Maine, Michigan Classes Become PC Polar Opposites

By Billups, Andrea | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 6, 2000 | Go to article overview

Maine, Michigan Classes Become PC Polar Opposites


Billups, Andrea, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Two new courses offered for the first time this fall are certain to raise eyebrows inside academe and out.

At the University of Maine, professor Jon Reisman will teach a political science class called "Political Correctness in America."

At the University of Michigan, professor of English language and literature David M. Halperin will teach "How to Be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation."

Mr. Reisman, 43, and a tenured professor, has taught economics and government at the University of Maine's 1,000-student campus in Machias for 15 years. He proudly calls himself the most "politically incorrect" instructor at his college.

The class, which will be offered to juniors and seniors, was needed, Mr. Reisman said, because of the climate of PC that exists at many schools across the country, including "speech codes masquerading as anti-harassment policies."

"You've got a very dedicated group of faculty members - I call it the democracy Politburo - the equal opportunity officers, the women's studies, peace studies, Marxist-studies groups, and they have a mindset," Mr. Reisman said. "But their method of doing it involves imposing a certain code of behavior, speech and action on others."

Mr. Reisman, who has done research about such courses, thinks his class is a first nationwide. In 1998, a similar course was proposed at Bowling Green University in Kentucky, but the faculty refused to endorse or accept it, Mr. Reisman said.

His class will delve into the philosophy behind political correctness and its role in American history, which Mr. Reisman says goes all the way back "to the witches in Salem."

Student will look at PC in four areas: higher education, the media, the public sector and the private sector. They will study the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Bill of Rights, abolition and temperance movements, McCarthyism and drug policy.

Mr. Reisman plans to take the course onto statewide interactive television next spring and is looking at global delivery on the World Wide Web.

"I don't expect untenured faculty members to do this," he said, "but tenured faculty members have to. We won't have a free society if we don't. …

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