Big Brother at U.T.

Today I found myself heading the Young Conservatives of Texas professor watch list. They’re nothing if not predictable, following the lead of the terrible, horrible, no good very bad Horowitz.

I am attaching their watch list document. summer_fall_2007_watch_list.doc

Here is my response:

From: Dana Cloud <dcloud@mail.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 11:45:34 -0500
To: <firingline@dailytexanonline.com>
Conversation: Orwell, anyone?
Subject: Orwell, anyone?

Contrary to Friday’s Texan article about the new YCT watch list, I was informed neither by the Texan nor by the YCT that my name was at the top of the list (this year would be the first time I appeared on the list in the 14 years I have taught at U.T., and ironically, the year I received my College’s teaching award). I am not surprised, however, that I would be a target of yet another big-brother-style surveillance list. I never have denied my radical politics, but contrary to the YCT’s claims, I have never required my students to read Socialist Worker, counterpunch.com (although you can find my assessment of the very real right-wing indoctrination machine headed by David Horowitz at http://www.counterpunch.org/cloud03082007.html), or tune in to Al-Jazeera, as the group claims. Activism and pedagogy are two separate things, and I would not presume to require students to align themselves with my beliefs, as my many conservative student fans will attest. The watch group has no evidence of any indoctrination attempts in my classroom and have mentioned none in their section on me on their website. My students—conservative, liberal, or radical—resent the implication that they are mindless dupes of their professors. These details miss the point, however. The YCT claims that its intentions are benevolent and not censorious. But this sort of McCarthyist list-keeping in the name of “academic freedom” is doublespeak of the most insidious kind.

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