There is something very disturbing happening on this campus. I believe that some of our professors are using their prestigious positions as academics to pass off biased and partisan political positions as objective truth. This does a disservice to every one of us who expects our education to be thorough, comprehensive, stimulating, objective, academic and truthful. Graduates from this university should be more informed about the world around us, but when some of the professors on our campus only present some of the facts (which is lying by omission) or by stressing the arguments that advance their own positions and focusing only on the arguments that best discount positions that they disagree with, students are robbed of a depth of analytical knowledge that should be expected of a university education.
Overwhelmingly, liberal and radical positions are articulated and justified, while conservative positions are excluded or vilified. The result of all this is that most students leave the university having never heard a conservative position articulated. Rather than increasing learning and advancing general knowledge, this shamefully advances ignorance. It creates a bubble of ignorance where differing opinions are excluded thus generating a false sense of reality.
I know this is a very strong statement so I will try to justify this as best I can. I decided to write this after attending a panel on the situation in Gaza in the Multi Cultural Center on Monday, Jan. 26. The panel, chaired by professor Nancy Gallagher of the History Dept., consisted of four professors, all of whom approached the issue by condemning Israel and barely mentioning the terrorist actions of Hamas and definitely not presenting this as the root of the problem. I would have hoped that in any discussion of the problems in the Israeli- Palestine conflict that at least one of the panelists would bring this up and give it honest intellectual discussion. Rather, Israel was generalized into a single actor who desires to dominate Gaza and therefore is solely to blame for the violence. No one even placidly mentioned the legitimate security concerns of Israel.
By presenting only one side of the argument, the panel, rather than educating the students on the issue, made them less aware about the issue. If we are to give this very important issue true and academically rigorous consideration, we must have contributions from a diverse range of thoughts and ideas. What disturbed me the most about the event was that one of the professors on the panel actually argued that he was not biased and was rather presenting the facts. This is precisely the reason that professors must be unbiased in their teaching.
Professors, by the nature of the position they hold as professors, are supposed to represent the objective truth. They do harm to their credibility by purporting that theirs is the only academic way to look at an issue. If this professor truly believes that he was presenting objective truth, then he is truly living in that bubble that I mentioned above.
Another worse example was related to me by my fiancée who, while waiting for me to get out of class, overheard two professors talking about the difficulties that President Obama will face in transitioning from a “totalitarian” state set up by President Bush (earlier they had called it a “Nazi state”) back to a democracy. I would expect this from uneducated radical leftist bloggers, but not from faculty members at a reputable university. If you think that the United States under President Bush was a totalitarian state, then you have never studied a real totalitarian state. Furthermore, you have removed any meaning from the word. I can only wonder what goes on in their classrooms.
I know that you all see this going on in some of your classes. This is wrong even if you agree with the positions your professors’ hold. You all have had professors like this. Don’t you resent only being presented a narrow range of information? Aren’t you offended that there is a whole way of thinking that is being denied to us? I call on all students to hold their professors accountable and demand a thorough education. You are paying for it. You deserve it.