Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pennsylvania - Many of the right wing groups who attempted to destroy the career of renowned ethnics studies professor Ward Churchill have set their sights on a new victim: Penn State Sociology Professor Sam Richards, who they have labeled a Marxist, conspiracy theorist and a "Ward Churchill twin". Students for Academic Freedom (SAF) is the primary group behind what has been labeled a modern day witch-hunt or new McCarthyism. Despite their name, the group solely supports conservative causes and exhibits a strong right-wing bias. In the past week they got bills based on their "Academic Bill of Rights" passed by student governments on two major state universities, including Sam Richard's Penn State.

Most student governments have no say over the policies of the institutions they are part of, so SAF has been trying to push their agenda among more influential governing bodies. Bills limiting the academic freedoms of professors have been submitted to at least ten separate state legislating bodies, and the US House of Representatives.

According to the non-partisan American Association of University Professors, SAF's Academic Bill of Rights "infringes academic freedom in the very act of purporting to protect it." Grant County, Indiana's Chronicle Tribune claims that SAF simply wants "a special law to protect conservatives from discrimination," something that conservatives would laugh at were the situations reversed.