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Academic Bill Of Rights

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The Academic Bill of Rights!

In the past, intellectual pluralism and academic freedom have been highly valued central principles shared and upheld by most universities. However, in recent years many conservative activists and college students alike have begun to express concern that these principles have faded and are no longer respected by many professors. In 2003, in attempt to solve this problem one activist, David Horowitz, constructed and proposed a new Academic Bill of Rights (ABR) be implemented into universities. Horowitz’ ABR is based upon the concept that there are no limits to human knowledge and therefore no principle un-open to objection. The document is composed of eight tenets which aim to eliminate strong-minded professors from force-feeding vulnerable students their political views while instead creating fair and comfortable environments for students to learn in. Horowitz’ ABR should be implemented into universities in order to assure equal learning environments that ensure all students are able to reach their full potential without the persuasion of others.

Perhaps one of the ABR’s most valuable philosophies is that academic growth progresses when students are able to take what they’ve learned and use it develop their own opinions. If professors are biased in their presentations and lessons in class students aren’t able to fully comprehend the subject on all levels. Just like a puzzle, if you’re missing pieces, you’re never going to be able to see the whole picture. When only one viewpoint of a controversy or situation is presented it’s not always easy to distinguish the idea as the whole picture, or merely a piece to the puzzle. The ABR says, “While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints,” allowing students to decide for themselves what to believe. After all, what value is your opinion if it’s really only the opinion of somebody else?

I’ve found that in today’s world many students, including myself, come into college with very little political knowledge, let alone a firm political stance. College for many is a place to explore and develop a better understanding of politics, and eventually establish a more concrete stance. Professors, many viewed as experts of their subjects, are often looked up to by students and have a great influence on many of them. When professors constantly preach bias political opinions or philosophies to students, they’re bound to have an effect. It’s a major concern that without regulations of the ABR in place some professors, from both sides of the spectrum, might knowledgably be taking advantage of the influence they have on these young minds. In a sense these professors could be robbing students, intentionally or unintentionally, of their right to learn and freedom to choose.

Political and Religious bias however, extends much farther than professors prematurely influencing students in the classroom. Many students have also expressed worries concerning the merit of professors grading due to opposing political or religious outlooks. Sharon Schuman narrates several of likely hundreds of cases like this in her article; “Picked on by the Prof.” She describes one student, Marissa Freimanis, of Cal State Long Beach, who’s perfect GPA was blemished after clashing political ideologies with an English professor. These types of instances shouldn’t be tolerated by universities. The ABR deems, “students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.” After all, a universities purpose is to oversee and help students grow and develop both intellectually and as individuals in order to succeed in life. To do this successfully its necessary universities implement the ABR to give students somewhere to turn to, and a system to help resolve these types of stressful situations.

Perhaps the most astonishing and blunt display of liberal bias in today’s academic world is that of Ward Churchill, University

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