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February 25, 2005
WHAT HATH WARD CHURCHILL WROUGHT? Nothing good, in my opinion, but nothing surprising, either.
UPDATE: Come to think of it, I offered warnings and advice on this subject over three years ago.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene Volokh notes that there's more to this story than tenure. He's right, but the big question is whether it's politically viable for the academy to adopt a generally hostile and dismissive stance toward the larger society. Eugene is right, of course, that the First Amendment prevents even untenured people being fired simply for "anti-Americanism," and he's very right that academic freedom, given the political tenor of most campuses, does more to protect politically-incorrect people than the reverse. But in fact, and entirely apart from the fate of individual faculty members, state legislatures, boards of trustees, and alumni have a lot of power over universities if they choose to exercise it. They've mostly chosen to let academic administrators, and faculties, run universities without a lot of outside interference. But there's no guarantee that this state of affairs will persist if those outsiders conclude that universities are being run badly.