Professor asks students to burn U.S. flag or Constitution

by Cassy Fiano | November 3, 2007 3:02 pm

Liberalism is nothing new in academia. Leftists seek sanctuary in the ivory tower of higher education where they can feel free to impose their liberal moonbattery on hapless college students. The less control they have over the country, the tighter their grip over academia becomes. And nothing runs more rampant on college campuses than anti-Americanism.

A University of Maine professor gives us yet another example.

A University of Maine student alleges her former professor offered extra credit to class members if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution or were arrested defending free speech.

On the first day of class, associate professor Paul Grosswiler offered the credit to members of his History of Mass Communications class, according to sophomore Rebekah McDade. Disturbed by the comment, McDade dropped the class and intends to take the course again next semester with a different professor.

“I was offended,” McDade said Friday. “I come from a family of military men and women, and the flag and Constitution are really important symbols to me because of my family background.”

In an e-mail responding to a request for comment from the Bangor Daily News on Friday, Grosswiler said he thought McDade misunderstood the class discussion, which was intended to elicit thought about the First Amendment. He said he has held this same discussion for years without incident.

“I don’t intend for students to burn either the Constitution or the flag, and over the years hundreds of students have understood that,” Grosswiler wrote.

A journalism and political science double major, McDade said the first class of her fall semester at UM began with the typical syllabus introduction and class overview. Despite repeated “liberal” comments made by Grosswiler, McDade said, she was not uncomfortable in the classroom until the flag burning comment.

“Everyone is entitled to their own political beliefs, and more power to you if you are passionate about it,” McDade said.

When Grosswiler listed the extra-credit opportunities, McDade said the class of approximately 50 students grew very quiet, and some questioned whether he was serious.

At first, student Kathleen Dame said she thought Grosswiler was joking, but then he went on to explain to the class that burning the flag was not illegal. While Grosswiler approached the topic in a serious manner, Dame said she felt he used it as a tool to educate the class on the First Amendment.

“It was pretty outlandish and [he was] trying to prove a point,” Dame said Friday.

UM spokesman Joe Carr said Friday that Grosswiler’s classroom comments were not intended to be taken literally and that extra credit would not be granted for carrying out such activities.

A second person in the class did submit a complaint about the lecture, but Carr did not know in what form it was filed.

When asked whether the university would pursue disciplinary action, Carr replied, “No.”

He said Grosswiler has worked at the University of Maine since 1991, is one of the more veteran professors in the department of communication and journalism, and is a “well-respected member of the faculty.”

Why would they punish a professor for bringing politics into a journalism classroom? After all, anything in the mainstream media is biased to the left anyways, so might as well get the kids used to it, huh?

See, once upon a time, it was considered a gross abuse of power for a teacher or professor to talk about politics to their students unless it was a class based in politics. But in today’s more enlightened world, it’s perfectly acceptable for professors to indoctrinate students with their leftist views, no matter how little it relates to the subject. And liberal messages are the favorites to drive home — anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America, pro-abortion, etc.(remember Rosalyn Kahn?)

Far from being a place with open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas, higher education today is more remniscent of a dictatorship. Democrats vastly outnumber conservatives, speech codes have become the norm, and while liberal speakers are welcomed, conservative speakers incite near riots. On college campuses, there is one way of thinking allowed.

And that’s the kind of thinking that allows a professor to tell his students that they’ll get extra credit for burning the United States flag or Constitution without receiving any repercussions, and then sneering that it was “just to elicit thought about the First Amendment”.

Perhaps the most telling quote from Professor Grosswiler was this one:

“If they don’t tolerate thought that they hate, they don’t believe in the First Amendment.”

So not tolerating a professor asking students to burn the United States flag is equal to not believing in free speech?

Your tax dollars at work, folks.

You can read more from Cassy at her blog. She also writes for Wizbang.

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