'Hall of Dishonor'
YCT names profs deemed biased in class
Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Texas A&M chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas released a "Professor Hall of Dishonor" Friday containing the names of six A&M professors whom YCT deemed are biased in the classroom.
Matthew Maddox, chair of the YCT, said the names of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Patrick Slattery, Robert Resch, Ernest Obadele-Starks, Linda Parrish and Vaughn Bryant were posted on the YCT Web site as examples of professors who indoctrinate students with their political bias.
"There has been rampant classroom bias in public and private universities for the last several decades," Maddox said. "We decided to have a 'Hall of Dishonor' at A&M because these incidents of bias in the classroom are widely known, and they continue to happen. These professors never had to answer to bias in the classroom."
Maddox said YCT borrowed the idea from the University of Texas YCT chapter that did the same thing last fall. Maddox said YCT decided on these six professors because they are professors of students in YCT. He said the organization researched the professors and, in some cases, attended classes to get quotes from the professors.
"We have good evidence on these people that these are solid cases of bias," Maddox said.
Bonilla-Silva, a sociology professor, said that because YCT is infamous for its right-wing agenda, he is not surprised that YCT targeted progressive professors. Bonilla-Silva said YCT is fearful that these professors are becoming effective voices of opposition, and that YCT is using intimidation, defamation and racist e-mails to try to run these professors out of town.
"Know that we will not leave town because of you (YCT)," Bonilla-Silva said. "We believe that Texas A&M University, and the Aggies, need to be educated across the board and cannot just take courses with people who share their (YCT) views."
Bonilla-Silva said student evaluations in his classes have been high, and that a majority of his students love taking the class. He urged those who disagree with YCT to challenge YCT openly.
"I hope that the silent Aggie majority, which recognizes that the YCT antics and tactics have no place in this University, begins to challenge them publicly and ask them to behave as university students or to transfer to Bob Jones University or Baylor (University), where their narrow view of the world is best served," Bonilla-Silva said. "We are, after all, a university and not a training camp for the right wing of the Republican party, which seems to be the dream of the YCT."
Slattery, a teaching and schooling in modern society professor, said that despite what YCT has posted, his student evaluations have shown that a majority of students say he presents multiple viewpoints in his lectures. Slattery said he intends to post evaluations on his Web page so students can judge for themselves.
Slattery said the YCT listing falsely states that he forced students to attend an anti-war rally and called for the firing of Christian faculty.
"(The hall) is really a distortion and, in my case, some things are outright wrong," Slattery said.
Slattery said that as an academic scholar, it is his job to challenge students to think about difficult social and educational issues. He said he is also an artist and that he uses his work to challenge viewers to reflect upon topics such as religion, sexuality, violence and abuse.
"I strongly believe that my research articles and artwork provide a powerful and reflective scholarly insight into these issues," Slattery said. "I think YCT comments about my work are taken out of context, and I think people should read the whole thing for themselves and then judge for themselves."
Resch, a history professor, said he is pleased that he made it on the list. In his lecture Monday afternoon, Resch made an acceptance speech for the Web posting.
"First, of course, I must thank the Young Conservatives of Texas for selecting me for this award," Resch said. "We need organizations such as this to remind all of us how un-American and shameful free speech, critical thinking, nonconformity, equality, democracy and humanism really are."
Bryant, an anthropology professor, said he is ecstatic that he has been posted on the "Hall of Dishonor," even though quoted statements of his on the Web site have been taken out of context.
"I appreciate being listed on the YCT Web page, and I am thrilled that some students are upset enough to think about some of the issues I mention in class," he said.
Bryant said it is essential that A&M students be exposed to different views so that they may be able to decide for themselves what is right.
Parrish, an education professor, said she feels that her listing is an honor, and that she has received several e-mails congratulating her on making the "Hall of Dishonor."
"When they first started advertising this, I said to my students 'I probably qualify for that, you should probably nominate me,'" Parrish said. "I feel quite smug about it. I would've been disappointed if I wasn't on it."
Obadele-Starks, a history professor, said that although YCT has a right to express its opinion, he feels this expression is politically immature and irresponsible. Obadele-Starks said his courses are not biased, but that they are open forums where students can present their viewpoints.
"All of my courses are designed to promote dialogue and discourse," Obadele-Starks said. "Any student who is enrolled in my class is offered to speak openly and honestly about their views. This is not pre-World War II Germany where academics were ridiculed and ostracized for expressing academic freedom."
Obadele-Starks said he encouraged students who do not wish to hear opposing viewpoints to take other professors.
"If they are looking for someone to anesthetize the pain they might be having in dealing with aspects of American history which include race, I would suggest they find a professor who would do just that," Obadele-Starks said. "Quite frankly, students have options, and they should exercise those options, especially the YCT."