Saturday, April 30, 2005


Striving for balance is now a vice rather than a virtue in academe

Bean's History 110: 20th Century America class, an SIUC core curriculum course of roughly 270 students, studied the usual litany of readings by Rosa Parks, Malcom X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for its section on the Civil Rights era at the beginning of April. Bean also distributed what he said were additional, optional reading handouts through his three graduate assistants assigned to the course. Among those papers was an abridged article from James Lubinskas of titled, "Remembering the Zebra Killings," which recounted a series of 71 murders perpetrated by a group of black men against white civilians in San Francisco between 1972 and 1974. also hosts writer David Horowitz, who visited SIUC last year on the subject of academic freedom at universities. Bean had pulled the article from the Web site and thought it would be material students could possibly go over in the course discussion sections.

At that point, Bean said, the wheels began to turn. "It sparked what I called "handout hysteria," he said. "I handed it out on Tuesday. On Friday afternoon I'm called into the department chair's office, with a hysterical department chair waving the handout at me." Bean said at that point he wasn't sure what had caused the problem. "What I took away from it, the concern was about sensitivity," he said. History Department Chair Marjorie Morgan declined to make any on-record comments about the exchange and said she might issue a written statement later on the situation. Morgan is leaving SIUC at the end of the semester. College of Liberal Arts Dean Shirley Clay Scott, who oversees the History Department, said two of Bean's three History 110 graduate assistants, both of whom are black, complained the Lubinskas article alluded to racist material. Scott said she reassigned the two black graduate students to other courses, because they felt uncomfortable continuing with Bean......

Bean said he sent an e-mail apology, by request, to the department chair, the dean, history faculty and graduate students immediately after learning the article created a controversy. He also e-mailed his students, telling them to disregard the Lubinskas article. That weekend, April 9 and 10, Bean received the university's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for his department and was honored with a plaque.

When he returned to work the next Monday, however, Bean was notified the dean had dropped two of his teaching assistants and that eight fellow history professors had written a letter to be published in the campus newspaper trying to distance themselves from what they said was a practice of distributing racist propaganda to students. Bean said he began to suspect something bigger was afoot. Then, he began to examine where exactly he stood in the picture of the history department at SIUC. "I am a lone libertarian-conservative on a campus that lacks ideological diversity," Bean said he concluded. Bean contends 90 percent of all liberal arts faculty are Democrats by past primary election voting records. He is traditionally known to be more conservative, although he admits he did not vote Republican in the last two presidential elections.

Bean said he suspects he is an ideological underdog in a department rife with liberal viewpoints, and he now suspects the incident surrounding the Lubinskas article is a cover for a new practice of departmental McCarthyism by some history professors. "McCarthyism is keeping the victim in the dark, forcing apologies based on hysterics, and then not accepting the apology," Bean said. Bean said he was never given a clear explanation as to what needed an apology. Even though he agreed to cancel the Lubinskas handout, he said several faculty members still publicly chided his perceived practices. The letter the eight faculty members wrote didn't specifically name Bean as the subject.

Tenured history professor Robbie Lieberman was one of the faculty members to issue the letter. She said Bean has been combative with colleagues on the subject of the handout from the beginning and has made what she said are unfounded claims of a witch hunt and McCarthyism against those who criticized him. "I know what McCarthyism is," Lieberman said. "I teach McCarthyism. It's absurd; there are no elements of it in this." Lieberman said no one is attacking Bean's views or even his right to discuss controversial topics in class. The main problem, she said, with Bean's handout is it came from an Internet source that had questionable ties......

Jane Adams, an anthropology professor and personal witness to the effects of the Zebra killings mentioned in the Lubinskas article, said the matter goes beyond Bean's academic freedom as a professor to discuss controversial material. "He didn't get due process," Adams said. She said the university has channels through which these kinds of questions flow. They were not used in this case, she said, and it should disturb all campus professors who could find themselves in a similar case. "I don't think there is any one of us who haven't been accused of something at one time or another," Adams said. Adams said in her 18 years on campus, however, she has never seen almost a whole department turn on one of its own faculty members, as she said is being done in the case with Bean. "I think this is a really serious breach of collegiality," Adams said. "One of the things I am appalled by is his (Bean's) reputation has been publicly smeared. That is all we have as professors."

More here

Front Page has fuller background on the whole affair -- including details about Prof. Bean's chief accuser. A small excerpt:

"Bean's chief prosecutor, professor Robbie Lieberman has portrayed her own efforts to defame Bean's reputation as a struggle for campus decency-"Everybody should bring up controversial topics. But you have to do it in a responsible way," she said without getting too explicit about what would qualify as "responsible" in an article in the student newspaper.

Robbie Lieberman is a Marxist ideologue, who has taught courses in the "Cold War United States," and "American Radicalism," and has written a tract called My Song Is My Weapon: People's Songs, American Communism, and the Politics of Culture, 1930-1950, which liberal historian Theodore Draper described as part of the "curious academic campaign for the rehabilitation of American Communism."

The daughter of Communist folksingers, Lieberman has had a long affinity for Marxism, Communism and folk music; when singer, songwriter, and Communist Party hack Pete Seeger visited the SIUC campus four days before 9/11, Lieberman remarked, "Seeger should be regarded as an important figure in American history, not just as a prolific songwriter, but as a social critic." Lieberman has also written such books as The Strangest Dream: Communism, Anti-Communism and the American Peace Movement, 1945-1963, and Prairie Power: Voices of 1960s Midwestern Student Protest. So overt is her political preaching that conservative students at SIUC routinely refer to her as "Robbie the Red.""


From Nancy Salvato

I don't often find myself so angry about an opinion expressed in a piece of writing that I have to respond. It does happen every once in awhile, though, and so today I must write a rebuttal to Kathleen Loftus's piece, Leaving Kids Behind in Illinois ( Let me begin by saying that I vehemently disagree with the views expressed in her Op Ed, so much so that I might propose Illinois consider legislation that would actually make it a law NOT to implement Robin Hood dispersal of education funds.

Ms. Loftus actually had the audacity to call Illinois Representative Tom Cross a "whiner" because he criticized Randy Dunn's (acting State Superintendent of ISBE) decision to divert more federal funds to less affluent schools. How dare she impose a Socialist agenda in this Capitalist country of ours!

I live in a good school district and my tax dollars should go to keeping it that way. I work very hard, sometimes 16 hours a day to try to get ahead. I CHOSE to purchase a previously neglected smaller house, with a yard that hadn't been maintained in a decade, a carpet that needs replacing, a garage door that's warped, trees that need to be cut down, windows that leak, and an assorted list of things that need attention because this is a good neighborhood with good schools. I don't have the wealth of most of my neighbors. I do however live in a community which has a lot to offer. I've accepted that tradeoff. What, then, gives the Illinois Board of Education the right to disperse more federal funds to school districts with less local tax dollars? Why do I have any less right to that money than anyone else? Do I deserve less because I work hard and sacrifice in many areas of my life to have what I have? I think not.

As a matter of fact, I would like to earmark exactly where my tax dollars go. Many states have referendums allowing people to vote regarding tax increases for public education. I'd like the right to choose where I want a percentage of education funding to be spent. I am not suggesting that I can decide the uses for 100% of the money. But I want to decide where part of the money should be dispersed.....

Allowing tax payers to ear mark a percentage of their education dollars to go to private schools would significantly cut down the cost of accessing education alternatives. What was once out of the reach of many people would now be obtainable. Competition for tax dollars would reform public schools and force them to meet the needs of the students they serve.

It's been said time and time again that pumping more money into failing schools does not reform the problems. There is more at work in a school that functions well than the amount of money available to the district. It is an insult to good teachers and parents who are involved in their children's lives to credit student performance solely to education dollars.

Funds should be distributed based on the number of pupils and the number of "special services" needed by individual students. Just because one school has more local tax dollars doesn't mean that school isn't entitled to their fair share of the pie. If everyone adopted the Socialist Robin Hood philosophy then there would be no reason for those in our society to excel.the benefits would all be the same. Oh, that's right, utilizing the lowest common denominator is the cornerstone of the liberal agenda.

California: Governator proposes teacher "combat pay": "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Monday that he will propose paying bonuses to teachers who agree to work in the state's toughest schools, providing a potential compromise with Democrats on one aspect of his policy agenda. Schwarzenegger said he will spell out his proposal for what he describes as 'combat pay' in a budget revision he will release next month that he said will include money to enact the idea. The governor's new proposal comes as he, lawmakers and an army of political consultants and interest groups face a deadline next week to gather enough signatures to qualify ballot initiatives for a potential special election in November."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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