To Anyone Who Thinks Universities Don't Indoctrinate

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Economist

Please listen to this. You may not agree with it, but he makes some good points, and I wish you will listen and just think about it. Just for the record, he is an academic with a PhD in History from Harvard and is a Professor at Univesity of Pennsylvania. I would love to hear your opinions on the presentation.

http://www.fee.org/events/detail.asp?id=6241 [Broken]
 
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DrClapeyron

Another PhD and another wiki article with no references, where do I begin?
 
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Economist

Another PhD and another wiki article with no references, where do I begin?
What do you mean? Are you implying that you shouldn't be persuading by a PhD and a wiki article? If so, I definitely agree. All I am asking is that some people listen to this (the whole thing) and then respond with whatever comments or reactions they have.
 

devil-fire

"brown university banned quote verbal behavior i love that one verbal behavior that produces feelings of impotence, anger or disenfranchisement intentional or unintentional well that code produces feelings of impotence, anger and disenfranchisement in me but i don't think thats what they had in mind. Cobbie college outlawed speech that causes a quote a vague sense of danger or quote a loss of self esteem close quote. I've had reviews of my books that have caused me extraordinary loss of self esteem, it never occurred to me that those could be outlawed."

he also mentions that a person urinated on a crucifix and was awarded for it because they called it art, but he raises a good point that if a person were to urinate on a picture of Martin Luther King and parade it around as art, there would be hell to pay.

has it really gotten this bad?
 

Mk

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Economist

Reminds me of this Independent documentary: http://www.indoctrinate-u.com/intro/

Also, the link and this aren't exactly like the Hidden curriculum idea.
I want to watch Indoctrinate U. Is there any where online one can buy or watch the whole thing? I haven't seen it playing in any near by theatres.
 
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Math Is Hard

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Please listen to this. You may not agree with it, but he makes some good points, and I wish you will listen and just think about it. Just for the record, he is an academic with a PhD in History from Harvard and is a Professor at Univesity of Pennsylvania. I would love to hear your opinions on the presentation.

http://www.fee.org/events/detail.asp?id=6241 [Broken]
I have to say that the political slant he is describing has been my experience in many undergrad humanities and social science classes. I think I've always (perhaps mistakenly) attributed this phenomenon to a liberal bias in my state, and my region of the state, and not to American universities in general.

He reminded me of a news story I heard not too long ago about "the new PC curriculuum" that is available:

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ge/LAT071Phallus101.htm

THE "DIRTY DOZEN" list of "America's Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses" is out — and Los Angeles-area institutions of higher learning have walked away with one-fourth of the ranked honors (or dishonors). Occidental College, an 1,800-student liberal arts school in Eagle Rock, is the only college on the list to collect not one but two citations for excellence at offering trendy theories of gender, skin color and white-male oppression at the expense of actual academic content.
And here they are:

"The Phallus"
Occidental College. A seminar in critical theory and social justice, this class examines Sigmund Freud, phallologocentrism and the lesbian phallus.
"Queer Musicology"
UCLA. This course welcomes students from all disciplines to study what it calls an "unruly discourse" on the subject, understood through the works of Cole Porter, Pussy Tourette and John Cage.
"Taking Marx Seriously"
Amherst College. This advanced seminar for 15 students examines whether Karl Marx still matters despite the countless interpretations and applications of his ideas, or whether the world has entered a post-Marxist era.
"Adultery Novel"
University of Pennsylvania. Falling in the newly named "gender, culture and society" major, this course examines novels and films of adultery such as "Madame Bovary" and "The Graduate" through Marxist, Freudian and feminist lenses.
"Blackness"
Occidental College. Critical race theory and the idea of "post-blackness" are among the topics covered in this seminar course examining racial identity. A course on whiteness is a prerequisite.
"Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration"
University of Washington. This women studies department offering takes a new look at recent immigration debates in the U.S., integrating questions of race and gender while also looking at the role of the war on terror.
"Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism"
Mount Holyoke College. The educational studies department offers this first-year, writing-intensive seminar asking whether whiteness is "an identity, an ideology, a racialized social system," and how it relates to racism.
"Native American Feminisms"
University of Michigan. The women's studies and American culture departments offer this course on contemporary Native American feminism, including its development and its relation to struggles for land.
"'Mail Order Brides?' Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context"
Johns Hopkins University. This history course — cross-listed with anthropology, political science and studies of women, gender and sexuality — is limited to 35 students and asks for an anthropology course as a prerequisite.
"Cyberfeminism"
Cornell University. Cornell's art history department offers this seminar looking at art produced under the influence of feminism, post-feminism and the Internet.
"American Dreams/American Realities"
Duke University. Part of Duke's Hart Leadership Program that prepares students for public service, this history course looks at American myths, from "city on the hill" to "foreign devil," in shaping American history.
"Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism"
Swarthmore College. Swarthmore's "peace and conflict studies" program offers this course that "will deconstruct 'terrorism' " and "study the dynamics of cultural marginalization" while seeking alternatives to violence.
 
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mgb_phys

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(just to stir up things!)
You could take the view that almost all art courses are a waste of time anyway - so what's the difference between studying the "The Phallus" and researching the importance of pumpernickel in the politics of 16th Westphalia?
 

Moonbear

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I listened to about 20 min of it, and that was enough. His examples are from private universities, not public ones. I'm sure he could go to the private, religious-based universities and find examples where the conservative view prevails over the liberal one. His bias is evident. I've worked entirely at public universities and have never seen any such examples of bias as he's describing, and likely, they're isolated incidents at the universities he's naming as well. In fact, he complains about his own department, yes strangely enough, he's a full professor who got through the tenure process and is allowed to teach his course every year...and when his students ask why they have never heard of those other authors before, why isn't his answer that it's because they learn about them in HIS course? The very fact that he teaches his course, and exposes the students to an alternative view, and that course counts toward their major, indicates that there is NOT a bias preventing the teaching of those subjects there. Academic freedom also means that he doesn't get to tell his colleagues what they should be teaching or studying either.
 

turbo

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There are always people who get upset when their particular world-view doesn't get center-stage in the courses at their universities, and there are professors that encourage such reactions. That doesn't mean that the college is deliberately trying to indoctrinate their students in a particular world-view. If you're a student, and you've got half a brain, you can detect bias, and come out of the experience with a good education. If you lean very hard to the left or the right, and you paint your profs and their courses with you preconceptions with your expectations, you'll often perceive "bias" and "indoctrination" where none is intended or attempted.

There are a lot of people who are painted as right-wing capitalists (Warren Buffet is a good example) who think that the US's income tax system is unfairly regressive and punishes low-income people while rewarding billionaires like himself. If an economics professor echoes that opinion, does that make him into a liberal-leaning (or even socialist) kook? I don't think so.
 

Mk

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There are always people who get upset when their particular world-view doesn't get center-stage in the courses at their universities, and there are professors that encourage such reactions.
The talk wasn't about this him getting upset when a particular world-view doesn't get center stage, he was talking about professors losing tenure, campus freedoms, and the idea of a perhaps unintentionally taught ideology embracing collectivism, as a few main points.
 
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Economist

I listened to about 20 min of it, and that was enough.
That's a shame. You shoulda kept a little bit more of an open mind and listened to the whole thing, even if you think it's bs.

His examples are from private universities, not public ones.
Not true. He is chairman of an organization called FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). Go to their website and look up universities and you will find many violations of free speech among public universities.

http://www.thefire.org/

I'm sure he could go to the private, religious-based universities and find examples where the conservative view prevails over the liberal one.
Not likely. Even at most of these universities, I imagine you will find most faculty are left leaning. In all fairness, I would say private universities have more of a right to push various ideologies considering that they are funded with tax payer funds to a much lower degree.

I've worked entirely at public universities and have never seen any such examples of bias as he's describing, and likely, they're isolated incidents at the universities he's naming as well.
Well, I've went to public schools my whole life. And more importantly, I am at a large public state university right now, and I think a lot of what he says hits very close to home. It's hard to deny the extreme left leaning ideology at public universities.

and when his students ask why they have never heard of those other authors before, why isn't his answer that it's because they learn about them in HIS course?
It's still a very valid question. Most students spend their whole college experience and have never heard of the great champions of freedom, such as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek. What's more important is not that they haven't heard of these particular people, but rather that they've never heard any well constructed and intelligent view points that are not liberal. These views make them think rigorously and question their current beliefs, which is a good thing whether they agree or disagree with them. As Thomas Sowell has said about the current goals of public schools (especially universities), "They're generally more interested in teaching students what to think instead of how to think."

The very fact that he teaches his course, and exposes the students to an alternative view, and that course counts toward their major, indicates that there is NOT a bias preventing the teaching of those subjects there.
It doesn't count toward their major, I think it's just an elective. Besides, that does not prove that there is no bias. The point is that he is the only person at the UPenn who teaches anything even remotely similar to this class. Meanwhile, you'll probably find hundreds of courses each year which discuss Marx or other half baked socialist ideas.

Academic freedom also means that he doesn't get to tell his colleagues what they should be teaching or studying either.
He doesn't want to tell his colleagues what to think. If you would have listened to the whole speech you defnitely would have understood his position better. I urgue you to go back and listen to the whole thing. What he says, is that professors should not be telling students what to think, but rather exposing them to many ideas, and personally allowing them to choose which ideas and viewpoints they like best.
 

turbo

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What he says, is that professors should not be telling students what to think, but rather exposing them to many ideas, and personally allowing them to choose which ideas and viewpoints they like best.
This attitude is shared by the creationists, who want creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as if there were no discernible differences in the values of either view.
 

Evo

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What he says, is that professors should not be telling students what to think, but rather exposing them to many ideas, and personally allowing them to choose which ideas and viewpoints they like best.
In what subjects? Literature? Pottery making? Certainly not any of the sciences, well maybe social or political science, but those can arguably be separated from sciences like physics, math, chemistry, biology, geology, cosmology, etc...

He's a history teacher.
 
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Moonbear

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That's a shame. You shoulda kept a little bit more of an open mind and listened to the whole thing, even if you think it's bs.
Nothing to do with having an open mind...I put up with 20 min of redundancy, and simply wasn't going to waste more of my time...the entire lecture was an hour long!

Not likely. Even at most of these universities, I imagine you will find most faculty are left leaning. In all fairness, I would say private universities have more of a right to push various ideologies considering that they are funded with tax payer funds to a much lower degree.
You have no evidence to support that claim, do you? You're just guessing there. It's not consistent with my experience. Nor is it consistent with my experience at public institutions.

Well, I've went to public schools my whole life. And more importantly, I am at a large public state university right now, and I think a lot of what he says hits very close to home. It's hard to deny the extreme left leaning ideology at public universities.
And I'm a professor at a public university right now. I know what the ideology of the faculty is like, and I can tell you it's quite well balanced. We have people from both extremes. It may differ in some of the liberal arts departments, due to the nature of those people who choose liberal arts as a discipline of study, but there's no indoctrination.

It's still a very valid question. Most students spend their whole college experience and have never heard of the great champions of freedom, such as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek.
Then they should learn to open their eyes and do some independent reading. It's not all about spoon-feeding.

What's more important is not that they haven't heard of these particular people, but rather that they've never heard any well constructed and intelligent view points that are not liberal.
Then they are not listening.

These views make them think rigorously and question their current beliefs, which is a good thing whether they agree or disagree with them. As Thomas Sowell has said about the current goals of public schools (especially universities), "They're generally more interested in teaching students what to think instead of how to think."
Your own bias is showing here. Is this what you think you're getting out of your education?

It doesn't count toward their major, I think it's just an elective.
Electives count toward one's major. In fact, for most degrees, once one takes a few basic requirements, everything is electives within the department. You sound like someone who isn't very familiar with how a university education is provided.

And, since you obviously haven't bothered to look for yourself, this is in UPenn's History Major requirements:
C Upper-level Seminars

All majors must take at least two upper level (200+) History seminars. All seminars are designated SEM in the registrar's time table and on the department's web site.
http://www.history.upenn.edu/ug_major3.html [Broken]
Note that Kors' course is #212, and falls within this requirement.
http://www.history.upenn.edu/faculty/kors.htm [Broken]

So, no, it's not something that doesn't even count toward the major, it is in fact among the seminars REQUIRED for the major.

Besides, that does not prove that there is no bias.
But it disproves that they're preventing alternative views from being taught, which is the entire premise of his argument.
The point is that he is the only person at the UPenn who teaches anything even remotely similar to this class.
Have you check the UPenn catalog?
Meanwhile, you'll probably find hundreds of courses each year which discuss Marx or other half baked socialist ideas.
Or not...I notice you're using words here like "probably," which tells me you're just making up these claims without even researching them for yourself. Come back when you have some evidence to support your claims.
Here, I'll help you...take a look at the UPenn History course listing and see if you still believe your own claims.
http://www.history.upenn.edu/course.html [Broken]

These things aren't so hard to look up for yourself.

He doesn't want to tell his colleagues what to think. If you would have listened to the whole speech you defnitely would have understood his position better. I urgue you to go back and listen to the whole thing. What he says, is that professors should not be telling students what to think, but rather exposing them to many ideas, and personally allowing them to choose which ideas and viewpoints they like best.
And that is precisely what university faculty do. We provide information, and it is up to the students to process it and learn what to do with it.
 
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Astronuc

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Kors is full of himself. His diatribe, a verbal polemic filled with unsubstantiated claims and invective, begins with a poor joke, and goes downhill from there. His claim, "American leftists seek to control the whole of student life," is ludicrous. :rofl: I'm sure Kors is speaking to a sympathetic audience, who shares his delusions.

My experience has been that no faculty member has ever tried to influence my thoughts or understanding, nor those of any other classmate. The student bodies of which I've been a part, and which I encounter since then and today, reflect a spectrum of ideas, perspectives, beliefs, indeed as varied as one finds at PF. The faculties of the institutions I attended also exhibited a broad spectrum of beliefs, ideas, understanding, and perspective.

Cherry picking his evidence does not support the broad generalization of Kors's claims. :rolleyes:

Kors is not persuasive. I guess I failed Kors's indoctrination. :rofl:
 
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Moonbear

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The talk wasn't about this him getting upset when a particular world-view doesn't get center stage, he was talking about professors losing tenure, campus freedoms, and the idea of a perhaps unintentionally taught ideology embracing collectivism, as a few main points.
That's the guise he was using to try to get his views to center stage. Tenure decisions have pretty well defined criteria, so when he says someone doesn't get tenure because they don't agree with the prevailing view, you have to seriously question if that's all there is to it. Are they getting lousy teaching evaluations, not publishing adequately, not bringing in funding for their work, refusing to sit on committees? Those are the criteria by which tenure decisions are made.
 

russ_watters

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I listened to about 20 min of it, and that was enough. His examples are from private universities, not public ones. I'm sure he could go to the private, religious-based universities and find examples where the conservative view prevails over the liberal one.
True, but the schools he lists are pretty major bastions of higher education in the US, not obscure little cults. Penn is an Ivy League school with 20,000 students. And he speaks mainly from experience, which is primarily Penn and Harvard.

He also cited an example of a Penn State violation of religious free association in denying a club charter.

And maybe he didn't talk about Cal, but examples of this sort of thing at Cal, the home of liberal censorship (an ironic oxymoron) abound. http://www.thefire.org/index.php/case/12.html?PHPSESSID=
(Actually, heh - that's his organization, so he does have examples from public schools)
In fact, he complains about his own department, yes strangely enough, he's a full professor who got through the tenure process and is allowed to teach his course every year...and when his students ask why they have never heard of those other authors before, why isn't his answer that it's because they learn about them in HIS course? The very fact that he teaches his course, and exposes the students to an alternative view, and that course counts toward their major, indicates that there is NOT a bias preventing the teaching of those subjects there.
Well, he did give some examples of people who were denied tenure for nonconformist views.

Anyway, he does give several examples that are about rights being given by God and that does seem to be part of his slant.
 
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seycyrus

I encourage everyone who attends or works at a university to walk down the halls of their respective depts. and note the large number of political cartoons on the doors of the faculty.

Note the trends, and remember that students are faced with this deluge on a daily basis whenever they have to approach their teachers/advisors/mentors.

Indoctrination? Perhaps not. Ideological pressure? Definitely.

Note the confident assurance I have of the outcome of this little experiment. From my experiences at public institutions and "conservative" private universities, I have found that pro-conservative ideology publicly displayed causes *outrage* whereas the contrary is not the case.
 

Astronuc

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I was in an engineering program. It was before Dilbert, but that would be the kind of cartoon engineers would likely display.

I don't remember political cartoons displayed in our department. Professors and grad students usually did not post paper on their doors, and the bullentin boards were mostly university policy papers (which most of us ignored) and announcements.
 

seycyrus

Before Dilbert? I'm assuming that would mean more than 10 years ago?

I think a comparative study beween departments now and then would also be informative and would reinforce the concept I discussed.

I've been at many a pre-colloquia gathering and have witnessed large groups of faculty and like minded students) jibbing and jabbing with anti-conservative jests. While grad students who did not share their views were standing meekly in the corner.
 

seycyrus

Err ahem. "Comparative study" is a bit too official sounding of course :)

I'm not saying that anyone should take the time or resources to study this. Just that people might want to take a look around the various depts. at their universites as they take shortcuts through new building and such.

As an aside, I have also noticed a trend during the past 10 years at the APS meeting science policy talks to start out at least every third session with a joke that is at a conservatives expense. And no, the other two aren't poking fun at the liberals ...

Just saying that maybe we could start paying attention and realize that throwing down political views shouldn't take place at a scientific meeting.
 
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Looking at some case files that FIRE has supported I agree with their general viewpoint, and I'm glad that there is an organization willing to defend individual's constitutional rights on college campuses. Take a look at the http://thefire.org/index.php/case/" [Broken]and decide for yourself.

Schools, especially public schools, should not have an [political] agenda. By practicing a policy that restricts one type of thought or promotes another, colleges only limit the ability of the students to choose and act upon their own value judgements. I would think by now people would realize that belief is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

FIRE obviously has an agenda and a bias. It's existence is based on those things, and it's rights are protected by law. When the agenda of schools shifts from teaching higher education to personal beliefs, FIRE's bias is justified. This is especially true when schools feel they have the authority to violate the constitutional rights of their students.
 
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Economist

FIRE obviously has an agenda and a bias. It's existence is based on those things, and it's rights are protected by law. When the agenda of schools shifts from teaching higher education to personal beliefs, FIRE's bias is justified. This is especially true when schools feel they have the authority to violate the constitutional rights of their students.
I don't know exactly what you mean by they have a bias. It seems to me they're mainly interested in protecting freedom in a university setting.

Anyway, he does give several examples that are about rights being given by God and that does seem to be part of his slant.
I doubt he means what you think he means by that. By God given rights, people are generally referring to rights that all people have. It's an old term.

For example, Fredrich Bastiat says that all people have God given rights to life, liberty, and property. And therefore, they have the right to protect those rights, if anyone tries to infringe upon their life, liberty, or property. He says, that because individuals have the right to protect these rights, they can delegate them to government. For example, if someone comes on your property and tries to take some of your property (such as money) you have a right to defend with force. Therefore, if you choose, you can allow government to protect those rights through having a police department. However, in Bastiat's view, you can not delegate something to government that isn't a God given right in the first place. In his view, you can't have government rob certain people through taxation for certain programs they disagree with, because you do not have the right to do that in the first place (and therefore you can't delegate that right to government). In Bastiat's view, if you want to know whether the government has crossed a line, all you have to ask yourself is "Would it be ok for an individual to do the same thing?" If the answer is no, then government has overstepped it's proper bounds. Is it ok for an individual to take money from the top 1% and give it to the poor? Most people would say no. But when asked if we should be able to do so by a majority vote? Most people would say yes. In Bastiat's view, the fact that the first answer is no, means that the second answser should also be no.
 

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