[Editors' Note: This is the fourteenth in a series of studies of indoctrination at American universities. To see the previous studies, click here.]
The function of the university is to seek and to transmit knowledge and to train students in the processes whereby truth is to be made known. To convert, or to make converts, is alien and hostile to this dispassionate duty. Where it becomes necessary in performing this function of a university, to consider political, social, or sectarian movements, they are dissected and examined, not taught, and the conclusion left, with no tipping of the scales, to the logic of the facts…. Essentially the freedom of a university is the freedom of competent persons in the classroom. In order to protect this freedom, the University assumed the right to prevent exploitation of its prestige by unqualified persons or by those who would use it as a platform for propaganda. - Robert Gordon Sproul, president of the University of California, 1934.
In a democracy, the presumption underlying all public education is that students are to be taught how to think, not what to think, as a condition of becoming good citizens. The underlying assumption of the hundred-year tradition of academic freedom in higher education is this principle. Its founding document, known as the “Declaration of the Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure,” was published in 1915 by the American Association of University Professors. (See Horowitz, Indoctrination U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom for further details.)
The 1915 Declaration proposed two basic rights -- one for faculty and the other for students. Professors were guaranteed freedom in their professional research, but they were also warned not to use their classroom authority to indoctrinate their students. In the words of the Declaration, a teacher should avoid “taking unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question, and before he has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his own.”
In other words, the presumption of the Declaration is that professors are professional experts in the production of knowledge and that they will observe the scientific method both in their research and in their classrooms. As President Sproul formulates it, in the epigraph to this report, “Essentially the freedom of a university is the freedom of competent persons in the classroom.” Robert Post, a liberal law professor at Yale, is one of the nation’s leading experts on academic freedom issues, and legal counsel to the American Association of University Professors. In a seminal article on “The Structure of Academic Freedom,” Post explains: “The mission of the university defended by the ‘Declaration,’ depends on a particular theory of knowledge. The ‘Declaration’ presupposes not only that knowledge exists and can be articulated by scholars, but also that it is advanced through the free application of highly disciplined forms of inquiry, which correspond roughly to what [philosopher] Charles Pierce once called ‘the method of science’ as opposed to the ‘method of authority.’” Continues Post: “The ‘Declaration’ claims that universities can advance the sum of human knowledge only if they employ persons who are experts in scholarly methods, and only if universities liberate these experts to pursue freely the inquiries dictated by their disciplinary training.”
These principles have long since been incorporated into the academic policies of most American research universities. They provide the core of the academic freedom policy at the University of Missouri, which is based on the 1940 “Statement on the Principles of Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure,” in which the American Association of University Professors amplified its original declaration by enjoining teachers “not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.”
In June 2005, the American Council on Education, representing nearly 2,000 institutions of higher learning published a statement declaring that “intellectual pluralism and academic freedom are central principles of an American higher education.” In short, there is a clear official consensus on what constitutes academic freedom. It is not a license for professors to say anything they want in a classroom. It is not an invitation to impose on students their personal views of politics and other controversial issues, or to indoctrinate students in sectarian creeds like Marxism or feminism. It is on the other hand an instruction to respect the pluralism of ideas which a cornerstone of American democracy, and observe a professional discipline in discussing those ideas.
As the following report on the University of Missouri demonstrates, a significant part of its course curriculum does not observe these principles and is, in fact, in stark violation of them.
Women’s and Gender Studies Program
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Missouri declares in its “Mission Statement” the following: “The Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Missouri is committed to the interdisciplinary, feminist study of the social, cultural, and historical processes that gender human identity.” This is not a program of scholarly research but an ideological claim that gender is not biologically determined but is the product of “social, cultural and historical processes,” i.e., is “socially constructed.” There is a substantial body of evidence provided by modern science that biological factors do in fact create gender differences, which is simply ignored in this mission statement. In addition, there is an overt proclamation that one ideology – feminist ideology – will inform the study pursued in the program.
The ideological claim that all gender differences between men and women, aside from anatomical ones, are rooted in social rather than biological factors and therefore can be shaped by human agency is a species of secular creationism, which is not only controversial but, as noted, flatly contradicts the findings of modern science, specifically evolutionary psychology, biology and neuroscience. Yet it is the only doctrine taught in this ostensibly academic program. Such narrow-mindedness, lack of respect for scientific evidence, and rigidity of approach to the subject matter is contrary to both the 1915 and 1940 AAUP statements on academic freedom and scholarship in the classroom, and fails to respect the principle of intellectual pluralism, which the American Council on Education has called a central principle of American higher education.
The Mission Statement of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Missouri continues: “Central to the program’s mission is the conviction that the study of cultures, knowledges, and representations cannot be separated from the study of women and gender, and that gender and sexuality are fundamental categories of analysis in all disciplines.” This programmatic agenda is breathtaking in scope, embracing “cultures, knowledges, and representations,” clearly beyond the expertise of any individual and at odds with the specialized disciplines of modern scientific inquiry. The claim that gender and sexuality are fundamental categories of knowledge would come as a surprise to mathematicians, physicists and molecular biologists among other specialists in the hard sciences. The Mission Statement’s description of this extreme view as a “conviction” that is “central” to the program underscores the anti-intellectual and ideologically narrow approach of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program to its subject.
“Specialization” and expertise in a discipline – cornerstones of modern scientific knowledge -- presume certain limits in the field of study. No such limits restrain the faculty of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program who subscribe to an ideology that is global – one might say totalitarian – scope: “In recognizing that the construction of these categories is contingent on time and place, the program stresses scholarship and teaching that are broadly comparative and range across multiple cultures, national and transnational contexts, and historical moments. Its faculty employ a broad range of theoretical approaches and methods that help students to integrate women’s, gender, and/or queer studies with analyses of race, ethnicity, religion, spirituality, nationality, and class, and to think critically and synthetically about the multiple axes of power through which sexual and gendered identities are constructed.” This is not a program of scientific inquiry but an invitation to speculate within an abstract ideology that cannot be anchored in empirical findings, evaluated by a professorial expertise. Even the theoretical boundaries of these speculations are narrowly defined. Thus, the “broad range of theoretical approaches” referred to in the Mission statement include only variations in feminist ideology. It is as if a “program in Marxism” were to claim a “broad intellectual range” because Maoism and Trostkyism were studied positively alongside Stalinism, whereas critiques of Marxism from non-Marxist perspectives were by definition excluded as unworthy of serious consideration.
This is not an academic program of scholarly inquiry, whose purpose is the expansion of human knowledge, but a political program that seeks to indoctrinate students in a sectarian worldview and recruit them to its radical causes. This agenda is made clear in the concluding declaration of the program Mission Statement: “Courses encourage students to analyze the world in which they live, in order that they might act to transform it.” The possibilities that the world should not be transformed, or cannot be transformed, are simply excluded from consideration. Evidently, the idea that such possibilities exist is politically incorrect.
The curriculum of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program is neither an academic nor scholarly approach to the study of women. It is a course of study subordinated to a political agenda. Accordingly, the official website of the Women’s and Gender Studies program provides students with links to the political organizations to which it seeks to recruit them. These include the Feminist Majority Foundation and N.O.W. How is this appropriate to a modern research university, or a taxpayer-funded institution like the University of Missouri?
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program also promotes on its newsgroup a University of Missouri “Diversity Initiative” workshop, whose obvious presumption is that white students – and only white students -- belong to a racist group whose members have difficulty in talking about their racism:
“White On White: Exploring Racism A Workshop On White Privilege.”
“Many White people interested in learning more about race, privilege and social justice have difficulties finding safe spaces for such conversations.
* Are you racist?
* Does racism only affect people of color?
* How can you confront racism in your community?
These workshops provide an opportunity for White people to talk honestly about racism
in the company of other White people.”
This workshop reflects the fact that this is a program of indoctrination, not academic study. It is a cardinal assumption of the sectarian left – but no one else – that only whites can be racists. Yet that is the assumption of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Missouri. A program designed to indoctrinate students in a radical worldview – whether that view s situated to the right or the left on the political spectrum – violates the most fundamental standards of scholarship of a modern research university, as well as the established principles of academic freedom.
Bodies, Cultures and Nations WGST 1120
(formerly Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies)
No instructor specified
Since the Women’s and Gender Studies program is frankly political and ideological, it is not surprising that this introductory required course is specifically a course in “feminist politics” and not an academic exploration of the subject of women:
This course surveys a century of feminist politics and theory by asking students to think critically about the diverse ways in which human identity is gendered, and the historical development of gendered inequalities. Paying particular attention to the importance of race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality in the cultural construction of sexual difference, we will explore both our different experiences of gender and our common struggles. In so doing, we will critically examine a wide range of feminist and gender theories that analyze and contest oppressive social conditions in the United States and throughout the world.
Like the Program itself, this course assumes the ideological and scientifically controversial claim that sexual differences are “constructed” culturally. No dispute is evidently going to be allowed about this. The course also assumes the politically charged claim that free societies such as that of the United States feature social conditions that can be described as “oppressive.” No dispute is going to be allowed about that either. The course is designed to include only radical theories (“feminist and gender theories”) that “contest” the “oppression” said to characterize these societies. The commitment to these ideological doctrines is expressly stated. This course is not education as understood by the American Council on Education or the key documents which have defined the academic freedom tradition. It is indoctrination.
The Female Experience: Body, Identity, Culture
WGST 1360/Sociology 1360
Instructor: Kendra Yoder, sociology graduate student
This course examines the ways individuals come to understand what it means to be a woman in U.S. culture. We explore the diversity among women’s experiences with special attention to the meanings of body image, sexuality, and race/ethnicity. The course also examines institutions in U.S. society that exert social control over women’s bodies, especially the media, the legal system, and the medical professions.
The United States is a democracy whose Constitution and laws forbid discrimination; it is characterized by a bewildering array of media institutions, privately and publicly controlled; it has a similar array of public and private medical institutions and systems of delivering medical services. Yet this course makes the extreme (and on the face of it preposterous) claim that these institutions “exert social control over women’s bodies” without acknowledging that the claim is contestable, or that there are credible alternative views, and – since the extreme view represents the fundamental assumption of the course itself -- without providing students with an opportunity to adopt such a view.
Feminist Theory I WGST 2020
Instructor: Catherine Holland, Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies
Introduces central themes and problems within feminist thought, including consciousness-raising, motherhood, class, race, sexuality, nationalism and transnational feminism. This course also focuses on building the skills necessary to reading and writing about theory. By surveying a series of debates critical to second-wave feminism, we will examine the difficulty of articulating what Simone de Beauvoir called the feminine “we” and move to the more recent articulation of the feminist (if not quite feminine) “we” by feminist theorists of transnational politics.
As the course description makes evident this is not a scholarly course about feminist theory; it is a course in feminist theory. That is, it is a course designed to instill the doctrines of a radical sect. Such indoctrination is no more appropriate to a university than would be a course to examine the doctrines of conservatism from within an exclusively conservative perspective, or the doctrines of Intelligent Design theory exclusively from within a religious point of view. Moreover, like so many other courses in this program, its declared field of study is so broad – “consciousness-raising, motherhood, class, race, sexuality, nationalism and transnational feminism” as to be outside the realm of any instructor’s specific (and credentialed) expertise. For example, this is a course taught by a political scientist, which nevertheless has “consciousness-raising” – presumably the province of psychologists and epistemologists – as a proclaimed central theme. This course is merely an exercise in radical political ideology paid for by the Missouri taxpayer. It is not academic discourse in any meaningful sense of the term.
Women in Popular Culture
Women’s and Gender Studies 2005
Instructor: Dr. Evelyn Somers Rogers (Ph.D. in Literature)
“This course seeks to fulfill the program’s mission” explains the syllabus for “Women in Popular Culture.” Because the program’s mission is inseparable from the inculcation of feminist ideology, this is, in effect, a course in feminism, a fact the course description candidly affirms: “Drawing on the theoretical framework created by feminist scholars, this course investigates the ways women are portrayed in today's media.” The format of the course is as follows:
We will begin by looking at how second-wave feminism labeled femininity a tool of self-oppression. From there we will move to a review of third-wave feminist and post-feminist theories that see femininity in a more friendly light, as flexible and creative. Along the way, we will examine a wide variety of feminine identities in contemporary popular culture.
This is like proposing to examine the development of Marxism and its varieties from a Marxist perspective without a critical distance from the subject. Accordingly, claims are made in the course description that appear subjective and without empirical support. The description asserts that “[m]ost studies of women in popular culture focus primarily on adult women of childbearing age and in doing so reinforce the belief that women’s primary function is reproductive.” Since most popular culture is targeted at a demographic that consists of people of child-bearing age, this seems a particularly naïve formulation even for someone whose specialty is not sociology but literature. The claim seems to have been marshaled to support the notion, on which much of the course is based, that popular culture contains oppressive stereotypes about women that only feminist theory is competent to analyze. Considering the emptiness of the premise, the conclusion is probably correct.
Coincident with the ideological agendas of the course, assigned texts serve primarily to buttress the feminist viewpoint. One of two required texts is Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture. The author, Joanne Hollows, describes herself as a “student of feminism,” and it is from this perspective that the book is written. Hollows’ aim in the book, as she explains, is to “theorize” a relationship between feminism and popular culture, in the service of which goal she examines several feminist works. At no point in her text does Hollows cast a critical glance at feminist claims. While discussing filmmaking, for instance, the author explains that her aim is not only to consider the role of women in these films “but also to introduce some of the key themes of feminist film theories,” which “should be understood in relation to both second-wave feminist activism…and feminist film making.” Put another way, her interest in this work is to promote feminist ideas, however tendentious. This is also the intention of the course, as students are not provided perspectives that are critical of feminism or offer alternative points of view.
Outlaw Genders WGST 2080
Instructor: Elisa Glick, Assistant Professor of English & Women’s Studies
What is gender and how do we define its boundaries? How are “male” and “female” bodies and identities produced by culture? How do “outlaw genders” challenge our understanding of (and experience of) sex, gender, and sexuality? What does gender freedom look like? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this cross-cultural course on gender and sexual diversity. Investigating the roles of race/ethnicity, class, region and sexuality in modern constructions of sexed bodies, we will study the diverse lives of gender variant people and how they have been represented in literature and film. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to those systems of gender-based oppression that suppress multiple gender identities and expressions. Readings and other course materials are interdisciplinary, including anthropological and historical perspectives, gender theory, literary texts, and documentary films.
Note the scare quotes to suggest that the categories “male” and “female” are not reality-based. The claim that male and female genders are “produced by culture” rather than biology is the highly controversial premise of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, also the premise of this course. It is a required belief for students who take the course. Students are not enrolled to study the findings of modern biology and neuroscience which show that profound masculine and feminine characteristics are rooted in nature and not culture. The assumption that gender is socially determined is simply rammed down the students’ throats, with the course grade hanging over their heads if they should refuse. Accepting the claim is a condition of academic achievement. The idea that there is a social condition that can be described as “gender-based oppression” – i.e., that oppressed categories of gender are created by a ruling patriarchy is also simply rammed down the students’ throats. No other point of view is represented in the course as a viable alternative to this radical perspective. This is narrow training in a specific (and extreme) political ideology. It is not a training in academic or scholarly method, which is based on the method of science not unquestioned authority. This course is inappropriate for a modern research university and publicly-supported institution.
Feminist Theory II: Problems in Feminist Thought
No Instructor specified.
Examines recent problems and critical debates within feminist theory. Topics vary from year to year, but have included Feminist Perspectives on Sexuality and Sexual Difference; Feminism, Nationalism, and Post-Colonial Thought, among others.
This is yet another course in radical feminist ideology. It is not a complex, skeptical and scientifically-based academic inquiry into radical feminism, which would be the case only if other views of feminism were examined and considered. Two of its subject categories – “nationalism” and “post-colonial thought” – are categories that are not even specific to women or gender, since both nations and “post-colonial” societies are made up of both sexes. This underscores the generally sloppy intellectual approach of the courses in the Women’s and Gender Studies program, and the pervasively one-sided ideology being forced on its students. This is a course of indoctrination in a sectarian theory of the world, not merely gender.
Feminist Research and Criticism
Sociology Instructor: Mary Jo Neitz, Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies
This course is centrally concerned with how feminists in the social sciences produce knowledge, what we do with that knowledge, and if the process is any different because we are feminists. We will examine feminist critiques of social science research methodologies, questions of feminist epistemology, and how feminists struggle with those questions in our work. We will be reading exemplars from anthropology, history, political science, psychology and sociology.
This course frankly describes itself as a training course for radical feminists in radical feminism. There appear to be plenty of feminist critiques of social science made available to students, but no critiques of feminism or the feminist perspective. The only permissible approach to the study of women is the feminist view. This is more indoctrination in a single perspective. It fails to respect the principles of intellectual pluralism and academic freedom, which are the central principles of American higher education.
Feminist Political Science
Women’s and Gender Studies 4880
Instructor: Kitty Holland, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Political Science
The ideological slant of this course is evident from its title. This is not a course about political science but a course to instill a feminist perspective – and only a feminist perspective -- on the field of political science. The course, according to its catalogue description, is premised on the feminist refrain that the “western tradition of political thought” represents women as “as inimical to change and to public life.” For this categorical judgment about a vast body of scholarship and political thought no evidence is provided. The course makes a point of excluding all perspectives that may clash with a feminist agenda. The assigned texts are not works of disinterested scholarship but are authored by “feminist political theorists who write both to contest the premature foreclosure of women from politics, and also to establish a theoretical ground from which women may speak politically.” While consistent with the prejudices of this course, assigning texts solely from the feminist perspective -- all of which repeat the same controversial claims about Western political history -- is a clear abdication of the professor’s professional obligation not to indoctrinate students but to expose them to a spectrum of scholarly views. On what basis can the claim of this course – that women are prematurely foreclosed from politics – be made in an era in which the Secretary of State is a woman, as are the Speaker of the House and a United States Senator who is a front-running candidate for President? It is abundantly clear what “theoretical ground” is being prepared by this course so that women can “speak politically.” It is not a broad ground of thought, but a narrow and bitterly radical one.
Social Perspectives on Women, Race and Class
Women’s and Gender Studies 1332
Instructor: Sam Bullington, Assistant Professor, Geography and Women’s and Gender Studies.
According to its catalogue description, this course “examines the processes of differentiation which create social categories such as gender, race, and class around which social life is built.” One wonders how many times this ideological and controversial claim has to be driven home by the courses offered in this program. If students take all of the courses discussed so far, how many times do they hear this mantra, and what is the justification for such repetition? What fresh viewpoint or new knowledge will they ever be exposed to? Once again they are instructed that “gender” and “race” are oppressive social constructions. This time the mantra comes from a Professor of Geography. What is his academic expertise on such a topic? What knowledge does he have regarding this subject other than the narrow ideological formulas espoused in every other course in the program? Ideological claims define – and in effect exhaust – its content. One section of the course “[h]ighlights the efforts of individuals and social movements to resist and reframe dominant meanings of such categories, as well as to ameliorate their material effects.” Again, what academic expertise does a Professor of Geography bring to this topic? What, professionally speaking, does he know about it? Professor Bullington shows a far greater commitment to his personal political views, which, he explains, include a commitment to “feminist methodologies” and “social justice,” than to academic standards. He is not a specialist in the fields of sociology, economics or anthropology and thus has no professional credentials he has to expound on the complexities of class and race or on their “dominant meanings.”
Women’s Health, Women and Health from a Transnational Perspective
Women’s and Gender Studies/Nursing 4600
Instructor: Srirupa Prasad, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology.
A reasonable expectation for a course on women’s health is that it be taught by an instructor with an expertise in medicine or public health. But Professor Prasad does not come close to satisfying this elementary standard. She is a professor of sociology, and her research interests run to such ideology-infused topics as the “relationship between health, culture, colonialism” and “the impact of globalization and neo-liberal capitalism.” As Professor Prasad is an expert neither on health nor on economics but sociology, it is not clear what qualifications she has to undertake such research.
If one looks at Professor Prasad’s website, only one research project deals in detail with an actual illness, tuberculosis, and it is only its social impact with which she is concerned. Her focus, moreover, seems to emanate from her impression that western non-governmental organizations are not providing medical help to Indian women in a manner she considers politically correct. More typical is this project: “I am involved in a third project with Amit Prasad to study medical tourism, medical transcription, and drug testing in India. We are analyzing how three transnational processes assign different identities to people, which very often translates to and are effects of unequal rights of different social groups in the context of neo-liberal globalization.” The term “neo-liberal globalization” is a leftwing argot for “international capitalism,” leaving unclear whether by “unequal rights” Prasad intends a reference to actual legal inequalities or whether this is some meta-claim that the market system causes inequalities.
According to its catalogue description, “This course allows students to study health and medicine from a gender-sensitive perspective [and] will explore how notions of disease, sickness, and healing are gendered as well.” In accordance with this “gender-sensitive perspective,” the course promotes the sectarian claim that the spread of liberal markets (“neo-liberal globalization”) has adversely affected women, exacerbating allegedly pervasive inequalities in women’s healthcare. Instead of inquiring as to whether this is in fact the case, students are instructed to answer such politically leading questions as: “How has globalization created a transnational system where such inequalities are further strengthened?” An even more politically-directed question asks: “Can a feminist intervention change such a scenario?” This is self-evidently a course in feminist and anti-capitalist propaganda; it is not an intellectual inquiry to determine the facts.
Psychology of Women
Women and Gender Studies/Psychology 4830
Instructor: Rebecca Martinez, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences.
“Psychology of Women” is predicated on two ideological claims about gender and women. The first, yet again, is the unscientific claim that gender roles, rather then being biologically founded, are “constructed” by society. How many times does a student majoring in this field have to hear a detailed exposition of this theory as a central part of the course content? Are the designers of this program fearful that their majors will forget – or stray into alien ideological fields of thought? Or is the teaching of the dogma the real subject of the course?
The course description asks: “How is it possible to socialize and enculturate human beings into becoming ‘women’ or ‘men’ and playing out the myriad roles which differentiate males from females in nearly all cultures of the world?” Note the ironic quotes around the terms “women” and “men” indicating that these categories are not real, or biologically based, and the ancillary assumption that differences between the sexes are orchestrated, that they are alterable social constructs rather than artifacts of nature.
The second ideological claim the course makes is that psychology as a discipline is based on “an androcentric [i.e., male-centered] view of behavior, assuming that normative behavior can be identified by studying male behavior and that female behavior can be studied to examine how it differs from ‘the norm.’” (Note again the quotation marks that question the very idea that there is a “norm.” This is part of the course ideology that human beings are blank slates who can be molded to suit the agendas of an ideological movement.) The claim that psychology as a discipline is male-centered is presented by Professor Martinez as fact, not as the ideological assertion it is. It is an ideological conjecture that modern psychotherapy, many of whose leading practitioners are women, has a deeply entrenched male bias. There is no evidence to suggest that this or any other the feminist claim in this course would be subjected to critical scrutiny by a professor who sets the framework for discussion in such a tendentious manner.
Senior Research Seminar in Women’s and Gender Studies
Women and Gender Studies 4990
Instructor: Kitty Holland
The goal of this seminar is twofold: first, to think critically about what it means to do interdisciplinary feminist research, and second, to do it.
This is a course for a committed feminist, the kind of person produced by four years of study in a program dedicated to indoctrinating students in feminist perspectives. It is frankly presented as a course not in research methods appropriate to the study of women and/or gender, but in feminist methods of conducting such research. There is no course in alternative research methods offered to students in the program.
Internship in Women’s and Gender Studies WGST 4940
Instructor: Jessica Jennrich, Associate Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Directed professional experience in appropriate feminist related agency or organization. Prerequisite: junior standing; departmental consent.
This is a course to recruit students to feminist political causes. What is it doing in a university? Why should the taxpayers of Missouri be underwriting it? Would there be no objection to a course whose purpose was to get students to act as interns for the Republican Party only? Or the Democratic Party only?
In reviewing this program it is well to remember the words of Robert Gordon Sproul quoted at the beginning of this report: “The function of the university is to seek and to transmit knowledge and to train students in the processes whereby truth is to be made known. To convert, or to make converts, is alien and hostile to this dispassionate duty. Where it becomes necessary in performing this function of a university, to consider political, social, or sectarian movements, they are dissected and examined, not taught, and the conclusion left, with no tipping of the scales, to the logic of the facts….”
Peace Studies Program
The Peace Studies program at the University of Missouri is another classic example of politicized training rather than academic education. Its political agenda is evident from its mission statement, which defines the “peace” as synonymous with left-wing social programs and environmentalist activism. Peace, it states, “is more than the absence of war. It is also the presence of justice. Peace is providing the basic necessities of life for every human being; eliminating violence, oppression, greed and environmental destruction; and working through conflict at home, at work and between nations.”
The statement that “peace is providing the basic necessities of life for every human being” is not really a statement about peace – and as an English sentence makes no sense as such. It is, in fact, a statement of the socialist agendas of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri. In addition to being political rather than scholarly, this mission statement is also highly problematic, since governments that have sought to realize such utopian schemes as the provision of “basic necessities of life for every human being,” and to reengineer human nature to eliminate “violence, oppression and greed” have in practice been oppressive, violent, aggressive and economically disastrous, as any consideration of Communist regimes past and present can attest.
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