(Political cartoon by Ted Rall and published April 4, 2012 by the Los Angeles Times. Click on image to enlarge and then return.)
California's institutions of higher learning, once the crown jewels of the state, have had a rough couple of years. Lack of state funding, rising costs, increased demands for classes which cannot be provided: the University of California, Cal-State, and community colleges have all been hit hard. The latest slap, however, is not financially related. It is politically motivated.
The University of California is a hotbed of leftist faculty and politically correct thinking where many students are receiving a weak and unbalanced education, according to a report by a conservative organization of professors and administrators.
The study by the California Assn. of Scholars repeats objections conservatives have had for decades over what they see as an overwhelmingly liberal academia that stifles dissent. Especially in UC humanities departments, study of classics and rigorous analysis have been replaced by advocacy of a leftist agenda and teaching about the grievances of various minorities, the report says. ...
Robert Anderson, a UC Berkeley economics and math professor who is chairman of the systemwide faculty Senate, said the report "is short on facts, but long on innuendo and anecdotes. The University of California offers tens of thousands of courses each year, the vast majority of which are excellent. A few dozen anecdotes about courses that allegedly have significant flaws does not diminish that fact, much less support the report's sweeping claims." [Emphasis added]
Exactly. As my science-minded friends keep reminding me, the plural of anecdote is not data.
And it's the (shudder) humanities departments that are at fault?
Let's just start with literature:
Please tell me how you can teach Lysistrata without mentioning women's role in society, or Antigone when it comes to the double-bind women have always found themselves in. Or some of Shakespeare's sonnets without acknowledging the homoerotic overtones, or all of Walt Whitman, for that matter.
How do you even begin to appreciate that manliest of men and general conservative giant Ernest Hemingway and The Sun Also Rises without discussing the Spanish Civil War and fascism.
And we should exclude Langston Hughes from the American poetry canon why?
Then there's history.
The Civil War was fought for economic reasons. OK, I'm cool with that. And the root of the economic reasons was the use of slaves. Got it?
During World War II, this country detained and sequestered Japanese Americans, many of whom sent sons off to fight for the US, but they still wound up in "camps." We shouldn't talk about that in class?
And that's just off the top of my head, which is about to explode I'm so damned angry. I suppose I could take a walk and cool off, but it's early and dark, and I think a cup of coffee would serve me better. Please feel free to add additional examples in comments.
Oh, and you can find the asshole-ish report the article and Ted Rall's nifty cartoon refer to here. The report itself appears to be in pdf format.