Friday, September 28, 2007

Line of the Day

During the Friendly roundtable, Duke Law Dean David Levi, playing the role of chancellor, was asked what he would have done upon learning from police of an investigation of sexual assault against one of his school's students.

His reply? "I'd cal Jim Coleman."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The injustices aside, with all that has transpired at Duke, and now Cornell and Vanderbilt, it begs the larger question: Just who's school is it, anyway? The faculty's? The Board of Trustees? How about the students, or alumni?

Ask the alumni at Dartmouth.

Anonymous said...

Great question - What is the answer? The faculty are employees -The students are consumers - Maybe the BOT alumni and regular alumni?

Anonymous said...

Smart man !

Anonymous said...

Very few people look smarter the more closely they are scrutinized. Prof. Coleman appears to be one of the exceptions.

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 2:22 said...

...The injustices aside, with all that has transpired at Duke, and now Cornell and Vanderbilt, it begs the larger question: Just who's school is it, anyway? The faculty's? The Board of Trustees? How about the students, or alumni?
...Ask the alumni at Dartmouth.
::
That is such an important question and I believe the alumni at Dartmouth are responding with a good healthy dose of fear that they better decide now who is in responsible.

I would suggest that two-thirds of adult Americans are sitting patiently waiting for the 'rich smart' people with monster university endowments in the Billions of dollars ...to shoot themselves in the foot for everyone's entertainment.

The Duke University buildings sit on land that is owned by someone or some group and that is where I would begin my search for the answers to the question ...Just who's school is it, anyway?
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Do the universities and colleges of this country belong to all of us? The citizens of this country have a vested interest in the education of our next generation of leaders, doctors, business people, etc. If so, how do we hold these institutions accountable for their performance?

kbp said...

Brilliant!!

;)

Bob H. said...

Since we're on the subject of ponderous questions, a term is used quite frequently on this board, and it really needs to questioned. In light of all the rot uncovered at Duke, the apparent disregard of objective academic standards of performance at places like Cornell, Vanderbilt, Columbia and, I suspect many other schools, just what the f is a so-called "elite university"?

Steven Horwitz said...

Boards of Trustees have the fiduciary responsibility for colleges and universities. Whether that makes them "owners" is perhaps a different question. They are, if nothing else, the stewards.

Faculty tend to think that we are "owners" or at least that we are the major stakeholders mostly because:

1. We are the ones who do the up-close educational work with students, for the most part.

2. With tenure, we're likely to be at the institution longer than anyone else, hence we tend to argue that we have the institution's longer run interest at heart.

Whether any of the above is *true* is a debatable question. It is certainly true that this is how BoTs are charged and the way faculty talk.

inman said...

steven horwitz @ 9:54

I think I understand your argument. But let's refer to prior discourse that posited the notion that tenured faculty could be isolated from the University community. You correctly pointed out that many faculty would view this as a reward, not a punishment.

But that view directly contradicts your position in:

"1. We are the ones who do the up-close educational work with students, for the most part."

So if a faculty member is banished to permanent research status, according to your formula, they would no longer be "owners" or major stakeholders. Further, if banished, then the faculty member -- at least to certain extent -- ceases to be vested in the welfare of the insitution.

If so, then the act of banishment of a tenured faculty member can serve the interests of the academy as a whole. A banished faculty member would retain tenure, but would no longer have the right to interact with students. They would have right to pursue research, and God willing, they would produce something that is worthy of praise. If so, then the decision to banish them (i.e. to reward them with the solitude to pursue their research) will have been prescient. If they produce nothing, then students will have been protected from a failure, if not a fraud.

This is somewhat of a win-win scenario ... no downside ... but it would certainly protect students from agenda driven research and teachings.

With respect to your #2: Longevity sometimes solidifies failed views and policies. Longevity, in and of itself, is not an appropriate measure. The long run interests of an institution that is corrupt may in fact be the continuation of corruption. A corrupt faculty of long tenure, one that has a world view that favors mass genocide, for example, should not be considered a "steward" however one wants to define the term.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Professor Coleman wants the job but he should be Duke President.

Anonymous said...

My vote for Duke President is Dr. Condelezza Rice.

Thank about it.