Friday Frenemies

Ashley Thorne

Lesboprof Weighs In on NAS Quote

Peter Wood’s quotes in yesterday’s Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed articles got picked up by an unlikely fan, a blogger who goes by Lesboprof. Lesboprof was incensed that the Chronicle article “was incredibly lame and read like an NAS press release.” Lesboprof was shocked at the never-before-heard-by-her implication that academics could be anti-intellectual. In her opinion, the article made Cary Nelson sound too radical and Peter Wood too credible. We didn’t get that impression. But we appreciate the shout-out from Lesboprof.


Churchill and Ayers Together

 Last night, Bill Ayers and Ward Churchill spoke at a rally at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The lecture was called “Forbidden Education and the Rise of Neo-McCarthyism.” Ayers, founder of the terrorist group Weather Underground, defended Churchill, who was fired from UC Boulder for academic misconduct and whose civil lawsuit against the University goes to trial on Monday. After Churchill wrote in an essay that 9/11 victims were “little Eichmanns,” controversy prompted the University to begin an investigation that ultimately led to the radical professor’s dismissal.

A student group called Students for True Academic Freedom supported the event. Smith, a recent CU graduate and member of the group, said that the speakers’ purpose was to “put [Churchill’s] case into the political context of an attack on academic freedom on a national scale.” True academic freedom? Hmm...

We tend to agree with Andrew Crown, a junior at the University:

“Professors are not hired to espouse radical beliefs,” Crown said. “Their primary responsibility is to further research in their field and educate the minds of tomorrow. What (Churchill) did crossed that line.

“It’s not academic freedom, it’s indoctrination.”

Of course, Churchill was fired not for his unusual opinions but for having falsified his credentials and having committed other forms of academic misconduct. According to the Denver Post, during the question/answer time after the lecture, Mr. Crown asked Churchill “why professors should be able to hide behind the shield of tenure when the same misconduct in a corporation would lead to termination.” Part of Churchill’s answer was, “The same reason you cannot pull a judge out because you do not like his rulings.” We hope Mr. Churchill will keep this wisdom in mind after Monday’s trial.


College Institutes Social Justice Core

From Inside Higher Ed today, we learned that Cabrini College, a Roman Catholic institution in Philadelphia, is launching a new core curriculum highlighting "Engagements with the Common Good," a series of required courses on social justice. Cabrini, which already offers a social justice minor, initiated the curriculum in order to instill in students a disposition toward service learning, ethical consciousness, critical thinking, and a lifestyle of social activism. In thinking about how it will measure the program’s success, the college faces difficulty. Charlie McCormick, dean of academic affairs said, “We’ve looked at the Defining Issues Test, which looks at moral reasoning; we’ve looked at empathy assessments. We’re not completely pleased with any of those." How will Cabrini quantify students’ progress to a social justice curriculum? By their receptiveness to a pedagogy based on self-awareness? By their enthusiasm to become activists? This will be one program to keep an eye on.


50 and Fabulous

Barbie® turns 50 this month. Last year we contrasted the wholesome American Girl dolls to Barbie, “with her improbable anatomy and more vapid consumerism.” But Barbie, unlike the American Girls, grows up. She goes to college, as evidenced by her dorm room playset and campus spirit cheerleading outfit (the M is probably for Mattel, not Michigan). Ken is even more ambitious—he enrolls in business school, where he taps at an old-fashioned typewriter and wears a preppy green and brown plaid jacket. And we notice Barbie also pursuing various careers – she divides her time as a doctor, a teacher, a McDonalds employee, and more.

But how did she get into college in the first place? NAS has come into possession of one of her college applications. Here, for the first time:

Tell us about a situation where you have not been successful and what you have learned from the experience.
I once tried to stand up. My feet, pinched to tiptoes for wearing high heels, just couldn’t support my well-endowed top half, and I fell over on my face (how embarrassing!). I have learned that I am better off safely twisty tied in my box. Or lounging by my pool.

What can you contribute to a multi-cultural world?  
That’s easy. I can be any race or gender you like.

What book has most influenced you? 
Definitely Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding.  It’s amazing. But I also like American Plastic: A Cultural History

If you are admitted, what do you think you can contribute to the education of your classmates?

I am the most diverse person I know, so first I will bring diversity to my classmates. I have often been told I am role model for young women, and I take that responsibility seriously. With that in mind, I would like to become a cheerleader or valedictorian. I am sure I can improve the social life on campus. I know celebrity students bear a special burden to present the college in a good light. So one thing I will do is help others see that I am really just like them, only prettier and with a nicer wardrobe. I’d like to lead the sustainability movement too. Hardly anyone is as sustainable as me. I’m not even biodegradable!


Articles of the Day

 Sustaining Idiocy

By Mark D. Tooley,

On global warming alarmism


By David Thompson, David Thompson Blog

On how the truth doesn’t really matter. Takeaway quote: “The longer I work on climate change, the less important I think it is whether or not the warmists or the sceptics are right.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan: More Time in School

The Juggle, Wall Street Journal Blog

On keeping students in the classroom longer to improve academic performance

Students Springing Into Excess

By Nancy Dunham, DC Examiner

On spring break as a cultural rite of passage

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