Opinion

It’s Time to Stop Funding Public Universities With Stolen Money

Randa Jarrar, an English professor at the California State University (Fresno) attacked Barbara Bush online just hours after the 92-year-old former First Lady died. Jarrar said some disgustingly awful things, which is her right to do, but not on my dime.

Like Jarrar, I have problems with the Bush presidencies. George W. Bush dragged the United States into an immoral and unconstitutional war in Iraq. His domestic policies were equally tragic.

Having voiced my disapproval of the Bush presidencies would never lead me to say the things Jarrar said about Barbara Bush. Proverbs 24:17-18 says the following:

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.

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The truth of this biblical Proverb is becoming a reality for Jarrar. There have been numerous calls for her to be fired, especially since she said she can’t be fired because she has tenure.

She was thumbing her nose at the people who are forced to pay her. This is an accurate summary of her screed:

“You can’t do anything to me; I’ve got tenure, and I make $100,000 a year to say anything I want. So there, suckers.”

A number of articles defend the “free speech” of this disgusting professor. The following is from David French of National Review Online. Whatever the content of Jarrar’s speech,

it was free speech. The constitutional analysis here is pretty darn simple. Under relevant law, a public employee enjoys First Amendment protection when she can show her speech “addressed ‘matters of public concern.’” Then, if her speech passes that test, her interest “in commenting upon matters of public concern” must outweigh “the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.”

As a practical matter, once a professor can establish they’re speaking on a matter of public concern, the second part of the legal test is easy to pass. The Supreme Court has long held that academic freedom is essential to American culture.

The thing of it is, Jarrar’s right to speak as an employee of an educational institution paid for by money confiscated from taxpayers is not free speech. If Jarrar taught at a school where not a single penny of tax-payer confiscated money funded the school (directly or indirectly), then I would say that she was exercising her “free speech.”

“[T]otal annual federal expenditures in California are around $376 billion…. With an estimated population of 38.9 million in early 2015, this corresponds to federal payments of about $9,700 per person in the state of California.” Some of that money goes to the state’s educational system. Some of that money is mine.

When Hillsdale College and Grove City College refused to comply with certain government reporting requirements, both schools were told that they would be denied any direct or indirect government funding. As a result, Hillsdale and Grove City declined to accept federal financial support in order to maintain their independence. This includes the G.I. Bill.

If a professor at either college does something I disagree with it, it’s none of my business since not a single penny of my money was taken from me to pay for any part of the schools’ operations. If donors don’t like what is happening, they can pull their funding. If students don’t like what’s being said or taught by a professor, they can transfer to another school and take their money with them.

This is not the case when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized colleges and universities. Not only must I tolerate comments like those of Jarrar, but I can’t show my disapproval because I am forced to pay for government education. Why should anyone be forced to fund the education of other people’s children while still having to fund the education of their own children?

Not only am I forced to fund the education of other people’s children, but I’m also forced to pay for an educational system that discriminates against most of what I believe.

What happens to science teachers who question the theory of evolution? In many cases, they are fired. There’s less of this type of discrimination today because professors who question evolution are almost never hired.

The bottom line is, if Jarrar wants to say vile things, she needs to do it on her own dime. You see, when people pay for their education with their own money, they control the educational process. If enough payers get upset with what’s being taught or the direction the school is moving, they can remove their funding and go elsewhere.

In a way, because taxpayers are forced to pay for the funding of government-run schools, they are paying for the speech of those who teach there. No one is forced to pay for my First Amendment rights.

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