From Alison Jaggar: on the new campus watchlist

“A few days ago, I was told that my name had been included on a new Campus Watchlist, whose advertised mission is to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The entry under my name seemed to have been taken directly from David Horowitz’s 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, because it contained the same errors of fact and the same emphasis on a few sensationalized words pulled out of context from a 400 page book that I published in 1983. Today I cannot find my name, so I wonder if someone noticed that, in nearly fifty years of teaching, no student has complained of leftist propaganda or political discrimination in any of my classes.

Regardless of whether or not my name is listed, my response is the same. No one belongs on the Campus Watchlist because no such list should exist. The Watchlist’s claim “to fight for free speech and the right for professors to say whatever they wish,” while simultaneously aiming to chill any speech that it deems “un-American,” is a prime example of Orwellian newspeak. We remember how the term “un-American” was used for repression in the mid-twentieth century and must resolve never to return to practices of surveillance and witch-hunting that undermine our commitment to the core values of free thought and speech, not only in academia but everywhere in the United States.”

 

One thought on “From Alison Jaggar: on the new campus watchlist

  1. As a former student of Alison’s, I have always expressed, when queried, that I feel profoundly indebted to Alison for the role that she played in stimulating the growth of my political consciousness. Being under Alison’s tutelage changed irrevocably how I practice philosophy, and it did so because my time with Alison affected a gestalt shift in my perception of our social reality. Alison never inhibited the freedom of my thought; quite the opposite, in fact. By helping me to uncover internalized oppression masquerading as knowledge of “the ways things really are,” Alison provided me with the conditions that are necessary for genuine freedom of thought.

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