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Ed Driscoll

Oh, That Higher Education Bubble

April 8th, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Now is the time at Ed Driscoll.com when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals style:

It is one of the touchiest, most inflammatory subjects I know, and if you get into it, you will be accused of McCarthyism, for sure. No problem. I’m talking about American liberals and their relationship with the violent Left. The subject has come up again because of Kathy Boudin: Columbia has hired her as an adjunct professor; NYU has made her a scholar-in-residence.

She is, of course, a Weather Underground terrorist, and largely unrepentant, as far as I can tell. Susan Rosenberg was, and is, unrepentant too.

I wrote about Rosenberg early in 2001, because of what President Clinton did: In the waning hours of his presidency, he granted clemency to both her and Linda Sue Evans. He did not do the same for Kathy Boudin. Maybe he regarded that as a bridge too far? Anyway, my piece is called “Clinton’s Rosenberg Case,” here.

In this period, I thought long and hard about liberals and leftist terror. Bill Clinton, the editors of the New York Times, the English department at Amherst College: They would never kill policemen. They would never blow up young people as they danced at Fort Dix. But they would be tender toward those who do, wouldn’t they? Haven’t they?

Bob Tyrell had a name for certain people he observed in college: “coat-and-tie liberals.” They were not the scruffy radicals, who were naked in their aims. They were respectable, but they were not far off in their thinking from the radicals. Perhaps they considered the radicals purer, in a way?

“The Weathergal’s a perfessor, &c.,” Jay Nordlinger at NRO today.

“Sigh: George Washington University students attempt to oust priest after discovering he’s Catholic.”

Mary Katharine at Hot Air, also today, who adds, “Mind you, this is the same university where Anwar al-Awlaki was a chaplain, but sure, Fr. Greg is what causes them to reevaluate their vetting of religious figures.”

And while we’re on the topic of the Higher Education Bubble, don’t miss “The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World,” at the Wall Street Journal:

One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially “diversity”—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class. That’s where the dispute begins.

In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer’s announcement: “I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons,” said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills’s telling. During Mr. Mills’s next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin’s “misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.” At the end of the round, the college president told the students, “I walked off the course in despair.”

Word of the speech soon got to Mr. Klingenstein. Even though he hadn’t been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: “He didn’t like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.”

The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that “I explained my disapproval of ‘diversity’ as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference,” coupled with “not enough celebration of our common American identity.”

For this, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, Bowdoin’s president insinuated that he was a racist. And President Mills did so, moreover, in an address that purported to stress the need for respecting the opinions of others across the political spectrum. “We are, in the main, a place of liberal political persuasion,” he told the students, but “we must be willing to entertain diverse perspectives throughout our community. . . . Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission.” Wrote Mr. Klingenstein: “Would it be uncharitable to suggest that, in a speech calling for more sensitivity to conservative views, he might have shown some?”

After the essay appeared, President Mills stood by his version of events. A few months later, Mr. Klingenstein decided to do something surprising: He commissioned researchers to examine Bowdoin’s commitment to intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. This week, some 18 months and hundreds of pages of documentation later, the project is complete. Its picture of Bowdoin isn’t pretty.

Read the whole thing.

Related: John Boot on “The 4 Most Outrageous Lies in Robert Redford’s New Pro-Terrorist Movie,” elsewhere at PJM.

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