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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Faculty responds to Horowitz

    David Horowitz, a bestselling journalist and conservative pundit, has accused many professors of biased teaching - including some at the UA.
    David Horowitz, a bestselling journalist and conservative pundit, has accused many professors of biased teaching – including some at the UA.

    In response to an article by a well-known right-wing author accusing UA professors and graduate students of indoctrinating students with radical ideas, the Graduate and Professional Student Council has pledged to support the free exchange of ideas.

    The article, “”Abusive Academics: The University of Arizona,”” written by journalist and Fox News analyst David Horowitz, targeted professors and graduate students at the UA and accused them of imposing “”ready-made conclusions to controversial issues.””

    “”Abusive Academics”” is one of 10 articles published on frontpagemag.com that accuse academic institutions of indoctrinating students with radical, leftist ideals. Horowitz is the author of “”The Professors,”” a 2006 book that singles out a hundred university professors for views he considers questionable.

    Other universities targeted are ASU, Columbia University and Pennsylvania State University.

    “”This is a preliminary report on some very problematic courses,”” Horowitz said. “”I want it to stimulate people to discuss about this issue and I picked courses that are obvious violations.””

    Courses that Horowitz focused on in his article ranged from feminist theories and movements to collective behavior and social movements to American Indian studies.

    “”The classes that he mentions in women’s studies are

    A teacher shouldn’t be teaching either of the sides of an issue, but they should allow students to learn what the sides say and to figure it out for themseves.

    – David Horowitz, Fox News analyst

    electives and graduate courses, and these are courses that focus on one perspective. But that’s what graduate courses are for,”” said Laura Briggs, associate professor of women’s studies.

    One of the biggest concerns of the targeted professors and graduate students is the affect on academia.

    “”He has an ideology of the typical professor being more liberal than his own view and his article begins an attack on universities,”” said Paul Thorn, president of GPSC.

    However, Horowitz said he believes the universities he targeted are teaching courses that are not presenting the issue in a proper way.

    “”A teacher shouldn’t be teaching either of the sides of an issue, but they should allow students to learn what the sides say and to figure it out for themselves,”” Horowitz said.

    But some of the professors targeted feel there are other issues involved.

    “”What he is doing is looking at it as a consumer problem,”” Briggs said. “”He thinks that taxpayers shouldn’t pay for these programs because they are, potentially, the most controversial.””

    The issue is even more charged for graduate students who were targeted by Horowitz, such as Jeff Larson.

    “”It was low of him to target a graduate student. There is nothing representative of the people he attacks. Picking on him is playground bully behavior,”” Briggs said.

    For graduate students, being publicly scrutinized may harm chances for future employment.

    “”To show Jeff and paint him as politically undesirable is essentially hurting him when he looks for work as a professor,”” Thorn said.

    Horowitz said he feels he did nothing wrong when he wrote his article.

    “”I’m being respectful and none of it is personal. I didn’t say anyone was an idiot or a communist. I didn’t say anything,”” Horowitz said.

    Horowitz felt that he wanted to stimulate discussion in students and in how they should be taught.

    “”I have only said that professors need to respect the fact that students want to disagree and be free to discuss controversial issues,”” Horowitz said.

    However, people that Horowitz targeted feel he is doing the opposite.

    “”It is an attack on institutions of academia and how we teach it,”” Larson said.

    For those in the GPSC, the resolution they passed is a way to create solidarity and to promote the free exchange of ideas and theories in an academic environment, Thorn said.

    “”I hope the resolution influences the faculty senate, the administration and the board of regents to speak out and to respond to Horowitz’s article,”” Larson said.

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