Sunday, March 26, 2006

Poor David Horowitz

His campaign to install affirmative action for conservatives on college campuses has hit a little snag, in that a report in Florida (one of the few states in which legislators were dumb enough to believe Horowitz) found no actual evidence that any of his claims were true. Indeed, anyone who's been on a college campus in the last 10 years should know that the claim of students being subjected widespread "indoctrination" by "leftist" professors is downright stupid, but little things like the truth have never stopped right-wing nutballs like Horowitz. A good background on Horowitz and his insanity can be found on Michael Bérubé's weblog if you do a search or browse through past archives. Bérubé is pretty hilarious when dealing with Horowitz, as indeed sarcasm is about the only way to deal with such people. But Bérubé does have one serious essay here that is well worth reading.

Ah yes, those findings from Florida. Below I quote a press release that wound-up in my email inbox:


March 22, 2006

Contact: Tom Auxter 352.219.0020

A report on academic freedom in the state's universities and community colleges has found that there is absolutely no basis for the contention that faculty members violate the right of students to academic freedom in the classroom

The long-awaited Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) report came at the request of members of the Legislature, who sought to find the number of grievances filed against faculty by students in the state's 28 community colleges and 11 universities. The result is a clear victory for faculty and calls into question the motives of those legislators who looked for evidence to justify limiting the rights of faculty in the classroom and limiting the rights of students to hear what faculty had to say. The contention by these lawmakers was that there was rampant abuse of conservative students' rights to express political or religious views in any way. But the OPPAGA investigation found that "less than 1 percent of all formal student grievances" had anything to do with academic freedom. The report said there are academic freedom policies and procedures in place on all campuses and that over the last three years there were "relatively few grievances filed." Commissioner of Education John Winn concludes that the report "validates the efficacy of the current approach to ensuring academic freedom." (Appendix B)

"Not only is there no smoking gun, the gun never went off," said United Faculty of Florida president Tom Auxter. "Meanwhile, the same legislators who launched this investigation of faculty, attempting to distract the public's attention from the real crisis in higher education and poison the public attitude toward higher education, draft budgets that are woefully inadequate in every category. The Legislature is punishing all of higher education for crimes that were never committed."

Here's the web link for the OPPAGA report.

Background Information: "Legislators Threaten Academic Freedom" UFF Update, March/April 2006.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction: Horowitz will attack the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability for being "leftist".