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Jewish World Review
April 5, 2007
/ 18 Nissan, 5767
The shame of higher education
Many of our nation's colleges and universities have become cesspools of indoctrination, intolerance, academic dishonesty and the new racism. In a March 1991 speech, Yale President Benno Schmidt warned, "The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. . . . The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind."
Writing in the fall 2006 issue of Academic Questions, Luann Wright, in her article titled "Pernicious Politicization in Academe," documents academic dishonesty and indoctrination all too common today. Here are some of her findings:
An ethnic studies professor, at Cal State Northridge and Pasadena City
College, teaches that "the role of students and teachers in ethnic studies is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
UC Santa Barbara's School of Education e-mailed its faculty asking them to consider classroom options concerning the Iraq War, suggesting they excuse students from class to attend anti-war events and give them extra credit to write about it.
An English professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey tells his students, "Conservatism champions racism, exploitation and imperialist war."
Other instances of academic dishonesty include professors having their students write letters to state representatives protesting budget cuts. Students enrolled in cell biology, math and art classes must sit through lectures listening to professorial rants about unrelated topics such as globalism, U.S. exploitation of the Middle East and President Bush.
Wright is also the founder of NoIndoctrination.org, a website containing hundreds of reports of similar academic bias and dishonesty.
Anne D. Neal, president of The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, wrote a companion article titled "Advocacy in the College Classroom." She says that campuses across the nation have cultivated an atmosphere that permits the disinviting of politically incorrect speakers; politicized instruction; reprisals against or intimidation of students who speak their mind; political discrimination in college hiring and retention; and campus speech codes.
On most college campuses, there's the worship of diversity. The universities of Harvard, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley, Virginia and many others boast of officers, deans and vice presidents of diversity. Many academics make the mindless argument, with absolutely no evidence to back it up, that racial representation is necessary for academic excellence. For them, getting the right racial mix requires racial discrimination.
Diversity wasn't the buzzword back in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Diversity is the response by universities, as well as corporations, to various court decisions holding racial quotas, goals and timetables unconstitutional. Offices of diversity and inclusion are simply substitutes for yesterday's offices of equity or affirmative action. It's simply a matter of old wine in new bottles, but it's racism just the same.
In an open letter titled "To the President of My University," Carl Cohen, professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, summarizes, "Diversity is a good thing but the claim that the need for diversity is so compelling that it overrides the constitutional guarantee of civic equality is one we swallow only because, by holding our nose and gulping it down, we can go on doing what our feeling of guilt demands."
Until parents, donors and taxpayers shed their unwillingness to investigate what's sold to them as higher education, what we see today will continue and get worse. Just as important is the recognition of the fact that boards of trustees at our colleges and universities bear the ultimate responsibility, and it is they who've been grossly derelict in their duty.
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