Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Herald-Leader on record in support of ideological uniformity

By Martin Cothran

In its July 2 editorial, "Academic Witchhunt," the Lexington Herald-Leader charged The Family Foundation with engaging in a "witchhunt" in its efforts to shed light on taxpayer-supported political and social activism at the University of Kentucky. The Foundation had also pointed out the university's hypocritical rhetoric about "diversity" when, in fact, there seems to be little diversity in the ideological makeup of its own faculty.

In its frenzied attempt to burn The Family Foundation at the rhetorical stake for doing little more than reprinting several UK web pages, Herald editors didn't bother to address why it is that amidst the tiresome propaganda about diversity, left-wing professors get to occupy comfortable offices at our state universities while conservatives seem nowhere to be found.

There are entire departments at UK where there is not a conservative in sight. One of them is the "Gender and Women's Studies" department, a little bastion of state-supported, left-wing activism where conservatives don't even get to be the object of witchhunts – since there aren't any to hunt.

We have challenged the ideological mullahs in the department to produce just one faculty member on its staff who supported the Marriage Amendment of 2004, which was approved by 75 percent of voters – the very people whom the Herald-Leader expects to stand placidly by like good little taxpayers while their public universities use their tax money to undermine their beliefs.

In the Herald-Leader's story, former director of the Gender and Women's Studies Department, Joan Callahan, defends the program by saying that "there is no longer a single, traditional view" on the family. You can say that again. Not only is there no longer a single traditional view in her former department, there isn't any traditional view at all: there is now a single liberal view.
"The days of exclusion are coming to an end," she said. Oh really? If the "days of exclusion are over" in this little political fiefdom, then Callahan ought to be able to point to at least one faculty member in the Gender and Women's Studies program who has a traditional view on the matter.

We're not holding our breath.

Instead of the diversity people like Callahan like to talk about, there is none in this particular program. UK’s website lists faculty affiliations with groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and The Fairness Alliance, along with hyperlinks to those organizations.

Professors are listed as teaching “family planning and abortion” and also “involving students in activism” as part of the course descriptions.

One professor teaches a course for UK’s Discovery Seminar Program called “I know my Rights” that focuses on civil liberties law. Problem is, he's not even an attorney. His sole qualification for teaching about constitutional law appears to be that he is a Board member of an ACLU pro-abortion program.

Another professor even has UK funding her research on the negative impact of The Marriage Amendment on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender couples and paying them $100.00 to be interviewed about their “challenges.”

It would make an interesting thought experiment to imagine what the Herald-Leader's response would be if, instead of the left, the right had control of a whole department at one of our public universities. How would the Herald respond if UK's website proudly touted the fact that it had a whole department filled with professors who were members of prominent right-wing organizations?

Would it call those who pointed it out "witchhunters"? Not likely. In fact, it would be spearheading the attempt to draw attention to it – and naming names as it did so.

Would Lee Todd take time out from his empty rhetoric about diversity and join his pals at the ACLU to issue a statement about "academic freedom" to defend such a department, as he has done for the "Gender and Women's Studies" program? We doubt it.

But the Herald's editorial serves at least one useful purpose: it puts it on record in opposition to real diversity in our public universities.

Thanks for the clarification.

No comments: