Profs get warned of freedoms

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Words such as "McCarthyism" and "chill" buzzed through a group of Temple University professors and students who gathered on campus yesterday to discuss a state legislative committee's investigation of political diversity at state-run colleges.

The "teach-in," sponsored by the Temple Association of University Professionals, drew an audience overwhelmingly convinced that the committee's very existence is a threat to academic freedom.

"I think that there is a concern that people are going to start coming in and say, 'You can do this, but you can't do this.' If we are teaching about the Holocaust, do we also have to give the same amount of time to Holocaust denier?" art history Professor Jane Evans asked during an interview.

"That's the logical conclusion," she added.

The Republican-backed state House of Representatives committee is probing, among other things, complaints by conservative students that they are routinely mistreated and unfairly graded by liberal college professors.

The resolution that created the investigative committee reads, in part: "Students and faculty should be protected from the imposition of ideological orthodoxy, and faculty members have the responsibility to not take advantage of their authority position to introduce inappropriate or irrelevant subject matter outside their field of study." The committee held its first hearing Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh.

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