High academic salaries and low teaching loads are pricing working class kids out of university says David Horowitz. In a talk at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University Horowitz told academics that if they really as concerned about the working class as they pretended to be they should volunteer to teach extra classes to lower tuition costs. Apparently this upset some of the audience. As Horowitz recalls:
A distraught woman who said she was a bio-ethics professor got in my face as I was making my way to the door, claiming I was maligning her and her professor husband by saying that they only worked eight months out of the year and had a four month paid vacation at her students’ expense. “Well,” I replied, what do you do between the middle of May when finals are over and the end of September when school re-opens?” “I write my research papers,” she said in a tone so belligerent and richly indignant that I realized the conversation was hopeless. I would never break through that thick skin of “progressive” self-righteousness. “Oh,” I said, “in other words you use the time to work for yourself, at the students’ expense.” “This is a research university!” she practically cried, while we headed for the exits, leaving me to wonder what she did with the time she had free seven hours of every working day, and eight hours of the two days she wasn’t even in class during every week of the school year.
Horowitz was at the university at the invitation of the Bowling Green College Republicans. According to Erik Cribley "The College Republicans, of which I am a member, brought Horowitz here for two reasons. 1. With the recent controversy surrounding the Horowitz inspired Senate Bill 24 we found his views on Academic Freedom to be particularly relevant. 2. We knew he would piss liberals off."
Horowitz is campaigning for legislation which would regulate what academics teach their students. His Academic Bill of Rights has been taken up by legislators Congress and a number of states. Critics point out that this would make academics accountable to the courts. Judges would have to decide on issues such as what counts as a "significant scholarly viewpoint."
At first glance this all seems rather odd. American conservatives don’t tell researchers at pharmaceutical companies that they should work longer hours for lower pay to make drugs more affordable for the working class. And in conservative circles, judges and government regulation are usually painted as part of the problem – not the solution. But it’s only confusing if you think that Horowitz is being sincere. The Academic Bill of Rights is a piece of tit-for-tat aggravation in retaliation for things like speech codes and affirmative action. And the comments about academics denying working class kids a chance at an education is just an attempt to irritate his critics and throw them off balance.