Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I thought I should report some recent news that demonstrates how seriously Penn State takes David Horowitz's pleas for academic freedom. When he visited Penn State last week, Horowitz read to us from our faculty handbook and university policies for the handling of student grievances. {OK, this gets a bit complicated. Horowitz said he doubted that any of us had ever read the faculty handbook, a well-thumbed copy of which sits on the shelf just a few inches away as I write this, so that may explain why he was reading the document to us. He also referenced university policies, only to suggest their non-existence. In response to a student who reported that there had been only 13 student complaints of political discrimination filed out of more than 80,000 course offerings at Penn State (& I hasten to add that these complaints were not only from conservative students complaining about liberal professors), Horowitz both belittled the number [who likes "13"?] and claimed that Penn State has no system in place for handling student complaints of academic unfairness. Admittedly, some may find it a puzzle that we know there were 13 complaints if we have no system for students to use to file such complaints, but hey, it's not my job to make Horowitz's tangle straight.]

So here's the news. Following an extensive investigation, the Penn State administration has found that one of its faculty members has indeed violated our policies guarding students against ideologically-based acts of discrimination. The faculty member in question is being fined $10,000 (a number that appears breath-taking to most of us professors on our salaries), and a reprimand is being placed in that faculty member's record. Further, if this faculty member is ever again found to have violated these policies, she may be dismissed.

Way to go; right David?

In the case just adjudicated, the faculty member, acting out of an anti-homosexual ideological agenda, committed acts of discrimination against a student under her supervision in the course of her employment duties. If you want all the details, you can find them in the sports pages. The key point is, we take Horowitz's point. We will not stand for politically or ideologically motivated discrimination against students on this campus.

I'll be watching Horowitz's web sites, as I know he will want to congratulate us on this firm action and will hold Penn State up as a model that other universities would do well to emulate.

By the way, there is still time to sign up for that trip to Rome with David Horowitz. Since, as he likes to tell his audiences, most of us are paid lavishly for only working six hours a week, it's not like we don't have the time or the money to help David finance his little trip to Italy. The boy does need to get out more, so let's all lend a hand. Should be a great, and educational, trip.


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