A course in the University of Southern Maine’s criminology department purports to ...
Authored By Spencer Brown
April 09, 2020
A course in the University of Southern Maine’s criminology department purports to provide “analysis of different criminological perspectives” on different types of white-collar crime including occupational crime, corporate crime, and political crime—but a syllabus obtained by Young America’s Foundation through YAF’s Campus Bias Tipline tells a different story.
CRM 216, taught by Brendan McQuade, strays quickly from education to indoctrination against President Trump, oil companies, big businesses, and religion. Assigned readings come from Vox, The Atlantic, BBC, New York Times Magazine, Jacobin, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and GQ, without any effort at balance from other sources.
Students are instructed to answer questions such as, “Did [oil companies] commit crimes against the environment? Is justice necessary? What would it look like? Should oil companies be nationalized or otherwise made to fund a transition to post-fossil fuel economy?” Assigned readings include “Make Corporations Pay for the Green New Deal,” “Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago,” and “Time has come to nationalize the US fossil fuel industry.”
Turning to demonize religion, the syllabus asks students to discuss “Why have some been so successful in using religion to accomplish massive fraud?” and “Why are the devoutly religious so susceptible?”
Big business didn’t escape this course unscathed either, with the course failing to offer the counterpoint that government failure, not the free market, had a role in the great recession. “Why has there been almost no prosecutions for the multiple white collar[sic] crimes that caused the Great Recession?” asks one unit. Readings include “Why Aren’t Any Bankers in Prison for Causing the Financial Crisis?” and “In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures.”
Predictably, this leftist course also goes after President Trump repeatedly. In one unit, students are instructed to answer “Was the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani a political crime?” with readings from Al Jazeera (“Iraqis denounce Iran missiles as ‘violation of sovereignty'”) and Business Insider (“Iran has a ‘shockingly strong’ war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani’s killing — and it could win.”).
Another unit bluntly asks students “Is President Trump Corrupt?” Students are assigned to read “From hush money to Trump impeachment, 2019 was a dizzying year of corruption and scandal,” “How Trump corrupted the American Presidency in Every Imaginable Way,” and “Trump’s 2000 Conflicts of Interest (and Counting).”
The bias demonstrated in the course’s syllabus is perhaps more egregious, because of the professor’s seeming awareness of his one-sided instruction style. Opining on his courses, he wrote on Twitter in 2017: “I teach criminology at university best known for DIII athletics. My students are mostly conservative. Many balk at the material I assign. Ben Shapiro is the name that comes up most often when they dispute the way I present material.”
A cursory review of the instructor’s other tweets reveals a passion for emergency decarceration, the abolition of police, Marxism, and democratic socialism.
“The information contained in the syllabus is but a brief glimpse at the divisive curriculum of the criminology department at the University of Southern Maine,” wrote the tipster—a veteran—who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. “While these professors may be published and ‘accomplished’ in the eyes of academia, their intolerance and overall dismissal of opposing beliefs greatly diminish the value of our education. Conservative ideas are not only dismissed but largely discouraged from classroom discourse.”
Today’s students deserve to receive a well-rounded and complete education where all sides are presented, not a slanted ideological playground where students are led directly to the leftist conclusion without even an attempt to present alternative arguments. As the syllabus for this course shows, impartiality has been abandoned.