Sunday, March 27, 2005

Academic Florida's State House

In Florida, the House has passed a bill to the state Senate that gives students who feel that their views aren't respected in the classroom standing to sue. The House member behind the bill, a real jackass named Dennis Baxley (yes, he's a Republican, would any Democrat author this crap?), said a university education should be more than “one biased view by the professor, who as a dictator controls the classroom,” as part of “a misuse of their platform to indoctrinate the next generation with their own views.”
Also, we get this: Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue. “Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.
The bill was passed through committee on an 8-2 party line vote (which says a lot for fair legislative balance in Florida). One of the Democrats, Dan Gelber, said this would let a Holocaust denier sue a professor who taught the history of the Holocaust.
Baxley's response: Baxley brushed off Gelber’s concerns. “Freedom is a dangerous thing, and you might be exposed to things you don’t want to hear,” he said. “Being a businessman, I found out you can be sued for anything. Besides, if students are being persecuted and ridiculed for their beliefs, I think they should be given standing to sue.”
During the committee hearing, Baxley cast opposition to his bill as “leftists” struggling against “mainstream society.” “The critics ridicule me for daring to stand up for students and faculty,” he said, adding that he was called a McCarthyist. Baxley later said he had a list of students who were discriminated against by professors, but refused to reveal names because he felt they would be persecuted.
Read that last paragraph. Read it twice. Baxley says he was called a McCarthyist for this, making it sound like he was being wronged, and in the next sentence, he pulls the prototypical Joe McCarthy line. Yes I have a list of State Department/state university traitors/persecuted victims which of course at this time I will not/will not reveal.
Why do people elect such foaming idiots? Academic freedom will suffer mightily if every class has to be litigated in the courts. The Senate needs to reject the bill or Jeb Bush needs to veto the bill. Education is in enough peril already. The last thing we need is every teacher and professor looking over their backs. These politicians went to these schools too. Are they saying they were all terrorist victims of mean professors? It's crap. They are the terrorists, for holding up Florida's universities hostage to this bill that has NOTHING to do with academics.


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