Categorized | Global View

Re-Education?

This summer, Michigan State University, like colleges and universities across the nation, will release yet another class of academically-trained individuals into the world. These graduating seniors have learned a great deal during their stay at higher education institutions, from writing to economics…to liberalism?
In early April, a study conducted by professors at Smith College, George Mason University and the University of Toronto was published, showing 72 percent of people teaching in American colleges and universities consider themselves liberal, while 15 percent say they’re conservative. This study has alarmed people such as conservative columnist Cal Thomas, who warned conservative parents in an April 4 column about these “re-education camps.”
Although the faculty of colleges such as MSU may hold liberal beliefs, are college students really being subjected to political re-education during ISP 207?
Professor William McHarris, who teaches that very course, said that although he was conservative in his political views for the first half of his life, he now supports “very, very liberal causes.” Describing his views as “middle left,” he explained that most “scientists tend to be liberal,” as conservatives tend to be “anti-science” in their attitudes toward evolution and the Big Bang and have supported cutting science funding.
In the classroom, McHarris tries to keep politics to a minimum. He doesn’t avoid it, however, if political viewpoints come up during a lecture, or “when politics contradict” science, he said. During a lecture on global warming, for instance, he let his students know when politicians had gotten the statistics wrong, such as when George W. Bush said in 2001 that China was the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Rather than simply denying that statistic, McHarris explained to his students why it was wrong.
To date, no one has accused McHarris of lecturing on liberalism. “I try not to give them cause to,” he said.
Just because someone may be liberal does not mean they are striving to convert the innocent young minds of college students to their side of the political spectrum, nor do most set out to train students to be agents of liberalism after graduation. They are still conservative or liberal or moderate or even apathetic, some perhaps changing their minds since they entered their first college class at 18. And as college seniors graduate, new freshmen will appear across the country, fresh out of high school, treading the grass at higher education facilities for the first time this fall. While they will spend their next 4+ years learning at these colleges and universities across the company, they won’t necessarily be taking courses in liberalism.

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