Thursday, December 02, 2004

29% of students isn't the median 

Yesterday on campus Scholar Dave got into a discussion email-list exchange with Miss Median. (Note to new readers -- the links introduce these as two of our faculty. Dave occasionally posts on this list.) Dave was part of a campus discussion last month on politics in the classroom and he sent the list a link to this World Net Daily column about 29% of students in a survey saying they felt compelled to agree with a professor's political views in the classroom. The survey comes from ACTA. MM pontificates:
...students sometimes are discomforted by research results that differ from their own opinions, and they want to know about the "other side" too. However, I hardly think that our role is to provide arguments from points of view that are scientifically invalid, unreliable, and based only on belief and not on accepted standards of evidence.

As previously discussed on this list, when issues are presented on campus that do have informed research or well-considered opinion on "both sides," then our campus should present opportunities for multiple presentations or an open forum on the topic -- and our campus does exactly that.

Where exactly does that leave the Nichols report? And when the fact that World Net Daily was simply reporting on a survey done by ACTA, MM resorts to ad hominem again:
Yes, by "other parties" like ACTA -- clearly one-sided parties who support the same
agenda put forth by William Bennet back in the early days of the "culture wars." (Reworked versions of' '"let's go back to Western Civ and get ridof all the 'diversity' requirements in new curricula").... As was pointed out by some of your co-panel members earlier this semester, it is not very convincing when a specific political viewpoint is presented as a neutral stance.

Their own students are reporting bias on campus, and they continue to argue that they are presenting both sides of issues? In this letter in the campus paper today by a leftist student it is argued:
And yes, professors on this campus are more liberal, I agree with that. But in the case of a professor discriminating against a student because of their beliefs, that student can report it to the campus administration, and the professor will be dealt with in an orderly manner. It's not a difficult process.
I hope this student -- who is a freshman, so can be forgiven a little naivete -- has the chance to watch Academic Bias 101. Mr. Hinkle found it a quite difficult process. (See FIRE for more details.)