“Indoctrinate U” and the NYT’s Response

This kind of thing should be right up the Review‘s alley, but I admit I’d never heard of “Indoctrinate U”, a new documentary by Evan Coyne Maloney about ideological conformity at American universities, until I read Stanley Fish’s commentary on the film in yesterday’s New York Times. Maloney criticizes academia’s ludicrous standards of political correctness, campus speech codes, lack of intellectual diversity, etc.

Fish makes some reasonable points in response to the documentary; for example, he notes that the political affiliations of professors shouldn’t matter as long as they don’t abuse their position and “use the classroom as a stage for their political views.” It’s no secret that Dartmouth faculty – and those at virtually every university in this country – lean heavily to the left, but that doesn’t affect most professors’ ability to deliver compelling lectures on, say, amino acids or the Treaty of Versailles (see our “Worst Profs” list for exceptions). On the other hand, he does characterize Maloney as a right-wing extremist whose fears concerning free speech and intellectual diversity are incredibly ill-informed, hysterical, biased, etc. I haven’t seen “Indoctrinate U,” so I can’t tell if Fish is mischaracterizing Maloney’s supposed mischaracterizations, so to speak.

Speaking of which, you can go vote on the film’s website to have it screened in your city and see for yourself whether you believe Maloney or not. (The site also contains a snappily edited and highly entertaining trailer.) I highly doubt the vote count of Hanover, NH will eclipse that of New York City or DC, but hey, it’s worth a try.