Destruction of The Liberal Arts

[This article appeared in and was the cover article for the September 2012 issue of the Binghamton Review, I did write it.]

To put it bluntly, I blame liberals for destroying the liberal arts.  The liberal arts are meant to help facilitate the marketplace of ideas.  They’re meant to be a place where we can have honest discussions about, among other things, philosophy and real world applications of our studies, but liberals have turned their backs on that ideal.  Professors demonize, condemn, and lie about conservative arguments, and actively assault and diminish conservative thought.  College conservatives are forced to supplicate to their professors for fear of retribution in the form of poor grades.  What liberals have done to the liberal arts is disgusting, turning them into the liberal art of indoctrination.

This is my fifth year here at Binghamton, and never in my distinguished academic career have I ever witnessed ferocious assaults on conservative students like I have recently.  Perhaps it is the tension caused by the election season or maybe they sense the rest of America turning away from their failing ideology. But what I do know is that what they are doing is wrong.  Not only have I been on the receiving end of attacks by my professors, but so have many of my conservative friends.  The language used against me and my fellow conservatives by our professors is vile and has no place in an institution of higher education.  I am writing this to help tell our story.

Recently, a liberal friend of mine told me the story of a professor that verbally assaulted a conservative student during class. Apparently, the professor made an inquiry to the class wondering what campus organization was responsible for the annual 9/11 Memorial Flag Garden.  One of the few conservative students in the class raised their hand and said it was the College Republicans. The professor proceeded to rant about how the event was insulting to the memories of the victims, and chastised conservatives for what she believed was a disgraceful use of individual American flags to represent the roughly 3,000 Americans that died during the attacks of 9/11/01. According to her, it was insulting to use flags because those that died in the 9/11 attacks were not soldiers and subsequently did not actually die for their country.  The professor insisted that if the memorial garden’s organizers wanted to use flags then they should write the names of victims on them.

The student correctly responded by reminding the professor that the College Republicans always conduct a lengthy name-reading ceremony in front of the flag garden each year. Despite the absurdity of the professor’s argument and the mounting evidence that the College Republicans go to great length to remember every individual that died in the attacks, the verbal assault on conservatives did not stop there. Like sharks that smell blood in the water, the professor and the liberal students proceeded to let loose their unbridled left-wing, anti-American bigotry for the rest of the class to endure in horror.

The professor and some students said it was wrong that the garden was put up to honor the death of Americans.  They said flags should be put up, and names should be read, for non-American victims of 9/11.  Like a high schooler that had just read Noam Chomsky for the first time, the professor yelled at the student that 9/11 was not an attack on America but an attack on the world.  Even my liberal friend was shaken up, not only by the verbal abuse that this conservative student took in front of the class, but also by the absurdity of the textbook, far-left arguments that spat on all common sense and logic.

As I mentioned earlier, conservative students are always hesitant to speak out for fear that their grades and future will suffer because of professors that cannot distinguish between personal disagreements and honest academic work. Because of this, I will be keeping names, dates, and certain events confidential to protect those students that want their story told in the Review.  However, I want to make clear that I am not intimidated by my professors; I will be exposing them for the hateful leftists they are.

This semester I am enrolled in a class called “Comparative Politics of Healthcare.”  The class is taught by Professor Olga Shvetsova, who claims that her class is designed to foster a healthy debate and discussion about the different aspects and philosophies surrounding the healthcare issue.  I quickly came to understand that by “debate” and “discussion” she meant “accept that the things I tell you are facts.”  This claim is backed up by a statement she made in class on September 20th, in which she informed us that she would be working to make us think the way she thinks.

This is how I recall the events of our second class, while we were discussing the services provided by medical professionals and insurance companies:

Student: “Insurance companies have no interest in letting people know about other companies that will provide them better, cheaper services.”

Me: “You’re right, if you look at Congressman Paul Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity,’ the plan will give people who are looking for insurance a list of insurance companies that would cover them.”

Prof. Shvetsova: (aggressively) “What would happen if no companies would cover those people?”

Me: “The plan would give the person the best options available to them.”

Prof. Shvetsova: (even more aggressive) “What if the person still could not afford the insurance?”

Me: “Well then…”

Prof. Shvetsova: (aggressively interrupted and then preceded to change the subject and moved the class along)

At first I was shocked by her yelling, but then I realized she simply did not like what I was saying, and could not react professionally.

The suppression of my conservative thoughts did not stop there.  Later that class period we spoke about the nature of charity.  The discussion proceeded to turn towards what charity really was:

Prof. Shvetsova: “When people pay taxes, that is a form of charity.”

Me: (disturbed) “I think charity is when someone voluntarily chooses to give their money away, while paying taxes is when the government forces people to give their money away.”

Prof. Shvetsova: (raising her voice) “People do willingly pay taxes.”

Me: “No, the government makes people pay taxes, they don’t have a choice.”

She raised her voice again, and a back and forth ensued.  Each time she would speak her tone of voice was louder.  It got to the point where she was literally screaming at me and a fellow conservative in the class.  As I began to respond to something she said, she yelled over me:

Prof. Shvetsova: “You are going to stop speaking, because I am speaking now!”

Me: “but I was speaking first…”

Prof. Shvetsova: “You were, but now I am.”

My fellow conservative and I looked at each other in complete disbelief of what just transpired.  The way she acted, after claiming to want a healthy discussion and debate, is not only unnecessary but completely unprofessional and wrong. After this brief exchange, the professor could clearly see that I was in disbelief about how our debate had transpired. She told me that if I didn’t like it, I should write about it. I was all too happy to oblige.

Her disdain for conservatives did not stop there.  The following week we discussed the reasons healthcare costs are so high in the United States.  I quoted a CBS article about a recent report issued by the Institute of Medicine covering the cost of healthcare.  The report found that in 2009 $750 billion went towards unnecessary services, administrative costs, and fraud.  The report was released the morning of our class discussion and, judging by her response, she had not read it.  She latched on to  the “unnecessary services” part, and used that against me, putting words in my mouth to claim that I do not care about preventative care and women’s health.  She said “people like Nick do not view breast cancer screenings as necessary.”  She made this statement when all I did was quote CBS, saying nothing about preventative care or women’s health.  Her method of assault was to ignore the substance of my statement, and attack me and conservatives.  No professor should be doing what she is doing, and this kind of assault goes way beyond the classroom.

Students should be able to expect that their university will be a place where they can safely express their beliefs.  Students expect that they will not be persecuted or assaulted for those beliefs, and especially not from professors.  As a member of a political and ideological minority on campus I expect to have respectful debates and discussions with my professors, and to have mature discussions without being talked down to or screamed at.  It is also expected that professors in the liberal arts would try to preserve what the liberal arts stands for, and foster a marketplace of ideas.  It has become painfully clear that our professors here at Binghamton University have no such intentions for the liberal arts.  These professors are actively suppressing conservatives on campus and making a mockery of the liberal arts.

[Thank you for reading! Please follow me @NickFondacaro]