Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, leveled criticism in a letter to UW-Madison professor Kenneth Mayer, who is teaching “The American Presidency” this semester.Wait a minute, since when does Prof. Ken Mayer have the freedom to present a few negative facts and opinions held my a majority of Americans about Trump. Trump has been the best president in history, ever, right?
The syllabus’ first page includes a two-line paragraph saying Trump supporters “rejoice in his contempt for what they insist is a corrupt D.C. establishment.” It then includes an 11-line paragraph that begins: “To others, he is a spectacularly unqualified and catastrophically unfit egomaniac who poses an overt threat to the Republic.”
Mayer also included a few other facts and questions that when said out loud sound really bad:
Murphy said, referring to an 1894 Board of Regents statement on academic freedom enshrined in bronze outside Bascom Hall, “If the course description already tells basically what the bias is going to be in the course, it’s pretty hard to sift and winnow that,” .
Fierce Advocate of Academic Freedom, GOP Rep. Dave Murphy...Criticizes Freedom? What fascinated me most about this story was Murphy's specific criticisms. Notice the contradictory statements and loony tunes logic, "sparking a dialogue" with a UW professor about what is "appropriate?"
Murphy, who wrote in his letter that he is a fierce advocate of academic freedom, said his intention is to spark a dialogue on what is, and is not, appropriate for a course syllabus.
…and throw in a little "stop by my office" intimidation:
He issued Mayer an invitation to his office and encouraged the professor to show some good faith and invite a Trump administration official to speak with students.Rep. Dave "Academic Freedom" Murphy has encouraged similar freedoms before:
In late 2016, Murphy asked UW-Madison to cancel a course titled “The Problem of Whiteness” because he said it was inappropriate and a waste of money. School officials defended the course. Two years later it is still listed as a course offered in the spring 2019 semester.
Again, this is what Republicans view as "academic freedom:" Here's part of Murphy' letter to Mayer:
I especially like Murphy's suggestion to students to drop his class:
It is unfortunate that students who enrolled in your course expecting to learn about the overall American presidency may now have to choose between dropping the course and taking a course that is a bait and switch, focused instead on a critique of the Trump presidency.
Mr. Politician and Academic Freedom advocate Murphy then suggested a better way to teach, heck, even waiting decades before passing judgment on Trump:
It may have been more appropriate to design a new course with a more accurate title and permit another less biased instructor to teach sections of Political Science 408. Although utilizing current event examples in learning is clearly valuable, the level of focus on the current presidency in a course designed to survey the American presidency seems wholly misguided. For example, teaching this course with such a lens during the Watergate scandal, without any of the historical record and perspective, would have provided students with an incomplete and academically unsound account of the Nixon presidency and its relationship to the function of the office of the president. This lack of perspective is a slap in the face to the sort of academic rigor that should be a central focus at an institution such as UW–Madison.