College Professors in the United States have a reputation for being liberal. There’s nothing new about the stereotype. And many of those who lean left (or right) often consciously bring their political views into the classroom as teaching tools meant to challenge the views of their students. Some conservative students don’t appreciate that, and they’re pushing a new watchlist that labels the liberals.
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The watchlist is part of an aptly named website: ProfessorWatchlist.org. The goal is for conservative students to “expose and document” their professors who “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
Critics of the concept say it is the job of a professor to challenge the beliefs of their students. Most can do this without expecting their students to blindly accept the beliefs of their professors on the right or left. Challenging professors often hone their students’ beliefs by forcing them to defend their own convictions.
Professor Watchlist, though, labels the extremists. Or that is the goal. Many professors have asked their students to nominate them for the list in an attempt to flood the database and render it useless.
This isn’t the first such effort at labeling professors. There was a previous web-based attempt, NoIndoctrination.org, that sought to document bias in the classroom. In 2006, David Horowitz published a print list he called The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
While some feel like this is a return to the McCarthy era blacklisting, others recognize the impotent nature of the list. Some are even turning to outright mockery. The list frequently contains entries on some very famous professors (that are quickly deleted). Dr. Jones–famous for his Nazi fighting and extreme archeological pursuits has made the list. So too has Gilderoy Lockhart, an outright fraud who once taught at Hogwarts.
Yet Professor Watchlist takes itself very seriously. Founded by Turning Point USA, the group aims to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.” Its hopes to “identify young conservative activists, build and maintain effective student groups, advertise and rebrand conservative values, engage in face-to-face and peer-to-peer conversations about the pressing issues facing our country.”
“It’s no secret that some of America’s college professors are totally out of line,” the group’s founder, Charlie Kirk, claims. “Professors who attack and target conservatives, promote liberal propaganda and use their position of power to advance liberal agendas in their classroom. Turning Point USA is saying enough is enough. It’s time we expose these professors.”