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Sunday, November 23, 2014 | Last updated: 1:30am

UA can't be blamed for ideological indoctrination



With the semester coming to an end and finals fast approaching, we should all take the time to ponder what we’ve learned during the past five months. Do logarithmic equations and political theory have any practical, real-life applications? Will you remember any of it in 10 years?

There are some who would also ask you to consider whether you’ve been ideologically indoctrinated by your radical, leftist college professors. Katie Pavlich, a graduate of the UA and the news editor of Townhall.com, believes that this is the case.

In an appearance on the ever-so-fair and balanced Fox News, Pavlich accused her alma mater of indoctrinating students and being intolerant of conservative views.

“They try to crowd out not only any form of traditional ideology — conservative ideology — and also any ideology that does not fit with their leftist propaganda that they force onto their students in classes and threaten that they won’t pass the class unless they adhere to it,” Pavlich said.

Of course, anyone currently enrolled at the UA knows that the university goes out of its way to accommodate different points of view. The UA College Republicans and the Bible-thumping proselytizers who set up shop on the UA Mall can hardly complain of having their views suppressed in any way.

Although there have been attempts in the past to ban conservative speakers like Brother Jed and the anti-abortion Genocide Awareness Project from campus, none of the efforts have been successful because the university has made it clear that it values all ideas regardless of their popularity or political correctness.

Pavlich’s indictment of the UA and all “liberal” universities was prompted by a political science class syllabus that asked students to “write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” The class is taught by a professor at Butler University, a Midwest liberal arts institution in Indianapolis.

Although much ado has been made of the syllabus, the professor’s directive doesn’t demand that students disavow their identity, but simply asks them shed to their biases and preconceptions at the door, something that we should all strive to do, both in and out of academic settings.

Acting on the assumption that your ethnicity, gender, race and sexuality are the norm leads you to treat those people who do not fit your narrow conception of normativity with prejudice.

If trying to teach students the importance of inclusiveness is tantamount to “ideological indoctrination,” so be it. The world would be a much better place if folks like Pavlich got off their high horses and started embracing that kind of “radical liberalism.”

And as for Pavlich’s indictment of the UA, she would do well to remember that the education she received at this “liberal” institution was what earned her the career she has today.

So the lesson here, kids, is this: Accept and embrace each other’s differences and don’t baselessly accuse your alma mater of indoctrination. Your last five months of schooling should have at least taught you that much.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .


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