Monday, September 01, 2008

Academic Indoctrination at Penn State

From Students For Academic Freedom, a report on stifling leftist orthodoxy in several courses at Penn State.

The biggest offender: Women’s Studies, which is no surprise.

A lot of this will seem routine to any observer of modern academia, but what is interesting is that Penn State has a policy designed to protect students’ academic freedom.
For more than fifty years, Penn State University has had one of the strongest and most clearly articulated policies on academic freedom of any institution of higher learning. Known as HR 64, the policy bars Penn State professors from indoctrinating students with “ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects.” It instructs professors, instead, “to train students to think for themselves, and provide them access to those materials which they need if they are to think intelligently.” It warns that “in giving instruction on controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators” – in other words to present students with more than one perspective on the subject.

Finally, the Penn State policy forbids faculty from using the classroom to discuss controversial subjects outside their field of study. “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.”
Of course, no policy enforces itself, and the power of leftist faculty and administrators on college campuses dictates that any policy demanding fairness won’t be enforced.

Marquette has clearly come down against academic freedom for students, refusing to recognize a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom on campus.

And departments such as English, Philosophy and Education sponsor courses that not only intend to indoctrinate students, but which are hostile to and willing to punish students who reject the view of the politically correct professor.

Students do have some recourse, however. They can go public. They can appeal to department chairs and deans.

And perhaps most important, they can report incidents of bias to us.

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