by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Back in the day, a college professor of mine told my class that attending college is, in part, about learning what other people think, and why. He pressed us to defend our answers and our views. It wasn’t fun at the time, but it was an important life lesson. These days, the college experience is much different on some campuses, as this piece demonstrates:
Anti-Kavanaugh activists were caught red-handed last week in a scheme to award academic credit at the University of Southern Maine (USM) to students who joined an effort to intimidate Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) into voting against the judge’s confirmation. On the event page posted by the university’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Gabriel Demaine, students are asked if they are “willing to get arrested” after being bussed to Washington D.C. “to join activists, political action groups and social justice organizations to meet with Sen. Collins,” and “rally up around the FBI investigation of the Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.”
Thankfully the college cancelled the “Engaged Citizenship” course after people complained. But is this an outlier, or is this a pattern?
The academic pseudo-disciplines of “civic engagement,” “community engagement,” “global civics,” “leadership,” and “service-learning” are all part of a nationwide movement to turn civics education into propaganda for progressivism, free labor for progressive nonprofits, and skills training for progressive activism. Civic Engagement, Service-Learning, and Social Justice build on “experiential learning,” i.e. doing trumps studying. This is how training in progressive activism is packaged as education.
In some cases, these are taxpayer-funded campuses and courses. Is this really what the college experience is for?