[First published April 21, 2005] Academic freedom? The hallowed conflict of ideas? The sanctity of open debate? Ha! That’s not the American university anymore. Only one side now has the freedom to state its views, and the other sides beware.
What happened to Professor Thomas Klocek of DePaul University in Chicago is a case in point. Quoting from Joseph Farah’s recent article, “When ‘academic freedom’ fails,”
Last Sept. 15, the man who has taught critical thinking, college writing and cultures of the world at the Catholic university’s School for New Learning for the last 15 years, Klocek made the mistake of debating the subject of the Middle East with some extremists partial to Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Arab nationalists among the Students for Justice in Palestine and the United Muslims Moving Ahead at a student activities fair.
The informal debate got heated, as Klocek was the sole defender of Israel and Middle East Christians in the room. But there were no blows exchanged. There were no verbal threats. And the spirited argument lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, according to everyone involved.
Nine days later, Klocek found himself the victim of an “emergency suspension” and unceremoniously kicked off the campus. No hearing by his peers. No formal complaints lodged against him. The unsubstantiated accusations by zealous students that Klocek made “racist” remarks was all that was needed to crush the claim of academic freedom at DePaul.
He was offered his job back if he agreed to monitored teaching and apologized to the students. He refused.
Now he finds himself with no job. . . .
You see, diversity is welcomed in academia as long as you don’t disagree with what passes for conventional wisdom in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. . . .Klocek was accused by the students of the unpardonable sins of “demeaning their ideas” and “dishonoring their perspective” and pressing erroneous assertions” and that he used his power as a “professor over them” to force them to accept his arguments as true.
What did he say? He questioned the accuracy of literature asserting Rachel Corrie was “murdered by an Israeli bulldozer” and a verbal assertion that “the Palestinians are being treated by Israelis the same way Hitler treated the Jews.”
This is not just one story. One could put together a book of sad tales of students and professors who have been punished by the left for their views or mistaken belief in “academic freedom.”
This is very serious, for the schools are now a major subversive force in our society undermining the idea of freedom. They get their hands on our children and youth and by their propaganda turn them into armies of “anti-war,” anti-globalization, anti-American, brain washed demonstrators and protestors. That is, before they eventually become teachers, businessmen, politicians, and, of course, lawyers and judges, all to further, often unknowingly, leftism.
What to do about it? Sunshine. Documentaries. Investigative journalism by blogs, talk radio, and the new media. Legislative hearings. And let the truth be exposed. The left’s anchor to the schools – tenure — could not survive arousing the silent majority.
Link of Note
”Inside Higher Ed” (3/30/05 )
Three political scientists did a survey of 1,643 faculty members at 183 four-year colleges and asked them how they identified themselves politically. This article describes the results (full report not generally available):
. . . the ideological divide on campuses may be greater than has previously been thought. And the authors of this survey say that their evidence suggests say that conservatives, practicing Christians and women are less likely than others to get faculty jobs at top colleges. . . . humanities faculty members were the most likely (81 percent) to be liberal. The liberal percentage was at its highest in English literature (88 percent), followed by performing arts and psychology (both 84 percent), fine arts (83 percent), political science (81 percent).
Other fields have more balance. The liberal-conservative split is 61-29 in education, 55-39 in economics, 53-47 in nursing, 51-19 in engineering, and 49-39 in business.
As far as reported, the study does not assess the ideological spread among liberals (moderate democrat, liberal democrat, leftist, communist) as opposed to conservatives. In my experience, many self identified liberals are on the far left or are communists (Marxists), and the those who call themselves conservatives are often moderate or liberal Republicans. Its like dividing the world into democracies and nondemocracies without showing that many nondemocracies are totalitarian and bloody thug regimes like North Korea, while many of the democracies are barely electoral democracies, with repressed human rights as now in Russia.
That the contemporary American university is an anti-American, pro-socialist propaganda mill is suggested by the survey above, but the true meaning of this division has to be experienced to fear its dire implications for individual freedom, such as it was for Professor Klocek of DePaul University.