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Campus cleansing

"Campus cleansing" Continued...

Issue: "States' rights," Oct. 27, 2007

Mitchell remains hopeful that the involvement of the AAUP, which also defended Ward Churchill's academic freedom, will add legitimacy to his claims of bias among his more liberal colleagues. But, so far, reaction to the AAUP report remains mild, disappointing Eron: "We hope this is just a slow emerging story that eventually will get a little more traction. We're proud of our report, and we think we've done the right thing."

Not content to wait around for such traction to develop, Mitchell has landed a teaching position at Colorado Christian University in Denver. CCU president William Armstrong rushed to hire Mitchell on the recommendation of his longtime friend Hank Brown, the president of CU. Brown, who plans to retire in February, cited university procedure in not intervening in Mitchell's case, and instead helped him find employment elsewhere.

"It was Hank's way of trying to solve the problem," Mitchell said. "He recommended me as an outstanding professor to an old friend of his, while his underlings are now saying I'm totally incompetent. Apparently, Hank doesn't believe what his own administrators say."

Market-driven move

The University of Colorado is not the only area college with a recent personnel controversy on its hands. In May, Colorado Christian University in Denver dismissed popular global studies professor Andrew Paquin for failing to align with new president William Armstrong's politically conservative vision for the school.

Paquin, whom CCU students had recently selected faculty member of the year, assigned such politically liberal texts as God's Politics by Jim Wallis and One World by Peter Singer, a Princeton professor and ethicist who advocates infanticide as a means of social improvement. Both readings question the virtue of free markets and promote government-orchestrated redistribution of wealth.

Paquin defends such economic positions as promoting "a very Christian ethic" and says his students were "never assigned a book and told to believe it as gospel." He readily denounces Singer's anti-biblical willingness to kill infants and unborn babies.

Armstrong, a conservative Republican and former U.S. congressman and senator hired at CCU last year, declined to comment on Paquin's case but told WORLD he would not apologize for the university's new direction: "We're very interested in impacting our culture in support of traditional values, the sanctity of life, a biblical understanding of human nature, and as a result of that, a preference for limited government rather than expansive government, which we see as a threat to freedom."

Armstrong, who has served on the board of Campus Crusade for Christ for the past 15 years, is equally committed to conservative theology, requiring that all faculty and staff ascribe to a statement of faith from the National Association of Evangelicals. CCU maintains no political statement of faith, but Armstrong aims to be clear about university objectives for the sake of "truth in packaging."

"There are few, if any, colleges or universities in America that would wish to be as explicit about what we believe over such a broad range of spiritual and cultural principles," he said. "We're strong in favor of free markets, rather than regimented markets, because free markets lead not only to economic prosperity but human freedom, whereas regimented markets lead to economic stagnation and human misery."

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