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Letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Response to article on Professor Watchlist

February 8, 2017

Dear Editor,

In response to the previous article concerning the Professor Watchlist, let us dig deeper into the information present. 

Professor Watchlist is a composite list of individuals noted to profess politically left tendencies, gathered from existing outlets. The list is currently new, launched on Nov. 21, 2016.

It is run by Turning Point USA, a conservative non-profit. It seeks to teach students about the values of “fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government,” mainstream conservative tenets, not those of the alt-right. That information is available on their About Us page.

The list only cites professors when they meet the condition stated in its About Us page: “While we accept tips for new additions on our website, we only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else.” The result of this criteria is that what might end up as “s/he said” online is culled out. Only those articles that concretely have proof and evidence of existing incidents are included.  

This list is described on other sites as potentially stifling free speech on the part of the teacher. However, no mass calls for the harassment or the removal of the teachers have occurred or have been reported. As reported by thecollegefix.com: 

“TPUSA [is] using our free speech rights to publicize publicly available information. Perhaps if we were calling for professors to get fired or harassed there would be reason to be concerned.”

The quote above is from the Matt Lamb, TPUSA’s director of Constitutional Enforcement and Transparency. While it should be noted that the information present should be taken with a grain of salt. To assume all 150 articles are all false or raise legitimate concern would be a gross error.  

In this period of so-called fake news, we should not need others to tell us what is fake, for we should be able to tell immediately. Rather, we should expect the media to reveal and cite sources, taking and utilizing the highest quality of objective journalism.  

Facebook and Twitter do not need to censor out “fake news,” for we should be able to decide for ourselves the truth, from the objective material available, crossing it with an article from a trusted site.

Perfect? Nope. We don’t live in a perfect world, and there will never be one, so we must pick up and decide for ourselves two things: What is true, and who can we depend on giving us truth?

Jack Romanik
UWRF student

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