Based on the course description, freshman students taking the writing seminar called “How to Overthrow the State” are expected to learn how to produce a manifesto. It also claims to discuss so-called readings from the sciences, including from humanities and social sciences. Students enrolled in the course will write at least three essays and accomplish exercises that emphasize writing as a process.
In an attempt to pass off the nonsensical course as a regular class, interested students are told that class instructor Robert Gildner will teach them about active reading, argumentation, reflection, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis and clarity of style. In addition, the course places each student as a leader of a popular revolutionary movement whose main goal is to overthrow a sitting government and build a “better society.”
The freshman students -- who probably know no better -- will have to answer questions such as:
Course materials for Gildner's class include works from radical thinkers, including Franz Fanon, Che Guevara and Mohandas Gandhi, to learn about revolutionary thought and action from across the Global South. The students will also be asked to draft a white paper that critically analyzes a particular issue, as well as write a persuasive essay on inane topics like “rewriting history and confronting memory.”
The course is worth three credits toward an accredited college degree. (Related: Seattle City council member vows to “overthrow United States” to replace with “socialist world.”)
Charlie Kirk of nonprofit Turning Point USA slammed the course, saying that is “disgraceful.” In an interview with Breitbart News, Kirk said the course is an egregious example of campus craziness and shouldn't be dismissed as an isolated incident.
Kirk noted that “[the] lessons of the past few months prove that these ideas don’t stay on campus, they spill out onto the streets.” He continued, “This is a prime example of the intellectual rot that has infected the academy in America. The Trump administration should investigate and determine if this is the type of scholarship federal funds should be used to subsidize.”
Last July, the faculty of WLU voted to remove the name of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from the university’s name.
Lee led the South’s attempt at secession during the Civil War. He fought against Union forces during the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, including Antietam and Gettysburg, before he surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865 at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. This marked the end of the devastating conflict that nearly divided the country.
Born in Stratford Hall on January 19, 1807, Lee belonged to a wealthy and socially prominent family. His mother, Anne Hill Carter, also grew up on a plantation while his father, Colonel Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, was descended from colonists.
Lee's father was a Revolutionary War leader and three-term governor of Virginia. When the family hit hard times, Lee went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for military education. He graduated second in his class in 1829 and Lee didn't receive a single demerit during his four years at the academy.
WLU didn't stop at the name-removal suggestions for Lee, a prominent figure in American history.
Brandon Hasbrouck, a WLU associate professor of law, claimed that his peers have more to do in their fight for social justice. Hasbrouck added that the school should also remove George Washington’s name as well.
According to Hasbrouck, “It is worth exploring why the faculty has decided to make a collective statement on Lee and why the faculty has not included a demand to drop Washington in their petition.” He concluded, “It is no longer acceptable, profitable or convenient to be associated with Lee but it is for Washington.”
Even Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, took to Twitter to express his disdain over this divisive WLU course. On September 4, Gingrich tweeted:
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