Monday, February 14, 2005

More on Academics in Vegas

Here’s why the ACLU is right to take Hoppe’s case – and why Knight was wrong, in my opinion, to complain about his professor – even though the professor was wrong to use the gay folk example:

ACLU officials said the validity of Hoppe's economic theories does not matter. It is his right to espouse them in class.

"We don't subscribe to Hans' theories and certainly understand why some students find them offensive," said Gary Peck, the ACLU of Nevada's executive director.

"But academic freedom means nothing if it doesn't protect the right of professors to present scholarly ideas that are relevant to their curricula, even if they are controversial and rub people the wrong way."

Hoppe said he is dumbfounded by the university's response to the student's complaint. It is not his job, he said, to consider how a student might feel about economic theories.

The ACLU lawyer goes on to say:

Lichtenstein, the ACLU lawyer, said the university's response to Hoppe's situation might stifle free speech on the campus.

"If he can be silenced, that's going to create self-censorship among other faculty members who won't say anything controversial," he said. "Who's going to lose in all this? The students."

What’s the cure for bad speech? Not punishment and lawsuits and speech codes. Those don’t change the world. Those just shut people up.

The cure for bad speech is more speech.

It’s true, though, that we had a special situation here, in that we had a professor here who was not going to listen to this student – but still: the student needed to speak, not to threaten or to assault: which is what he did.


Ol Cranky said...

I hate to say it, nut the Professor actually had a valid point and the student's reaction is actually more offensive than the comment that illicited the reaction. The reference was to groups with the capability and willingness to spend in real time. The more expendable income you have (especially without need to save for large future expenses. There was no slight by including gays as one of the 3 example groups. Many marketing campaigns are directed specifically at the gay community because they frequently perceived as being better educated with a higher income to expenditure ratio and, especially if they do not have children with a need to save for their college, there for more expendable income. It's not an irrational conclusion for the professor to have come to and there doesn't appear to have been some sort of negative judgment implied in his examples.

zelda1 said...

I hate the thought of a university shutting down any professors liberties at teaching. Now I realize that spewing racism ect should never be tolerated at any school but especially at one of higher learning. Students learn more when there is an unscripted and uncensored discourse in the classroom. And if an instructor can not tell the truth to her students then what can she tell. I say free speech everywhere but especially at universities.