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Reader comment on item: Columbia University vs. America

Submitted by Toby (United States), Apr 2, 2003 at 16:38

As much as I disagree with the comments of the Columbia professors I think they have a right to do this and it happens all the time on many different levels. De Genova, the professor at the beginning of the article, went to far. I think that De Genova's mistake was talking about what he wanted to see happen. The other professors were smart enough not to tell their students what to believe, just laying out opinions concerning the actions taken by the US and not telling the students that they want the US to lose.

I think that college professors and probably high school teachers all over the country bring personal views into the classroom all the time. In my mind the philosophy of historical education is two-fold, one; teach the students the fact, educate on the basis of dates and events throughout history, this is what happened, here are the undisputed facts of this period, two; tell them how people have responded, talk about different points of view, talk about debates and the often untold other side of the story. Personally after high school I felt like I had a semi-sufficient concept of American history and a very broad base of European history but in college I learned about the why of these events and was given the resources to learn from many different points of view..... so that I could form MY OWN opinion.

Columbia is a very well respected university, it is a very tough school to get into and there is no doubt in my mind that most of their students came to campus with fairly open minds to begin with, I would also assume that most of these professors in question teach upper level courses to students who have already learned to form their own opinion and have had more than one opportunity to argue in class with other students and professors. These aren't easily influenced students and I am sure that with everything else that is being thrown in our faces throughout the media they have had plenty of opportunity to hear the US's side of the story. In short I don't think we can ever hear too much or learn too many opinions and we are lucky to live in a country where that is possible..... for now.

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