Phi Beta Cons

Victory for Academic Freedom at Baruch College

Baruch College has silently but decisively altered the disturbing and

doctrinaire language of its freshman reading program study materials.

Yesterday, Charles noted, ACTA issued a press release detailing the

tendentious and ideologically leading questions Baruch is supplying

to teachers and students as they discuss the mandatory freshman reading assignment,

Chris Hedges’s War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. The study

questions were poorly designed, politically motivated attempts to

push students toward particular views of the war in Iraq, the Bush

administration, and the military, and as such they violated one of

the most fundamental tenets of academic freedom: that teachers must

respect the rights of students to learn, and must be wary of

indoctrinating when they should be educating.

President Waldron ignored ACTA’s letter outlining how the study

questions did less to encourage students to think independently than

they did to send the message that a condition of being enrolled at

Baruch is conformity to institutionally endorsed views on some of the

more fraught and controversial issues of our day. But our press

release seems to have done the trick. Baruch’s study questions are

now far more balanced, and far more likely to provoke some genuinely

thoughtful discussion.

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