Here in Ohio lots of people are in an uproar about State Sen. Larry Mumper's Senate Bill 24 (SB 24), which is based on David Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights." I write a weekly column for my school newspaper, and a few weeks ago I wrote a column advocating SB 24's implementation. For the next week I was mauled by liberals who wrote letters to the editor saying I want to strip the entire universe of its freedom of speech, that conservatives are whiny babies, and other friendly reminders that left-wing radicalism is alive and well at my school. Even my most conservative professor is against an Academic Bill of Rights for students; his reasoning being that it would make educational speech and expression state-controlled. If that's really the issue - that they're afraid of state involvement in education, shouldn't they have a problem with the fact that a majority of educational funding comes from the state?
My more liberal professors, like the one I had last semester who forced us to read Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Robert McChesney, and other assorted socialists, would say that a bill like SB 24 would make them feel limited as to what they could say, therefore they'd do the same thing to their students. (One of my Poli Sci profs told me this.) Well, don't they already limit their conservative students to what they can say by making conservative opinions completely outlawed?!?! I say: don't feel limited as to what you can say, but balance it with fact. I'm not paying tuition to hear a subjective, liberal rant. Just like liberal professors claim they have a right to their "academic freedom" (to say what they want in the classroom), I think it's just as much my right, as a student, to receive an objective and informative education - so my generation of educators doesn't turn out to be one that lives to indoctrinate its students. Maybe it's because I'm older than most of my classmates (I'll be 23 in April; I took a year off to work on the Bush-Cheney campaign), but I've learned to stand up to my professors, and I know my Poli Sci professors appreciate it, but I've run into others who don't.
As a final thought, I'll share a story about that conservative professor I mentioned above. This past summer, I asked him if he wanted a Bush-Cheney sign for his office window. His response was, "I'm up for tenure this year." When I asked reminded him of that exchange recently, as I was writing about SB 24, he said that university policy says no political signs are allowed -- funny, because all of his colleagues had Kerry signs in their windows, and all of the English professors have "No War" signs in their windows. I feel really bad that so many conservatives feel so marginalized by the university system in this country. SB 24 has a secion that protects professors from tenure bias based on political beliefs, which is not just looking out for the student, but the professors.
Here's the text of the bill, I encourage everyone to take a peek at it...a lot of states are taking on legislation like this: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=126_SB_24.