19 comments

  1. Burdell says:

    Yet another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, all at the expense of professors’ freedom of speech.

    How is this in any way in line with Republican ideals, much less Conservative ones?

  2. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Burdell, with all due respect, the entirety of your comment (save perhaps the final clause) was about 100% incorrect.

    HOWEVER, if you’ll read my column (linked above), I think you’ll find that, regardless of rationale, we somewhat agree in the end — it’s a sticky situation for government to start legislating “intellectual” matters, and can be a slippery slope toward further “thought” law. Also, given that there’s an extremely unbalanced ratio of Ds to Rs on campuses, how does government go about “fixing” the situation without eventually instituting a quota system? (We already have one of those in this country — race-based — and I’m no more in favor of that than I am in favor of party-affiliation quotas)

  3. Skeptical says:

    It’s Friday. Let’s lighten up 🙂

    I have the obvious solution. You conservatives need to stop sending your kids to college. They would do much better in the military where they can publically show their love for God and Country.

  4. grabbingsand says:

    This is an odd bill.

    With anything that comes before the legislature, context and origin is key. And I’m not sure what the motivating concern at the heart of this bill is. I suspect from 20-3-88.a.3* that this is being introduced out of an oft-repeated concern regarding professors that express unpopular views or opinions, usually political.

    But how do you really go about codifying inclusivity of thought? And what’s to keep this bill from becoming a hook to pull (for instance) the intelligent design vs. evolution debate into higher learning?

    * – (3) Teachers should not take unfair advantage of the immaturity of students by indoctrinating them with their own opinions before the students have had an opportunity to examine other opinions;

  5. Jeff Emanuel says:

    grabbingsand, there have been a few documented incidences of matters of …. well, concern to those who champion “Academic Freedom.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if there are some hearings in the very near future under the Golden Dome to build a case for the “necessity” of this legislation.

  6. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Skeptical, I enjoy the repartée with you here, but come on. That’s a well-worn meme and you know it.

    There’s a very good reason why the military consistently polls — and votes — Republican and conservative at well over a 4-to-1 clip.

    Like you said — “It’s Friday. Let’s lighten up.” Now that’s a suggestion I can get behind. 🙂

  7. Nicki says:

    I agree with your conclusion — that the bill itself isn’t bad, but as the potentially first step in a more invasive supervision of academia it IS bad. But I don’t agree with the core assumption and furthermore I think additional oversight with a view to political ideals is dangerous to the essential quality and freedom of academia.

    I continue to hear this “poor conservative student in a liberal jungle” business, and I don’t believe it. First, I’m sure it’s true in some areas, particularly those that are at their heart liberal disciplines or include fundamentally liberal subject matter — but if you’re having trouble identifying conservative professors, then you obviously haven’t looked at any business schools lately. I, myself, come from a very academically diverse discipline, and I would characterize most of my instructors as conservative. And what of my husband, who has only one advisor available to him in what is considered a liberal discipline which leads to unionized employment, and that advisor continually ties his discussions into his conservative, religious beliefs?

    Anyway…I suppose at heart I believe that college requires not only mastery of academic subject matter, but mastery of the ability to learn and grow while working with people who don’t necessarily share your beliefs and ideals. Bills which would change the second skill do us all a disservice.

  8. Nicki says:

    I’d also like to point out that I dislike the idea of legislating “intellectual diversity” because I believe it would eventually interfere with factual research which is politically inconvenient.

  9. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Nicki, I agree wholeheartedly with your concluding paragraph. I should also mention that my experience with the University of Georgia was entirely positive, and I honestly never had one professor attempt to shove personal beliefs — from either direction — down my throat, whether in the sciences, in Classics, or in international affairs-related study.

  10. Skeptical says:

    Jeff,

    I also completely agree with Nicki completely. I also wish to mention that I never had any professor attempt to shove their beliefs down my throats and I went to Georgia Southern, hardly a liberal bastion. Actually, that school is now dead to me for it’s ridiculous bias to the right-wing. I mean really – holding rallies in Hanner Field House for Max Burns with Dubya present. I so enjoyed when the called me asking for money after that.

    And again, it’s Friday – I raise my glass to you!

  11. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Hahaha. I wasn’t there, though I have friends that were. I hardly think you’re alone in your sentiment, although I think the argument could be made that a student group — the CRs — co-sponsored it, and bringing in high-profile speakers is a large part of what CRs and Young Democrats do.

    I did my first year of college at Georgia Southern, btw. Happy Friday! 🙂

  12. Josh D Ondich says:

    I am indifferent on this bill. It lets students be openly political active both conservatives and liberals, but It has the feeling of more government intrusion into the education system and daily life here in Georgia. I am not for more government regulation on education.

  13. Burdell says:

    Jeff, sorry I’m so late in responding.

    Your original reply to my comment reveals our difference, where you say “given that there’s an extremely unbalanced ratio of Ds to Rs on campuses, how does government go about “fixing” the situation…”

    You have assumed that a) the unbalance is a problem; b) the government has the authority to recognize this problem as such; and c) the government *might* have the authority to fix it, albeit carefully so as not to go “too far.”

    My contention is that the government has no business declaring that an imbalance of political leanings is a problem, and that it certainly has no business trying to “fix” it at all.

    Whatever the causes, we’ve seen that liberals tend to congregate in academia, while conservatives generally move to other areas (with exceptions, of course). Some of those liberals in academia may try to push their views on their students, but most seem genuinely concerned more with creating inquisitive minds than liberal drones. The ones who do speak their personal views tend to do so more to provoke discussion than to “brainwash.”

    In all of this, it must be concluded that if there is a vast liberal conspiracy in academia to brainwash impressionable college students, it is clearly not working given the prevalence of conservative groups among young people, especially on college campuses.

    It seems to me that the “market” here is in equillibrium, and any government interference would only create more problems.

    I would hope, however, that you and I would agree that it is rather oxymoronic to refer to these students–who are demanding government intervention to encourage “diversity”–as “conservative.”

    What the proponents of “Intellectual diversity” or an “academic bill of rights” are trying to do is assert that there is a market failure simply because the outcome is one they disagree with. But just because you don’t like the result doesn’t mean the market has failed. Crying “market failure” is simply another way to press for unnecessary government intervention where none is needed. And in the same way it has been abused to regulate nearly every other aspect of our lives by both Democrats and Republicans since the the New Deal era, the current movement for “intellectual diversity” abuses it as well.

  14. JasonW says:

    Hmmm…I would vote for this bill. While I don’t like some ways the parts of this bill have been fought, I think that this bill is a necessity to establish or reaffirm current state or federal law. Of course, I do have a personal interest in certain parts of this bill so I am a little biased 🙂

  15. Burdell says:

    Exactly, Jeff. If we allow that the government has the authority to determine the “proper” ratio of any given set of groups (racial, gender, ideology, income) in a given area (academia, private industry, government jobs), how can we ever deny that authority when it comes to another set of groups?

    The reason I said this is a problem that doesn’t exist is because I don’t allow that the government can call the current ratio of liberals to conservatives on college campuses a “problem.” I may or may not like the ratio, but that does not matter from a public policy standpoint.

    From another angle, you have to ask “where does it end” when it comes to determining the specific groups and appropriate ratios. What qualifies someone as a “liberal” or “conservative”? How can the government even hope to determine the “appropriate” ratio of one to the other. What about libertarians and socialists? And why stop there? What about black republicans versus black democrats? Should the government require at least one black republican to reflect the diversity among African-Americans?

    Where, indeed, does it end?

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