Saturday, May 24, 2008

Silly gripes about an honorary degree

Chancellor Mark Wrighton of Washington University, St. Louis has put out this lame statement:
I apologize for the anguish this decision has caused to many members of our community.

In bestowing this degree, the University is not endorsing Mrs. Schlafly's views or opinions; rather, it is recognizing an alumna of the University whose life and work have had a broad impact on American life and have sparked widespread debate and controversies that in many cases have helped people better formulate and articulate their own views about the values they hold....
One student complains about the voting:
The committee's recommendation of Ms. Schlafly was based on a complicated voting system. Voting occurred in two stages. In our first meeting, we ranked our preferences from approximately thirty names. The nominees were ranked based on the first balloting, and the top five were collected in a slate. We voted yes or no on the entire slate. An objection by one student was met with hostile opposition. The block of five names was then approved unanimously.
This list of protest letters includes these gems:
First, let us state clearly and firmly that our opposition to the selection of Mrs. Schlafly is not based on a rejection of her political, social, and ideological opinions. ...

When Mrs. Schlafly writes in her nationally syndicated column in 2006 that "Boys [sic] do not want to go to a college that eliminates the macho sports," she insults so many in our community: members of presumably non-macho male sports teams, ...

Mrs. Schlafly writes in a 2004 column that "For years, the universities have sanctimoniously proclaimed the sanctified value of diversity, but they define diversity to mean only giving space to radical leftwingers and feminists." ...

(Signed by 40 faculty, staff, and students in Arts & Sciences and the GWB School of Social Work)
Here is a bitter female writing prof who is mad at the world:
I hope I'm not telling your something you don't already know when I say that Washington University is not an ideal climate for women, although it is not unlike the world at large. The discontent that women academics feel here is chronic and grating.

Mary Jo Bang, Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program
This engineering prof is worried that he'll lose grant money if Wash. U. loses its left-wing reputation:
Finally, let me mention a concern near to my heart as an active, federally funded researcher. Every grant application that I submit to the National Science Foundation must address the broader impacts of my work, including how it supports the education of women and underrepresented minorities. ... I shudder to think of how our actions today may bias the reviewers of future grant proposals from Washington University.

Jeremy Buhler, Associate Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering
The Social Work profs say that different opinions are encouraged, as long as no one disparages college profs:
She routinely disparages whole groups of people, such as ... college professors ... Universities are places where people are invited to voice opinions across the political spectrum.
The Art profs don't like her style of art:
Moreover, she has brought zeal to her denunciations and often mocks those with contrasting views. We know a performance artist when we see one, and Ms. Schlafly qualifies as such.
The English dept. chairman took offense to this column:
What was the motive behind 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui's killing of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech? Why was he consumed with hate, resentment and bitterness?

Cho was an English Department major and senior. As a frequent lecturer on college campuses, I have discovered that the English Departments are often the weirdest and/or the most leftwing.
He complains that her opinion is "unnuanced" and disrespectful of opposing views:
have raised my voice in part because graduating English Majors, and others among our students, expressed their shock at Mrs Schlafly's comment about the Virginia Tech murderer (I presume I don't need to repeat it here), and bewilderment that the university can be honoring one who can write such things. I cannot think of anything more offensive directed at my professional discipline and my students throughout my career. I do not believe that the expression of that opinion, which is corrosively irresponsible, assists any process of rational civic discourse whatsoever. What complicates the free speech defense is that opinion is sometimes the enemy of truth; and manufacturing such opinion, unnuanced and polarizing, has been Mrs Schlafly's work. Her disrespect for opposing views is unhappily evident even from today's newspaper. I doubt that she would share your value of diversity; but thank you sincerely for restating it.

David Lawton, Executive Director, New Chaucer Society, Professor and Chair, Department of English
A law prof's main objection is that she criticized the protesters:
Ms. Schlafly's principles are antithetical to the values for which Washington University purports to stand.

Indeed, Phyllis Schlafly's recent statements referring to the protesters - hundreds of faculty and students - as "a bunch of bitter women," "a bunch of losers," who need "to get a life" only highlights how antithetical her views are to those of rational discourse that should prevail in a great university.

Richard Kuhns, Professor of Law
Mary-Jean Cowell complains about her not support female college sports enough:
Moreover, considering that much of the WU achievement in collegiate sports in recent years has been the gift of our female athletes, we certainly do not show them respect in honoring a woman who is far from a supporter of equal participation for women in sports.
There are more wacky letters. They just prove how narrow-minded leftist academics can be.


Anonymous said...

Face it Roger; 9 out of 10 smart cats just don't prefer your mom.


Roger said...

Only about 1% protested.