Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Politcal spin in today's classrooms more common than the freshman 15?

I came across the most absurb topic today while perusing "Radical" UCLA professors targeted by alumni group" The gist of the article is that some alumni group is encouraging current students to document politically biased salvos during lecture time in the form of a monetary finder's fee. I'm not really against students who want to make an extra buck in this manner since I too was once a poor, ramen eating UCLA bruin, hence robobruin, I'm more against corporations/individuals who deem it necessary to patrol a professor's political views.

This is college. Students are exposed to much greater ills than a professor spending a bit too much time on Bush and the war in Iraq. Heck, Jon Stewart probably has a greater influence and a more captivating presence on a college student's political views than his professor. We aren't talking about a bunch of impressionable kids like in Dead Poet's Society. Let's give UCLA students some credit here...these are some of the smartest young adults in the country and they definitely can differentiate textbook analysis and political slant during a lecture.

Let's say the argument is not whether a professor is inculcating a student with his political views but rather that he's just wasting time talking about an irrelevant subject. I checked out some of the targeted professors and they mostly teach political/social science/law classes. Are you telling me that current political affairs are off topic? Isn't there great debate about the legality of guantanamo bay or wiretapping US citizens by way of the Patriot Act? If the professor is just there to repeat what's in a textbook why go to class at all? His job is to expand and add to the textbook and that may involve some of his political views. I'm ok with that...I've never been brainwashed by a professor..they're some of the smartest guys/gals in the world but definitely not omniscient.

I'm just disappointed no Boelter hall professors were mentioned. I wouldn't have minded hearing some political spin during my time as an undergrad in the engineering building. That might have made those required fluid dynamic classes a bit more palpable. And it may have been fun to see the words 'Bush' and 'Liberal' used to demonstrate the Levenshtein distance formula. A computer science prof could even have slipped John Kerry in a state diagram that led to a flip flopping of results.

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