Monday, April 2, 2012

A Culture of Politicization on Campus

This op-ed by Peter Berkowitz in the Wall Street Journal  (4/1/2012) comments on a new report by the California Association of Scholars called "A Crisis of Competence: the Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California."  (The WSJ requires registration; if you can't get the op-ed, try a Google search, which may give you a free pass.)  Suggesting that UC reflects trends across the country, Berkowitz points out that not only are most professors from one political orientation (17 Democrats to 0 Republicans in the UC Berkeley sociology department, for example, or 31 Democrats to 1 Republican in history), but more importantly, those professors see their task as promoting a political agenda rather than the evenhanded critical examination of evidence and arguments. The result of this approach, as it bears on the study of history and political science?

"None of the nine general campuses in the UC system requires students to study the history and institutions of the United States.  None requires students to study Western civilization, and on seven of the nine UC Campuses, including Berkeley, a survey course in Western civilization is not even offered... In many political science departments majors need not take a course in American politics."

Is that a problem?

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