Horowitz slams college liberalism

Hayley Odom

David Horowitz spoke about the vanishing ideals of academic freedom at the University on Tuesday night.

“There are too many professors that treat students as putty, as political recruits,” said Horowitz, a well-known liberal-turned-conservative writer and analyst.

The mindset is “it’s okay to step on conservatives because they don’t have a presence in the power structure at the ‘U,’ ” he said to an audience of about 250 in Willey Hall.

Horowitz also touched on slavery reparations – during which one student yelled at him and then walked out – and the war in Iraq.

“If Democrats win (the presidential election), terrorists will say, ‘the pussies are now in power, and we can do what want,’ ” Horowitz said.

He also distributed information about his academic bill of rights, which encourages universities to follow an organizational neutrality code when hiring, firing, granting tenure and designing school curriculum.

Before the speech, history professor Theofanis Stavrou said he was curious to hear how Horowitz justifies his opinions.

Afterward, he said it was “a challenging presentation full of generalizations, which can stand closer scrutiny and discussion.”

“He ignored pertinent evidence by using specific individuals for examples, rather than the big picture, and shared a lot of opinions without fact,” global studies sophomore, Megan McGuire said.

First-year student Brad Paulson thought the speech was a good opportunity to hear different opinions and said he would like to see diverse crowds, such as the one at Horowitz’s speech, more often.

The Campus Republicans invited Horowitz to create dialogue.

“I think (what he has to say) is something that should be considered,” said Dan Nelson, Campus Republicans president and a political science senior. “He says ‘Let’s bring different viewpoints to class’ and I certainly agree with that.”

Mark Annis, Campus Republicans vice president and accounting sophomore, agrees.

“Students are being denied their fundamental right to an education that encourages them to think but doesn’t indoctrinate them,” Annis said.

The idea for Horowitz’s academic bill of rights started 10 years ago when he spoke at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. He met a student studying criminology who had never read a book on the death penalty in her studies, and that angered him.

“It is a professor’s responsibility to educate their students and the political ideology of that professor stood in the way,” Horowitz said in a phone interview. That experience became the core of his mission to restore educational values that have been lost in

society.

Horowitz said during the interview universities around the nation are indoctrinated by liberal ideology because most professors in the humanities and social sciences classify themselves as liberal.

“In a country that’s divided 50-50, the fact that 90 percent of the viewpoints in universities are liberal isn’t an accident,” Horowitz said.

“The classroom should be a place in which you teach students how to think, not what to think,” Horowitz said in his speech.

Before the speech, junior Alissa Vieregge said she has taken political science classes with instructors who tell their class what they believe and provide other viewpoints, but still stress their own view the most.

However, political science professor David Samuels said Horowitz’s ideas about university education are ludicrous.

“It’s overblown to think that college professors are some kind of subversive force in American society,” Samuels said. “Faculty are impressed by students who stand up to their professors’ teachings, and we encourage that.”