Universities: You’re Not Wanted Here, Or Maybe You Are

Inside Higher Ed today reports on yet another canceled college speech:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the prize for his nonviolent opposition to South Africa’s apartheid regime, was deemed unworthy of appearing at St. Thomas because of comments he made criticizing Israel – comments the university says were “hurtful” to some Jewish people. Further, the university demoted the director of the program that invited Tutu after she wrote a letter to him and others complaining about the revocation of the invitation…

Will colleges ever get tired of this? Summers invited, then disinvited. Ahmadinejad invited, then disinvited, then invited again. Chemerinsky hired, fired, then re-hired. Gilchrist invited, interrupted, re-invited, disinvited. Tutu invited, disinvited. Who’s next to be slighted?

As if we needed any more proof of the essential spinelessness of university administrations. Trying to discern some larger principle in their policies is impossible, as they contort themselves to fit every changing wind.

I’d quote Michael Palin and ask “What do we mean by no, what do we mean by yes, what do we mean by no, no, no.” For Universities, not much.

Anthony Paletta

Anthony Paletta is a freelance writer.

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