Professors' Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray
While David Horowitz insists his campaign for intellectual diversity is nonpartisan, it is fueled, in large measure, by studies that show the number of Democratic professors is generally much larger than the number of Republicans. A survey in 2003 by researchers at Santa Clara University found the ratio of Democrats to Republicans on college faculties ranged from 3 to 1 in economics to 30 to 1 in anthropology.
In a debate with Mr. Horowitz last summer, Russell Jacoby, a history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, portrayed Mr. Horowitz's approach as heavy-handed. "It calls for committees or prosecutors to monitor the lectures and assignments of teachers," he said. "This is a sure-fire way to kill free inquiry and whatever abuses come with it."
So far, the campaign has produced more debate than action. Colorado and Ohio agreed to suspend legislative efforts to impose an academic bill of rights in favor of pledges by their state schools to uphold standards already in place. Georgia passed a resolution discouraging "political or ideological indoctrination" by teachers, encouraging them to create "an environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas."
While comparable efforts failed in three other states, measures are pending in 11 others. In Congress, House and Senate committees passed a general resolution this year encouraging American colleges to promote "a free and open exchange of ideas" in their classrooms and to treat students "equally and fairly." It awaits floor action next year.
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