I Don't Punish Students Who Disagree with Me





Mr. Morrow is Franklin Professor of History, University of Georgia.

Response by David Horowitz, Publisher of FrontPageMag.com

HNN has invited me to reply to an article by one of our university students, Bradley Alexander, entitled, “Profane Professor,” in the conservative Internet journal FrontPageMagazine.com (September 9, 2004), which refers to the first class meeting in my course on the World Wars at the University of Georgia.

As a chaired professor specializing in military history, warfare and society, and European history, I have taught such subjects as war and society, the First and Second World Wars, civil-military relationships, and Western Civilization for thirty-three years, the first seventeen at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the last sixteen at the University of Georgia. My published works, of which the most recent is a history of the First World War, The Great War: An Imperial History (Routledge, 2004) have gained me an international reputation as an acknowledged authority on the war of 1914-1918. I have also won best teaching awards at both universities, and in those thirty-three years the evaluations of my courses--registered by students who complete them--have been exceedingly high.

During those years, I have taught many students destined for military service, because of the nature of my specialty and my popularity as a teacher. A number of those former students, many of whom are presently in the service, still correspond with me, I am proud to say. In fact, in the midst of the “hate mail” I have received as a result of Bradley Alexander’s article, the following email arrived from a former student at Tennessee:

I was an undergraduate student of yours in the late 1970’s, I recently retired after a 23 year career as an officer in the Army, Special Forces of course, and wanted to say thanks for inspiring me as a young man so many years ago. I saw on the internet that you were telling it like it is, as usual, in Georgia. I do not think we would ever agree on politics but wanted to let you know that I am willing to come testify at your court-martial or whatever the academic thought-police attempt to do.

Bradley Alexander attended only the introductory session of my “World Wars” class, when I introduce the subject, talk about my teaching style, and purposely introduce controversial opinions to generate discussion. I teach by the Socratic method and students need to become accustomed to discussing issues openly. Alexander was one of very few students who dropped the course after that first day, as some do when they see the extensive reading and writing that the course requires. Their places, as always, were filled by even more students who wanted to take the course, which is over-enrolled at seventy-two students.

Bradley Alexander took issue not with profanity, but with my opinions of President Bush and the war in Iraq. I called President Bush first a “chicken hawk,” because his parents’ influence got him into the Air Guard and out of service in Vietnam, a war he allegedly supported. Alexander labels that a “conspiracy theory,” thus demonstrating his ignorance about the military in the Vietnam era. I stand by my condemnation of the Bush regime’s policy of lies about the war in Iraq. What Alexander failed to mention was that I further condemned this administration for ignoring and even dismissing its best military brains, who informed Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush that we needed “more boots on the ground” in Iraq, a clear set of goals, and an “exit strategy” before we entered the war. This adminstration did none of the above, and as a consequence, we find ourselves in our current situation in Iraq.

In regard to the use of the epithet “chicken shit,” I stand by it as well. For students of military history, it is one of the milder epithets, and if they are going to take a course on war, they are going to encounter a good deal of profanity. Veteran Paul Fussell’s excellent work Wartime defines “chicken shit” in reference to the bureaucratic garbage that soldiers of World War II encountered.

“Chicken shit” also refers to people who do not have the courage of their convictions. I applied the term specifically to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided service in Vietnam, a war they both allegedly supported. I stated, furthermore, that it was ironic that Bush, who was able to avoid Vietnam service through the Guard, now had no difficulty sending the Guard to extended duty in Iraq, with the result that patriotic grandfathers--Bush’s contemporaries who served their country in Vietnam--have died there. Bush talks tough when the lives of others are on the line, but he did not act tough when his own life was at stake. The president should not say that he would have served if called, when he well knows that he was not going to be called to duty. The choice of plane on which he trained even guaranteed that he would not serve in Vietnam. Air Guard pilots who flew F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bombers went to Vietnam. Bush learned to fly the obsolescent “Delta Dagger” interceptor, which saw no service there.

Bradley Alexander’s summary description of my class is his interpretation. I brought his article the day it appeared to my “World Wars” class and told them about it. Alexander refers to “two dissenting voices.” The other “dissenting voice,” who remained in the class and is doing well, read Alexander’s article in astonishment. Alexander’s description of a class in “amused shock,” is his own; the students were amused at his description and gave me a round of applause.

Finally, Alexander omits our exchange. He asked me two questions, both of which I answered. I then asked him a question, to which he replied with a further question. I answered the third question and then asked him to answer my question. He said that he had not heard my question, to which I replied that I had heard his and that he could at least pay me the courtesy of listening to and answering mine. I suggested that he could answer mine the next class. He never returned.

Alexander believes that a professor teaching a class on the World Wars should not discuss contemporary issues. However, the situation in present day Iraq has its modern origins in the era of the First World War, and current issues of military service and the volunteer army serve as an interesting contrast to the conscription of draft armies of the two World Wars. When I ask students if they plan to serve in the military to act on their support of the war in Iraq, invariably students like Alexander do not. Had he stayed for more than one class, or even listened to what I explained that first day, he would have understood that the past and present intertwine inextricably. His definition of what is related to the subject and mine differ. Years of study, research, publication, and teaching have made me an acknowledged expert in my field. I have presented my credentials. Let Bradley Alexander present his.

Unlike many of the conservative students I have taught in over thirty years at major Southern universities, Alexander lacks the courage of his convictions. When I was in college and graduate school, I never dropped a course, regardless of whether I agreed with the professors’ views. I respected the fact that they knew their field and valued their personal perspectives, and took discussion as an opportunity to learn and test my ideas against theirs. The great majority of my students interact with me exactly the same way: we engage in freewheeling and spontaneous discussions in my classroom, because I find that students learn best in that atmosphere. Their student evaluations confirm this fact.

Alexander evidently ranks among the type of conservative college student who equates indoctrination with anything he or she does not already believe, and who views any criticism of the president as somehow treasonous. Such attitudes represent the height of hypocrisy and the “political correctness” that conservatives love to condemn. The use of profane language becomes their lever to attack professors for viewpoints that differ from theirs. They use it very selectively, as many faculty and public figures could receive censure for the public use of profanity--Dick Cheney included. Such students lack the courage to confront the faculty member directly, but rather they run to “higher authorities” or external sources to plead their case.

Finally, Alexander did himself a disservice by dropping the course, as he has deprived himself of an opportunity to grow and mature intellectually. I grade students on their performance on tests and papers, not on their personal or political opinions. In fact, a recent student wrote to FrontPageMagazine to say:

I took Morrow’s course last year. I didn’t agree with seventy-five percent of the things he said, but I still got a very good grade.... It just so happens that the war in Iraq can be used to illustrate several aspects of history.... If students are not secure enough in their own beliefs to have them tested, then maybe they should evaluate what their beliefs really mean to them.

Response by David Horowitz, Publisher of FrontPageMag.com

Professor Morrow's self-defense in the matter of the student he drove from his classroom is really all that is required to make the case against him. Morrow's remarks are an apparently unwitting confession of his own grossly unprofessional behavior, a vulgar display of emotions more suitable to the "Hannity and Colmes" show than to an academic classroom. Professor Morrow is apparently unaware that this type of behavior has been expressly condemned by the American Association of University Professors as a violation of academic freedom for more than sixty years.

In the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declared: “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” The rationale is obvious. Professors and students are not equals in a classroom setting. Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not so subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the president and are a breach of the obligations Professor Morrow has to his students -- including his Republican students -- to create an environment conducive to learning. Professor Morrow's lame reference to the fact that Iraq was created as a consequence of World War I, cannot be taken seriously. Referring to a sitting Republican president as a "chicken-hawk" and a liar obviously has no relation to the historical matters which are the subject of his class and his professional expertise.

I would like to hear from Professor Morrow how the expression of such rank prejudice about the present administration and its policies in Iraq has anything whatsoever to do with the World Wars. I would also like him to share with us how he would feel if he were a leftwing student in a class taught by Bradley Alexander and on the first day of class Professor Alexander referred to John Kerry or Bill Clinton as a liar and a traitor, and laced his remarks with profanity to emphasize his emotional commitment to those views. The fact that some students have the stomach to sit through this kind of unprofessional and emotionally charged blather is no justification for behavior that adversely impacts students who do not. A responsible educator would have the deceny to exhibit some second thoughts about driving a student away from his class merely because he lacked the self-discipline to keep his emotions over the current election to himself. Unfortunately, Professor Morrow seems to lack that decency.


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Mark Gordon - 4/14/2006

MY RESPONSE TO DAVID HOROWITZ'S REPLY TO DR. JOHN MORROW'S REBUTTLE OF ALEXANDER'S CHARGES ON THE HISTORY NEWS NETWORK, APRIL 14, 2006 -

http://hnn.us/board.php?id=7342

When the 'publisher' of an Internet conservative-bias organ such as 'Front Page' - makes patently false statements in support of his objections to the teaching conduct of Dr. John Morrow; one wonders:"How did this man acquire his position as the publisher of a media opinion organ? Could it have been anything other that either - who he knew(extended nepotism) or simply that he had the money to buy his position?"

In his response to Dr. Morrow's rebuttle of Alexander's emotion based complaint of Dr. Morrow's analysis of Bush's character, Horowitz says:

"Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not so subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the president and are a breach of the obligations Professor Morrow has to his students..."

OH? So in a class analyzing aspects of World Wars - the analysis of the character traits of those national leaders that take us into Multi-national war conflicts have no place in a class on 'World Wars'?

Interesting opinion - even if it is too far Revealing of your literary and logical ineptitude David. So therefore David, should we suppose that you would find a 'World War' history professor's analysis of Adolf Hitler's character would ALSO...'have no relation to his subject' ?

No. I don't think so. That obviously hypocritical you would not dare to be.
__________________

Yet - friends reading my response to this demogogue(from 'Front Page') - I had better pre-emptively head off the next most likely ad hominem irrelevancy from David Horowitz.

Because I have used Hitler as a national leader whose character it would be reasonable to consider in a 'World War' history course - as it relates to Dr. Morrow's analysis of Bush's character to the Iraq and Afghan Wars - from what we have seen of Horowitz's ineptitude and disingenuous habits in debate - I had better refute the charge now that I am not comparing Bush to Hitler as definitely 'similar' characters; which might be the knee-jerk sort of charge, such a deceptive type as Horowitz might attempt to use.

David- if you can't logically debate, then don't embarrass yourself by attempting to participate in these forums. OK? The discussion of the character of nation war-leaders have no place in a 'World War' history teacher's class!?? And this boy is a 'publisher'!!?

Please either sufficiently develop your own ability to make logical declarations - or hire someone who can do it for you.
Mark Gordon.


Elun Gabriel - 12/11/2004

Dr. Morrow specifically singled out as "chicken hawks" men like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (also Wolfowitz and several others, I believe) who supported the Vietnam War and avoided serving. That is, they wanted their contemporaries to go to Vietnam and possibly die there, while they remained safely in the United States. That is Morrow's definition of a "chicken hawk."

Given his apparently longstanding political convictions, Morrow was presumably against the war at the time, and so if he did not serve, that is consistent with his politics.

While it may have been particularly noble of Al Gore to go to Vietnam in a non-combat role even when he opposed the war, it would hardly be hypocritical for an opponent of the war, who did NOT want his contemporaries to die there, to avoid participating. This is the difference between John Morrow and Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.


Stephen Anthony Schneider - 12/9/2004

I wasn't going to weigh in on this, as I will no doubt be called all sorts of pejorative terms merely for suggesting that education has a critical and exploratory function within a democratic society.

John Dewey points to this role in _Democracy and Education_, where he argues that education should be centered on the reconstruction of experience; that is, students and teachers alike should be exposed to a full range of foreign and conflicting views in order to broaden the scope of their own experience. Arguing against what he calls "traditional" education, Dewey reminds us that teachers are both facilitators in the classroom, and individuals whose own experience is essential to the role of democratic education.

It seems that much of the debate here centers on whether or not classrooms should be spaces in which students hear and challenge their own views as well as those of others. Morrow's teaching style, while certainly more provocative than anything I would advocate, is consistent with Dewey's contentions about the role of education in approximating the ethical foundations of democratic exchange.

This debate seems to point to the fact that certain conservatives do not feel that opinions should be open for debate; any attempt to facilitate this meets with cries of indoctrination. But how do we avoid indoctrination in a climate where aren't able to express and discuss the role of politics and dissent in the classroom as well as in the streets? To suggest that a teacher shouldn't teach according to their political and moral beliefs is as uncritical and constraining as Dr Morrow is alleged to be.

Obviously my own politics are to the left of Horowitz, Frank and the other conservative contributors to this discussion. But I don't believe that my argument here "belongs" to one side of this debate or the other. I'm merely curious as to why it is that this small conservative element is unable to reflect critically on their own experience? It would no doubt deepen and enrich their own understanding of conservative politics, as well as complicate what it means to champion democracy in the 21st century.


Graham Larkin - 9/26/2004

Don't call me lefty, righty. ;)


Steven L. Frank - 9/25/2004

I find it ironic that the academic left has long sought to defend the use of quotas for admission to the student body but are horrified by the thought that quotas may be applied now to those who wish to become a professor.

Indeed it is amazing to watch the academic left now presuming to claim the mantle of free speech when they are the ones who pioneered speech codes on campus.


Graham Larkin - 9/24/2004

Let’s not get too bogged down in the details of John H. Morrow’s theatrical lecturing style, and Bradley Alexander’s theatrical distress. The big issue here is academic freedom. More specifically, we need to place the actions of Alexander and Horowitz squarely into the context of the debate surrounding the so-called Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR), as mentioned in many of the responses so far.

As many of you know, promoters of the ABOR think it would be a good idea to legislate ideological “diversity” and “appropriateness” on American campuses. You might also be aware that the ABOR has been judiciously described by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) as "a grave threat to fundamental principles of academic freedom."

As witnessed by Don McArthur-Self and others on this discussion board, many commentators of all political stripes agree with the AAUP’s assessment that speech legislation is not the way to achieve diversity. For my money, the smartest words ever written about the dangers of the ABOR are in the penultimate paragraph of the following article,

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=9931

in which Reason Magazine’s Jesse Walker defends himself against David Horowitz, author of the ABOR. Like the courageous Professor Morrow, Walker eloquently supports freedom of expression for all -- including people who happen to disagree with him.

I’ve published a well-documented analysis of the simplistic worldview, flawed statistics, and political irresponsibility behind the Bill at

http://www.aaup-ca.org/Larkin_abor.html

Keep speaking, Professor Morrow!

Graham Larkin
CA-AAUP VP for Private Colleges and Universities


Steven L. Frank - 9/24/2004

Letter from the National Campus Director
September 21, 2004

UGA Professor Investigated for Classroom Diatribe

Dear Students and Supporters,

Last week I reported the story of Bradley Alexander, a sophomore history major at the University of Georgia who attended the first lecture of a course on World Wars I and II only to find himself subjected to a hostile and profanity-laced tirade on why the President and Vice-President are “chicken-s—t” from his professor, John Morrow.

Bradley challenged the professor’s partisan remarks and his profanity, but his objections were summarily dismissed by the professor. Concerned about the professor’s unprofessional political diatribes and worried about the possible ramifications for his grades, Bradley dropped the course, but reported the experience to Students for Academic Freedom and developed it into an article for Frontpage Magazine.

The matter did not rest there. Having been confronted with Bradley’s detailed critique of his teaching and its detrimental effect on a Republican student, Morrow responded in a public article on the History News Network website. Instead of apologizing, he defended his remarks, inappropriate as they were, and their profanity. Morrow went so far as to personally insult Bradley, charging that he clearly must have lacked the courage of his convictions, or he would have willingly submitted himself to daily verbal abuse and harassment for his beliefs.

Morrow wrote: “In regard to the use of the epithet ‘chicken-s--t,’ I stand by it as well… ‘Chicken-s--t’ ….refers to people who do not have the courage of their convictions. I applied the term specifically to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided service in Vietnam, a war they both allegedly supported. I stated, furthermore, that it was ironic that Bush, who was able to avoid Vietnam service through the Guard, now had no difficulty sending the Guard to extended duty in Iraq, with the result that patriotic grandfathers—Bush’s contemporaries who served their country in Vietnam—have died there. Bush talks tough when the lives of others are on the line, but he did not act tough when his own life was at stake. The president should not say that he would have served if called, when he well knows that he was not going to be called to duty.”

Following this outrageous and unapologetic response, Students for Academic Freedom sprang into action. In a letter to University of Georgia President Michael Adams, David Horowitz urged President Adams to have Prof. Morrow deliver an apology to Bradley and the other students in his class. He further requested that UGA issue a statement that it is university policy that partisan political agendas have no place in an academic classroom and that professors should show respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity and should not introduce into their teaching controversial matters which have no relation to their subjects.

“Professors and students are not equals in a classroom setting,” Horowitz wrote. “Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not-so-subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the President and have conservative views. They are a breach of the obligations professors have to their students—including their Republican students—to create an environment conducive to learning.” The full letter can be read here.

We are pleased to report that the attention brought to this issue by Students for Academic Freedom and Frontpage Magazine appears to have convinced the University of Georgia to take Bradley’s complaint seriously. We also owe thanks to the office of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue which contacted the University to express outrage at Morrow’s behavior. An attorney from the Office of Legal Affairs has been assigned by the Provost to investigate the situation and is planning to speak with other students from the class to confirm Bradley’s allegations. Professor Morrow will be informed that if he attempts to take any retaliatory action against Bradley for going public with this story, then disciplinary charges will be brought against him. We will continue to follow this story very closely and hope that Bradley will soon receive a well-deserved apology from Prof. Morrow for his appalling classroom conduct.

While this tale may ultimately have a successful resolution, many other students across the country are not so fortunate. Perhaps the course they are taking is required for their major and they don’t have the option of dropping the class as Bradley did. Perhaps they are fearful that administrators won’t take their objections to classroom indoctrination seriously. The example set by Bradley Alexander proves that students do have the power to curtail abusive classroom behavior and to make their campus administrations listen.

If your academic freedoms have been violated in the classroom, please contact me at Sara@studentsforacademicfreedom.org or at 202-969-2467. We can help you develop a plan of action to fight back and reclaim intellectual diversity on campus.

Yours in Freedom,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom


James C Norman - 9/24/2004

Dr. Morrow is clearly a historian in the tradition of legendary film maker Michael Moore. First, you combine political hatred with a twisted view of an event and then present it as fact. Virtually all of Dr. Morrows "points" in his diatribe against President Bush are right out of Michael Moore's "documentary" about the President. Neither Dr. Morrow's opinions or Mr. Moore's movie rise to the level of historical fact. They represent political fiction designed to satisfy their own personal hatred of President Bush. The reasons for which I can only imagine. Whatever they may be, they have no place in his classroom.


Steven L. Frank - 9/22/2004

The facts asserted by Morrow stated that F-102's were never used in Viet Nam. Appartently Dr. Morrow is still contradicted.


Steven L. Frank - 9/22/2004

Politics In the Classroom
By Jeston La Croix
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 22, 2004

I am currently attending the University of Michigan as a 3rd year student majoring in Political Science. Michigan is probably known to most these days because of the recent Supreme Court decision on racial preferences in its admission policies and for for the battles over diversity on campus. Diversity is, in fact, one of the most talked about topics on campus. It is virtually impossible to attend the University and not be confronted by the diversity issue on a regular basis.

In pursuit of diversity, the university strives to achieve a multi-ethnic student body, albeit primarily in terms of three designated “oppressed” groups covered by the racial preference quotas – blacks, Hispanics and “Native Americans.” On the other hand, there is no such concern about the one diversity that a university might be presumed to take for granted: the diversity of intellectual ideas.



I came to Michigan ready to learn and experience all of the things college has to offer. I found out very quickly, however, that having opinions different from that of the vocal majority would single me out for constant abuse both casual and not so casual. It was certainly not the kind of college experience I had been led to expect -- an intellectual atmosphere that supported the open exchange of ideas. As an outspoken conservative and Republican I soon learned that students with ideas like mine were treated as second-class citizens by the faculty and administration, and consequently by their classmates.



As a freshman living in Mary Markley Hall, a dorm composed primarily of freshmen, I found that voicing intellectual or political opinions was not openly accepted if you disagreed with the leftist consensus shared by the dorm counselors and a majority of the students alike. During my fist semester, I cut a cartoon out of the most read paper on campus, the Michigan Daily, which endorsed Affirmative Action as a progressive admissions policy for the university. I disagreed with the policy and with this cartoon, so I decided to alter it on my computer to make it reflect my own views. When I was finished, I tacked it on my dorm room door.



Immediately, I discovered I was not alone. Other students asked for a copy of my version of the cartoon to place on their doors. I should note that almost every door in the dorm had a posting of some kind or another. It took only a few minutes after several students had joined me in tacking the cartoon to their doors before I was approached by a Residence Advisor (an upper level student hired by the university to monitor activities in the dorms) demanding that the cartoon be removed. The reason given was that other residents were offended by the opinion it expressed.



I refused the demand and was immediately accosted by an Assistant Hall Director. Both the RA and the Director insisted I take down the cartoon, which the Assistant Hall Director was now calling “racist.” There was in fact nothing racist (or profane) in my cartoon as the Assistant Hall Director claimed. Nor did it contain any content prohibited by law or the university. I held my ground and continued my refusal to remove the offending document. I was then informed that I would be reprimanded and possibly kicked out of my dorm.



Sure enough, I was summed to see the Head Hall Director who also insisted on the cartoon’s removal. This time I decided to comply with the order until I had obtained legal counsel. Like the central figure of a Kafka novel I already felt I was in waters over my head. I contacted a lawyer and the only professor at the University, whom I knew to be sympathetic to my conservative my views. I also contacted the ACLU of Washtenaw County, which offered to help. After I obtained these allies, I was contacted by the Housing Director – who had been called in to the case -- and a now sheepish Residence Adviser – who told me that the attempt to censor my views (my word not theirs) was wrong and I could put the cartoon back on my door. In short, only the fact that the world outside the University of Michigan still respects the First Amendment, allowed me to express my ideas.



In my sophomore year, I encountered another level of the ideological orthodoxy at Michigan. I was sitting in my first Political Science class – a lecture hall filled with about 400 students -- when the professor, whose name was Hanes Walton Jr. entered the room five minutes late and informed us that a student had an announcement to make. I noticed the speaker just as he proceeded to launch an attack on the Coors Brewing Company to the students assembled. The core of his speech was that our class needed to boycott Coors because its owner, Joseph Coors, had donated money to the cause of eliminating racial preferences (which the speaker naturally referred to as “affirmative action”) and was thus a racist. This student speaker was not even enrolled in the class but had been invited by the professor for the express purpose of making his political statement and attempting to recruit the class to his cause.



The student activist didn’t stop with his attack on Coors but went on to say that all white male Republicans and conservatives were racist and that it was “our” duty to organize to stop them. As an obvious member of the enemy group, the twelve minutes this tirade went on seemed like an eternity to me. I also could not help wondering about my fate in a class taught by a professor who would encourage this kind of attack (or for that matter my career in the Political Science Department itself). At the end of the tirade, I raised my hand and asked Professor Walton if I should even bother coming to the lectures anymore to have my time wasted in this manner.



For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to directly confront my professor and the four hundred students, many of whom I knew would be hostile, and ask why he would invite someone into his class to insult and demonize me and the other conservative students who opposed racial preferences. In retrospect I think I was still hoping to keep my identity as a conservative out of the line of fire. I could have spared myself this effort, however, as his response to my question made clear. In a patronizing tone he referred to me as his “Republican friend,” and asked if I wanted to come down and address the class on my own topic of choice. Having been attacked as a white racist and reactionary and an enemy of the people by his guest, I didn’t think my chances of escaping further ridicule were especially promising, and declined. With all the instincts of the bullies I had encountered in my neighborhood as a youngster, Professor Walton refused to let me retreat, and continued to bait me, asking if I was afraid to speak to the class and express my views. His comments encouraged leftist students in the auditorium to start calling me names and booing me.



I guess I was cowed but I was determined not to surrender. When the class was over I went went straight to the Dean’s Office to protest. It took me several complaints and emails to get an audience with an Assistant Dean, who listened somewhat sympathetically. The Assistant Dean, as I was informed, spoke to Professor Walton who made what I felt was a partial apology. But nothing was done in terms of the class itself, whose 400 students got the clear message that there was only one decent view that one could have on an issue on which the entire country was decided. The opposing view, shared by most conservatives and Republicans was simply “racist” and unclean.



One troubling aspect of this incident is that there remains no written University policy, available to students, that would prevent this kind of political proseltyzing in the classroom. No grievance procedure for students like myself publicly humiliated for not sharing the leftwing orthodoxy of the University of Michigan classroom. Time and again I have had to listen to my professors’ tangential rants about the “stolen” election of 2000 and lunatic references to George W. Bush as “our terrorist president.” If students like myself object to these political salvos, we are subjected to ridicule by professors who can affect our grades and who think nothing of humiliating us in front of our peers.



Recently the outgoing chair of the Political Science Department gave an interview to the local Ann Arbor paper that showed how deeply embedded in the university culture this intolerant and unprofessional approach to education is at the University of Michigan. The article appeared in the September 2004 edition of the Ann Arbor Observer and was written by Lynn Waldsmith and titled the Loneliness of a College Republican. In the article, Professor Daniel Levine is described as “having little sympathy for conservative students who incur the wrath of their classmates.” His reason? “If I would’ve announced myself as [being with] students for apartheid in South Africa, I would’ve gotten a negative reaction too.” I get it. Republicans are racists and supporters of Apartheid, and should be grateful that liberals like myself tolerate their existence and don’t lynch them.



Of course Professor Levine thought nothing of the silent blacklist of conservatives at the University which prevents students like myself from having a single ideologically compatible professor in the Political Science Department for counsel. In Professor Levine’s view, “complaining about the dearth of conservatives is both ‘inappropriate’ and ‘irrelevant.’” Of course it is. Why should the university have racists on its faculty? Professor Levine’s comment shows that he is well aware (as I am sure other leftwing faculty members are too) that there is no real intellectual diversity in the University of Michigan’s Political Science Department. They just don’t care.


Steven L. Frank - 9/22/2004

His book, Left Illusions is perhaps the best written history of both the antecedents of the New Left and how they played themselves out in an orgy of nihilistic violence that eventually turned Horowitz against the movement. Perhaps you could learn something by actually reading something by someone with whom you disagree.


Cary Fraser - 9/22/2004

I am concerned that historical illiteracy espoused by polemicists is becoming a standard for judging historians. I should ask whether the use of the term "principals" in your most recent message should not be spelt as "principles"? I am not sure that "principals" could be "layed (sic) down" - I am more familiar with the idea that one lays down the law and that principles are elaborated/ articulated or some similar term .

I am glad to hear that Horowitz is an agent provocateur - the style of his writing in this matter certainly suggests hysteria rather than history.


Ken Ward - 9/22/2004

Funny, the article you cite states that the F-102s were withdrawn from Vietnam in December of 1969. Given that Bush didn't earn his wings until July of 1970, it would seem to me that it was pretty certain that he wasn't going to see service in Vietnam. Perhaps you will be a bit better with your chronology next time.


Steven L. Frank - 9/22/2004

Perhaps by following the principals layed down in 1940 by the American Association of University Professors. That is to not mention in the classroom politically motivated points of view that are not relevant to the sunject being discussed.

If you think that it is impossible to convey meaningful information about the history without bringing the partisanship of current events into the discussion; perhaps you ought to join the Political Science or Public Policy department.

As for Horowitz; he is practicing what he has always been, agent provocateur. In this case he is not concerned with being objective; just politically effective in reigning in the excessiveness of leftist control of academic life. He will win.


Cary Fraser - 9/21/2004

I am struck by the logic that shapes Mr. Horowitz's reasoning.

In his letter he asserts that: "We further urge you to issue a statement that it is university policy that partisan political agendas have no place in an academic classroom and that professors should show respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity and should not introduce into their teaching controversial matters which have no relation to their subjects."

How does one show respect for political diversity in a classroom if one does not accept that partisan political agendas have a place in the classroom?


Cary Fraser


Steven L. Frank - 9/21/2004

SF: Imagine if a letter like this was sent about you to the president of your university!


Open Letter to Michael Adams, President, University of Georgia
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 20, 2004

Michael Adams

President, University of Georgia



Dear President Adams,



I want to bring to your attention an outrageous situation at your school which raises the issue of professional behavior of faculty and specifically the abuse of the classroom for partisan agendas. Professor John Morrow teaches a class on the history of the World Wars. On the first day of class this semester, Professor Morrow – by his own account (posted on the History News Network) described President Bush and Vice President Cheney (who played no role in either of these wars) as “chicken hawks” and cowards (referring to them in fact as “chicken shit”) and “liars.”

Here is Morrow’s own defense of his remarks as posted on the History News Network: “In regard to the use of the epithet ‘chicken shit,’ I stand by it as well… ‘Chicken shit’ ….refers to people who do not have the courage of their convictions. I applied the term specifically to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided service in Vietnam, a war they both allegedly supported. I stated, furthermore, that it was ironic that Bush, who was able to avoid Vietnam service through the Guard, now had no difficulty sending the Guard to extended duty in Iraq, with the result that patriotic grandfathers--Bush’s contemporaries who served their country in Vietnam--have died there. Bush talks tough when the lives of others are on the line, but he did not act tough when his own life was at stake. The president should not say that he would have served if called, when he well knows that he was not going to be called to duty.”

A student, Bradley Alexander, challenged the professor’s partisan remarks and his profanity. The student’s objections were peremptorily dismissed. As a result of these exchanges, Alexander dropped the course fearful of possible consequences to his grades and unwilling to subject himself to such irrelevant partisan tirades for an entire term.

For sixty years, the American Association of University Professors has regarded such irrelevant remarks by professors on controversial matters a violation of students’ academic freedom. In its 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the Association declared: “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” The rationale is obvious. Professors and students are not equals in a classroom setting. Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not so subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the President and have conservative views. They are a breach of the obligations professors have to their students -- including their Republican students -- to create an environment conducive to learning.



The Academic Bill of Rights which we are proposing and which has passed the Georgia Senate 41-5, will make such classroom behavior a violation of university policy. As a result of our efforts in Colorado, a professor of law who told his students that the “R” in Republican stands for “racist” and who called a student who challenged him a “Nazi” has been reprimanded by the Dean of the Law School. In addition, all public universities in the state of Colorado are instituting student rights in these matters. Respect for intellectual diversity is as important as other matters of diversity. We would like to see a policy supporting respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity incorporated into university policy.



Bradley Alexander is under attack from this professor in public forums like the History News Network. He is concerned that his academic career at the University of Georgia, where he is a history major, may be in jeopardy. We urge you to take action in this case to have Professor Morrow apologize to Bradley Alexander and the students in his class. We further urge you to issue a statement that it is university policy that partisan political agendas have no place in an academic classroom and that professors should show respect for intellectual, political and religious diversity and should not introduce into their teaching controversial matters which have no relation to their subjects.



Thank you for your consideration in this matter. I look forward to your response.





Sincerely,





David Horowitz

Chairman, Students for Academic Freedom

David Horowitz's newest book, Unholy Alliance, will be released on October 1st.




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David Horowitz is the author of numerous books including an autobiography, Radical Son, which has been described as “the first great autobiography of his generation,” and which chronicles his odyssey from radical activism to the current positions he holds. Among his other books are The Politics of Bad Faith and The Art of Political War. The Art of Political War was described by White House political strategist Karl Rove as “the perfect guide to winning on the political battlefield.” Horowitz’s latest book, Uncivil Wars, was published in January this year, and chronicles his crusade against intolerance and racial McCarthyism on college campuses last spring. Click here to read more about David


stephen Brody - 9/20/2004

There is another aspect to Morrow’s argument that is specious and it is used by all the “Bush and Cheney were chicken shits” crowd.

Invariably, when confronted with all the Democratic politicians who ducked Vietnam, many, like Clinton, in really sleazy ways, they excuse those “chicken shits” (Morrow’s term) by virtue of opposition to the war. As the argument goes, Clinton, who lied about receiving a draft notice, mislead the ROTC and falsely promised to enlist, dodged the draft “honorably” because he “opposed the war”. Cheney, who received a deferment because he was a father and Bush, who served honorably in the ANG were “chicken shits” because they “supported the war". Whenever asked to provide evidence that Bush and Cheney supported the war at the time, none of this crowd can provide any. I notice that Morrow tries to weasel word his defense of using the “chicken shit” label by the use of “allegedly “ before “Bush and Cheney supported the war”. That begs the question; alleged by whom?

Also, I note that Morrow’s bio at UofG indicates that he received his PhD in 1971. I wonder if he used a student deferment to avoid military service. I’m not suggesting anything, just wondering aloud. It’s always interesting to know when a professor, who never served in the military, calls someone who did a “chicken shit”.

All this aside, the proposition that Bush was a coward because he joined the TANG is silly on its face: cowards do not go out and become fighter pilots.


stephen Brody - 9/20/2004

I note that Professor Morrow recieved his PhD in 1971. Since this would seem to place him at an age to have served in Vietnam, do you know whether he ever served in the military? If he did, did he serve in Vietnam?

I'm always interested in Professors who availed themselves of deferments and then refer to others who also recieved deferments as "chicken shits".

But perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps Morrow actually served in combat with distinction.


John Lauren Remington - 9/19/2004

Dr. John Morrow goes to great lengths in his rebuttal to promote his credentials as one of America's Greatest University Historians and Teacher of the Century. He promotes himself as an expert in military history, and perhaps he is. He is, in his own estimation, an Official Authority. In fact, so great is his Authority, that that Authority extends to wherever he directs it, including his Authoritative Pronouncements on current politics such as that George Bush and Dick Cheney are "chicken-shits" and the the war in Iraq is wrong, immoral, naive, etc, etc, and blah blah blah...

Dr. Morrow the expert does not get basic facts correct. In his letter to HNN, he states that the F-102, the fighter jet that George Bush learned to fly in the Texas ANG, was an "obsolescent... interceptor, which saw no service [in Vietnam]." This "fact" he uses to support his "chicken shit" ad hominem insult, stating that Bush's assignment to the F-102 "guaranteed" that he would never be deployed to Vietnam. The problem is, the "fact" is demonstrably false. The F-102 was indeed used in combat and air-defense duty in Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the 1960's. Joe Baugher, a military aircraft enthusiast, writes on his website:

"A few Pacific-based squadrons got F-102s, the first being the 16th FIS based at Naha AFB on Okinawa which re-equipped in March of 1959. It was in the Pacific theatre that the F-102 was to achieve its only taste of combat. Aircraft from the 590th Fighter Interceptor Squadron were transferred to Tan Son Nhut AFB near Saigon in South Vietnam in March of 1962 to provide air defense against the unlikely event that North Vietnamese aircraft would attack the South. F-102As continued to be based there and in Thailand throughout much of the Vietnam war. F-102As stood alert at Bien Hoa and Da Nang in Sout Vietnam and at Udorn and Don Muang in Thailand. The F-102A was finally withdrawn from Southeast Asia in December of 1969. The F-102A established an excellent safety record in Vietnam. In almost ten years of flying air defense and a few combat air patrols for SAC B-52s, only 15 F-102As were lost. Although a few missions were flown over North Vietnam, the Southeast Asia-stationed F-102As are not thought to have actually engaged in air-to-air combat. However, one of my references has an F-102A of the 509th FIS being lost to an air-to-air missile fired by a MiG-21 while flying a CAP over Route Package IV on February 3, 1968. Two F-102As were lost to AAA/small arms fire and four were destroyed on the ground by the Viet Cong and eight were lost in operational accidents.

Strange as it may seem, the F-102A actually did fly some close-support missions over the South, even though the aircraft was totally unsuited for this role. These operations started in 1965 at Tan Son Nhut using the 405 FW alert detachment. Operating under the code-name "Project Stovepipe", they used their heat sinking Falcon missiles to lock onto heat sources over the Ho Chi Minh trail at night, often Viet Cong campfires. This was more of a harassment tactic than it was serious assault. They would even fire their radar-guided missiles if their radars managed to lock onto something. The pilots were never sure if they actually hit anything, but they would sometimes observe secondary explosions.

The F-102s soon switched to a day role, firing the 12 unguided FFAR rockets from the missile bays, using the optical sight. 618 day sorties were flown, the last one being flown at the end of 1965. One F-102A was downed by ground fire during one of these rocket attacks.

There were some later missions flown, especially in Mayday emergencies when the 102's were the fastest response available in the South (2 1/2 minutes over the fence, far faster than the F-4)."

(To read the rest of the article on the Convair F-102 go to http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f102_1.html)

Or Dr. Morrow could consult Wayne Mutza's encyclopedia on the F-102 "Convair F-102 Delta Dagger" (Schiffer Books), which includes information about the use of the F-102 in Vietnam.

Hopefully (wishful thinking?), Dr. Morrow is more careful with the facts in his course material than he is in his political polemics. One can only doubt...



Andrew D. Todd - 9/18/2004

"Colorful" professors are usually well known to the student grapevine. Every department seems to have at least one. If, for some reason, a department lacked a colorful professor, it would be necessary for someone to devote himself to becoming colorful. It is like a repertory theater company needing a clown. Someone has to play Touchstone in _As You Like It_, after all.

I rather doubt that Bradley Alexander could have enrolled in John H. Morrow's class, without knowing what he was in for. The balance of probabilities is that he enrolled with the prior purpose of dropping out under protest; that he is in fact a provocateur, trying to stage a "Peter Kirsten episode" at Morrow's expense. I would not care to venture an opinion about the possible extent and scope of David Horowitz's prior involvement in the episode. Given who Horowitz is, I would not be disposed to accept any statement he makes, unless he makes it under oath, under penalty of perjury.


Val Jobson - 9/18/2004

According to Alexander's own report, Professor Morrow sounds like an entertaining speaker; why didn't Alexander sit back and enjoy himself? Actually, this may be the reason for the attack; a colourful speaker who ranges broadly is going to be remembered better than a dull speaker who wears blinders. The teachers you remember are the off-beat ones.

According to his colleagues, Professor Morrow is an excellent historian; why didn't Alexander stick with the class to learn what he could? Is he afraid he may have to question his own assumptions and perhaps even change his mind?

Most university students are adults, and should already have started to learn to think for themselves. The best way to do this is to talk with and listen to people who disagree with you. Why do the right-wingers want to infantilize their young people and keep them in a fuzzy cocoon of thought, with no clarifying argument allowed? Are they afraid the kids might grow up and question how their country is governed?


Steven L. Frank - 9/16/2004

If you want a great read a great book on the intellectual sources for 1930's through 1970's leftist thought, pick up Horowitz's Left Illusions. Horowitz was the original Red Diaper Baby who eventually saw the light, after witnessing in insane violence he was in the vanguard of unleashing in the 1960's.


Steven L. Frank - 9/16/2004

Profane Professor
By Bradley Alexander
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 9, 2004

I am a sophomore at the University of Georgia, currently majoring in History. I have a particular interest in Western Civilization so I was naturally interested when I heard that a course entitled "History 4400: History of the World Wars" was being offered this semester. This class is taught by Professor John Morrow. The first day of class was on August 19. Professor Morrow entered the classroom and immediately launched into what can only be described as a 90 minute tirade which began with the comment, "For those of you who have had me before you know I haven't changed one damn bit."

In a delivery laced with profanity, he explained that if we didn't like his language we should drop the class. A student had reported him to the vice president of student affairs before, he informed us, and insinuated that through his influence he was able to have the vice president fired. He then explained that if he ever saw the former VP in the halls that "his ass is mine." From this beginning, Professor Morrow proceeded to tell us that he "hated George Bush" and that various members of the Republican administration were "chicken shit" (a phrase he repeated several times).

Next, Professor Morrow launched into a series of conspiracy theories involving President Bush. He stated that the President was able to escape service Vietnam due to his father’s influence, and was deliberately trained to fly on a jet that was no longer used in combat. When a student raised the possibility that this was just a coincidence, Morrow stated, “I don’t believe in coincidences.”


Morrow also claimed that the Bush administration had lied extensively about the war in Iraq and said that the only reason were in that country was to steal oil. According to the professor, these were credible facts. Next he began explaining that there were indeed never any chemical weapons in Iraq. When I questioned him about how Saddam gassed his own people he responded , "What! We kill innocent people all the time." This atmosphere certainly was not conducive to the "open flow of ideas" or the "free expression of opinions." There were only two dissenting voices including me in the class. Several people agreed with Morrow and the rest sat in a state of amused shock.

The Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors states, "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject but they should be careful to introduce into their teaching controversial matters which have no relation to the subject." Professor Morrow certainly doesn't teach by this standard.



The Georgia Legislature recently debated the usefulness of an Academic Bill of Rights which would demand fairness in the classroom. In other words, it would demand that students receive an "education not an indoctrination."



David Horowitz at the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and Students for Academic Freedom poses this question: "Do professors feel so impotent that they have to hector a captive audience of students who are placed in their professional charge and over whom they exercise enormous institutional power? Does it not occur to them that inflicting their partisan viewpoints on students whose education has been put in their trust is a form of harassment and a betrayal of their professional obligations? And if they do not, even in this limited but instructive setting, how do they teach their actual courses? How do they insure that their students will get an education and not an indoctrination?"

I would say that John Morrow doesn't have a clue, or perhaps more accurately he understands perfectly and really doesn't care.


Steven L. Frank - 9/16/2004

No, Morrow is the one ducking Horowitz indictment. Its not Horowitz who abused the student.


Steven L. Frank - 9/16/2004

I find it strage that Horowitz's indictment of Morrow is not shown for those here to examine Morrow's reply to Horowitz. I provide it below as well as the student's actual indictment of Morrow in the next poost. The link I'm providing is to Frontpage Magazine itself which is running a thorough campaign on behalf of academic freedom.....The Academic Bill of Rights. Hopefully coming to a college near you.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/
Horowitz Indictment of Morrow:


Professor John Morrow, who told his class on World Wars I and II that George Bush and Dick Cheney were "chicken shit" cowards is the object of a university inquiry into his behavior in the classroom. We applaud the university for taking this important step in reminding faculty that a university has obligations to its students and their academic freedom as well as to the freedom of professors to express their opinions.

We have no quarrel with Professor Morrow's expertise or his right to express his views on the subject at hand. We would have no quarrel if he explained the world wars in Freudian or Marxian or post-modern terms for that matter, provided he made students aware that there are other significant ways of interpreting these events. We do have a problem with a professor bringing irrelevant contemporary politics into his classroom in a controversial way that is disrespectful of his students who may have different views.

A professor is the person in authority in a classroom. His knowledge is without peer in this setting. He has power over the academic careers (and future career prospects) of his students through the grading power bestowed by the institutional framework. These are not equal relationships. Partisan and passionate views expressed by students do not carry any special weight with their peers. A professor partisan and passionate views cannot be so readily dismissed or discounted by his students. A professor has professional obligations towards his students moreover that students do not have towards each other. Students are in the classroom to learn, and it is the professor's responsibility to do everything in his power to help them learn. Bullying them in the classroom by displaying politically partisan commitments and expressing these commitments in vulgar language -- magnifying their emotional impact -- does nothing to advance the educational process or enhance scholarly understanding of the subject.

Professor Morrow defends his profanity by saying that it is the language of soldiers. But he was not discussing soldiers or battlegrounds or anything else relevant to the two world wars. He was discussing the behavior of two men embroiled in current political controvers.y who were not even born when World War II ended. Professor Morrow's outburst was just a self-indulgent venting of political passions that were entirely irrelevant to the subject matter of the class he was supposed to be teaching.

The consequence of this behavior was to intimidate a student Bradley Alexander and cause him to drop the course. This is not a small matter for a student who aspires to be a history major and who signed up for this particular course because he wanted to learn about its subject matter. Anyone can make an error of judgment in the passion of the moment as Professor Morrow did. Such errors are usually retrievable. When Bradley Alexander dropped the course, Profesor Morrow could have sought him out and apologized for giving Bradley the wrong impression (if that was what it was). He could have reassured him that even though they disagreed, he would never let their disagreement impinge on his grading for example. In fact, a case like this occurred at Duke university last year. A history professor told his students on the first day of class that he was prejudiced against Republicans and Republican students should probably drop his course. One student did. We published an account of this incident and the university responded by contacting the professor who apologized to the student. His apology was accepted and the matter was closed.

Unfortunately, Professor Morrow has not taken this course of action in the present matter but has chosen instead to defend his untenable position and compound the problem. Having bullied Bradley Alexander in his class, Professor Morrow has now bullied him on the Internet. Apparently he needs to be taught an important lesson. He needs to understand that the first priority of a good teacher is to show his students and his subject respect. That will inspire them to respect him as well. John Morrow needs to apologize to Bradley Alexander and the students in his class and in doing so to set an example for his faculty peers: that students have rights too.



Abusing students and defending the abuse - Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:10 PM
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In a recent issue of Frontpage we published an article by a sophomore at the University of Georgia named Bradley Alexander about an abusive classroom discourse by history professor John Morrow. On the first day of a course purportedly on the two world wars, Morrow used profanity to his express his moral disgust, not to say hatred of President George Bush (who played no role in either of these wars). The professor's outburst caused Alexander -- reasonably one might think -- to wonder what a whole term in Professor Morrow's class might be like and whether, as a Republican and an admirer of Geroge Bush, his grade might be affected as well. In short, Bradley Alexander was deprived of an educational opportunity that his rightfully his as citizen of the state Georgia, simply because he was a Republican with consrvative views. There was no academic rationale whatsoever for Professor Morrow's profanities or emotional tirades. Yet Morrow's outrageous behavior is so supported by the university culture today, that even when confronted by what he has done he is unapologetic. In a reply to Bradley Alexander's article that appeared on the History News Network site (and that I have reprinted below), Morrow is not only unrepentant but arrogant and haughty as well. He is the smart one, he is eager to inform us, the one with the PhD, and students like Bradley Alexander should just get grin and bear whatever he has to offer.

Well, as someone else once said, we're not going to take this anymore. The citizens of Colorado have already begun the process of ending this type of behavior by academics who behave like adolescents in the classroom. A Professor of Law who referred to all Republicans as racists and called a student who objected a "Nazi" has been disciplined by the Dean of the Law School thanks to the new bill of rights that is being instituted in the state as a result of efforts by Students for Academic Freedom. The Georgia Senate has passed the Academic Bill of Rights 41-5. Every Georgia legislator is going to hear about Professor Morrow's misbehavior in the classroom. We are sending letters to evey state official in Georgia with jurisdiction over the University of Georgia, every trustee whose responsibility it is to see that the University of Georgia serves its citizens and the students they send there for an education. This fight is not over. It is just the beginning.


Here is the response to Professor Morrow that I sent to the History News Network:

Professor Morrow's self-defense in the matter of the student he drove from his classroom is really all that is required to make the case against him. Morrow's remarks are an apparently unwitting confession of his own grossly unprofessional behavior, a vulgar display of emotions more suitable to the Hannity and Colmes show than to an academic classroom. Professor Morrow is apparently unaware that this type of behavior has been expressly condemned by the American Association of University Professors as a violation of academic freedom for more than sixty years.

In The 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declared: “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” The rationale is obvious. Professors and students are not equals in a classroom setting. Remarks such as Professor Morrow freely admits he made which have no relation to his subject are not so subtle means of intimidating students who identify with the President and are a breach of the obligations Professor Morrow has to his students -- including his Republican students -- to create an environment conducive to learning. Professor Morrow's lame reference to the fact that Iraq was created as a consequence of World War I, cannot be taken seriously. Referring to a sitting Republican president as a "chicken-hawk" and a liar obviously has no relation to the historical matters which are the subject of his class and his professional expertise.
I would like to hear from Professor Morrow how the expression of such rank prejudice about the present Administration and its policies in Iraq has anything whatsoever to do with the World Wars. I would also like him to share with us how he would feel if he were a leftwing student in a class taught by Bradley Alexander and on the first day of class Professor Alexander referred to John Kerry or Bill Clinton as a liar and a traitor, and laced his remarks with profanity to emphasize his emotional commitment to those views. The fact that some students have the stomach to sit through this kind of unprofessional and emotionally charged blather is no justification for behavior that adversely impacts students who do not. A responsible educator would have the deceny to exhibit some second thoughts about driving a student away from his class merely because he lacked the self-discipline to keep his emotions over the current election to himself. Unfortunately, Professor Morrow seems to lack that decency. He has the morals of a bully, albeit an intellectual one.

David Horowitz
I Don't Punish Students Who Disagree with Me
By John H. Morrow, Jr.
Mr. Morrow is Franklin Professor of History, University of Georgia.

HNN has invited me to reply to an article by one of our university students, Bradley Alexander, entitled, “Profane Professor,” in the conservative Internet journal FrontPageMagazine.com (September 9, 2004), which refers to the first class meeting in my course on the World Wars at the University of Georgia.

As a chaired professor specializing in military history, warfare and society, and European history, I have taught such subjects as war and society, the First and Second World Wars, civil-military relationships, and Western Civilization for thirty-three years, the first seventeen at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the last sixteen at the University of Georgia. My published works, of which the most recent is a history of the First World War, The Great War: An Imperial History (Routledge, 2004) have gained me an international reputation as an acknowledged authority on the war of 1914-1918. I have also won best teaching awards at both universities, and in those thirty-three years the evaluations of my courses--registered by students who complete them--have been exceedingly high.

During those years, I have taught many students destined for military service, because of the nature of my specialty and my popularity as a teacher. A number of those former students, many of whom are presently in the service, still correspond with me, I am proud to say. In fact, in the midst of the “hate mail” I have received as a result of Bradley Alexander’s article, the following email arrived from a former student at Tennessee:

I was an undergraduate student of yours in the late 1970’s, I recently retired after a 23 year career as an officer in the Army, Special Forces of course, and wanted to say thanks for inspiring me as a young man so many years ago. I saw on the internet that you were telling it like it is, as usual, in Georgia. I do not think we would ever agree on politics but wanted to let you know that I am willing to come testify at your court-martial or whatever the academic thought-police attempt to do.

Bradley Alexander attended only the introductory session of my “World Wars” class, when I introduce the subject, talk about my teaching style, and purposely introduce controversial opinions to generate discussion. I teach by the Socratic method and students need to become accustomed to discussing issues openly. Alexander was one of very few students who dropped the course after that first day, as some do when they see the extensive reading and writing that the course requires. Their places, as always, were filled by even more students who wanted to take the course, which is over-enrolled at seventy-two students.

Bradley Alexander took issue not with profanity, but with my opinions of President Bush and the war in Iraq. I called President Bush first a “chicken hawk,” because his parents’ influence got him into the Air Guard and out of service in Vietnam, a war he allegedly supported. Alexander labels that a “conspiracy theory,” thus demonstrating his ignorance about the military in the Vietnam era. I stand by my condemnation of the Bush regime’s policy of lies about the war in Iraq. What Alexander failed to mention was that I further condemned this administration for ignoring and even dismissing its best military brains, who informed Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush that we needed “more boots on the ground” in Iraq, a clear set of goals, and an “exit strategy” before we entered the war. This adminstration did none of the above, and as a consequence, we find ourselves in our current situation in Iraq.

In regard to the use of the epithet “chicken shit,” I stand by it as well. For students of military history, it is one of the milder epithets, and if they are going to take a course on war, they are going to encounter a good deal of profanity. Veteran Paul Fussell’s excellent work Wartime defines “chicken shit” in reference to the bureaucratic garbage that soldiers of World War II encountered.

“Chicken shit” also refers to people who do not have the courage of their convictions. I applied the term specifically to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided service in Vietnam, a war they both allegedly supported. I stated, furthermore, that it was ironic that Bush, who was able to avoid Vietnam service through the Guard, now had no difficulty sending the Guard to extended duty in Iraq, with the result that patriotic grandfathers--Bush’s contemporaries who served their country in Vietnam--have died there. Bush talks tough when the lives of others are on the line, but he did not act tough when his own life was at stake. The president should not say that he would have served if called, when he well knows that he was not going to be called to duty. The choice of plane on which he trained even guaranteed that he would not serve in Vietnam. Air Guard pilots who flew F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bombers went to Vietnam. Bush learned to fly the obsolescent “Delta Dagger” interceptor, which saw no service there.

Bradley Alexander’s summary description of my class is his interpretation. I brought his article the day it appeared to my “World Wars” class and told them about it. Alexander refers to “two dissenting voices.” The other “dissenting voice,” who remained in the class and is doing well, read Alexander’s article in astonishment. Alexander’s description of a class in “amused shock,” is his own; the students were amused at his description and gave me a round of applause.

Finally, Alexander omits our exchange. He asked me two questions, both of which I answered. I then asked him a question, to which he replied with a further question. I answered the third question and then asked him to answer my question. He said that he had not heard my question, to which I replied that I had heard his and that he could at least pay me the courtesy of listening to and answering mine. I suggested that he could answer mine the next class. He never returned.

Alexander believes that a professor teaching a class on the World Wars should not discuss contemporary issues. However, the situation in present day Iraq has its modern origins in the era of the First World War, and current issues of military service and the volunteer army serve as an interesting contrast to the conscription of draft armies of the two World Wars. When I ask students if they plan to serve in the military to act on their support of the war in Iraq, invariably students like Alexander do not. Had he stayed for more than one class, or even listened to what I explained that first day, he would have understood that the past and present intertwine inextricably. His definition of what is related to the subject and mine differ. Years of study, research, publication, and teaching have made me an acknowledged expert in my field. I have presented my credentials. Let Bradley Alexander present his.

Unlike many of the conservative students I have taught in over thirty years at major Southern universities, Alexander lacks the courage of his convictions. When I was in college and graduate school, I never dropped a course, regardless of whether I agreed with the professors’ views. I respected the fact that they knew their field and valued their personal perspectives, and took discussion as an opportunity to learn and test my ideas against theirs. The great majority of my students interact with me exactly the same way: we engage in freewheeling and spontaneous discussions in my classroom, because I find that students learn best in that atmosphere. Their student evaluations confirm this fact.

Alexander evidently ranks among the type of conservative college student who equates indoctrination with anything he or she does not already believe, and who views any criticism of the president as somehow treasonous. Such attitudes represent the height of hypocrisy and the “political correctness” that conservatives love to condemn. The use of profane language becomes their lever to attack professors for viewpoints that differ from theirs. They use it very selectively, as many faculty and public figures could receive censure for the public use of profanity--Dick Cheney included. Such students lack the courage to confront the faculty member directly, but rather they run to “higher authorities” or external sources to plead their case.

Finally, Alexander did himself a disservice by dropping the course, as he has deprived himself of an opportunity to grow and mature intellectually. I grade students on their performance on tests and papers, not on their personal or political opinions. In fact, a recent student wrote to FrontPageMagazine to say:

I took Morrow’s course last year. I didn’t agree with seventy-five percent of the things he said, but I still got a very good grade.... It just so happens that the war in Iraq can be used to illustrate several aspects of history.... If students are not secure enough in their own beliefs to have them tested, then maybe they should evaluate what their beliefs really mean to them.




Comment submitted by Ron Warren in regards to blog entry: Abusing students
and defending the abuse


I do not wish to engage in the debate over the appropriate bounds of language and subject matter in an undergraduate course at the University of Georgia (where I am also on the faculty), although I have strong opinions about the issue. I do, however, challenge one statement by Professor Morrow regarding the operational history of the type of airplane on which President Bush trained. Professor Morrow states that "Bush learned to fly the obsolescent 'Delta Dagger' inteceptor, which saw no
service there [in Vietnam]." On the contrary, in 1968 F-102A's from the 82nd Fighter Inteceptor Squadron (based in Okinawa) were deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam. In addition, F-102's from the 509th Fighter Inteceptor Squadron were based at Tan Son Nhut Air Base for many years and in 1968 were detached to Da Nang before inactivation in July 1970. One source for the operational history of the F-102 is home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f102.html

DH: Thanks. I will post this. It just underscores the out of control prejudice this professor introduced gratuitously into his classroom.



For more on these matters go to: www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org




The pathetic, incompetent dishonest leftwing press and academic freedom - Sunday, September 12, 2004 9:13 AM
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The big news these days about viciously partisan journalism concerns the disgraceful Dan Rather, a Democratic Party hack posing as a TV news anchor while doing his best to torpedo the candidacy of a Republican president, even if it takes forgeries to make his "news" stories work. Actually, the press at the national level is relatively honest when compared to the abysmal ethics of local news agencies. I won't rehearse the miserable performance of the Colorado media in reporting our campaign for academic freedom in Colorado last year, which I have written about before and which is available at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org (check out the left hand frame "The Battle for Academic Freedom in Colorado."

Consider the lead feature in frontpage today, which describes in a factual way the momentous victory we have won in Colorado for the academic freedom of Colorado's students. Until now, professors of law teaching property law were allowed to label all Republicans "racists" in the classrom and attack their own students and call them "Nazis" when they objected. Thanks to our efforts we have changed this. Naturally we created enemies in doing so -- in particular the professors who enjoyed bullying conservative students in their classrooms and their allies in university administrations and the Democratic Party. Some of these professors, like Dr. Oneida Meranto at Metro State are loons, as anyone familiar with her antics would know -- she invited an Indian shaman to campus to burn incense and exorcise the evil spirits of the Republicans whom she claimed were harassing her. A woman with a rich fantasy life she has also claimed that she was the target of "death threats" -- although no credible evidence was produced.

So how do the AP and CNN report this story? As a long overdue triumph for academic freedom? Hardly. They do it by putting the loon front and center, inverting victims and victimizers, and in effect concealing what actually took place. This is the lead of the AP Wire (as regurgitated on the CNN website): "A university president and a Democratic state lawmaker said rules put in place this year to protect conservative views on Colorado campuses have led to death threats against professors and a harmful effect on free speech. Republican lawmakers responded that conservative students still are being harassed and more needs to be done. A handful of college officials and students went before the Legislature's Joint Education Committee on Thursday to report on efforts to enforce the Academic Bill of Rights. All state-funded colleges adopted the policy this year under pressure from Republican lawmakers."

The account continues: "A handful of college officials and students went before the Legislature's Joint Education Committee on Thursday to report on efforts to enforce the Academic Bill of Rights." The "handful of college officials" were all the presidents of all the major public universities in the state. "Professors at Metropolitan State College in Denver are concerned that some topics may be off-limits in the classroom, interim president Ray Kieft told lawmakers. He cited discussions of stem cell research, a lightning-rod issue for some Republicans who claim it amounts to abortion." These are the loons talking. The only infringement of rights in the Academic Bill of Rights is the right of professors to abuse students because the students disagree with them. Nothing could be clearer. There is absolutely nothing in the Academic Bill of Rights that would prevent a professor from talking about or supporting stem cell research. The Bill prevents professors from referring to students who disagree with them as "Nazis" and also prevents them from giving students who disagree with them "Fs" for their dissents.

"Kieft said death threats against a Metro State political science professor have "sent a real chill across the campus." The professor, Oneida Meranto, said in March she was threatened after a student filed a complaint against her and told lawmakers he had asked to drop her class because she was biased against conservatives. Meranto responded publicly that the student was failing, prompting the student to accuse her of violating his privacy rights. School officials said the threats originated off campus and the FBI has said it was investigating." In addition to being a loon, Oneida Meranto is a proven liar. The student filed a complaint and dropped her course because Meranto threw him out of the student Political Science Association for which she is faculty adviser because he was a Republican. Meranto then violated the students' rights under federal law by telling the media that the reason he complained was that he was failing her course. This was a provable lie (he was getting a B+).

Yet the AP reporter who wrote this story (and who should be fired on the spot for gross incompetence) has taken this disreputable woman as his (or her) sole authority in reporting this story. As for death threats, I get them all the time. I don't leap to the conclusion therefore that anyone who disagrees with me or challenges me is responsible for them. Yet the President of Metro State, Raymond Kieft, who is fully aware of the character problems of Oneida Meranto, but intimated by his faculty left, is standing by her albeit only to a point (he formally censured her for violating the federal statute that forbids teachers from disclosing their students grades to the public).

To sum up. A bill of rights for students who are demonstrably being abused because of their political beliefs is adopted by Colorado universities. The AP -- one of America's premier press institutions -- reports this as a case of death threats and attempts to chill the free speech of the professors who are abusing the students. The totalitarian press in the Soviet Union and the Third Reich could not have done a better job.



Draft dodgers and supporters of terrorism attack Bush's guard duty - Friday, September 10, 2004 11:37 AM
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Anger is not a good emotion to run a political campaign on and the Democrat's vote rage which has reached Krakatoa proport(ions has now backfired. The attempt to smear Bush's national service for the umpteenth time has merely revealed how pathetic, corrupt and unprincipled the left Democratic Party left is these days. And hypocritical. How dumb do the draft dodgers and supporters of terrorism (see comments by buddies McAuliffe and Moore in Ben Johnson's article today) think the rest of us are?


Grant W Jones - 9/16/2004

I've read Morrow's "The Great War in the Air" and "German Air Power in WWI." Both are excellent. I found his discussion on aircraft engine development most interesting. I think it was in the former book, if memory serves.

That said, I don't approve of vulgarity in the classroom. It is unprofessional. The "chicken hawk" quip is ad hominem. If Morrow is in favor of strictly adhering to the Powell Doctrine, then he should argue for it. Arguments are not decided by creditials, but by fact and logic. Or at least we hope so.


tom plotts - 9/15/2004

This is a political battle, and Horowitz is the spearhead for the right.

He gets a response, because he's generally the one mobilizing these charges on campuses across the country.

The short answer is that you're not the only one curious about this; you just may be a little late to the party.
Hey, it's your jobs these jokers are after, not mine. Organize or perish, and all that.

Here's a good, easy starting place to get a whiff of the larger campaign. I suggest wearing a surgical mask while browsing for your own protection.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/




Derek Charles Catsam - 9/15/2004

I don't get it. What the hell is Horowitz doing getting an official, or at least sanctioned, response about what is going on in someone else's classroom when he has never actually been in that classroom? What's next, book reviews by folks who have not mactually read the book? And all of this based on the bitter testimony of one student who left after one class, never returned, was apparently disruptive, and whose own motives just perhaps ought to be questioned a bit here as well? Am i the only person who is curious about this?
dc


Lester D Langley - 9/15/2004

I never sat in one of John Morrow's classes and thus cannot comment on his teaching style, but it was my professional and personal good fortune to know him as both colleague and friend for more than a decade. His contributions as scholar, teacher, and administrator in the Department of History of the University of Georgia have been immeasurably beneficial. True, as the student who dropped his class after the first session wrote, John could be blunt, provocative, and occasionally profane, but I admired--and, occasionally, envied--his willingness to cut to the heart of an issue. I did not always agree with him about personnel issues, and I thought at times he might have chosen less salty language in faculty meetings, but in the several occasions I served with him on committees I never once believed he permitted his personal feelings to dictate his decision. Put differently, I sometimes disagreed with his judgments, but I never questioned his motives.
The alleged gravamen of this matter is Morrow's controversial teaching style, which prompted Bradley Alexander to drop the class and David Horowitz to condemn it as prejudicial, emotional and violative of the tenets of academic professionalism. Of the two, Alexander is more understandable, though he might consider the intellectual benefits of sitting in a class where the instructor DOES let you know "where he (or she) is coming from" on the first day. Morrow's teaching style is provocative, but in the twelve years I was his colleague I never heard one student complain about harsh grades meted out to those who disagreed with him. The motto of the University of Georgia is "to teach and to inquire into the nature of things." That's what Morrow does in his classes. Horowitz believes that Morrow's self-defense is in fact self-condemnatory because, among other flaws, he did not exhibit a professional restraint in his introductory remarks to the class and that such behavior demonstrates a "lack of decency." Clearly, I wouldn't expect to find this pedagogical style in a church nor expect a Methodist minister to give a sermon entitled, "Let's Hear Satan's Side of the Story." A university is not a seminary, though university professors--especially historians--do and should bring their moral convictions into the classroom. History is about the present: What is happening now does relate fundamentally to how we view earlier events, and Morrow is "right on" when he draws connections with the Iraq war and World War I. Though my vote in November won't necessarily reflect my judgment, I happen to support the war in Iraq for reasons that have less to do with weapons of mass destruction or even the events of 9/11 than in the belief--based on historical hindsight--that there are times when a nation has to draw a line and take a stand, however unclear, muddled, or controversial the circumstances may be. On this matter, Morrow would disagree with me. Horowitz, presumably, would agree. In retrospect, I believe the decision for war taken by Presidents James Madison, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt turned out to be the right choice, yet in every case each of them distorted and/or lied about the grounds for going to war and the outcome proved to other than what was predicted. And in every instance, the debates among contemporaries about the reasons for going to war were fired with emotion and decidely biased judgments and language--in politics, in universities, in businesses, and even in churches. And though John and I may disagree about the Iraqi war and certainly have different teaching styles, his students are lucky to have him, not only for the knowledge he brings to what he teaches but for his willingness to take a stand. Lester D. Langley, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Georgia.


Don McArthur-Self - 9/15/2004

I am a public high school teacher, and have a graduate degree in European history. I am also a conservative Republican. I attended two universities and learned from a great variety of professors - most of them pretty left-leaning.

Sadly, the thread of this discussion are based on what is essentially as "he said-he said" situation.

Like Mr. Bashuk, above, I have taken courses from professors with whom I disagreed, sometimes vehemently. I have NEVER felt discriminated against by those professors for my views - although, truthfully, the more vehement the professor the more careful I am about when and how to challenge him/her. Mr. Alexander should have stayed to defend his convictions and take up his difference with the professor in a more private forum - though his account makes it clear he did not feel at all comfortable with the outcome of his limited exchange.

Freedom to question and debate is critical to education at any level, and the creation of legislative rules restricting professors is a horrible idea.

That said, as an educator, albeit in a different situation, I think that a certain amount of professional restraint is in order. When I think of my very best and most challenging professors, they were often those who asked a lot of challenging questions but did not answer them, and whose views it took me a long time, and a lot of careful listening, to discern.

I do not think that the classroom should be a forum for an instructor to disseminate his or her political ideology to a captive audience. In teaching students to think, every point of view needs to be questioned, and in a society in which students are too quick to smugly adhere to their own positions while dismissing their opponents as idiots, those of us who teach should act more as moderators than as angry provocateurs.

Students eventually figure out where I stand on many issues, but as far as I know all of them - including my most extreme-left students - respect my efforts to be evenhanded in the classroom and to discuss all sides of issues and avoid namecalling. I have always been rather pleased that when I polled my classes on election day 2000, slightly more than 60% of my students thought (incorrectly) that I was going home to vote for Al Gore.

To professor Morrow and those like him, I would ask that you step back and re-evaluate how you define professional conduct. And to students like Mr. Alexander, I would hope that you would be willing to confront those who disagree with you and remain in their classes, knowing that, regardless of their political persuasion or personal passion, they are probably ethical and fair in their grading.


Cary Fraser - 9/15/2004

It would be useful for Mr. Horowitz address the issue raised by Professor Morrow - the past and present are inextricably intertwined. He would also be well served by a reading of Senator Robert Byrd's remarks on the Senate floor on February 12, 2003 where he used the term "sleepwalking through history" as he mused on the state of the debate over the proposed war on Iraq. The incompetence of leaders, military and civilian, is an issue that Professor Morrow is well-placed to discuss and illustrate, in light of his work on WWI. He is being professionally responsible, and exercising his right as an educator of citizens in a democracy, to examine the present in light of historical experience. It is a lesson that George W. Bush should have learnt as an undergraduate at Yale.

Cary Fraser


Cary Fraser - 9/15/2004

It would be useful for Mr. Horowitz address the issue raised by Professor Morrow - the past and present are inextricably intertwined. He would also be well served by a reading of Senator Robert Byrd's remarks on the Senate floor on February 12, 2003 where he used the term "sleepwalking through history" as he mused on the state of the debate over the proposed war on Iraq. The incompetence of leaders, military and civilian, is an issue that Professor Morrow is well-placed to discuss and illustrate, in light of his work on WWI. He is being professionally responsible, and exercising his right as an educator of citizens in a democracy, to examine the present in light of historical experience. It is a lesson that George W. Bush should have learnt as an undergraduate at Yale.

Cary Fraser


tom plotts - 9/14/2004

JD, it's already happening. Here in Colorado, there's been gab from the usual suspects about opening up a "competing" institution that caters to conservatives the way Boulder is perceived to cater to "The Left".

Sometime last year, when I first heard about this, I was pretty stunned that what I saw as a cynical game was taken quite seriously by a variety of local and regional elites.

After a bit of reflection, it made sense. Just as other religions have felt a need to isolate their educational protocols from a more generic, public, and secular approach, conservatives are leaning in the same direction. I suppose this tells you something about the state of their ideology today.

Scary times ahead for education.


Jonathan Dresner - 9/14/2004

I wonder how long it will be before the political equivalent of the [your religion here] University appears? One that does not hew, however loosely, to the idea of academic neutrality and the separation of education and indoctrination (or rather, self-confirmation)?

Or maybe they'll just do summer camps (sorry, seminars)....


Andrew Dresner Bashuk - 9/14/2004

Dr. Morrow did lead an emotionally charged discussion on that first day of class. And as someone who is a staunch conservative, I found many of his views unsettling and concerning.
However, I was able to tell myself that this man was a professional and that there was no way he would have gotten as far as he had in his profession without being able to seperate his political views from his duties as a teacher.

I never once felt like Dr. Morrow would not be able to grade me fairly due to my politics. I for one, never turn down a good old fashioned political debate and I was looking forward to the next 15 weeks of clashing ideas and ideologies, because the free exchange of ideas, to me, is what Academia is all about. That is why I go to a top-flight University. To take courses from professors who are experts in their field whom you can engage in an open debate about various issues.

While Mr. Alexander chose to run from this class, I (and many others as evidenced by the full classroom) have chosen to embrace Dr. Morrow and his style.

And although I still think his political views are nuts, I do see him as a world-class mind when it comes to European History and the World Wars and I am thrilled to have the chance to take his class.

Andrew Bashuk
Senior, History
The University of Georgia


tom plotts - 9/14/2004

spurious anyway.
To suggest institutionalized grade punishment for being a conservative is part and parcel of the core sense of persecution underlying the contemporary conservative. These are the same unisex bimbos who actually believe the media is "liberal" (at least, until you grill them on what "liberalism" is), and that all power is concentrated in the hands of liberal elites.

When you're dealing with this level of irrationality, it's unlikely that you'll persuade them that you can be, and indeed are, being fair. For the opinion leaders of this "movement", fair is not a particularly important principle. Power over the curriculum and faculty, however, is.

These charges will be repeated over and over until the goal of installing majority Republican (and third party conservatives) faculty in the social sciences and humanities is achieved. The irony is that the more entrenched these students get into rejecting not only the material, but the source, of information contrary to their own closely held writ, the more likely they are to receive poor grades as a result of rejecting basic intellectual exercises. Then they scream foul. Rinse and repeat.

If you're lucky, the dolts of whom we speak will drop the course (and better yet, evacuate universities until they figure out this nutty thing called critical thought). If you're not, they'll stick around and file complaint after complaint simply becuase you had the temerity to question their interpretation of events.

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