Destruction of the Liberal Arts Part II

When I wrote the first Destruction of the Liberal Arts article I did not think it was going to develop into a recurring series.  In the first installment, I wrote about how a student was being verbally assaulted by a professor, and other members of the class, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 for memorializing the victims.  You can read that article here.  Recently, I have come into some information that requires me to, once again, call out liberal professors that abuse their position and victimize their students in the process.

On March 13th, 2013 there was a rally on campus to address supposed racisms at Binghamton University and in the SUNY system.  The rally was attended by undergraduates, graduates, and some faculty.  The goal of this article is not to discuss the premise behind the rally, but to discuss why some of the students that attended the rally were there.  I had an opportunity to speak with a few of the people that attended the rally and what they had to say was quite disturbing.  According to the students that I talked to, some of them were there not of their own free will.  They were forced to attend the rally by their professor and they did not have a choice.

I invited the students to sit down with me and tell me about their experiences at the rally and with their professor.  The students told me the professor was Reynaldo Ortiz of the Sociology department.  The picture is what Professor Ortiz posted on BlackBoard to one of his classes.  As you can see at the bottom of the screenshot it clearly states (in all caps): “I expect all of you present at the event.  It counts as class attendance.  No stories/excuses!”  The university’s policy on forced attendance at rallies and other political type events treads a very fine line.  The university policy basically states that a professor can require that students be present at a rally to observe.  So at first glance the forced attendance at the rally seems like it falls under what is allowed by the university.  BUT, there is more to the policy.

He also gave his students no adequate warning that they would have to attend the rally.  The rally was not in the syllabus and they where only told 2 days before the event that they were required to attend it.  The university policy states that the rally must be in the syllabus or the students must have ample time to get prepared.  The policy also states that students cannot be compelled to actually take part in the rally.  A student can be required to go if they have to write a paper, do a presentation, or the rally has something to do with the class.  According to the students I talked to, they were made to march around with the crowd not follow the crowd to experience and observe the rally.  Many of the students were also made to hold signs and chant along with the crowd.  The students were also intimidated if they refused to do the chants or hold the signs.  Many of the students felt uncomfortable at the rally due to the intimidation.  A student was also reprimanded when they smirked after one of the speakers make a comment.  Students were uncomfortable throughout almost the entire event.

A point in which many of the students were uncomfortable was when the rally moved in front of the Cooper Administration building.  When the rally moved to Cooper the crowd began to chant and demand that President Stenger come down and speak to them.  According to the students the crowd got a little railed up when President Stenger did not appear.  One of the students I spoke with commented that it seemed a little ridiculous that they expected the President to appear on command.  The students were also uneasy because they saw, what they claimed to be, members of the Black Panthers.  The students described a logo on their jackets as the clenched, socialist, fist and a panther on the wrist.  One might ask: If they were uncomfortable like they claim why didn’t they let their professor know and ask to leave?

While all of this was going on Professor Ortiz was nowhere to be found.  My sources tell me that Ortiz did not show up to the rally until the rally was almost over.  In Ortiz’s BlackBoard post, he said that the rally would be what they were doing in place of a normal class period, and he was late to it.  Because of Professor Ortiz’s tardiness his students were forced to take part in a rally that many of them felt uncomfortable at and felt threatened attending.  His absence meant that students could not bring their concerns to him and they were forced to stay.  They were forced to stay because they feared for their grades.  The BlackBoard post he made clearly states that there are no excuses for not being there, and his absence kept them of having any kind of legitimate route for being able to get excused from the rally.

I asked the students about what Professor Ortiz is like in class.  What they told me describes the typical leftist professor.  He shoots down their dissent to his opinions and does not allow for a proper discussion or debate to be had.  He also allows for other students to gang up and verbally attack other students in the class, just like the leftist professor in the original Destruction of the Liberal Arts article.

So basically Professor Reynaldo Ortiz forced his students to attend and participate in a rally that he ideologically agrees with, and did not allow his students to leave if they were uncomfortable.  He gave his students no ample warning that they had to take part in the rally.  His students were subjected to intimidation and harassment, and could not do anything about it.  I once sat down with Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and I asked him about the university’s plan to weed out professors, which abuse their powers, hide behind tenure, and are all around terrible teachers.  He told me that there basically is nothing they can do or are willing to do to curb radical leftist professors.  Clearly something needs to be done.  A student should not have to stay in an uncomfortable situation for fear of failing a class or any penalty whatsoever, because their grade is being held hostage.

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

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