SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
A taxpayer-financed university in Massachusetts was offering students college credits to work for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign before a national news organization began investigating the unethical arrangement this week.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the flagship campus of the state’s public university system, was awarding students two college credits to canvass or volunteer for the Democratic nominee’s campaign. School officials nixed the plan this week after media inquiries about the program which they admit violates state ethics laws as well as university policy banning on-the-job political activity.
The offer was made to students through a campus chaplain who told them in a September 18 electronic mail that they weren’t alone if they were scared about the prospects for this election. “The most important way to make a difference in the outcome is to activate yourself,” the chaplain wrote. It would be just fine with McCain if Obama supporters just think about helping then sleep in and stay home between now and Election Day.”
The college credits were to be awarded through an independent study program associated with the university’s history department. Faculty members in the department had just approved a program involving political campaigning and an unnamed professor agreed to grant the credits to students who campaigned for Obama.
When the controversial arrangement was made public this week, administrators immediately denounced it and assured that the school has never offered independent study for credit involving partisan political work. It might be safe to assume that the credits would still be offered if the media had not exposed the deal.
This sort of liberal bias is not uncommon at public universities across the nation. Just last week an English professor at a public college in Colorado was accused of bias, harassment and bullying for ridiculing Republican students and forcing the entire class to write an essay critical of the party’s vice presidential candidate. Students were ordered to contradict the “fairy tale image” of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and actually compare her to Sleeping Beauty.
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