Sept. 17 2014
Many of us are familiar with the story from last semester of a student who recorded a guest lecturer’s outrageous rant in his Individual and Society class. The lecturer, Eyon Biddle, was caught on camera openly bashing Governor Scott Walker and those that voted for him. He blamed the Governor’s victory on “white rage” and suggested that conservative voters in Wisconsin are motivated by their hate of minorities. Any fair minded person would label such comments as outrageous and inflammatory. Unfortunately, the response from much of the UW-Whitewater faculty suggests that they not only agree with Mr. Biddle’s assessment of conservatives, but are promoting those views in their classrooms while hiding it from the public. As tuition-paying students we should be aware of the response that some of the faculty had to this incident last semester.
In response to the story going national on Fox News, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved a resolution that bans recording in the classroom. Rather than apologizing to the many conservatives on campus who found Mr. Biddle’s remarks reprehensible, the Faculty Senate attempted to silence students from taking action when a situation like that arises in the future. In an e-mail to faculty regarding the passage of the resolution, Professor of History Nikki Mandell suggested that an alternative point of view to Biddle’s “white rage” rant would be comparable to Holocaust denial. “Am I supposed to waste time teaching Holocaust denial?” her e-mail read. Mandell’s response was shameful and out of line. That type of rhetoric about an alternative viewpoint has no place in higher education and she should apologize for it. However, it raises an interesting question: If Biddle’s comments were so fair and mainstream, why would the UW-Whitewater faculty ban recording in the classroom and prevent the public from seeing what they are teaching? The truth is that many members of the UW-Whitewater faculty know that Biddle’s views are not mainstream even though they may agree with him.
College is supposed to be a place to exchange ideas. However there are too many instances of faculty teaching students what to think instead of teaching students how to think freely. I strongly encourage all of my fellow students to speak up when their professors bring such radical views into their classrooms without presenting alternative points of view. We all pay too much in tuition to accept anything less from our educators.
– Aaron Krolikowski
President of Young Conservatives of America