13 November 2007

Academic Freedom

There is a bill in the House right now called "H.R. 4137, The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007." This bill is designed to help students access higher education, regardless of their financial situation. This is a highly laudable goal. Moreover, this specific bill reauthorizes a system already in place, and already proven to work reasonably well - sure not perfectly, but without the bill going through things would be MUCH worse.

However, there are people planning to tack on an "Academic Bill of Rights" amendment. At first glance this seems harmless - it's supposed to give students the right to free speech and congregation on campuses. Take another look at that. How long have our universities and colleges, both public and private, already been providing the right to free speech and meeting and even civil protests on our campuses without interference from the Feds? When problems come up, have we ever turned to the Feds for their so-called help? You know where else the Feds are sitting on our campuses? Behind tables saying "Join the Army - you'll only have to train two weekends a year and we promise, cross our hearts, that we won't send you to Iraq to be blown up! and we'll even take you if you're schizophrenic or retarded because we need more cannon fodder people who can't understand the situation they're in while on the front lines eager recruits who we can prey upon recruit because of their debt and help to become financially solvent!"

Yeah, I want them legislating for more Federal presence on my campus. Where do I sign up?

To send a letter to your Rep, here is where you sign up.

And in case you think I'm saying this just b/c I'm a flaming Liberal, quoted directly from the model letter on that page,

Over the last four years, 28 states have considered legislation aimed at correcting an alleged “political bias” at their state colleges and universities. After examining the evidence and assessing existing institutional policies, no state enacted this legislation, regardless of which party held a political majority.

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