It is not news to readers of the Education Reporter that U.S. colleges have a strong leftward tilt. However, more evidence than usual has accumulated during this election year. The following is a sampling of news reports from around the country indicating overwhelming Democratic Party sympathies by faculty, discrimination against non-leftist faculty or students, the hiring of professors with alleged or proven links to terrorism, out-of-control political correctness, bias of university presses, and just plain bizarre behavior by left-wing instructors:
- A female modern language instructor at Fort Lewis College in Colorado kicked a male student in October because he was wearing a Republican shirt. She has since apologized in writing and the college administration has formally apologized. (Associated Press, 10-30-04)
- A New York state political science professor filed suit in early November against Monroe Community College, alleging he was fired for showing his support for President Bush. "It was an American flag. I didn't think it was too controversial, but apparently at MCC it was," said Dr. Michael Filozof. (wroctv.com, 11-3-04)
- Publicly reported donations by university employees to the presidential campaigns indicated the following approximate ratios of support for Sen. John Kerry versus President Bush: Harvard and Yale, 95%; Princeton, 90%; Dartmouth, 97%; UNC, 93%; Catholic University, 90%.
- At Bucknell, administrators refused a student group's request to invite Senate candidate Pat Toomey to speak, arguing that such an appearance would violate a school policy against electioneering on campus. Meanwhile, Bucknell paid presidential candidate Ralph Nader $13,000 to give the commencement address. (National Review, 10-11-04)
- UNC-Chapel Hill Young Democrats and Young Republicans invited professors to debate campaign issues in late October. They were unable to find a professor on campus to take the Republican side for economic policy or for domestic and foreign policy. A UNC professor had to double as the speaker for both sides of economic policy, and a Duke professor had to be imported for the Republican perspective on domestic and foreign policy, according to the campus newspaper.
- Earlier this year students at a Colorado university were told to write an essay on why President Bush is a war criminal. When one student wrote instead that Saddam Hussein was the war criminal, she received a failing grade. (foxnews.com, 9-1-04)
- Hamilton College has hired a visiting professor who was convicted of possessing explosives as a leftist radical in the 1980s. Susan Rosenberg, who served 16 years in federal prison, will teach a one-month course in the spring called "Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity and Change." Several faculty members have objected to the appointment. (Associated Press, 11-11-04)
- Notre Dame appointed the Arab Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan to a tenured professorship to begin this fall. But in July, the Department of Homeland Security revoked his work visa for security reasons. Despite his alleged ties to Islamist terrorists, Notre Dame is still hoping to add him to its faculty.
- Young Conservatives at the University of Texas created a "watch list" naming ten professors whom the conservatives accuse of trying to indoctrinate students and using classrooms to promote their personal agendas. One such professor allegedly spent an hour and 15 minutes on September 13, 2001 asserting that the American government is a far worse perpetrator of terrorism than the 9/11 hijackers. (abcnews.go.com, 12-13-03) (See Education Reporter, Dec. 2003.)
- Two California state university professors successfully sued for reinstatement after dismissal for what they said was their Republican views. A psychology professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was fired as head of her department six weeks after her husband announced his candidacy for the local Republican central committee. An accounting professor at Cal State Fullerton was dismissed some time after he ran for the state legislature and made his views known in the Los Angeles Times. (frontpagemag.com, 5-4-04)
- An English professor at UNC illegally subjected a student to "intentional discrimination and harassment" because he was "a white, heterosexual Christian male" who expressed disapproval of homosexuality, the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights ruled in September. The professor accused the student of "hate speech" in an e-mail sent to students after a class discussion in a required course on "diversity" in which the student said he was a Christian and felt "disgusted, not threatened" by homosexual behavior. Following the e-mail, the student received personal threats and his car was vandalized. The ruling was commended by Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), who requested the investigation after learning about the student's plight on a talk-radio show. (Washington Times, 9-27-04) (See Education Reporter, May 2004.)
- Also at UNC, administrators moved in September to shut down a male Christian fraternity in Chapel Hill for violating the university's anti-discrimination policy because it excludes non-Christians and professed homosexuals. The fraternity has filed a federal lawsuit against UNC to protect its membership policy from university interference, citing its constitutional rights to free speech and association.
- A similar suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco by the Christian Legal Society against the UC Hastings law school. The society has been refused recognition by the law school because its statement of faith signed by all members conflicts with the school's nondiscrimination policy, which includes religion and sexual orientation. "What's next?" asked Benjamin Bull of the Alliance Defense Fund, a lawyer for the society. "Will they require a vegetarian club to admit meat-eaters or a Democratic student group to admit Republicans?" Other chapters of the society have filed suit against Penn State and Ohio State. (sfgate.com, 10-23-04)
- A UNH sophomore man was expelled from student housing, put on extended disciplinary probation, required to meet with a counselor and made to write a 3,000-word paper about the counseling session after he posted a flier joking that women could lose the "Freshman 15" (pounds) by walking up the stairs instead of using the overcrowded elevators. The accusations against him included violation of "affirmative action" policies and "harassment." The student, who was reduced to living out of his car for three weeks, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for help and succeeded in reducing his penalty to relocation to another dormitory, probation and a single "ethics" meeting with a university official. (worldnetdaily.com, 11-13-04)
- Leftist anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore made dozens of speeches on college campuses during the presidential campaign, generally charging $30,000 to $40,000 per appearance. His fee was often paid out of mandatory student activity fees, which are legally required to be dispensed on a viewpoint-neutral basis. It is highly questionable whether such funds are dispensed with ideological balance at many universities. (frontpage mag.com, 11-11-04)
- A 20-year-old graduate of UCLA, Ben Shapiro, has written Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth (WND Books) to alert the world to the state of U.S. higher education. Professors at UCLA routinely spouted liberal propaganda and rarely had their biases challenged, he says, while conservative thinkers were generally shrugged off as not too bright. He also asserts he was fired as a columnist for the student newspaper because of his views. (Christian Science Monitor, 5-24-04)
- The University of California Press spring 2004 catalog did not contain a single conservative title on the list of 140 books, according to Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes. "A uniform leftist tone of hostility toward established institutions and an embrace of the radical fringe characterize the list," he charges. To name just one example, American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons compares immigrant detainees' circumstances to those in "Stalin's USSR." (Jerusalem Post, 3-30-04)
- The same university press catalog included an election-year "screed" this fall, as noted by UC Davis political science professor Larry Peterman: Veering Right: How the Bush Administration Subverts the Law for Conservative Causes. "This was a partisan piece," he says, "and coming out here, just before the election, it struck me that this went far beyond scholarship." (sacbee.com, 10-21-04)