Friday, July 08, 2005

Horowitz Wins a Victory in PA

Holy shit people!

The Chronicle of Higher Education just published a story on PA House Resolution No. 177
Horowitz has succeeded in getting one of his ABOR bills passed here in Pennsylvania. I have read through the language, and so far, it doesn't strike me as horrible, but its not good either. I take it that the PA legislature doesn't have jurisdiction over liberal arts colleges, but the resolution does cover Community colleges and State colleges.

Here is a little snippet on what happened on the floor:

The fight over the resolution was indeed intense, taking up many hours of debate and procedural maneuvers before the resolution was approved, 108-90, largely along party lines, with Republicans backing the measure and Democrats opposing it. Faculty unions nationally, while saying that they don’t object to fairness, oppose the Academic Bill of Rights, which they say will force professors to give equal time to any possible view — including Holocaust denial and creationism — and make faculty members vulnerable to sanctions any time they say something controversial.
Moreover, here is some of the language from the bill:

9     RESOLVED, That a select committee composed of the
10 Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Education Committee,
11 plus one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of
12 Representatives and one member appointed by the Minority Leader
13 of the House of Representatives, examine, study and inform the
14 House of Representatives on matters relating to the academic
15 atmosphere and the degree to which faculty have the opportunity
16 to instruct and students have the opportunity to learn in an
17 environment conducive to the pursuit of knowledge and truth and
18 the expression of independent thought at State-related and
19 State-owned colleges, universities and community colleges,
20 including, but not limited to, whether:
21 (1) faculty are hired, fired, promoted and granted
22 tenure based on their professional competence and subject
23 matter knowledge and with a view of helping students explore
24 and understand various methodologies and perspectives;
25 (2) students have an academic environment, quality life
26 on campus and reasonable access to course materials that
27 create an environment conducive to learning, the development
28 of critical thinking and the exploration and expression of
29 independent thought and that the students are evaluated based
30 on their subject knowledge; and
20050H0177R2553 - 2 -

     1         (3)  that students are graded based on academic merit,
2 without regard for ideological views, and that academic
3 freedom and the right to explore and express independent
4 thought is available to and practiced freely by faculty and
5 students;

How did I end up in this state? The ONLY state that actually passed one of Horowitz's bills. Good lord! When will people wake up and stop this madness. Now we have allowed our local legislators, many of which who probably wasted their academic career at the Frat house, to have power over university and college hires. Students can seek out remedies for professors who refuse to discuss Creationism in Intro to Cell Biology.

I am sorry, but we are an embarassment of a country on these issues. We are allowing the Conservative Right now take over higher education? What year is it?