Professor partiality a slippery slope, political biases influence students’ decisions

It would be reasonable to say that professors in any institution have an incredible amount of influence on students’ political views and participation in political elections. They have the ability to intelligently praise, mock, or vilify political figures in their classes. They are even free to lead class discussions to a specific biased conclusion about politically controversial issues. Professors do not even have to be 100 percent accurate in what they are saying as something impressionable and perhaps knowledge-deficient students blindly trust the professors’ accounts.

It is clear that the rhetorical skills of professors can be easily abused in the classroom. College comes at a time in most people’s lives when they are in search of an identity with which they feel comfortable to express for the rest of their lives – including, but not limited to, their political views.

Up until college, parents are probably the most influential figures in one’s formation of and identification with political views. When one attends college, they are exposed to a world of radical new ideas; some enticing, others repulsive.

Nevertheless, when professors convincingly and purposefully incorporate their political biases in class, students are led to change their pre-existing beliefs and give their loyalty to what they are told is the "correct" view because of the professor’s authoritative position. This is when the powerful and trustworthy position of professors is abused.

In classes that do not relate to American politics, the political affairs can be avoided with relative ease. In classes, such disciplines as Political Science and History, the subject of politics in class discussion is legitimately relevant. However, a professor can still lead an effective class discussion without preaching or favoring a specific point of view.

In favoring a specific point of view, another danger of "professor partiality" becomes a problem worth seriously considering. That is, unfair grading of students based on their political views rather than their ability to form a thesis and defend it. One’s academic integrity is compromised if he/she is forced to complete work with an intentional bias that does not align with their personal beliefs so as to "please" the professor.

I feel that in classes where politics are not directly related to the subject matter, politics should not usually be discussed. There are times when it would be appropriate to discuss politics, as professors should encourage some cognizance of current events. In these situations, professors should at least try to remain impartial and present information objectively so that students are able to draw their own conclusions rather than simply accepting the professor’s ideas.

I have personally encountered and heard of many instances of professor bias on this campus. At this point, I am unaware of any policy or unwritten standards that might promote objectivity in the classroom. But I feel as though professing knowledge (the duty of professors) without personal bias is so fundamental to the job that it does not need a specific regulation to enforce it. Let’s hope the professors agree.