From: McNall, ScottSent: Monday, November 09, 2009 12:15 PMTo: All Faculty (restricted); All Staff (restricted)Subject: FW: Mileage Requirement AnnouncementCalifornia State University, Chico has been recognized nationally for its efforts in sustainability. In 2007 President Zingg was among a small group of campus presidents who took the initiative and signed the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In the spring of 2007 the University updated its Strategic Plan for the Future and introduced a new strategic priority, grounded in the core values of the campus, which recognized the need to prepare students for the challenges they will face in balancing economic, environmental, and social problems. We want them to be informed, environmentally literature citizens. To do this, we need to model the behavior we hope to see in our students and assure that the built environment, the social environment, and the intellectual life of the campus present an integrated understanding of sustainability and, when possible, solutions.We need to be mindful of our activities and we need to measure them to know if we are making progress toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level set by California in SB 32, and in the goals set forth by the new administration in Washington. In the past, we have not focused on collecting data on campus transportation, which is a key component in all measures of greenhouse gas emissions.New travel guidelines will go into effect on January 1, 2010. We are fortunate that the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will collect the necessary travel data and provide information for reporting purposes. We will ask you to record some simple information, which has always been available. For example, we will want to know the actual air mileage flown, and we will want car rental mileage, use of personal vehicles for reimbursed university business, miles traveled in a taxi, miles traveled by rail, etc. We appreciate your patience in using new Travel Expense Claim available on the State Travel Accounting web site at www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel <http://www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel> , and helping the campus to achieve its goal of being a national leader in sustainability.
I was not entirely sure what Scott McNall meant by "mileage" (does he refer only to university business-related travel or all travel, including personal?), so I emailed him to ask. He answered that the new travel requirements are "only to those trips for the university for which people claim reimbursement--all business related." This is reassuring - at least CSU-Chico isn't requiring employees to document mileage for their family trips to Hawaii or Hong Kong. But this compulsion to tally up miles and calculate carbon footprints can be a slippery slope. Could it lead to restrictions on personal travel? I have it on good authority that Scott McNall lives 12-14 miles from campus and does not bike to work... See also: http://www.claremontconservative.com/2009/11/travel-to-and-from-school-next-thing-to.html
Thomas Thibeault, a professor of English at East Georgia College, was escorted from campus by police and suspended from teaching two days after he criticized the school's sexual harassment policy for lack of protection for the falsely accused. It appears that after voicing his concerns about the policy, he himself was falsely accused of sexual harassment. FIRE took on the case and now reports that East Georgia College has reinstated Thibeault after finding no evidence of sexual harassment. FIRE says that the case is "far from over," as EGC president John B. Black has engaged in new abuses of freedom. Greg Lukianoff said in a press release:
President Black has added to his blatant abuses of power by reprimanding Professor Thibeault for his speech, but never bothering to mention precisely what his offense was. Black has already retaliated against Thibeault by informing him that his contract would not be renewed after the spring semester. The bullying tactics at this college are breathtaking.
FIRE has enabled readers to take action and write to President Black and the Board of Regents by completing this form. NAS will be watching this case. SEE ALSO: NAS's statement on Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom
Peter Wood's piece on the speech by Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg elucidates an interesting point. The academic left loves to talk about how most of America has a backward, irrational aversion to "The Other" -- people who are "different." That's mostly hogwash, but it's evident that people like Rosenberg have their own backward and irrational aversion. For them, "The Other" consists of people who don't share their faith in the ability of the government to solve all our socio-economic problems. Just as we non-leftists are assumed to wish to keep our distance from "different" people, academic leftists do keep their distance from what they regard as an ignorant, malevolent mob of town hall shouters who reject the plans of their intellectual betters to make the country more just. Rosenberg says he's for openness, but he'd much rather keep those unpleasant people and their foolish opinions away.
Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg models the new face of political correctness in his convocation speech “What Am I Doing Here?” Peter Wood takes a close look at the speech in "'Collective Certainty' at Work," at NAS.org. He finds that not only does the president's false "openness to views that are different from one’s own" disserve Macalester, it also provides a glimpse into the spirit of campus political correctness:
It seems to us that President Rosenberg’s speech has value beyond Macalester College as an unusually vivid display of the arrogance and hypocrisy of the academic left in full flood. He knows the right things to say, and he says them. And then he reassures his audience that they really don’t matter. Diffidence about expressing political views, considerate attention to disfavored ideas, and wariness toward the tyranny of the majority are all nice—but we needn’t let them get in the way of our main agenda.
Peter Wood's article, "Never Waste a Good Cliché," ponders the reasons college presidents sign their institutions up for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in their eagerness to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. He imagines 4 possibilities:
A. They aren’t very deep thinkers. They just like the sound of “sustainability,” and enjoy being in front of a popular cause. B. They are cynics. They see where the movement is headed but calculate that it is to their advantage to play along. C. They are true believers. They know sustainability aims at radical, even utopian transformation of human society and they are all for it. D. They are gamblers. They understand the sustainability movement has an extremist element, but they see themselves as capable of drawing what is good from it without getting trapped in its craziness.
Peter cites a letter by the president of Hamilton College, whose rhetoric is so blandly superficial, she seems to go in category A.