Inside the Film
In the course of producing Indoctrinate U, one of the toughest things to do was decide what to drop from the film. Our first rough cuts ran about two hours, which felt too long. But trimming it down meant we had to say goodbye a few segments we really liked.
A man named Bill Ayers has been in the news lately as Senator Barack Obama's connections to the 1960s-era domestic terrorist have become an issue in the presidential campaign. It reminded us of a segment cut from an earlier edit of Indoctrinate U.
In this deleted scene, we told the story of how 1960s campus radicals morphed into today's academics. Three of those radicals were Ayers, his now-wife Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd. Together, they led the Weather Underground, a group committed to the violent overthrow the U.S. Government.
To bring about their hoped-for communist utopia, the Weathermen bombed dozens of targets around the country including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and military recruiting stations. In executing their various attacks, the Weathermen killed a few of their own and also murdered two police officers and a security guard while robbing an armored car. They targeted the families of judges, celebrated the Manson murders, and through legal technicalities, most of them avoided jail.
Decades later, they're still unapologetic. In an interview published on September 11th, 2001, Ayers told The New York Times, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
What does all of this have to do with higher education? Watch the video to find out.
We decided to drop the scene because it didn't fit closely enough with the central argument of the film. We were concerned that it would muddle our message. And no matter where we tried to put it in the timeline, it never quite fit perfectly with the surrounding footage. So we dropped it.
"Columbia Quiz" shows what happens when you ask the inconvenient questions about academia.
While talking with students in the quad at Columbia, Evan was approached by two police officers who demanded a permit before allowing us to continue filming. So we paid a visit to the office that grants such permission to willing sycophants, and the whole experience left us wondering whether filming at Columbia was any easier than filming in, say, Venezuela.
We felt this scene didn't fit closely enough with the main point of the film. Still, the fact that UC Berkeley gave credit for students walking through the streets naked is pretty astonishing. And some of the other courses offered at schools around the country are just plain funny.
This is footage of a protest at New York University. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was visiting NYU Law School to give a speech, and the protesters in this scene did not think he should be allowed to speak.
During the question and answer session after the speech that these students were protesting, one questioner asked, "Justice Scalia, do you sodomize your wife?"
Scott McConnell was thrown out of a graduate school program at LeMoyne College. His offense? Two sentences in a paper that otherwise earned him an A- grade. For his opinions on multiculturalism and corporal punishment, McConnell was unceremoniously booted from school.
McConnell's compelling case didn't make it into the film because we didn't get enough footage to finish telling the story, which explains the somewhat abrupt end of this video.
Speech codes. Censorship. Enforced political conformity. Hostility to diversity of opinion. Sensitivity training. We usually associate such things with the worst excesses of fascism and communism, not with the American universities that nurtured the free speech movement. But American higher education bears a disturbing resemblance to the totalitarian societies that are anathema to our nation's ideal of liberty. Evan Coyne Maloney's documentary film, Indoctrinate U, reveals the breathtaking institutional intolerance you won't read about in the glossy marketing brochures of Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Yale, and hundreds of other American colleges and universities.
"When we think of going to college, we think of intellectual freedom. We imagine four years of exploring ideas through energetic, ongoing, critical thinking and debate," Maloney said. "But the reality is very far from the ideal. What most of us don't know is that American college students check their First Amendment rights and individual freedom at the door."
Hailed by the New York Sun as one of "America's most promising" documentary filmmakers, Maloney has assembled a scorching indictment of higher education in America today, one that should make students, parents, trustees, lawmakers, and concerned citizens sit up and take notice. The London Telegraph has called the long-awaited feature-length film "as slick and incisive as anything by Michael Moore."
Maloney spent two years traveling to campuses across the country, interviewing students, professors, and administrators to find out what life on campus is really like. Instead of the vibrant debate, intellectual diversity, and academic freedom we like to associate with universities, Maloney found violent protests at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State, persecution of student members of a conservative club at Cal Poly and the University of Tennessee, divisive racial and ethnic politics at the University of Michigan and Yale, doctrinaire teaching at Duke and Columbia, and much more.
Far from functioning as bastions of serious thought and reasoned debate, Maloney found, campuses today operate as mental processing plants, doing more to tell students what to say and think than to teach them to think for themselves.
"Students are being robbed of their educations--to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year," Maloney said. "As it currently stands, higher education in America is a lie perpetrated on young adults at parents' and taxpayers' expense."
A production of On the Fence Films with the support of the Moving Picture Institute, Indoctrinate U is an explosive portrait of how colleges and universities across the country routinely compel students to check their First Amendment rights at the door. Hard-hitting and humorous, Indoctrinate U makes the campus culture wars--often treated as an abstract, hopelessly partisan battle of ideas--intensely personal and unforgettably human.
At once a warning and a wake-up call, Indoctrinate U is bound to stir up controversy and to spark essential debate. As such, it has the potential to force our campuses to make changes they have long denied they need to make.