Responses to video of Prof. Sragow
I’ve noticed students making audio recordings of professors without asking, which I also think it is at best impolite and, at worst, a violation of trust. Videotaping an educator and sending an edited video to a smear website is not the rational response of a student who is worried about an uncomfortable learning environment: going to the head of a department or a dean is.
Indeed, secretly taping professors and students is as much a violation of a comfortable learning environment where learning can be pursued without fear or favor as anything the professor did or did not do.
In my life, I have had right-wing and left-wing teachers. I’ve learned from all of them. USC has both left-wing and right-wing guest teachers (their bios rather give the game away to sensitive students). And our tenure-track faculty comprises non-political researchers and academics.
My alma mater of Cambridge is currently dealing with a professor who expresses support for eugenics and expresses racial discrimination on his website. Students complained to the student union and the administration. That’s what you do when you’re genuinely offended. Don’t drag USC’s name through the mud to make cheap political points. Especially when that’s what you are accusing a professor of doing.
And videotaping people without their knowledge is super-sketchy. That’s a point that is always true.
Graduate Student, Political Science and International Relations
As a USC alumnus, it is extremely disappointing to see a professor at my alma mater spewing such vile, biased vitriol in the classroom and calling it education.
Your conduct, and the unvarnished bias you exhibit to students, is prohibitive in working toward creating a healthy educational environment. One could surmise that students taking your class, who may hold opposite political views and values, wouldn’t stand a chance of being able to explore or voice their beliefs in the learning environment you have created in your classroom without the fear being labeled by you in class with a slur or punished in how they are graded.
There are forums off- and on-campus, such as Tommy Trojan at lunch time, for all of us to voice our views in, where people can stop, tune in or tune out and not feel intimidated that their grades or future is reliant on them agreeing with their professor’s bias or not.
Class of 1990
As a conservative, USC alumna and former board member of the USC College Republicans, I was less than thrilled to see a video of my former professor Darry Sragow, in the same class that I took, bashing Republicans and making false and disparaging accusations about Republicans.
However, I’m also less than thrilled with the students in the class.
While I do not condone Sragow’s statements, and obviously his comments were over the top (and much more severe than when I was in his class), I think that conservative students need to stand up and engage in debate when their beliefs are challenged. Secretly recording videos to expose a professor, even though his statements were inappropriate, is doing nothing to help the conservative cause.
Sragow always welcomed debate and discussion and approached my comments with a dry sense of humor (that was indeed often partisan). Some students may not be comfortable in such a situation, but I think that students (especially conservative students) need to understand how important voicing their own views is in the classroom.
Class of 2012, Former USC College Republicans Chief of Staff
Over the past 24 hours, I have watched with a mixture of horror and awe as my professor’s comments from my election law class last semester were broadcast on The O’Reilly Factor and other conservative media outlets.
My objection is not to the reaction to the comments my professor made. While I believe that Professor Sragow encouraged disagreement with his own views in class, I objected to many of the generalizations he used in the video clips. I believe that the Republican Party will not go extinct but will instead play an important role in creating a better future for Americans of all racial makeups.
My objection is to the serendipitous fashion in which his views were revealed. By using a camera to secretly videotape a professor, Tyler Talgo will deprive his fellow students of the real-world political examples and academic security, which enhance the academic experience of Republican and Democratic students alike.
Part of the beauty of learning is that sometimes it comes through failure. In this new technological age, the idea that all of my in-class comments could be secretly recorded and broadcast to future employers through Facebook or the blogosphere is offensive. USC has an obligation to protect their students. No student is going to feel comfortable arguing a new philosophical viewpoint or discussing sensitive issues such as race and gender if their views are not treated with discretion. Talgo’s actions are an affront to his classmates’ trust and academic security, which ultimately facilitates the kind of bipartisan discussion he claims to seek.
Freshman, Political Science
Read the full texts online at dailytrojan.com