David R. Henderson  

My Letter on California Student Protests

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The following by me was the lead letter in my local newspaper, the Monterey County Herald, this morning:

Professors went too far

In a story Friday about the student protests of budget cuts, The Herald reported, "Some professors took students from their classrooms to the rally."
As an educator, taxpayer and citizen, I find these professors' actions appalling. The classroom is supposed to be a place of safety, where the professors don't indoctrinate students with their views. Discussing the issue in class, and letting those who might disagree do so without attacking them, is a good idea. But leading their students out of their classrooms to a rally on a particular issue, whatever the issue, is a fundamental breach of trust.
Whatever these professors think about budget cuts, they should not be leading their students in protest. These professors should be letting the students think for themselves. Whatever else happened last Thursday, this was not education.

David R. Henderson


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Bruce N. Stein writes:

While I would likely agree with you, more information is needed. It could be that these professors took their students to the rally for purely informative reasons.

If a civil rights rally were passing by the door of the university, would you be equally appalled if a professor took the students to watch that?

Again, as I have a very cynical view of things I know what my assumptions about this situation are, but they are ultimately just that - assumptions.

Sean A writes:

Increases in cost, decreases in quality: the effect of public __________.

Joe Marier writes:

I think you're approaching it from the wrong end. It's not so much that the professors are indoctrinating students in their political views. If I were to take a class from, say, Gary Wills, I'd expect him to discuss his political views and how they relate to his views on the Founders. No, it's worse: they are using their students as an instrument towards political ends. In other words, it's rent-a-mob.

Sam Wilson writes:

This wasn't at the NPGS was it? I can see it happening at a local community college, but not at the academy.

David R. Henderson writes:

Joe Marier,
Good point. You're getting at what I was getting at, but I see now that I could have done it better.
Sam,
No. I don't know what school it was--the newspaper didn't say--but I would be shocked if it was the Navy school. For two reasons: (1) I think there's a basic integrity about that issue there, and (2) federal funding was not at stake.

Courtney Norris writes:

I agree with you Mr. Henderson,
A professor is there to teach his/her students on the course they are taking. A professors views are not to be extended to his students. If a professor was to state his views on a religious subject, this rally would have been torn apart by so many people calling it bull that he did this and that he was crossing his lines. What a professor believes should not, to an extent come into the classroom. And why does he care? He is not a student.

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