Monday, February 19, 2007

Lowering Arizona

Must be the heat- a Senate committee in Arizona has approved a bill that would ban professors at public universities from a number of things, including:
1. Endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate for local, state or national office.
2. Endorsing, supporting or opposing any pending legislation, regulation or rule under consideration by local, state or federal agencies.
3. Advocating “one side of a social, political, or cultural issue that is a matter of partisan controversy.”

If they violated the law, professors would either be suspended, fired, or possibly have to pay a $500 fine. This would be a big problem for me, of course, because a major part of my classroom routine involves screaming "Say you love Chairman Mao!" at my students until they start crying. It's good news for cheesy right wing novelty bands though.

Anyway, the article's not really fair towards David Horowitz who tends to overstate his case, but really hasn't pushed for anything like this. And they should probably point out that a law fining professors for stating their opinions probably won't survive anywhere in the country. So, you know, it's sort of a non-story. But who knows? I really don't think there should be public universities for just this reason- why should the state have a say in what people think?


The Pagan Temple said...

It's probably a fairness issue concerning students that might express a different point of view. As is usually the case, the people passing these kinds of laws are like the proverbial swatting flies with a hammer.

Hiromi said...

From the article:

He [the sponsor of the bill] said that he hears about this all the time and reads newspaper articles about it all the time.

Jesus Marshmallow-centered Christ.

Asked for specifics of the professorial behavior his bill would ban, he cited two examples from his own education at Arizona State University, from which he graduated in 1993.

So it's all about him, I guess.

Rufus said...

PT: Yeah, it's to avoid professors bullying students. Most universities have structures in place to avoid that situation. However, there is a commonly held belief that once you get tenure, you can snort coke and show porno movies in class and not get in trouble with the administration. And, as usual, and like you said, the government sees a problem and reaches for a rule-book.

Hiromi: The funny thing is that I hear about it all the time too- on the Internet mostly. I still haven't seen it in eight years (shudder) of higher education. But, it's like the traveling salesman whose kidney was stolen- everybody knows somebody who really saw it!

"Jesus Marshmallow-centered Christ."

That'll be $500 please.

Incidentally, the punchline to of this bill, aside from the fact that it won't last past the first lawyer who spots it, is that I guarantee that the guy who wrote the bill fining people for saying things that might offend little ears bitches about "political correctness" all the time!