Thursday, February 23, 2006

Faculty Governance -- What an Idea

I see from Alan Dershowitz's latest little hissy-fit (an excerpt was posted in a comment on my "new heights of absurdity" blog post about the cfp for the Leibowski conference), there's something outrageous about academic faculty influencing decisions about their university President. As we can see from Lawrence Summers' recent resignation following protests by faculty and students, those faculty at Harvard haven't yet learned that it's only the Board of Trustees or the seven member "Harvard Corporation" that should get to make such important decisions about how their workplace is run. To call for a president who can represent the faculty and students is, well, bad sportsmanship, it seems.
In his article about the Summers' resignation, Dershowitz, who thinks that torture or "coercive interrogation" done by the state is just fine, is concerned about the undemocratic coercive force of the academic "hard left" as he refers to them. They might just wag their fingers so loudly in disapproval of a University President, that he'd be forced to resign and go look for another job, or even - live off the interest on his many investments?
It's oh so obvious, Dershowitz says, that this "hard left" is really in charge of everything in American academia, over which they have achieved a coup.

According to him and others in the media, Summers is a poor wittle victim of the "PC police." After all, they ask, what's so bad about Summers? He's only involved in a fraud scandal, completely hostile to an entire branch of the institution he governed, and an outspoken advocate of biological theories of male superiority. I guess if you're a woman who teaches at Harvard, you should just suck it up, along with that lower pay check...because as Summers sees it, economists are smarter than sociologists and deserve higher pay, and men are innately better at science and math than are women.
Maybe his supporters like him because of that prestigious "Lawrence Summers Award" that the Multinational Monitor gives out every year. Poor, Poor, Mr. Summers, first the world bank, then Clinton's cabinet, and now Harvard. Can't he EVER find a job that he can keep? Somehow, I think he'll probably land on his feet.
More than one completely fraudulent hack has survived a public shaming to remain popular with the global elite.

3 comments:

bartelby said...

I have an immediate family member who attended Yale and Harvard (and an internship at Priceton). He was an electrical engineering major. He knows almost literally nothing about anything else. He didn't know the word "hippocampus" besides referring to a part of the brain also means seahorse, for example. The ideology of the ivy league is so obvious when you talk to him. He believes that people should not even elect their government but that a committee of experts should be appointed. He respects Chomsky though, who he refers to as an academic "badass."
He's nearly 30 and it makes me uncomforatable that he could reach that age and have such a distorted view of his own species. He honestly believes he shouldn't vote because he doesn't understand society enough. But then he's an electrical engineer and not a sociologist.

Anonymous said...

That's very esoteric about the hippocampus, even if he didn't know it meant seahorse! I really thought it meant a hippo got loose on campus at one of those ivy league schools or something.

bartelby said...

Yeah, I guess that's a bad example.
Without getting into any dirty laundry suffice to say that he's got a lot of specialized knowledge basically about wires, but not much else to show for his education.