In this election year, political views are everywhere, but the university discourages professors from expressing their personal political views in the classroom. Although no specific policy forbids such talk, Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for student affairs, said it could interfere with the Academic Freedom and Faculty Responsibility section of the faculty handbook. This policy is commendable and should be maintained to ensure that professors do not push their political leanings on students. The policy ensures the classroom stays a forum for open discussion and gives students more of a feeling that they can express their opinions without being singled out. Universities should foster open discussion.
While there may be situations where a professor expressing an opinion may be warranted or even necessary, it should be relevant to the topic at hand.
Political science professor Jim Riddlesperger said he agrees with the policy and does not answer personal political questions in class. He said he feels faculty “should not use their classroom as a pulpit to further their own political views.” Students should be able to think for themselves and not be pressured by professors, who directly or indirectly influence them.
Associate Editor Michelle Nicoud for the editorial board.