Indoctrinate U

Katherine Kersten: The pariahs of our college campuses


It's become a common complaint that U.S. campuses are home to a stifling liberal orthodoxy where contrary beliefs are persecuted. Doyle says it's no illusion.

A new film, "Indoctrinate U," documenting that atmosphere, opens near campus tomorrow.

Bethany Dorobiala, a senior political science major at the U of M, knows just what Doyle is talking about. Dorobiala was one of the few students who agreed to speak on the record about the problem.

In many courses, Dorobiala says, professors load up reading lists with books that reflect their ideological agenda. "If you speak up in class and present an alternative view, you may risk being ridiculed by a professor twice your age with a PhD.," she said. "Students who agree with the professor's politics are regularly praised and encouraged."

Dorobiala has encountered this disregard for intellectual diversity in classes outside of political science. "In geology class, I had a teacher who made side comments bashing President Bush," she said. A rigid orthodoxy prevails on issues as disparate as the death penalty and global warming, she says, and some professors regularly pontificate on topics outside their discipline.

"I definitely know of students whose grades have suffered because they became identified as a conservative in class," said Dorobiala. If this happens, it's "very difficult to defend yourself. The authorities -- your adviser, department chairs -- think you're complaining because you didn't do your work."

The university rarely receives official complaints about ideologically motivated grading and follows a regular investigative process when it does, says Jan Morse of the U's Student Conflict Resolution Center.

Dorobiala's only solace is her work with College Republicans, where she can trade war stories without having to look over her shoulder.

Norman Fruman, an eminent professor of English at the U, now retired, believes that political correctness has gained a stranglehold in the humanities and social sciences.

"In recent decades, we've seen a relentless assault on American and Western history and values as the primary source of wickedness in the world," he said. "Literature no longer explores universal human experience, but instead has become a branch of politics, with a focus on often-second rate works about the victimhood of favored groups."Contempt and insults are regularly leveled at one group: white, heterosexual males," he added.

Doyle and Fruman see this rigid orthodoxy as self-perpetuating. "Birds of a feather hire together," quipped Doyle. Politically correct ideology is quasi-religious in nature, he explains. "You're not going to hire someone who seems like an infidel."

Official Site: Indoctrinate U

Wikipedia: Indoctrinate U

Comment: "Indoctrinate U" is coming to the Twin Cities for a week-long run at Minnesota Film Arts' Oak Street Cinema! The screenings are sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Scholars and the Tocqueville Center at the University of Minnesota.

I'd like to see this but it won't fit my schedule this weekend. If you go ... take a coat! The Oak Street has been freezing every time I've been there!

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