Conservative Profs Silenced
The tenure track goes left
The 37th Annual National Conservative Student Conference this week is highlighting plenty of examples of how conservative students on college campuses are being marginalized, bullied and ostracized for their views.
For cable news viewers, this is no surprise, because the networks often feature, as guests, ranting leftist professors spouting anti-white, anti-rich, anti-Republican hate.
But it’s not just conservative students being targeted. It also happens to conservatives professors and faculty.
“There is evidence from many individual cases that conservatives face discrimination in academe, the very place where intellectual diversity and debate should thrive,” said Ashley Thorne, executive director of the National Association of Scholars.
Over the years, progressive Democrats have systematically infiltrated higher education. A 2008 survey by Colorado University professor emeritus Edward Rozek found that of 825 faculty members, only 23 — or 2.7 percent — were registered Republicans. There are similar statistics all around the country.
“Many individual cases [show] that conservatives face discrimination in academe.”
With an overwhelming hold on higher education, leftist professors and administrators are firing those that contradict left-leaning preferences, effectively deterring free inquiry and free-speech.
“While all professors are vulnerable to such quasi-legal charges, political correctness largely favors progressive doctrines, which leaves conservative faculty members more vulnerable,” Thorne told LifeZette.
Let’s look at some of the cases.
University of North Carolina-Wilmington
In 1993, Mike Adams was hired as an assistant professor. He received many accolades for his work and was promoted to associate professor in 1998. During this time, Adams was an atheist, but in 2000, he became a Christian. Adams, a professor of criminology, says this changed his views on political and social issues, which caused him to be subjected to intrusive investigations, baseless accusations, and ultimately, the denial of promotion to full professor in 2006.
In a lawsuit filed against the university, Adams’ attorneys contended he had been denied a promotion because his nationally syndicated opinion columns espoused religious and political views that ran contrary to the opinions held by university officials. In 2014, a court ruled the professor’s First Amendment rights had been wrongly suppressed by the university.
Marquette University, Milwaukee
Just last year, John McAdams, a political scientist, was put on leave in response to a critical blog post he wrote about a graduate student instructor. McAdams’ complaint was the graduate student instructor was belittling and suppressing the speech of a conservative undergrad student whom she was teaching. The topic she banned from the classroom: traditional marriage.
The topic banned from the classroom: traditional marriage.
While the graduate student was left untouched by the university, McAdams was banned from campus, and as recently as February was notified that he would be fired, even though he holds tenure at the school. He is awaiting a decision of the university’s Faculty Hearing Committee.
State University of New York at Fredonia
In 2006, Stephen Kershnar, a professor of philosophy, was denied promotion to full professor due to his “deliberate and repeated misrepresentations of campus policies and procedures,” as the university president put it.
Kershnar said he believed this was in response to biweekly opinion columns he wrote for the Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer, a local newspaper. These columns were critical of university policies including SUNY Fredonia’s affirmative-action policy and student conduct policies.
Kershnar and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education privately objected to the university’s decision with no result. But when the case went public, Kershnar was notified of his unconditional promotion to full professor. He is now chairman of the university’s Department of Philosophy.
Roosevelt University, Chicago
Robert Klein Engler, a professor, was fired for telling a joke that one student deemed politically incorrect. In jest, Engler said, “A group of sociologists did a poll in Arizona regarding the state’s new immigration law. Sixty percent said they were in favor, and 40 percent said, ‘No hablo Ingles.’”
Even more alarming was the way in which the university handled the case — not informing Engler of the nature of his firing until two months after his initial notice of termination.
While Engler blindly relied on his teacher’s union to defend him, the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization allegedly colluded with the university to cut Engler out of the picture with little more than a small cash settlement. The union did not support its own dues-paying member who happened to be conservative.
DePaul University, Chicago
In 2004, DePaul University suspended adjunct professor Thomas Klocek for having an out-of-class debate with a pro-Palestinian students at a student activities fair. When the students complained, Klocek was denied the rights DePaul guarantees to professors accused of wrongdoing and was immediately suspended. Upon return to campus after his suspension, Klocek was only allowed to teach only one class, which was subject to observation.
George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
A year ago, professor David Williams was called in to the diversity agent’s office by the chairman of the English Department because a student had complained about the “openness” of his classroom’s environment. She claimed she feared it might force her to address a question about which she was uncomfortable. No such question ever arose.
Yet as a result of her complaint, Williams had to add a warning to his syllabus that students not wanting to have their beliefs questioned should avoid the class. Williams says he was told his job is to teach students how to question texts and not to extend that to anything outside the texts.
Duke University, Durham, N.C.
And most recently, political science professor Jerry Hough caused an uproar after leaving a comment on a New York Times editorial that included the phrases “the blacks” and “the Asians.”
In emailed statements, Hough defended his comments, saying “Martin Luther King was my hero” and insisted he is “strongly against the toleration of racial discrimination.”
However, that reasoning is not being accepted by Duke University.
“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Affairs Michael Schoenfeld.
To Duke’s credit, however, Hough has not been suspended.