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Friday, February 17, 2006

Book: 'Dangerous' Teachers on Our Campuses
Eight Philadelphia-area professors are "poisoning the minds of today's college students," according to a new book by conservative commentator and best-selling author David Horowitz. Not-so-beautiful minds can also be found at Princeton and Penn State, he charges.

The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America declares on its inside flap that "Horowitz exposes 101 academics—representative of thousands of radicals who teach our young people—who also happen to be alleged ex-terrorists, racists, murderers, sexual deviants, anti-Semites, and al-Qaeda supporters. Horowitz blows the cover on academics who: Say they want to kill white people. Promote the views of the Iranian mullahs. Support Osama bin Laden. Lament the demise of the Soviet Union. Defend pedophilia. Advocate the killing of ordinary Americans."

The book is generating all sorts of reaction, from eye-rolling apathy -- "I have better things to do than worry about this. You can't let your enemies set your agenda," Penn law professor Regina Austin told the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian – to denunciations by the ACLU, People for the American Way and the National Educational Association, to impressive sales on amazon.com, where, four days after its release, it already ranks No. 65.

The outspoken ex-liberal Horowitz has come under fire before.

Also on the list: Penn's Mary Frances Berry (history) and Michael Eric Dyson (religious studies), Temple's Melissa Gilbert (geography and urban studies) and Lewis Gordon (philosophy), Villanova's Rick Eckstein (sociology) and Suzanne Toton (theology), Arcadia University's Warren Haffar (poli sci), Princeton's Richard Falk (politics), and Penn State's Michael Berube (literature, cultural studies) and Samuel Richards (race relations).

Horowitz, known for his support of an academic bill of rights, spoke last month at hearings on academic freedom at Temple University. The forum was organized by the Select Committee on Academic Freedom in Higher Education, a group set up by state lawmakers, to explore alleged indoctrination and abuse by scholars. Temple president David Adamany testified that no student had made an official complaint of classroom bias complaint in five years, The Inquirer wrote.

In his testimony, Horowitz said his campaign had been misrepresented. "It does not say you have to teach holocaust denial or intelligent design. Holocaust denial is a theory for Jew-hating kooks and it has no place in a university. ... Intelligent design is not a scientific theory and it has no place in a biology class." He denied supported affirmative-action hiring of conservatives, saying "You shouldn't hire people only because they're liberals or conservatives."

He said, "It's the left now which practices McCarthyism."

Of his student days at Columbia, he said, "I was an English major. It was a useless subject." (In his book, Columbia has a list-leading nine "dangerous" academics.)

Penn State's Berube, who likes literature, pokes satirical fun today on his blog at the notion U.S. students are brainwashed: "Many of my students come from conservative backgrounds, but by the tenth week of class, they can chant 'all power to the Supreme Soviet' with the best of them. Basically, we party like it's 1929. At the end of the semester, they leave my classroom and plaster the campus with posters reading 'Meat is Murder' and 'Bush is Hitler.' Two years ago, one enterprising student came up with a 'Meat is Hitler' poster. I have recommended that student to some of the nation's top graduate schools."

Get the feeling, class, there'll be lots more discussion of this subject before the semester's over?


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