Friday, November 11, 2005
Meanwhile . . .
From the Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh:
By BILAL MUHAMMAD
Assistant News Editor
November 10, 2005
State representatives listened to testimonies from academic experts and professors in the William Pitt Union yesterday, at the first of four hearings in Pennsylvania investigating liberal bias at state-funded universities.
About 10 state representatives are part of the House Select Committee, which is charged with determining if state-funded universities infringe on students’ academic freedom.
House Resolution 177, introduced by Rep. Gibson Armstrong, R-Lancaster, grants the committee the power to examine bias at state-funded and state-related universities.
The resolution also grants the committee permission to investigate this bias—either from professors or departments—that could hamper students’ access to an academic environment conducive to critical thinking and independent thought.
Specifically, the committee can investigate whether or not professors grade based on subject knowledge and performance or ideological views.
Stephen H. Balch, the president of the National Association of Scholars, testified in favor of the resolution yesterday.
“I think [the committee] should communicate to the legislature from the university that there is need for reform,” Balch said.
In his presentation, that lasted more than two hours, Balch concluded that there is enough evidence in universities across Pennsylvania—specifically Temple, Penn State and Pitt—to suspect political bias among faculty members, making these collegiate environments ripe for indoctrination.
After defining advocacy, activism and education, Balch explained how state universities should separate education and advocacy.
“In an academic context, advocacy transforms education into indoctrination,” Balch said in his statement.
Balch defended his position at length against comments made by committee members such as Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny.
“I don’t think we are brainwashing any students, which is what you are implying,” Frankel said.
Balch continued to answer committee members’ questions, but he eventually came to an ultimate conclusion: because of the number of faculty members at state-funded universities in Pennsylvania who identify with a particular political group, state legislatures should make sure that no advocacy, as he said, exists.
Wow, it’s a whole new evidentiary standard! A preponderance of liberal professors, in and of itself, is grounds for state action. Most interesting!
Fortunately, I was airlifted out of the Commonwealth to safety just as the hearings began.