Academic Freedom and a Republican County

(8:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Also posted at Orange here

At first glance, the problem with the College Board election in DuPage County, IL seems like a traditional spat over not filling out the petitions correctly. However, delving a little deeper and remembering that DuPage County has been Republican controlled for 135 years, one sees a little different slant to the objections. It seems that those who are being challenged in their opportunity to run for the four open seats on the DuPage College Board are Democrats! And those who question their petitions’ legality are not only present Board Members who are also running for those open seats, but Republicans.

Then there is the innocuous little matter of the board wanting to adopt the “Academic Bill of Rights” written by David Horowitz for the college without discussion and in its entirety.

It seems that 7 of the 15 candidates for the College Board of Trustees are facing challenges to their bid to be on the April 7th ballot. Two are Incumbent trustees, one of whom is also being challenged by a voter/resident because all of his signatures may not belong to registered voters. The other challenges were brought by Trustee Kory Atkinson who is denying election paperwork because one prospective candidate typed “Community College District 505” instead of 502 on her paperwork and another typed “Thomas” instead of “Tom” for his name. link

The fact that candidates for College Board trustee are almost never challenged since only 50 names are required and most submit over a 100 just in case someone signs and is not a legitimate voter, only emphasizes the pettiness of these challenges. Then there is the little matter of oversight….the electoral board governing the candidates for College Board is made up by the College of DuPage Board Chairman, Secretary and longest-standing board member. A little conflict of interest may be at play here since the Vice-Chairman is running for the 6 year term and may chair the board that rules on the 2 year term objections and the Board Chairman who is running for the 2 year term may rule on the 6 year objections….does anyone think they will be unbiased in their decision to rule against candidates new to the Board and from an opposing political party? Does anyone think they will recuse themselves? Kory Atkinson, the lawyer friend of the Board who has filed the objections (probably on behalf of the Board) is not running for a Board position because he plans to run for an office in Carol Stream and his position is “open”. To use a well known phrase, “some say” he has an interest in who his replacement should be!

The twist is that this year, the College Board of Trustees has decided to change the power structure by placing more power in the hands of the trustees and taking it away from the professors and students. (Some 230 changes were proposed. link) At contention is the surprise adoption of the “Academic Bill of Rights”(David Horowitz- pdf) last November. This action was viewed as an attempt to seize complete control over everything, especially the curriculum. Dismissed as a “routine updating of board rules”, teachers and students wrote letters and protested at board meetings with tape over their mouths. The board wants to control the hiring and salaries of teachers/professors, control the selection and scheduling of outside speakers, control all educational programs and control the content of the student newspaper. Although the Board has always had the final and ultimate authority in these matters, there had been some shared input which is now being removed. And, for many, this is unacceptable. It may be that these actions by the College Board will be judged as “unconstitutional” but many do not wish to wait for that ruling to take place years from now.

A letter to the board from the faculty association notes that the trustees have never (in public) debated the Academic Bill of Rights or expressed concerns to professors about the issues it claims to address, and questions why the measure was “surreptitiously” included in the update of board rules. The letter notes that the college has a policy in place that allows students to file complaints if they believe a professor is treating them unfairly and that no complaints are known to have been filed raising concerns about political or other viewpoint discrimination.

Referring to the Academic Bill of Rights by its acronym, the letter says: “ABOR supporters apparently hope that the bill will give elected officials the power to dictate, for example, whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution in college biology. Let us be clear: The [College of DuPage] faculty supports teaching conflicting views on a subject where those views are supported by sufficient evidence. But it is the responsibility of college professors, who are trained experts in their fields, to evaluate that evidence. It’s not the job of politicians…. Given the controversial nature of ABOR and its lack of acceptance in Illinois, it’s especially troubling that the Board would try to use a revision in Board policies to impose it … without due debate or consideration.”


Yes, it is the back door to Intelligent Design and the gagging of Science teachers by requiring them to accept “religious arguments” instead of empirical evidence supported by observation and experimentation. If they can’t win on Political Party, then they will win on Religious bias appealing to what they feel is a statistical majority belief in the community and if it isn’t, then requiring it to be taught in the schools will cast enough doubt and confusion that they will have the “I don’t know” vote as well.

So why is all this important? In my opinion, it signals the fear that the “right-wing” Republicans have over the trend toward losing power. Democratic candidates no longer get under 35% of the vote, they are now receiving 45 and 47%. Case in point: the election of Bill Foster in the 14th District.

Fear…..that is the reason. The Republican fortress is crumbling! Their dreams of a “permanent Majority” have been dashed! They are going to fight, tooth and nail against Al Franken for Norm Coleman’s  seat. They want their “divine right” to rule their fiefdom and keep the serfs down and in their preordained place. After all, if they weren’t superior, they wouldn’t be so rich and powerful.

The battle is directed to the neighborhoods now that the Republicans have lost their opportunity. The past eight years (or 15 if you count their control of Congress) have not given them the permanence they thought they were going to have. Obama and the Democrats are starting to whittle away at their gains, reversing their chances for total control through fear and ignorance. The Republicans are worried….and they don’t like the uncertainty. In the last election, the majority of election judges were Democratic….and not Republican as they used to be. The trend is definitely away from Republican control. If they lose the College Board, what other local control will they lose, and then, when 2010 rolls around, will they lose another Congressional seat to a Democrat? Will Biggert or Roskam be in trouble? It is a possibility. I received a call from Judy Biggert’s office, yesterday, to participate in a telephone “town hall” discussion and she is not up for election yet!!!!

Fear. I can almost taste it here in beautiful “Democratic” DuPage County Illinois!


    • Temmoku on February 15, 2009 at 23:35

    this time? Have I been gone too long? I have been babysitting my grandchild and I have missed so much!

    I love the Fear that I can taste out here in DuPage County Illinois!

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