A Side Effect of Remote Teaching During Covid-19? Videos That Can Be WeaponizedHistorians in the News
tags: academic freedom, coronavirus, online teaching, Conservative Movement, watchlists, Turning Point USA
The coronavirus-prompted shift to remote teaching was stressful enough for faculty members before Charlie Kirk weaponized online learning. On Sunday the founder of the conservative political-action group Turning Point USA told college students whose professors had switched to online classes to share with Turning Point videos of “blatant indoctrination.”
“Now is the time to document & expose the radicalism that has been infecting our schools,” he tweeted. “Transparency!”
The general thrust of Kirk’s call to action was nothing new. Turning Point, Campus Reform, and other groups have created a cottage industry of naming and shaming professors who they say advance what they call the liberal agenda.
Research shows that though faculty members skew left politically, and conservative students can feel marginalized, there’s no evidence of a siege on conservative thought in the classroom. Nevertheless, “indoctrination” is a common right-wing talking point. And the transition to remote learning could mean students have more recorded material than ever to share, should they want to.
Kirk’s tweet was mocked by some faculty members, while others said there’s reason to be worried. A “vast and highly successful” right-wing apparatus is ready to destroy a professor who says the wrong thing, assigns the wrong reading, or submits the wrong grade, tweeted Jeffrey A. Sachs, a lecturer in history and politics at Acadia University, in Canada, who keeps a database of faculty members who have been fired for political speech.
“Faculty are alarmed,” Sachs wrote, “because they are paying attention.”
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