Stupid Bills: The College Years
The Maine college Republicans have been crowing about this bill for a while and lately they've finally been getting some press:
Several University of Maine System students told lawmakers Wednesday they have been treated unfairly on their campuses because they are politically conservative. All members of the College Republicans, the students testified before the Legislature's Education Committee in favor of LD 1194, which would require state colleges and universities to publish an "academic bill of rights" to keep students and instructors from being penalized for expressing unpopular viewpoints both in and out of the classroom.
The bill is the work of David Horowitz, a far-right activist who is leading a nation-wide campaign to portray college conservatives as victims. It contains contains some very scary language including a provision that would limit the ability of professors to introduce controversial material into the classroom, and one that would require instructors to present alternative views in the classroom regardless of the merits of those views and their personal beliefs.
Some of the accusations Horowitz has made to justify this kind of law are outright lies, and others are just hilarious. Here are a few complaints submitted to Horowitz's "Academic Student Abuse Center" and noted by Think Progress:
“This complaint applies to the discriminating nature of grading of my English teacher…On the last one, I wrote about how family values in the books weve read aren’t good. I know the paper was pretty much great because I spell checked it and proofred it twice. I got an D- just because the professor hates families and thinks its okay to be gay.” [sic] - Ohio State, English
“We were then required to watch an immoral Seinfeld episode dealing with masturbation, an exercise with little sociological value. She then gave a lecture on ‘moral relativity,’ which she defined very closely with ‘cultural relativism.’” - St. Louis University, Sociology
“Talked about flags as symbols of states and argued that new Iraqi flag was not a result of a transparent and fair process…Claimed AS FACT that other Arab societies had red, green and black in their flags…” - St. Michael’s College, Human Geography
You can read all the submissions to the "Abuse Center" that were made before horowitz removed the website here. These are the kind of crazy complaints that Maine's government and courts would have to deal with if this law passes.
Read the entire bill here.
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