Those Young Liberals Are At It Again

I got wind of this from an article published, surprisingly, in The Australian.  The Young Liberals have published a new website called Make Education Fair where, among other things, they have written a ‘black list’, which they call an ‘Academic Alert List‘, where they list academics by name, department etc. that they disagree with.  They have even compiled a list of academics that have organised conferences that they don’t like (the ‘Relaxed & Comfortable’ conference, for example).

I’ve got no issue with individuals cultivating their ‘rightist’ views but can it really be the case that the way to keep Australia’s education fair is to publish lists of those individuals you disagree with?

I have taken a course that was TAed by a second wave feminist who marked us down if we disagreed with not just her personal stance but any second wave feminist, but the issue is not that Feminism or so called ‘leftist’ positions are being ‘taught’ at University but that this particular individual is a poor teacher.  I should also state that I did write a critique of a particular second wave feminist position from the perspective of third wave feminism and was graded very well.  The ‘issue’ was simply sorted out with the course coordinator.

There are better ways to make sure that there are good teachers at Uni, ways other than simply publishing lists of those who teach or publish views different to your own or organise and attend conferences discussing views other than those you hold.  Or do the Young Liberals simply want to replace ‘left wing’ teachers with ‘right wing’ teachers, despite their teaching and research integrity and ability?

3 Responses to “Those Young Liberals Are At It Again”

  1. 1 Nathan October 24, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Don’t you think that there is something a little ironic with the Young Liberals approach? To a degree, the Young Liberals have resorted to employing an historicist methodology in explaining the rise and rise of radical left-wing academia – so it can’t be all that bad, right?

    I do like the quote from The Australian article you provided, Simon: “It’s ironic that in the name of academic freedom people have created a black list that decreases academic freedom.”

    I should also mention that I have had the extreme pleasure of being tutored by Dr. Nicole Anderson of The Department of Critical and Cultural Studies. I’m personally disappointed that there weren’t any other MQ departments included on the list.

    I think it is quite clear that the Young Libs want to replace ‘left-wing’ teachers and substitute them with ‘right-wing’ teachers. I’m sure there are a lot of left-wing ‘ideologues’ who’d want to do the same. Instead of trying to replace them, what should happen is an embrace of both left-wing and right-wing views to create something of a progressive pedagogical discourse?

    Nonetheless, there’s a nice little saying that goes: “I wear your scorn as a badge of honor”. Let me say to all those individuals whom have their names published on this list, wear your badge proud.

  2. 2 Simon October 24, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I just hope this all washes under the table Nath. Aussie academia has been a little hard hit of late, with the Government requiring rankings of journals to judge academics’ and institutions’ performance, the various ‘voluntary’ redundancies and departmental shakeups all over the place….and now black lists of academics that are too far left!

  3. 3 dan December 6, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I too have heard similar attacks upon teachers who express their opinion on a matter of contention. I myself would find it rather disturbing if the lecturer didn’t respond as a human to some of the most contentious and profound issues facing society. At times I disagree but that gives me no ground to trash the academic but rather engage civilized debate. This artificial balance that the young libs are supposedly championing has nothing to do with intellectual rigor. In my experience, those who disagree with the lecturer are encouraged to challenge challenge and they do, the problem is those who statements made by the lecture are typically furnished with detailed historical evidence and analysis whereas the preponderance of those challengers who claim intellectual bias present no counter factual evidence and end up revealing their true motives. This is a considerable generalization but im truly shocked by the consistency with which historical inaccuracy, racism, intolerance and misogynistic attitudes accompany these charges of bias. There are some who will always assert their right to abuse others in the name of so called freedom. It seems to me that the Young Libs are simply demanding a charter protecting individual ignorance, a ‘leave pass’ express their intolerance and profound lack of understanding.

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