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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

The Politicization of American Universities

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | December 1, 2015 National Center for Policy Analysis   Education Views 

Events on university campuses look eerily like a recurrence of those half a century ago that led to the transformation of campuses into leftist enclaves with tenured radical professors reshaping the faculty in their own image. Scholarship in many areas was severely weakened and trivialized and free speech was denied to anyone with dissenting opinions. 

In 2012 the California Association of Scholars, a division of the National Association of Scholars, released a report showing that all nine of the University of California’s campuses have been compromised by too many politicized courses and radical faculty members. The study found

  • a sharp increase in professors who self-identify as radicals,
  • many curricula promote political activism in violation of UC regulations,
  • several departments attempt to erase the study of Western tradition,
  • suppression of free speech is commonplace, and
  • the hiring of new professors who are not like-minded is blocked.

Students in politicized courses also are being radicalized and, in turn, are being used as agents of change.  

A well funded, well organized campaign using students to eliminate free market competition has swept across more than 1,000 American colleges and universities. The stated, but not actual, goal is to force divestment by universities of their investments in fossil fuels.

According to the 2015 study, “Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels,” by the NAS, “The organizers’ goal is not to cause colleges to divest, but to anger students at the refusal of colleges to divest fully and to turn their frustration into long-term antipathy toward the modern fossil fuel-based economy.”

Peter Wood, president of NAS, explained that the beneficiaries of the fossil fuel divestment campaign are the wealthy investors in green energy who are using ‘save the world’ students as pawns to shut down public debate about the facts of green energy.  Such debate would expose the expensive, inefficient technologies requiring massive government subsidies and expanded government powers, resulting ultimately in reducing “much of humanity to perpetual poverty.”

During the recent Republican presidential debate, Senator Marco Rubio said that welders earn more than philosophers.  Actually welders earn considerably less than philosophers but there are more jobs available for welders. Even worse, many recent college graduates have incurred a mountain of degree along with the degree.

Why then are we sending our children to college? One parent tweeted that sending her child to welding school appears to be preferable to wasting her money at Amherst. Another mother commented about the Ithaca riot, “If this escalates, I will pull my daughter out and go to a school closer to home.” A student tweeted that since college is now a joke, he has chosen a trade school instead.

Our founders believed that a classical liberal arts education was necessary to preserve liberty and to avoid the destructive trends dominant on today’s university campuses – trends that are destructive of patriotism and tradition.  Where are the universities that taught Western and American Heritage, free market economics, the U.S. Constitution and an understanding of what is required to defend liberty?

The cost of college has skyrocketed and the academic standards have been plunging.  Public distrust of academe has become substantial.  So the question is whether higher education is worth it. 

Copyright 2015 Dr. Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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