January 28, 2005

GIVE THEM ENOUGH ALTERNATIVES TO MAKE A REAL MARKET:

The Left Loses College Kids (Brian C. Anderson, January 28, 2005, LA Times)

"There's a natural and healthy tendency among students to question the piety of their teachers," notes Alan Kors, a University of Pennsylvania history professor.

Katherine Ernst, a recent NYU grad, confirms the point. Ernst already leaned right when she arrived on campus. But the left-wing propagandizing of her professors made her conservatism rock-solid.

"One professor, right after Sept. 11, gave a terrorist-sympathy speech that went, you know: 'Oil, oil, oil, they're poor, we take advantage of them, it's really complicated, blah, blah, blah,' " Ernst says acidly. "How could anybody exposed to this kind of stuff not become a raging right-winger?"

The leftism that so angers these students includes the "hey ho, Western civ has got to go" theories that inform college courses from coast to coast. A student, conservative or otherwise, who doesn't buy into the West-is-the-worst line can "have an awful time of it," Harvard junior Jordan Hyldenn says.

Some conservative students keep their real views to themselves and parrot the "correct" line, fearing that otherwise they'll get a low grade. One earnest Princeton freshman, for instance, had to write a paper on same-sex marriage, which he opposes, for a constitutional law course taught by a pro-gay-marriage professor. "I radically altered my position to make it more in line with what my professor's beliefs are," he says.

An American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey finds that half of all students — not just conservatives — at the top 50 colleges say profs frequently inject their political views into courses, and almost one-third think they have to agree with those views to get a good grade.


orofessor friends here at Dartmouth say that one interesting phenomenon is studentys steering clear of Humanities courses, where they're more likely to run afoul of Leftish profs, in favor of harder sciences and economics and what not.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 8:06 AM
Comments

A friend of a friend is head of the Classics Department at a state university in the Southeast. He had to ask one of the profs nearing retirement to agree to stay for two more years because the Latin and Greek classes were over enrolled and they were going to have to add sections. The young woman who teaches courses with various feminist leaning titles, all of which are taught using trnslated sources (i.e., no knowledge of LAtin and Greek required) could hold her classes in a phone booth.

Posted by: Dan at January 28, 2005 9:59 AM

There is no reason for any sensible person to major in the 'Humanities.' You can just get a copy of the syllabus and read it all yourself.

Posted by: Bart at January 28, 2005 2:44 PM

Bart,

You are right but if you want to do anything in the Humanities field at all you need the piece of paper.

Posted by: dick at January 28, 2005 5:11 PM

Bound to happen. The one thing kids will do is rebel. If all of the elders are liberal, the way to rebel is to be conservative. I have a friend, an impecablely liberal academic, a tenured prof at an Ivy. His son joined the Corps. Hows that for rebelion? Semper Fie, Baby.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 29, 2005 12:32 AM

The reaction has been to simply require the Leftish courses, e.g., at the college at which I teach every student must take a "Women's Perspectives" class, etc. But still, they make you enroll but they can't make you believe what they teach you.

Posted by: Tom at January 29, 2005 8:53 AM
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