A student at the University of Colorado is claiming that on the first day of class, her Intro to Political Science professor berated the class with left-leaning statements — including the claim that patriotism is “foolish.”
In a piece for PoliZette, sophomore Peyton Smith reported that the professor, whom she identifies only as “a well-known and charming Iranian-American professor and media personality,” decided to begin the semester by shaming the United States military, saying that the outcome of the Brexit vote is going to destroy the future for young people. The professor also attributed the (supposed) gender wage gap to the fact that the Constitution fails to mention women.
“I was then baffled when he even called American patriotism ‘foolish,’” Smith writes.
Yes — he called patriotism “foolish,” and do you know what? That is, objectively, a problem.
For the record, I strongly disagree with him. This country may have some problems, but I’m always grateful to live in a place where we have the kinds of freedoms and opportunities that other places don’t.
But my main problem here isn’t even that I personally disagree. It’s that — seeing as patriotism is pretty damn common in this country — there were no doubt many students sitting in that class who disagreed with him, too . . . and they had to just sit there and listen to their professor tell them that them he thinks they’re stupid. How are they supposed to feel in class knowing that their instructor, who will be grading their papers, judges and disrespects them for their values?
These students are going to be faced with the choice of being dishonest about their views or worrying that being honest is going to cost them in a tangible way. It’s the definition of discrimination and no doubt creates the exact kind of “hostile environment” that so many liberals claim to want to eradicate.
What’s more, this class is supposed to an introduction to political science, and there are a lot more points of view in the field of political science than the ones of this professor. If you’re going to be introducing students to the field as a whole, then you really need to allow students to learn about, consider, and interact with all of those points of view freely — which is exactly what Smith said she’d been hoping to do:
“I find it incredibly important to break out of my comfort zone and be surrounded by people of different mindsets rather than caught in a political-social echo chamber,” she writes. “I am comfortable having my ideas challenged, and I try to keep an open mind in order to possibly learn from other opinions and beliefs. That is what college is supposed to be about, after all.”
#related#She’s absolutely right. It is important to have your views challenged, and college is supposed to be a place full of opportunities to do that. A professor who takes a radically one-sided approach to “teaching” not only hurts the students who disagree by creating a hostile learning environment, but he also hurts the ones who agree with him. After all, having your views challenged is a valuable learning experience. Sometimes it teaches you how to defend your arguments, and sometimes it teaches you that maybe you don’t see things the way you thought you did, but no matter what, it always teaches you something . . . and colleges should be the last place on earth to be discouraging it.