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Posted at 10:03 AM on Friday, March 13, 2009 by David Horowitz
Paranoid Professor
John K. Wilson is the editor of Illinois Academe, a publication of the American Association of University Professors. He is not himself a professor but he is an academic and he has been attacking me and the academic freedom campaign since its inception. I'm attributing paranoid tendencies to Wilson because in person he's a civilized individual and I don't like to call him a liar. But here is one example of his mode of attack taken from his review of One-Party Classroom.

"It may be tempting to ignore Horowitz and hope that the vast repressive apparatus he proposes will never be enacted, that we will not have administrators and trustees scrutinizing reading lists and ordering professors to ban the books deemed to be too liberal. But Horowitz has tremendous political influence on the far right, and his attacks, even when unsuccessful, create an atmosphere of fear to raise political issues."

This is from his review of One-Party Classroom, the book Jacob Laksin and I have just published. As it happens, Wilson interviewed me about the book in a piece that ran the day before this review. The first question was about the remedies I would propose for the problems our book outlines. It was the second question and here was my response:

Q: What, exactly, should be done to the professors teaching these classes?
Should they be banned from teaching these classes?
Should they be fired?
Should their course readings be controlled by someone else?

A: The university presents itself as an organization of professionals with standards of performance and excellence. If professors fail to meet these standards what is the remedy? Isn’t that a question for the organization itself to answer? Contrary to the misrepresentations of my efforts by many of my opponents I have never suggested that universities be governed by outside authorities, whether governmental or otherwise. The best remedy in my view would be for these problems to be handled by faculty at the departmental level. However, that requires an interest from faculty in holding itself accountable. So far I have seen very little interest on the part of faculty in correcting the malpractices documented in One-Party Classroom. In some cases such as Women’s Studies, moreover, the violation of long-standing academic standards takes place at the departmental level itself. In these cases there would have to be an academic committee consisting of faculty peers at the level of the college, or even the university. However, I am optimistic by nature (otherwise I wouldn’t be spending my time banging my head against these stone walls) and don’t see why it shouldn’t be possible to change these attitudes and get on with the task.

Q: Who, exactly, should have the authority to do any of these actions to these professors?
Should it be faculty in the department, faculty senates, administrators, trustees, accreditation agencies, legislators?

A: This is the same question, probably because no matter how many times I say that I do not advocate and would be adamantly opposed to governance of the university by legislatures or any other outside agency, people like you refuse to believe me. But that’s my position and that’s what I think. As to how academic standards are enforced by the academic community, that is properly a question for the academic community to answer.

Now what do you do with people like this?

David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.

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