College professors say the darndest things.
Recently, we got an e-mail that signaled that the battle for academic freedom would soon be won or, at least, negotiated to a mutually acceptable stalemate by all of the parties in the conflict, but there was a catch. “I’m a professor that doesn’t give just the conservative side of an issue, I try to expose every side of an issue,” our visitor wrote. “That’s what a liberal education really is.”
So far, so good, but here’s the rub: What was odd about this declaration of principle was that it came from the Music Department chair at Weatherford College in Texas. His slogan is “Peace through Music.” I’ll bet that you didn’t know that there was a politically correct way to teach chords in A minor. Could there be a labor theory of playing the saxophone? If there is, we’re sure to hear about it at next year’s Modern Language Association annual convention.
At that, Weatherford College’s Rob Laney may have had more recent contact with reality than Columbia University’s Todd Gitlin. Ignoring every independent study that shows an overwhelming left-wing dominance of the news media, Gitlin spins his own theory about the political orientation of the press corps in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education:
“At a time when liberals hold next to no sway in any leading institution of national government, when the prime liberal institution of the last century—organized labor—wobbles helplessly, when most national media tilt so far to the right as to parody themselves[emphasis mine], the guardians of purity rise to a high pitch of sanctimoniousness aimed at…heretics.”
“Liberals, that is.”
Then there are the job search experiences relayed by a college professor writing under a pseudonym in that same publication. Her tales of woe as she searches for a new place of employment might strike some of us nine-to-five drones—who, as taxpaying citizens, very likely pay her salary— as somewhat discordant.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the students and the department members,” “Ann Harpold” writes about thinking she had found the perfect working environment. “However, contrary to my impression during an earlier telephone interview, I discovered that the college offered scant support for scholarship.”
“I also noticed that everyone was teaching five days a week, and more often than the official load of four classes each semester.” Imagine that, and she may have even found herself working six-hour days.
On the other hand, younger faculty members at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania derailed an attempt by administrators there to implement a bizarre diversity plan. “To make matters worse, a pamphlet showed up in our mailboxes in mid-October, published by Minnesota State University, which listed ‘101 ways to experience diversity’ on a college campus,” E-Town professor Paul Gottfried wrote in The American Spectator. “Among the ways diversity might be nurtured, according to the pamphlet, is by encouraging hand-holding among students of the same gender, suggesting visits to gay bars, and promoting National Public Radio in class.”
“Though this mailing might have occurred without administrative assistance, its effect was to deepen suspicion about how far the new directives would go.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.