Penn State University has attracted the attention of David Horowitz and the National Association of Scholars by revising its code on what professors can and can't say in the classroom. In essence, they have cleared the way for their radical leftist professors to engage in all the propaganda they want to in class, even if it has nothing to do with the subject material.
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 be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators.
No faculty member may claim as a right the privilege of discussing in the classroom controversial topics outside his/her own field of study. The faculty member is normally bound not to take advantage of his/her position by introducing into the classroom provocative discussions of irrelevant subjects not within the field of his/her study.
Faculty members are expected to educate students to think for themselves, and to facilitate access to relevant materials which they need to form their own opinions. Faculty members are expected to present information fairly, and to set forth justly divergent opinions that arise out of scholarly methodology and professionalism.
This, of course, is a national problem. Students, especially in the Humanities, are being taught what their professors think about the world no matter how outrageous. And don't think that it is all being balanced out by conservative professors spouting their views in class. For one thing, there are few conservative professors in our universities. Most are too busy making a living in the real world. Those that do enter the Halls of Ivy generally find they are as welcome as the proverbial skunk at the garden party. (I entered after retiring from the government-as a part-time teacher.)
At UCI, where I teach, the Humanities Department is much smaller than most big universities since there is so much emphasis on the physical sciences, pre-med and engineering. Yet, we had an incident recently where a women's studies professor reportedly made it a practice to go off on regular rants against Israel causing one Jewish student to drop the class.
I myself in teaching English to foreign students make it a rule not to give my personal views on issues. If a controversial issue were to arise, I allow the students to express their views freely on these topics. When asked what my own view is, I generally tell them not to worry about what I think-rather work out their own opinions. I regard any professor who feels it is necessary to shove his or her opinions down students throats and not respect differing opinions from their students as being unprofessional.
At campus speaking events or seminars, however, that is different. In these venues, opinions are what matters, and I have chosen to become active in one particular issue (which my readers are well aware of).
This is not a matter of whether teachers have the right of free speech. They do. That said, they should perhaps keep in mind that as the saying goes, opinions are like ass----s; everybody has one. The fact that a professor has more wisdom because of his/her extensive education and research does not hold water as far as I am concerned. Most of these pin-heads have little to no actual life experience to bring into the classroom. They have gone from BS/BA to Masters to PHD to teaching. By the time they get that phd, they have been educated out of the last ounce of common sense they were born with.
You want examples? How about Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, William Ayres, Bernadine Dorhn, Noam Chomsky...the list could go on forever. Fortunately, Finkelstein and Churchill now do their preaching from a soapbox instead of a classroom because their wacky scholarship was proven to be just that.
The sad thing is that it is our children who are being cheated out of a quality education. In many cases, they get drawn into useless programs like ethnic studies, women's studies, gay, lesbian, trans-gender studies, community studies, history of consciousness, you name it. When they graduate with that piece of paper, they are equipped to do nothing but teach it to the next generation of students.
And to repeat that famous phrase, how does all that teach young students to think for themselves? According to the academics, it means that they don't have to accept what their government, their parents, their elders or their churches teach them-just accept what your misfit professor, who likely despises convention and his/her own country, teaches them.
Just look at what is coming out of our universities for the past several years. These young folks can cite you chapter and verse about all the dark chapters and mistakes in our country's history, gay issues, feministt issues, corporate evils, and on and on. Can they tell you what the capital of Poland is? Probably not. Can they tell you the exact years of World Wars I and II? Probably not. Can they tell you who our presidents were during those wars? Probably not. Can they speak a complete sentence without using the word, "like" at least twice? Probably not.
Perhaps, at this point in my rant I should concede that I am not talking about all teachers nor am I talking about all students. I am talking about trends. The basic truth is that American education, while known to have become deficient at the secondary level, is also dangerously over-rated at the university level. Inferior teachers, who teach their opinions, make inferior students, who make inferior graduates. Our children, at least if they are studying in the Humanities, are not getting the education their parents think they are paying for.