[SeMissourian.com] Overcast ~ 74°F  
River stage: 16.39 ft. Falling
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Editorial: Campus diversity

Friday, May 4, 2007

When students enroll in college, they have a fair expectation that they will be exposed to many ideas, some of which they agree with and some of which they don't. Furthermore, they have a right to expect that their professors will not only share their ideas, but be reasonable in providing opportunities for students to be heard, too.

A bill in the Missouri Legislature would impose regulatory controls on the give and take that occurs on college campuses. Some proponents of the bill believe there is too much give and not enough take. Indeed, some students at publicly funded college campuses in the state say they are intimidated by some professors and either aren't allowed to express their personal viewpoints or are penalized for holding different views.

That's wrong. College classrooms should be forums for exploration and experimentation. No faculty member should be allowed to co-opt the thinking processes of students.

The Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act was named for a Missouri State University student who claims her freedoms of speech and religion were violated by a professor who demanded that she sign a letter in support of allowing homosexuals to be foster parents. Her lawsuit against the university was settled out of court.

Some opponents of the proposed bill believe there is a hidden agenda in the proposed diversity act that could be used to force a particular religious or political ideology on faculty members or students. If that's the case, such language has no business in this legislation.

University and college administrators owe it to their students and faculty to make sure there is a process for handling concerns about instructional diversity and the free flow of ideas and opinions. Without a mechanism to deal with such concerns, legislators will continue to be motivated to pass restrictive bills.

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on semissourian.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

The problem with liberal professors policing themselves is anytime their position is attacked they will circle the wagons and scream that the conservative fascists are attacking their beloved institution. Also liberals hire liberals who hire liberals. When this happens, like in the media, they come to believe they are mainstream. Under these circumstances, change must come from outside their fortress of liberalism.

-- Posted by stevmo on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 7:51 AM

Problem #1 with this bill: it's ideological affirmative action.

Problem #2: the bill is "...named for a Missouri State University student who claims her freedoms of speech and religion were violated..."

Who knows if this girl's story is true? We have one side, hers, and no doubt an agenda of her own. The case never reached the courts, and so far I haven't seen any comment from the university. Some martyr she makes.

Problem #3: Related to #2. The whole concept of the bill is based on perception. You can't measure conservatism or liberalism like you can measure temperature.

I spent four good years at a state university, and never once felt bullied by a professor. But that is my experience, and my perception of the university. How in the world are you going to regulate this so everyone is happy?

Dump this ridiculous bill based on one student's story about being persecuted. Even if it was true, reprimand the professor and move on.

-- Posted by FriendO on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 8:09 AM

As a SEMO student, I know the pressures of just trying to make it through one day of school. Your will is tested each and every day. Usually the last thing on a students mind is whether or not a teacher is liberal or conservative. I'm usually more worried about finishing that 10 page report on economic conditions in third-world countries or if a 78% on the final will get me a B in the class.

However, there have been times when I felt like my professor was trying to force their political agenda on me. Fortuanetly, I am able to catch these lies before they enter my brain as facts. Unfortuanetly, not all students are.

Many students come to college expecting to learn the truth about the world. However, the truth they think they are learning is often very radical and leftist. I am currently enrolled in a class in which my teacher emphasizes every day how horrible our government is and everything they have done wrong and continue to do wrong. It is clearly indoctrination...but I can look out over the class and see their faces as her liberal rants turn into facts in their minds.

I also have several friends who have experienced far worse than what I just described. However, we fear that if we speak our minds or challenge a professor in any way then our grades will directly suffer from it. If anyone needs to "open their minds" and "broaden their horizons" it is these professors who try to warp our minds every day.

I support this bill with all of my being and urge anyone who has seen the influence of unaccountability on campuses to do the same. Let's make these professors think twice before they indocrtinate!

-- Posted by dan dial on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 9:47 AM

......and I'll repeat what I said the other day: I was a victim of just this kind of academic abuse many long years ago at SEMO.

The SEMO student newspaper published a letter I wrote, complaining about an intructor, Dr. George Ketchum, using much of his time in a French History class railing against the Republican Party during an election year. As a result, I got an "F" in that class, the only "F" I ever received in my life. When I complained to the college administration about this, I was ignored.

It doesn't matter which political side an instructor represents. This isn't a conservative vs. liberal issue. I happen to be one of the most liberal residents of Southeast Missouri, but as a student, I resented my time and my money being spent to provide this instructor a political forum during a class that was unrelated to what he was presenting to us.

I say it's about time that academic arrogance and bullying should be legally addressed.

-- Posted by JoJax on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 10:08 AM

Personal politics (and for that matter most all of an instructor's personal views) should be kept out of all classrooms. Just teach students the unbiased facts of whatever course is being taught. Students should not even know what the political leanings of their instructors are.

-- Posted by gurusmom on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 12:09 PM

If a professor adjusts grades positively or negatively because of students' personal views, that's wrong - liberal or conservative. But the professor should not feel as though they cannot present new ideas and encourage free thought - that's called academic freedom.

And I wish everyone would quit acting like liberal is a dirty word - the founders of this nation would be disappointed in all of us the way we have become so polarized. Honestly, we need more moderates to show people that you don't have to follow strict liberal or conservative party lines all the time.

-- Posted by The Dictionary on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 4:43 PM

Unfortunately universities have become grounds for liberals to seek new recruits no matter what the method of recruitment. I think a university must recruit conservative professors in order to promote the marketplace of ideas and to give a more balanced education. I believe their should be a more balanced approach in education and do not advocate erradicating liberal professors. With the normal marketplace of ideas they will fail on the lack of merit. I too was subject to the forced liberal agenda by a homosexual professor who attempted to degrade me in front of the class when I rejected his personal views and lifestyle. Forturnately, for me he contracted AIDS half way through the semester and was not able to finish the semester. This ending demonstrated two principles which I have carried with me through out my life; 1) those who believe in Darwinism over creationism and force it on others soon reep its rewards and 2)Liberalism will soon die out either through abortion and lack of reproduction as most of their children end up in labs or in dumpsters and forced ideas that are not subject to the marketplace of ideas die their own death. Apparently Emily wasnt so fortunate. The Liberal professor in Emily's case was trying to circumvent the lack of reproduction by liberals through forced inclusion in foster parenting and adoption.

-- Posted by lovinlife&lovincape on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 8:11 PM

trimetrov Here story is true you can check the court documents There is a copy of the promise the school of social work required her to sign there in.

-- Posted by lovinlife&lovincape on Fri, May 4, 2007, at 8:12 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: