Reverting back to the past

Sam Hartle

?This past week, a story surfaced on the Associated Press wire that outlined a new organization at the University of California Los Angeles whose mission is to expose professors who profess radical ideologies in their classes.

From the Web site (

?” is a long-term project dedicated to exposing UCLA’s most radical professors. The extensively researched profiles you will find here are proof of an increasingly radical faculty.”

?The Web site’s founder, Andrew Jones, gathers information about these “radical” professors by paying students $100 for a semester’s worth of recordings of a particular professor’s lectures.

?Besides the fact that a professor’s lecture is considered intellectual property, and as such, must give permission to those seeking to reproduce the lecture (even more so at a profit), this practice is troublesome on a more fundamental level.

?While I have no previous collegiate experience (ie: I didn’t attend college in the 1960’s), I would imagine that, given the pervasiveness of today’s media, college professors were able to get away with far more “radical” ideologies 40 years ago compared with today.

?A further read of the UCLA Web site clearly identifies that the goal of the project is to expose professors who are essentially anti-Bush.

?A better goal of the Web site would be to find out why these professors are anti-Bush. Surely, conservatives don’t believe that Bush is right most of the time, so why not spend time acknowledging such? Critics of the Web site note that this is nothing more than a modern interpretation of McCarthyism, and those critics have a point.

?Those who have followed the constant debate on the merits of the Iraq war know that those who call for a pull-out of troops or claim that we have no business being there in the first place are consistently labeled as “anti-patriotic” or “supporters of terrorism.”

?While I understand the premise conservatives use in such labeling, if they really wanted to advance public policy (or win in this fall’s election), listening to comments and suggestions from “anti-patriots” would go along way in achieving a more balanced and thoughtful public policy.

?Unfortunately, this Web site is just the most recent example of labeling those opposed to your view, in this case people who disagree with the policy decisions of the Bush administration. It does nothing to find solutions to the world’s problems.

?I’m not sure to what degree Washburn professors feel a similar pressure to make sure their lectures are free from political references, but I would hope that they would disregard such pressure.

?Now that we’re in college, we’re all adults who are capable of intelligent conversation and reasoning. If a college professor wants to bad mouth the Bush administration, that’s fine with me. If I’ve done my research on the issue, I’ll be able to come to my own conclusions about the competencies of the Bush administration.

?Actually, I have done some research on the competency of our president and his policies, and I find the research generally indicates problems with both.

?But don’t take my word for it!