. Any far-left cause would do, any grievance, real or imagined. Cal Berkeley and San Francisco State were most noted for such activities.
Many of these radical students eventually got on with their lives and forgot their college indiscretions. Others did not. Many of the latter group continued to hang around the university scene and obtain advance degrees-PHDs, in fact. Guess where they are today? They are professors and, in some cases, department chairs and administrators in our universities.
Remember people like Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn, and of course, William Ayres? From revolutionaries, they became college professors-distinguished professors and departmental chairs. Those are the most notorious, but there are so many others who preach the same message around the country on hundreds of campuses. And what is that message? America is an evil country that must be completely done over. America is still a racist country more than 30 years after the Civil Rights Act. America is an imperialist country.
And what is their solution? Many mask their solution in the guise of calling themselves "progressives". To some, that term means simply liberal thought. But it goes much farther. Fifty-sixty years ago, it was what the Communists called themselves in English. It was-and is today-a deliberately vague term designed to cover up a socialist or Marxist ideology. And make no mistake, there are a lot of Marxists running around our universities.
Let's take a look at some of the departments that universities have been forced to accept over the years and what these departments teach. Ethnic studies are specialists in the philosophy that the ethnicity being studied has been victimized by the dominant white American culture. True enough if you look at periods in our history, but when you teach that the same stuff is true today, it borders on propaganda (I am using the term "propaganda" with its negative implication in English). Women's Studies? same thing. These are departments loaded with feminists preaching the doctrine of male subjugation of women-especially in the United States-but interestingly enough, treading very softly, if at all, over the topic of subjugation of women in the Middle East. (We don't want to appear Islamo-phobic, you know.)
Then there are the Gay Studies departments, many of whose titles include the whole gamut of the Gay field such as Gay, Lesbian, Transsexual Cross-Gender Studies.
Note that I am not saying that there should not be courses in these topics-but entire departmental chairs?? What they have done is create entire career paths from student to departmental chair. And if you major in these fields, what else do you know after four years? What else are you qualified to do?
The University of California at Santa Cruz, possibly the most far-left university in the country, has a department called "Community Studies", where they teach young students how to go out and agitate for something called "social justice". Then there is the department called, "History of Consciousness", another left-wing activist department. These are not courses I am talking about but departmental chairs, designing a whole slew of courses designed to indoctrinate our kids about all the "flaws" in our society.
Then we have the political science departments, again dominated by liberals by something like a 9-1 margin. What message do you get out of that? The Republicans are bad-and in some cases, the Democrats are a little less bad because they are not sufficiently to the left to satisfy the professors.
Even English literature departments have been taken over and twisted by the lefties as they steer students to write about the evils of our country and Western Civilization.
How about journalism? We all know that the most prominent schools of journalism are the province of the left. As it was explained to me once by a dean of a university (not a journalism dean), the present goal of journalism schools is to mold a journalist who will be a crusader for "justice" more than anything else. Ring a bell?
And what are law students learning? In many cases, professors are putting out a message that all those tens of thousands of poor people in our jails and prisons are the victims of a racist and unjust society. They are innocent-or jailed for such trivial offenses as smoking a joint. Many professors assign projects for students to research certain cases to try and prove a convicted defendant's innocence. Cop-killer Abu Jamal comes to mind.
Want to study about the Middle East? Get ready for an onslaught of professors like Joseph Mossad from Columbia and Rashid Khalidi, who will explain to you about the evil that is Israel and the justness of the Palestinian cause. If you are a student in one of these classes, try and argue a point in Israel's favor. Absorb the angry ridicule you will get from the professors and their student clones.
The whole subject of Israel is one that has been fervently embraced by the academic left because it gives them another avenue to attack the US-Israel's historic ally. No wonder we have seen a linking of hands between radical Islamists and the academic left in this country.
This is what a student entering college has to face today. An oppressive climate of political correctness that seeks to intimidate those with opposing views. University hacks love to preach about the great level of diversity they have on campus. But what they are talking about is etbnic diversity. Diversity of opinion is another matter. They seem to feel that just because people on campus can criticize America, the president or our culture, that is diversity. That argument stopped holding water decades ago.
It is bad enough that a teacher can impose his or her views in a classroom. While some will give opposing opinions a voice, others will ridicule students with conservative views or views that defend America or Israel. Other teachers will punish their students with lower grades for not conforming to the "accepted view", either in class discussions or term papers.
And they get away with this because cowardly administrators either agree with them or are afraid to challenge their own faculty. (And if you think the university president is not afraid of his/her faculty-go talk to Lawrence Summers-formerly head of Harvard University-until he made some inane, speculative comment about women maybe not being as good in math as men because of their brain structure.)
It is no wonder that American corporations have been telling universities for years that they are not turning out graduates ready to enter the work force. As a result,many companies starting looking to hire older workers.
The problem is that there is a cancer in our universities, which is in the late stages. For decades, we have infested our classrooms with misfits who never really learned to appreciate America-and true liberty. Many of them still embrace a political philosophy (Marxism) that has already been discredited and cast aside by the very countries that lived under it for over 50 years.
What is the solution? There is no short-term solution I see since we can't just remove these misfits. That would be using the very tactic that we criticize them for. The other problem I see is that more conservative-oriented students leave college, go out in the world and get a real job. Few are attracted to academic life, especially seeing the intellectual rot they would have to deal with. So the field is pretty much left open to the lefty activists-at least in the Humanities and Social Studies, as I mentioned. What can be done is to shine the light on what is going on in our universities. When military recruiters are run off campus by anarchistic students-egged on by radical professors, when conservative speakers are shouted down by disruptors or attacked on stage, these things must be publicized. Of course, the liberal media won't do that because they have no desire to highlight outrages from the left. However, we have alternatives means of disseminating information these days-the Internet, blogs, and emails.
We can also forget about contributing to our alma maters-and letting know why when they send you that envelope in the mail. And finally, complete freedom of expression must be demanded on campus-for everybody-not just the far-left crazies that routinely appear on campus to speak.
Hopefully, someday, the public will make a big enough outcry that the universities will feel it in their pocketbooks and declining enrollment. Then perhaps, a change can come about. In the meantime, we must continue to deal with the misfits.