UT College Republicans are compiling a list of liberal professors who they claimed have a bias against conservative students.
The list will include professors who students say have let their political views interfere with the way they interact with students in the classroom.
UT College Republicans President Matt Rubin, a junior majoring in political science and public administration, said the list is not an attempt to bash professors who have liberal ideas, but instead, it is an attempt to speak out for students who may have been victims of the bias, which was then reflected in their grade.
“We’ve been portrayed in the media, as well as comments from people in the community including College Democrats, saying that we’re creating a blacklist in order to smear the names of professors and that’s not true,” Rubin said. “We’re giving a voice to the students that have been harassed because of their political beliefs. It’s the same thing as bashing a student because they’re gay.”
Rubin said the list of liberal professors is important because of the many complaints he received from students at UT College Republicans meetings, concerning professors who made unnecessary political comments, including anti-Bush statements.
“At our weekly meeting, something we like to do is take time out for students to tell stories of any bias they have had in classes. What we’re doing is representing students who have had that experience. We’re trying to expose professors who have liberal bias and go against everything UT stands for,” Rubin said. “How is saying ‘President Bush is the dumbest president this country has ever had and should be hanged’ improving the human condition?”
The students who submitted and reported incidents such as these will remain anonymous, Rubin said.
“We had a student who said, in an ancient Greece class, Professor William O’Neal claimed that America did not liberate Europe in World War II. However; it was freed by Charles De Gaulle and the free French, not U.S. Soldiers,” Rubin said.
O’Neal, chair and professor of history at UT denied ever making the comment.
“To base this on the statement of a single student doesn’t seem as evidence to convict liberalism,” he said. “If you had a whole class come and say, ‘this guy is preaching his own gospel,’ that would be different, or if there was a substantial number of students from that class.”
Rubin said the list of dubbed liberal professors could also be beneficial to some students.
“We like to think of it as a liberal professor directory, not a list. Also, we’d like for it to be used as a resource for liberal students who are looking for like-minded professors that will positively affect their grade based on their bias,” he said.
Rubin added he and the UT College Republicans are not against professors who have liberal views.
“We realize that some professors are liberal, and that’s ok, it’s when they completely disregard a student’s opinion or they have a bias against them that might affect the way they are treated or graded, is what we think is wrong,” Rubin said.
O’Neal said although there may be some professors who let their political preferences affect the way they treat their students, it is not something he has witnessed as a common denominator at UT.
“We’re all human and there are some people who are totally committed to their own view points with very strong personalities, so I’m sure in our imperfect world this does exist,” he said. “But I do not know of anyone in this department who will base grades on hair color, eye color or political aspirations, and I have been the chair of the history department for three years and have been teaching here for 40 years.”
David Mann, a second year law student, said there are other important issues the College Republicans could be concerning themselves with.
“If I were a College Republican, I’d be spending my time trying to figure out why young people overwhelmingly support President Obama and the Democratic Party, and not waste it on this silly idea,” Mann said. “But if conservative students are afraid to defend their principles in the classroom, maybe they do need a list of professors to avoid.”
UT has an abundance of resources available to students to help them if they experience this sort of bias, O’Neal said.
“If the student feels abused, they should talk to their professor. If that doesn’t solve the problem, they should go to the department chair. If there is still a problem, they can even go to the dean or the Vice President [for] Student Affairs. There are so many places to go to avoid this type of thing,” he said.
Rubin said, though the directory of liberal professors is of high importance to the UT College Republicans, they have done many other positive things that people should focus on.
“We like to consider ourselves a well-rounded group. We’re not just a group of students sitting in a basement trying to slander these professors. We’re really doing a lot more this year. We’ve been helping out with several local campaigns and we also are having a school supply drive for students at Scott High School,” he said.
Rubin said the UT College Republicans are still working on compiling the directory of liberal professors, and expect it to be available on their Web site by Wednesday.