With its 'Impeach Trump' course, SDSU plays the lefties like a fiddle

College campuses are awash with radical left-wing courses designed to indoctrinate the Millennials, yes?  No doubt about it.  Now a new course at San Diego State University, titled "Trump: Impeachment, Removal, or Conviction?," takes the cake, right?

Maybe not.

It's quite possible that Campus Reform, which has done such good work on exposing the pervasive leftism on America's campuses, and was the first to expose this issue, jumped the gun.  Rather than another case of the eggheads shoving down another Marxist indoctrination course, this one looks like a case of the university marketers playing the lefties out there like a fiddle to extract some profit.

The only reason I write this is that I have experience with some of these courses, and I actually looked into this one.

This is a short, weekend-long course put on not by San Diego State University, but by its extension, meaning, that it is open to anyone, with one college credit available, for those who wants to track that down to add a degree.  It costs $221, and it has spaces for 39 students.  If they all pay, it will earn the university $8,619 in revenue.

It's not part of the regular university curriculum; it's one of those pop-up courses that get quickly developed because there's public interest or a public need (such as worker retraining).  Community colleges and state college extensions specialize in this kind of nimble course development; it's one reason why they are different from much slower, more entrenched regular universities.  If the college extension thinks it can persuade 39 people to cough up  $221 a pop for a course they want, it will offer it.

The Campus Reform writers express skepticism that no taxpayer funds are used in this apparently Trump-hating course, and they are probably correct in that some indirect funding is used – perhaps for use of campus space, or for marketing materials, or maybe for campus bureaucrats to approve the course.  But by and large, the program is self-sustaining, which is why it needs to be sold to the public.

The course itself seems to be a dry going-over of all the ins and outs of impeachment, probably with a heavy legal basis.  It uses as a textbook by lefty legal scholar Allan Lichtman, who, whatever your opinion of his politics, has some substance.  It's not complete idiocy being looked at in this case.  According to San Diego State, the course will go over 19 instances of impeachment.  (There were only two presidential ones in U.S. history: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, with Nixon exiting before an impeachment vote could be held.  Likely, the far less relevant cases of lower officials being impeached, which would seem to be outside the scope of Trump, will also be discussed.)  For angry lefties out there obsessed with impeachment of President Trump, the course would show how hard it is to legally do this, and it might get a few of them to stop screaming.  At least they'd learn something about the law for a change.

What it isn't is indoctrination, which is a key problem with left-wing-controlled education, or activism, which is the other problem.  That makes it far less pernicious than the average rubbish being put out by angry left-wing academics.  The course seems to be just informational, based on the reading of one legal scholar's arguments.

So how could a school, which has to turn a profit on these courses in order to offer them, get someone to register for such a course?  It's such a dry, dull course on legal technicalities, and the knowledge imparted would be useful only to a handful of lawyers in Washington, D.C.  Solution: Put Trump in the title.  Trump excites the lefties and may get some to register.  They will want to take the course in order to get new ideas about how to get rid of the president, but it's far from certain that they will get the tools they want.  They may enjoy talking about it, perhaps.

What really appears to  be going on is that the SDSU course designers know this is a malleable bunch, and their Trump-rage makes them easy to manipulate for dollars.

Whether Trump should be put in the title is another question, given that SDSU insists it's not a course on getting rid of President Trump. Yet with Trump in the title, the universities are displaying their course offerings with an eye toward marketing them, particularly the unsubsidized ones.  It's not at all different from journalists using SEO to maximize reader interest in their pieces.  That may be questionable, but clickbait is what drives profits in the internet age, and apparently that is as true for universities as it is for the press.

I'm inclined to believe this even more based on a bit of looking into who's teaching the course, John Joseph Cleary, who seems to be this person. He's a 1964 graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, with a record of practicing law, uncontroversially and without sanction, in Florida, and now listed as retired.

For what it's worth, a commentator using apparently his real name and place of employment on the Campus Reform site says he knows Cleary and contends he expects Trump to serve out his term.

If true, it suggests even more strongly that the course title is just a marketing tactic, not a real sign of San Diego State going overboard.  What would be useful would be for the university to consider how to exert more accuracy in its course titles, and perhaps dish out more offerings to placate the other end of the political spectrum, such as a course on the case for prosecuting Hillary Clinton.  Capiche?

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