Thursday, September 20, 2007

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What the f@#% is going on with the University of California Regents?

I've been remiss in not posting about the rather disturbing incidents involving the U of C Regents. Fortunately, University of California at Davis historian Eric Rauchway does an excellent job of summarizing the state of play:

When the University of California Regents rescinded former Harvard president Lawrence Summers's invitation to speak at a Board dinner this month, it was too easy to link Summers with Erwin Chemerinsky: Just days before, the University of California at Irvine had rescinded Chemerinsky's invitation to serve as dean of their new law school. While the two cases share some common elements--in both, the officials reneged under pressure on commitments presumably made in good faith and for good reasons--the superficial similarities conceal deep differences. In the Chemerinsky case, UC threatened Chemerinsky's academic freedom; in the Summers case, UC threatened mine--and that of everyone else who teaches here.
Read all of Rauchway's essay. Given that it was UC-Davis faculty who started the petition to uninvite Summers, I imagine Rauchway is going to have some awkward conversations the next few days.

One last point. According to this San Francisco Chronicle story:

"I was appalled and stunned that someone like Summers would even be invited to speak to the regents," said UC Davis Professor Maureen Stanton, who helped put together the petition drive. "I think many of us who were involved in the protest believed that it wouldn't reflect well on the university that he even received the invitation."

The petition called Summers' invitation "not only misguided but inappropriate" at a time when the university is working to diversify its community....

While delighted that the regents have decided to replace Summers, Stanton now hopes the dispute will be quickly forgotten.

"Frankly, we'd like to see the story just die at this point," she said.

At least Stanton is consistent -- she apparently doesn't want to have a debate about anything.

posted by Dan on 09.20.07 at 10:54 AM


All of which serves as a perfect example of why anyone who presumes to teach at an institute of higher learning should be required to first spend at least ten years working a real job in a competetive for-profit environment. That would do a lot to kill off the common academic petty complaining, know-it-all attitudes, and tendency to make every disagreement into a "vital policy decision." I am so glad I chose private enterprise over the university life. Someone should just grab all of these UC (and some other) people by the ear and stand them in the corner until they grow the hell up.

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 09.20.07 at 10:54 AM [permalink]

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