Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Intellectual freedom at Colorado University

Courtesy of FrontPage we learn that, while the despicable (and uneducated) Ward Churchill has become a cause celebre for academic freedom at Colorado University, Phil Mitchell, a roundly applauded teacher at the same institution, is about to get the axe:

Recently, William Wei, director of the Sewall Academic Program, let Mitchell know that CU would not be renewing his contract after this year because 'his teaching was not up to the department standards.' (While Wei confirmed this to me, Joyce Nielsen, associate dean for Social Sciences, denies she gave that reasoning for Mitchell's deal.) As a conservative, and even worse, a ghastly evangelical Christian, Mitchell wondered how he lasted this long. 'I've had enough. I am clearly being closed out for political or religious reasons,' Mitchell says. 'I am one of the top-rated professors in the history of the department.' Wei, hardly a conservative, says that in his perspective, 'Phil is a great person, a good teacher and highly regarded by his students.' Faculty course questionnaires confirm what students think of him. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything but an A . But it's never been easy. Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action. Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read 'Hate-Free Zone,' the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist. 'That would have come as a surprise to my black children,' explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans. Then, Mitchell had the audacity to use a book on liberal Protestantism in the late 19th century. So repulsed by the word 'god' was one student, she complained, and the department chair fired him without a meeting, he said. Was there a protest for academic freedom? Bullhorns? Power to the people? Conceivably, if Mitchell would have used a less-offensive book - say the Churchill classic 'Perversions of Justice' (Ward's hobby?) - he could have rallied the Kool-Aid brigade lickety split. In time, Mitchell was reinstated but was never able to teach in the history department again. 'People say liberals run the university. I wish they did,' Mitchell says. 'Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you.' So Churchill may play the part, but Mitchell is the true dissenter at CU. Why did he stay this long? 'I stay to create enthusiasm and love for history,' Mitchell says. ' And I am successful at that. I love the classroom, and I love my students.' Once, president Hoffman promised increased intellectual diversity at CU - not a purge of conservatives. Another promise broken.
Apparently diversity at CU means only varying colors of leftist ideology.