The war in Iraq was a regular hot topic in English class when I was in school. But why -- when it had no relevance to writing analyses’, breaking down prose, or fine-tuning style? When I heard about an unapologetic independent film production that uncovered illegitimate classroom agendas at public universities, I knew my school (Indiana University) was part of a larger problem.
“I’ve been learning in geography class that gender is socially constructed,” said a student from the University of Tennessee in the revealing documentary. “Indoctrinate U” exposes the liberally biased agenda of professors and administrators whose practices are like the Wizard of Oz -- behind a curtain no one has dared to lift until now.
The film illustrates how American universities inject political dialogue into every subject from physics to 19th Century literature, according to students interviewed at schools from across the country: that is not the education their tuition was supposed to pay for.
The controversial documentary follows award-winning filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney onto college campuses that “routinely compel students to check their First Amendment rights at the door.”
Equipped with a solitary microphone and portable video camera, Maloney takes on Bucknell, Yale, and Columbia among others, highlighting previously unchallenged, repressive patterns of oppression that stalk the halls of academia. His encounters with students and staff provide humorous footage that illuminates the lack of political balance in the heart of diversity centers, women’s studies programs and freedom of speech policies.
Maloney spent more than two years compiling evidence, chronicling specific stories from large universities like Duke and smaller schools like Indian River Community College -- each in the grip of a rhetoric of “tolerance” that, in truth, creates an overwhelming intolerance
California Polytechnic State University student Steve Hinkle was accused of hate speech and subject to an 18-month legal trial over a flyer he posted that included the name of a book: “It’s Okay to Leave the Plantation.” The book was by black author Mason Weaver, the scheduled speaker of an event put on by the College Republicans.
Some students were offended by the flyer, posted in the multi-cultural center. Maloney captured the essence of his thesis when he quickly cut to Weaver himself asking, “Who cares if you’re offended? Why is it against the law now to be offended?”
Maloney confidently knocks on the doors of university presidents and waits patiently for officials to return from long lunch breaks. Stocked with simple questions about the biased and oppressive practices investigation uncovered, most of his queries went unanswered .
A significant portion of the film focuses on affirmative action practices, highlighting violence and anger towards those students and professors who oppose them, the turmoil labeled an “all-out political war.”
Michigan State student Lydia Brodeur, a white woman from a mixed family, was targeted by a professor for her letter to the editor opposing affirmative action. “In the name of diversity, universities are judging people on their skin color -- they do this invoking the name of Martin Luther King, but is this what he wanted, is this the dream that he had?”
Maloney’s respectful inquiries about specific incidents of censorship, speech codes and other tyrannical behavior left him in the hands of campus police again and again -- his own free rights denied as he explored the topic.
FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) routinely spotlights the same aspects of university policy tackled in the film. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said the film was important because, “Your average…mainstream Democrat doesn’t necessarily believe this is really happening…I didn’t really understand it was really happening [before he was involved in FIRE].”
In an interview on “Hannity’s America,” Maloney said, “We’re hoping to show that -- for all the rhetoric used in the admissions brochures -- colleges really are stepping on the idea of free thought and…people are being punished simply for expressing views.”
In uncomfortable hallways with skeptical secretaries and camera-weary students, the questions you’re not supposed to ask were posed. Statistics show that professors are seven times more likely to be Democrats than Republicans and one Bucknell professor said, “Anything intimidating which is going to poison the college environment can’t be allowed…if you’re offended by it -- that’s implicitly considered harassment.”
Maloney’s confident exploration of the leftist indoctrination invading our nation’s universities is an important message for everyone. The products of these institutions shape our nation’s future. The film has not yet been picked up by a commercial distributor but you can visit the web site to sign up for a private screening. The more support and interest in this film, the better chance it has at finding a mainstream outlet.