Sunday, August 08, 2021

My Professors Thought Calling Conservatives ‘Crazy’ and ‘Hicks’ Would Sway Me to the Left. They Were Wrong

Alexandra Bedner

When I was looking at colleges during my senior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to attend an institution that focused on education rather than indoctrination. My impression was that my professor’s role was facilitating students’ ability to think critically, not indoctrinating them to a point where they thoughtlessly repeat their teachers’ views on any given issue or topic.

In choosing to study political science, I suspected that I might be subjected to a subtle tyranny of leftist views in the classroom. If you asked my grandmother, she was flat-out worried I might return from college a leftist.

At the start of my freshman year, I knew that I would be hearing the same overused leftist sentiments like, “my body, my choice,” again and again in my politically-focused classes. However, I genuinely did not expect statements like these to pop up in every class, including general education courses.

Nor did I expect to hear these sentiments more from the professors than the students. As an aside for the reader: I will be using the word “freshman” throughout this article, despite my college’s many warnings that the term is discriminatory.

The first time I remember something like this happening was during my freshman general education history class. My professor compared President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, during a conversation about neither Trump nor Hitler. Similarly, my sophomore year film professor made defamatory remarks about fellow American citizens whom he described as “crazy conservatives, who were always hicks from the country.”

A glaring example occurred during my junior year, when my biology professor spent a large portion of the lecture discussing climate change and praising the Green New Deal.

Maybe I just didn’t understand how education in college was supposed to work, as shock and dismay overcame me each time a professor inserted his or her personal policy preferences or ad hominem attacks into an otherwise apolitical subject matter.

One of the most flagrant examples occurred during a senior year statistics class. Who would have thought that something as cold and objective as statistics could be used as a platform to voice personal political opinions and push a leftist agenda?

Referring to himself as a “big flaming, bleeding heart liberal,” my statistics professor proudly wore a Black Lives Matter bracelet to class each day and labeled anyone not supporting the Black Lives Matter movement a racist.

Clearly aware of the backlash he could face from these assertions, he once remarked, “and I know I have conservatives in this class, but I don’t really care.”

As mentioned earlier, I knew when I chose to study political science, those professors might have strong opinions on political issues and undoubtedly voice them. What I did not realize was that all professors, no matter what the subject, were working to push a certain ideological agenda—the left’s agenda—onto all the young and malleable minds with which tuition-paying parents had entrusted them.

For a while, these remarks made me feel as though I was not wanted, nor did I belong in these classrooms that I was paying a great deal of money to sit in.

I entered these rooms expecting to expand my knowledge and left feeling as though I was less of a person because of the political beliefs that I held. I eventually learned to laugh at the comments, for they were being made by people who fully believe that abortion is not murder and that citizens should not have the right to bear arms.

I believe that the university classroom is a place for students to learn and grow. Students take chemistry classes to learn about Boyle’s Law, art classes to learn about expressionism, and business classes to learn about profit margins. I assumed the professors’ promise to students and their parents was to do their very best to create competent scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs, not blue voters for the next election.

While I wish I could say that I spoke up and offered counterarguments to these professors’ points during class, I did not. I sat there silent, for fear that if I did, I would receive poor grades on future assignments in retaliation for my ideological rebellion.

Many of today’s college students face the same choice I did: express their deeply held personal beliefs and morals or achieve academic success. This should trouble every American who believes in the principles this country was founded upon like freedom of speech and conscience.

At the end of the day, I am sure many of my professors hoped that their words could sway me to the left. Unfortunately for them, that was not the case. Implying that the terms “conservative” and “hick” were synonymous did not convince me to toss my MAGA hat in the trash. Calling me a racist for not supporting the BLM movement did not cause me to have any critical theory epiphanies.

For me, these remarks made no difference, but for others I’m not so sure. I fear many others my age cave to these attempts at brainwashing.

I’ll close by addressing some of my former professors who might be reading this: To my statistics professor, I was the conservative in your class that you did not care about. To my history professor, you were supposed to be teaching me about the facts of history as they happened, not as leftists imagined them.

Finally, to my university, consider hiring professors who stick to teaching the subject areas in which they are qualified, not their opinions.

However, and finally to my grandmother, you will be happy to know that I made it through college and did not become a liberal.


A Teacher's Union is Suing a Mother For Repeated Attempts to Know What Her Kindergartener is Learning

When it comes to legal battles over Critical Race Theory (CRT), teacher's unions are not merely willing to defend themselves from lawsuits, they're filing them as well. On Monday, Nicole Solas, a Rhode Island mom whose daughter will be going into kindergarten, was sued by chapters of the National Education Association (NEA) for submitting multiple requests to find out what her daughter was learning when it comes to lesson plans on concepts such as transgenderism and Critical Race Theory (CRT).

The National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) and NEA South Kingstown (NEASK) filed a complaint in Rhode Island Superior Court to prohibit the disclosure of the requested records and "protect teachers' privacy rights" when it comes to records that Solas was requesting access to.

Ashley Cullinane's report for local NBC 10 News includes a statement from NEARI Communication Director Stephanie DeSilva Mandeville:

"This action seeks to temporarily restrain the School Department from releasing any information related to these APRA requests," the union wrote in a statement. "NEARI believes many of these documents are not public records as defined under APRA and/or fall under APRA’s exclusions and therefore are not subject to disclosure."

When asked if NEA is perhaps buying time, Solas told Townhall that "I believe that they are" and "that it is frivolous litigation meant to bully me. Private information is already not disclosed under RI law because it's the Access to *Public Records Act," she emphasized. "NEA wants special treatment."

She also shared that "I believe this NEA lawsuit is collusive litigation where the school and union set up this lawsuit behind closed doors, each agreeing to play plaintiff and defendant. The school is more than happy to agree not to fulfill my record requests in court."

Solas has been trying to seek answers about her daughter's curriculum for months.

As the Goldwater Institute, which is representing her, posted:

Like many parents, Nicole was concerned about whether her daughter would be exposed to politically charged curriculum in the classroom. So in April, Nicole emailed the principal of her school in the South Kingstown School District asking for the kindergarten curriculum—and whether it would include teaching children politically charged materials, including those influenced by Critical Race Theory and gender theory, holding them out to be true. She immediately faced stonewalling from the school, and even a threat of legal action for asking too many questions. Ultimately, Nicole received a bill for $74,000 to fulfill a public records request filed by the Goldwater Institute on her behalf in July.

Solas had sent over 200 requests in the past few months. She told Townhall that she filed public record requests because that's what the school told her to do. The South Kingstown School Committee initially threatened to sue her during a public school board meeting in June.

During a June school board meeting, Emily Cummiskey, the committee’s chairwoman, claimed Solas' requests were "an attempt to wreck havoc" and "a clear attempt to harm our district."

Further, Cummiskey smeared Solas as being "linked directly to a national racist group called Parents Defending Education, working to spread chaos and confusion and dismantle anti-racism education..."

As William A. Jacobson with Legal Insurrection reported about the smears:

My suspicions were further heightened when, in response to Nicole going public with the lawsuit threat, School Committee Chair Emily Cummiskey issued very vicious attacks on Nicole on Facebook, to the local media, and then at the June 2, 2021, public forum, accusing Nicole of being associated with a national racist group, which Cummiskey identified at the public meeting as Parents Defending Education (PDE). The accusation that PDE is “racist” is outrageously false, as I’ve previously explained, and there is no evidence that PDE was behind Nicole’s requests.

Jacobson has been following Solas and her story for months.

This includes when it comes to the revelation that Cummiskey made such charges after being told to do so by a public relations firm. Solas told Townhall that she asked for documents, but was told they were exempt from public disclosure.

As Jacobson noted in a June 9 post:

My suspicions were confirmed, in part, last night during a School Committee public meeting when Cummiskey gave a statement announcing she was stepping down as Chair, though not from the School Committee entirely. Cummiskey stated that she did not write the statement attacking Nicole and accusing PDE of being racist. She said the statement in its various forms for media, social media, and public hearing, was prepared by a Public Relations firm hired by the School Committee at the recommendation of the Committtee’s legal counsel.

Solas also recently tweeted leaked slides from a June 7 meeting where she was smeared by name, with a screenshot of her appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

One of the slides discussing Solas was titled "#1-Attack on Public Education" and claimed that Solas is "Part of a well-coordinated effort from outside groups with outdated thinking who want to push for inaccurate lessons to fuel division among our South Kingstown community."

Solas and her attorney, Jon Riches of the Goldwater Institute, appeared on "FOX News Primetime" Friday to discuss the matter. Solas offered that "they thought I would just go away and wouldn't keep asking my questions," and that the lawsuit is an attempt for her to do that. She said "I'm not scared of this," though. Solas also pointed out the lawsuit is "a pure intimidation tactic" and "is just meant to deprive me of my civil right to access information about what my daughter is learning."

She emphasized during the segment that "we have to know what our kids are learning in school, because we're the only ones that are going to stand up for them."

Ritchie gave assurances that they were going to get this lawsuit, which he called "a brazen assault on every parent's right to know what their child is going to learn," dismissed. He also pointed out that public record laws were "never intended to let the knives against the people they were supposed to protect."

Solas offered that this will ultimately backfire on the teacher's union, as she steadfastly shared that the unions want their teachers to have "special treatment beyond the scope of the Public Records Act, but they're not entitled to that because these aren't their kids."


The Battle Over Critical Race Theory Just Got A Lot More Relevant in Virginia

Virginia Democrats on Tuesday killed a bill which would have curbed the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools. The issue has been particularly heating up in Fairfax and Loudon, counties in Northern Virginia.

Andrew Romeo, the communications director for Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) commented on this move from Virginia Democrats, which includes those who may be vulnerable.

"House Republicans in Virginia are fighting to keep politics out of the classroom and for children to be taught to judge others by the content of their character. House Democrats? They continue to take their cues from the teachers’ unions funding their campaigns and refuse to stand up to the far-left’s efforts to indoctrinate the commonwealth’s students. Virginia families will be horrified to learn that the extreme liberals running Richmond yesterday opposed an effort to stop the politicization of public school curriculum in the commonwealth once and for all and will punish them in November," he said in a statement.

One of those vulnerable Democrats is Del. Joshua Cole, of the 28th district. As RSLC exposed, Cole shared a clip of statements from Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Last month, Weingarten slammed critics of CRT and vowed to engage in fighting legal battles to defend teachers who incorporate the teachings. The union has funds set aside for such legal battles.

In June, The Federalist reported on a survey of 400 respondents from Public Opinion Strategies, paid for by and N2America. It specifically addresses Fairfax and Loudon:

Data shows 50 percent of the 400 respondents have an unfavorable view of critical race theory, while only 42 percent have a favorable one. The divide was even greater among a few demographics. 79 percent of women 55 and older affirmed the negative view, as did 81 percent of Independent voters 55 and older and 59 percent of public-school parents.


Half of voters indicated they oppose critical race theory being taught in public schools, with 86 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Independents, and nearly one-quarter of Democrats concurring.

By a ratio of more than two-to-one, respondents replied they would be “much less likely” to vote for an official who backs the doctrine. Only 16 percent of those polled said they would be “much more likely” to both vote for someone supporting critical race theory and seek it to be taught in public schools.

The issue is also heating up in the closely watched Virginia statewide races.

While Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has been addressing the issue since even before he became the nominee, the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe has dismissed it as "another right-wing conspiracy" and "totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin." McAuliffe had been asked by a woman, who pointed out that "it's all of the conversation with the news in Virginia." She also McAuliffe asked "what are you going top say to all of those people?"

Youngkin has vowed to outlaw CRT on "day one," should he be elected.

The Republican also addressed the issue during a Thursday interview with Todd Piro's "Fox & Friend First." Piro referred to Virginia as "ground zero" on this issue.

"Critical Race Theory has moved into our school system, and we have to remove it. It's a political theory, it's not an academic curriculum," Youngkin pointed out.

During the interview, which played an audio clip of the above conversation, Piro asked Youngkin if he indeed "create[d] CRT as a way to win this election." In response, Youngkin said "it's pretty laughable" and warned that "we've watched faculty being taught how to in fact use Critical Race Theory as a basis for teaching."

When it comes to McAuliffe's comments, Youngkin pointed out how "it's something my opponent once again doesn't understand."

The vote didn't come as a surprise statement for Del. Jason Miyares, of the 82nd district. "I’m disappointed but not surprised that the bill to curb Critical Race Theory was voted down by the left-liberal monopoly in Richmond. Rather than unite us, CRT is an extreme, left-wing perspective that teaches children to learn to hate their country. The academic left is attempting to push this extreme radical worldview on Virginia's youth and unfortunately Richmond liberal politicians had a golden opportunity to stand up to the most extreme members of their own party and choose to remain silent," he said in a statement for Townhall.

Miyares is the Republican nominee for attorney general, and connected the issue to that race as well. "As the son of an immigrant, I could not be more grateful for the freedoms and opportunities this nation and state have provided the Miyares Family. Critical Race Theory aims to instill the very opposite emotion into our youngest generation and in order to stop it, it is vital to have a check and balance on the radical left in the Attorney General’s office," he continued.

In the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system local leader Michelle Leete last month at a rally declared "Let them die!" about opponents of CRT. She was forced to resign from her positions with Virginia PTA and Fairfax PTA, though she remains vice president of the local NAACP.

In June, there was an arrest at a Loudon County school board meeting after school board members left mid-meeting and it was declared by police an unlawful assembly.


Civil Rights Group Challenges ‘Flawed’ Vaccine Mandate at George Mason University

A civil rights group is calling on George Mason University (GMU) executives to reconsider their vaccination requirement for staff and students in the fall semester, claiming that it’s a scientifically “irrational” policy that violates constitutional rights and medical ethics.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group that seeks “to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State,” said in a July 22 statement that GMU’s “flawed reopening policy” for the fall semester “tramples on the civil liberties of students, faculty, and employees alike.”

The Fairfax, Virginia, university announced on July 22 its new vaccination requirements for the fall semester, citing the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.

“Mason is joining the growing community of universities that require all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated and to share verification of their vaccination status, in order to work, study, and live on campus,” GMU said in a statement. “We will, of course, approve appropriate exemptions for medical and religious reasons.”

GMU President Gregory Washington, in an email reported on by Just The News, wrote that disclosure of vaccination status “will be a prerequisite for eligibility for any future merit pay increases” for faculty staff.

The NCLA represents Todd Zywicki, a professor at GMU’s Scalia Law School who has recovered from COVID-19.

“For Professor Zywicki, who has recovered from COVID-19 and acquired robust natural immunity, it is not only medically unnecessary to undergo a vaccination procedure at the current time, but doing so also would create a risk of harm to him,” the NCLA wrote in the statement.

In a letter (pdf) to GMU executives, the NCLA urged them to reconsider their vaccination policy, arguing that the university’s refusal to recognize natural immunity or grant merit pay to staff who don’t share their vaccination status could lead to a lawsuit. The civil rights group is challenging GMU’s vaccination policy on the grounds of the Ninth and 14th Amendments.

“Although the Policy may be well-intentioned, GMU has breached its constitutional and ethical obligations by interfering with health decisions that should reside with individuals and their medical providers,” the NCLA wrote.

The NCLA urged GMU to reexamine the policy “to deem natural immunity at least equivalent to that achieved through vaccination, and to confirm that Professor Zywicki will not lose eligibility for future pay raises (merit or otherwise) if he does not wish to share his vaccination status.”

“George Mason is forcing me to choose between serving my students on one hand and undergoing an unnecessary and potentially risky medical procedure on the other. Multiple clinical studies have shown that natural immunity provides at least as much protection against reinfection as the most effective vaccines,” Zywicki said in a statement.

GMU officials didn’t respond to a request by the Epoch Times for comment by press time.

Vaccine mandates have become a hot-button issue, with advocates arguing that they’re necessary to keep people safe and opponents decrying them as unacceptable violations of bodily autonomy.