GW prof gives extra credit for pro-abortion, pro-Dem event
A George Washington University professor recently offered students in a political science course extra credit for attending a lecture by the founder of Emily’s List, a pro-abortion PAC.
In an email to his Intro to American Politics & Government class, a copy of which was obtained by Campus Reform, GWU associate professor Danny Hayes informs students that he will be conducting a public interview with Emily’s List founder Ellen Malcolm.
Hayes noted in the email that Malcolm would be fielding questions on issues such as the PAC’s empowerment of pro-choice women in working to elect them into office, gender barriers women in politics must overcome, and Malcolm’s support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“And, here’s the kicker,” he continues. “If you attend, I’ll add 2 points to your next quiz.”
The event was not sponsored by a student organization, according to Hayes, but rather was organized through GW’s Development and Alumni Relations office.
Emily’s List describes itself on its website as an organization dedicated to “getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to office,” a theme that featured prominently during Malcolm’s talk.
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When Hayes asked during the interview whether she believes it makes sense for a woman to be a Republican, Malcolm hesitated.
“I think if you’re an economic conservative it makes sense,” she eventually replied. “But I don’t want to validate women who want to take away women’s health decisions, and who are trying to take over my life and tell me what I should be doing.”
Malcolm, a longtime politically ally and close friend of Clinton, also asserted that there is a gender bias in this election, both in the way voters see Clinton and in the way the media covers her.
“I think she’s phenomenal and I like her, but there some aspect of this ‘I don’t like her’ that I think is gender bias,” Malcolm declared, “because were not used to seeing a woman go for power of that magnitude and to be so strong.”
During the question-and-answer portion of the event, an audience member asked Malcolm if it is hypocritical for Emily’s List to support only women with whom she agrees politically, specifically pro-choice Democrats, rather than pro-life Republicans, pro-choice Republicans, or pro-life Democrats.
“We actually thought about not having that [pro-choice Democrat] as a criteria [sic], but the founding mothers of Emily’s List felt that it is a fundamental right for women on which all others come,” she replied after another pause. “In other words, if women can’t be trusted to make their decisions about their own bodies then they are not free and equal participants in our society.”
Malcolm went on to criticize the “right wing who had essentially taken over the Republican party” during the Reagan administration, saying, “it became very clear that the Republicans did not believe in women’s equality, and our choosing of who to support was not even a questioned decision anymore.”
Attendance at the event was standing-room only, largely due to students pursuing the extra credit opportunity in their Intro to American Politics class. In order to receive the bonus points, Hayes required students to identify the final question that was asked, ensuring they stayed the duration of the event.
Andrew Smith, a freshman in Haye’s class who attended the interview, said he was disappointed by the one-sided, politically-biased nature of the conversation, noting that he would have preferred a more lively debate featuring multiple viewpoints.
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“I think it is definitely discouraging on such a liberal campus to so often only hear one set of views,” Smith told Campus Reform. “I felt it would have been more intriguing and engaging if the event had a panel component encompassing several views to further encourage and spur hearty debate on campus.”
Hayes, however, claimed that the event was not politically motivated, saying he would be perfectly willing to offer extra credit for a pro-life or Republican event, provided he was “involved” in it.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with partisan politics; this was just an opportunity to come see someone who had a long career in politics,” he told Campus Reform. “And certainly if there was another event that I was involved with, um, where the speaker was a Republican or pro-life or something I would be happy to do that.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kara_kirsten