2/11/2005 12:23:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Wow...all kinds of juicy edu.treats floating around the net today.
Jeff Jacoby rightly takes Presidents Clinton and Bush, the Higher Education Act, and avaricious college administrators to task in his column regarding the perennial call to throw more money at the skyrocketing cost of higher education. Not surprisingly, every attempt to make things more affordable has made it more expensive. The CATO report from which the column springs is here.
Some discussion probably should be had regarding the fact that automatic government funding has also, to a degree, freed the colleges from having compete in the marketplace of ideas, as well as price. If colleges had tighter purse-strings and were more subject to market conditions, would there be more diversity of thought or could the kind of sloppy conditions that led to the hiring of Ward Churchill, whose tenured "academic freedom" we now grudgingly seem to have to protect, persist?
Instapundit alerts us to developments at Columbia University, where President Bollinger's committee to examine and report on anti-semitism in the Middle East Studies department has come under fire by other faculty for numerous conflicts of interest and abject lack of transparency.
And in a truly disgusting and disingenuous piece of self-serving hogwash that proves she still doesn't understand a damn thing about freedom or the market, Dorothy Rabinowitz, serial inviter of terrorists and terrorist enablers to the Hamilton College campus plays the victim card in telling the Chronicle of Higher Education:
...the question is whether the incident will make colleges reluctant to invite controversial speakers: "How many people can stomach what we've been through?"Poor Dorothy. I wonder how many people can stomach the 9/11s that her darling "progressives" crave?|W|P|110814456531202712|W|P|Goodie Bag|W|P|2/10/2005 09:51:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I've been meaning to post this one for a while now. Of all the slice and dice jobs on campus "diversity," this one, by Tom Wolfe on page 550 of I am Charlotte Simmons, is simply splendid:
...Everyone calls diversity dispersity. What happens is, everybody has their own clubs, their own signs, their own sections there they all sit in the dining hall - all the African Americans are over there...and all the Asians sit over't those other tables - except for the Koreans - because thy don't get along with the Japanese, so they sit way over there. Everybody's dispersed into their own little groups - and everybody's told to distrust everybody else. Everybody's told that everybody else is trying to screw them over...Anyway, the idea is, every other group is like prejudiced against your group, and no matter what they say, they're only out to take advantage of you, and you should have nothing to with them - unless you're white, in which case all the others are not prejudiced against you, they're like totally right, because you really are racist and everything, even if you don't know it. Everybody ends up dispersed into their own like turtle shells, suspicious of everybody else and being careful not to fraternize with them."It makes a nice bookend another good Wolfe rant in the book (blog item here) with a similar theme, from an earlier part of the book.|W|P|110809145347540488|W|P|Woot!|W|P|2/07/2005 09:35:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|University of Georgia housing officials - attempting to create an educational display commemorationg the desegration of the university are under fire for - apparently - portraying the situation too truthfully. The tempest is the result of reaction to a quote featured in the dispay in Myers Hall giving an illustration of the campus climate in 1961. In depicting what life was like for Charlayne Hunter (now Charlayne Hunter-Gault) as she bravely became UGA's first African-American student back in 1961 the display included a derisive epithet typical of those used in the attempt to harass and frighten her, "Make way for the nigger."
It's an ugly statement, of course, and I'm thankful that I can't imagine how awful it must have been for her and the late Hamilton Holmes to put up with countless comments like that, the threats of violence and the utter isolation on campus. Their courage and ability to turn the other cheek is monumental.
However, the pettiness of those who have squandered this inheritance for an intellectual potter's field is monumental in its own pathetic way. The housing department has lamely covered the offending quote and issued the perfunctory apology for anyone who may have been "negatively impacted," a performance the campus NAACP president characterizes as a "positive step." Another thin-skinned African-American student chimes in by saying, "I would like to see it removed or altered in some way. It's unnecessarily inflammatory."
The comments are typical of what Arthur Schlesinger lamented in his The Disuniting of Ameria: Reflections on a Multicultural Society as "history as therapy," where history is re-cast to make people feel better about an uncomfortable past and, well, if you have to ignore salient points or lie about some other things, well, it's all in a good cause, right?
Writing "Make way for the [negatively impacting word expunged]" hardly inspires anyone to understand Hunter and Holmes' courage. If Georgia's mission is truly "to teach, to serve and to inquire into the nature of things," then tolerating and rewarding a whiny disrespect for historical fact with censorship is neither educational nor of service. While the UGA housing office deserves the practical shame for so docilely and cravenly backing away from the display, the real moral shame belongs to those who demanded its removal in the first place and unwittingly trivialize what those two pioneers accomplished.
I'm not sure how these self-same students would react if no mention at all was ever made of UGA's desegregation or that it was ever segregated in the first place. But I am pretty sure that i Hunter and Holmes could persevere through death-threats forty-four years ago, students today should be able to handle the visceral discomfort associated with a factual retelling of those times and its implication for our own days - starting with the concept of courage.
UPDATE (10Feb05): Charlayne Hunter-Gault thinks the quote should stay. Good for her. She's still courageous.|W|P|110783358746255517|W|P|Make Way for the Censor|W|P|2/07/2005 09:32:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I never thought I'd see a humorous reference involving Herbert Marcuse. Leave it to David Burge over at Iowahawk to prove me wrong.|W|P|110782999718179230|W|P|Heh.|W|P|2/04/2005 11:16:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|
John Vernon, the actor who portrayed Dean Vernon Wormer in Animal House has died, just shy of what would have been his 73rd birthday.
In the 27 years since the movie's release, much hand-wringing has been done about how the movie has been interpreted by generations of fraternity guys as the chapter operations manual. A Google search on Animal House Fraternity returns about 146,000 hits. The words are nearly synonymous. Calling George W. Bush a "frat boy" has routinely been used to try to tear him down. Maureen Dowd fixates on it like, well, Dean Wormer did on Delta House.
Of course, if the movie unwittingly inspired nonsense from the undergraduate students, the administrations have fared little better. As they've soulfully told students that "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life" they've artfully recreated Dean Wormer's methods to devastating results.
Abrogations of due process, kangaroo courts, the use of secret informer networks - the stuff of Wormer and trusty sychophant Greg Marmalard - are now routinely employed by college personnel in the modern university, so much so that AcademicBIAS.com is starting to flood with material for a full length documentary and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is doing a land office business. TongueTied is so busy he needs help.
So, let's take a moment and say our prayers for John Vernon's family. And then let's pray that the pseudo-Wormers infesting the cores of our academic apples come to realize, as have the fraternities, that Animal House is just a funny movie. It isn't real - though the nightmare result of treating it as if it were very much is.|W|P|110753614531144667|W|P|R.I.P. Dean Vernon Wormer|W|P|2/01/2005 11:04:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Joan Hinde Steward, President of Hamilton College, has cancelled the panel discussion which was to have included University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, labeller (and libeler) of the World Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns."
Stewart's statement manages to be equal parts pussilanimity and disingenuousness:
Cancellation of Panel Discussion on Limits of Dissent
We have done our best to protect what we hold most dear, the right to speak, think and study freely.
But there is a higher responsibility that this institution carries, and that is the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and the community in which we live.
Credible threats of violence have been directed at the College and members of the panel. These threats have been turned over to the police.
Based on the information available, I have made the decision to cancel this event in the interest of protecting those at risk.
The blogosphere is replete with comment on Stewart's decision. I'll leave mine at this.
Stewart is cancelling this event because, essentially, terroristic threats have been made against the participants and the college. For the moment, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's not cravenly using crank-calls as a prextext to backpeddle from a deplorable and humiliating decision.
Churchill wrote that the 9/11 "combat teams" were composed of men who made "gallant sacrifices" and who "restored ... control over their own destinies" (ellipses mine). If this underlies a viewpoint that Hamilton found to merit serious consideration as a meaningful and important educational viewpoint (and Stewart is still not disputing the meaning or import of Churchill's message), then isn't it a meaningful and important experiential pedagogic moment to have Churchill come and speak, however violent the response might be? Aren't these people really just doing what Churchill suggests falls within the realm of legitimate dissent?
Obviously, no terroristic threats against the college or even Churchill are justifiable. Stewart knows this but is afraid to acknowledge it because it leads to the underlying truth that Churchill's position is equally untenable (if not more so) and had no business being showcased and showered with adoration in the first place. Free speech isn't an entitlement to an audience (and a pleasant honorarium from the college).
Had this been Hamilton's first experience with inviting terror supporters to campus, one might write this off as Ivory Tower cranial-sphinctoral insertion run amok. But following so close on the heels Hamilton's attempt to have the '60s terror group Weather Underground member Susan Rosenberg teach a course, it paints the disturbing picture that Hamilton (and Stewart) is actively pushing an extremist agenda and, having been caught red-handed, now is, in James Taranto's words, left in a position where what they're "really afraid of isn't violence but the criticism she'd endure from phony 'free speech' advocates if she did the right thing for the right reason."|W|P|110732065339766789|W|P|Scared In-Continental|W|P|