The beautiful state of Washington, my native home and still home to many of my family members, has some people ready to enact some major legislative stupidity. David Horowitz was a right-wing nut who was making noise a few years ago with his witch hunt for evil leftists (Hi, Michael!) and his promotion of an Academic Bill of Rights, which was basically a ham-handed attempt to force academia to grant special privileges to intellectually bankrupt ideas, all under the guise of “fairness”. The Washington bill reeks of that familiar stench.
This bill aims to impose the ideological biases of ignorant politicians on the curricula of the state’s universities. It claims to be about “intellectual diversity,” but it’s really about stripping intellectual responsibility from the hands of professors. You can read the whole thing, but as an example of the kind of superficial promises the bill wants to make, but which do little more than corrupt the integrity of the classroom, look at this clause:
Develop a procedure in which a student may present his or her objection to a classroom assignment due to its opposition with the student’s conscience.
What, exactly, is a student’s conscience here? Well, if a UW biology professor tries to demand her students understand the mechanisms of evolution, a creationist student could formally demand accommodation for his beliefs. A chauvinist in a feminist history class could demand a better grade for his paper claiming that women have been oppressing him because they keep turning down his demands for dates. Basically, it throws the doors wide open and allows students to turn their subjective, poorly formulated, or even falsified “objections” into legitimate excuses to subvert the classroom…which is exactly the intent of deranged ideologues like Horowitz.
I know some Washington state residents read this blog. Get on the phone or email to your representatives and tell them that SB 6893 is a disaster in the making and that they better not support it. In particular, if your rep is on the Committee on Higher Education (which contains two of the sponsoring senators, unfortunately — Shin and Delvin) make sure to voice your displeasure and let them know that anyone who supports this abomination of a bill is no friend to higher ed.