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Ed Driscoll

Curmudgeon v. Thought Police

April 22nd, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Charles Murray pens “An open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University” at the American Enterprise Institute Website:

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”

You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it. Don’t be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources. Explore for yourself the “full range” of my scholarship and find out what it is that I’ve written or said that would hurt your faculty or students of color. It’s not hard. In fact, you can do it without moving from your chair if you’re in front of your computer.

You don’t have to buy my books. Instead, go to my web page at AEI. There you will find the full texts of dozens of articles I’ve written for the last quarter-century. Browse through them. Will you find anything that is controversial? That people disagree with? Yes, because (hang on to your hats) scholarship usually means writing about things on which people disagree.

Read the rest at the AEI Institute’s Website. As it happens, I interviewed Murray today regarding The Curmudgeon’s Guide, which I loved; and having read his open letter this morning, I asked him about being censored by Azusa Pacific. Here’s a quick transcription of that portion of the interview:

DRISCOLL: As I was prepping for this interview, I came across your “open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University.” Could you discuss what happened there?

MURRAY: I was going to go speak to them tomorrow; actually going to being talking about Curmudgeon’s Guide. This has been in my calendar for a couple of months, and I have discovered as of yesterday afternoon, that they have decided my appearance should be “postponed,” on account of needing more time to for a “review” of my “full scholarship.”

Well.

The Thought Police have struck again. So I decided that I would vent a little bit regarding that. So I did an open letter that I posted on AEI’s Ideas Page, it’s blog. I had a lot of fun writing it, by the way.

DRISCOLL: Do you think that “postponement” is a euphemism for cancelled?

MURRAY: [Laughs.] Yeah. It is definitely is, and I will also say that they may think that they’ve postponed it, but I certainly don’t look at it that way. I think that the administration behaved in that kind of way which most irritates me.

Ed, the degree of cowardice, just plain, simple cowardice in academia is unbelievable.

Look for the rest of my interview with Charles Murray in about a week or so with audio and transcript. In the meantime, the incident he describes dovetails perfectly with Glenn Reynolds’ latest USA Today column, titled, “Toss out abusive college administrators:”

Like most professors, I hate doing administrative work. And since somebody has to do it, universities have increasingly built up a corps of full-time administrators. That’s fine, but lately, the administrative class has grown too numerous and too heavy-handed. As colleges and universities increasingly face financial pressures, it’s time to rethink.

Full-time administrators now outnumber full-time faculty. And when times get tough, schools have a disturbing tendency to shrink faculty numbers while keeping administrators on the payroll. Teaching gets done by low-paid, nontenured adjuncts, but nobody ever heard of an “adjunct administrator.”

But it’s not just the fat that is worrisome. It’s administrators’ obsession with — and all too often, abuse of — security that raises serious concerns. At the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Clyde W. Barrow, a leading professor, has just quit, complaining of an administration that isolates itself from students and faculty behind keypads and security doors.

Read the whole thing, to coin an Insta-phrase.

Earlier: Punks, Meet the Godfather.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Our daughter is a junior at APU. Unfortunately, even at Christian schools the PC administrators now rule, in general. Freedom of speech on campus is curtailed as the author of this article notes. Similar to this is my old alma mater, Westmont College. About 5 yrs. ago, some former student that was a homosexual wrote to the school paper & explained how hurt he was by others while attending school there. Most of the students bent over backwards to ask for pardon on this issue. They were sorry they made him feel "uncomfortable," etc. Me? I was totally disgusted with the PC reaction. After all, this IS a Christian college. Anyone that has read the Bible knows that homosexuality is strongly condemned. If this homosexual wanted his agenda agreed to & his life style confirmed, he should have gone to a secular school NOT a Christian school. In general, I am completely disgusted at the lack of freedom even at Christian colleges. I guess that they are just trying to keep up with their secular friends like UCSB or UC Bezerkley. Nuff said!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
scholarship usually means writing about things on which people disagree

Virtually always. Even Einstein's stuff was rejected by the then powers that were.

Ed, the degree of cowardice, just plain, simple cowardice in academia is unbelievable.

The traditional academy is an odd balance of free-thinking and low-key preservation. It may be that on careful examination, universities are less progressive overall than most think, new ideas have to catch on outside the university before they are supported inside the university. Academic research must be quiet and obscure to be supported, and this has always been the case.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Academic research must be quiet and obscure to be supported, and this has always been the case."

Really? Upon what evidence do you base this assertion? Not long ago the premier universities prided themselves on peer-reviewed research, then trumpeted that research in journals.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly, the administrative rot has permeated K-12 as well.
Seems that bad teachers don't leave the profession, just teaching. Having failed or simply because they detest either the work or the children themselves they migrate into cushy administrative jobs then structure the organization to maximize their perks and benefits at the expense of the actual teachers and students.
Bursting of our current education bubble at all levels cannot occur soon enough for me.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just like Brandeis University and Hirsi Ali. To quote John Podhoretz: Gutless, spineless cowards.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yale University Press published an entire book about the Mohammed cartoon controversy and REFUSED to include the cartoons.

That is cowardice. These people deserve no respect, honor or public money.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reynolds is absolutely right about the proliferation of full-time administrators at the expense of full-time faculty. Barrow, on the other hand, may indeed have quit UMass over problems with administrators, but it may be that he just needs more time to deal with his other interests:
http://www.heraldnews.com/x872949120/GUEST-OPINION-Clyde-Barrows-lacks-credibility-on-Aquinnahs-casino-plan
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
..the degree of cowardice, just plain, simple cowardice is unbelievable.'

but understandable; The wicked flee here none pursueth...yet.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our daughter is a junior at APU. Unfortunately, even at Christian schools the PC administrators now rule, in general. Freedom of speech on campus is curtailed as the author of this article notes. Similar to this is my old alma mater, Westmont College. About 5 yrs. ago, some former student that was a homosexual wrote to the school paper & explained how hurt he was by others while attending school there. Most of the students bent over backwards to ask for pardon on this issue. They were sorry they made him feel "uncomfortable," etc. Me? I was totally disgusted with the PC reaction. After all, this IS a Christian college. Anyone that has read the Bible knows that homosexuality is strongly condemned. If this homosexual wanted his agenda agreed to & his life style confirmed, he should have gone to a secular school NOT a Christian school. In general, I am completely disgusted at the lack of freedom even at Christian colleges. I guess that they are just trying to keep up with their secular friends like UCSB or UC Bezerkley. Nuff said!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the left and the gays can take out Eich for a $1000 donation in 2007, then there should be a concerted effort to get the trustees to start taking out abusive administrators who are afraid of the students and leftist opinion.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
APU has been Christian in name only for a loooong time now. At least 20 years.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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