A Brighter Horizon In Texas

The University of Texas at Austin has just approved the formation of a field of study for the recently-established Program In Western Civilization and American Institutions. This enables the center to begin offering great books-based classes on Greek and Roman Philosophy, literature, and the American founding, among other topics. It’s a broad step forward for tradition-minded centers, since Hamilton College’s unceremonious ejection of the Alexander Hamilton Center last year.

The Program in Western Civilization and American Institutions at the University of Texas at Austin is the product of some four years- work by UT faculty members, which has yielded steady recent dividends, and a solid foundation in some 45 associated professors.

They’re not finished yet. Robert Koons, whose been spearheading the effort from the start, forecasts the offering of post-doctoral fellowships, intensive summer programs, study abroad in Rome, and a variety of other efforts. Do take a look for yourself.

The Manhattan Institute Center for the American University provided start-up support for the University of Texas center through its VERITAS fund. The fund has earmarked some $2.5 million dollars to support programs over the next several years at Boston College, Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Emory University, Georgetown University, New York University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Virginia, and of course, the University of Texas. You can find more about its activities here.

More Delawares?

The National Association of Scholars has a question: “How many Delawares are there?” The reference is to the indoctrination scandal at the University of Delaware, which is very likely not an isolated case. NAS executive director Peter Wood has announced an investigation to see whether Delaware’s “education program” in student residence halls (in plain English ” mandatory ideological brainwashing”) is happening at other colleges and universities around the country.

Delaware’s Program has been held up as a model for other campuses, and Wood notes that one of the key advisers who helped Delaware devise its program has had contacts with numerous other universities, ostensibly to provide similar advice. NAS will provide both short and long postings on its site as evidence comes in and will work toward a thorough systematic study.

NAS will also keep its focus on the University of Delaware, which has suspended but not canceled its offensive program. Peter Wood says: “We will know the University is serious about mending its ways when it replaces the administrators who created and condoned this debacle.” High on the NAS list of concerns is Delaware’s vice president Michael Gilbert who defended the indoctrination as fully in accord with the university’s mission “to cultivate both learning and the free exchange of ideas,” a truly Orwellian assessment.

The NAS investigation will be conducted by Tom Wood of the California Association of Scholars (no relation to Peter Wood). Tom Wood says the convergence of trends and views that gave birth to the Delaware program are “widespread, indeed almost normative” on many other campuses. He lists four such trends: 1) the view that minorities suffer from institutional or systemic racism, 2) many administrators now feel it is part of their duties to combat racism, 3) the view that education must be transformational for students, which opens the door to imposing views that the university wants to have embraced, and 4) the view that instruction must be integrated into dorm life as well as classroom life in a “total immersion” effort.

Tom Wood says: “All four components of this constellation were present at the University of Delaware, and each contributed to the fiasco of that university’s facilitation training program.” He asks for help: “If you are concerned about a similar program or campus that may be taking a walk on the wild side, kindly let us know.”

We suggest reports from campuses that supply officials to the American College Personnel Association’s commission for housing and residential life. That’s an umbrella group that promotes residence hall programs. It is chaired by Kathleen Kerr of the University of Delaware, a central figure in that university’s scandal. A list of ACPA officials and their institutions can be found here. Other groups in the field are the Association of College and University Housing Officers International and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Tom Wood can be contacted at nasonweb@nas.org
Peter Wood can be contacted at pwood@nas.org

Donors – Remember Princeton

The case of the Robertson Foundation versus Princeton University has not, after nearly five years of litigation, yet come to trial. But it’s already shaping up to be the most expensive donor intent case in history. Reports of spending by the Robertson family differ, but news reports indicate the family may have spent as much as $20 million trying to sever their foundation from Princeton University control.

As for Princeton, an article that appeared in the Daily Princetonian in October stated that the university had, so far, committed $22 million to defending itself. Princeton is so deeply committed that in June the university won a suit against its insurer, a subsidiary of the giant firm American International Group. The insurer, according to an article in the Newark Star-Ledger, balked at paying more than $5 million under Princeton’s policy. The courts ordered AIG to give Princeton another $10 million. (AIG, however, plans to appeal.)

The stakes are high because the Robertson Foundation constitutes around eight percent of Princeton’s endowment with a value of $850-900 million. But the case also involves the issue of what rights the donor has over whether his gift would be used or misused.

Continue reading Donors – Remember Princeton

The Unbalanced University

In my last essay for Minding the Campus, I discussed how faculty indifference may have contributed indirectly to the establishment of the University of Delaware’s now notorious residence hall re-education program. If so, we should consider this a crime of omission rather than a crime of commission. This perspective on the problem either differs from or supplements the claims of many critics of higher education, who blame ideological agendas among faculty as the major cause of campus politicization.

A panel discussion/debate in October between Stephen Balch and Harry Lewis at the Pope Center in North Carolina highlighted this disagreement. The panel dealt with the problems besetting liberal education, focusing on education’s aimlessness and failure to instill knowledge and respect for free institutions. Balch and Lewis agreed on several things, but offered two different slants on the ills of higher education. Comparing the views of Balch and Lewis can help us to clarify and refine the problem of politics in higher education today.

Balch, the distinguished president of the National Association of Scholars who recently was awarded the National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office, blamed the ills of liberal education on politicized faculty. According to Jay Schalin’s report of the panel, Balch argued that higher education is failing “because it has adopted a left-wing ideology that is at odds with our traditions. The university system, with its population of impressionable young people, is naturally attractive to people with ‘an inclination toward visionary and utopian thinking,’ and these utopians feel that the purpose of education is to ‘move people toward their visions.”

Continue reading The Unbalanced University

Diversity – There’s Never Enough

Yale’s college council has come up with a bright idea: it endorsed a call for each of the twelve residential colleges on campus to have two diversity coordinators. The relentless expansion of what Claremont McKenna professor Frederick Lynch calls “the diversity machine” is not exactly breaking news. Diversity is a restless quasi-religion whose missionaries are ever on the move. Yale already has an impressively vast diversity bureaucracy headed by Nydia Gonzalez, the new chief diversity officer. She is working on a long-term plan, “Diversity Yale 2010 and Beyond.” Each school has its own system of diversity apparatchiks. There’s even a Yale library diversity council with 10 to 16 members and a three-year diversity program. Now Yale’s Coalition for Campus Unity (CCU) is encouraging the residential colleges to create “some kind of diversity-awareness position or board.” A board of, say, ten members in each college would add 120 new officials – another diversity gusher. Last February, Yale continued its long-term program to segment the student body into ever smaller ethnic and sexual groups. It hired a new assistant dean for Native American affairs. Can anyone say that a provost for the transgendered is somehow out of the question?

Why does Yale, or any university, need to keep creating more diversicrats? Undergraduate Robert Sanchez says his group, CCU, “thought most Yale students lacked sufficient cultural awareness,” i.e. a high enough degree of enthusiasm for the diversity movement. Sanchez, according to the Yale Daily News, seems distressed that “when we have these forums and panels we are preaching to the choir because only a certain demographic of students attend the event.” This certainly sounds familiar. I grew up Catholic, and while everybody went to Sunday mass, the nuns and priests frequently would express their anguish that few parishioners bothered with daily mass. Perhaps unwisely, the parish neglected to address the crisis by naming a few dozen boards of pro-mass officials.

Sanchez called attention to two offensive graffiti discovered a month ago on campus. Everyone knows that most campus graffiti, even the hoaxes and pranks, provoke calls for more diversity. You are not allowed to simply erase the scrawls and dismiss their authors as morons. No, you must behave as Yale did. The deans of the college and the graduate school sent emails to all, stressing how appalled they were. “We Shall Overcome” was sung at a Rally Against hate. Four major panel discussions covering the history and sociology of hate were scheduled. Yale decided to coordinate all of its multicultural centers to create a campus-wide team to addresses the graffiti. Yale will develop a new “protocol” for coping with hate speech on campus.

What an impressive display of diversity mongering. Imagine the uproar if three graffiti had been discovered instead of just two.

Marketing Irresistible Students

The New York Times yesterday featured a revealing piece on “branding” as a strategy for college admittance. There are few topics so noxious as the lengths to which desirous students will go (and amounts that parents will pay) to buff their applications to a fine polish with the aid of pricey consultation services. Their counsel typically recommends a farrago of service to underprivileged communities, expertise in obscure sports or instruments, nebulous leadership and the like. At the end of which there may be a student left amidst the advertising glamour.

On a recent afternoon, Miss Lindsell and Jasmine Rebadavia [sophomores at Columbia Prep], met with Chioma Isiadinso, founder of a small New York coaching firm, Expartus, for an introductory session. The girls reeled off their activities – playing flute, running for the cross-country team, working with organizations that grapple with global issues like child soldiers and sex trafficking.

Gently, Ms. Isiadinso asked them to think about how they might play leadership roles in those activities or channel them into summer programs that might demonstrate their ardor.
“Think not just what you’ve done, but why you’ve done what you’ve done,” Ms. Isiadinso told them. “What they care about is the passion, commitment and consistency.”

Remember that, applicants, if you don’t have a private counseling session lined up yet. Efforts have clearly reached absurd lengths. Other coaching services go so far as to arrange internships and jobs for students in order to improve their admissions marketability. Now they’re also clearly trying to paper over any presumed application defects:

Continue reading Marketing Irresistible Students

Not Evil, Just Woeful

Dartmouth trustee Todd Zywicki made several clumsy remarks in an otherwise good speech about campus orthodoxy. Speaking at a conference at the John William Pope Center, Zywicki compared faculty pressure to oust Harvard president Lawrence Summers to the Spanish Inquisition, called former Dartmouth president James Freedman a “truly evil man,” and said those who control the universities don’t care about God or country.

The howls of protest that greeted the speech focused mostly on the over-the-top remark about the late president Freedman, who was indeed not evil, merely another time-serving college president who worshipped non-stop at the altar of political correctness. Freedman first came to my attention when a couple of his administrators urged Dartmouth students to steal or destroy copies of the Dartmouth Review because that famously conservative newspaper was “just litter.”

At the time that kind of contempt for free speech was new to me. I hadn’t been aware that tolerating or urging the destruction of newspapers that dissented from campus orthodoxy was becoming the default position of many administrators from coast to coast. Later the president of Cornell drew almost no criticism when he delivered a commencement speech that included praise for students who had seized and burned copies of the Cornell conservative paper. This raised the possibility that Cornell had somehow morphed into the University of Heidelberg at Ithaca, circa 1936.

Freedman, who was Jewish, was extremely sensitive to anti-Semitism, both real and imagined. I once asked the late Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a friend who was teaching at Dartmouth at the time, why Freedman was so hell-bent to eliminate the college’s fraternities. “Because these are the people who wouldn’t let him in when he was an undergraduate,” Hertzberg replied. It’s true that Dartmouth had an appalling record of anti-Semitism in the old days, but the modern frats didn’t, and why they should be punished for what happened decades before to Freedman and other Jews was unclear.

Freedman notoriously botched his response to the Mein Kampf affair. A disgruntled insider at the Dartmouth Review had inserted a quote from Hitler’s book into a long quotation from Teddy Roosevelt that always appeared in the Review masthead. When the editor-in-chief discovered the quote, he cancelled campus distribution, stopped the mailing to subscribers, apologized and had a clean issue printed and distributed. “What more he could have done, I can’t imagine,” Dartmouth professor Jeffrey Hart wrote.

But without asking the Review for an explanation or calling for an investigation, Freedman repeatedly attacked the Review for anti-Semitism. When the Wall Street Journal asked him how he would feel if it turned out that a saboteur had inserted the Hitler words, (this is in fact what had happened), he replied, “I just haven’t thought about that.” At an administration-sponsored Rally Against Hate, he announced that “For ten years the Dartmouth Review has attacked blacks because they are blacks, women because they are women, homosexuals because they are homosexuals and Jews because they are Jews.” Not true, but the temptation to depict resistance to the spread of PC culture at Dartmouth as bigotry was just too strong. So was the hair-trigger response to the supposed presence of anti-Semitism.

In his speech, Zywicki argued that Freedman stood for “political correctness in all forms -speech codes, censorship, the whole multicultural apparatus.” Yes, he did. And it’s useful for a Dartmouth trustee to say so plainly.

Contest Winner

Readers of this web site were challenged to translate into English an incomprehensible call by the Society for Cultural Anthropology for papers to be delivered at the society’s convention next May in California. The winner of our translation contest is Tom Kerrigan of Bethpage, New York. Here is his winning entry:

Pseudo-intellectual gibberish pontificated by the prophets of moral relativism in sparsely read and poorly edited “scholarly” journals and published by their higher-education enablers has created a cottage industry for clownish frauds that lack any critical reasoning skills to get their mugs on cable TV. Speaking in rambling non-sequiturs, these self-proclaimed elites, who despise Western Civilization for being ethnocentric and racist, seek to deconstruct our society in order to liberate the ignorant masses from their pre-conceived stereotypes regarding gender, class and race creating a new ruling class with a thoroughly modern, monolithic, diverse utopian societal worldview. The advent of internet blogospheres, the abysmal failure of public education, the persistent demonization of the Boy Scouts as a hate group, the incessant castigations of Fundamentalist Christians as theocratic zealots and the widely-accepted view that Republicans are mean-spirited demagogues challenge formally accepted “truths”. This constant drumbeat bombards our consciousness forcing us to question formerly accepted quaint notions of equality and individual rights that were simply figments of the collective imagination of an oppressive intellectual cartel made up of privileged white misogynistic slave owners. Cloaked with the imprimatur of scholarly legitimacy by institutes of higher learning, brimming with self-esteem and fiercely nonjudgmental, we the self-anointed high priests of post-modern liberal orthodoxy (i.e. racial hucksters, man-hating feminists, assorted conspiracy theorists, left wing fanatics and other brethren (Note: Term “brethren” deleted by PC police as an expression of latent sexism – suggested gender neutral replacement term: comrades) have been given a unique platform to spew our hatred with impunity and what better place to do so than sunny California. The SCA annual meeting will offer an opportunity for enlightened like-minded individuals to socialize, validate our feelings, pick up free stuff, ponder hard questions in a really nuanced way and maybe even get laid while on someone else’s dime….

Columbia Strikers Hungry For More

John noted here on Friday that Columbia’s effort to placate its hunger strikers was likely to bring them “more protests and larger demands.” That’s exactly what seems promised in a triumphant editorial by Andrew Lyubursky, one of the hunger strikers, in the Columbia Spectator today:

The experience of the last two weeks has shown us, against the doubting words of many a naysayer, that the sleeping giant of student power has finally awoken. We have shown that the University is not an impenetrable monolith but rather a contested space in which students have the power to intervene if they have conviction and dedication. A $50-million commitment to the transformation of the Major Cultures requirement, a commitment to the expansion of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, a blue-ribbon panel to keep the administration accountable – these are all massive victories that will improve the experience of all students at Columbia. Yet, while we celebrate the substantial gains that have been made, we must not lose sight of the issue that the University stonewalled on – the proposed expansion into Manhattanville.

Given the university’s rapid capitulation to the hunger strike, it’s clearly now not a question of whether more stunts will happen, but when.

J-School Propaganda

Nestled away in the heart of one of the most conservative Midwestern states is a publicly funded university radically at odds with its surroundings.

Universities are in theory, marketplaces for ideas and ideologies; centers for free expression as well as vigorous and informed debate; refuges for free and independent thought. But if the taxpayers who help fund this institution heard what certain professors in its school of journalism are teaching students, they might ask for their money back. To some extent, this is no surprise. Most universities and their journalism schools are notoriously left leaning in nature. However, the sheer ferocity of the indoctrination is astonishing. I know first hand. I spent much of the past year at this institution.

It was not a surprise that as a conservative, I was ideologically alone in journalism school. However, it did not seem like a gigantic leap to think that no matter their leanings, professors would keep their politics out of the curriculum and fellow students would be open to and accepting of dissenting voices.


Continue reading J-School Propaganda

Columbia Buys Off a Strike

Five students drinking Gatorade and water for a week are apparently all it takes to bring a major university to its knees. Columbia has had more than its share of lunatic events this year – the noose, the cancellation of the Minuteman speakers for the second time, inviting and then abusing the Iranian madman, and last week another controversy over a biased comment someone had scrawled into a library book. But the collapse of the university in the face of five student hunger strikers – the number was reduced to two students before the university folded – makes all the previous lunacies seem sane.

The strikers got most of their scattershot agenda. New faculty will now have to endure diversity indoctrination as part of their hiring. Columbia’s core curriculum, much too “Eurocentric” for the strikers, will now feature more more required courses on Asia, Africa, and Latin America. More money and staff will be added for ethnic studies. The Office of Multicultural Affairs will be expanded and another high-ranking diversicrat will be named to the administration. The collapse will cost Columbia at least $50 million.

But the university’s reputation for weakness and cowardice in the face of PC-mongering is not the key to this story. Columbia has been working for years to expand north into Harlem. It wants to add to its campus four large blocks from 129th Street between Broadway and 12th Avenue as well as three properties east of Broadway. Columbia must run the gantlet of many hearings and approvals, including those of the City Council, which is unusually sensitive to racial complaints about the curriculum and behavior of a historically white institution about to annex a chunk of Harlem. The strikers played the race card by denouncing Columbia’s “institutional racism.”

Columbia may have feared that one or more of the hunger strikerrs would become seriously ill or die. One abandoned the strike after fainting in the library and two others quit to get medical help. But the real aim was to protect the expansion program. One professor told me it was “a brilliant move” by President Lee Bollinger to buy off the protesters for only $50 million, while at the same time demonstrating some politically useful concern for racial and ethnic studies.

But it’s only a brilliant move if it doesn’t teach future strikers how easy it is to get concessions from Columbia. Protestors are still trying to kill the expansion into Harlem. Bollinger’s decision to buy off the strikers may lead to more protesters and larger demands.

Reforming The Politically Correct University

Here are links for the majority of papers from the American Enterprise Institute’s “Reforming The Politically Correct University” conference on November 14.

Do take a look; there’s much of worth here:

“The American University: Yesterday, Today – and Tomorrow”
James Piereson
“By the Numbers: The Ideological Profile of Professors”
Daniel Klein & Charlotta Stern
“Groupthink in Academia: Majoritarian Departmental Politics and the Professional Pyramid”
Daniel Klein & Charlotta Stern
“Left Pipeline: Why Conservatives Don’t Get Doctorates”
Matthew Woessner & April Kelly-Woessner
“The Vanishing Conservative – Is There a Glass Ceiling?”
Stanley Rothman & S. Robert Lichter
“Campus Speech Codes: Absurd, Tenacious, and Everywhere”
Greg Lukianoff
“The Negative Influence of Education Schools on K-12 Curriculum”
Sandra Stotsky
“When Is Diversity Not Diversity: A Brief History of the English Department”
Paul Cantor
“Linguistics from the Left: The Truth about Black English That the Academy Doesn’t Want
You to Know”

John McWhorter
“Why Political Science Is Left But Not PC: Causes of Disunion and Diversity”
James Ceaser
“Political Correctness in the Science Classroom”
Noretta Koertge
“Reforming the Politically Correct University: The Role of Alumni and Trustees”
Anne Neal
“Where We’ve Come From and Where We Should Go: The Route to Academic Pluralism”
Stephen Balch
“To Reform the Politically Correct University, Reform the Liberal Arts”
John Agresto

National Arts And Humanities Medals Awarded

Good friends of the Manhattan Institute were among the winners of the 2007 National Arts and Humanities Medals bestowed today at the White House by President Bush. Among them were Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the Institute’s board of trustees, Stephen H. Balch, founder and longtime president of the National Association of Scholars, and author Victor Davis Hanson.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Continue reading National Arts And Humanities Medals Awarded

Where Was The Faculty?

A lot has been written about the details of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, and the ways in which it has bullied students and residential assistants to accept regnant orthodoxy. The nation’s collective hat should go off to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for exposing this program, and for compelling the university to back down – at least temporarily. The episode brings to mind last spring’s heated debate in the Chronicle of Higher Education over whether FIRE was too extreme in its attacks on higher education, and whether FIRE had outlived its usefulness. One case is not statistical proof, but the fact remains that without FIRE, this remarkably repressive program would still be in effect.

I want to address a broader issue in the Delaware case that has not attracted enough attention thus far: the role of non-faculty members in promoting the politicization of higher education. Kathleen Kerr, a mastermind of the Delaware program, is director of residential life for the University of Delaware. Interestingly, as John Leo has recently pointed out, she is also the chairperson of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Housing and Residential Life – a group with connections to universities across the country.

Continue reading Where Was The Faculty?

Aestheticization of Relationality? Really?

The following is a call for papers to be delivered at the Society for Cultural Anthropology meeting next May aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Frankly, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us, so as we struggle to understand, we ask you readers for help. This passage, we can all agree, is intensely felt and may well be packed with meaning. But what would that meaning turn out to be if the text is successfully rendered into English? To enlist your help, we are making this a contest. The author of the best (or most original) English-language translation of this passage will receive a prize, to be described at the end of this post. Ready? Here is the call for papers:

“Recent work in the human sciences has made questions of ethics and aesthetics central to the analysis of politics once again. Part of the impetus for this work comes from dissatisfaction with older paradigms that have often treated ethics and aesthetics as an ideological byproduct of the workings of capital and power politics. Recent developments within domains as disparate as the media, the bio-sciences, religion, and finance have forced the human sciences to rethink this older logic of cause and effect, content and form. Scholarly explorations have increasingly focused on how ethical concerns have at times helped spawn new forms of governance (such as truth and reconciliation commissions, novel auditing practices, social networks) and at other moments been the basis of imagining new forms of intimacy, publicity, secrecy, and relationality. Similarly, emergent aesthetic forms have given rise to unique communication regimes, sensory experiences, and politics of deliberation, critique, and persuasion. It is not surprising that anthropologists are at the center of such explorations given our discipline’s focus on existing and emergent forms of human action. The 2008 SCA annual meeting will focus on recent work produced around the thematics of ethics, aesthetics, and politics. Some of the questions and issues we want to explore are: What are the forms of critique implicit within contemporary ethical and aesthetic formations? How do these emergent practices reconfigure the classical schism between form and content so germane to the human sciences? How does the concept of “the political” needs to be rethought in light of the ethicization and aestheticization of contemporary politics? What, if anything, is left of culture in this debate? How do we rethink the notion of ‘practice’ in this moment beyond the dual axis of structure and effect? How might reflection on contemporary stagings of deliberation and debate help us rethink the relationship between affect and reason?”

The contest deadline is 6 p.m. November 25, eastern standard time. The prize will be a copy of The Location of Culture by Harvard’s hard-hitting but indecipherable post-colonial scholar, Homi K. Bhabha. The book contains this argument by Bhabha, which no one has even attempted to refute:

If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to ‘normalize’ formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.

Reforming The Politically Correct University

Yesterday I attended a fine conference at the American Enterprise Institute, “Reforming The Politically Correct University.” AEI commissioned papers on various aspects of the PC university from Peter Wood, Steve Balch, Greg Lukianoff, John Agresto, John McWhorter, and many others. They’re to appear in book form next summer, but many are available now at the event site. Do take a look. I’ve not had a chance to read all of the papers, but some stood out. Sandra Stotsky’s account of the role of Ed Schools in the design of politicized textbooks was particularly interesting, as were Peter Wood’s thoughts on permutations of “diversity” and John Agresto’s call for a revitalized conception of the liberal arts.

Our own Jim Piereson offered a darker note in “The American University: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” with a look ahead into the likely direction of higher education.

..As the diversity thrust loses steam, liberals and far-left groups on the campus will not be at a loss for new causes to absorb their attention and energy. The next iteration of liberal reform in the universities is likley to involve further steps to detach these institutions from the American polity in which they are embedded. We have already noted that the intellectual foundations of the modern research university are somewhat at odds with the philosophy of natural rights that shaped our national instiutions. The logic of liberalism points in the direction of the internationalization of the American university. We can already see fragments of this emerging trend in the banning of ROTC and military recruiters from college campuses in order to disassociate universities from American national policies. The enrollment of international students will receive greater emphasis in the coming decades which will further reinforce the trend. Academic programs in American government or in American studies will be increasingly de-emphasized on the grounds that they are parochial, in much the same way as programs in Western Civilization were de-emphasized in the past…

You’d be well-served browsing the papers here.

Where Are The News Media?

Stuart Taylor’s brilliant rant in this week’s National Journal (“Academia’s Pervasive PC Rot”) says “the cancerous spread of ideologically eccentric, intellectually shoddy, phony-diversity-obsessed fanaticism among university faculties and administrators is far, far worse and more inexorable than most alumni, parents, and trustees suspect.”

There’s an obvious explanation of why so many university watchers don’t seem to know what’s going on: the news media are extremely reluctant to report on what the increasingly coercive diversity lobby is doing to the campuses.

The brainwashing and indoctrination at the University of Delaware (and anyone who has read the voluminous documents in the case knows that use of these words is surely fair) has been pervasively reported on conservative blogs and right-wing radio. But the left has been silent and the mainstream media have almost universally avoided telling alumni, parents and trustees what is going on. Only a few news outlets covered the story. The Wilmington News Journal ran a piece headlined “Some Made Uneasy by UD Diversity Training”, thus reducing indoctrination to discomfort. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a similarly soft report that used the headline word “unsettled” instead of “uneasy.” The story’s lead: “When University of Delaware freshmen showed up at their dorms this semester, their orientation included an exercise aimed at bridging cultural

Continue reading Where Are The News Media?

Professors Of Groupthink

At a conference on November 14, the American Enterprise Institute released two important new studies by Daniel Klein of George Mason University and Charlotta Stern of Stockholm University. Their research, part of a forthcoming book titled Reforming the Politically Correct University, verifies even further that liberals and progressives outnumber conservatives and libertarians on campuses, overwhelmingly so in certain disciplines.

The authors also find that socially conservative professors must publish more than their liberal colleagues to obtain the same positions (a conclusion bolstered by earlier statistical evidence accumulated by Stanley Rothman of Smith College and S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University). Exploring relatively undocumented but equally compelling demonstration of bias, Klein and Stern show too that conservative students are steered away from pursuing Ph.D.s because of fewer research offers from their professors.

Continue reading Professors Of Groupthink

Columbia Hunger Striker Yields To Lure of Food, Imperialism, Racism…

Alas, one of the intrepid Columbia hunger strikers has given in. How will they ever force Columbia to stop expanding, increase resources for minority centers, require more ethnic study courses, and make January sunnier with such lazy tactics. Especially now that a gourmand opposition group has mobilized – “Why We Act, Why We Eat,” whose mission is to “eat against a group that seems not to care for the well-being of its students or itself.”

All is not lost though. Several students continue the herculean fight and, in proof that no student idea is so foolish to fail to draw faculty enthusiasts, a professor has joined the strikers. The Sun reports:

On Thursday, a professor of Political Science at Barnard, Dennis Dalton, joined the strike. Mr. Dalton, 69, who studies Gandhi, said he would continue to teach classes while subsisting on orange juice and water, according to the student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator. “I want the core curriculum supplemented by writings on Gandhi, King, Malcolm X,” he said.

And you thought the hunger strike couldn’t become more ridiculous. I’d suggest the nutritive benefits of solar healing for the intrepid strikers. The practice promises “that after 9 months, one can eventually win a victory over hunger” simply by subsisting on the sun. If only the strikers had found out earlier. Their set of demands is sufficiently incoherent that they could easily additionally demand that the dining halls be replaced with a nutritive sun observatory. No one would bat an eye.

Duke’s Failed Presidency

KC Johnson’s remarkable blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, has generated 90,000 reader comments since it emerged as the most reliable source of information and analysis on the Duke/Nifong non-rape scandal. The following is an excerpt from a November 6 reader comment on Duke’s president Richard Brodhead and the book, “Until Proven Innocent” by Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr. The “Group Profiles” in the comment refer to Johnson’s devastating accounts of what some intellectually bankrupt members of the “Group of 88” Duke faculty members said and wrote before and after they launched their campaign against the lacrosse players. So far 87 of the 88 faculty members have not yet apologized for their role in stirring up the campus against the players.

A good deal has changed because of this Rape Hoax.
1. Richard Brodhead’s is a failed presidency. Everybody in higher education knows that, which is why practically nobody in higher education will say it. He will not disappear immediately, but he will disappear. And I mean disappear – not reappear as the president of some other institution. This may not be fair to Brodhead, who is an able person, and his successor is unlikely to be better. But nobody who has presided over such a genuine ‘social disaster’ can recover. And people will in the future reflect on why and how he failed.

2. Another development on the local Duke scene is the ‘raised consciousness’ of sensible alumni and institutional friends. There is a large effort from various sources trying to blunt the effect of this blog and what it has represented. To paint Duke’s critics as neocon, reactionary, racist ‘blog hooligans’ will now work for only a very diminished audience. There now is a very detailed, circumstantial, well researched and well written book that needs to be answered… Any intelligent Duke alumnus of whatever age should now realize that he or she probably has more sensible and constructive ideas than many prominent Duke faculty.

3. Do not underestimate the power of the derision and opprobrium heaped on various faculty members through various posting and especially the ‘Group Profiles’. These were particularly effective, because they were not name-calling but intelligently collected anthologies of the individuals’ own written opinions. It is one thing to shout out that ‘the Emperor has no clothes.’ It is another to present the Emperor in the buff before our own horrified eyes.

Columbia Hunger Strikers Have No Brain Mass To Lose

When I wrote about the ludicrous Columbia Spectator op-ed linking a “Euro-Centric curriculum” to the noose incidents, I suggested that the author was clearly not alone in her sentiments. Today we have confirmation; there are plenty of fools at Columbia. The Spectator reports:

Beginning today, five Columbia students will go on a hunger strike to protest the University’s proposed expansion into Manhattanville, administrative responses to recent bias incidents, and a lack of resources for ethnic studies. [italics mine, of course]

The strikers said that the protest will begin at noon today and will continue until the University meets their demands.

I’ve no idea how to respond to the point that administrative response to the “bias incidents” has fallen short; by any objective measure the University’s response has been stern and timely. Let’s consider exactly how absurd their curriculum demands are. I took a look at the Columbia department listing and found the following:

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Brainwashing 101

More on indoctrination at the University Of Delaware.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent Patrick Harker, the president of the University, a voluminous set of papers on how their residence life program was run. “Hundreds of pages, without exception, are about how to indoctrinate students,” school of education professor Jan Blits told the campus student paper, the Review. “What’s surprising is how open they are about it.” Blits acquired the papers from the residence life program by simply asking for them. Kathleen Kerr, the director of residential life for the university “was so proud of the program she just handed them over,” he said. Blits, head of the university’s chapter of the National Association of Scholars, and another professor at the school of education, Linda Gottfredson, have been cooperating with FIRE to get the story out. Gottfredson said: “Residential Life has the whole person and they try to change beliefs – the heart and soul of a person – which is exactly what totalitarian institutions do. This is a national issue and FIRE is not finished.”

Kerr is currently chair of the American College Personnel Association’s commission for housing and residential life. ACPA’s site lists 28 residential life officers from colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Texas, Oberlin, the University of Maryland, Rutgers, Brandeis and Michigan State, though it is not clear that these institutions are engaged in any indoctrination. The national group’s ethical code says that “respecting the rights of persons to hold different perspectives” is essential.

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The Spiraling Cost Of Higher Education

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation (SB 190), authored by State Senator Leland Yee, which would require the governing boards of California’s two university systems – the University of California and the California State University – to determine future pay increases of university executives in meetings that would be open to the public. “This bill is simply intended to let a little sunshine into the process,” Yee has been quoted as saying.

Personally, I am convinced that the problem of rising administrative costs and the attendant escalation of higher education costs is going to require much more than a “little sunshine” to curtail it.

In good times and bad, there is one thing that is as certain as death and taxes: the cost of going to college will continue its upward spiral. There are many reasons for this circumstance, a few of which come to mind. But, anyone who is familiar with higher education can attest that the lack of “sunshine” laws is not one of those reasons; and the imposition of such laws, no matter how worthy that might sound, is not likely to have much effect on the problem.

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Columbia Nooses Linked To Euro-Centrism?

Here’s another bit of wisdom from the Columbia Spectator, this time on the repulsive noose incidents. Here’s the first sentence of the op-ed. See if anything strikes you as odd.

In the past weeks’ furor about nooses and graffiti, which dramatize age-old concerns about our Eurocentric curriculum, paternalistic gentrification efforts, and feelings of marginalization from students and faculty, Columbia has had to defend and confront its legacy of diversity and inclusion more so now than ever before.

The furor dramatizes “age-old concerns about our Eurocentric curriculum”? Really? As there’s so much lynching in there? Eurocentrists did hang Tess of the D’Urbervilles, didn’t they? One comment at the Spectator site wonders:

What other ills does Eurocentric curriculum, now an ‘age-old’ concern, cause? Police beatings? Teen age pregnancies? Baldness? Yeast infections?

The author winds the piece up with a sustained call for a robust ethnic studies department, which “would do wonders to elevate and enhance dialogue, understanding, and scholarship when it comes to power and privilege.” Ethnic studies departments as universal palliatives. It might prove tempting to dismiss this as mere student op-ed puerility, but her sentiments possess broad and considerable weight in the modern university. To determined critics, any and every instance of individual racial wrongdoing is proof of the core depravity of western society. Just ask the Group of 88.

Libel, Satire, Or Terrorism at CUNY?

Sharad Karkhanis, professor emeritus at Kingsborough Community College, is a vitriolic critic of the faculty union at the City University of New York. He’s accused Susan O’Malley, another professor at Kingsborough, of seeking to “recruit terrorists” to teach at CUNY. O’Malley has responded with a two million dollar libel suit, reports the New York Post:

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Susan O’Malley charges that professor emeritus Sharad Karkhanis defamed her by accusing her of having an “obsession with finding jobs for terrorists” in recent issues of a newsletter he’s been e-mailing to CUNY faculty members for 15 years.

Citing O’Malley’s efforts to land jobs for convicted activist lawyer Lynne Stewart’s co-defendant Mohammed Yousry and former Weather Underground member Susan Rosenberg, Karkhanis wrote:

“Has Queen O’Malley ever made a ‘Job Wanted’ announcement like this for a nonconvicted, nonviolent, peace-loving American educator for a job in CUNY? . . . Why does she prefer convicted terrorists bent on harming our people and our nation over peace-loving Americans?”

Karkhanis considers his writing to be satire. It’s not particularly civil language; but then again, as KC Johnson has pointed out, two of O’Malley’s prospective hires were terrorists, or quite near to being ones – Susan Rosenberg “was a member of a terrorist organization” and Mohammed Yousry “was accused and convicted of aiding a convicted terrorist.” Not all, predictably, agree on the substance of the comments: John K. Wilson, for one, has called them “idiotic” but he does dub the idea of a two million dollar libel suit in response as “frivolous and absurd.” Fortunately, others agree; a new blog, “Free Speech At CUNY” has ably taken up Karkhanis’ case.

“Free Speech At CUNY” offers some delightful background on Karkhanis’ assailant. O’Malley, former university faculty senate chair, former faculty representative on the CUNY board of trustees, and an all-around perennial in CUNY union posts, was the arranger of a 2004 CUNY conference on “Defining and Defending Academic Freedom”; the site provides the text of numerous faculty union statements on “dissent” and “academic freedom” in which O’Malley, as part of the union leadership, seems to have had a hand. The current case is useful in clarifying what she actually meant; freedom for her, libel suits for her opponent.