FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
None Dare Call it Hypocrisy: The Left’s Outrage Over Teaching Free-Enterprise in Universities
For the last few years, America has been slowly awakened to the level of Marxism taught in American classrooms. From the of taking public school students to Cuba and the NEA’s reccommendation of Saul Alinsky to the most recent revelation of the University of Missouri’s “Introduction to Labor Studies” taught by two Marxists who, in addition to allegedly giving a Communist organizer two hours of class time to recruit, also shared the finer points of industrial sabotage and cat electrocutions.
According to a student who was enrolled in the class, the professors politicized the classroom by bashing Scott Walker and Republicans, allegedly stating at one point:
“The Republican party has done a great job of reducing class to a bunch of tastes, and demonizing liberals because their taste is different from ‘rednecks.’”
Moreover, regarding the Communist organizer who was given two hours to recruit in class, the student noted:
Pecinovsky also described the dues requirements and initiation procedures of the Communist Party, and gave out his phone number several times, offering to stay as long as anyone wanted to talk to him about joining.
Prof. Ancel acknowledged that joining the Communist Party could cost students their future security clearances, make them less desirable to future employers, and potentially put them on federal watch lists. Still, she and Prof, Giljum invited this organization into class to recruit. Call me crazy, but I thought universities and professors were supposed to help students become more appealing to employers, not hook them up with questionable organizations that by their own admission could cost students their future livelihood.
Given the level of Marxism and outright socialism raging through America’s publicly-funded institutions, it is somewhat ironic (and not the least bit hypocritical) that the Left becomes hysterical when individuals who donate their private money to universities and have the audacity to place some conditions on their donations.
Last week, Bloomberg reported on former BB&T Corp. chairman John Allison’s giving of grants of up to $2 million to schools if they create a course on capitalism and make Atlas Shrugged required reading.
Allison’s crusade to counter what he considers the anti- capitalist orthodoxy at universities has produced results — and controversy. Some 60 schools, including at least four campuses of the University of North Carolina, began teaching Rand’s book after getting the foundation money. Faculty at several schools that have accepted Allison’s terms are protesting, saying donors shouldn’t have the power to set the curriculum to pursue their political agendas, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.
“We have sought out professors who wanted to teach these ideas,” says Allison, now a professor at Wake Forest University’s business school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It’s really a battle of ideas. If the ideas that made America great aren’t heard, then their influence will be destroyed.”
In Florida, the Left’s favorite boogeymen du jour, the Koch Brothers, are taking heat for putting stipulations on the $1.5 million the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation is giving Florida State University for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.” Not surprisingly, for its money, the foundation wants the ability to “screen and sign off on” new hires. Given the amount of Marxistsm in academia, it’s easy to see why a donor like Koch would want to ensure an instructor being hired to teach free enterprise isn’t one like those who teach the University of Missouri’s Introduction to Labor Studies. For all the angst the donors like Allison and Koch are causing the Left, even the New York Times notes the schools could refuse to accept the donations:
One could argue that such conditions compromise academic freedom, and allow the education of today’s impressionable youth to be dictated by the highest bidder. But colleges are not required to accept these gifts. If they found the conditions truly objectionable — or at least if their objections outweighed the additional good the money could do — they could always graciously decline the money.
Meanwhile, as the Left protests private money “compromising” academic freedom, taxpayer money (as well as private) still pours into colleges and universities to teach students about union activism and, to varying degrees, social justice (aka socialism). Here are just a few (with partial descriptions):
- Cipriani College of Labor and Co-operative Studies
- City College of San Francisco The City College Labor Studies program was created by the San Francisco labor movement in association with the college. Its aim is to prepare students for careers in the labor movement and in labor relations, and to educate workers about their rights.
- Cornell University ILR School: ILR Extension Labor Programs are designed to deepen the knowledge and strengthen the skills of union leaders and activists, as well as unorganized workers interested in joining together for protection and benefits on the job. Partnering with unions and other worker-focused organizations, ILR Extension labor faculty conduct critical research, provide comprehensive education and training, and offer a variety of customized services focused on labor, employment and workplace issues.
- CUNY Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies Queens College (NY) Provides credit and non-credit courses to union members who receive tuition support from their unions. [Note: The unions probably would not want a proponent of capitalism teaching these courses, would they?]
- DePaul Labor Education Program: The DePaul Labor Education Center offers a three-year certificate program in Labor Leadership that trains union members to become union leaders.
- Florida International University Center for Labor Research and Studies: Houses projects such as the Immigration and Ethnicity Institute, the Human and Labor Rights Institute, Applied and Theoretical Research Projects, Florida Labor Archives, International Labor Program Union Leadership Academy Certificate Program, and Workplace Issues Certificate Program.
- GA State University Labor Studies Program: Classes are usually sponsored by local unions, central bodies, union regional offices, or the Ga. State AFL-CIO.
- Harvard Trade Union Program: The Labor and Worklife Program is a public policy and research center at Harvard Law School, which sponsors the Harvard Trade Union Program an annual, 6-week residential session for approximately 30 experienced union officials and senior staff focusing on strategic planning and leadership skills. Additionally, the program organizes conferences, symposiums, and shorter educational sessions on important issues facing the labor movement.
- Indiana University Division of Labor Studies …Institute for the Study of Labor in Society that provides technical consulting in economic policy, labor resources, market research, public opinion and workplace education programs policy, etc.
- Jefferson State Community College Center for Labor Education and Research CLEAR CLEAR designs and presents university level education programs for workers and their representatives.
- Middle Tennessee State University The Tennessee Center for Labor-Management Relations (TNCLMR) is funded by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and is associated with Middle Tennessee State University.
- Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Labor Relations: Workshops currently being offered by the center include steward training, worker safety and health, and negotiations.
- Rutgers Labor Education Program Labor studies and employment relations examines work, workers, the organizations employees create to defend their interests and non-work phenomena that affect and are affected by workers.
- South Seattle Community College Labor Center: The Labor Center at South Seattle Community College is Washington State’s only statewide higher education outreach program providing direct educational and research services to labor unions. The Labor Center’s mission is to help union and community members develop the skills, confidence, and knowledge that will enable them to become more effective leaders, staff, and rank-and-file activists.
- UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education Our curricula and leadership trainings serve to educate a diverse new generation of labor leaders.
- UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education As part of the Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR), the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education plays a unique role as a bridge between the university and the labor community in Southern California….Through its extensive connections with unions and workers, the Labor Center also provides labor with important and clearly defined access to UCLA’s resources and programs. An advisory committee comprised of about forty Southern California labor and community leaders (representing more than one million members in the public and private sectors) provides advice and support for the center
- UMass Amherst Labor Center With course work in history, law, economics, research, organizing, and bargaining, we equip our graduates to work in the labor movement and associated social justice organizations.
- UMass Boston Labor Resource Center The Center advocates for economic and social justice for working families as they seek to gain control over their futures at work, in their communities, and in the political arena. We lend our skills, expertise, and resources to workplace and community activists, assisting them in building a powerful, inclusive labor movement that can effectively advocate for all working people.
- UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center The Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center was established in 1975 to meet the educational needs of workers as members and leaders in the labor movement and as active and responsible citizens in the community. [Note: Mr. Dubin may have had some input as to how his money was used to promote the labor movement.]
Of course, there is also the aforementioned University of MO Kansas CIty Institute for Labor Studies:
The Institute for Labor Studies offers credit and non-credit courses on a wide range of labor issues including bargaining, grievance handling, internal organizing, the global economy, labor history. It offers custom training for unions and a Labor Studies Credit Certificate Program on the Interactive Video Network in cooperation with other Missouri labor education programs. It’s Labor in the Schools program has developed a 15-hour curriculum appropriate for high school 11th grade social studies classes and adaptable for apprenticeship and union education programs. ILS also sponsors and coordinates The Heartland Labor Forum, a one-hour weekly radio show on community radio in Kansas City. ILS does programming and tours on maquiladora issues in Mexico.
You probably noted in the program description, there is nothing about teaching the finer points of industrial sabotage, the electrocution of cats, and the recruitment of young Communists. Then again, since the program is at least partially funded with tax-payer money, they wouldn’t want to be that blatant.
While there are others of more or less Marxist leanings, the University of Wisconsin School for Workers (in Madison, Wisconsin) is noted as the “oldest University labor education program in North America.”
And, of course, let us not forget that unions donate money to colleges to influence academia, like Harvard’s Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund, which is paid for by AFSCME.
The Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund of the LWP was established in 1982 in memory of the late President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Its income is used to initiate programs and activities that:
[R]eflect Jerry Wurf’s belief in the dignity of work, and his commitment to improving the quality of lives of working people, to free open thought and debate about public policy issues, to informed political action…and to reflect his interests in the quality of management in public service, especially as it assures the ability of workers to do their jobs with maximum effect and efficiency in environments sensitive to their needs [...]
Last, but not least, is the National Labor College/George Meany Center:
The National Labor College (NLC) is one of a kind, the only college in the United States with an exclusive mission to serve the educational needs of the labor movement. It is an activist institution made up of students, faculty and alumni who together form a learning community based on a common understanding of the world of work and the ecology of the labor movement. The College respects that its student body is made up of experienced, highly skilled working adults who have multiple commitments to family, job, union and community. In its academic programs, the NLC honors higher learning that takes place both inside and outside the collegiate community.
The National Labor College is partially funded by the AFL-CIO (paid for by member dues) and is affiliated with numerous (publicly-funded) universities. Though this is just a guess, the AFL-CIO would probably strenuously object to a free-market economist like Walter Williams being hired to teach at the National Labor College.
It’s unfortunate that businessmen are being chastised for donating money to colleges and having to stipulate that the money be used to promote free-markets. Then again, with so many schools openly embracing Marxist ideology, the hypocrisy of the Left-wing academia in this area is not one that is unexpected.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776