Academic Bill of Rights is unneeded

Higher education is right to challenge students’ beliefs and why they hold them.

I think that’s a super philosophy, Will. That way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody.” Robin Williams delivered this biting line to Matt Damon in the movie “Good Will Hunting.”

And I can’t think of anything more appropriate to say to those fighting for an Academic Bill of Rights.

Preventing a teacher from challenging your political views is one more step to squelching any remaining critical thought in the classroom altogether.

Why is it that politics and even religion are such sensitive issues to be questioned? Is it because we already know we are right, so there is really no point in listening to dissention? Or are we just so scared to be wrong that we surround ourselves with easy but comforting answers? Why is it that when we discover someone’s personal philosophy is different from ours, we immediately doubt his or her intelligence and begin the condescension?

The majority of students here grew up in two of the best publicly educated states in the Union (Minnesota and Wisconsin). If you consider that from an evolutionary standpoint we all had pretty much the same starting blocks to let our minds run from, then there is little basis for looking down your nose at a fellow student, let alone the highly qualified professors we pay this outrageous tuition to listen to.

Rather, try allowing some room for personal growth and analytical thinking. It is analogous to lifting weights; you have to tear up your existing muscles in order to make yourself stronger. A professor’s job is to challenge your mind to improve. If a teacher gives some information you disagree with, don’t just disregard it, do some research on the topic. I don’t mean revisiting your favorite security blanket of a blog or regurgitating some ambiguous statistic. I’m talking college-level thought development here. When people in

the science community disagree they hit each other with verifiable facts or an intelligent hypothesis, not slander combined with skeptical eye rolling.

This Academic Bill of Rights is a wasted effort that will only serve to undermine the integrity of a college degree. Think about it; I know I didn’t come here to learn I was right all along.

Brendan McEntegart is a University undergraduate. Please send comments to [email protected]