Friday, March 16, 2007

Group Profile: Moving Forward with McClain

In recent weeks, a consistent mantra from the Group of 88 has been the need to “move forward.” A late February op-ed coordinated by Group of 88 stalwart William Chafe raised the theme the most explicitly, with the accompanying caveat that how the arts and sciences faculty responded to the lacrosse case should, at all costs, remain unexamined.

But Chafe and his ideological allies also want to remain free to exploit the lacrosse affair to advance their personal, ideological, or pedagogical agendas, all while implying that the institution should act as if that the facts involving the lacrosse team’s behavior are unchanged from March 31.

The Group of 88’s position amounts to the following: other Duke faculty should accept its agenda uncritically, without exploring whether the Group’s dubious conduct over the past year calls into question the merits of its recommendations.

It is difficult to reconcile the claims of Chafe and his colleagues that they are interested in “moving forward,” in encouraging a healing process on campus, with the decision of Group of 88 member Paula McClain to run for chair of Duke’s Academic Council. A strong candidate with impeccable Duke credentials, Craig Henriquez, was willing to serve. (Henriquez, a professor of biomedical engineering, received his B.A., summa cum laude, and Ph.D. degrees from Duke.) He had taken no outspoken positions, one way or the other, on the lacrosse case.

Instead, Academic Council members narrowly elected McClain, a figure with minimal Duke connections. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Howard, and came to Duke only in 2000, as part of a wave of “diversity” hires championed by then-Dean Chafe.

McClain, it’s worth recalling, has done more than affix her signature to the Group of 88 and “clarifying” faculty statements.

  • When asked over the summer if she was willing to speak out publicly to urge due process for the Duke students targeted by Nifong, McClain answered succinctly: “No.”
  • When asked about Paul Haagen’s proposal to pair individual professors with athletic teams, to give the faculty a better sense of athletic life for Duke students, she told the N&O that “people are just aghast that it’s being considered.” To reiterate, McClain and her supporters were aghast not that the common-sense idea was adopted, but that an idea she didn’t like was considered. Was this a preview of the type of open-minded leadership that she’ll provide over the next two years?
  • McClain incorrectly asserted, in a summertime interview, that black faculty members never got to meet with a top administrator to discuss the lacrosse case, even though a University-prepared timeline of the administration’s actions indicated that President Brodhead himself met with black faculty on April 3 to discuss the incident.

While extraordinarily sensitive to perceived racial slights from the administration, McClain remained silent as her Group of 88 colleagues delivered racially inflammatory statements. She said nothing when Houston Baker issued a public letter that mentioned the players’ race, in a derogatory fashion, no fewer than 10 times. She stood aside as Grant Farred preposterously alleged a “secret racism” among Duke students. She had no rebuke as Karla Holloway sent out an e-mail containing unsubstantiated, fifth-hand, slanderous allegations against Duke students.

McClain’s presence as chairwoman of the Academic Council means that the Group of 88’s response to the lacrosse affair will remain alive for at least the next two years, since any position that she takes will have to be viewed in the context of her apparent desire to promote the most extreme aspects of the Group’s agenda.

Consider her celebrating the findings of the Campus Culture Initiative:

The reality is the world is changing, the country is changing, and we have to change. If Duke wants to remain competitive and remain a top-notch institution, it’s got to change with the times. Change is very difficult, especially for people who came through Duke years ago.

Quite beyond her condescending dismissal of Duke alumni, a critical aspect of the CCI’s proposals is the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative, the measure to require all Duke students to take a class that engages “the reality of difference in American society and culture.” The vast majority of these offerings are taught by . . . the Group of 88.

Take, for instance, McClain herself. Her website lists three undergraduate classes that she teaches:

  • Race and American Politics
  • Introduction to Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics
  • Race in Comparative Perspective

Each of these offerings would be included in the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative. So Academic Council Chairwoman McClain will use her position to champion the agenda of Group of 88 member McClain to boost the enrollment of classes taught by Professor McClain.

McClain’s narrow election suggested a peculiar tone-deafness among the Academic Council. It does not serve the best interests of either the faculty or the institution for the Council to be led by a figure whose statements and actions of the past 12 months have discredited her.

McClain did not respond to multiple e-mails requesting comment.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Three young men, lacrosse players, remain charged with crimes in the now-famous Nifong-Mangum-state of North Carolina rape hoax. Meanwhile, Duke continues to be embarrassed by its own professors.

Anonymous said...

Good-bye meritocracy, if the administration or trustees don't turn things around at Duke.

Lesser Idiot said...

Are these group of 88 professors tenured and unable to be fired for being idiots?

Lesser Idiot said...

Are these tenured professors?

Can they not be removed? Is there no hope?

Would anyone like to form a secret nation with me in the hills, Ayn Rand style?

eric said...

Gee

Its 12:40 am and professor McClain's syllabi site is still up.

Anonymous said...

What does not appear to have sunken in with many on this site is that DUKE is the source of the problem. It has been hiring and promoting such people for years and alums, students, et al said NOTHING. Now it all blows up and they cry "O sweet Duke, what are they doing to thee?" THEY ARE DUKE now!

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder how Duke expects to keep its endowments flowing, given the poor endowment rate of diversity alums.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Geez, KC, do you have that phrase on auto-type by now?

"....did not respond to multiple e-mails requesting comment."

Anonymous said...

Many of the 88 are tenured. Karla Holloway holds an endowed chair in the English Department. Longtime visiting associate professor Kim Curtis, who is being sued for grade retaliation by a lacrosse player, is not tenured. Her husband, however, is tenured in the Political Science Department.

Anonymous said...

you know academic politics is about as well known to me as sausage making so what I would like to know is is who is on the Academic Council? How does the slate of candidates get choosen? Is the election by secret ballot? For that matter what does the Academic council do?
I just imagine that Dr. McClain ran on the Know-Nothing party ticket and will answer "NO" to everything.. kind of like what you used to do to annoy your little brother.

Anonymous said...

to lesser nation: Hell no, we're not heading to the hills. That's what Mclain and the 88 want, literally and figuratively. Stay put and fight the fight of our culltural and academic lives.

Anonymous said...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258969,00.html

foxnews interview w/LAX coach

Anonymous said...

This is a part of the scapegoaters' fee - their pound of flesh. It's paid with the coin of power. The problems are; first, the power is being placed in the hands of people who are incapable of using it wisely; and second, power never satisfies - it just engenders a thirst for more; and third, it tends to reinforce in those who have obtained it the feeling that the tactics they used to obtain it are acceptable.

One final point - given the explicit agendas of those placed on, and in charge of, the CCI committees - didn't anyone who set it up realize that many of them had an absolute, inherent, and even explicit, conflict of interest? If a committee of a board of directors of a corporation were set up in this manner, it would arguably give rise to a cause of action in a shareholder suit.

Brand

Anonymous said...

We'll have to come up with a better term than "higher education" now. Is it any wonder we are getting our @$$ kicked in the scientific world? With clowns like G88 in charge, we'll reach rock bottom very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but the Herald Sun
today says NC state attorney general
and prosecutors visited Buchanan
house yesterday.

scott said...

Duke shows none of the signs of a sick patient wanting or taking action to recover. The logical position would have been to elect someone to the Academic Council that had not been such a public figure in the Nifong Scandal situation. Whether it was Henriquez or someone else, surely among the hundreds of Duke professors available, they would have found one that was worthy to serve that had maintained a modicum of objectivity in the events of the past year. By electing someone with McClain's "credentials" they are saying to the world "up yours".

Last night during the Duke - VCU tournament game, one of the commentators listed several accomplishments of the Duke basketball team under Coach K -- 3 national championships, many Final 4 appearances, something like 10 straight Sweet 16 appearances. Last night Duke lost in the first round to a # 11 seed. And the only reason they played a # 11 is because Duke got a gift by receiving a # 6 seed. Had they been rated by their performance this season and not by the record racked up over the last 20 years, Duke would have been the # 11 and should have played a legitimate # 6. The margin of the loss could then well have been a lot more than 2 points. I wonder if first round losses will become the future of Duke basketball, just one more sign of a deteriorating condition in the institution overall. Is Duke resting on its laurels in the academic side as well and will it ultimately see its position as a "prestigious" university eroded as it focuses on nonsense put forth by the likes of Chafe and McClain. Certainly, by electing McClain, the Academic Council has done nothing to indicate that Duke is on the road to recovery.

GPrestonian said...

12:40am Eric:

Its 12:40 am and professor McClain's syllabi site is still up.

Now 7:25am EDT, McClain commences to be offended that people are looking at her syllabi...

gak said...

I'm not an academic. So can somebody give me an idea as to how long it will take to run the school into the ground and what to look for?

gak

Richard Aubrey said...

The accusation of "racist" or "racism" is, about 99% of the time, bunk; a manipulative scam.
The problem for the race hustlers is that the emperor has been seen in increasingly skimpy outfits. More and more people are coming to understand that the charge is a lie.
The charge was supposed to put the accused on the defensive, to make him curl up in a ball of angst, appologizing for breathing and promising to self-censor any thoughts that might offend the accuser.
When people know that's the dance, it loses its effectiveness.
Even those who know it's a scam can still be cowed by it if they don't know that everybody else knows it's a scam.
"Of course it's a false accusation, but everybody will believe it of me anyway."
Well, hardly anybody believes it any more, in part because of excesses such as we see here.
Unfortunately, it appears the college professors and administrators still haven't figured out that the rest of us aren't going to buy any accusations of racism. They can do what they please, take the hit, and the rest of us aren't going to buy.
But they don't know that, or are too scared to risk it.
Too bad.

gak said...

I don't want to upset anybody by commenting off topic, but I found this very interesting

The Johnsville news is reporting

“Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Lacrosse case probe near end — The special prosecutors who took over the Duke University lacrosse case could be finished with their investigation in several weeks, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office said Thursday.”

What frightens me is this:

“The prosecutors spent part of the time in the backyard, taking some measurements between the back door and a rusty fence. . . .”

I seriously believe they are going to try to hang SOMETHING on the boys to mitigate the millions the state may be held accountable for in legal bills. This stinks.

Just thought it was worth pointing out

Anonymous said...

It gives me great pleasure as a regular Republican voter that every one of these G88s are card carrying Democrats.

xyz said...

McClain’s narrow election suggested a peculiar tone-deafness among the Academic Council. It does not serve the best interests of either the faculty or the institution for the Council to be led by a figure whose statements and actions of the past 12 months have discredited her.

More important than tone-deafness is the focus of the group of 88 on intense political activism. Sadly, they are willing to sacrifice the interests of the institution as a whole to their own private concerns. McClain's election by a hard-core minority (over a much stronger neutral candidate) greatly damages the Academic Council's primary role, to be the constructive voice of the Duke faculty. She will have a rough time, since she has little to no support among most faculty. (The voters in her election were 50 or so faculty "representatives", not the whole faculty.)

Anonymous said...

McClain and Chafe talk about moving on, but they are the last ones who want to do that. They are stuck on race, class, gender conflict, and are not willing to change. So, following her own maxim, they will have to be left behind.

Anonymous said...

McClain's election should be a wake-up call and reality-check for those here who think that this case can in any small way weaken the grip on power held by the Angry Studies mandarins.

I invite the readers here to consider another reality-check. Dinesh D'Souza wrote as a preface to his book "Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus" essentially that "the end is in sight" for the hegemonic Angry Studies power. http://www.dineshdsouza.com/books/illiberal-intro.html

That was 15 YEARS AGO.

We are at war for fairness and justice for whites and males on U.S. university campuses and, ladies and gentlemen, we aren't just losing, we're being crushed.

We are in an asymmetrical war -- all the power is on the side of the oppressors, as recent events at Duke should amply demonstrate. We need to recognize this fact. Until we realize how WEAK we are, we cannot even BEGIN to develop a strategy for fighting Angry Studies hegemony.

Anonymous said...

I'll go with you, lesser idiot. This world is being taken over by PC-obsessed lunatics. There was a story on the news last night about a school in England that changed the children's story "The Three Little Pigs" to "The Three Little Puppies" because they feared Muslims might be offended by the reference to pigs! Apparently the need for "cultural sensitivity" means that we must now avoid all mention of the word pig. Don't get me wrong; I'm completely in favor of people from all races and cultures treating each other with respect and sensitivity. But some people, including some tenured professors at Duke, seem to want to take the "sensitivity" thing to places where it really shouldn't go.

Anonymous said...

McClain said: "Change is very difficult, especially for people who came through Duke years ago."

Has McClain changed her views on the lacrosse events over the last 6 months, or is she stuck?

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable that Paula McClain thinks that the proper pedogogical response to a "changing world" is requiring students to take courses that engage "the reality of difference in American society and culture." I would argument that the addition of these course requirements makes Duke students less, not more, competitive in a variety of fields.

Frankly, there are three skills that college students need today that, by and large, they do not possess, even when graduating from top schools. First, sharp writing skills, often a function of analytic ability. Second, the ability to handle and analyze data quantitatively. Even if you are not going to make a career out of it, it sharpens your analytic skills that usually atrophy in G88-style classes. Third, the ability to function professionally in a foreign language. If you really want students to "engage difference," this is the moneyshot requirement. Many schools have requirements to take FL courses, but not to acheive a high level of proficiency. Of course, it is much more difficult for faculty to take FL courses (time, energy, resources), so it is unsurprising that this receives little attention.

These are the curriculum changes that would make Duke more competitive. Do away with the silly distributional requirements, the codes, the "engaging difference" nonsense, require students to have these three basic skills, and then let them major in whatever they want. At the very least, stop preaching this condescending bulls--t about how anyone that disagrees with your version of change must be living in the stone ages.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me that two decades after mandatory multicultural courses were so controversial and newsworthy that we have achieved no new ground. Of course, in the early 1990s, I don't recall the criticism that you rightly put forth, that they are doing this simply to boost their own enrollment, being offered. I suppose as an alumni of an institution with similarly out of touch profs, it amazes me that so many years after college I have moved past all of that nonsense and yet the professors remain, trapped in the amber of academia, putting forth the same arguments and self-justifications that they have for years and years and years and years.

Anonymous said...

The blame the degree of exploitation of these young men and the likely disintegration of the integrity of Duke lays squarely at the door step of a timid University President as well as ineffective Trustees.

They have lay the foundation for years to come of Duke's steady decline in status as an elite school.

There is no reason that these 88 people should not have been at least severely disciplined if not terminated.

Instead they are free to continue their worthless campus activities and place the University at risk.

Jon said...

Who votes for leadership of the Academic Council?

Anonymous said...

These people are liars. Truth has no meaning to these bigots. It is just horrible what people will put up with from this ilk. Have you no decency? Have you no shame?

Anonymous said...

Chafe's reaction to the hoax was one of the sickest.

All that business about how the white boys should be viewed the same as "white men {who} portrayed black women as especially erotic, more driven to sexual pleasure and expressiveness than white women."

A common reaction among the G88 was to project their own wierd world-view onto the alleged rape. In Chafe's case, he appears to ascribe his own fetishes to the Duke boys.

He didn't even bother wait to learn the facts; that the boys did not ask for black strippers. He just made his own assumptions and spilled out all these feelings deep inside of him.

Maybe that's the way Chase looks at black women, but he should keep that kind of thing to himself.

Rod Allison, Detroit

Anonymous said...

Kc/Professors,
How does Tenure actually work? There must be a means to remove people from work for behavior unbecoming to their profession, however that is defined. I understand the general idea behind tenure, however, I guess I don't understand what limitations it has? I can only imagine the political fallout if/when people like Kim Curtis get let go (I suspect the NAACP will go wild).
Crying racism in America still has a lot of clout, and until that can be reigned in, there will always be people like the G88 who want to use that to obtain power and status, as well as to intimidate people around them.
I can only hope there is some civil actions against many of these people (Kim Curtis I am sure is feeling the heat), if not simply to bring their bad behavior to a more public spotlight.

BDay...

scott said...

McClain said: "Change is very difficult, especially for people who came through Duke years ago."

My guess is that since no college, including Duke, had the nonsense that is dominant in the "Studies" classes in the curriculum, students years ago would run circles around the Duke students of today, especially when you include the rampant grade inflation that has taken place. We don't want to reduce anyone's self esteem or today's constant focus on entitlement, do we?

In education at all levels, 99% of the change that has taken place in the last 40 years has been for the worse.

The fact is, McClain and her ilk couldn't have made it as college professors in 1960.

Anonymous said...

where do you find a syllabi of Dr Mclain's class? I can find a synopsis at her web site.

Anonymous said...

Pretty solid representative of the University....she won't even respond to KC's emails. It is absolutely incredible that tenured professors run and hide from debate.

If you have a position you truly believe in you stand up and defend it. If not, you run and hide and ignore emails.

Lesser Idiot said...

If it makes you guys feel any better, I didn't experience any retard professors like this at Rice University. Send your kids there instead of Duke, its a similar school as far as difficulty of getting in and reputation goes....well, now the reputation is FAR better =)

Anonymous said...

gak (7:48) wrote: "I'm not an academic. So can somebody give me an idea as to how long it will take to run the school into the ground and what to look for?"

FWIW, I am a tenured professor (chem) at an Ivy League university. It is already manifestly clear that Duke just squandered its 2-decade (and generally successful) effort to prop itself as a plausible Ivy wanna-be. Given its tenuous grasp, however, it didn't take much at all for Duke to flush that away. More interesting is asseesing just how far (and fast) Duke will fall, at least in the eyes of academics (that is, *real* academics--not idiots like G88). My best guess is that Duke remains in something of a free-fall, though the trajectory has flattened a bit of late (after all, as my colleagues in physics tell me, once Duke's falling reputation hits terminal velocity it can't fall any faster).

What to look for? Just look at *precisely* what Duke is doing--*right now*. A classic, textbook example of how to destroy a university in real time. By allowing these venal, closed-minded morons free run of Duke, Brodhead and the Trustees have sealed Duke's fate for at least the short- to mid-term.

One final note: My department has already begun the process of "cherry-picking" the best-and-brightest from Duke's faculty. Not surprisingly, many serious Duke faculty are looking to escape. They can see more clearly than anyone that Duke is taking on water. The best of the faculty will flee so to not get wet themselves. And, as aderse selection theory predicts, when this is done playing out the only faculty left at Duke will be the losers who can't get out. Rest assured, the G88 and their ilk are now viewed as "radioactive" and no self-respecting university will touch them. They will remain Duke's problem for year.

duke09parent said...

I don't blame McClain too much for not responding to Prof. Johnson's emails. There's not much gain in it for her and probably high potential for looking foolish in print. If there is a faculty member at Duke that engaged her in a discussion of this, she should respond.

Since many Trinity graduates will be managers in their career paths, they will need to learn how to deal with people who hold views akin to the G88 and even less sophisiticated. It wouldn't hurt them to take a course in that "disclipline".

jim2 said...

In the gloom of evening, garish lights and huge placards of roadside motels lure in travelers who are shocked, in the morning light, to learn how seedy and disreputable the places really are.

The 88 seemed to have attained their positions by garish posturings and placards.

We need to keep the 88 and their agenda and curriculum in the light.

Anonymous said...

This group has no shame.

"Out of Touch" said...

Thank you Dr. McClain for bringing to my attention that we older alumni are "out of touch". After reviewing your syllabus, including courses offered,and KC Johnson's comments I am truly enlightened. How could anyone pay $40,000 a year to send a child to be taught racially discriminatory tripe by professors who have never apologized for their precipitous and erroneous rush to judgment about the three white lacrosse defendants.

gak said...

To Duke09Parent:

The Johnsville news posted this:
A few of the anonymous postings attacked Rud, so he wiped out all the responding posts and reposted his essay response to Amac, repeating the implication if not outright assertion that this case was an example of "simmering gang rape". Also, in his repost Rud included the link to a libelous website on Collin.

Do you have that website? I looked at his post to AMAC and couldn't find it. Thank you

gak

Locomotive Breath said...

How does Tenure actually work? There must be a means to remove people from work for behavior unbecoming to their profession, however that is defined.

In terms of job protection, tenure is not all it's cracked up to be. As a former Dean of mine used to remind us, tenure promises you a job but not a salary or an office. You can't fire a tenured prof on the spot but you can make them sufficiently unhappy that they'll leave voluntarily.

FWIW, I am a tenured professor (chem) at an Ivy League university. It is already manifestly clear that Duke just squandered its 2-decade (and generally successful) effort to prop itself as a plausible Ivy wanna-be.

See, here's the thing. Terry Sanford made Duke into a university with a unique national reputation as a not Ivy.

Unfortunately, Duke has had two Ivy castoffs in Keohane and Brodhead, who insist on trying to turn Duke into some pale imitation of an Ivy. Duke can't be an Ivy. It's been done. In trying to make Duke into an Ivy all the two most-recent Presidents have only succeeded in wrecking what was unique about Duke.

Anonymous said...

McClain and Holloway are co chairs of the Black Faculty Caucus.

Anonymous said...

GAK,
Your points are well taken.However,there may be other opportunities to cherry pick.Frankly,I don't understand why larry Summers-at the Staanford of the East-resigned.But he's been replaced by a Fuzzy of a high magnitude.Do you find any teension among the "angry studies " faculty and the more intellectual weighted disciplines,or do they not intercaqct?
Corwin

Anonymous said...

locomotive breath (11:14) correctly notes: "You can't fire a tenured prof on the spot but you can make them sufficiently unhappy that they'll leave voluntarily."

While certainly true, just not relevant in the Duke context. See, to make whacko-tenured profs. unhappy enough that they'll want to leave requires that university leaders (Deans, Provosts, Presidents, etc.) actually possess both common sense and some "brass." Neither are present at Duke, as best I can tell. Thus, the G88 are at Duke for the long haul. What an albatross for those who might actually care about Duke.

Anonymous said...

what I would like to know is is who is on the Academic Council? How does the slate of candidates get choosen? Is the election by secret ballot? For that matter what does the Academic council do?
I just imagine that Dr. McClain ran on the Know-Nothing party ticket and will answer "NO" to everything.. kind of like what you used to do to annoy your little brother.

Mar 16, 2007 5:55:00 AM


At Duke the Academic Council is the body that represents the faculty. At its best it makes recommendations to the administration and trustees for the benefit of the academic programs of the University. It holds some formal powers, such as the power to judge whether each student has met the criteria for the awarding of a degree. More significantly, in better times it has been quite influential in the thinking of what is best for the institution.

The academic council at Duke, similar to the faculty senate at many other places, is made up of representatives who are nominated and elected by the university faculty as a whole. At Duke, the election is by school or division, e.g., medical school, law school, engineering, arts and sciences. The total membership is about 90. The Chair of the Academic Council is elected by the council itself, not by the faculty as a whole.

The Chair has an important role in the university governance mechanism, but functions through influence, access, and persuasion, rather than any direct executive power.

As the Chair speaks for the whole faculty, McClain's election is unusual. Most of the time a person who has a better record of hearing all views and then speaking for the whole faculty is selected. Paul Haagen, the current chair, was selected in this way.

scott said...

duke09parent 10:18 AM said

Since many Trinity graduates will be managers in their career paths, they will need to learn how to deal with people who hold views akin to the G88 and even less sophisiticated. It wouldn't hurt them to take a course in that "disclipline".

There are various reasons why someone might want to take a course from the G88.

Your suggestion is reasonable because it presumes the attendee is doing so voluntarily. I'm not sure how much such a class would teach in terms of how to deal with these people, however. McClain, Lubiano, Chafe, Wood, et. al. have made it clear they do not want to deal with people who hold views outside their own (see Thomas Sowell - The Vision of the Anointed - for an excellent presentation of the destructive actions of people who think as they do). About the only value one might expect to receive from attending such a class is to be exposed to their ideas because normal people just don't come to these ideas naturally, and then figure out how not to become corrupted themselves.

Getting an easy "A" would be another reason (would-be attendees are cautioned that laughing out loud during class will likely subject them to severe grade penalties).

The bottom line is students should be free to choose to spend time in classes they select voluntarily. Requiring every Duke student to waste their time on this nonsense as a condition to graduate is not going to enhance Duke's deteriorating reputation in the aftermath of the Nifong Scandal.

Anonymous said...

McClain's election should be a wake-up call and reality-check for those here who think that this case can in any small way weaken the grip on power held by the Angry Studies mandarins.

I invite the readers here to consider another reality-check. Dinesh D'Souza wrote as a preface to his book "Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus" essentially that "the end is in sight" for the hegemonic Angry Studies power. http://www.dineshdsouza.com/books/illiberal-intro.html

That was 15 YEARS AGO.

We are at war for fairness and justice for whites and males on U.S. university campuses and, ladies and gentlemen, we aren't just losing, we're being crushed.

We are in an asymmetrical war -- all the power is on the side of the oppressors, as recent events at Duke should amply demonstrate. We need to recognize this fact. Until we realize how WEAK we are, we cannot even BEGIN to develop a strategy for fighting Angry Studies hegemony.

WhyteRain said...

Ivy League Professor (10:09) says that "this scandal means Duke can never rise to the level of the Ivys"? Didn't the President of Harvard just get ousted for suggesting that men may be naturally better than women at math? Hell, this scandal RAISES Duke to Ivy-level, from what I can see.

(Btw, you Ivy women, here's a bit of news: Men are better than women at athletics, too. I can say that because my job doesn't depend on the love of Ivy League faculty -- which is substantially identical to that at Duke.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, the Black Caucus. I guess there should be a caucus for every race and ethnic group on campus. Diversity or divisiveness? Did the black caucus vote as a block to put McClain in as head of the Academic Council? There are enough political problems on campuses without having to add race to the mix.

Anonymous said...

Locomotive Breath said: See, here's the thing. Terry Sanford made Duke into a university with a unique national reputation as a not Ivy. Unfortunately, Duke has had two Ivy castoffs in Keohane and Brodhead, who insist on trying to turn Duke into some pale imitation of an Ivy. Duke can't be an Ivy. It's been done. In trying to make Duke into an Ivy all the two most-recent Presidents have only succeeded in wrecking what was unique about Duke.

I agree completely with LB. The Trustees need to look beyond Ivy credentials when choosing presidents. Duke has so much to offer, and it is losing its uniqueness as it seeks to emulate the worst aspects of the Ivies. It's sad the those in power at Duke salivate over the inflated reputations of the Ivies. I've felt for many years that Duke has tried to be too trendy (i.e. Stanley Fish)

duke09parent said...

gak,

I went back to Rud's "Essai" and lo and behold the link is gone. It was in the passage as follows:

"Check out some of the accounts of the incident, particularly what was said about the strippers by those present, and also what has been said subsequently on at least one other site I have seen. [website reference now omitted]The comments there reveal much about this culture of violence, IMHO, as well as a lack of civility rampant in many internet forums."

When Rud did his erase I tried sent him two comments of protest, one that the repeated association of the case with a culture of sex and violence, now unapposed, was an outrage, and two that putting a link in to a libelous website might subject himself to liability for republishing it. I suggested he seek legal counsel. I did get a direct email from him saying he didn't have any such liability, that I missed his point and he would have no further communication with me since I didn't pay close enough attention to what he was writing. Funny that even though he thought he was fine with putting the link up, he later removed it.

I have not been able with a little looking to find that website on Collin. It had his name in the address. It totally misccharacterizes what happened in the D.C. case, which is why I thought it was libelous. I might be wrong on that point with the new libel laws and the internet. Rud was right about that site and the incivility of the commenting posters, though, from both sides.

Anonymous said...

To: Locomotive Breath @ 11:14am
From: Duke Prof.

You just hit on a critical feature of the current "cultural clash" at Duke. It is not discussed much in public, but the main difference IS between those who see Duke as unique and those who think that it has a future at the top only as an Ivy clone. This clash needs not be nasty, and in fact the debate has been generally civil.

I have an Ivy background myself and frankly see no future for a Duke that simply imitates the Ivy model. When I joined Duke I had my own learning period to go through to fully appreciate its uniqueness and the potential that goes with it. The problem is that too many people -- even with PhDs! -- lack the ability to imagine things differently from what they experienced in graduate school or previous employment.

This problem pre-dates the Lax case and always comes up in discussions concerning the events of the last year and what really motivates the 88 and other people whoe are less obsessed with race but share the vision of Duke as a new Ivy. It is an issue of long-term strategy and identity that goes way beyond the Lax case, race-gender-class, or what you here like to call angry studies.

The colleague from an Ivy school (10:09am) raised issues that seriously worry us, as we are painfully aware of the mechanism at work. I can only say that with the awarness also comes the will and ability to fight back. We also know where the skeletons in the closet are at the Ivies. A good part of our success over the last decades stems from raiding them when the opportunity arose. (I leave the humanities out of this assessment because there we had too many successes that we are coming to regret...)

There is a delicate balance that officials and faculty need to strike in fighting this fight. Do no think that most of us appear quiet because of fear of the 88 and their ilk. There is a lot going on here that is not done in a theatrical way precisely because doing so defeats the purpose. Also, people tend to act in accordance with their true character: the majority of the faculty here -- particularly those who think of themselves as scientists -- do not have a natural disposition to engage in antics.

Gary Packwood said...

Diversity with McClain Heading Up Academic Council

Well, there is always hope.

If Professor McClain is really that dedicated to the concept of diversity including diversity of thought, ideas and practices...now is the time to implement real diversity programming at Duke instead of just talking about it.

Lets move the faculty academic council meetings to one of the larger auditoriums (there are many) and bring in the IT people to broadcast the entire meeting via streaming video to the computer terminals on each faculty members desk...for those faculty who can not actually attend the meeting.

Everyone on the faculty ...is invited to attend council meetings

For those faculty members in their offices watching the meeting, they could type out questions and comments from their terminals which would then be screened by the academic council for inclusion in the discussions.

Everyone gets a copy of the minutes via e-mail attachment.

Executive sessions will following the same rule they have now. If you are not on executive council, the time to leave is now ... while we turn off the cameras for remote access.

Now, that action would speak to the issue of diversity .... in a way that is loud and clear.

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 4:11

Said...There is a delicate balance that officials and faculty need to strike in fighting this fight. Do no think that most of us appear quiet because of fear of the 88 and their ilk.

Very helpful comment and observations. Thank You.

Some believe that just about everything with a price tag in America has a product life cycle.

You suppose the product life cycle for the Ivies is about to come to an end?

I wonder if the students care much anymore? Any research on that issue?

The only thing I have learned over the years with respect to education is that universities must somehow learn to work with members of the larger communitiy to help solve human problems.

If large universities can't pull off collaborating as equal partners with organizations in the community, I believe that there will be a national movement to separate universities from the tax exemptions afforded their endowments.

If I can ever help let me know.

Anonymous said...

To: Gary Packwood
From: Duke Prof.

You asked: "You suppose the product life cycle for the Ivies is about to come to an end?"

It might not be coming to an end but it is surely possible to challenge their near monopoly, in particular because they have become complacent in some crucial aspects of undergraduate education. They know this. Larry Summers argued -- and acted on this very belief, until they kicked him out -- that complacency is the downside risk at Harvard.

Duke is a potential challenger, if we do things right. There are several universities in the rest of the world, especially the UK, that already offer undergraduate education competitive with the Ivies.

In the modern global economy a thriving top university must think in terms of the world, not just its home country. If going the Ivy way means emphasizing US-centered disciplines like angry studies, that's a losing strategy. Someone on this blog pointed out the importance of foreign language proficiency and exposure to foreign cultures as a critical part of a cutting-edge education. I cannot agree more. Duke has worked hard to move in that direction over the last decades. That's what going global means to most of us.

The same debate goes on at the Ivies, I assure you: they know all too well the environment modern universites operate in and the potential tension between the research and teaching missions. Summers's point at Harvard was precisely that the research mission was starting to conflict with the teaching mission.



You also ask: "I wonder if the students care much anymore? Any research on that issue?"

My sense is that at Duke they do. And, again, at Harvard they were the main supporters of Summers's efforts.




You say: "The only thing I have learned over the years with respect to education is that universities must somehow learn to work with members of the larger communitiy to help solve human problems."

Yes, and this is why the subject matter of angry studies is not necessarily the problem. The current dominant approach in the humanities is. Fields who strive to be rigorous and/or scientific do not run into this sort of problem because the methodology forces one to subordinate ideological priors to evidence and logic. Folks in the social sciences study race-gender-class with rigor and data and do not produce the same sort of ideology-laden stuff.



You also say: "If large universities can't pull off collaborating as equal partners with organizations in the community, I believe that there will be a national movement to separate universities from the tax exemptions afforded their endowments."

I cannot think of a single administrator at Duke who's not aware of this. The challenge is to strike the balance among constituencies within the university and between the university and the outside world. I believe Duke has been successful in the past at achieving this and will likely be successful in the future as well.

We are living through difficult times and there is substantial downside risk. However, the core of the faculty is healthy and, in my opinion, by sticking to our teaching and research mission, and refraining from theater, we are doing the right thing to ensure that we move forward.