Academic Witch-hunt

Posted: October 9, 2008 in Australia, Education, News, Politics
Tags: , , ,

Senate Inquiry at work

Senate Inquiry at work

Read the following article carefully, think about it a moment and then see if you agree with my conclusion at the end.  The article is all about a rather odd Senate inquiry set up at the behest of the Young Liberal Party here in Australia, in case you didn’t feel like making the effort of clicking that ‘more’ link…

Ignore Senate’s ‘witch-hunt’, academics told

The New South Wales Greens say an inquiry into ideological, cultural or political prejudice in schools and universities is a witch-hunt.

Several academics will appear before a Senate inquiry into Australian academic freedom in Sydney today.

NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye says the inquiry was set up by Coalition Senators at the request of the Young Liberal movement.

“It’s looking for Australian academics and teachers who are, in the words of the Young Liberals, trying to impose their ideological, political or cultural prejudices on students,” he said.

“This is outrageous, Australian universities deserve much better than this. They’re being used as a punching bag by Liberal Senators.”

Dr Kaye says the Senators on the committee should ignore the inquiry’s terms of reference.

“Unless [the terms of reference] are ignored they could end up stifling academic independence, academic freedom and freedom of expression in schools and universities around Australia,” he said.

“This would be a dreadful outcome at a time when we’re already facing a skills shortage, and when universities and schools are already under enormous pressure.”

Earlier this year, the Young Liberals ran a campaign in universities and high schools called ‘Make Education Fair’.

The campaign asked for students to tell them about any teachers or lecturers who expressed anti-Liberal sentiments.

It seems to me, based on this particular story, that the Young Liberals are all for Academic Freedom … as long as you’re not against the Young Liberal Party or their elder colleagues in the Coalition (mix of Liberal Party and National Party, for those not native to Australia).  And they act surprised when people don’t take them seriously.

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