NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
Ever since the Second World War, professional educators have promoted a college or university education for the wrong reason, viz., to make more money than otherwise would be the case. Around 1965 the passion for the egalitarian and pacifistic goals of the left began to corrupt higher learning even more. Today one enrolls at one’s own risk.
The fundamental error of the claim that college makes you richer is that those who succeed after college are likely to succeed without it. While many students have indeed gone on to prosperous careers, many others have not, dropping out at some point when commitment or money ran out. Of course, many from both groups ran up huge debts that require years of repayment. Meanwhile, many colleges have become trade schools, for all practical purposes.
As much of a snare and a delusion as studying to make lots of money is, it pales before the ideological corruption wrought by the leftist professoriate that has now replicated itself for a couple of generations. The political domination of registered Democrats, Greens, and Peace and Freedom devotees as compared to registered Republicans or Libertarians in the social sciences and humanities disciplines is not merely by a solid majority but is as high as 95 percent in some cases.
What does this mean for students? It does not take a genius to realize that, unless they toe the left wing line in their papers and examinations for political science, history, sociology, psychology, economics, literature, and philosophy courses, students will not earn the best grades, if indeed they pass at all. And even if they pass, a worse fate awaits them before graduation. (See below.)
Whether it is at a two-year college or a university with a doctoral program, students are under pressure to renounce their religious beliefs, political opinions, economic inclinations, psychological or sociological perspectives, and so on if they do not conform to the atheistic, socialistic, libertine or even anti-American prejudices of many of their professors.
Recently, a student in the graduate program in counseling at a Georgia college was informed that her refusal to endorse homosexuality made her a poor candidate for a degree, and was advised to attend a "gay pride" parade as part of her "remediation."
A similar outrage occurred at a Missouri college where a student, also in counseling, was brought before a faculty committee and grilled Star Chamber style for her opinions regarding homosexuality. She was required to write a letter in support of legalizing homosexual marriage.
A student in an Indiana university was nearly expelled because the title of a book he was reading offended another person, even though the book was about how Indiana students in the 1920s successfully fought the Ku Klux Klan.
Students living in dormitories at the University of Delaware were subjected to 24/7 thought control by resident assistants who tracked their commitment to the dogma that white Americans are racists and homophobic and America needs to be radically changed to achieve equality.
These students were defended by Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
And what about the minority of professors who do not share the goals of the left? An adjunct professor at a Midwestern Catholic university has lost his job this year because some students accused him of "hate speech" in his presentation of the traditional natural law arguments against homosexuality. Clearly, students influenced by other professors feel empowered to attack a teacher who doesn’t inculcate the doctrines that they are obliged to uphold for the vast majority of liberal arts professors.
Several years ago a student at Victor Valley College was downgraded by an adjunct English professor for her paper about the influence of Christianity on the American founding because she wrote about God as if He existed.
But this pales before developments at the University of California at Berkeley, which changed its academic freedom policy to permit professors to advocate with passion their view of the world. Needless to say, conservatives and Christians need not apply! Serious scholarship is in disrepute.
If students are taught by qualified professors devoted to presenting the full range of political, social, philosophical and doctrinal perspectives that have played such a major role in the lives of human beings and students are free to examine them on their merits, the goals of higher education are served. Unfortunately, only a few colleges or universities today can be trusted to provide that service. I will provide their names on request.
Schools: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Missouri State University Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis University of Delaware Cases: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Professor Punished for Teaching about Catholic Thought in Course about Catholic Thought Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis: Student Employee Found Guilty of ‘Racial Harassment’ for Reading a Book University of Delaware: Students Required to Undergo Ideological Reeducation Missouri State University: Political Litmus Test in School of Social Work