Keep Enrolling

| June 17, 2002

Keep Enrolling, Richard Just, The American Prospect
Should college teachers express political opinions in the classroom? Richard Just in The American Prospect says that undergrad classes are a 'gray area,' and we need to consider the nature of the class and the students' level of knowledge about its subject. 'We should not allow high-school teachers to use their classrooms to advance a specific political view. That's because we assume their students lack a knowledge base sufficient to allow them to distinguish fact from opinion,' Just writes. However, graduate-level students, in his opinion, 'are expected to have enough background in the field to handle such material in an intellectually mature manner.' Still, Just accepts that extreme cases present some ambiguity, as with a scenario that one of his critics asserts: 'One might learn a great deal about the eugenics movement from an unrepentant Nazi, but that would not justify empowering the Nazi by permitting him use of the classroom as a bully pulpit.' These sorts of questions require 'some tough judgment calls to be made,' writes Just. 'But it's the job of universities to make them.'
--Julie Madsen
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