Scottsdale Community College Walks Back Actions Violating Academic Freedoms

Scottsdale Community College Walks Back Actions Violating Academic Freedoms

It is no secret that most universities and colleges across the country are teeming with professors and adjuncts unafraid to insert their liberal biases into their courses and teachings.  A survey of 40 leading universities in the country found that Democrat professors outnumber their Republican colleagues at a ratio of nearly 12 to 1.  Conservatives are a genuine minority on higher education campuses and intellectual diversity has become nonexistent.

The result is an ideological double standard that is destroying our colleges and universities. If you are liberal college professor lecturing your students on the evils of capitalism or how America is a cesspit of bigotry, your academic freedom is sacrosanct. Students that don’t agree with this sentiment are wise to keep quiet and not rock the boat.

What happens when conservative students and speakers don’t fall in line and decide to stand up for their beliefs? They are discriminated against by their professors, or are “shouted down” and attacked for expressing the minority position on campus.

Conservative professors that refuse to embrace the liberal Marxist worldview of their peers don’t fare much better. Case in point: Professor Nick Damask at Scottsdale Community College.

Professor Demask teaches World Politics at SCC and is considered an expert in the area of international terrorism.  This spring he had his students take a quiz that included several questions about Islamic terrorism.  One student in the class claimed that he was offended by the quiz and wrote the professor about his complaints. Professor Damask provided a clarification of his questions and offered to discuss the issue further with the student, but before further discussion could occur, the student posted the quiz on social media. 

The professor and the college were excoriated by liberal pundits and the media for suggesting that there are terrorists that self-identify with Islam. At that point SCC had a choice—treat Professor Demask like how they would have treated every other liberal professor and protected his academic freedom, or throw him under the ideological bus. To no ones’ surprise, they chose the latter option.

SCC immediately voided the test results, issued an apology from the college to the student and sent the professor a pre-written apology letter for him to sign. To his credit Professor Damask, who has taught at SCC for 23 years, did not apologize but instead pursued legal representation for violations of his academic freedom.

After Professor Damask decided to fight back the Maricopa County Community College Board opened up an investigation to determine if SCC handled the situation properly. Nearly a month later the interim Chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges published his findings and determined that administrators acted inappropriately, and that the school violated the professor’s academic freedom. 

Though Professor Damask was vindicated, in many respects it is a hollow victory.  His reputation has been permanently damaged, which shows that college leadership can’t be trusted to provide due process or protect individuals with different beliefs than their own.

This freezing of any divergent speech on campus is a double-edged sword.  If serious steps are not taken to address this issue it won’t take long before conservatives start playing thought police on campus and engage in their own guerilla tactics to point out every liberally slanted lesson they deem offensive.