Tuesday, March 30, 2010

academic freedom is a core principle of higher education, but

Buchanan said academic freedom is a core principle of higher education, but with that comes a "commensurate dose of responsibility."

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has canceled a speech by former 1960s radical William Ayers after it raised hundreds of objections from citizens and politicians over the man who became an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.In a statement released by the university, UW President Tom Buchanan supported the decision to cancel Ayers.

It's hardly a compelling endorsement of academic principles when it shudders under a subsidiary clause like "a commensurate dose of responsibility"

Is it responsibility to buckle to the mob. Is it responsibility not to consider any voices or opinions that are not the generally accepted opinions? Is it responsibility to not listen to voices that might offend? Someone with a checkered past? Rules out a lot of political voices. Someone with a different political or philosophical perspective. Clears out a lot of religious underbrush.

Is that the the lesson that UW wants to teach it's students. Don't question the conventional wisdom. No redemption is possible, anyone who has been the victim of a public smear campaign regardless of any other merit cannot be tolerated. Smells like capitulation to the loudest voice in the mob.

So you offer pious platitudes and reveal yourself as hiding under the skirt of the politically flexible UW Social Justice Research Center, invitation withdrawn. Aren't you the fortunate one. Hide behind the fig leaf and pretend that you are responding to something other than the voice of the mob. Just pretend.

Americans just don't need any institutions that dare stand up to the noisy mob. No outsider ideas need apply. Conventional wisdom's just fine by you eh? Thanks for making that clear.

Richard W. Spisak