Georgia State U Prof Promises Extra Credit for Political Lobbying

Apr 17, 2012 |  Ashley Thorne

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Georgia State U Prof Promises Extra Credit for Political Lobbying

Apr 17, 2012 | 

Ashley Thorne

NAS member and contributor Mary Grabar, whose nom de blog is "Dissident Prof," has posted two videos on her website that give a window into the academic-credit-for-activism culture in contemporary higher education. 

The first video is of a teach-in held on February 4. The first 40 seconds of the video shows Jennifer Esposito, a professor at Georgia State University pledging to give extra credit to students in her "Race, Class, and Gender in Education" course if they bring in handwritten letters to legislators opposing certain immigration reform bills (HB 87 in Georgia and HB 59 in Arizona).

The second video is Mary Grabar's testimony to the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 

Minding the Campus's John Leo, echoing Grabar's testimony, notes that such an offer from a public university professor is in essence a bribe "for promising to support leftist causes."

During the last presidential election cycle in 2008, several universities offered academic credit for volunteering in Obama's campaign. NAS president Peter Wood wrote at the time that academic credit for any explicitly political activity is inappropriate. "Offering college credit for stuff outside the real college curriculum dilutes the curriculum and subtracts from the intellectual value of a college degree," he wrote. 

It is not clear whether Professor Esposito did in fact offer extra credit to students who lobbied against the bills, but her proud announcement of her intention and the approval of her peers at the teach-in show that such an offer is seen as legitimate among academics.

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