Friday, March 11, 2005
In a just world
How was my “spring” “break”? Great! Thanks for asking. Wednesday morning: air temp 18, wind chill 5. Today: four inches of snow. And I did the first read-through and edit of the chapters I wrote last week. Then again, I did go skiing. Not that I know how to ski! People say that if you can skate, then you can ski. People are wrong.
Now, back to business-- namely, catching up on Wingnuts in the News. It looks like Time magazine has noticed the long march of Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights” through state legislatures all over our fair land:
Minnesota lawmakers last week became the latest to rally to the cause of conservative activist David Horowitz, whose Academic Bill of Rights is meant to rescue students from what the legislators perceive as rampant liberal bias.
Over the past two months, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee have also started considering bills that would codify Horowitz’s ideas by, say, not allowing students to be punished with a bad grade for their views. Georgia’s senate passed a similar nonbinding resolution last year, while Colorado’s version was withdrawn after state-university administrators signed a pledge to ensure that “political diversity is explicitly recognized and protected.”
Legislators wield one potent weapon: money. In January, Utah state senators quietly red-lined funding for a $37 million digital-learning center at Utah Valley State College.
The senators were worried about “the drift of the campus,” says UVSC president Bill Sederburg, who fielded complaints from them about an Oct. 20 campus speech by Michael Moore, a student production of The Vagina Monologues and a course on queer theory in literature. “The legislators are saying ‘We don’t want the college to go too far and lose touch with the community.’ But we have an obligation to protect academic freedom.”
That’s the way it goes in Orem, Utah, folks. You hit the trifecta-- Michael Moore, Eve Ensler, and god knows who else, maybe some queer literary person like Henry James or Walt Whitman-- and you lose your digital-learning center. But then, maybe “the community” doesn’t need a digital learning center any more than it needs a vagina monologue. After all, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young didn’t have a digital learning center, either, and they spread the Good News just fine.
“If the system were fair,” says Larry Mumper, sponsor of the Ohio bill, “Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be tenured professors somewhere.”
I don’t know why some people are so upset by this line. Are you kidding me? Talk about a perfect world! Please, please let Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity be tenured professors somewhere. Let the system be fair, and let the country look like this:
Utah Valley State College Faculty News: Professor Hannity of the Department of Kicking Bespectacled Liberals’ Butts will be holding extended office hours on Thursday to meet with students to discuss their upcoming midterms and paper drafts. Professor Hannity has also been appointed to the College’s Adjunct Faculty Grievance Committee, which will meet Fridays 9-10:30, and to the Curriculum Revision Committee, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-12 from now through the end of the semester.
Professor Limbaugh of the Department of Advanced Psychotropic Research has announced that he will not be able to turn in midterm grades by the end of this week because of unexpected overenrollment in all four of his courses. Professor Limbaugh also chairs the College’s Strategic Planning Committee, which meets Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-5, and is conducting a semester-long Faculty Senate review of Utah Valley State’s drug-testing policy.
Meanwhile, here’s tonight’s lineup on the Renard News Channel:
7 pm The Bérubé Factor
8 pm “Informed Comment” with Juan Cole
9 pm “Phun with Pharyngula” with P. Z. Myers
10 pm “Scribbling Woman” with Miriam Jones
11 pm “Preposterous Universe” with Sean Carroll