Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Slant away 

An aggravating part of reading The Chronicle of Higher Education's coverage of the hearings before the Pennsylvania legislative committee investigating abuses of academic freedom. Shockingly, it's hard to find students and professors on a college campus in January. The Philadelphia Inquirer is also so surprised. Yet the one student that does go is blown off because he didn't file a formal complaint.

Temple senior Logan Fisher, vice chairman of the school's College Republicans chapter, offered several vivid examples of what he considered classroom bias, alleging that a few professors vulgarly insulted President Bush in their lectures. Fisher also said a professor told him, "You're going to have a rough semester in this class," after Fisher disagreed with him over a foreign policy question.

Fisher also said he had spoken with many students who had similar experiences.

Asked why he and the other students never filed a formal complaint, Fisher said they feared retribution and felt their grievance would be ignored.

And what does the Chron lead with as the story? The president of Temple saying he's not heard a complaint. Well, isn't that the reason we're having some hearings? As the student was reported to have testified by Students for Academic Freedom,
my testimony today will not only contain my personal experiences, but that of many students who are afraid to testify, for fear of repercussions to their academic careers. As a vice-chairman of the Temple College Republicans and Vice-President of the Temple Chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, I experienced first hand the apprehension students had to testify today, as they expressed to me concerns of retaliation by professors and fear of being singled out in their classes in the future.
The reporting of this in the Chron was limited to the last point, in the last two paragraphs.
Mr. Fisher, who is vice chairman of the College Republicans and vice president of Temple's chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, a national organization founded by Mr. Horowitz, said he had never filed a grievance against a professor who he believed had mistreated him because of his political beliefs. "I'm usually dismissed by the professor, so I don't feel that lodging a formal complaint would do much good," he said.