The reluctance of the University of Colorado to fire professor Ward Churchill is showing the public that colleges and universities are nests of subsidized radicals. Churchill is no anomaly; like-minded professors hold forth on campuses all over the country.
Repeated surveys report that Democratic professors outnumber Republican professors by about 10 to 1, but that ratio doesn't begin to reveal the outrageous leftist culture to which college students are subjected. Many professors are Marxists or other varieties of radicals who hate the United States.
The Churchill episode confirms left-wing professor Richard Rorty's boast that universities are now "the power base for the left in America."
Churchill's Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, and African-American Studies are not merely studies or departments; they are university-financed "movements" of the left.
Churchill and the 199 University of Colorado faculty members publicly defending him claim the mantle of academic freedom for his offensive statements likening the Sept. 11, 2001, victims to "little Eichmanns" and referring to the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that killed 3,000 Americans. They want academic freedom to shield him from charges of plagiarism, false claims of Indian status in his affirmative action job application and misrepresentation of sources in his academic writings.
Public opinion supports the verdict that Churchill was guilty of "conduct which falls below minimum standards of professional integrity," which is the University of Colorado's standard for dismissal of tenured professors. Instead, University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman resigned, saving herself from the task of either firing or defending Churchill.
The most frequent complaint I hear from college students is that professors inject their leftist political comments into their courses even when they have nothing to do with the subject. An anti-Bush tirade, for example, might stream forth without warning in math class.
This politicizing of academia is confirmed by a survey commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. It reported that 46 percent of students at the 50 top U.S. universities and colleges say professors "use the classroom to present their personal political views."
The survey also showed that 74 percent of students said their professors made positive remarks about liberals while 47 percent reported negative comments about conservatives.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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