The Tragic Consequences of Placing Professors on Watchlists
by Dr. Michael Flanagan
I recently scrolled by an article discussing a “professor watchlist” created by a conservative group (Flarety, 2016). There have been other sites over the years designed to identify “problem” professors and their leftist viewpoints. The administrators of the watchlist sites often contact the students of these professors and encourage them to write anecdotal reports about alleged bias towards conservative ideologies. The creators of these watchlists feel that the professors are promoting a liberal agenda, while attacking conservative values.
In the past I would have kept scrolling by an article like this, writing it off as just another extremist website. But we are now living in a different America. Since the Presidential election hate crimes have spiked (Balingit, 2016). We have white nationalists taking key roles in the next presidential administration (NYT, 2016). Our President-elect, among many other authoritarian missives, has expressed plans to register Muslim citizens (Trip, 2015), and disregard First Amendment rights (Wright, 2016). The next logical target is college professors, because they educate and develop critical thinking and research skills in our next generation. A repressive government controlled by Wall Street, with a militarized police force, does not want free thinkers and political activists. Professors who are identified as liberals, progressives or leftists, might produce educated citizens Badass Teachers Association: