What does it take to outrage a faculty?


Ward Churchill may have been able to enjoy lucrative speaking engagements on many campuses, until the general public found out about his blame—the—victims slur of the dead bond traders and other capitalist lackeys in the World Trade Center, and until his alleged misrepresentations, pagiarism, and other offenses came to the attention of of Colorado University. But until he was outed, there was no outcry in the groves of academe over his extremism.

So what does it take to outrage a faculty? At the University of North Carolina, the prospect of a program on Western Civilization will do the trick.

More than 70 faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are demanding that administrators stop negotiations with a foundation that wants to create a Western cultures program at the school.

Chancellor James Moeser said he believes many faculty members are wary of the proposal simply because of the John William Pope Foundation's conservative values.

"It will be a major enhancement of our offerings in Western civilizations," he said Wednesday. "And it won't be done at the expense of any other program."

The proposed program would include an academic minor in Western cultures, new honors courses, freshman seminars, undergraduate research awards and study abroad scholarships. The foundation gave the university $25,000 to study the proposal and has said it could donate up to $700,000 a year to fund it initially.

Faculty members complained in a letter to administrators that they have not been adequately involved in the discussions.

Sue Estroff, professor of social medicine and former faculty chairwoman, said a recent curriculum revision revealed no need for more emphasis in Western studies. "Are we for sale, and if so, what for, and if not, what are the guidelines?" she asked.

It is long past time for the public to awaken and realize how far the academic community has fallen into extremism divorced not just from the mainstrream of American society, but from reality itself. We pay for this.

Hat tip: Captain Jim

Thomas Lifson   3 04 05