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Encouragement of dissent & originality important aspects of college

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

"Conservatives usually oppose change and thrive on tradition. Conservatives tend to take a basically pessimistic view of human nature. People are conceived of as being corrupt, self-centered, lazy and incapable of true charity." So sayeth a "truth turned on its head, 180 degrees backward" take on folks of a conservative bent. This fallacious assumption is included in a new "required reading" social work and social welfare textbook for some students at the University of South Carolina.

Michael Schaus notes in his Feb. 20 Townhall.com column, "What is a leftist supposed to do when history doesn't perfectly fit their ideological narrative? You just write your own version of historical events. And while you're at it throw in a few editorial comments cleverly disguised as facts."

The section of the book which discussed conservative extremes in the 1980s and early 1990s has a fantastic take on Ronald Reagan. Seems that Reagan "ascribed to women primarily domestic functions" and "failed to appoint many women to significant positions of power during his presidency." Apparently, erased from history is the "fact" that Reagan appointed nearly 1,400 women to positions of power including Sandra Day O'Connor (first female supreme court justice) and Jeane Kirkpatrick(first U.S. female representative appointed to the United Nations).

Within a few short generations, liberal, progressive thought has transformed "traditional schools of education" into dumbed down re-education camps. Indoctrinated with "enlightened critical thinking" headed by academic elitists. Those would be the ones who have transformed Orwell's, "1984" from some far-fetched fiction into a sad reality of our corrupt educational system steeped in moral relativism and focused on revisionist history.

Anna Chapman, a South Carolina U. student had the guts to speak up about her displeasure over the blatant bias of this textbook and good for her. Jeff Stensland, directer of News and Internal Communications at the college says the school promotes academic freedom and that students are encouraged to raise questions. Good luck with that as few will dare to try. Fear of poor grades and a lack of a good recommendation looms like Darth Vadar with a class syllabus and a poison pen. In fact, Robert Shibley, senior vice president of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) notes that students are taking a big risk by speaking out and are increasingly censoring themselves.

Several months ago at Michigan State U. a college professor went on a tirade by telling his class that "Republicans have raped the country." A professor at a west coast college attacked the wealthy for keeping the poor down. That professor was not interested in hearing a different point of view.

How many remember when Harvard read the emails of 16 resident deans to find out who was leaking information about cheating scandals. At Brown U. last year, New York city police commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted out of the auditorium by hecklers because he had come to speak about and take questions regarding his city's "stop and frisk" policy. Brown also pulled out John Stossel's mike cord when he tried to give a speech there.

While colleges and universities become increasingly infested with progressives and socialists including Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Cornel West and the newly welcomed Van Jones at Columbia, conservative speakers are often banned from even giving speeches, much less a professorship. So much for the heralded "equality" and "diversity" standards of the liberal, academic elitists who "talk the talk", but run rather than just walk away from "walking the walk."

How do we correct the decline of academic integrity in our country's universities while there is still time? As Bob Meade and Tony Boutin have articulated so well, changing the entire structure of tenure lies at the core of this problem. Naomi Schaefer Riley's book, "The Faculty Lounges" brilliantly illustrates why tenure should be abolished, according to Chester E. Finn Jr., senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The corrupt, incestuous relationship between our government and universities by subsidizing tuition costs using taxpayer money has to be reversed. Securing the blessings of liberty as written into our Constitution, including unfettered free expression of diverse points of view, must once again be a touchstone of campus learning. No longer can professors be allowed to teach/indoctrinate students that some views are so abhorrent they should not even be heard. Tolerance and yes encouragement for dissent and originality must continue to be an important aspect of the college experience.

Russ Wiles