By NATE CARLISLE of the Tribune’s staff
A state representative says he’s investigating whether a University of Missouri-Columbia professor offered extra credit to students who protested a conservative speaker."What I’m seeing here is an out-and-out forcing kids to adopt a certain political view, or at least say they do, so they can get a better grade," said Rep. Rod Jetton, R-Maple Hill.
In a press release today, Mizzou College Republicans questioned whether MU associate biological sciences Professor Miriam Golomb offered the credit to entice students into protesting David Horowitz during his April 10 campus visit.
Angela Landers, the vice president of public relations for Mizzou Republicans, said two students in Golomb’s "Genetics and Society" class allege Golomb offered four extra-credit points to anyone going to protest Horowitz. Golomb, according to Landers’ sources, offered just two points to other attendees.
"We asked them if they felt like it was in a joking manner," Landers said. "Out of the two students, one said he thought it was kind of joking and the other said she thought it created a hostile environment."
Landers declined to identify the students, saying they feared reprisals by Golomb. Landers, a junior majoring in Spanish at MU, said Mizzou Republicans weren’t flatly accusing Golomb of offering the incentives but rather that they want the matter investigated.
Golomb today said she offered two extra-credit points, out of a possible 400 for the semester, to all students who attended the speech.
"I do not offer extra credit for protesting," Golomb said. "I gave extra credit for attending from either point of view."
"It’s a slander against me," she later added. "I wish I could tell you who it originated with. My guess is it’s one student in the class who has a grudge against me that I haven’t identified yet."
Golomb also said she suspects Horowitz himself might have distributed the allegations.
Horowitz is an author and columnist who came to MU on a college speaking tour. Among his topics was the liberal bias that he contends exists on college campuses. While at MU, he criticized Golomb for the alleged extra-credit offering.
Jetton said that, if Golomb did offer extra credit to Horowitz protesters, punishment should range from reprimand to dismissal. Jetton said he spoke today with University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd. Jetton said Floyd seemed concerned about the matter and promised to investigate. Floyd could not be reached this morning for comment.
The release by Mizzou Republicans also criticized Charles Davis, chairman of the School of Journalism news-editorial department and director of the Freedom of Information Center, and John Galliher, director of the peace studies department.
On the day of Horowitz’s speech, The Maneater ran a column by Davis that lambasted Mizzou Republicans for inviting the controversial Horowitz to campus. Galliher encouraged faculty and staff to skip classes the day after the war in Iraq began.
Landers said Mizzou Republicans aren’t opposed to faculty members expressing their political views, but that the organization wants professors to present all sides of an issue. Landers said Mizzou Republicans are encouraging students who feel political views are being pushed upon them to come forward and register their complaints.
When asked whether that meant students who felt pressured by conservative views should come forward, Landers replied: "I have not heard of any extremist or any sort of conservative views offending kids in class."