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February 2, 2012

Four College Buzzwords and a Shameless Plug

                                         By Nathan Harden

These days, the agenda of the academic elite can be boiled down to a few liberal buzzwords. The most important buzzword is "diversity," which is usually nothing more than a code word for reverse discrimination and skin-deep identity politics. Recently, at Northwestern, they held a "race caucus" where 150 people gathered to discuss their experiences with discrimination on campus. Students then gathered at the school's House of African-American Affairs to form a new group called "The Collective." It was an ironic venue for the first meeting since the purpose of the group is to encourage "desegregation" on campus. In keeping with this ironic approach to fighting racial injustice, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger recently celebrated Martin Luther King's dream of racial equality by promoting institutionalized racism in the form of racial preferences in college admissions.

The second item on the left's checklist is "activism," by which they mean recruiting your kids for various left-wing political causes. For example, professor Joel Rogers at the University of Wisconsin sent an email asking his students to work on his private political project called ALICE, where volunteers could aid him in "identifying, supporting and assisting 10,000 progressive local elected officials." Over at Penn, they are hosting an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction conference this month with an address by Noura Erakat--a woman who refers to suicide bombers as those "fighting for their freedom and liberation." 

A third buzzword on the left's checklist is "tolerance," a value paradoxically enforced by silencing those who disagree with the prevailing liberal orthodoxy. Robert Klein Engler--a conservative professor at Roosevelt University--was fired after telling a politically incorrect joke that offended someone in his class. The university called him to appear before an investigatory committee, but refused to even inform him what the charges against him were. Meanwhile the University of Michigan was busy planning an alumni field trip to the communist dictatorship of Cuba, where, presumably, sophisticated alumni, who swear by the principle of academic freedom, could gain appreciation for authentic Cuban culture by interacting with locals pre-screened by the Cuban government. They could then move on to relax on sunny beaches pre-selected for American visitors by Fidel and Co. Nothing signals a support for tolerance like vacationing in a land where even leaving the country is a privilege forbidden to everyday citizens.

A fourth buzzword on the list is "open-mindedness," which means embracing moral relativism and occasionally submitting to weird sexual agendas in the classroom. At Western Nevada College, students were instructed to masturbate twice as often as normal, and to report detailed accounts of their sexual lives. Female students were told, write down "your views of your breasts and vulva," and were given the instruction: "Your orgasms. Draw them!" At the University of Winchester in England, professor Eric Anderson claims that it is natural for men to cheat on their partners. Those who practice monogamy, he says, are subjecting themselves to "socially-compelled sexual incarceration." After studying these stimulating topics, and learning to embrace the total liberation of the libido, students may find it informative to contemplate social factors behind a recent study by Dr. Maura L. Gillison of Ohio State University, in which she reports that 7% of U.S. teens and adults now carry the sexually-transmitted, cancer-causing HPV virus in their mouths.

Here Comes the Plug

The above stories might seem alarming, but as editor of The College Fix (you are now passing the shameless plug)--a campus news site that features original, student-reported news from around the nation--these are the kinds of stories I encounter every day. In fact, all of these stories were culled from just the last few weeks' worth of articles on our site. It's no secret that the left dominates academia. But it's only by reading the details that one realizes how bad things really are.

Students come to us to share their stories. They tell us about the latest wacky diversity agenda on campus, or the latest scheme to demonize capitalism. They report when college administrators try to suppress free speech or undermine student groups whose beliefs don't mesh with the prevailing liberal groupthink. Their stories confirm that those entrusted with training up the leaders of tomorrow are, oftentimes, doing a lousy job. 

When we debate the value of a college education, we often speak in terms of high tuition costs, escalating levels of college debt, and uncertain unemployment prospects. But no debate about the value of college is complete without a discussion of values. What colleges are teaching is at least as important is how much we are paying them to teach.

The political indoctrination and moral assault that students are subjected to at most schools--that's the real rip-off. It's bad enough that you may have to pay a small fortune to send your kids to college. Worse yet when you consider that the ideology pounded into their brains for four years may well contradict all the principles you hold most dear.

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Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and a Robert Novak fellow at the Phillips Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @nathanharden

Update: This article originally attributed a quote to Penn BDS speaker Ali Abunimah, which should have been attributed to another scheduled speaker at the Penn conference, Noura Erakat. We regret the mistake.



Comments (2)

Robert Klein Engler:

More about the Engler matter here:

http://robertkleinenglerdefensefund.bbnow.org/index.php

Karen Royce:

Thank you for your essay and making the point of the real rip-off of our values and basic rights to expect academic content without sacrificing your personal morality. I am paying for my education and expect a college to represent in their catalog an accurate description of the class content. I should be able to go to a college class and not be told I must perform sex acts to get a grade in the class.

I am the woman who filed the complaint with Western Nevada College. They investigated themselves with all their available legal counsel and determined a professors freedom in teaching is more important than a right to an education free of sexual exploitation. They brag about all the great reviews and don't address the 50% that dropped, withdrew, or got D's and F's. They said he only got rave reviews. As a seasoned student, I would bet that any student that got a D or F didn't give a rave review. However, these reviews are "secret" and obviously the college administration cannot be trusted to tell the truth. I wish Western Nevada College would address the original complaint.

Why does a community college part-time instructor want to know and requires every student to disclose their entire sexual history. Why does he need to know my oral sex practices and details of my orgasms? What academic value is it? All they care about is freedom of teachers. What about the students freedom to gain an academic education they are paying for?

The American Psychological Association certifies PHD programs at some of the best colleges in the United States. Their standards at the PHD level states "a professor can NEVER inquire about a students sex experiences, family relationships, or significant others".

If you can't make these disclosures in a PHD program, why would a community college support this with freshman students?

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