Liberal faculty and politically correct thinking at the University of California has resulted in students receiving a decrepit and biased education, a report released this month by a conservative think tank claims.
An April report released by the privately funded California Association of Scholars entitled “A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Influence of Political Activism in the University of California” states that a “leftist” education has resulted in a decrease in the quality of academic teaching, analysis and research at the university.
The report — addressed to the UC Board of Regents — encourages them to impose “a rigorous marketplace of ideas” and establish a sanctuary for a broad political and social ideological spectrum at UC campuses. Presenting dissenting opinions is a quintessential characteristic of quality academics and must be reintroduced to the university, according to the report.
“I think the report simply raises the undeniable reality that many of our UC campuses are failing to truly encourage a marketplace of ideas from all ideological backgrounds,” said Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis. “There is an important difference between promoting ideological exploration in the classroom versus simply ‘not blocking’ conservative viewpoints.”
In the humanities, teaching classics and rigorous analysis have been replaced by professors advocating their viewpoints and discussing minorities’ grievances, the report states. The report also claims that the influence of “radical politics in academia” results in lowered academic value at the university.
However, according to media studies professor Jean Retzinger, political advocacy and high-quality academia are not mutually exclusive.
“The challenge is to find a way to make the past continually relevant to people,” she said. “The way contemporary politics are played out could be a great vehicle to understand the past.”
Arguments against the university’s liberal reputation are not new, she added.
Though the study primarily focuses on the UC, it also looks at research done by other higher education institutions. The study examines newspaper articles, graduation requirements, course descriptions and syllabi and includes faculty and student interviews.
The report also states that UC campuses silence minority opinions.
The status quo in society is generally conservative, so progressive UC professors are needed to balance out the bias, said Berkeley Political Review National News Editor Luis Flores.
However, according to the report, when faculty members and departments attempt to advance social justice, they undermine their credibility.
It is important to have faculty in academia who are unbiased, said Jeremy Palmer, who is running for both ASUC executive vice president and senator with the Defend Affirmative Action Party. Biased faculty risk disenfranchising students, Palmer said.