It's no secret that American universities have become safe havens for radical professors who confuse indoctrination and political activism with scholarship and teaching. David Horowitz's new book Reforming Our Universities focuses on his campaign to restore academic integrity to liberal arts programs. His central goal is to persuade universities to adopt an Academic Bill of Rights in order to ensure that instructors "1) provide students…with both sides of controversial issues; 2) do not present opinions as facts; and 3) allow students to think for themselves." The overwhelming response of universities has been to deny that there is any problem, and to point out that most universities already have made strong statements of support for academic freedom. However, these policies exclusively protect the faculty, not the students.
Horowitz responds by calling attention to the problem with the Left's own language of diversity. He challenges universities to incorporate intellectual, political and ideological diversity into their existing cultural and ethnic diversity policies. Despite being subject to relentless attacks, Horowitz and a handful of legislative allies won some important victories: the Pennsylvania legislature held the first academic freedom hearing in the nation and two major universities adopted academic freedom policies. Most important, Horowitz's six-year battle brought attention to the issue among faculty and university administrations.
The campaign's modest successes demonstrate the need for its continuation in order to enforce real academic freedom for students. Horowitz is currently working with students to petition their professors to add dissenting texts to required reading lists. The name of this book, which is important for all families that have college students, is Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights by David Horowitz.
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