This morning, I was alerted to the NEA’s attack on the Academic Bill of Rights as it pertains to DuPage Community College in Illinois. Here’s a portion of David Horowitz’s official statement:
As background I should remind you of our nationwide campaign to get universities around the country to adopt our Academic Bill of Rights. I wrote this document to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as the objective and truthful pursuit of knowledge. The key provision was the one demanding that faculty not use their courses for political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.
You can imagine the reaction of the faculty association at DuPage last month, therefore, when the schoolâ€™s Board of Trustees proposed adopting the Academic Bill of Rights as part of the schoolâ€™s basic philosophy and governance. â€œI and the other trustees thought it was important to provide for the academic freedom of students as well as faculty members,â€ Kory Atkinson, a trustee at DuPage and the principal author of the new policy manual which contains the Academic Bill of Rights, explained to the Freedom Center. â€œWeâ€™ve had some anecdotal evidence from students about faculty at DuPage providing lower scores [for ideological reasons] and even in some written reports for classes where professors made comments about sources being â€˜right-wingâ€™ rather than rejecting them for scholarly reasons, mainly in the social sciences where sources tend to be more subjective.â€
Here’s the NEA’s reaction to the Board of Trustees’ saying that they might adopt this proposal:
In an 11-page letter to the Board of Trustees, the NEA chapter claims that the Bill has â€œpolitical connotations.â€ The letter goes on to state, â€œABOR supporters apparently hope that the bill will give elected officials the power to dictate, for example, whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution in college biology.â€
This NEA chapter must have some Olympic-class athletes because it’s quite the leap to say that this is a backdoor attempt to get creationism taught. Saying that issues shouldn’t be decided by political philosophy but rather by scholarly reasons is the Religious Right’s way of getting creationism into schools is paranoid fearmongering. It isn’t rooted in anything resembling proof or thought.
I also find it laughable that the NEA thinks that dumping runaway political correctness has “political connotations.” It isn’t like their agenda doesn’t have “political connotations”, too. In fact, the NEA occupies its own wing of the Democratic Party. Here’s Horowitz’s response to the NEA’s overreaction:
Neither the DuPage bill nor the original Academic Bill of Rights proposes that politicians be given the power to decide what goes on in the classroom. And alleging that the bill would require the teaching of creationism is an example of the dishonest tactics of the opposition. The proposed new policy at DuPage states that â€œExposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty.â€ Creationism is not a scholarly viewpoint and we have never suggested that it be taught in science classes.
The Academic Bill of Rights is explicitly drawn from the statements of the American Association of University Professors which urge professors not to â€œtake unfair advantage of the studentâ€™s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacherâ€™s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity to fairly examine other opinions.â€ This is a sound educational principle, not a political statement. In objecting to it and fighting the DuPage trusteesâ€™s attempts to give students the academic freedom rights the faculty is struggling to retain what it regards as its own right to use the schoolâ€™s classrooms as indoctrination chambers.
Why the NEA would react like this is predictable. They don’t like being challenged. Being challenged grates on them like fingernails across a blackboard. It bothers them because they think that they’re intellectually superior to conservatives. That’s the personification of chutzpah and it shouldn’t be tolerated.
Kory Atkinson sums it up nicely:
â€œ[Right now] the only thing that a student can challenge under the current policy is a grade,â€ trustee Kory Atkinson told the Freedom Center covering the DuPage controversy. â€œCreating a specific right for a student to challenge ideological discrimination really worries them [the faculty]. They will have to be accountable for what theyâ€™re doing in the classroom and they really donâ€™t like that.â€
If anyone has firsthand knowledge of Minnesota college faculty who are using their classrooms as an indoctrination center, please contact me by leaving a comment. Also, anyone who has firsthand knowledge of professors using intimidation tactics on students should contact me by leaving a comment. Only I can see your email address.
I’d be stunned if indoctrination and intimidation aren’t commonplace on university campuses. It’s time we started pushing back.
Cross-posted at California Conservative