pageok
pageok
pageok
"Student Bill of Rights" Adopted at Princeton:

According to the Daily Princetonian, in a referendum this week the student body voted to adopt of the "Student Bill of Rights."

One article summarizes the proposal as follows:

The bill, known commonly as the SBOR, was crafted by the College Republicans, and is loosely based on conservative author David Horowitz's academic and student bills of rights, to promote "academic freedom and intellectual diversity within the University community." The SBOR outlines principles for removing ideology from student grading, classroom discussions, professor hiring and the selection of campus speakers.

From what I can tell, there is no binding effect of the policy, it is just a statement of principle by the Princeton student body. According to the story: "USG president Alex Lenahan '07 will now sign the SBOR, 'making it the official statement of the Princeton University student body,' USG vice president Rob Biederman '08 said."

The supporters of the referendum acknowledge that the Student Bill of Rights was inspired by David Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights, but also state that they disagree with his "tactics" (although I can't tell for sure what that means). Somewhat amusingly, one article seems to suggest that the response by the Student Assembly to the success of the referendum will be to consider whether it is too easy to place student referenda on the ballot (even though this proposal gained majority support after a highly-contested campaign).

I have previously expressed my disagreement with Horowitz's Academic Bill of Rights. Nonetheless, as I think this grassroots effort at Princeton indicates, there also seems to be a deep frustration out there that lies behind efforts such as Horowitz's and Princeton's. In particular, I think there is a widespread lack of confidence in the ability of universities to take these concerns seriously and to engage in responsible self-governance on this issue. In that light, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, will be the response of the Princeton administration to this. Unless colleges and universities start paying attention to this issue and these frustrations, I suspect that that internal efforts such as Princeton's will be imitated on other campuses and that Horowitz will continue to gain headlines (and eventually legislative support, I fear).

HT: Stephen Balch at Phi Beta Cons

Update:

Commenter EricK has posted the text of the Princeton Bill of Rights in the Comments here.

anon) (mail):
This helps young Republican appear passionate about stuff that they feel will fuel them in getting internships and political positions that they feel will eventually drive them to power (where, they can, in turn, put more people in jail under a narrow construction of the "real" bill of rights.)

Anyway, over the years I have advised many undergrads to do similar things, and, for the most part it has worked. Many of them now are in power.

Alternatively, these students could just concentrate on learning and becoming bona fide scholars, but that is too hard for undergrads (especially at Princeton) who prefer getting drunk most of the time anyway.
4.28.2006 10:16am
AppSocRes (mail):
I find it amusing that conservatives are the main force behind a movement whose basic goals are almost identical to those of the original Berkeley Free Speech Movement, i.e., to allow university students unlimited freedom of speech and exprsession on their campuses. Even more amusing is that many of the leftist students who in the 1960s and 1970s purported to espouse the Free Speech Movement's principles have morphed into college administrators, far more authoritarian than the opponents of the original Free Speech movement.
4.28.2006 10:20am
Freder Frederson (mail):
So does this "Bill of Rights" protect a student who decides to spout creationist or ID nonsense on a Biology exam from getting the "F" he so richly deserves?
4.28.2006 10:22am
xx:
AppSocRes: I can't speak to the motivations behind the "movement," but the specifics of Horowitz's proposal are substantially more likely to hamper free expression of ideas than to promote it, so I don't think the parallel to earlier free speech movements is particularly apt, and it makes sense for administrators to oppose it.

That being said, I think Prof. Zywicki's point it dead on. This resolution probably passed because the student body is frustrated at the university's lack of ability to police itself, so they were quick to embrace what they saw as an alternative. College administrations across the country seem exceedingly unwilling or unable to recognize or deal with recurring problems at their institutions that truly bother students, and they need to get better at it before legislators feel compelled to take drastic or misguided action to correct perceived problems.
4.28.2006 10:28am
Justin (mail):
Todd's and xx's analysis fails to consider the reality of student politics and student government. Anon has the closest, most correct idea - the problem is that 98% of Princeton, or any other school, don't care, don't understand, and don't vote on such issues. All that was proven is that the Princeton GOP's 1% were better organized and more passionate about the issue than the Princeton Dem's 1%. To see this as the attitudes and ideas of Princetonians, or any student body, more generally is absurd.
4.28.2006 10:34am
Justin (mail):
BTW, we're talking about Princeton, right? A school where one gets an A- for showing up? How can someone "perceive" that their A- is unfair?
4.28.2006 10:37am
Houston Lawyer:
Back in about 83, we elected, by write in vote, Hank the Hallucination as student body president at UT. Hank was a hallucination that normally appeared in the Eye Beam comic strip in the Daily Texan. Second place was your now well known political consultant, Paul Begala.

Unfortunately, Hank was later assassinated by a girl with an imaginary gun.

Student government is strictly for resume padding.
4.28.2006 11:23am
anon) (mail):
Justin does have a point. Nobody at Princeton takes anything seriously. Grade inflation is rampant. Nobody is oppressed. They need to go back to their eating clubs and exclude people they don't like.

Likewise, everyone knows that student government is just for resume padding and people who do it are worthless and hate learning.
4.28.2006 11:32am
Whatever:
I couldn't find a copy of the Princeton SBOR, but in reading the Princetonian's articles, it seemed far more reasonable than Horowitz's version. In particular, they seemed to emphasize political bias in grading (clearly unacceptable) rather than political bias in material (not as clearly unacceptable). I don't know ANYTHING about the political atmosphere at Princeton, so it may be that the college D's spokesperson was justified in saying that while they agreed with the principles outlined in the SBOR, it was antagonistic in it's presentation.

As far as I can tell, this is a perfect example of how this kind of problem can be handled internally. One of my greatest fears is that some bizzare incarnation of the Horowitz document will be federally legislated. I already have seen sweeping negative changes in the curriculum and structure at the HS where I teach due to NCLB (we have kids who will learn NO history, no civics, nothing like it because they are at risk in math and reading, the only two subjects tested. We're laying off social sciences teachers left and right to make room for math and reading positions). The last thing I want to see is the federal government reaching further into our education system.

I, for one, don't see a pervasive problem. Sure there's a liberal bias in colleges, that goes with the territory. It's a bunch of 18-21 year olds. The saying that "If you're not a communist when you're 18 you have no heart, if you're not a capitalist when you're 25 you have no brain" contains some truth. As kids develop political personalities they begin with the simplest, un-nuanced positions on those issues that clearly apply to their reality: peace, justice, fairness, eqality. As they learn, their views moderate and become more nuanced.

If professors grade with a political bias, they ought to be fired. That's unacceptable. If professors proselytize rather than teach, they ought to be fired (they're being paid to teach, after all). But, having attended a couple colleges and taught a few classes as an adjunct at two more, I don't see this as much of a problem. Professors who grade poorly or don't teach don't tend to get tenured.
4.28.2006 11:45am
anon) (mail):
Whatever, it is bad manners and un-American to comment on a text that you have not read. This is far worse than any political bias.
4.28.2006 11:59am
JosephSlater (mail):
Todd writes: "I think this grassroots effort at Princeton indicates, there also seems to be a deep frustration out there that lies behind efforts such as Horowitz's and Princeton's."

I respectfully dissent. As repeated threads on this blog help show, while some right-wing ideologues like to CLAIM that there is some huge problem of discrimination against conservatives, when actually pressed for evidence of same, almost comically little is produced. Horowitz, in hearing in PA on his bill, actually admitted he had made stuff up. Few, if any, students testify about this stuff, and a number of conservative students on this very blogsite have -- to their credit - the integrity to take issue with the idea that this is some big problem.

I don't think there's any sort of general "deep frustration" out there about this issue, but rather some folks who have made it into a pet ideological project for reasons having little or nothing to do with the facts on the ground.
4.28.2006 12:08pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Freder, that's a very fetching straw person you constructed there, but I'll be my dollars to your rubles that no one at Princeton espouses creationism as a substitute for science.
4.28.2006 12:09pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Oh, and may I just say, David Bernstein's baby is wicked cute. :-)
4.28.2006 12:10pm
BobH (mail):
Isn't the REGULAR Bill of Rights enough? It has been on the job since 1789 and still seems pretty functional.
4.28.2006 12:14pm
NYU 1L:
Um...I went to Princeton. You don't get an A- just for showing up, particularly with the new regulation that limits A-range grades in lecture classes to 30% of the class. Similarly, only half the eating clubs are exclusive, a significantly lower percentage than that of fraternities at other campuses.

This looks like an "oops" moment for Princeton conservatives, as Princeton's not such a left-wing indoctrination camp that it was necessary. Instead, a student's already filed a complaint under the new SBOR that some professor refuses to teach Marxist theories of economics. That would be typical of Princeton's right-wing agitators, who've always been full of misplaced outrage and lacking in foresight.
4.28.2006 12:40pm
EricK:
Here is the Bill for everyone who could not find it.

Believing in the need to affirm the importance of the principles of academic freedom and intellectual diversity within the University community, and seeking to further promote an intellectual environment of free inquiry and free speech without intimidation of any given set of beliefs, the undergraduates of Princeton University do hereby declare their desire for the following principles to be observed:

1. We affirm that students should be solely graded on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study; professors must never allow a student's political affiliation or religious beliefs to negatively affect his/her academic performance.

2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in teaching their subject as they see fit, but not to the point of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination, or to the exclusion of other opinions or viewpoints. Such actions represent a violation of the principles of a student's academic freedom and the principles of free and open sharing of ideas.

3. It is an abrogation of the University's commitment to the pursuit of truth for the hiring, firing, promotion or granting of tenure to ever be based on their political philosophy, public notoriety, or personal connections. Instead, all faculty hiring and the granting of tenure should be based solely on their contributions to academic discovery.

4. Selection of speakers, allocation of University, and/or USG funds for speakers programs and other student activities must observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism.

5. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.

While we have not the power to declare the above binding or irrevocable, it is the position of this body that any act in violation would contravene the "fundamental principles of free discovery" to which Princeton University is committed.
4.28.2006 12:42pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"Instead, all faculty hiring and the granting of tenure should be based solely on their contributions to academic discovery." is clearly the most interesting clause here. Does this encourage the hiring of extreme thinkers of all stripes and discourage the teaching of mainstream ideas? Will this encourage more arguments that the faculty is biased towards one idea or another?
4.28.2006 12:52pm
Quarterican (mail):
You know, as a recent undergraduate at a major research university, if I were agitating for a Bill of Rights to represent me and my interests, instead of:

...all faculty hiring and the granting of tenure should be based solely on their contributions to academic discovery

I'd prefer something more like

...all faculty hiring and the granting of tenure should be based solely on their skill, value, and contributions as teachers and educators.

Of course, from the broader perspective research and publications are important, and when I go to graduate school I'd like mentors who can guide me in those matters as well as be good teachers, but from an undergraduate perspective the relative unimportance of, you know, teaching the undergrads tended to annoy me.
4.28.2006 1:04pm
anon) (mail):
Considering that most economics students need to have at least some idea of what Marxist economics assumptions are, anyone that "files a complaint" against the idea that they might have to actually learn them is obviously a retard and has no place in any academic institution. Hopefully, they will be denied entrance to law school. But a school like GMU will take them, because GMU doesn't care, they just want the publicity.

The funny part is, that conservative kids have no objection to Marxist economics when they are expressed in mathematical notation. I think this is because they are too busy getting drunk to do any work.
4.28.2006 1:11pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"The funny part is, that conservative kids have no objection to Marxist economics when they are expressed in mathematical notation. I think this is because they are too busy getting drunk to do any work."

Nice way to smear all conservatives as idiotic drunks. Perhaps you'd feel more comfortable commenting at Daily Kos or Democratic Underground.
4.28.2006 1:19pm
anon) (mail):
I am a conservative. Perhaps more conservative than you. I don't read liberal blogs.

But… I have no tolerance for terrorists or underage drinkers that purport to be "learning" when they drink. I know how much Princeton "conservatives" drink and party. They don't care about learning. They not real Americans.
4.28.2006 1:25pm
Justin (mail):
The text itself shows that the statements in it are quite reasonable to people who have no reason to believe that there is an anti-conservative bias at Princeton. It sounds simply an affirmation of those things that we all agree on. The only difference between me and, say, David Bernstien is that he believes that the above "SBOR" is routinely being violated, whereas I have seen no evidence of that being true.
4.28.2006 1:28pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"But… I have no tolerance for terrorists or underage drinkers that purport to be "learning" when they drink. I know how much Princeton "conservatives" drink and party. They don't care about learning. They not real Americans."

Terrorists? Not real Americans? What the heck were YOU drinking when you were supposed to be learning? Sheesh. I know just as well as anyone how moronic people from Princeton are, especially since I grew up in Lawrenceville NJ, the town immediately south of Princeton. But I'm not the person calling them "terrorists" and saying they're not real Americans. That kind of language is really ridiculous.
4.28.2006 1:41pm
Shangui (mail):
2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in teaching their subject as they see fit, but not to the point of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination, or to the exclusion of other opinions or viewpoints. Such actions represent a violation of the principles of a student's academic freedom and the principles of free and open sharing of ideas.

I find "to the exclusion of other opinions or viewpoints" to be quite troubling. Many viewpoints are wrong. Some are so thoroughly disproven and add so little to a discipline that there's no point in including them, except perhaps in a course that deals with the history of a discipline. "Teaching the controversy" make sense in some cases, but not in others. What's to be gained by such vague language that is often at odds with legitimate academic and intellectual goals. What is "student's academic freedom"? They shouldn't have the "freedom" be be wrong.
4.28.2006 1:54pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Sydney - A quick look at google maps will show you that morons are evenly distributed across New Jersey, there is no disproportionate concentration in Princeton. However, lest you think that Princetonians are all committed Americans, I would remind you of their tendency to dress up in orange and black costume, evidence of their un-American Wiccanness.
4.28.2006 2:18pm
Sydney Carton (www):
RA: "I would remind you of their tendency to dress up in orange and black costume, evidence of their un-American Wiccanness."

When I read that, I thought of this:

The zebra's stripes are lacking hues,
so they don't compare to you-know-whose.
Orange, black, and white is what to wear!
It's haute couture
for those who dare!
It's camouflage,
and stylish, too!
Yes, tigers look
the best, it's true!

With a hat tip to Calvin &Hobbes.
4.28.2006 2:44pm
U.Va. 1L (mail):
Teachers are entitled to freedom in teaching their subject as they see fit, but not to the point of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination, or to the exclusion of other opinions or viewpoints.

So it's a violation of the SBOR for an evolutionary biology teacher to exclude ID from the classroom? Great move.
4.28.2006 3:13pm
eponymous coward (mail):
Yeah, that's my big problem right there: "Hey, you're excluding my viewpoint by not teaching about Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism in your evolutionary biology class!"
4.28.2006 3:17pm
Davebo (mail):

but also state that they disagree with his "tactics" (although I can't tell for sure what that means).


Perhaps they are referring to his habit of making up crap out of whole cloth or repeating stories as true when in reality they are false and a cursory investigation would have shown it?
4.28.2006 3:26pm
OrinKerr:
Todd writes:

Nonetheless, as I think this grassroots effort at Princeton indicates, there also seems to be a deep frustration out there that lies behind efforts such as Horowitz's and Princeton's . . .

I'm not entirely sure about this, at least in the case of Princeton. When I was at Princeton, no one knew nor cared what the student government did. Most students barely knew that the student government existed, and very few voted in its elections. As a result, what the student government did gave very little indication of student viewpoints. Maybe things have changed, but that was the case 10-15 years ago.
4.28.2006 3:46pm
Anon1ms (mail):
". . . they disagree with his "tactics" (although I can't tell for sure what that means). "

I think that means that Horowitz is a deceitful blowhard.
4.28.2006 3:48pm
wm13:
As one of the 98% of students who didn't care about these sorts of things (when I was a student), I think this is very silly. Of course most university professors are left-wing ideologues. (Pace the comment above, it's not the 18-year-olds who make university communities left-wing.) But so what? Tell them what they want hear, get the grades you want, and get on with the serious business of heavy drinking and casual sex.

I often think it must be frustrating for professors to have all these bright young people who yes them to death but who are totally insincere and only want a diploma, not to actually learn how smash racism, capitalism, patriarchy and homophobia. Maybe it's this frustration that fuels the pettiness and vindictiveness we associate with academia.
4.28.2006 4:00pm
anon) (mail):
Mr. Carton, Underage drinkers disregard the norms of society, and disregard the democratically-made laws of this country. They have no respect for America. Like terrorists. There is but one place for underage drinkers: in jail. The activist liberal supreme court prevents more serious punishments for these horrible crimes, but I am sure that the people would set up much harsher penalties if they had the chance. Be an American and condemn their behavior.
4.28.2006 4:30pm
Foo:

5. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.


Hmm, where have I seen that grammatical construction before?
4.28.2006 5:11pm
Shangui (mail):
Underage drinkers disregard the norms of society, and disregard the democratically-made laws of this country. They have no respect for America. Like terrorists. There is but one place for underage drinkers: in jail. The activist liberal supreme court prevents more serious punishments for these horrible crimes, but I am sure that the people would set up much harsher penalties if they had the chance. Be an American and condemn their behavior.

If not a joke, and the other comments by this poster indicate he/she may actually be serious, I officially give this the "stupidest ever Volokh.com comment I've ever read." But then again, it's so stupid maybe it has to be a joke.

If not, jaywalkers of the world (or at least the US), beware!
4.28.2006 5:17pm
anon) (mail):
If you want to consider yourself a "law and order" person and want to argue that people that commit crimes deserve no sympathy, I don't know why people like you give a free pass to rich white teens, but not to black people in the ghetto.

Likewise, since it is fairly obvious (to me, at least) that these kids are just trying to pad their resumes and get unpaid internships at thinktanks, I don't know why people think this is anything earth-shattering.
4.28.2006 5:32pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
anon, I reluctantly respond to your comment, to the extent that I can make sense of it. You see, it's not that we draw a line between black kids in the ghetto and white kids in greenwich, ct. It's that we draw a line between, say, armed robbery, and underage drinking. Therefore, black and white armed robbers should be, and thank God usually are, treated the same. Black and white underage drinkers are also treated the same, which is to say with greater leniency. Now "be an American," and go smash-up a liquor store that sells beer to 20 yr olds.
4.28.2006 5:47pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"Underage drinkers disregard the norms of society, and disregard the democratically-made laws of this country. They have no respect for America. Like terrorists. There is but one place for underage drinkers: in jail."

Your equation of underage drinkers to terrorism suggests that you do not understand the full horror of terrorism. Terrorism in general is not a crime (although many acts related to "terrorist attacks" are crimes), as "terrorist attacks" are deliberate mass-murder attacks against innocent civilians, and hence are acts of war. Terrorism requires a warlike response against those non-state actors and the states that support them. Terrorists should generally not go to jail, but should be killed on the battlefield.

Underage drinking is a crime, involving police prosecution. It is TOTALLY different from terrorism. American citizens who violate the criminal law should be arrested and prosecuted, of course, but those people are STILL "real Americans." Their citizenship isn't surrendered at the point they break the law.

It is amazing that you don't see the difference between these two. Jaywalking is a crime too. Is Jaywalking terrorism also?
4.28.2006 6:12pm
crane (mail):
Right on, anon! Everyone who violates the law, no matter how petty that violation may seem, is an evildoer who should be locked up for life. Only then will we real Americans be free from the scourge of terrorism - and, as a bonus, we'll all have great jobs in the booming prison industry!

/sarcasm (just in case)
4.28.2006 6:30pm
anon) (mail):
Mr. Carton, I know the effects of terrorism better than you. I was almost a victim of it, and many people real close to me died because of terrorist activities. (Also, they destroyed almost $80 worth of my property.) So don't talk to me about terrorism. Also, Mr. Carton, you are not telling the truth (in fact, I think you are lying) if you say that participation in a "terrorist" activity results in automatic surrender of citizenship. Such a statute was considered and rejected (perhaps because it would be unconstitutional). However, unwillingness to actually check the statute is somewhat disturbing to me, and indicate that you, like the invisible "liberal" professors at Princeton put ideology over knowledge.

Moreover, while terrorism killed, at most 4,000 people in 2001, teenage hooliganism and drunkenness (including driving) killed more. So, I think we need to see the true horror that are teenagers!

MikeBUSL, In reality, black and white underage drinkers are not treated the same. Urban youths are targeted by law enforcement with the way a cat chases a mouse or a bird. Urban youths are subject to "jump outs" and seemingly random searches at all times. Greenwich youths, at worst, have that curmudgeonly cop grumble at them for jaywalking. Then, they go to their yacht clubs and get drunk.

Crane, Do you want a job in the prison industry. What kind of job?
4.28.2006 7:21pm
amliebsch:
Foo:
Hmm, where have I seen that grammatical construction before?

Clearly, "campus literature" refers only to literature specifically published by the University itself, thus this sentence means that lack of toleration only applies to destruction of literature actually published by the University, not by mere students or faculty. ;)
4.28.2006 8:23pm
Sydney Carton (www):
anon,

It's clear you have a very large bug up your butt about teenage drinking. Fine. But don't pretend that it's the same thing as terrorism. And don't pretend that people who break the law aren't "real Americans." That's demagoguery, and it makes you look like an idiot. But if that's what you want to look like, then go ahead. Just excuse me if I point at you and laugh.

Ha Ha.
4.28.2006 9:35pm
ChatRobot (www):
Do they have a similar group for young Democrats?
-----------------
Padfiles.net: http://www.padfiles.net
Chatrobot.net: http://www.chatrobot.net
-----------------
4.28.2006 9:47pm
anon) (mail):
Sidney, Is this the way they teach you to debate? I don't see why you are so concerned about having a pure educational experience when the best argument you have is "It's clear you have a very large bug up your butt about teenage drinking."

Nobody ever says that something is "clear." You need to provide specifics. You were not intellectually rigorous. I think that it is YOU that looks like the idiot. Many people agree with me.
4.28.2006 10:28pm
Nathan Hall (mail):
I think the Horowitz movement is an unworthy vehicle for it, but there is real and justified discontent among conservative undergrads here at the red-state University of Missouri. There are two main causes for this: slanted presentation of political issues by professors, and inequitable distribution of tuition funds to student groups.

Students and the State provide ample funds and office space for putatively non-partisan but in fact politically active minority and gay groups, and a thoroughly leftist student newspaper. The peace studies department last year took over the student union for a week to demand nuclear disarmament and extol, without irony, the "UN Decade of Peace" starting in 2001. Non-liberals—a majority of students, I think—have no such help amplifying their voice. Meanwhile, my good-hearted humanities professor declares without caveat that some parts of the world are "more advanced" in that they allow abortion, while others are "less advanced" in that the people there are religious. She's neither stupid nor malicious--she just takes it for granted that everyone knows this! Assigned readings in Sociology tell the heroic story of women standing up to "violence and oppression—the tools of men." And that's not the controversial thesis, it's the premise!

The people in charge are not evil. They're not engaged in some conscious scheme to manipulate our minds. But they do unwittingly enforce an unhealthy liberal orthodoxy on campus. We can all benefit from a movement toward more intellectual diversity among faculty and staff.
4.28.2006 10:48pm
crane (mail):

Crane, Do you want a job in the prison industry. What kind of job?


Um, no. The "/sarcasm" at the end of my post was meant to indicate that I was mocking you. The prisons are already overcrowded with drug users; if we lock up all the underage drinkers, too, we'll end up with a ridiculous number of people in prison. Expand that to include everyone who violates the law, like speeders and jaywalkers, and there'll be more prisoners than free people.

There was a science fiction writer (Niven, maybe?) who wrote a lot of stories set in a future where medical science had made universal organ donation cheap, safe, and widely available. In his view, supply was of course still a bottleneck, so the inevitable result was that the citizens would eventually vote to make every crime a capital crime, so that the organs of criminals could be used to extend the lives of law-abiding people. Murderers, rapists, burglars, pickpockets, shoplifters, underage drinkers, jaywalkers - a classic slippery slope.

I'm curious - if those medical advances became real tomorrow, and you knew that having underage drinkers executed would materially improve both the length and quality of your life, where would you stand?
4.29.2006 12:05am
Shangui (mail):
Nobody ever says that something is "clear." You need to provide specifics. You were not intellectually rigorous. I think that it is YOU that looks like the idiot. Many people agree with me.

I clearly don't. It's clear that sometimes people do say that something is clear. I clearly just did. It's also clear that Sydney's comment that "It's clear you have a very large bug up your butt about teenage drinking" is due to the fact that you equated a 19 year old having a drink (note, not getting into a car and killing someone afterwards, but just having a drink) as the equivalent of killing innocent people. It wasn't until quite recently that the drinking age was raised to 21 around in all 50 states. In most of the world it's not considered illegal, let alone immoral, to have a drink before one is 21. My grandparents, who were Italian, would frequently let me have a small glass of wine with dinner when I was in my teens. You seem to think this is the moral equivalent of them buying me a suicide bomber vest after my first communion. Sydney is giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that rather than being morally retarded, you simply have a personal reason for feeling so strongly about underage drinking. You should be thankful that he did not assume that you carefully reasoned your way to the conclusion that drinking a beer is equivalent to mass murder because both are against the law.
4.29.2006 1:00am
Cynicus Prime (mail) (www):
I find it amusing when conservatives propose regulating and codifying academic diversity in one breath and denounce affirmative action and all other diversity in the next.
4.29.2006 1:02am
Nathan Hall (mail):
Cynicus,

Beware the doubled-edged sword. Anyway, we can express displeasure with the current climate while distancing ourselves from ill-considered regulatory solutions. In fact, the nonbinding resolution at issue here is a fine example of that.
4.29.2006 1:41am
jgshapiro (mail):
Sidney, Mike, Crane, et. al.:

Can't we all just ignore the trolls? I don't see the point of responding to them. Their whole raison d'etre is to get negative attention, so responding just encourages them to post more idiotic statements.

Just a thought.
4.29.2006 4:51am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I find it amusing when conservatives propose regulating and codifying academic diversity in one breath and denounce affirmative action and all other diversity in the next.
Why do you find that amusing? You think there's some contradiction between arguing that people should be exposed to different ideas, and arguing that people shouldn't discriminate on the basis of race?
4.29.2006 5:01am
Doc Rampage (mail) (www):
To elaborate on a previous comment: This anon guy who claims to be a conservative but who thinks Marxist economics is essential is a troll. He's just here to toss rhetorical grenades and enjoy the carnage, not to engage in honest debate. He's most likely a leftest pretending to be an extreme conservative (as demonstrated by his adoption of liberal comic-book stereotypes of conservative positions like the idea that politics is just a way to gain power and money and his ridiculous obsession with under-age drinking).

Trolls are antithetical to debate and the best way to keep them out is to ignore them. If everyone ignores them, they don't have fun and they eventually go away.
4.29.2006 7:22am
tgibbs (mail):
As an academic, the only one that I have a major problem with is #2. I don't see how a meaningful distinction can be drawn between "indoctrination" and "trying to teach you something you don't agree with." And I can think of plenty of contexts in which "the exclusion of other ideas and viewpoints" is entirely appropriate. For example, if I'm teaching a lecture class on evolution, I should have no obligation to devote class time to a student who wants to argue about intelligent design--in fact, I think that it would be an injustice to students who took the course in order to learn about evolution, not argue about something that most scientist regard as a long-settled question. I do think that students should not be penalzied academically for expressing opposing viewpoints, but the instructor should ultimately be the arbiter of how much class time to devote to such matters.
4.29.2006 11:42am
Nathan Hall (mail):
tgibbs,

I agree with you for the most part, but I think there is a meaningful distinction between those two things. When trying to teach something a student disagrees with, it is enough to explain the idea and test to be sure they understand it. But indoctrination--at least as I propose they mean it here--means trying to make the student believe it, an altogether different thing. Few would dispute that biology students should learn the theory of evolution, and those few should be ignored.
4.29.2006 12:58pm
JRL:
"I find 'to the exclusion of other opinions or viewpoints' to be quite troubling. Many viewpoints are wrong. Some are so thoroughly disproven and add so little to a discipline that there's no point in including them, except perhaps in a course that deals with the history of a discipline."

See, e.g., Marxist theories of economics
4.29.2006 8:42pm
crane (mail):
RE: Ignoring Trolls

I know, we really should. But when a troll starts spouting such patent absurdities, it's hard to resist the entertainment value of provoking them to see how far they'll go. At least, that's my reason; I can't speak for the others.
4.29.2006 9:30pm
tgibbs (mail):
"When trying to teach something a student disagrees with, it is enough to explain the idea and test to be sure they understand it. But indoctrination--at least as I propose they mean it here--means trying to make the student believe it, an altogether different thing."

If I'm teaching something that I believe to be true, I see it as my responsiblility as an educator to make that case as convincingly as I can in order to convey the evidence on which that belief is based to my students. I don't see any practical way in which making a convincing case can be distinguished from "indoctrination."

However, I will grade them on their knowledge, not on their belief.
4.30.2006 11:47am