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November 10, 2002
JAMES RUMMEL has some thoughts about the way St. Xavier University has handled Prof. Peter Kirstein's nasty email to an Air Force cadet. I thik Rummel is right. Here's an excerpt from his post, which I'm making lengthier than otherwise because, well, it's on Blogger/Blogspot and God knows if it'll be there when you follow the link later:
Everybody's missing something, though. The President of St. Xavier University is a guy named Richard Yanikoski, and right now he probably feels like the bug under the microscope. One day he wakes up, kisses his significant other on the cheek on his way to the office, only to find that a real blizzard o' crap is waiting for him when he gets there. What went through his mind that day? What would go through the mind of any of us in his shoes?
"Gee, what the heck did I do to deserve this abuse?"
We've seen the brass at universities close ranks and act like horse's backsides themselves the last few years. Think the way that the administration at SFSU ignored the riot caused by pro-Palestinian protestors, or the way Emory dragged it's feet and hoped that the Bellesiles scandal would just fade away. But that's not what Mr. Yanikoski did. He looked in to the matter and saw what was going on. Instead of closing ranks and ignoring things he took action. The horse's backside has apologized to the cadet that he wronged. Mr. Yanikoski, an innocent man caught up in something he knew nothing about, has also expressed his regrets.
People are too involved in this, angry and emotional. Not only are they expressing outrage to the horse's backside but they're also venting some spleen into Mr. Yanikoski's Email tray. Even though he must be under enormous pressure, he's refused to discuss any disciplinary action that he might take. Not only is this the policy of St. Xavier but it's the right thing to do. After all, everybody might want to know what the consequences are for being a total ass, but we aren't the injured party and we really don't need to know.
If you agree with me please Email Mr. Yanikoski at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him an "attaboy". I think it's important for the people in the ivory tower to learn that there's a price to pay for being a jerk. I don't think that someone should pay a price for trying to do the right thing when he's got a jerk working for them.
As I say, I think Rummel's right here. This isn't academic fraud, it's a rude email. I think it was important that a lot of people pointed out just how rude it was in unmistakable terms. I think that demanding that St. Xavier University fire Kirstein is too much, and rude emails aimed at the University's President do little good and even detract from the point.