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The pariahs of our college campuses

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Katherine Kersten: The pariahs of our college campuses

By Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune

Last update: October 24, 2007 – 7:39 PM

Over the years, Prof. Ken Doyle has seen a stream of students enter his office with a crestfallen look. The young undergraduates typically begin by saying they're worried about one of their professors. Doyle, who directs the communication research division at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has a good idea how the story will end.

The particulars differ, but the complaint is usually the same. "Some students tell of being mocked for holding views that differ from their professors'," Doyle says. "Some fear they are endangering their grades. Many say, 'I've figured out what the professor wants to hear and I just parrot back his ideology.'"

It's become a common complaint that U.S. campuses are home to a stifling liberal orthodoxy where contrary beliefs are persecuted. Doyle says it's no illusion.

A new film, "Indoctrinate U," documenting that atmosphere, opens near campus tomorrow.

Bethany Dorobiala, a senior political science major at the U of M, knows just what Doyle is talking about. Dorobiala was one of the few students who agreed to speak on the record about the problem.

In many courses, Dorobiala says, professors load up reading lists with books that reflect their ideological agenda. "If you speak up in class and present an alternative view, you may risk being ridiculed by a professor twice your age with a PhD.," she said. "Students who agree with the professor's politics are regularly praised and encouraged."

Dorobiala has encountered this disregard for intellectual diversity in classes outside of political science. "In geology class, I had a teacher who made side comments bashing President Bush," she said. A rigid orthodoxy prevails on issues as disparate as the death penalty and global warming, she says, and some professors regularly pontificate on topics outside their discipline.

"I definitely know of students whose grades have suffered because they became identified as a conservative in class," said Dorobiala. If this happens, it's "very difficult to defend yourself. The authorities -- your adviser, department chairs -- think you're complaining because you didn't do your work."

The university rarely receives official complaints about ideologically motivated grading and follows a regular investigative process when it does, says Jan Morse of the U's Student Conflict Resolution Center.

Dorobiala's only solace is her work with College Republicans, where she can trade war stories without having to look over her shoulder.

Norman Fruman, an eminent professor of English at the U, now retired, believes that political correctness has gained a stranglehold in the humanities and social sciences.

"In recent decades, we've seen a relentless assault on American and Western history and values as the primary source of wickedness in the world," he said. "Literature no longer explores universal human experience, but instead has become a branch of politics, with a focus on often-second rate works about the victimhood of favored groups."Contempt and insults are regularly leveled at one group: white, heterosexual males," he added.

Doyle and Fruman see this rigid orthodoxy as self-perpetuating. "Birds of a feather hire together," quipped Doyle. Politically correct ideology is quasi-religious in nature, he explains. "You're not going to hire someone who seems like an infidel."

Intellectual diversity

Doyle is fighting the good fight for academic freedom and intellectual diversity as president of the Minnesota Association of Scholars, an organization to which I used to belong. The group's mission is to "promote academic rigor and free expression for everyone on campus, not just the politically correct," according to Doyle.

The MAS is sponsoring the documentary "Indoctrinate U" that opens tomorrow for a week-long run at the Oak Street Cinema near the U. The film showcases horror stories of political correctness from campuses around the country.

"Indoctrinate U" reveals a world where conservative campus speakers are shouted down, where conservative student newspapers are regularly stolen, and where teachers' primary role is seen as advocating for ideological causes.

Unfortunately, many Minnesota students who see "Indoctrinate U" may recognize in it colleges that look all too familiar.

© 2007 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

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People...being made fun of...for having differing beliefs...?

OMGNOZWAY!

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as it seems that it's the conservatives/republicans that on average are deficient in intellect, they should just STFU and be happy with a C.

*flame suit on*

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simply put, the prof's are not fostering an open environment and that is not just a minnesota thing.

this is about prof's being pig headed and not allowing exchange of ideas, regardless of which way you bat.

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Political Correctness is ruining our country.
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The pendulum has swung too far the 'other' way, I am afraid. After centuries of repression, the floodgates began to open in the '30s (Germany) and then spread to the rest of the West. Lots of good came from all of this: the Women's Right to Vote, Black Civil Rights, Gay Civil Rights....but after 40 some-odd years of 'liberal' education, there are 4 pilars of education that cannot be assailed:

Relativism: All 'truths; are fluid and relative, except of course, Relativisim which is Absolute.

Feminism: Men are evil creatures and must be kept down.

Post-Colonialism: the West is responsible for ALL the world's problems. Period.

Multi-culturalism: culture always trumps over civilization.

Try disputing any of these four pillars on any university campus today and see what happens.

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as it seems that it's the conservatives/republicans that on average are deficient in intellect, they should just STFU and be happy with a C.

*flame suit on*

Or go to Bob Jones University or Liberty University and be amongst their own kind.. :)

(To be fair, I know all Repubs aren't evangelical nut jobs)..though both my undergrad and grad schools were well-known as liberal institutions, I knew a number of Repubs that were intelligent (mostly biz school)..and back then (late 80s, early 90s) the Repubs weren't as disgusting as they are today (the corruption, incompetence, hypocrisy, racism that they symbolise and embrace).

Edited by moltar
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Sad.

This is far more pervasive than just an issue of PC overdose at universities. It is symptomatic of the least-common-denominator mentality of our entire society. Don't dare stand out in any way - you will be beaten down.

It used to be that High Schools were the citizen factories while universities were the havens of free thought.

It is the death of freedom, and we sheep are accepting it without a fight.

Ideology doesn't matter, the practice of homoginizing thought in institutions of learning is deeply offensive and dangerous regardless of the slant.

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Great to see you all backing up the article, even if you didn't mean to.

LMFAO :cheers:

My thoughts exactly!

I'm more conservative than liberal and I am a member of the college republicans at my campus. Not really because I like republicans; moreso because I hate liberals. (I have my reasons)

My hometown is very liberal and the college there is REALLY bad for this sort of thing. I have a friend who attends class there and often tries to bring her views to light (She's a conservative, but not a very strong one) and she is openly insulted and shot down. (Like serious name calling and insults) It really wouldn't do for me to attend class there because I would probably become violent; no, seriously, if someone insulted me like that I'd probably alter their face, professor or not. (Besides, I'm conservative right? Nothing like a little bit of good ole fashioned blood letting conflict to get MY rocks off)

My university on the other hand seems to be pretty balanced. Sure, everyone remarks about Bush but it's not because they're pushing a certain agenda, it's just because he's an idiot. I had one professor last semester that was super liberal but he wasn't a bad professor and I got an 'A' in the class, so obviously my stances didn't affect his judgement.

My girlfriends college is VERY liberal and someone found it funny to hang a sign of Bush with the words "Putting the CON back in Conservative" on one of the main entrances. I then found it even funnier to hang the sign "What's a four letter word for liberal? ... LAZY" below it. And I do like to discuss my theory, in very public places, about how all of the hippies who wouldn't get a job in the 60s pretty much CREATED an industry for themselves through academia and that it should be counted in the economy, because that's all our higher education is now; an industry. After all College is supposed to open your mind, not initiate homogeny. But then who am I kidding, I love to piss people off it's my 'thing'

All jokes aside, I do think this is a serious problem though. I remember reading a few years ago that largely, college campuses were becoming more conservative as a sort of backlash against the liberal academia. I'm sure that's changed by now though, since everybody's favorite f*ck up in the white house and the constant Hollywood (pop culture) rhetoric of 'it's not cool to be conservative' has made it VERY unpopular to be that way.

And I'm sure it'll only get worse as the liberals ratchet up the discrimination against everyone who isn't like them. I find it funny that the whole mindset of being liberal has to do with freedom, yet unless you live by their standards they want to force regulation on you faster than conservatives (witness the whole green movement and the SLEW of regulations and accountability that will SURELY smother us in the next 4 years -- Because the next president WILL be democratic.)

Oh well, I still wouldn't hesitate to speak my mind in class. I keep very good records of everything (notes, grades, etc.) and sometimes if it gets heated I hide a tape recorder on me and record the conversation just in case the instructor wants to be dishonest. :)

It's sad that Politics has infiltrated EVERY aspect of our lives in this country. That's why I'm largely apathetic and anti-government, simply because I'm so f*cking tired of hearing one side constantly bitching at the other about some stupid issue like gay marriage or fuel economy.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Political Correctness is ruining our country.

Absolutely!

Try disputing any of these four pillars on any university campus today and see what happens.

:yes:

Sad.

This is far more pervasive than just an issue of PC overdose at universities. It is symptomatic of the least-common-denominator mentality of our entire society. Don't dare stand out in any way - you will be beaten down.

It used to be that High Schools were the citizen factories while universities were the havens of free thought.

It is the death of freedom, and we sheep are accepting it without a fight.

Ideology doesn't matter, the practice of homoginizing thought in institutions of learning is deeply offensive and dangerous regardless of the slant.

:bowdown:

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constant Hollywood (pop culture) rhetoric of 'it's not cool to be conservative' has made it VERY unpopular to be that way.

The pendulum swings both ways.

Maybe someday if America has an idiotic Liberal leader, there will be comedy shows that do a really good job of ripping him/her a new one too.

Time will tell - but remember that people are generally reactionary. The current Liberal swing will not last forever.

(I am Liberal, but I still realize that this will all end, probably sooner than later)

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Well they needed some segregation after de-segregation.

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The pendulum swings both ways.

Maybe someday if America has an idiotic Liberal leader, there will be comedy shows that do a really good job of ripping him/her a new one too.

Time will tell - but remember that people are generally reactionary. The current Liberal swing will not last forever.

(I am Liberal, but I still realize that this will all end, probably sooner than later)

I'm weary of the pendulum swings - I want a third alternative.

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I'm weary of the pendulum swings - I want a third alternative.

. . . . . . . . . or a fourth, or fifth, or sixth.

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. . . . . . . . . or a fourth, or fifth, or sixth.

Beyond Four is Chaos.

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Perhaps not chaos, but things tend toward gridlock.

Look no Further than the world's largest democracy India, where multi party system is not getting anything substantial done.

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And yet we desperately need a third choice, a wild card if you will, to keep the traditional adversaries on their toes.

We need new choices that send the pendulum sideways.

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And yet we desperately need a third choice, a wild card if you will, to keep the traditional adversaries on their toes.

We need new choices that send the pendulum sideways.

I agree with you. We need another two parties with strong intentions. Independents don't cut it. All they do is to act like catalysts, to help one party or other.

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Canada has 3 major parties (with one 'regional' party that only speaks for Quebec) and this succeeded in keeping the Liberals (arguably the centralist party) in power for decades. Even now, the Conservatives are only in power as a Minority government (votes have to be propped up by support of one of the other 3 parties) and only once they adopted a more 'centralist' way of thinking. So be careful what you wish for. Many countries with 3,4 or more parties have paralyzing coalition governments - look to Israel or Japan.

But in Canada, I perceive that it is the media that sets the agenda - and since the media is the product of 40 years of 'liberal' views (see my above post), only those topics deemed worthy by the media are allowed exposure in the media. For example, the recent Ontario election was hijacked by one issue: the Conservative leader goofed and actually said what he thought about the funding of religious schools. Suddenly, the entire election (and far more important issues, IMO) became a moot point as the media focused on this one subject.

In all of the Toronto city elections, it is the plight of the 'homeless' and the 'poor' that becomes the focus of every election, while the fact that the city is bankrupt (from providing subsidized housing and welfare!) and the infrastructure is literally collapsing gets totally ignored.

So, until free thinking is allowed on university campuses and in the media, without cries of 'racism,' 'homophobia,' 'mysogyny,' or whatever, things will continue to spiral out of control and we will continue to see our standard of living decline until eventually the 'stable' countries like the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and others collapse under the weight of their own inertia.

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