The Professor Watch List

A Racist Violation of Free Speech

Turning Point USA is biased against black faculty and freedom of speech. Turning Pointis  501(c)3 non-profit organization founded on June 5, 2012. They sponsor Professor Watch List, a website meant to expose and document college professors who allegedly discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom. Listed on this watch list are 147 US college professors who have supposedly expressed leftist perspectives. Turning Point accept tips for new additions to the Professor Watch List, but claims to only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else.

Turning Point’s mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. They claim that they continue to fight for free speech and the right for professors to say whatever they wish; however, students, parents, and alumni deserve to know the specific incidents and names of professors who advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.

Unfortunately, Turning Point’s methodology for selection of professors to include on the list seems to arise from student tips and secondary information with unverified assertions resulting in an extremely biased and racist list. Blacks on the Professor Watch List are over three times more likely to be include than any other ethnicity.

In addition, most of the alleged violations include classroom teaching that is clearly covered under freedom of speech. Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, a professor at New York University is claimed to had said that President Bush was spreading propaganda in order to form a theocracy in the United States, a charge he strongly denies. Dr. Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas, Austin is cited  for writing an essay, where Jensen argues that rape is part of the larger violent, patriarchy, a position widely held in social science literature, but apparently not in right-wing limited-government organizations. Also on the list is Dr. John Bellamy Foster a sociology professor at the University of Oregon and editor of the Monthly Review. He is reported by Professor Watchto have advocated a “red-green” alliance to abolish capitalism, and is said to consider the collapse of the Soviet empire a setback for human progress, all clearly an academic freedom of speech perspective.

A watch list of any individuals clearly implies a warning to stop the behavior for which the list was created. The McCarthy era taught us the dangers of generalized assertions and labeling of individuals with tainted accusations. Turning Point’s Professor Watch List is an ugly racist attempt to repress free speech in colleges and universities in the US and deserves to be widely condemned.

Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, and former director of of Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored. He wrote his dissertation on the Bohemian Club in 1994. Read other articles by Peter, or visit Peter's website.