Last night, the Tufts Republicans brought David Horowitz over to speak about academic freedom and how education is liberally biased. Horowitz is a neo-con who is the founder and president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (at least he has an something named after him.) The Center publishes FrontPage magazine, a conservative online journal. I found a better way to spend my time, but the Tufts Daily seems to have pretty decent coverage of the lecture.
Horowitz claims that liberal professors are indoctrinating students with their liberal ideology and undermining the nation’s democracy. He specifically picked on disciplines like Women’s Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, African-American studies, and various other cultural studies as being extremely leftist. Apparently these disciplines do not properly educate students because they don’t challenge their beliefs.
Excuse me but Women’s Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and the various cultural studies exist to challenge the status quo and the dominant ideology that we’ve all been socialized into. They exist to challenge the prevalence and intersection of different forms of oppression: heterosexism, sexism, racism, ableism, classism, etc., and to give a voice to groups who have been traditionally marginalized and excluded from academia and society as a whole.
Horowitz supported former Harvard University President Larry Summers who said that men are better than women are at math because women have less mathematical ability.
According to Horowitz, Summers’ statement that women have lower mathematical ability than men was a perfectly intellectual statement backed up by research, and it only caused controversy because it did not coincide with traditionally liberal academic beliefs.
Wake up Horowitz! Summers’ statement was sexist, misogynist, and anything but “a perfectly intellectual statement backed up by research.” It didn’t cause controversy because it wasn’t in line with “traditionally liberal academic beliefs.” It caused controversy because it wasn’t in line period!
And specifically about Women’s Studies, Horowitz said:
Women’s Studies programs are training students to be radical feminists. How many of you have heard that gender is a social construct? The “nature versus nurture” debate has been going on for years, and anyone who argues that gender is a social construct should not be allowed to teach … It’s not a proven point.
This actually made me laugh out loud. Seriously Horowitz and your neo-con cronies?! Nice try. How dare Women’s Studies programs exist? It’s so very radical to want to learn about gender and sexuality interact with and manifest in social institutions like the law, the media, the economy, etc. And it’s so very radical to challenge patriarchy! We can’t afford to have any of those “radical feminists” running around!
Senior Dan Hartman, a former president of the Tufts Republicans, agreed with much of Horowitz’s argument. “We need to have professors stand up to the status quo, challenge those who are ideologues and bring back academic balance,” he said.
“‘We need to have professors stand up to the status quo'”?! This doesn’t really make sense. Does he mean “stand up for the status quo”? Besides, nothing is stopping professors from being conservative if they want to. I’m sure there are conservative professors out there just as there are liberal professors.
If you really want to talk about indoctrinating students and not properly educating them, why don’t you look at the dominant “banking” method of education that is dominant in this country? But no, we must all watch out for those radical liberals who dare to question the status quo. Not surprising from a neo-con. As usual, the right is wrong.