Using Zinn’s book as the sole text in this academic course violated the existing academic freedom policies of the Kansas Board of Regents, first because its subject matter is not the subject matter announced for the course, and second because it represents the unwarranted imposition of an ideological viewpoint on students.
In other words, even in this case, as in all my proposals to reform American universities, I made a point of respecting the prerogative of faculty to assign the texts to be used in their classrooms, regardless of what I might think of their merit. I have only asked that students be made aware of sources representing more than one point of view, that faculty be trained in the subjects they are teaching, and that their teaching conform to the rules established by the profession. On the other hand, one would never know this from reading my Leninist critics, like Lingeman, for whom crushing a political opponent counts for everything and the facts nothing.
“One of [Horowitz’s] pet projects is a so-called Academic Bill of Rights…Colleges that fail to sign on to the bill of rights would be monitored by state officials and politicians.”
Not according to anything I have said or written, or that is in any legislation I am associated with – pending or otherwise. This is another flagrant invention by Lingeman, who seems unconstrained by any need to anchor his statements in reality. There is no provision in any legislation that I am associated with that stipulates that state officials and politicians will monitor “colleges that fail to sign on to the bill of rights.” My agenda as I have made clear in testimonies to the legislatures of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kansas – all easily accessed on my website  – is to get universities themselves to enforce the academic freedom policies they already have in place.
Yet Lingeman follows this salvo of falsehoods with yet another: “His avowed aim is to muzzle lefty professors….” Choice of words is important. “Avowed” has an unambiguous meaning – sworn; declared; stated. I have made no such statement that lefty professors should be muzzled – sworn or otherwise. Quite the opposite in fact. My Academic Bill of Rights – in its very first tenet – explicitly protects the right of leftist professors – like Nation publisher and Columbia professor Victor Navasky – to hold their extreme points of view: “No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.”
My book, The Professors, asserts the principle equally clearly: “This book is not intended as a text about left-wing bias in the university and does not propose that a left-wing perspective on academic faculties is a problem in itself. Every individual, whether conservative or liberal, has a perspective and therefore a bias. Professors have every right to interpret the subjects they teach according to their individual points of view. That is the essence of academic freedom.” (Emphasis added.)
The only “muzzling” faculty leftists really fear is my insistence on professional conduct in the classroom – an end to the use of their classes for focused political indoctrination, for irrelevant political speech-making and for recruitment for radical organizations and causes. Such conduct is unprofessional and intellectually corrupt. Because it is widespread it is a threat to the integrity of the educational system itself, hence the reason these professors are described as dangerous.
But facts are these are no obstacle to Lingeman, who is busily stalking a heretic: “In February Horowitz tossed another log on the auto-da-fé, publishing a book called The Professors….”
Auto-da-fe – n. 1. Public announcement of the sentences imposed by the Inquisition; 2. The public execution of those sentences by secular authorities, especially by burning at the stake.
So, not only am I a Savonarola – a burner of the books of others – but my own book is a log on the fire that burns people as well. I guess this makes me a really bad person, and worthy (Lingeman’s evident hope) of being immolated myself.
To be sure, in constructing their profiles I have necessarily put the ideas of the professors profiled in my book on display. (And why would they want to hide them in any case, especially since they are tireless in proclaiming them even in venues where such expressions are inappropriate?) Readers may draw their own conclusions. But the book itself is not about unacceptable ideas – it is about the corruption of the university by faculty members who are singled out because their agendas are political rather than academic.
The Professors is written as a collective portrait that is designed to reveal a set of patterns that I find troubling. Here is how I describe the result in the introduction to the book: “When viewed as a whole, the hundred or more portraits in this volume reveal several disturbing patterns of university life, which are reflected careers like Ward Churchill’s, but are neither limited to him or his specific university or his particular academic discipline. These include (1) promotion far beyond academic achievement(Professors Anderson, Aptheker, Berry, Churchill, Davis, Kirstein, Navarro, West, Williams, and others in this volume); (2) teaching subjects outside one’s professional qualifications and expertise for the purpose of political propaganda (Professors Barash, Becker, Churchill, Ensalaco, Furr, Holstun, Wolfe, and many others); (3) making racist and ethnically disparaging remarks in public without eliciting reaction by university administrations, as long as those remarks are directed at unprotected groups, e.g., Armenians, whites, Christians, and Jews (Professors Algar, Armitage, Baraka, Dabashi, hooks, Massad, and others); (4) the overt introduction of political agendas into the classroom and the abandonment of any pretense of academic discipline or scholarly inquiry (Professors Aptheker, Dunkley, Eckstein, Gilbert, Higgins, Marable, Richards, Williams, and many others).”
The reader will note that the one pattern that is not mentioned in this list is: expresses unpopular ideas.