Introduction

Throughout the Western world, the University, once an institution revered for its openness, transparency and breadth of expression, has become a narrow corner where only views which conform to the politically correct zeitgeist are tolerated. The infusion of ideology into the curriculum, coupled with the unwillingness of university administrations to enforce their own standards of academic excellence, has left many of these institutions as little more than hollow intellectual shells, given over to a monochromatic view of the world, deprived of balance.

Perhaps the most important question that arises from this sad state of affairs is what are the consequences of the collapse of basic academic standards? What are our students actually learning and if students fear to express contrarian views, is there hope for our democratic future which depends upon collective discussion, a plurality of views and the oxygen of broad debate for its survival?

With speakers drawn from academic institutions around the world, this conference will examine the crisis of teaching on our campuses; engage in a discussion about how these imbalances might be addressed both within the University structure and beyond it; and conclude with the presentation of a scathing California Association of Scholars report on the University of California which demonstrates the extent of the crisis and its cost to our future.

This conference has been made possible by a generous grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.