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>Is this--complaints and objections from students (and parents?)--a problem
>more common in public universities and colleges (and also in certain parts
>of the country--e.g. the midwest?

I teach at a conservative religiously-affiliated private university in the
midwest, and I, too, have never had students opting out of classes.  Of
course, I'm not teaching course on pornography or Alien Sex, but I have
shown things such as the opening of Prospero's Books and Last Temptation of
Christ (the latter in a class team-taught with the chair of Theology here,
no less!).  If something does provoke someone, we discuss why it did, and so
forth, and that has always worked well.
     As for the idea of academic freedom, it seems at times that we have
greater academic freedom here than at some secular universities, as we can
discuss things like God and morals in the classroom, whereas at a secular
university these things might be considered taboo in a discussion.  I would
venture to suggest that such topics may even be considered more
controversial than sex, violence, and nudity in the classroom (proponents of
diversity often seem to omit religious, political, and philosophical
diversity).  If a university cannot be a place where truth and falsehood can
grapple, on any topic whatsoever, than there is little separating a liberal
arts eduation from a vocational school.

mark

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