WASHINGTON — Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is teaching a class at The George Washington University in D.C. this fall, and some members of the faculty are not pleased.
According to the GW Hatchet, Paul’s class, called “Dystopian Visions,” will focus on dystopian novels and thought written about by authors like Ayn Rand. 33 students will be a part of a unique opportunity to learn from a sitting U.S. senator.
Rand Paul told Vice in a 2013 interview that he wanted to teach a class on the subject, saying, “I think dystopian novels are a discussion of politics, and sort of what happens if you let a government accumulate too much power.”
While the class quickly filled up with students, including many from the university’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and College Republicans organizations, not everyone is thrilled about the class.
English professor Robert McRuer questioned the conservative senator’s qualifications, noting how professors in his department must have a Master’s or Ph.D. in the subject to teach.
McRuer told the Hatchet: “We’re trained to do this, so the fact that a celebrity could potentially teach a course that was listed as a novel course is a bit troubling.”
Other faculty including Elizabeth Anker, a professor of political science, agreed with McRuer.
Anker noted that “the investment in having Rand Paul to brand the University really comes at the expense of the reputation of the school, in terms of the intellectual offerings and the type of education we provide to our students.”
Anker also accused Paul of trying to hide a “political ideology” class by disguising it as a literature course. Another professor said that such a course requires an instructor “trained in that aesthetic tradition.”
The English department went so far as to release a statement about the class, making it clear that it does not count toward a degree in English. The university also put out a general press release regarding the course.