Staff editorial: Inside the classroom

Illustration Illustration

Illustration Illustration

By Editorial Board

There are more than two sides to every story. But are all sides required to be taught in the classroom?

In Colorado, where all state-funded universities are required to uphold the Academic Bill of Rights, professors are afraid topics like stem-cell research will be off-limits. Additionally, students in Colorado have used the Academic Bill of Rights as the basis for dubious claims against professors, alleging political or religious discrimination and impropriety.

The Academic Bill of Rights states that teachers “should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints.” However, it also says professors are “free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views.”

In reality, a fair and objective study plan is impossible, if only because no professor or lecturer can be expected to have no opinions. What’s more, college students are adults, and they should be mature enough to know that everything taught by their professors must be questioned.

As long as professors are up front with their opinions and make time for the discussion of different viewpoints, we don’t have a problem with those who teach from one side or another.

Likewise, as long as topics such as stem-cell research, the Bible, same-sex marriage and creationism purely are taught from an academic or scientific standpoint, we don’t see how it conflicts with a student’s freedom of religion or expression.

That said, should professors refrain from being openly partisan in class? Should they have the freedom to wear campaign

buttons or actively campaign for or against a political candidate during class?

Obviously, pursuing an agenda inside the classroom is inappropriate and unprofessional. In truth, the Academic Bill of Rights is in place to protect students from political or religious discrimination, and in return, professors should avoid ridiculing or promoting one politician or faith over another. But that doesn’t mean a lecturer can’t be critical of a public official or religious belief.

In the end, the Academic Bill of Rights works as long as professors allow students to disagree and as long as students accept that professors teach from their own unique perspectives. As long as these groups respect one another and make time for discussing diverse viewpoints, the core principles of education will be preserved.