A University of Kansas journalism professor has landed among a list of nearly 200 college professors being accused on a right-leaning website of “discriminating against conservative students” and advancing “leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
Remember David Guth?
He is the journalism professor who was put on paid leave from KU for seven months, after he angrily lashed out at the National Rifle Association on Twitter following the Navy Yard shooting in 2013.
He’s on the list which was launched last week.
Former University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click, who called for muscle to remove a journalism student who was documenting a student protest last fall, is on the list too. Click was later fired.
So is Candis Bond, an adjunct professor in the department of women and gender studies at St. Louis University. The website says Bond “endorsed some of her students’ participation in pro-choice demonstrations.”
The “Professor Watchlist” is a project of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit organization that says its mission is to educate students about “the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
Matt Lamb, a 23-year-old online student at the University of Nebraska and director of constitutional enforcement and transparency for Turning Point USA, manages the watchlist for the organization.
He said professors are added to the list when “we have a documented source proving the professor did or said something to silence the views of conservative students on campus.”
Lamb said: “We only need one video of a professor yelling at a student to have proof. The Professor Watchlist is a resource for students to know a professor is biased in one direction. We have the freedom of speech to say, hey this is going on.”
One of the instructors listed is Joan Neuberger, a Russian history professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
The list describes the professor as leading a petition to bar students from carrying concealed weapons into classrooms.
A New York Times report on Monday said Turning Point USA has been criticized as a threat to academic freedom.
The Times quoted Julio C. Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio. Pino is named on the Turning Point USA site and in an interview said, “What we are seeing with this site is a kind of normalizing of prosecuting professors, shaming professors, defaming professors.”
On its website, though, the group said it strongly supports free speech for students; the elimination of safe spaces on campuses; and the end of political correctness.
The group’s founder and executive director, Charlie Kirk, 23, wrote in a blog post that “it’s no secret that some of America’s college professors are totally out of line,” and he said it was time to expose them.
Guth said when he saw his name was on Turning Point USA’s watch list, “I kind of chuckled. It’s no big deal.”
Guth said that while he has “respect for everyone’s right to free speech,” he doesn’t see the group as having much credibility.
“I don’t agree with their characterization of me,” Guth said, and added that he believes it’s up to others to decide whether to put any stock in what they read on the Turning Point USA site.
Click, who is now a lecturer in Gonzaga University’s undergraduate communication department in Washington state, was not available for comment.
According to its website,Turning Point has representation on over 1,100 high schools and college campuses nationwide and has more than 75 paid field organizers — student leaders and activists working to “ identify young conservative activists, build and maintain effective student groups, advertise and re-brand conservative values...”