[Marxism] UCLA [and Pennsylvania] Witch Hunt

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu Jan 19 16:45:46 MST 2006


DEBATING ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Temple University News
Brandon Lausch
1/19/06

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  
the state.

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  
conflicting views.

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  
conference room.

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  
issues."

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  
officials.

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  
people."

"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  
courses."

"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.

Up Next

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





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