Skip to comments.Censoring Liberal Professors
Posted on 01/20/2006 11:31:22 AM PST by flixxx
Censoring Liberal Professors Susan Estrich Friday, Jan. 20, 2006 It is one of the worst ideas to hit academia: paying students to tape their professors, in the hopes of discouraging their expression of views that one side considers to be "radical."
Most alumni associations aim to improve their alma maters. But the Bruin Alumni Association an unofficial group, not to be confused with the official UCLA Alumni Association seems determined to do just the opposite. If it has its way, the classroom will no longer be a place where students and faculty can discuss ideas freely. Shame on them.
The Bruin Alumni Association's new project offers students $100 to tape-record the classes of certain professors who have been designated by the organization. While the organization claims to be concerned about radicals of any stripe, its "Dirty 30" consists entirely of liberals who have signed petitions that are "anti-Bush, anti-Israel, antiwar" or against Bush's judicial appointees.
The program, according to UCLA, violates the official university rules, which bar taping classroom lectures without a professor's permission. But that is the least of it. It violates not only the professor's academic freedom but also that of every student in the classroom. Imagine asking a question, or expressing a point of view, knowing that a fellow student is taking detailed notes and taping the class for purposes of monitoring the slant of everything that is said in the name of political correctness.
Are there more liberals than conservatives teaching in America's top universities? Probably.
Are there more conservatives than liberals running America's top companies? Probably.
Is there room at UCLA for an organization to provide mentoring and support for Republican students? Certainly. Could such an organization help conservative students organize campus activities, bring speakers to campus, even provide backup for students so they feel more comfortable speaking up in class? Why not?
But the Bruin Alumni Association doesn't stop there. Its Web site comes complete with the very sort of diatribes it would be the first to condemn if posted by others. It aims to engage in the very sort of content-based review of lecture notes that would violate not only the rules of academic freedom but also the mandates of the First Amendment if posted by any official university group. It would have students restricting the private political activity of faculty members, also in violation of the First Amendment, again in the name of the free exchange of ideas.
Jim Rogan, the former congressman, Clinton prosecutor and UCLA alum, in resigning from the organization in protest, pointed out that he didn't need a Web site to tell him there were plenty of liberals on the UCLA faculty. But he didn't sign up to silence them, either. Hear, hear.
I've been teaching for 25 years, the last 15 at the University of Southern California. In my classrooms, I have only three hard and fast rules. No political correctness. Every point of view is not only welcome but also essential to a full discussion. Nothing said in the classroom leaves the classroom. If you don't agree with something, you argue the other side. I've never had a complaint in 25 years.
I suppose I should be pleased at the self-destructiveness of our competitors down the road. But it pleases me not at all to see freedom threatened from any direction, conservative or liberal.
Balance is not the issue here. Freedom and open discussion are. Professors who can't keep their politics out of the classroom need to be addressed by the administration, not by student and alumni censors. As for alums, those who love their school and care about its students should find a better way of showing it.
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About the only point I agree with is that taping classroom discussions without the knowledge of the professor is inappropriate...though I know that I am being taped for 'noteservice' or other reasons...
I do not see it has a swipe against 'academic freedom'...as usualy she is frothing at the mouth over this.
I thought it was illegal to do.
I like the idea. They are supposed to be teaching not brainwashing, eh???
Not when the 'student' is paying for the lecture. Unless the student signs an agreement the liberal professor has had him/her sign, then it's tuff $hit.....they (liberal professors) deserve much more than being singled out....
I agree that it will cause a seriously bad atmosphere in the classroom if students are taping their professors.
On the other hand, a lot of professors have misbehaved so seriously that it's understandable that it's coming to something like this.
Susan Ostrich says, "Professors who can't keep their politics out of the classroom need to be addressed by the administration." Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. In nine cases out of ten, its weak or leftist administrators who are responsible for the mess most of our academic departments have gotten into. Expecting them to clean it up is like expecting Satan to straighten out the problems of war and hunger.
I don't know what to suggest, except that political pressure is needed, from legislatures, alumni, and parents, and probably students as well, before these moonbat professors will change their ways. I wouldn't go into the teaching profession today for precisely these reasons. It's no longer a matter of just getting in there and teaching the truth, as best you can. It's a matter of battling political forces in every direction.
They enforce a leftist orthodoxy and anyone not toeing the line, (Achtung! Schnell!) is serverly punished. This goes on in every college across America. It is the campus liberal who squishes free speech and dissent with a totalitarin iron fist.
It should be the policy of every college that any student can tape his classes. The student should not be allowed to then sell those tapes. But since the student is paying the tuition, he should be allowed to tape them, even if the prof doesn't like it. In fact, with the coming of podcasts, I think that each college should have a policy where every class is taped by the college, and is kept on file for at least one month. That should persuade some profs from spending 30 minutes of every 90-minute Intro to English class on bashing Bush ans saying that Christianity is stupid. That is what Philip Hu, a teacher of English at Cerritos College in CA does. It is unethical, and if he was properly exposed, perhaps it would be stopped or at least diminished.
Students pay for the class (not for the right to tape the session) and some professors agree with recording their lectures, but it cannot be done without the professor's consent.
Furthermore it could really dry up discussions if other students knew they were being recorded...I think this is the wrong way to go about correcting the liberal bias in schools...
Why? Why is recoding the lecture with magnetic tape any different than using a carbon pencil and paper? (other than being more accurate?) A good typist could probably use a laptop to transcribe a professor's lecture verbaitum - would that be inappropiate also? Especially since the student is paying thousands of dollars for the information the professor is imparting.
I've been teaching for 25 years, the last 15 at the University of Southern California. In my classrooms, I have only three hard and fast rules. No political correctness. Every point of view is not only welcome but also essential to a full discussion. Nothing said in the classroom leaves the classroom. If you don't agree with something, you argue the other side. I've never had a COMPLAINT in 25 years.
Only a fool would pay to stay in her class. I bet she hasn't had one conservative student for at least ten years.
nobody is censoring them, maybe they are and should be showing self restraint.
I dont agree with this. Its a bad idea. I know everybody always says Nazi too much on the internet but this is just like some thing they would of done. If a student doesn't like what the professor is saying, he can just change to another course. Taping the speeches is a lousy way to force them what to say. College is about ideas and not all of them are going to be good. An educated person will see through BS not all of them are stupid enough to get brainwashed.
If Estrich thinks that universities are places for the free exchange of ideas, she needs a serious reality check.
To my knowledge, no one is advocating "censoring" professors. I think the goal is to just expose them so any student considering taking a course taught by one of them can be forewarned.
Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Are there more liberals than conservatives teaching in America's top universities? Yes.
Are there more conservatives than liberals running America's top companies? Yes--which is why we are the economic powerhouse that we are.
She clearly has no concept of what happens to conservative students who dare challenge some leftist professor's ideas!
Or she does but she going to lie about it anyway.
The recordings are to show the professors 'academic retribution' for the student who expresses conservative opinions - ie. opposite of the professors - and gets poor grades because of that, and not because they merited failure.