Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A tale of two academics

The Washington Post has further details on the resignation of Larry Summers from the presidency of Harvard.

The marathon power struggle with the powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences -- which runs the undergraduate program -- has been closely watched by institutions of higher learning as a case study in the ability of college presidents to exercise management control in a historically collegial and decentralized environment. ...

"It says that one group of faculty managed a coup d'etat not only against Summers but against the whole Harvard community," said Alan M. Dershowitz, longtime law professor at Harvard and a Summers ally. "He is widely supported among students and in the graduate schools."

David Gergen, an adviser to presidents who now teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, likened the effort to oust Summers to a negative political campaign. "There were people quite determined that he should leave, and they pursued a long campaign to realize this goal," said Gergen, a friend of Summers.

By a 3 to 1 margin, undergraduates polled online by the Harvard Crimson newspaper this week did not think Summers should resign, with only 19 percent supporting his departure.

Commentary

From the website of DEFEND (Dissent and Critical Thinking on Campus)

The Churchill case is not an isolated incident but a concentrated example of a well-orchestrated campaign launched in the name of “academic freedom” and “balance” which in fact aims to purge the universities of more radical thinkers and oppositional thought generally, and to create a climate of intimidation. While the right-wing claim that the universities are “left-wing dictatorships” is specious beyond belief, it is unfortunately true that the campus remains one of the few surviving refuges of critical thinking and dissent in this country. This is something to defend and strengthen.

On Feb 22nd, Lawrence Summers announced his resignation as president of Harvard but remains a faculty member. On January 31, 2005, Churchill resigned as chairman of the Ethnic Studies department at the University of Colorado, but remains a tenured professor.

Shortly before Summers' resignation, the Harvard Crimson conducted a poll on the subject of whether Larry Summers should quit his post as university president.

By a three-to-one margin, undergraduates do not think that Lawrence H. Summers should resign his post as University president, according to a poll conducted by The Crimson this past weekend. Just 19 percent of undergraduates in the survey said that Summers should resign, while about 57 percent said he should not. The online survey polled 424 students and carried a margin of error of approximately 4.6 percent.

In the spring of 2005, Ward Churchill won a teaching award (in the 25-75 class size category), receiving 54 votes among the 2,085 students at the University of Colorado at Boulder who voted for its annual Teaching Recognition Award. The University of Colorado Alumni Association, which sponsors the award, announced that they would withhold the award from Churchill until the investigation on the charges that he committed research misconduct had been concluded. Given annually for 44 years, this is the first time the award was withheld from its winner.

 

 

15 Comments:

Blogger truepeers said...

"Specious [&] Beyond Belief"

-proof that "critical thinking" is here a ritualistic gesture. So, maybe, yes indeed, the universities are the last asylum of "the critical"? And the poor guys have never been allowed out. It's, like...Palestine in there. Elitist Anxious Tyrannical Mood Evocation

2/22/2006 01:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Peers, just for Ward, I came up with this:
Elitist Anxiety Terrorism related Phobic Undiagnosed Dhimmitude.
EATPUD

2/22/2006 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From Previous Thread:

Karridine said...
4 decades ago, when I wrote an article for the FIRST underground newspaper in California, I didn't suppose it would all come to this!

Talk about butterflies and typhoons!

2/22/2006 02:01:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wretchard is the tease, reminding us of old Wardo. What more can one say?

2/22/2006 02:10:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I always thought Cambridge should be a free fire zone.

2/22/2006 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wardo,
Not quite in Summer and Dershowitz' League.
...not to mention Sowell, Horowitz, Terry Eastland, and etc.
---
Don't know if it made the headlines a day or two ago, since I was not keeping up, but Michael Crichton got a private meeting w/GWB - that's a good thing!

2/22/2006 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

3 to 1 eh?

Looks like most of those undergrads still have some indoctrination to complete!

2/22/2006 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger tefta said...

Words fail.

2/22/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cobalt Blue said...

doug

Chrichton's private meeting with Bush was kept hush-hush, apparently out of fear of giving offense to the usual lefty crowd. From Frank Barnes' book Rebel in Chief: "The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more."

2/22/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

In today's Boston Globe they say Summers "...called for a new emphasis on undergraduates and argued that their curriculum should focus more on actual knowledge and quantitative disciplines and less on ways of thinking." Dangerous that, actual knowledge.

And from Dershowitz' op-ed "It was arrogant in the extreme for a plurality of a single faculty to purport to speak for the entire university, especially when that plurality is out of synch with the mainstream of Harvard. It was dangerous for the corporation to listen primarily to that faculty, without widely consulting other professors, students, and alumni who supported Summers. Now that this plurality of one faculty has succeeded in ousting the president, the most radical elements of Harvard will be emboldened to seek to mold all of Harvard in its image. If they succeed, Harvard will become a less diverse and less interesting institution of learning governed by political-correctness cops of the hard left. This is what happened in many European universities after the violent student protests of the late 1960s. It should not be allowed to happen at Harvard in the wake of the coup d'etat engineered by some in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences."

http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2006/02/22/coup_against_summers_a_dubious_victory_for_the_politically_correct/

2/22/2006 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

So I'm confused. Churchill is reported to have plagerized, Summers is not. On that alone there need be no further comparison.

If it was proven, Churchill should have been hounded out of the profession by all corners of academia. And his horse should not be entered in this race.

2/22/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

SBW,

Get used to the new truths of the left.

Up is down down is up. A normal person walking into that environment must be like the main character in the song Lola "Now I'm not dumb but I can't understand why she look like a woman but talk like a man" and the kicker "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world..." and THAT is the world the whacky left lives in.

2/22/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

He was the Summer of their discontent.

2/22/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger pete speer said...

Instead of the racial purity so beloved of the Third Reich, we have at Harvard and at other universities with Schools of Arts and Sciences, an intellectual purity. It is reminiscent of the days of the Moscow show trials and most importantly, of Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon"

My God, this is in a cloister, where tenure is granted in theory so that the learned may research unpopular points of view without fear of reprisal. Divwerity of thought is necessary for the advancement of the dialectic of ideas.

It as if these highly educated persons were peasants holding little red books with the words of Chairman Mao, and those under Pol Pot as well killed dissent with glee -- in an orgy which brought them for a time to a singular expression of power.

2/22/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Phatcoder said...

I had 2 classes with Ward. They were identical in content as well as grading style. 60% of your grade was the midterm, which was 10 multiple choice questions and 1 extra credit multiple choice question. The test was photocopied year after year. I was an athlete at the university at the time and obtained the photocopied answer sheet from the athletic academic assistance department. I memorized 11 multiple choice answers in sequence and aced the test both times. The other 40% was a 15 page paper. You couldn't attend the course had you not bought books from Ward's office directly, which he wrote. The content was essentially how bad, greedy, and vicious white European males were. How nice and more advanced the native Americans were. I would've voted for him as a good teacher too at the time. I needed an 'A' and all you had to do was agree with everything he said to get one. His course was propoganda, not education. I've emailed governers, congressmen, senators, the GOP, and talk shows with this information. Maybe it'll get out here.

My education at CU Boulder was a joke.

2/22/2006 09:01:00 PM  

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