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Are Professors Source of Intolerance on Campus?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:00 pm - April 22, 2009.
Filed under: Academia,Free Speech,Liberal Intolerance

In writing about the reaction to my fellow Williams students to a lecture by Phyllis Schlafly, I recalled thw while students welcomed a controversial speaker, a number of factulty members either urged me to rescind our invitation to the speaker or angrily decried her presence on campus.  Perhaps that recollection has led me to speculate that we might see less intolerance on campus were professors to do their job, promoting respect for those holding different politic viewpoints and strongly discouraging intellectual intolerance.

Yet, more often than not, professors seem to be the most intolerant people on university campi.  To be sure, many times, they are the most tolerant.  Kurt Tauber, an avowed Marxist was quite possibly the most broad-minded Political Science Professor when I was at Williams.  Every (that’s not an exaggeration) thoughtful conservative student who taken a course from him held him in high regard.

In the past week alone, I have read two stories of attempts by campus leftists to silence conservative speakers.  While they succeeded at the University of North Carolina (UNC), they failed at the University of Texas (UT).  In both cases, faculty were involved, indeed, may have spearheaded the opposition.

So, I wonder, how much different the situation might have been, had the faculty, in the true spirit of a university, encouraged the students to be civil, to listen courteously to the speakers and to ask probing questions afterwards.

When David Horowitz spoke at UT, he

was greeted — if that’s the word — by a raucous protest organized by a professor and self-styled Bolshevik, Dana Cloud. Forty protesters hoisted placards high in the air and robotically chanted “Down With Horowitz,” “Racist Go Home,” and “No More Witch-hunts.”

Emphasis added.  Fortunately, a representative of the university administration threatened “the disrupters with arrest if they continued on this course.”

Tom Tancredo, who spoke last June at the Santa Barbara retreat of Horowitz’s Freedom Center, was not so fortunate when he traveled to Chapel Hill to address students at the UNC.  There,

Hundreds of protesters converged on Bingham Hall, shouting shouting profanities and accusations of racism while Tancredo and the student who introduced him tried to speak. Minutes into the speech, a protester pounded a window of the classroom until the glass shattered, prompting Tancredo to flee and campus police to shut down the event.

During the speech, “geography professor Alpha Cravey joined protesters in chanting the names of Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus.”  She should have been quieting them down, telling them to listen and raise their objections later.

To the credit of UNC, Chancellor Holden Thorp “called Tancredo today to apologize for his treatment.”  As the school considers “Honor Court proceedings” against the students involved, I hope it also considers action against Ms. Cravey.  She should be at minimum disciplined and suspended (without pay), if not fired.

It’s one thing for a professor to protest a lecture, it’s quite another to disrupt it.

Students at UNC have much to learn from their counterparts at Williams.  And as I recall my own experiences as an undergraduate and read how, with the active encouragement by and participation of faculty, campus radicals today attempt to silence rather than challenge speakers with whom they disagree, I wonder if we’d see a greater respect for a variety of viewpoints at universities today if faculty more regularly encouraged such respect and actively opposed the thuggish tactics that all too many of their peers so readily embrace.



  1. This is nothing new. Stephen Jay Gould, widely viewed by liberals as some sort of scientist-saint, led a campaign of vilification and harassment in the 1970’s against biologist Edward O. Wilson. Gould posed, in his monthly column in Natural History Magazine, as an apostle for tolerance, civility, and freedom of speech, but in reality he was a radical leftist who showed by his actions that tolerance was only for political opinions he approved of.

    Comment by pst314 — April 22, 2009 @ 7:43 pm - April 22, 2009

  2. As an undergraduate during some tumultuous years in the 80s at the Ivy League college northeast of Williams, I was often unable or unwilling to see the political bias of some of my professors. But many of them made no secret about it. I will never forget one conversation I had with a very mild-mannered English professor one day when we were discussing the graduate programs to which I was considering applying. When I mentioned Stanford, she mentioned that her husband had gone there, but then she remarked that her only complaint about the university was that it housed the Hoover Institution. She said that if she was ever diagnosed with a terminal disease, she would have to seriously consider walking into the Hoover Institution with a bomb attached to her body and blowing the whole place up. In these days where we are more sensitive to the threat of terrorism, I doubt she would give voice to such an opinion, but the fact that she was even entertaining such a fantasy in the late 1980s certainly says something about how deep-seated academic leftist radicalism is.

    Comment by Kurt — April 22, 2009 @ 11:15 pm - April 22, 2009

  3. Yeah, we saw the tolerance of campus liberals on full display during the Duke Lacrosse kerfuffle. Not to mention the documented fake “hate crimes” fabricated on numerous campi across the land.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 23, 2009 @ 5:41 am - April 23, 2009

  4. “Shut up,” they explained.

    Comment by V the K — April 23, 2009 @ 7:46 am - April 23, 2009

  5. Remember how many “liberals” traveled behind the Iron Curtain and never were upset at what they saw? Contrary to what many say, I am convinced that they were not blind; they liked what they saw. Milton Friedman filled them with rage but Mao’s and Lenin’s goons left them unperturbed.

    Comment by pst314 — April 23, 2009 @ 9:23 am - April 23, 2009

  6. Gould’s behavior pales next to Tierney’s and the AAA’s attempts to ruin Napoleon Chagnon, which the AAA continues to this day, and over the same issue Gould tried to ruin Wilson.

    Comment by rightwingprof — April 23, 2009 @ 10:01 am - April 23, 2009

  7. As a proud graduate of The University of Texas, I can assure you that things have changed since I was an undergrad in the 1980s. Back then, it would have been 80 (not 40) protesters trying to defame Horowitz.

    Don’t know professor Dana Cloud (is that a man or woman?), but it wouldn’t surprise me if that commie had tenure. Then again, UT does have a history of activism for both students and professors.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — April 23, 2009 @ 10:27 am - April 23, 2009

  8. It is obvious the left has taken possession of our educational system K-12 and many unversity campi. While it is worthy to comment on the activities, we need to shed light on those places where conservatism is nurtured, such as Hillsdale College in Michigan. We have abdicated the fields of education and media communication to the left. We conservatives shouldn´t be complaining about the sorry state of our educational system and how the youth are being brainwashed instead of being enlightened with knowledge. Why are we not encouraging our conservative youth to seek a cereer in education? Why aren´t we running candidates for school boards and junior college boards. In my 16 years on the L.A. Republican County Central Committee we have had a parade of candidates looking for our endorsement for congress, state assembly, or state senate. Only once was there a candidate for L.A Unified, Kitty Hedrick who was a teacher and member of the County Committee, and one for junior college board, Gillermo ¨Bill¨Orozco, who was also chairman of the County Committee.

    The Republican Party has been defined by the left as the party of the rich and white men. Where are our rich like Soros, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, Corzine, who can buy elections for themselves and for fellow travelers? They need to come forth and use their resources to enter into the fields, such as the media, where the left has come to monopolize.

    Comment by Roberto — April 23, 2009 @ 1:05 pm - April 23, 2009

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