More Stupidia Academia

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 2:43 pm by Neal

The ruckus at Columbia University has provided endless fodder for criticizing and rebuking the stupidity of modern, leftists American universities. We’ve further documented this here and here.

Here’s a summary of the last few days. First, read “Minutemen or the Mullahman” by Mary Katharine Ham.

Last week, the Columbia University College Republicans invited Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist to speak on campus. He made it as far as the podium, and about six words into his speech before the school’s Leftists Gone Wild—a cast composed of the Chicano Caucus and, predictably, the school’s Socialist contingent—stormed the stage, chanting over the speech, and inciting a melee, which made speech fairly impossible.

Gilchrist and his fellow Minuteman Marvin Stewart, who had been able to get a few words in edgewise before the riot began, were escorted offstage. The question-and-answer session planned for after the speeches, of course, did not occur. There was no debate. There was no reasoned argument. There was only a thuggish, petulant, childish shout-down of opposing viewpoints by the alleged intellectual lights, the eminently tolerant, the vaunted Ivy-Leaguers, of my generation.

Please read the rest of her article which dissects the hypocrisy of the students, administration and newspapers by comparing and contrasting the Minutemen protest with the silence over Mohammed Khatami’s speech at Harvard this past September. Ham also has links to videos and more information.

Our friend, HR, pointed out a couple of articles from last week that are also worthy of your consideration.

First we have “Letting the PC slip show”, by Mona Charen. Charen shares a story about Teachers College — the graduate school of Education at, surprise, Columbia University and a “laboratory of most of the ‘reforms’ that have corroded K-12 education over the past 50 years.” Here’s what Charen has to say about the Teachers College “Conceptual Framework:”

Most of it is the usual boilerplate and reads like this:

“We are an inquiry-based and practice-oriented community. We and our students and graduates challenge assumptions and complacency and embrace a stance of inquiry toward the interrelated roles of learner, teacher, and leader in P-12 schools.”

Okay, but then there is this: “We see teaching as an ethical and political act. We see teachers . . . as participants in a larger struggle for social justice. . . . Schools and society are interconnected. Social inequalities are often produced and perpetuated through systematic discrimination and justified by societal ideology of merit, social mobility, and individual responsibility . . . ”

And it gets worse: “Traditionally organized schools help to reproduce social inequalities while giving the illusion that such inequalities are natural and fair. Schools purport to offer unlimited possibilities for social advancement but they simultaneously maintain structures that severely limit the probability of advancement for those at the bottom of the social scale. Research has shown that the majority of teachers in the United States are European American and middle class and that many of these teachers do not see the invisible yet profound social forces at work that bring about inequality among different cultural groups in society and in schools.”

You know, I actually agree that some of our school systems limit social mobility by failing to provide a quality education to poor and minority students. But I think the teachers unions and resistance to school choice are a big part of the problem. Somehow, I don’t think that point of view is considered legitimate at TC. Isn’t it shameful to heap scorn on teachers because they are “European American” and “middle class”? What if someone pointed out that most inner city teachers are African American and Hispanic? Is that legitimate criticism according to Teachers College?

Further, Columbia now maintains that “merit, social mobility, and individual responsibility” are mere “ideologies” used to justify discrimination. On the contrary, these are the steps on the ladder for those at the bottom. A kid who excels in school, no matter what his background, can expect to thrive in America. All too often it is the PC crowd who eschew high standards for kids from poor neighborhoods. It is they, not “the system,” who constrict the life prospects for those kids.

What tripe. Read the whole article here.

Next, HR alerted us to this article, “The Price of Protection”, by David Lewis Schaefer, about the unhinged administration at Holy Cross College.

Unfortunately, over the last two years, the college has suffered from the effort of a determinedly partisan administration to stifle open debate on campus. The culmination of the administration’s endeavor in this direction — which has included attempting to close down the college’s alternative conservative student newspaper, the Fenwick Review; and the removal by the president, Michael McFarland, S.J., of the faculty adviser (me) to the college’s public-affairs lecture committee on the ground that the committee had been inviting too many Republicans — was a systematic effort to uproot from the campus the so-called “climate of hate,” understood as any mockery of the college’s “diversity” (i.e., race- and ethnicity-based) programming, or of the gay-rights agenda. Alarmingly, the campaign appears to have inspired at least one student towards an act of arson. Near the end of the 2005-06 academic year, during which the “Hate Not Here” campaign reached its peak, some (unidentified) student set fire during the night to a copy of the Fenwick Review outside the dormitory door of the Review’s editor, Shawn Sheehy.

Remarkably — particularly in view of the fatal dormitory arson at a sister Jesuit institution, Seton Hall University, some three years ago — the college’s administration has displayed a thorough equanimity, even a nonchalance, about the arson. Although college president McFarland routinely sends out blast e-mails to students denouncing “hate” whenever a naughty anti-gay word is found scrawled on a dormitory wall, and even e-mailed the campus to denounce students for “embarrassing” that supposed hero of the civil-rights movement, Jesse Jackson, when he spoke on campus a couple of years ago (by publicly asking Jackson about his embezzlement of funds from his foundation to support his mistress and illegitimate child), the president has issued no public statement at all, let alone a blast e-mail, warning students that arson is a terrible crime and will not be tolerated.

Read the whole thing. It’s quite pathetic, but oh-so-typical in the bastions of leftism known as modern, American universities.

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