Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Politeness Police

The worst part of CUNY's proposed policy (http://soc.qc.cuny.edu/ufs/2policiesdraft.htm, scroll down) is the total absence of standards or explanations for what "faculty conduct" would violate it. CUNY general counsel Frederick Schaffer declared that particularly in political issues, "professors’ conduct could spill over into something that could be thought of as abusive." What exactly is abusive and who will define it? If a professor tells a student that it's idiotic to think that the 9/11 attacks were a secret plot by the Bush Administration, is that abusive? Or is it just the truth? Will Holocaust Deniers be able to file complaints against history professors who denounce their views? Will white supremacists put professors through punishments for denouncing racism? What about famous characters like the law professor in the Paper Chase? Would he be abusive? This seems to be another step in the infantilization of college students, promoting the idea that students are babies who must be coddled by administrators and protected from professors who "could be thought of as abusive."

1 comment:

AaronBarlow said...

Also, the idea that the student is in a position to understand exactly why a professor chooses a certain path makes no sense. Students are in class, in part, because they don't know the field. For them to be in a position to challenge the choices of the teacher in this regard undermines education--at best.