1.31.2005

Enough is Enough

From today's Columbus Dispatch:

"Marion Sen. Larry A. Mumpers "academic bill of rights for higher education" would prohibit instructors at public or private universities from "persistently" discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views.

Senate Bill 24 also would prohibit professors from discriminating against students based on their beliefs and keep
universities from hiring, firing, promoting or giving tenure to instructors based on their beliefs.

Mumper, a Republican, said many professors undermine the values of their students because "80 percent or so of them (professors) are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists " who attempt to indoctrinate students."

So, who gets to define "controversial," or "political," "religious," "anti-religious" (does that leave ANYTHING to say) or "persistent"? The Government? A so-called proponent of "Small Government" wants to set up a monitoring station in Columbus to measure what gets said on campuses? What's next--building a Red Square in Columbus for military parades and calling him our "comrade"?

Mumper seems like the only card-carrying Communist in this debate. As far as I can tell, I haven't heard about one legitimate hiring, firing, protion, or tenure based on this trumped up bias.

You can give our fair representative an email by looking up the address on Mumper's homepage.

3 comments:

Sun said...

I saw the same issue mentioned as it had been forwarded to Simon the Chair. I really want to read the original bill to be able to get the first-hand information about what was going on. But according to the information from the dispatch, I have several doubts about the bill.

First, the provention of the discussion of "controversial issues" is itself a logic fallcy. The definition of controversy as disputes already involves a conflict of interests. In other words, in order to pin down the controversies with an aim to stop talking about it, the legislators might have to admit that certain conflcts do exist. If this is the case, this bill is basically telling people that "conflicts are there, but please do not talk about it." But then what? Though "persist" discussion may not solve the controversial issues, a prohibition of the discussion does not mean either that the controversial issues will be vanish.

Second, in the dispatch, the aim of the bill seems to be keeping universities "from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views." This not only renders little, if at all, to be talked about in class, also it seems denying itself as being both a political and ideological issue. In the institutionized world, law itself provides political and ideological view. It is, indeed, part of the politics and ideology. The bill, if it is as stated in the pispatch, is trying to say that the act of prohibition is not a way of engaging in the controversial issues and of taking its own political and ideological stance and of calling it legitamate.

But according to the bill, we should not persistently discuss that, for persistent discussion, I think, turn even noncontroversial issues into something increasingly suspicious of controversy. Mumper stepped into this controversial world, inserting a "genuine" voice in the form of law, to stop discussion of controversial issues. Let's ask one question: Is this attempt of prohibiting the discussions a way of leading the social discussion to another direction? To whose advantage this bill will serve? Who will benefit from this bill? In what ways?

Sun said...

I received the same issue mentioned in Simon's email as it had been forwarded from you. I think the bill itself composes a logic fallcy.

First, the definition of controversy as disputes already indicate conflicting views. In other words, if this bill were to be enforced, to pick the controversial issues for prohibition already admitted a controversial state and already inserted a way of discussion, in this case, in the form of law and the way of discussion is to not let discuss.

Second, the bill itself seemingly aims at keeping universities "from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views." The bill, by doing this, hides itself from examination, from the fact that law itself is a system of political and ideological views. This enforcement of law is to legitimize a voice over other voices and pretends that itself as a devine voice. In this stage when the law is still in its "bill" form, we really need to discuss it persistently for its purposes, aims, and various other aspects. Anyway, before the enforcement, we have the opportunity of being persuaded for its enforcement. In other words, let's treat it as a voice in other voices, as a view in this pool that has never been clear of controversies.

Third, I want to ask, apart from its immediate purpose of "from 'persistently'discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views," I need to know what are the other purposes that this law will serve. To whose advantage it will serve?

I think I need to read the bill and be explained the general socio-political situations of the US to be able to find a place for this bill.

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