Obama’s Classroom Politics: Over the Line

by Stanley Kurtz

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, National Association of Scholars (NAS) President Peter Wood has caught an Ohio State professor working directly with the Obama campaign to inject politics into the classroom, in the most literal way. This abuse of professorial authority is an obvious attempt to swing the presidential election in the ultimate battleground state of Ohio.

Wood is right to call for immediate action by Ohio State chancellor Gordon Gee. The people of Ohio and their representatives need to be alert to this sort of misuse of professorial power, and should move to protest and prevent it now.

As NAS president, Wood is inviting students at Ohio State, or any other college or university, to contact his group with details of similar efforts to inject direct campaigning into college classrooms, by any candidate or party.

Is this an isolated incident or part of a systematic effort on the part of the Obama campaign? It could easily be the latter. In 2008, Wood exposed and ended an attempt by the Obama campaign to arrange college credit for campaign volunteers. Obama also has a long history with community organizers who looked on college students as material for recruitment, and faced frequent public condemnation for their politicized use of federal grant money. Pointing to this history, Wood has suggested that by federalizing the student-loan system, Obama has positioned himself to use federal loan-forgiveness policy as a way of channeling indebted graduates into highly partisan and politically “progressive” nonprofits.

If voters can’t stop Obama from coopting college classrooms today, they may soon be facing an unprecedented four-year adventure in politicized education.

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