Extracurricular Intimidation

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Along with other groups, we have given details of professors attempting to silence dissident students in the classroom. Recently, some pedagogues have found new outlets for intimidation.

We covered the efforts of a professor at the University of Iowa to condemn the College Republicans with a four-letter expletive on the campus list-serve. It turns out that during the same month—April—another professor was doing pretty much the same thing even more publicly in another part of the country.

“The other incident occurred at Davidson College, a small, prestigious private school near Charlotte,” Jay Schalin writes in the July 2011 issue of the Carolina Journal. “This time, a professor’s abusive letter to the editor of the student newspaper attacked a conservative student columnist.”


“At Davidson, senior Bobby DesPain was a political columnist for the student newspaper, The Davidsonian. His conservative opinions often were unpopular on the liberal campus. On March 31, his column claiming that President Obama lacked leadership appeared.”


“German professor Scott Denham fired off a letter that began by asking, ‘Is Bobby DesPain leaving soon? We, your loyal readers, sure hope so. He gives the intellectual climate here a bad reputation.’”


The Carolina Journal is published by the John Locke Foundation. Schalin is director of state policy at the North Carolina-based John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.


By laying bare his prejudices before the campus, Denman gave the entire student body the chance to experience the outlook he usually shares only with his class. Here are a few of his RateMyProfessors.com ratings, good and bad:


  • Elitist…egotistical…cocky…yes, all of the above. Davidsonian article out of line, yes. BUT he really cares about how much his students learn and think…he wants you to reach your full potential. He cares about your well-being. He appreciates open-mindedness. He’s a serious intellectual, but not a serious person. He does not care about grades.


  • He is extremely nice to everyone to their faces, but he loves to make fun of then behind their backs. He also enjoys gossip. Whatever you do, do not trust this man.


  • Nice enough, but his 1st priority was the CIS theses. Potential to learn a lot, but he never kept on topic, was unclear and relaxed in his explanation of his expectations on assignments, which changed from draft to draft, and he failed to return 3 of 5 assignments before finals, so it was possible to leave with grades very different than expected.


  • He’s a pretty easy prof. We didn’t really do a lot of anything in class. He loves to discuss politics and make known how liberal he is, but he’s a really nice guy too. Very willing to help or just talk outside of class. Sometimes gets overly proud of his Chicago undergrad or Harvard MA and Ph.D.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org