Reforming Our Universities


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Why doesn’t David Horowitz give up?  That question will occur to most readers well before they reach the end of his new book.  Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights (Regnery, 2010) is a narrative of frustration, disappointment, resurgent optimism, further defeat, and finally the rescuing of small consolation from the wreckage of high hope.  For his trouble, Horowitz endures vilification piled on calumny; gets to see his olive branches to the academic Left treated as though they were curare-tipped arrows; and secures the support of allies that range from faint-hearted Chihuahuas to politically clueless puppies.

So why doesn’t Horowitz give up?  For the publication of this volume is ample proof that he hasn’t.  And though Horowitz has much to complain about, Reforming Our Universities seems untouched by self-pity.  He has indignation to spare, but the spirit of this narrative of his six-year campaign to persuade American universities to embrace fair-minded intellectual inquiry is the spirit of undaunted determination.

The “Academic Bill of Rights” itself is a 400-word eight-point list that is so blandly wholesome it could also be printed on the side of a grass-fed organic milk carton.  Who would really object to universities hiring faculty members “on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise,” (article one) committing themselves not to exclude people on the basis of their “political or religious beliefs” from tenure and search committees (article two)?  Who would think it seriously amiss to declare, as article three declares, that students “be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs”?

Those aren’t rhetorical questions.  The American Historical Association adopted a unanimous resolution, January 9, 2006, condemning the “so-called” Academic Bill of Rights on the grounds that it would transfer important academic decisions to “government authorities and other agencies,” “violate academic freedom,” and “undermine professional standards.” That is a highly imaginative reading of the document that Horowitz was promoting.  The Academic Bill of Rights says nothing about changing the locus of decision-making authority; and it leaves traditional notions of academic freedom and professional standards intact.

The AHA condemnation was but one cobble in the fusillade.  The Modern Languages Association and the American Library Association made similar pronouncements.  Other organizations engaged in even greater belligerence.  The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) undertook what can only be called campaigns of systematic calumny against both Horowitz and the Academic Bill of Rights.  At the center of these campaigns was the attempt to depict Horowitz as a fabulist and a liar who had simply invented the stories he used to illustrate why students need to have some recourse when their professors substitute ideological indoctrination for disciplined inquiry.

Horowitz became vulnerable to this charge because he sought the testimony of students who had had first-hand experience with thuggishly ideological professors.  An honors student at Georgia Tech, Ruth Malhotra, for example, suddenly started receiving Fs and was forced to withdraw from a public policy class after she revealed to the professor that she was attending the Conservative Political Action Conference.  With Horowitz’s help, Malhotra brought her case to the public, and the University, which had initially sided with the professor, backed down.  The course was reassigned to anther instructor and Malhotra finished it with an A.

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  • poptoy

    Liberal Universities have gotten away with their philosophy for a long time. It is time for this to change. I remember when my on children were in college and came home to tell me I was on the wrong side of the fence politically. My response to them was, "One day you will grow up". It did not take long. They did grow up and are just as conservative as i am now. but what about all these professors and instructors? They are grown up and they are as liberal as ever. It is a Religion to them. It seems they just lack good old "Common Sense". Understanding the mind of a liberal is like trying to understand a child in Kindergarten. However the child belongs there and as parents we understand. Why are the Liberals there also?

  • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

    IS IT TOO LATE? The sixties hippies, whose brains are fried from all the acid trips and VD, are in control the universities from top to bottom, and most, if not all, have tenure or worse, Dean's and Chairman's in charge of hiring other like minded Leftists! (I'd write Communists/Marxists, but I always get in trouble for writing this since now I'm the extremist!) I call this "The Circle of Communism." From student, to masters student, recommended by Leftist Professors to Leftist Dean, now professor who brainwashes students to complete the circle.

    • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

      Part Two: (Too long?) "The Peace Education Project" is a program by the Peace and Justice centers that put expert speakers in K-12. They are invited by like-minded teachers who use their class to preach everything from being Green, Global Warming, Death penalty, abortion, and that "Socialism isn't so bad. Did you know the Highway Department is a Socialist program? Did your bus drive on a road this morning? This school is a Socialist program too so see, it's great!" This project mostly gets into the school through being substitute teachers! They have no rules on indoctrination or off topic discussions. I heard one on TV say that being Sub, since it is not a full-time job, leaves time to "be active." Unfortunately, there are too many teachers who preach their Leftist political agenda and they turn our children in Obama Zombies! "Obama Obama Obama!" We've all seen the videos by the CULT who hypnotized our children into a trance. Look at their eyes!

    • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

      The Peace Education Project" is a program by the Peace and Justice centers that put expert speakers in K-12. They are invited by like-minded teachers who use their class to preach everything from being Green, Global Warming, Death penalty, abortion, and that "Socialism isn't so bad. Did you know the Highway Department is a Socialist program? Did your bus drive on a road this morning? This school is a Socialist program too so see, it's great!" This project mostly gets into the school through being substitute teachers! They have no rules on indoctrination or off topic discussions. I heard one on TV say that being Sub, since it is not a full-time job, leaves time to "be active." Unfortunately, there are too many teachers who preach their Leftist political agenda and they turn our children in Obama Zombies! "Obama Obama Obama!" We've all seen the videos by the CULT who hypnotized our children into a trance. Look at their eyes!

      • trickyblain

        Uhhh,

        What?

        What I'm getting here is that acid-laden substitute teachers are complementing the highway system and trying to make young, hypnotized zombies join a cult named Obama.

        Am I close?

    • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

      This also goes for Lawyers to Judges. Journalists to Editors. Worker to Boss. They elevate their own first using "better grades" to get scholaships or in front of the line which gets them the better job since the one hiring spots a Liberal in a crowd of a thousand!

      • trickyblain

        This too?! Where is this gathering, where there's one liberal in a thousand? A teaparty rally? A Toby Keith concert at a state fair in Alabama?And where are the zombies in all of this? We should really keep an eye on them.

  • http://netzero.com Steve Chavez

    The Peace Education Project" is a program by the Peace and Justice centers that put expert speakers in K-12. They are invited by like-minded teachers who use their class to preach everything from being Green, Global Warming, Death penalty, abortion, and that "Socialism isn't so bad. Did you know the Highway Department is a Socialist program? Did your bus drive on a road this morning? This school is a Socialist program too so see, it's great!" This project mostly gets into the school through being substitute teachers! They have no rules on indoctrination or off topic discussions. I heard one on TV say that being Sub, since it is not a full-time job, leaves time to "be active." Unfortunately, there are too many teachers who preach their Leftist political agenda and they turn our children in Obama Zombies! "Obama Obama Obama!" We've all seen the videos by the CULT who hypnotized our children into a trance. Look at their eyes!

  • USMCSniper

    Public education based on results and outrageous costs (averaging $10,000 plus per student in elementary and high schools and $20,000 plus in colleges) is a collossal failure and the only way to make any major improvement in our educational system is through privatization to the point at which a substantial fraction of all educational services is rendered to individuals by private enterprises. Nothing else will destroy or even greatly weaken the power of the government subsidized educational establishment — a necessary pre-condition for radical improvement in our educational system. And nothing else will provide the public schools with the competition that will force them to either improve or be eliminated.

    • doxvox

      The U.S. can never get rid of the threat of totalitarianism
      that pervades our culture until intellectual freedom is restored to our educational system. It is horrible to me that the public is blind to this need.

  • JSD222

    As an older student at Penn State University it is amazing some of the things that go on. One is a scholarship that because I was 52 when I started back I was ineligible for even though it was for older students it had a cutoff age of 50.
    Also have you seen that the Federal Government is more then likely going to cut out what is known as the "Smart Grant", it is for students with a 3.0 (B) or better average but they are keeping the Pell grant that only requires a 2.0 (C) average. How about cutting out the lower one and not taking money away from people who are going to succeed to give it to those who will not?

  • Bill

    How about direct action — pass initiatives, in all 26 states where they have the process, that implement David's ideas to reform higher education?

    This would only apply to state funded colleges and universities.
    Citizens should not have their taxes to support political indoctrination (conversion) of one point of view.

  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    The socialist movement knows indoctrination starts early they have been working on it for 70 or so years. If we truly want our universities to be pro America we must start by instilling pride of country in our children at the grade school level. You can start here with a lesson on the National Anthem.
    Victor http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/forums/index.p
    2010 The year we started to take back Washington
    2012 The year we take back our country

  • USMCSniper

    Federal authorities on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp. for allegedly discriminating against black job applicants by screening the credit history of potential employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the practice of rejecting job seekers based on their credit history has a discriminatory impact on some racial and ethnic groups. Ahhhh…errr,,, Ohhhh I see, many Black people are irresponsible and don't pay their bills so they have bad vredit ratings. If you can't take care of you owb business responsibly, why should anyone trust you wit theirs,