A first-rate editorial from the Chronicle on John Burness’ retirement; as usual, the editorial page hits all the right points. Elliot Wolf offers his personal reflections on the op-ed page. Both columns are worth reading in full.
Several Group of 88 members are back in the news, providing concrete examples what Group defender Prasad Kasibhatla has termed the “mainstream voices of reason” on Duke’s campus.
In a column criticizing Bill Cosby’s critique of black parental culture, Karla Holloway seems to exhibit a belief in “free speech for me, not for thee”: “Instead of addressing how racial biases have hindered our children’s potential,” she writes, “Cosby’s exhortations solidify the association between race and achievement. I think it is time for us to hear less from
Meanwhile, in a Duke News Service press release noticed by Jon Ham at Right Angles, AAAS professor Anne-Marie Makhulu speaks about her area of scholarly expertise—witchcraft:
“When people say they believe in magical forces, they believe in magic that can make the world equal and just in circumstances where it’s not,” Makhulu said. For some, “witchcraft is about recuperating what is ethical, just and moral.”
“We need enchantment in our lives because our world has become disenchanted,” Makhulu said. “We need faith that promises something bigger and better than what we have.”
Of course, Makhulu has every right to her political belief that “our world has become disenchanted.” But professors need to be wary of allowing their political agenda to shape how they approach their area of scholarly expertise.
And, from the archives, a DIW reader noted a 2001 profile of Houston Baker—a figure who, wrote Emily Eakin of the New York Times, had “a full-time assistant, a plush office and the ear of deans and administrators. And yet, as Mr. Baker sees it, in some ways he has more in common with the black inmates in
Finally, some interesting comments from And Smith provided a poignant, if accurate, summary: “I think a small part of the public understands (the seriousness of what happened) and those closest to the university know. But most people don’t understand the impact. Those guys had to leave school. They had to postpone their educations and not play sports. Reade Seligmann’s a good friend of mine. His girlfriend was at school, but he wasn’t allowed to be around campus. Anytime somebody’s accused of something there’s always going to be some doubt, regardless of what the outcome is. They’re always going to be known as the accused lacrosse players, and it’s something they’ll have to carry around a long time.