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The Academic Bill of Rights Gains Steam By: Jim Brown
Agape Press | Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The founder of the political science department at the University of California-San Diego is endorsing a legislative proposal that seeks intellectual diversity among university faculty.

Lawmakers in several states and the House of Representatives are considering bills that would protect students from being graded on ideological grounds. The legislation is crafted after an "Academic Bill of Rights" devised by conservative activist David Horowitz, whose efforts to protect student rights and intellectual diversity on the nation's campuses have produced notable victories recently in both Georgia and Colorado.

Dr. Sandy Lakoff, professor emeritus of political science at UC-San Diego, says the bill is necessary to ensure students and faculty are not discriminated against because of their political or religious beliefs.

"Standards in universities have become too lax with respect, for example, to allowing boycotts and demonstrations to prevent speakers with unpopular opinions being heard," Lakoff laments. "And secondly, there probably is some tendency to be indulgent with respect to the misuse of the classroom for propaganda purposes."

Lakoff believes that is a function of developments in the period of the 1960s and 1970s when those who are now teaching in the humanities and social sciences came of age.

According to the political science professor, the bill under consideration is a balanced measure and does not involve a quota system to include more conservative professors on campus, as critics claim.

"You know, the funny thing about this is that the statement refers to arguments that were made long ago to protect people on the left from discrimination when the boards of trustees were overly influenced by business people or by super-patriots," he says, "and now people on the left are complaining because of the same language that's being used to protect conservatives."

Lakoff says he would not change any of the bill's language, and he hopes the measure will be enforced.

Jim Brown, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.

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