“after the election, many students and faculty flipped out”
Carrie-Ann Biondi was a philosophy professor for over two decades. In a recent interview, she explained that the 2016 election politicized the campus environment unlike anything she had ever seen before.
From the Objective Standard:
Why I Left America’s Failing Universities: An Interview with Carrie-Ann Biondi
Hersey: I know you worked hard to get there. What soured your love for the job and convinced you to give all that up?
Biondi: I think there were two causes that ultimately led me out of higher ed. One was epistemological, and the other was political.
So, first the epistemological point: I came to realize that I was spending at least 50 percent of my time helping students unlearn all their bad habits from before college. Many of them didn’t know how to learn. Many were terrified to think independently, and they really didn’t know why they were in college…
But after the 2016 election, things became highly politicized at Marymount Manhattan, where I was then teaching. Throughout my career, there had always been a small percentage of faculty and students who wanted to politicize the classroom, to make it less about learning and more about political activism. But after the election, many students and faculty flipped out. That’s the only way I can think to describe it; they became deranged, politically, and wanted to push to a much wider agenda.
I’m not merely talking about some of the more radical Marxist-oriented professors. A lot more students wanted other professors—who were not seeking to politicize their classrooms—to make political activism part of their projects. And that’s something I resisted. They thought that they weren’t really learning something unless they could use it for social or political activism. They wanted course credit for activism-related projects in lieu of actual academic projects related to courses. A question I started hearing increasingly was, “How is this course relevant to what’s going on today?” If we were studying ancient Greek philosophy, and we were learning about the pre-Socratics, students would want to know, “How is this relevant to fighting for social justice?” In essence, they wanted to be fed what to say to win a particular political debate, to learn talking points that would help them take down opponents. And many students thought that pushing back on course material with questions like that would get me to change the course.
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