This has come up in Minnesota; a group - in this case, conservative UCLA alumni - are looking for stories of liberal bias among professors:
An alumni group is offering students up to $100 per class to supply tapes and notes exposing professors who allegedly express extreme left-wing political views at the University of California, Los Angeles.To be fair, left-wing professors cry "McCarthyism" when the floor's pop machine is out of Tab. But, again, I digress:
One of the professors calls it McCarthyism.
The year-old Bruin Alumni Association says it is concerned about professors who use lecture time to press positions against President Bush, the military and multinational corporations, among other things. Its Web site has a list of what it calls the college's 30 "most radical professors."Let's recap: It's a private group, asking people to take private action for voluntary consumption by people who are interested.
"We're just trying to get people back on a professional level of things," said the group's president and founder, Andrew Jones, a 2003 UCLA graduate and former chairman of the student Bruin Republicans.
Some of those targeted say it's a witch-hunt reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communism crusade in the 1950s."Credibility" is for everyone to figure out for themselves. As to the (drearily inevitable) charge of "McCarthyism", theres' the little matter of McCarthy having been an agent of government; the UCLA alumni are private citizens. One might ask Professor McLaren what he thinks about the campus speech codes that have throttled thought and speech on campus; politics are a matter of record.
"Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism," said education professor Peter McLaren, one of those cited by the association. "Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility."
Which is fine; the First Amendment covers McLaren; it also covers his students.
Now, I could hardly care less about the goings-on on the nation's campuses, personally, although since my children are approaching college age, I'm certainly paying attention. Personally, I took a look at the graduate-school paper chase when I was still in college, laughed, and scratched it off my to-do list; I figured life would be more productive running on a Habitrail wheel. Other conservatives see it differently, no doubt.
But I don't see life from the academic's perspective. So someone tell me - why is it a problem to academics if a private group reviews professors' political biases for non-commercial, copyright-law-compliant, critical use?
I mean, doesn't the First Amendment apply to students and other consumers of the education system?Posted by Mitch at January 24, 2006 06:11 AM | TrackBack