Hauenstein Center kicks off three-day seminar on politics in education

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The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies has kicked off a three-day summit that will focus on the influence of politics in education. The summit kicked off Wednesday, June 11 and will continue through June 13. A list of topics and a full schedule can be found here.

Eva Brann, a distinguished and long-serving tutor at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland, was the first speaker of the summit. She focused on liberal learning, the human person, and Plato’s Meno. She discussed Meno with Winston Elliot, president of the Free Enterprise Institute, editor of Imaginative Conservative Books, and editor-in-chief of The Imaginative Conservative.

Brann’s discussion focused on the impact of political influence by instructors in higher education. She said it is not the position of the instructor to tell students what to think, and stressed that the act of teaching political opinion as fact is the antithesis of a liberal education. 

“I would call it a crime against education to introduce politics into the classroom from the position of authority, it’s not our business to tell people how to think. I find the thought of it so repugnant that I can hardly express it,” Brann said. “Only once in all my 57 years at St. John’s did we have a very young man who set up a table in our coffee shop in which he was advocating some cause, and shortly after that he was no longer with us. It goes against the very notion of a liberal education, that people would use their position to tell people what to think. That’s exactly what liberal education isn’t.”

Wednesday’s evening address will be presented by Neil Gross, and will address the topic of “Why Are Professors Liberal?” That session begins at 7 p.m.

Programs continue Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The event is part of the Hauenstein Center’s Common Ground Initiative, which throughout the past year has hosted programs and lectures dedicated to developing civic leadership through an exploration and redefinition of what it means to be conservative and what it means to be progressive in the United States today.