Conservatives in the Ohio State Senate are considering a bill that would prohibit public and private college professors from introducing “controversial matter” into the classroom and shift oversight of college course content to state governments and courts. The language of the bill comes from right-wing activist David Horowitz’s “Academic Bill of Rights,” which recommends states adopt rules to “restrict what university professors could say in their classrooms” and halt liberal “pollution” on campus.
Horowitz, who is the driving force behind the movement for “academic freedom” in Ohio and other states, has a distinguished history of intellectual defamation, historical inaccuracy and political bullying. He has freely compared American liberals to Islamic terrorists, slandered the Democratic Party and John Kerry for criticizing the war in Iraq and made a habit out of accusing his detractors of racism. Most recently, when African-American historian John Hope Franklin questioned Horowitz’s 2001 claim that black people benefited from slavery and owed a “debt” to white America, Horowitz responded by calling the eminent historian “a racial ideologue rather than a historian” and “almost pathological.” Horowitz has no academic credentials and routinely distorts facts — exactly the crime he accuses “liberal” professors of committing — to fit his political bias.