24 Feb 2018

Harvard Gets a New President

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Minding the Campus explains that Harvard is following the example of most elite colleges these days by putting in charge the sort of guy who will reliably cave in to the demands of crazy leftist radicals every time.

Lawrence Bacow has been named the president of Harvard, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust, who held the office for 11 years.

Mysteriously missing from the news coverage was the fact that Bacow was a 2007 finalist for the “Sheldon,” our coveted award for worst college president of the year. The award is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except the Oscar features a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way.

The award is named for the late Sheldon Hackney, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania and the Babe Ruth of modern Sheldonism.

As president of Tufts University, Lawrence Bacow looked the other way when a student-faculty committee put a conservative Tufts publication on trial and found it guilty for publishing two parodies. One was a mock Christmas carol making fun of affirmative action and the other was a satire of Tuft’s Islamic Awareness Week.

The committee accused the journal of causing “embarrassment, which we had thought was the entire purpose of satire. The committee ordered the publication not to run any unsigned articles in the future, a rule not applied to other campus publications. The committee also hinted that funding would be cut if other controversial articles were published.

FIRE wrote Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow to ask why a verdict declaring The Primary Source (TPS) guilty of “harassment” and “creating a hostile environment” still stands―despite the fact that Bacow himself has openly admitted that such a punishment could not stand under the First Amendment.

“We explained to President Bacow (again) that the only way for Tufts University to shed the dishonor of being one of three schools named to FIRE’s Red Alert list―reserved for schools FIRE deems ‘the worst of the worst’ when it comes to protecting rights on campus―was by immediately dropping the guilty finding against TPS. As we wrote:

“As long as the harassment finding against The Primary Source remains, students at Tufts are in danger of being censored and sanctioned merely for expressing unpopular opinions on campus.”

Eventually, Bacow acknowledged freedom of speech by eliminating punishment for the student journalists and praised free expression but refused to overrule the guilty verdict, leading the Sheldon committee to conclude that Bacow’s commitment to free speech ‘’shuttles between tepid and imaginary.”.

A mutual friend invited Bacow and me to lunch, where Bacow once again reiterated his innocent but guilty position, a stance opposed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and several newspapers. It was, however, the only time a Sheldon candidate argued his case before the whole Sheldon committee (me).

Bacow lost the worst-president title that year to a superlative effort by Richard Brodhead, president of Duke.

RTWT

Bacow resembles Yale’s own Peter Salovey very closely. He did not attend Harvard College as an undergraduate, but does possess the tenuous connection of a Harvard graduate degree (in his case from the Law School). Salovey’s Social Science (Psychology) background is bad enough, but Bacow spent decades specializing in “Environmental Studies,” i.e. trendy superstition based on an updated version of the Manichaean heresy.

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Seattle Sam

Cui bono? That’s a true question. Who benefits from having leftists in charge of Ivy League schools? I think we can rule out alumni and those who try to squeeze donations from them. Faculty? Probably because they’re similarly minded. Recruiting? Are you really more likely to apply to Harvard because it’s a leftist reeducation camp? Favorable Press coverage? Okay, I guess they seek approval from the NY Times and Boston Globe.

I’m trying to sort this out, and the best I can come up with is that they’re segmenting the market. They want to be known as the place where left-wing intellects congregate (similar to the NY Times). That means they’re okay with abandoning the traditional position that we seek open and honest debate and exploration of competing ideas. Maybe they’ve decided that they want a bigger share of a smaller market?
Cui bono?



Lee

I think they’ve (universities in general, and the “elite” ones in particular) have come to the conclusion that in order to either join the “elite” or remain “elite,” they must do whatever it takes to prove they have absolutely nothing in common with the Deplorable.

By Any Means Necessary…



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