April 4th, 2006

Do You Know Section 112 of H.R. 609?

Do you know what H.R. 609 is?

Should you care?

Yes you should.

H.R. 609 is the bill to “Amend and Extend the Higher Education Act of 1965.” It’s been slogging through committee forever, and on March 31, 2006 it was finally passed by the House on a mostly party line vote (221-199, with 14 Democrats and 18 Republicans switching sides). The bill is vast, complex and warrants intense scrutiny given the strategic imperative that education plays in our future. From a cursory reading (and by cursory we mean several hours), the bill should be retitled “A Bridge To Far” because for all of its efforts to increase access to higher education, it does not go far enough in addressing the real needs of twenty-first century parents and students. However, the merits of the various provisions of the bill will be hashed out in days to come. Today I want to focus on section 112.

Do you know section 112?

Of course not. No one bothers to look individual sections of a 418-page bill, including many House members. Since you don’t know what section 112 is about, let me introduce this chillingly Orwellian bit of legislation to you:

‘’(a) PROTECTION OF RIGHTS.―
13 ‘’(1) It is the sense of Congress that no student attending an institution of higher education on a full or part-time basis should, on the basis of participation in protected speech or protected association, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination or official sanction under any education program, activity, or division of the institution directly or indirectly receiving financial assistance under this Act, whether or not such program, activity, or division is sponsored or officially sanctioned by the institution; and
‘’(2) It is the sense of Congress that―

‘’(A) the diversity of institutions and educational missions is one of the key strengths of
American higher education;
‘’(B) individual colleges and universities have different missions and each institution
should design its academic program in accordance with its educational goals;
‘’(C) within the context of its institutional mission, a college should promote intellectual
pluralism and facilitate the free and open change of ideas;
‘’(D) students should not be intimidated, harassed, discouraged from speaking out, discriminated
against, or subject to official sanction because of their personal political, ideological, or
religious beliefs; and
‘’(E) students should be treated equally and fairly, including evaluation and grading, without
regard to or consideration of their personal political views or ideological beliefs.
‘’(3) Nothing in paragraph (2) shall be construed to modify, change, or infringe upon any constitutionally
protected religious liberty, freedom, expression, or association.'’; and
(2) in subsection (b)(1), by inserting after ‘’higher education'’ the following: ‘’, if the imposition of
such sanction is done objectively, fairly, and without regard to the student’s personal political, ideological,
or religious beliefs.”

That sounds reasonable doesn’t it? I mean we’re all for freedom of speech and thought right? You are not going to find too many good liberals arguing against a dynamic, pluralistic environment where open minds share vigorous debate about the world. If that were really the intent of section 112, then I’d say Hail Mary and Hallelujah. However, protecting free thought and association isn’t what section 112 is really about. If the sponsors were honest they would call it “Shifting American Universities Right” because that is the intent. The “Right” has long used the refrain of liberal bias in our Universities as a rallying point. It is the educational equivalent of the War on Christmas.

This is not an overstatement. Just look at why David Horowitz, one of the largest and most vocal advocates of the Academic Bill of Rights feels it is necessary:

Our institutions of higher learning must have an Academic Bill of Rights that stresses intellectual diversity, that demands balance in reading lists, that recognizes that political partisanship by professors in the classroom is an abuse of students’ academic freedom, that the inequity in funding of student organizations and visiting speakers is unacceptable, and that a learning environment hostile to conservatives is unacceptable.

Universities should not be indoctrination centers for the political left. It should not be a fight for young students to get a complete education, to learn more than half the story. It shouldn’t be a battle for conservatives or Christians to gain teaching positions, to have their work seriously considered, and to be tenured.

While it is probably true there are more liberal leaning professors than conservative ones (after all, it takes a certain type of person to devote themselves to academia instead of running Enron or Halliburton), there is little actual evidence that “conservatives” (51 percent of the country if you look at the voting) and “Christians” (roughly 84 percent of the population) are being prevented from graduating or from articulating their beliefs. There is no “battle.” If there were then this country would be decidedly liberal by this point.

There is more duplicity from the supporters of section 112. On the official Fact Sheet from the Committee on Education and the Work Force, the Committee goes to great lengths to make it look like the ABR is supported by an overwhelming section of America’s educators and universities:

The concept of an Academic Bill of Rights has been endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE), as well as the American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of University Professors, American Dental Education Association, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Association of American Law Schools, Association of American Universities, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, The College Board, ACPA ─ College Student Educators International, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Council for Opportunity in Education, Council of Graduate Schools, Council of Independent Colleges, EDUCAUSE, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the University Continuing Education Association.

The problem is that statement is very misleading — misleading to the point of being a lie. Yes, most professors and universities DO support the many of the aims of the academic pluralism and academic freedom, however they do not necessarily support an Academic Bill of Rights. Some groups they list are actually against a measure such as this. Groups like the American Association of University Professors. This is what they say in their official statement about an ABR.

The past year has witnessed repeated efforts to establish what has been called an “Academic Bill of Rights.” Based upon data purporting to show that Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans in faculty positions, and citing official statements and principles of the American Association of University Professors, advocates of the Academic Bill of Rights would require universities to maintain political pluralism and diversity. This requirement is said to enforce the principle that “no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy should be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process.”1 Although Committee A endorses this principle, which we shall call the “principle of neutrality,” it believes that the Academic Bill of Rights is an improper and dangerous method for its implementation. There are already mechanisms in place that protect this principle, and they work well. Not only is the Academic Bill of Rights redundant, but, ironically, it also infringes academic freedom in the very act of purporting to protect it.

The AAUP goes further in their condemnation of of the ABR legislation:

The proposed Academic Bill of Rights directs universities to enact guidelines implementing the principle of neutrality, in particular by requiring that colleges and universities appoint faculty “with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives.”2 The danger of such guidelines is that they invite diversity to be measured by political standards that diverge from the academic criteria of the scholarly profession. Measured in this way, diversity can easily become contradictory to academic ends

The Academic Bill of Rights also seeks to enforce the principle that “faculty members will not use their courses or their position for the purpose of political, ideological, religious, or anti religious indoctrination.”3 Although Committee A endorses this principle, which we shall call the non indoctrination principle, the Academic Bill of Rights is an inappropriate and dangerous means for its implementation. This is because the bill seeks to distinguish indoctrination from appropriate pedagogy by applying principles other than relevant scholarly standards, as interpreted and applied by the academic profession

Yet the Committee listed them as a “supporter.” This is blatant false advertising by the Republicans in order to sell their insidious idea. It makes you wonder about the validity of everything else they are telling you.

Section 112 isn’t about academic freedom; it is about legislating academic acceptability. It is the backdoor that will give equal academic “weight” to Intelligent Design and Evolutionary Theory. It isn’t concerned about the right answer, only the Right answer. The American university system is the preeminent one in the world. Section 112 threatens the real academic freedom and pursuit of scholarly excellence that that preeminence is built upon. House Republicans have decided that’s a price they are willing to pay for power.

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Posted in Politics, Education



35 Comment(s)

Leave a response »

  1. cooper Says :

    excellent points Cranky.

    They are coming in the bcak door and if we do not watch out they are going to hijack, completely, an educational system that used to be able to teach people to think for themselves.


  2. Lisa Sarinelli Says :

    You are absolutely correct, Cooper.  Look at what is happening with “No Child Left Behind” - schools cannot meet the requirements (unfunded mandate) so they are eliminating music, social studies, history, science, etc.  These are subjects that assist in forming critical thinking skills.  Now, they move on to the colleges.  Well, raise a non-thinking citizenry and you get a compliant society.  How very sad!  Now, what are we going to do about it??!!


  3. chris bennett Says :

    lol - i don’t think conservatives will EVER get the point through their thick skulls. the fact is a majority of post-graduate degree holders lean liberal. now without making MUCH of a stretch here, could it possibly be that being liberal is a more enlightened state of mind?!? if this is the case, why on earth would we want to enforce some policy that exerts, well, intellectually inferior ideas to our students?


  4. Lagartija Nick Says :

    Didn’t the Nazis do something similar with German universities back in the early 1930s? Only difference is, this time it’s the Evangelical Christians. Their never ending War on Reason, Free Inquiry, Personal Freedom and Progress continues unabated. Remember, Christians murdered Hypatia of Alexandria (a scientist who was also *shudder* a woman!); Christians burned the Library of Alexandria; Christians who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake; Christians who were responsible for the horrors of the Inquisition; on and on and on. Now, that same old impulse to attack reason and fact with superstition and fear is rearing it’s brainless head. Welcome to the New Dark Ages. The world will be a better place when these hideous, ignorant, fundamentalist death cults fade from the human experience.


  5. Chuck Says :

    Not having read H.R. 609 in its entirety, I can’t say whether the bill as a whole gets NeoCons any closer to establishing their so-called “Academic Bill of Rights.” I wanted to point out, however, that the portion of Section 112 you included in your post creates no rights or obligations. “Sense of Congress” statements are just that- statements.

    Obviously, Section 112 is still problematic because certain schools may point to this language and use it to justify a shift to the right and/or the censorship of certain faculty. Moreover, it may be a prelude to further efforts in subsequent bills- some of which may contain more than just the sense of Congress. So thanks for bringing this to our attention!


  6. chicago dyke Says :

    this is what they’re afraid of, and want to eliminate.

    the funny thing to me: most of the people they’re trying to keep away from big, scary ideas and science are folks who don’t go to grad school, or at least not the critical thinking kinds. the fundies can’t even share the same buildings with people who think differently, they’re so afraid.

    of course most highly educated people are enlightened, that’s the purpose of intellectual development in most pedagogies. if you learn anything about science, history, other cultures and religions and have any compassion at all, you sort of have to be a liberal. plus, we all know rethugs care about money most of all, ha ha there hasn’t been much of that in the academe for a looong time.


  7. John Says :

    What I’ve been wondering for a while now: what if the sort of intent and philosophy inherent in these efforts for an ABR were applied equally to the business schools? For my money, it is the MBA programs that have become so ubiquitous over the last 3 decades that have perpetrated the steady decline of the quality of life in America. (I know G. Bush calculates quality of life by counting the number of television sets in your house.)

    But seriously, one of my brothers studied business back at LA State in the 80’s. His “business ethics” professor claimed/insisted/indoctrinated that actually there were no such things as business ethics. So in future, under the new ABR, inevitably it will extend to curriculum, no? In business schools, socially responsible business practices will have to get equal time with “rich dog eat poor dog” business as usual. And, evidently, we should start paying students to collect information on all the right leaning business profs by way of recording their lectures. Care to start a website anyone?


  8. sparkwidget Says :

    “Remember, Christians murdered Hypatia of Alexandria (a scientist who was also *shudder* a woman!); Christians burned the Library of Alexandria; Christians who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake; Christians who were responsible for the horrors of the Inquisition; on and on and on. Now, that same old impulse to attack reason and fact with superstition and fear is rearing it’s brainless head. Welcome to the New Dark Ages. The world will be a better place when these hideous, ignorant, fundamentalist death cults fade from the human experience.”

    This sort of generalization itself is “hideous, ignorant” and “fundamentalist.”  It starts from a religiously-held (fundamental) principle that ‘Christians are bad’ and then attributes human actions to the cause of religion as if it is a direct correlation. Religion is not evil, and the magical fix-all is not to eliminate religion. The fact is that two of the most oppressive, violent, and bloodthirsty regimes of all time were anti-religion. On the other hand, in a world where slavery was the norm, only certain Christians had the balls to stand up and fight for the dignity of their fellow men and women. Christians ran the underground railroad, under threat of jail or execution. Christians campaigned for abolition in huge rallies. A devout Christian discovered gravity and founded modern science. Devout Christians wrote our Constitution (and established the separation of Church and state). It boils my blood that loudmouth Christians like Falwell have bamboozled idiots into thinking “Christianity” is by definition a bunch of gay-hating, science-fearing, snake-handlers. Try and pass off that viewpoint to all the Jesuits who are also accomplished evolutionary scientists.

    Religion is not responsible for these things, politics are, and that is still the case. Section 112 is clearly politically motivated - by forcing Universities to teach “equal parts liberal and conservative” they will be able to inject Intelligent Design and refutations of global warming into the curriculum in places like Kansas where ideas like evolution and global warming are politically offensive. This will get more Republicans politicians elected in those places, as they impress the masses that they are fighting the good fight for America and Jebus. There is also a distinct class issue. The higher class universities are competing on a world level and would not likely have to change much of their curriculum, regardless of this legislation. Their money and prestige protects them. This is a change that would primarily effect lower class universities that cannot afford the legal fees necessary to challenge this legislation. It doesn’t take a genius to see that its going to be the layman’s universities that suffer from section 112.


  9. Thomas Ware Says :

    Having just left The Ivory Tower, please let me speak from experience - while the academia indeed tend to swing left, those to the ‘right’ being in the less intellectual disciplines such as automotive techonology or ‘addition studies’, the administration of both facilities I’ve the misfortune of a relationship swing very hard toward the authoritairian side. Indeed, it was the creeping facsism, the mainstreaming of bigotry and homophobia within the staff and administration, the led to my recent drawing of the line.

    As an arctangent - having left acadmeia I’ve had time to catch up on some reading. As I have a great deal of interest in the subject, I picked up State of Fear as I’ve been reading his stuff since the seventies and knew that it wasn’t about ‘global warming’. Sure enough, about a third of the way in, across the end of one and the beginning of the next chapter (sections, actually), about twenty-five paragraphs: as the title states it’s all about fear. What jumped out at me though, surprised me a bit having spent the last fifteen years in the game, is the degree to which academia participates in the fear mongering.


  10. PhiloTBG Says :

    I think this is the most important point the AAUP makes:

    The danger of such guidelines is that they invite diversity to be measured by political standards that diverge from the academic criteria of the scholarly profession.

    The amount of diversity present in the academic community is stunning. Look around any political science or philosophy department and you’ll immediately see how many different ways of thinking about common questions there are. Not surprisingly, none of these differences bear real similarity to either political party. They can’t - they’re too smart and their thinking is too complex. Poli Sci profs that  split between realists and idealists make distinctions that are on a much higher order than those made by Republicans and Democrats. Simply put,  this proposal would be akin to the GOP requiring supermarkets higher grocery baggers on an even split between paper or plastic with no eye towards the bag packing methodology involved (OK I lost myself halfway through that analogy).

    The simple fact is political affiliation has nothing to do with academic ability or academic diversity. The most progressive political science professor I ever had was a hardcore realist who sounded more like Dick Cheney than Ralph Nader. And yet he was a Green. His personal political values had no bearing on his academic positions. To suggest that the two are connected to the point of requiring legislation to assure parity is absurd.

    And that’s what we’re talking about: parity, not equality. Equal presenters, not equal presentation. It’s not a coincidence that the more educated people get, the greater the likelihood that they will be liberal. The GOP needs to deal with the fact that their positions aren’t appealing to anyone with some serious education under their belt who wants to teach students about what they believe in.


  11. Marcella Chester Says :

    The principle sounds like it should be called: The don’t undo our indoctrination principle.

    or

    You can send a conservative to college but you can’t make him think.

     


  12. PhiloTBG Says :

    PS–Congrats on getting linked by AmericaBlog Cranky!


  13. srgtick Says :

    You know the study in Berkeley about conserviative children starting out as whiners. I realize it was in Berkely and not that generalizable to the rest of the country, but, well, here we are. Conservatives whining and running to teacher because the other kids laugh at them and don’t swallow their bullshit. 


  14. LiberPaul Says :

    Great post!  Glad someone took the time to read what ya did and get the message out…  Props!


  15. Passing through Says :

    >and last Friday (3/30/96) it was finally passed

    Did you mean “06″, or is this post 10 years old?
     


  16. play_jurist Says :

    Imagine the nation’s top Econ departments hiring a bunch of leftists to balance out their neo-liberal orthodoxy. . .  Somehow I don’t think that’s what these Rep legislators have in mind.


  17. Thank you Passing. It was obviously meant to be 06. Guess the proof reading crew was a little bleary eyed from our big Tom DeLay celebration.

     

    Chuck, thanks for bringing up the Sense of Congress point. Yes I know that it does not, at this time, require universities to do act upon the ABR idea, but it is the first step of an agenda that is not hidden in any way. Slipping it into H.R. 609 is meant to give it weight a simple House declaration would not have. Watch where this idea heads next now that it is in. 

     

     


  18. Chasm Says :

    I remeber last year this issue came up in Florida, where local newspapers actually debated this heatedly because there were some very specific reasons for the language. The key was pinned down in this quote from thehttp://www.alligator.org/pt2/050323freedom.php“> Independant Florida Allegator:


    According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.


    It’s purpose was to give power to right-whiners who feel their viewpoints aren’t being respected, in effect, demanding that student’s concerns on what they want to hear and what they can say in class be given weight equal to that of the professor. In the Florida Law, this was especially pronounced in the folloing part of the statute:


    (3) Students have a right to expect that their academic freedom and the quality of their education will not be infringed upon by instructors who persistently introduce controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to the subject of study and serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose.

    Thankfully, that language is not in the federal bill, nor was this legislation ever passed into Florida Law. I see some similarity in the section of HR 609 that says


    (D) students should not be intimidated, harassed, discouraged from speaking out, discriminated
    against, or subject to official sanction because of their personal political, ideological, or
    religious beliefs; and
    (E) students should be treated equally and fairly, including evaluation and grading, without
    regard to or consideration of their personal political views or ideological beliefs.

    but I don’t see nearly as much leeway for an action against a university under this statute as under the FL one, particularly with regards to (B) which gives institutions the right to set thier own academic goals.


  19. BushYouth Says :

    David Horowitz twistig words into lies, phrasing statements so they mean the opposite of what is implied?  I simply can’t believe it.

    /sarcasm 


  20. Consul Says :

    I agree that the “Academic Bill of Rights” is a bunch of bull. conservatives in this country need to step up to the plate and debate their moonbat professors instead of hiding behind legislation. Only a *gasp* liberal would use the law to render himself or his supporters immune from attack.


  21. David in AK Says :

    What jumped out at me though, surprised me a bit having spent the last fifteen years in the game, is the degree to which academia participates in the fear mongering.

    Do not be misled. Crichton is very smart and is a very good writer, but he writes fiction. He is way out of his depth on the climate change issue.

  22. katrin Says :

    to right Whiners ‘thinking’ is anathma… detached observation, critical thinking (as distinct from hyperventilating, emoting, feet stamping and yelling absurdities) is impossible. 


  23. ken grandlund Says :

    Thanks Cranky for digging this out. The fact that these kinds of ideas are buried in massive omnibus type bills says a couple of things to me-

    1) in order for these kinds of laws (or statements if you will) to get through the Congress and past the American public in general is by burying them in big bills.

    2) inclusions such as these are not based on sound public policy or even widespread concensus, but instead are part of a highly partisan and specious dogma, meant not to level any playing fields, but to advance a particular point of view, thus burying them inside 400+ page legislation hides them from public view (and even legislator review) so that they can be passed surreptiously and pulled out for ammo later.

    I know this is coming a bit off topic, but by my standards, if a bill or proposal can’t stand on its own, it has no place being considered as law. Granted, some omnibus type legislation can be necessary, but often, the larger a bill or proposal becomes, the more crap and unrelated garbage there is in it. This is not governing for the best interests of the public, but for narrow factions of society.

    As for the topic itself, higher academia may be largely left leaning or liberal because, as noted in a previous comment, people in those classes or teaching those classes tend to have a broader education, leading to a better understanding of the world and its varying cultures. Having that perspective naturally makes one more inclined to think outside ones clique and offer respect to other, differing world views, look for compromise when possible, and seek inclusiveness. Sadly, the current permutation of the conservative movement seeks to do the opposite of all those things, and by rejecting anything outside their own narrow worldview, even to the point of threatening with legislation to insist that they are somehow persecuted when others don’t embrace their narrow philosophy, they are not advancing their own mental prowess or the efforts of others to turn our world into a better, more cooperative planet.

     


  24. 4Truth Says :

    “Yet the Committee listed them as a “supporter.” This is blatant false advertising by the Republicans in order to sell their insidious idea. It makes you wonder about the validity of everything else they are telling you.”

    Ain’t that the TRUTH. 

     


  25. Callie Says :

    This is because the bill seeks to distinguish indoctrination from appropriate pedagogy by applying principles other than relevant scholarly standards, as interpreted and applied by the academic profession

     Both my partner and I work in academia, so when her students insist on using the Bible and ONLY the Bible as their sole source for arguing against any topic, that these students should be given an “A” just like the student who found multiple and varied sources of all viewpoints to argue their point of view?  These students should pass JUST BECAUSE they’re Christian?  That’s basically what this comes down to.  When the conservative is yelling anti-Semitic or homophobic epitaphs in class and just says that it’s his/her political or religious opinion, then we have to let it go.  It can’t be challenged?  Otherwise, we’re denying them their right to speak? 

     I’ve been saying for a LONG time that the new war for theocratic dominionists is the classroom.  If they can control your mind, they can control everything.  That’s why high school kids are now getting attacked left and right for having gay-straight alliances or trying to have diversity speakers on campus, but there seems to be no problem with getting an “ex-gay for pay” or preacher to talk at your local high school.

     I’ve been in academia for many years and I’ve watched the slow and gradual change (and now outright attack).


  26. chicago dyke Says :

    Do not be misled. Crichton is very smart and is a very good writer,

    um, right. brilliant, he is. the very font of erudition and wisdom.


  27. maimun Says :

    Thank you so much for covering this.  Here in NY, the Academic Bill of Rights was proposed, but I think in committee was decided as not needed.  However, one of the co-sponsors of the bill is running for Congress here in NY’s 24th Congressional District.

    As a counselor at a college, and as the Academic Complaints Advisor to students, I’ve not seen this supposed complaint ever brought forth.  However, I really rattled me when I had students making appointments about anxiety caused by the last round of presidential selection.

     The language in this statement is actually being brought forth in several different education levels.  This Bill is the national one, but it’s also being proposed at state and school board levels.

    Once they can control how children think and even how they learn to think, America’s doomed.

    -Maimun


  28. Redwald Says :

    Belched from the bowels of a Conservative think-tank. They’re so smart.
    How about applying this law to K street instead?


  29. Tom3 Says :

    This is just a way for GOP fat cats to force academia to give their screwed up spoiled brat kids nice tenured ivory tower jobs.

    You don’t expect those little chickenhawks to enlist, do you?

    Freedom is on the march…away from the US.


  30. Rich Hersh Says :

    Please consider that such an academic bill of rights (admittedly an bill of wrongs) could be used by students enrolled in business and economic courses (not the most liberal) to insist that their Marxist and anarchist views be respected. In other colleges, in fact most other colleges in the universities, such intolerance could be twisted around by students to have Horowitz and his ilk scream for its repeal. This bill is aimed at the Arts and Sciences colleges, which on most campuses is the last refuge of liberal and progressive thought. Most other schools are decidedly conservative if not reactionary. It would be nice to interject some critical thought into such schools rather than the dogma that the professors typically preach. I wonder how disruptive a dedicated maoist ideologue might be to an economics course on free market economic principles.

    The function of universities is to promote truly free inquiry and expression and to foster rational thought and debate. The Horowitz’s of this world are not interested in such. They are interested not in how to think but in what to think. That has ruined most high schools in this country. Horowitz would like to see it do the same to higher education. It is obvious to me that Horoweitz and his kind are the result of intelligent design. Which like parsatism is an evolutionary dead end.


  31. Dennis Morgan Says :

    I tried to find Section 112 of the H. R. 609 bill, but I could not find a section with that number on it. Could you provide a source for that? Thanks.


  32. brianboyko.com » Blog Archive » Things are busy, so here’s some links and excerpts Says :

    […] Bring It On (Liberal Blog): “Do you know Section 112 of H.R. 609?” That sounds reasonable doesn’t it? I mean we’re all for freedom of speech and thought right? You are not going to find too many good liberals arguing against a dynamic, pluralistic environment where open minds share vigorous debate about the world. If that were really the intent of section 112, then I’d say Hail Mary and Hallelujah. However, protecting free thought and association isn’t what section 112 is really about. If the sponsors were honest they would call it “Shifting American Universities Right” because that is the intent. The “Right” has long used the refrain of liberal bias in our Universities as a rallying point. It is the educational equivalent of the War on Christmas. […]


  33. aviatrix Says :

    the idea that congress is voting on step one of the creation of a thought police is, of course, scary.

    what isn’t scary - and what is kind of funny to me - is how this would actually be implemented. when somebody starts making noise about a philosophy or history professor having some point of view or making noise that a biology department isn’t teaching about the garden of eden, won’t hundreds of college students (who are still know-it-alls and smart-alecks who like to do this sort of thing, no?) start to demand that biz schools start teaching about communism, law schools start teaching about anarchism, and computer science programs start teaching about the luddites? i want to be the kid at MIT or Carnegie-Mellon that interrupts every class to talk about why computers and engineering are evil and we should all live in caves, and if anybody tells me to stop interrupting the engineering class, i’m gonna sue them and the school and then get the teacher fired! hooray!


  34. Bring it On! » Blog Archive » Ron Paul on “The Academic Bill of Rights” Says :

    […] Cranky posted on this one before and it is refreshing to see a Republican (in name only, I think he is a Libertarian myself) criticize this. Ron Paul is absolutely correct that the aim of this Bill is to squash dissent from the official Party Line—the GOP line that is. […]


  35. Jon Says :

    I think it’s so sad that people can be so arrogant and yet so ignorant to the world around them.  Do you REALLY think that any law could ever be passed and enforced to demand college students to think in accordance with one political party?  If so, then you haven’t studied the American government system very hard or been to a college campus recently.  The law is clearly an attempt to prevent situations where there is blatant and obvious discrimination against people for having conservative ideas.  What if you were discriminated against for having liberal ideas, wouldn’t that bother you?  Also, to those who feel that labeling people based on their political beliefs or religion is acceptable:  Grow up. You may have made it into a grad school, big deal… does that mean that you have a right to decide who is right and wrong or to stereotype based on YOUR beliefs and feelings?  Next time you trash talk someone or worse, a group of people in general, take a look in the mirror and see if your doing the same thing yourself?  I’m not even religious but I do know that a fair rule is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’…



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