Thursday, September 18, 2008

Indoctrination in English Composition

From a Denver TV station:
DENVER (CBS4) ― Metro State College is investigating a professor who asked students to write an essay critical of Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin. One student said the instructor singled out Republican students in the class and allowed others to ridicule them.

“I was shocked, I was holy cow, this is just an open door for him to discuss politics with us,” said Jana Barber, a student in the class.

Barber shared the first class assignment with CBS4. Instructor Andrew Hallam asked students to write an essay to contradict what he called the “fairy tale image of Palin” presented at the Republican National Convention.

“What the faculty’s responsibility is to provide opportunity for critical thinking and civic engagement so bringing something of relevancy into the classroom was the faculty’s goal,” said Cathy Lucas, spokeswoman for Metro State. “Should he have broadened it and included all the political figures, yes.”

Metro State officials are investigating claims of bias, harassment and bullying.
It’s dandy, but highly unusual in academia, for the claims of Republican and conservative students of bias, harassment and bullying to be taken seriously.

Most universities have codes that outlaw acts that might create a “hostile learning environment.”

In principle, this sounds fair enough. In practice, it is always enforced in an absurdly slanted way. Politically correct victim groups (women, gays, racial minorities) are allowed to claim “hostile environment” upon merely hearing civil arguments that they disagree with. “Oppressor” groups (Republicans, Christians, white males) have to endure being denigrated.

The latter ought to be highly aggressive in pushing claims of harassment, bias, intimidation and a “hostile learning environment.” Universities ought to face having to employ these doctrines in an even-handed way, or drop them entirely as an infringement on free expression.

So long as leftists can use them to shut up speech they doesn’t like, at no risk to themselves, censorship will continue.

Incidents like this aren’t uncommon at Marquette.

We encourage all students who are victims of this sort of thing to contact us. We respect confidentiality. We will investigate and if we find an abuse, we will publicize it, as we have done multiple times in the past. The most recent case we publicized involved bullying of a student who, in a class discussing how police interacted with minorities, gave, from his own personal experience, comments supportive of the police.

No student should have to tolerate being singled out, harassed and bullied. Not even Republicans.

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