A coalition of liberal groups and teachers’ unions — including the ACLU, People For the American Way and the National Education Association — is denouncing David Horowitz’s new book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
The coalition, dubbed “Free Exchange on Campus,” calls the book a blacklist of 101 professors. A press release attacking the book was distributed on Collegiate Presswire and posted as a review on Amazon.com.
"The book is purposefully misleading," said Kathy Sproles, president of the National Education Association’s National Council for Higher Education. “Mr. Horowitz claims to be protecting the classroom, but most of his stories talk about activities that happen outside the classroom. The only thing Horowitz proves in this book is the distance he is willing to go to silence his critics.”
Horowitz’s book chronicles some of America’s most radical college professors, ranging from the infamous Ward Churchill, who compared 9/11 victims to Nazis, to other who are ex-terrorists, racists, murderers, sexual deviants anti-Semites and al Qaeda supporters. It is published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company.
The introduction to The Professors preemptively counters the charges now emerging from the left: “This book is not intended as a text about left-wing bias in the university and does not propose that this bias is necessarily a problem. Every individual, whether conservative or liberal, has a perspective and therefore a bias. Professors have every right to interpret the subjects they teach according to their individual points of view. This is the essence of academic freedom.
“But they also have professional obligations as teachers, whose purpose is the instruction and education of students, not to impose their biases on students as though they were scientific facts. The professorial task is to teach students how to think, not to tell them what to think. In short, it is the responsibility of professors to be professional—and therefore “academic”—in their classrooms, and therefore not to require students to agree with them on matters which are controversial.”
The liberal groups belonging to “Free Exchange on Campus” see the book as an attempt to paint with a broad brush the left-wing attitudes of college professors.
"To hear them tell it, left-wing indoctrinators control universities without regard for teaching, but their evidence has been either thin or completely fictitious," said William Scheuerman, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and a professor of political science at the State University of New York.
Horowitz countered the charges in a statement to HUMAN EVENTS.
“The statement condemning my book, The Professors, is a naked attempt by a coalition of left-wing groups including the ACLU, the National Education Association, the pro-Castro United Students Association and People For the American Way to censor my book before the public has a chance to read it,” Horowitz said.
“This is exactly the kind of attempt to suppress dissenting views that exists on our campuses today and that my book exposes,” he added.
Some of the professors featured in Horowitz’s book have also begun to lash out at the exposé. The coalition’s press release quotes two of them:
- University of Illinois communications professor Robert McChesney, whose students have selected him as an award-winning instructor, comes under attack by Horowitz for raising questions about the news media, its corporate ownership and what effect that has on news coverage. Said McChesney, "They used two quotations from my two decade-long career as a teacher as evidence that I somehow use the classroom as a bully pulpit to push liberal causes. This is as illogical as taking two paragraphs from a conservative faculty member and concluding that they propagandize exclusively for conservative ideologies."
- Larry Estrada, associate professor of ethnic studies at Western Washington University, is accused of favoring the creation of an independent Hispanic state in America’s Southwest to be called "Atzlan." Said Estrada, "I think this attack is libelous. They never contacted me or talked to me about my viewpoints. I’ve never advocated secession."
Horowitz took issue with the coalition’s characterization of his having to retract statements he has made.
According to the coalition’s press release, “Last month, at a hearing before Pennsylvania state lawmakers, Horowitz was forced to retract his previous claims, such as a story about a Penn State University biology professor who had supposedly shown the film Fahrenheit 9/11 to a class of science students. He also backed away from a story about a student allegedly given a lower grade because of his views on abortion. Last month, facing public outrage, a Horowitz protégé at UCLA, Andrew Jones, was forced to abandon a campaign to pay students to spy on professors. Jones is the author of a blacklist of UCLA faculty called, ‘The Dirty Thirty.’”
That’s not true, Horowitz said.
“The statement is a smear of my book and my work filled with statements that are false,” he said. “I have not ‘retracted’ any claims about indoctrination in the classroom as the document says. In McCarthyite fashion the ACLU statement accuses me of guilty association with Andrew Jones who is conducting a campaign at UCLA. I am not associated in any way with Andrew Jones and he is not my ‘protégé’ as the statement claims. Andrew Jones did work for me once but I fired him three years ago and have publicly denounced his campaign as the signers of this malicious statement know but choose to ignore.”