The fall semester at many universities is coming to an end. That means course evaluations – one of the few opportunities students have to provide feedback on their professors. Constructive criticism is often taken into account in decisions about promotions and tenure.
But now there is a movement to expand course evaluations to include feedback on professor microaggressions – perceived intentional or unintentional verbal or nonverbal slights against marginalized groups. A group of students at Emory University is demanding evaluations be changed to specifically ask about professors’ microaggressions.
Given the relative and subjective nature of microaggressions, such a move would only stifle the free speech of professors, who no matter how conscientiously could be accused of committing microaggressions in the course of their teaching. Professors should be judged on the quality of their teaching, their course content, and – in the very rare circumstances where relevant – their demeanor toward their students.
In the video below, Towson University Professor Howard Baetjer attempts to impart the importance of free speech to students by asking them to share their most controversial opinion. Pushing boundaries, not limiting them, should be the goal of college.
Be sure to request a Free Speech Kit at no cost to you for your campus to jump into the nationwide campus debate about free speech. This is a great opportunity to recruit for you student organization and spread the important message of academic freedom and freedom of expression. Just fill out the form with your contact information and mailing address and Learn Liberty will send the kit to your door!