It is a damn good start folks, the left is going to hate this...
SPECIAL RELEASE: A Victory for Academic Rights
Any time the Left’s grip on our universities can be loosened, even slightly, it is a major victory. That’s why I want to tell you about something the Freedom Center accomplished at the College of DuPage, a prominent Community College in Illinois.
As background I should remind you of our nationwide campaign to get universities around the country to adopt our Academic Bill of Rights. I wrote this document to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as the objective and truthful pursuit of knowledge. The key provision was the one demanding that faculty not use their courses for political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.
You can imagine the reaction of the faculty association at DuPage last month, therefore, when the school’s Board of Trustees proposed adopting the Academic Bill of Rights as part of the school’s basic philosophy and governance. “I and the other trustees thought it was important to provide for the academic freedom of students as well as faculty members,” Kory Atkinson, a trustee at DuPage and the principal author of the new policy manual which contains the Academic Bill of Rights, explained to the Freedom Center. “We’ve had some anecdotal evidence from students about faculty at DuPage providing lower scores [for ideological reasons] and even in some written reports for classes where professors made comments about sources being ‘right-wing’ rather than rejecting them for scholarly reasons, mainly in the social sciences where sources tend to be more subjective.”
The DuPage faculty union, a unit of the National Education Association (NEA), immediately declared open war over the proposed policy change. In an 11-page letter to the Board of Trustees, the NEA chapter claims that the Bill has “political connotations.” The letter goes on to state, “ABOR supporters apparently hope that the bill will give elected officials the power to dictate, for example, whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution in college biology….”
Of course this is part of the same scare tactics we’ve heard again and again from the teacher’s unions and the academic Left. Neither the DuPage bill nor the original Academic Bill of Rights proposes that politicians be given the power to decide what goes on in the classroom. And alleging that the bill would require the teaching of creationism is an example of the dishonest tactics of the opposition. The proposed new policy at DuPage states that “Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty.” Creationism is not a scholarly viewpoint and we have never suggested that it be taught in science classes.
The Academic Bill of Rights is explicitly drawn from the statements of the American Association of University Professors which urge professors not to “take unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity to fairly examine other opinions.” This is a sound educational principle, not a political statement. In objecting to it and fighting the DuPage trustees’s attempts to give students the academic freedom rights the faculty is struggling to retain what it regards as its own right to use the school’s classrooms as indoctrination chambers.
“[Right now] the only thing that a student can challenge under the current policy is a grade,” trustee Kory Atkinson told the Freedom Center covering the DuPage controversy. “Creating a specific right for a student to challenge ideological discrimination really worries them [the faculty]. They will have to be accountable for what they’re doing in the classroom and they really don’t like that.”
If the DuPage Trustees are successful in their bid to adopt the Academic Bill of Rights, the College will become only the third campus in the United States to recognize student-specific academic freedom protections. Penn State University and Temple University both previously adopted student-specific academic freedom protections when a series of state legislative hearings inspired by the Freedom Center showed that no public university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had academic freedom provisions that applied to students.
We at the Freedom Center are enormously proud of our work in inspiring a dialogue about the need to free college education from the iron grasp of ideology and indoctrination. And we admire the courage of the DuPage Trustees in standing up for the rights of their students. As for the Academic Bill of Rights, we hope that it will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving.
And, finally, we are truly indebted to and proud of the thousands of men and women across America who have become members in the Freedom Center and have supported this national campaign for Academic Freedom every step of the way.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center was established in 1988 to expose America’s radical left, reveal its anti-American agenda, and fight to protect the fundamental conservative principles that our nation was founded upon and have served to make this the greatest country in history.
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