Sending a teenager or young adult off to college used to evoke a sense of pride for those families helping their children earn a university degree but, more and more, universities have seemingly become more like indoctrination camps than centers for advanced learning.
For decades, universities have been considered little more than a breeding ground for so-called social justice warriors, and a safe place for liberal professors to teach crowded classrooms of young and impressionable students how to think.
However, a recent report out of the University of Oklahoma indicates that faculty members are attending indoctrination workshops.
The indoctrination session, dubbed the “Anti-Racist Rhetoric & Pedagogies” workshop, was one of nine professional development programs that were reportedly presented to university professors and grad students in April by the English Department Composition Program.
According to the FIRE report, which acquired a recording of the workshop, the program teaches and encourages university professors to quash free expression and constitutionally protected speech that they deem to be racially insensitive.
Kelli Pyron Alvarez, who was one of the workshop leaders, claimed in the recording that some of her students were a little bit more emboldened to be racist, and she used her position in the classroom to quash those tendencies by forbidding “derogatory remarks, critiques, and hate speech,” as well as “white supremacist ideas or sources,” unless they somehow were relevant to the instruction.
Alvarez, who teaches undergraduate students in English Composition, explains how she influences her students to choose appropriate research topics that align with her views, rather than allowing the students to choose their own research topic.
“One of the fears is that we’re going to get in trouble for this, right?” Alvarez says in the training. “Like we can’t tell students that they can’t say something in class. But we can.”
Alvarez defended her position and claimed her authority in the classroom was granted by the US. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has actually upheld that hate speech, derogatory speech, any of the -isms do not apply in the classroom because they do not foster a productive learning environment. And so, as instructors, we can tell our students: ‘no, you do not have the right to say that. Stop talking right now…,'” she said.
According to FIRE’s Guide To First-Year Orientation and Thought Reform on Campus:
“By limiting classroom discussion and silencing dissent, professors violate the rights of conscience of their students. The clear aim is not merely to advocate a point of view but to coerce, if necessary, their students into believing the professor’s or school’s version of truth. Such oppressive actions clearly cross the line between education and indoctrination.”
“Some of the responses from workshop participants indicated that they understood how what they were being told to do was out of the ordinary, and expressed reservations about it,” the FIRE report noted.
In a June 23 statement, Dr. Belinda Higgs Hippolyte who serves as the vice president of Diversity at the University of Oklahoma said the university was committed to open dialogue among students and faculty members and does not support censorship.
“OU is a place where students are taught how to learn, not what to learn,” she said in her statement. “Every effort is made to ensure students feel that they belong.”
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