The Professor Watchlist: a contemporary Hollywood Blacklist

The Professor Watchlist: a contemporary Hollywood Blacklist

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The Hollywood Blacklist of the mid-20th century and the Professor Watchlist currently circling the web have much in common—right down to the rhyme scheme. The Hollywood Blacklist prevented the employment of members in the entertainment industry accused of having Communist ties or sympathies.

While the Professor Watchlist does not prevent the employment of a group of people based in belief, it does monitor professors across the country accused of liberal conviction. These professors are often unwittingly added to the list in order to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

Professors should not spew propaganda or try to indoctrinate their students—no matter which side of the political spectrum they fall on. However, the idea of a list of professors based on political beliefs with much of their information listed is not only unnecessary but dangerous.

These educators can become targets for those who do not agree with their belief systems and can be subjected to violence and discrimination, much like the members of “red Hollywood.”

Professors, faculty, students and people of all professions in this country should not have to face the threat of discrimination or fear based on political belief.

What is arguably the most problematic about this “watchlist” is the fact that some professors are added because of actions and activities they take part in on their own time. The moderators of the list claim to expose those who spout “propaganda” in the classroom. Last we checked, marching in the streets and engaging in protest on the weekends does not include the classroom.

Professors fighting for what they believe in and exercising their freedom of speech most likely understand the importance of providing students with information and allowing them to form their own conclusions. In this chain of events, students are armed with knowledge that will allow them to form their own opinions and in turn exercise the First Amendment if they choose to.

Bold professors across the nation have asked to be added to the list in order to take a stance and fight for what they believe in. At The University Star, we support our professors and educators and their right to hold political ideas and practice academic freedom.

Colleges and universities are supposed to be the bastion of democracy, debate and education. Once individuals start “watching” those who engage in debate and the inspiring nature of the college system, history is bound to repeat itself in the most tragic ways.

Many people lost jobs and means of providing for their families because of a group’s fear of something as unsubstantial as someone else’s belief system. It may be easier to provide evidence of someone’s beliefs in the age of the internet but it does not mean it should be done. Professors, university faculty and students should be able to enjoy their lives without being monitored by political groups—the government already has that covered.

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