Last time around I discussed a tenured professor who may have, a little bit, violated protocol by naming someone in a blog post that could be interpreted as against gay marriage.
Me: “I see here we’re putting in writing that 12 divided by 5 is 2.35. It’s actually 2.4.”
Admin: “It’s policy.”
–I really can’t emphasize strongly enough how difficult it is to argue with administrators…
For what it’s worth, I don’t understand why government is even involved in marriage at all, but faculty opinions, from basic mathematical calculations to controversial topics, are irrelevant nowadays. We must all adhere to whatever administration thinks, even if they’re objectively wrong. Seeing as administrative beliefs blow with the wind, this can sometimes lead to painful cognitive disconnects…or accidental faux pas by faculty that didn’t get the memo on the latest strange idea.
Anyway, the professor may have made a mistake, admin wanted his head, and after months of browbeating and threatening of faculty, nearly got it: after a year suspension without pay, the professor has to also apologize if he wants his (tenured) job back.
He won’t be apologizing, and wisely couches it all as a free speech issue:
Professor John McAdams: ‘Of Course I’m Not Going to Apologize’ for Defending a Student’s Freedom of Speech
Please understand this whole thing could have been resolved with a memo asking him not to name names (particularly students, who really should be given some slack for doing foolish things) in his blog. That’s how faculty would do it.
There’s been a huge administrative takeover of higher education, however, and most of these places are now run by mercenaries (at best, and that’s a low “best”) or lunatics. Even the religious universities are hard pressed to keep the plunderers and lunatics out:
“As for so-called Catholic universities, first you have to understand that Jesuits are thin on the ground these days,” McAdams continued. “The president of Marquette’s not a Jesuit, the provost isn’t, the dean of arts and sciences isn’t… there are so few Jesuits that so-called Jesuit institutions pretty much aren’t run by Jesuits.”
Thus it is that a professor got in trouble for posting something that could be interpreted as against gay marriage. He thought he was at a Catholic university, and thus thought he was supposed to follow Catholic ideals (I’m not saying these ideals are right or wrong, mind you…but a religion that doesn’t follow its beliefs is not much of a religion).
I’ll let the professor sum up the post in question, which is fair enough:
“I didn’t actually even defend traditional marriage,” McAdams said. “Simply the right of a student to defend traditional marriage without being bullied and demeaned. That was the whole point about my blog post.” In that post, McAdams described the case of a student who was told to drop a class by an angry leftist professor, who exclaimed that defending marriage between men and women was intolerably “homophobic, racist, and sexist.”
I can’t emphasize strongly enough how insane many of our institutions of higher education are nowadays. A professor thinks that defending the institution of marriage is “homophobic, racist, and sexist”…I’m not saying marriage is perfect (particularly in today’s legal system), but pretty much every culture on the planet developed “traditional” marriage…maybe universities should be open to discussion about the merit of it, at least?
Student in my class: “Excuse me professor, but I believe you’re wrong in that calculation.”
Me: “Get out of my class!”
—This has never happened. To clarify, I’ve had students correct my errors on the board many times…but I don’t have a problem with that at all. Shouldn’t all disciplines which pursue knowledge be open to challenge?
And so, about the apology:
“… also said he would be required to “promise to adhere to Marquette’s guiding values and mission statement… which of course, in my view, I’ve done.”
Unfortunately, McAdams noted the bureaucrats at Marquette seem to interpret their mission statement not as a high-minded commitment to academic inquiry and free expression, but simply as, “you don’t make trouble for the institution.”
Again, this is nothing new. All our institutions of higher education have lofty mission statements about education, service, and the like. Most (all?) of our institutions regularly ignore those statements, ignore the promises they make in writing to accreditation to adhere to those statements, and do whatever they want.
I defy any gentle reader to find a single university’s mission statement to say something like “create a winning sportsball team”…and yet there are many institutions that devote more campus space to athletics than academics.
I defy any gentle reader to find a single community college’s mission statement to say something like “offer a wide range of 6th to 9th grade material,” and yet every community college I’ve looked at offers such, to the point that 90% or more of the coursework on campus is pre-college level, and finding legitimate second year coursework on a 2 year campus is basically impossible.
I could continue, but, yeah, professor, trying to adhere to principles is a bad idea in higher education. I’ve seen professor after professor punished for having principles, and not once have I seen a professor rewarded by an institution for having principles.
Any professor who thinks he’ll be rewarded for honoring a school’s mission statement is in for a huge surprise.
“I’m not going to sign any ‘loyalty oath’ to Marquette’s mission – since I’m, in fact, probably a stronger proponent of Marquette’s claimed mission than the people running the university,” he chuckled. “But I’m against loyalty oaths. Interestingly, a lot of older liberals remember loyalty oaths in the 1950s, where professors were required to swear they were loyal to America and had no sympathy for Communism… liberals hated that. And now what you have is a liberal administration at Marquette demanding a loyalty oath from me.”
I’ve written of these loyalty oaths before, and, yes, you can be fired for refusing to swear fealty to the plundering psychopaths that run so many of our institutions.
So often I’m reminded of the writings of Orwell when I write about the madness of higher education. Usually I think of 1984, but the professor above is referencing Animal Farm—the new, “good,” group that moves in does seem to have a habit of performing the same foul behaviors of the “evil” group that was overthrown.