Phi Beta Cons

Profiles in Campus Courage

The deteriorating state of higher education is a concern for many reasons, chief among them the left-liberal bias and secular-progressive mentality that dominates the curriculum and campus culture.

But it’s heartening to know there are bright and brave students out there challenging the status quo. 

Take David Kurz, a 25-year-old doctoral student at UC Berkeley, who stood up to the professor who began his “Jewish Civilization I: The Biblical Period” course by saying: “Don’t take this class if you believe the Bible is inspired or infallible. … Anyone can take this class, as long as you play by the rules of the game. … If you disagree with the approach we use, that’s an F.” 

Kurz — who earned his bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University and master’s degree in biological science from the University of Cambridge — was shocked at the professor’s declaration. He openly challenged it in the classroom, and later in the campus newspaper.

Unfortunately, Kurz also had to drop the class, telling The College Fix “it would have been such a stimulating experience to participate in a class on this subject that gave fair and earnest treatment to the full spectrum of academic perspectives on early Jewish texts. … However, as is too often the case in modern universities, the class was taught by a narrow-minded professor who prioritized the propagation of his own views over the intellectual exploration of his students.” 

Another brave student is Jason Garshfield, a senior at UC Santa Barbara, who is boldly taking on leftist tenets at his notoriously liberal campus.

Consider the headlines from his biweekly column in the campus newspaper: “The Ecosocialism Parasite,” “UCSB’s Free Speech Problem,” “The Demonization of Greek Life,” and “Dissatisfaction with Affirmative Action.” His early February column entitled “The Failure in Feminist Studies” created such a frenzy one peer posted on social media she wanted to “stab” him.

Undeterred, Garshfield this week co-led a successful effort to lobby the student government to pass a resolution in support of free speech. Keep in mind, this is the same campus where a professor in 2014 stole a pro-life sign out of a demonstrator’s hand. More recently, administrators warned incoming students not to say anything too offensive when they arrive. 

The newly approved free speech resolution stated in part: “We can support the right to free expression even when we strongly disagree with what is being said.”

Bravo to these two students and all the others who take on the liberal establishment on campus. It gives us hope for the future.

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