More importantly, we have lost sight of what university presidents are supposed to be. Their first allegiance ought to be to honesty and truth, not campus orthodoxy masquerading as intellectual bravery amid a supposedly reactionary society. In a world of intellectual integrity, Robert Birgeneau would ask, "Why are Asians excelling, and what can Berkeley do to encourage emulation of their success by other ethnic groups?" Denice Denton might wonder whether open hiring, monitored by affirmative action officers, applies to university staff or only those who are not associates of the president. President Hoffman would decry Ward Churchill's crass behavior and order a complete review of affirmative action and the politicized nature of hiring, retention, and tenure practices at Colorado. And Larry Summers? In the old world of the campus, he would defend free inquiry and expression, and remind faculty that all questions are up for discussion at Harvard. And if self-appointed censors wished to fire him for that, then he would dare them to go ahead and try.
The signs of erosion on our campuses are undeniable, whether we examine declining test scores, spiraling costs, or college graduates' ignorance of basic facts and ideas.
I posted on this same issue just yesterday. It is a subject near and dear to my own heart, snce I have been associated with academia most of my professional career. I have written on this topic in the following posts:
All The Professors Are Above Average
Life in Academia: Who Are We To Judge Saddam Hussein
The Bizarro World of Academia
ShrinkWrapped has an excellent series titled PC and Defects in Reality Testing that is well worth your time.
What else can be said? I see evidence of the illness of our academic institutions on a daily basis. It is very troubling to me, particularly since we as a society put such stock in education and the minds of our young. There is no doubt that this obsession with "diversity" and "multiculturalism", which began in earnest about 15 years ago, is destroying the committment to and pursuit of Truth, Knowledge and Scholarship that ought to be the primary focus of the University.
Like VDH, I find the behavior of the leaders of our academic institutions increasingly perverse and textbook examples of intellection cowardice and dishonesty.
Our nation cannot afford to lose the minds of the future to academentia.