[Marxism] UCLA [and Pennsylvania] Witch Hunt
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu Jan 19 16:45:46 MST 2006
DEBATING ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Temple University News
There are "two different realities" of academic freedom at Temple,
state Rep. Dan Frankel said here recently during state hearings
investigating the subject. And that, he said, "concerns me more than
almost anything else."
Frankel (D., Allegheny) is a member of the state's Select Committee
on Academic Freedom in Higher Education, which heard conflicting
testimony on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 from President David Adamany, Temple
professors, Temple students and others who are either lauding or
condemning the professionalism of professors at universities across
Lawmakers in July passed House Resolution 177 - sponsored by 37
Republicans and six Democrats - to investigate charges of slanted
teaching methods and to ensure that current university grievance
policies effectively protect students. The resolution led to the
creation of the committee, which is touring the state to examine if
the allegations against professors at public and state-related
universities are cause for corrective legislation.
Free speech groups and mostly conservative activists, including the
author of the Academic Bill of Rights, David Horowitz, say they are
increasingly concerned that college students are not sufficiently
informed of their academic freedoms and are therefore more vulnerable
to indoctrination by radical teachers who may condemn students with
Horowitz, who is widely regarded as the driving force behind academic
freedom legislation, said during his testimony that current academic
freedom rules are "violated every single day on every campus in this
state, especially at Temple."
"I wouldn't be persuaded to be here if it wasn't for 20 years of
being on campuses and seeing this," Horowitz, who said he interviewed
more than 100 area students, as well as hundreds more at universities
across the country, testified.
Professors and university administrators roundly deny those claims,
saying professional standards and existing policies are more than
enough to guard against teaching biases and to ensure students' rights.
This debate repeated itself during Temple's hearings, held before a
crowd of approximately 50 people in a second floor Student Center
Stephen Zelnick, a veteran Temple professor, sharply criticized the
academe for its lack of intellectual diversity and said teaching
biases are pervasive.
Zelnick said many inexperienced, "highly idealistic and deeply
opinionated" faculty teach the university's general education courses
- including Temple's race requirement - and added that in observing
100 classes, he "almost never heard a kind word about conservative
To help rectify the problem, Zelnick and others suggested that
universities submit annual academic freedom reports for state
officials, who could then monitor universities without encroaching on
professors. Horowitz said two other Temple programs - intellectual
heritage and the university's first-year writing program - also
violate academic freedoms by pushing political agendas. Horowitz said
the goal of the first-year writing program, which includes English 40
and English 50, "is to indoctrinate students with radical views of
gender and, to a lesser degree, race."
After Horowitz's testimony, Susan Wells, chair of the English
department, refuted Horowitz during public comment, testifying that
"we desperately value having different perspectives in the
classroom." Daniel Tompkins, director of intellectual heritage, also
defended his program's curriculum, saying that Zelnick and Horowitz
were "cherry picking intelligence."
Debates also persisted among university administrators and state
During the question and answer portion of Adamany's testimony, state
Rep. Gib Armstrong (R., Lancaster) read excerpts from a dozen student
complaints he said he received from Temple students in the past year,
most of which pointed to liberal bias among professors.
Armstrong, the chief sponsor of HR 177, said one complaint alleged a
professor used an English class as a vehicle to spread Communist and
Marxist views. Another grievance claimed a professor routinely
criticized the war in Afghanistan. Yet another said a professor asked
the class why the "U.S. military [studies] the languages of other
"So they can kill them," Armstrong read.
Logan Fisher, the only Temple student scheduled to testify before the
committee, said professors have made him and his friends feel awkward
when voicing dissenting opinions during class. Fisher, a senior
business major and vice-chairman of Temple's College Republicans,
also read anecdotes from anonymous students he said feared
retribution for testifying.
But Adamany and a string of professors repeatedly defended the
university's professional standards and its grievance policies during
testimony, with Adamany telling legislators that in more than five
years as president he has not received a single student complaint
alleging "inappropriate political advocacy by teachers in their
"Nor have we found instances of complaints by students that they were
improperly graded because of the views they set forth in their
courses," Adamany said. "Further, I am not aware of any similar
complaints by any member of Temple's faculty or administration."
Although Fisher said he believed his grades have been affected
because his in-class comments challenged professors, he too said
neither he nor his friends have ever formally filed a complaint with
the university, "for the fact that I didn't think they would be
handled at all."
During Adamany's testimony, which led off the hearings, he said "if
we were aware of such complaints, we would certainly act on them
promptly" and asked any aggrieved students, if they were willing, "to
come forward and give us information."
Though Adamany repeatedly defended the university's policies and
emphasized the lack of student complaints, he did tell legislators
that Temple could improve its academic freedom and grievance policies
in three ways: by better directing students to academic freedom
guidelines, by informing students of their rights to appeal what they
think is biased teaching, and by possibly synthesizing grievance
policies that can vary among Temple's colleges.
"A student probably should not be required to master different sets
of grievance procedures in order to assure his or her rights in
different academic programs," Adamany said.
The committee, which has also held testimony in Harrisburg and at the
University of Pittsburgh, will travel to central Pennsylvania for two
more hearings before May. The committee must then present its
findings to the state House before a Nov. 30 deadline. Pennsylvania
is the first state to form such a committee, though nearly 20 other
states have considered similar action.
Editor's note: Portions of this article were taken from online
reports by Brandon Lausch and Venuri Siriwardane, which were posted
at www.temple-news.com following each day's testimony. To view those
articles, click on the "Archives" link on the Web site's main page to
access the Jan. 8 issue.
from Brian Shannon
More information about the Marxism