Back in the day, teachers often scoffed at using encyclopedias as serious academic references. These days, it’s Wikipedia, definitely, and — at one public university in West Virginia — Fox News.
A syllabus for a political science course at West Liberty University instructs students that they must filter out two potential research sources, reports WTOV, a nearby NBC affiliate.
According to Fox News, ironically enough, the syllabus says (with grammatical errors preserved for posterity):
DO NOT use
1) The Onion — this is not news this is literally a parody
2) Fox News — The tagline “Fox News” makes me cringe. Please do not subject me to this biased news station. I would almost rather you print off an article from the Onion
No other media or research sources — such as, say, just for example, MSNBC — appear to be prohibited outright.
Stephanie Wolfe, the visiting assistant professor, behind the ban, has a one-year contract with the university in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle. She is replacing another instructor who is on leave.
Upset students and some parents complained to local press outlets about what they perceived as forced political bias.
Robin Capehart, president of West Liberty University, appeared to side squarely with Professor Wolfe’s critics.
“One of our values at West Liberty is to encourage students to go out and inquire and gather information and look at as many different sources as possible on any side, before you reach your opinion,” Capehart told WTOV.
“Any attempt to limit the breadth of a student’s ability to investigate is obviously something at which we have a concern,” he added.
It’s not clear what action, if any, Capehart or other university officials have taken since the Fox News-hating prof was called out by local press journalists. According to CBS DC, Wolfe is still the instructor for the political science course but she is no longer outlawing Fox News as a source.
There is no word about the proscription on The Onion.
According to West Liberty University, Wolfe most recently taught courses in holocaust and genocide studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma and her Ph.D from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies in Belgium.
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