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Santorum Criticizes Penn State, Professors for Liberal Bias

In the midst of a back-and-forth with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney over control of Republican primary results, former Pennsylvania Senator and Penn State grad Rick Santorum has been no stranger to media attention. Just last week, Santorum attracted attention after calling President Obama a snob for wanting more Americans to receive some form of higher education.

In a recent interview with Detroit-based Talk Radio 1270, the show’s host Charlie Langton further questioned Santorum regarding his beliefs on higher education. When asked whether or not he wanted his children to attend college, Santorum answered:

“I’m very careful about the colleges and universities our children go to. There are schools, I went to one — Penn State — that’s one of the liberal icons, unfortunately it’s gotten a lot worse. I can tell you professor after professor who docked my grades because of the viewpoints I expressed and the papers that I wrote, there’s no question that happened.”

Santorum went on to say that while at Penn State, a tenure that resulted in both an undergraduate degree and a J.D. (he got his MBA from Pitt), his grades “absolutely” suffered due to his personal views, citing an overall liberal bias in higher education.

The notion of a liberal bias in higher education is nothing new, but is there any legitimacy to Santorum’s claim? Or is it more likely that Santorum is scapegoating his professors’ alleged liberal agendas to compensate for an inability to adequately grasp concepts conveyed in his studies?

Although it does not appear that any professors in the Political Science department were around to help shed light on Santorum’s Penn State glory days, associate professor Pete Hatemi was able to share some insight.

“We should learn how to build an argument,” Hatemi said. “[Professors] can grade on the tools you use, not how you use them in regards to their own opinion. Any credible professor would never inject their own opinions into matters.”

Hatemi did acknowledge that while this should be the case, not everyone in higher education subscribes to the same ethical standards. However, if there really was a liberal crusade to quell conservative sentiments among students, about half of the student body should be facing issues similar to Santorum when considering the tw0 party system that dominates United States politics.

Ultimately, Hatemi believes Santorum’s grievances likely resulted from how he was interpreting material as opposed to the opinions and viewpoints he conveyed through these interpretations.

“When people don’t get the scores [they] want, people target it how they want.”

Have you ever felt that you were unfairly graded due to your political beliefs? Do you believe there’s merit to Santorum’s claims?

About the Author

Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.

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