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SPOTLIGHT
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Student indoctrination

Published on -9/20/2013, 9:58 AM

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The new college academic year has begun, and unfortunately, so has student indoctrination. Let's look at some of it.

William Penn, Michigan State University professor of creative writing, greeted his first day of class with an anti-Republican rant. Campus Reform, a project of the Arlington, Va.-based Leadership Institute, has a video featuring the professor telling his students Republicans want to prevent "black people" from voting. He added "this country still is full of closet racists" and described Republicans as "a bunch of dead white people -- or dying white people" (http://tinyurl.com/lve4te7). To a student who apparently had displayed displeasure with those comments, Professor Penn barked, "You can frown if you want." He gesticulated toward the student and added, "You look like you're frowning. Are you frowning?"

When the professor's conduct was brought to the attention of campus authorities, MSU spokesman Kent Cassella said, "At MSU, it is important the classroom environment is conducive to a free exchange of ideas and is respectful of the opinions of others."

That mealy-mouthed response is typical of university administrators. Professor Penn was using his classroom to proselytize students. That is academic dishonesty and warrants serious disciplinary or dismissal proceedings. But that's not likely. Professor Penn's vision probably is shared by his colleagues, seeing as he was the recipient of MSU's Distinguished Faculty Award in 2003. University of Southern California professor Darry Sragow shares Penn's opinion. Last fall, he went on a rant telling his students Republicans are "stupid and racist" and "the last vestige of angry old white people" (http://tinyurl.com/185khtk).

UCLA's new academic year saw its undergraduate student government fighting for constitutional rights by unanimously passing a resolution calling for the end of the use of the phrase "illegal immigrant." The resolution states, "The racially derogatory I-word endangers basic human rights including the presumption of innocence and the right to due process guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution." No doubt some UCLA administrators and professors bereft of thinking skills helped them craft the resolution.

The New York Post (Aug. 25, 2011) carried a story about a student in training to become dorm supervisor at DePauw University in Indiana. She said: "We were told that 'human' was not a suitable identity, but that instead we were first 'black,' 'white,' or 'Asian;' 'male' or 'female;' ... 'heterosexual' or 'queer.' We were forced to act like bigots and spout off stereotypes while being told that that was what we were really thinking deep down." At many universities, part of the freshman orientation includes what's called the "tunnel of oppression." They are taught the evils of "white privilege" and how they are part of a "rape culture." Sometimes they are forced to discuss their sexual identities with complete strangers. The New York Post story said: "DePauw is no rare case. At least 96 colleges across the country have run similar 'tunnel of oppression' programs in the last few years."

University officials are aware of this kind of academic dishonesty and indoctrination; university trustees are not. For the most part, trustees are yes men for the president. Legislators and charitable foundations that pour billions into colleges are unaware, as well. Most tragically, parents who pay tens of thousands of dollars for tuition and pile up large debt to send their youngsters off to be educated are unaware of the academic rot, as well.

You ask, "Williams, what can be done?" Students should record classroom professorial propaganda and give it wide distribution over the Internet. I've taught for more than 45 years and routinely invited students to record my lectures so they don't have to be stenographers during class. I have no idea of where those recordings have wound up, but if you find them, you'll hear zero proselytization or discussion of my political and personal preferences. To use a classroom to propagate one's personal beliefs is academic dishonesty.

Vladimir Lenin said, "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted." That's the goal of the leftist teaching agenda.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

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