Thus, he condemns the recently defeated California Senate Bill SB 5, "An Academic Bill of Rights," as "Orwellian" in its claim to protect "students from the imposition of any orthodoxy of a political, religious, or ideological nature." (See below for the context of this conclusion in the bill.) The "real purpose" of the California bill and proposed national legislation, argues Makdisi, is to advance the pro-Israeli agenda of Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, among others.
Makdisi has been caught on misstatements before. See CAMERA's critique of an earlier LAT op-ed by Makdisi on the Israeli wall. (See our comments defending the wall.)
Most astonishingly Makdisi argues
The problem with all this is that the university is meant to be an insular environment. Those within its walls are supposed to be protected from outside political pressures so that learning can take place.
Obviously, this is a case of what's ours is ours and what's yours is negotiable. Makdisi has strong academic credentials; in that respect he is not Ward Churchill in a kaffiyeh. But a growing number of students, their parents, and alumni complain that higher education has become ideologized: See our Higher Education file for just a few indications.
Our complaint against SB 5 is rather different; it bows too deeply to "pluralism." Obviously there is one orthodoxy that public education should honor: the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. That document provides the guidance needed for legislation concerning orthodoxy in education.
The Legislature makes the following declarations and findings with respect to public institutions of higher education:
(A) The Legislature declares that the central purposes of the university are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the study and reasoned criticism of intellectual and cultural traditions, the teaching and general development of students to help them become creative individuals and productive citizens of a pluralistic democracy, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to a society at large.
(B) The Legislature further declares that free inquiry and free speech within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals, the freedoms to teach and to learn depend upon the creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the campus as a whole as well as in the classrooms and lecture halls, and these purposes reflect the values of pluralism, diversity, opportunity, critical intelligence, openness, and fairness that are the cornerstones of American society.
(C) The Legislature finds that academic freedom is most likely to thrive in an environment of intellectual diversity that protects and fosters independence of thought and speech, and that academic freedom protects the intellectual independence of professors, researchers, and students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas from interference by legislators or authorities within the institution itself.
(D) The Legislature further declares that intellectual independence means the protection of students from the imposition of any orthodoxy of a political, religious, or ideological nature. To achieve the intellectual independence of students, teachers should not take unfair advantage of a student's immaturity by indoctrinating him or her with the teacher's own opinions before a student has had an opportunity fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question, and before a student has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his or her own, and students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course