Another political assignment

Well, this is appalling:

Emily Brooker, who graduated from the university’s School of Social Work last spring, took issue with a project in which students were asked to draft and individually sign a letter to Missouri legislators that supported the right of gay people to be foster parents, according to the complaint.

The assignment was eventually shelved, but the complaint says officials in the social work school charged Brooker with the highest-level grievance for not following guidelines on diversity, interpersonal skills and professional behavior. According to the complaint, during a hearing before an ethics committee, faculty members asked Brooker: “Do you think gays and lesbians are sinners? Do you think I am a sinner?” and questioned whether she could assist gay men and women as a professional social worker. […]

Brooker, who began at Missouri State in 2002, took a required welfare policy and services class in spring 2005 taught by Frank G. Kauffman, an assistant professor of social work. During the class, the complaint alleges that Kauffman stated that he is a “liberal” and that social work is a “liberal profession.”

Whole thing here; more here.

Look: If you’re a professor and feel that you need to state your political biases up front, then go ahead. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, and such forthrightness can be  helpful for students. But when you then turn around and make your political leanings into a litmus test for your entire profession — and therefore imply/insist that anybody who wants to join your profession sign on to your beliefs — you’re evangelizing and indoctrinating. That sort of thing has no place in a place committed to free inquiry. Higher education is about teaching people how to think, not how to be activists for the professor’s favorite cause. Professors who think otherwise have called their own credentials as teachers into question. 

And at some point, people need to figure out that "tolerance" does not mean "unconditional acceptance", and that a person can believe in the moral wrongness of something but still help those engaged in it.

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Filed under Education, Higher ed, Life in academia, Scholarship

2 responses to “Another political assignment

  1. Pingback: Casting Out Nines»Blog Archive » Teaching, not indoctrination

  2. I’m not going to disagree with the thrust of what you said, but on the other hand, it’s a social work class. What did she expect? It’s like taking a “wimmin’s studies” class and objecting to feminism.

    If social work isn’t inherently a leftist discipline, then what is?