Academic Freedom and Ohio Senate Bill 24: Another Update

Mumford's proposed Ohio Senate Bill #24, an academic bill rights, continues to generate response:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer weighs in a story that includes various tid-bits. Fenwick, in trying to deny that indoctrination happens in the classroom instead seems to confirm the premise underlying Mumford's legislation:
"We want to get on record and say the assumption that we are all liberal radicals is unwarranted," said Rudy Fenwick, an Akron sociology professor and chairman of the faculty senate. "The assumption that we oppose all ideologies is unwarranted."
OK, so clearly you oppose some ideologies. 'nuff said. Continuing:

Cleveland State University's faculty senate couldn't reach a compromise earlier this month for its resolution. Most of the faculty vehemently oppose Mumper's bill, citing an infringement on academic freedom, but a strong minority thinks the proposal has merit.

"I think there needs to be a guarantee that no student will be prejudiced for voicing a personal opinion that might be at odds with the professor," said Cleveland State law professor David Forte, a self-described conservative.

Forte figures that more than 90 percent of college and university professors are liberals, and many of them cannot help but exude their bias in class, he says.

"If it is a political science class, [students] will get a liberal perspective and they won't hear many opposing views," Forte said. "Many students are uncomfortable with this."

Seems reasonable to me. Speaking of which, Mumford is sounding very reasonable here:
Forte said Mumper's bill isn't perfect and should not include private schools. The senator said he is willing to remove private schools from the bill.
Amanda Hooper captures the importance of Mumford's concession:
That being said, one of the fundamental flaws with Senate Bill 24 is that it would apply to all colleges in Ohio, public and private alike. To hold privately funded schools to state standards could be disastrous. Many private and parochial schools exist because the consumer is unsatisfied with the state funded options for learning. These institutions are accountable to the users that buy their service, not the government. What would become of private religious universities that choose a religious-based curriculum? Would they be forced to incorporate all religious viewpoints? The government has no right to legislate this marketplace that students choose to attend and pay for.
Meanwhile, the Graduate Student Senate at BGSU fears that:
The bill would also force professors to present dissenting sources and viewpoints besides their own, and to let students reach conclusions by themselves, reducing the role of debate in classrooms.
Unclear to me is how the presentation of alternate viewpoints, and allowing students to reach their own conclusions, would reduce debate in classrooms. Or, are these graduate students stating that they prefer to be told what to think? These folks wouldn't fare well in my classes. Yep, you guessed it, this twisted logic led the GSS to pass a resolution opposing the SB 24. I'd like to think that a room full of graduate students could develop more compelling reasons for opposing Mumford's proposed legislation. And I'm not sure what to make of the report that the director of health services spoke to the group about graduate students lying about their health insurance.


When Ralph Carbone addresses his students in class, he assumes they understand that the discussions may become controversial and heated.

"Most of what I do in class is confronting controversial topics and challenge the logic of both sides," said Washington State Community College chairman of the department of social and behavioral sciences. "The whole idea of liberal education is to question traditional values. I mean that's been the case since Socrates."
Meanwhile, down in Athens, Jordan Carr has this to say:
To deny there is extreme bias in the lectures that are given everyday is just absurd. Just one example: In my marketing class just before the election, we were lectured for an hour on the evils of Issue I and then dismissed. And the bias isn't always liberal -only about 99 percent of the time, I've had a professor that would make derogatory comments about John Kerry, and that was a business law class. Tell me how either of those are relevant to marketing or business law. This is a gross misuse of their position and a waste of the money I'm paying to learn about my relative subjects. Professors have a right to say whatever they want on their own time, but when they waste the time that I have paid for by lecturing about irrelevant subject matter, I feel I should have some meaningful recourse (and don't tell me the evaluations mean anything). This is exactly what Senate Bill 24 is trying to provide students.

Finally, WTAP reports:

A Marietta College professor says he agrees colleges are dominated by a liberal society, but passing a law is no way to handle it.

In addition, he says this bill is somewhat redundant.

He says at Marietta College, students who feel they've been discriminated against because of their beliefs can file a complaint.

It appears the "college professor" so fears speaking out that s/he choose anonymity. That, or WTAP's done some lousy reporting.

No comments:

Post a Comment