RE: “Politics and professors,” 11/5

In response to Lori Todd’s letter about her professor crossing the line, I strongly beg to differ. Yes, students do pay to come here to get an education, but part of that education is to be challenged, particularly by the opinions of others. Whether by faculty, students, or known figures in the community, people have a right to exercise their freedom of speech. Does it necessarily mean that everyone’s opinion is correct? Not always, and individuals could respond to that, as Lori did. However, saying that professors should be limited in what they say goes against what academic institutions stand for. This is why tenure exists, so professors can have that reassurance to share their opinion without the need to check for political correctness and fear of losing their jobs. Without tenure, universities would be nothing more than forums of censored ideas and retroactive thought.
As far as introducing politics into the classroom, saying that politics has no place in the classroom is equivalent to saying that the scientific method should not be used outside of the natural sciences. Whether a Bush or Kerry supporter, people could clearly see the broad range of issues that our election, and thus politics, has touched upon, including scientific research, social services, and the arts. No matter how much anyone denies this, politics has some influence in nearly every subject matter studied.
To those who object to the opinions of faculty members, do not be ashamed to respond with your thoughts. To those who are dumbfounded by their professors’ opinions, sit back and listen. You might learn something.

John Constantinide