New York Civil Rights Coalition Joins FIRE’s Opposition to Thought Reform at Teachers College

By October 12, 2006

Michael Meyers, the executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition (NYCRC), issued a passionate statement yesterday supporting FIRE’s objections to Columbia’s Teachers College’s expectation that its students subscribe to a nebulous definition of “social justice.”

Meyers calls Columbia out in no uncertain terms, his statement declaring the primacy of individual thought and free inquiry in higher education. He writes,

The self-described “Professional Commitments and Dispositions” at Columbia’s Teachers College sound to us like a Code of Conformity and Disingenuousness. They are especially troublesome, and fraught with intellectual gobbledygook in the guise of a mission of inculcating its students and pre-service teachers with the ‘right values’. The College obviously wants to inculcate its students with ‘respect for diversity’ and with a ‘commitment to social justice’. … Columbia’s “Professional Commitments and Dispositions” are not standards at all, but a wanton statement of political correctness and expectations of philosophical conformity. They are not only vague but also intellectually deficient, and wholly bankrupt. The man I knew to be amongst the best of social justice advocates, Martin L. King, Jr., I am confident, would have found this kind of code indefensibly crude, intellectually suffocating, and manifestly unjust.

Meyers goes on to challenge Columbia’s trustees “to appoint a Committee on Inquiry to discern the root causes of this and the many manifestations of contempt and disrespect for free inquiry and free expression at Columbia University that have come to the public’s attention.”

This latest lambasting comes on the heels of the NYCRC’s public condemnation of Columbia’s punishment of the hockey club for its recruitment flyers.

FIRE is delighted to be joined by the NYCRC once again in imploring Columbia to “resist the fashions of the times and to cease, once and for all, its penchant for knee-jerk endorsements of politically-correct rhetoric and ‘social justice’ pabulum.”

Schools: Columbia University