“Professors are brainwashing students”

Liberal bullying going on in classrooms while gullible and impressionable students listen to the leftist worldviews. Any conservative influence left by their parents at home is no longer an obstacle for these masters of indoctrination.

Gush much? I mean, I use hyperbole, but good grief...

Kicking higher education is a time-honored sport. Move along, nothing to see here.

Still, it gets old. As an entering undergraduate in 1956 through professor and Provost to retirement in 2003, the many years provided time enough for fault to be found in higher education. Brainwashing conservative students isn’t one of them.

Yes, I’ve been gone for some time, and maybe the place has gone to hell in a basket. It makes retirement feel better [if also feel small]. So let me drift back to meeting four conservative students. I changed not one not one iota.

He was a freshman [oops, first year student], and he enjoyed the feedback opportunities my classes afforded. Twice he stuck it to a student who clearly was hurt by his comment. Talking with the student produced zero. Yes, he was a conservative, very opinionated, and enjoyed letting everyone know it. To my relief, he transferred following his freshman year. Let him be someone else’s problem! It didn’t take long to see he was as closed minded as a person can be; self-assured beyond measure. Are there liberal students like that? Sure. I leave my thoughts of him feeling he entered higher eduction not only an insufferable conservative, but surely will leave an even more insufferable conservative. No brainwashing here.

He was in several of my classes. Conservative to the core, now in the Federalist Society. He was also as classy, as intelligent [4.0], as generous, as caring, and as interesting as a student—make that, person—could be. He remains today a conservative; no brainwashing here, but no damage done. In fact, he sent me an email when I said I would take Trump over Cruz. “Still prefer Trump,” he wrote, as he refused to support Trump. General Counsel for a corporation, if he ran for office…

She sat in my office. Scary conservative. Higher Ed didn’t brainwash her. She went on to do damage [to me, a Democrat] in state politics. Very conservative politics. Back to my office. Why? Maybe she was taking my parliamentary procedure course. Maybe stopped in to get out of the rain. The topic turned to Fred. Fred was the only known Lefty among the faculty. He didn’t hide it. Far left. Socialist, Commie … pick one. She said Fred was way too good for our university; he should be at a better place. No brainwashing by Fred of this no-nonsense Conservative. But he had her respect. And for her comments, she had mine.

Before I continue with my fourth example, I want to introduce the Lefty that so impressed this conservative student. Concluding my time as Provost, I offered the commencement address. It was an encomium to teaching—and love, and I included a few evaluations of students. One student, writing about Lefty:

listed the professor’s department as “Bellevue Hospital” and wrote “[He] is an absolute riot just waiting to happen. Although most of his classes are straight lectures he seems to just beg for dissenting voices. Perfect for Drake because he makes students uncomfortable about their preconceived notions and search for safer ground. [His] bad jokes make the class worth attending on their own.”

That’s Fred. Fred was the most distinguished professor during my time at our university. Extraordinarily talented, decent, not a bone in his body where he would brainwash anyone. You can see why the conservative student said he was too good for us.

She was in my public speaking course. Allow me: the course was grounded in the Liberal Arts—teaching about deliberation to arrive at the best public judgment [yada, yada, yada]. Yes, we worked on delivery and organization as would be in a course focusing on presentational speaking, but the focus was on what I called locating and refuting the crucial issues—the reasons—why your opponent is against you. [Whew, sorry.]

Her topic was gun control. Good for her. Worthy as a topic over which the truth or falsity can be argued. She argued for no gun control and gave the usual reasons. When I asked her about the reasons against her position, she said that’s for the other side. [Alas, there went my lecture making the assignment clear.] Anyway, away we went, pushing her to address reasons for gun control and refuting them to no avail. Finally, she got testy: she said her brother was a member of the NRA and so was her dad, who told her to be wary of professors who try to change her, and she put down the hammer: that she had a right to her own opinion.

Oh my, what professor would be against a student having her own opinion? Yet I replied:

So you say you have your own opinion. That would be wonderful, and is what we are seeking. For now, what you have is your dad’s and brother’s opinion. You don’t have your own opinion; you are The Family Parrot.

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