A week ago, it looked like David Horowitz had a few things to be thankful for in the emerging report of the Pennsylvania legislative panel that was looking for examples of violations of students’ rights because of their political views.
Sure, the committee had reported that it didn’t really find examples of the alleged oppression that he maintains is widespread. But Horowitz pointed to the committee’s recommendation that colleges adopt policies to protect student rights. And he liked the many pages included in the draft report that summarized testimony by Horowitz and some of his allies. Those are all gone in the final version of the report the committee approved Tuesday, which is being hailed by academic groups as completely vindicating their views.
Horowitz said that he was furious about the “breathtaking audacity of this theft of the report by the Democrats and the unions,” and that a “cabal” of faculty leaders had convinced “weak-spined Republicans” (who controlled the committee) to go along with the “theft.” He maintained, however, that despite the “travesty and the cover-up,” he was in fact pleased with what he accomplished in Pennsylvania.
Yes, after all, he did get his name in the newspaper. Success!
In the end, though, the panel on Tuesday stripped away what he had been citing as points of victory. The final report kept the language saying that it couldn’t find evidence of problems with students’ rights. On whether colleges need new policies, the report’s language changed, noting that some colleges have such policies and need only review them. On student evaluations of faculty members, the report shifted from urging colleges to change them to urging colleges to look at them and make their own decisions.
Two other things struck academic observers as significant: By removing all the pages summarizing testimony (a summary that many college officials believed was one-sided in favor of Horowitz), the committee removed a permanent record that seemed unfavorable and many thought unfair to academe. And because the final vote on the report was unanimous — on a committee controlled by Republicans — the committee made it more difficult for Horowitz to blame his problems on liberals.
Yeah, so he probably won't be doing that any more...
Via LGM, an interview with Michael Berube in which Berube (once again) demolishes Horowitz.