By Walter Williams
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Over the past 10 years, I have written columns variously titled “Academic dishonesty,” “The shame of higher education” and “Academic rot.” Therefore, I was not surprised by David Feith's April 5 Wall Street Journal article, “The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World.”
In it, Feith tells of a golf course conversation between Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College, and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein. Klingenstein voiced disapproval of campus celebration of diversity and ethnic differences while there's “not enough celebration of our common American identity.”
Because Klingenstein wouldn't help finance the college's diversity craze, Mills insinuated in remarks to the student body that Klingenstein is a racist. Mills also told students: “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.”
Klingenstein decided to check out Mills' commitment to diverse perspectives by commissioning the National Association of Scholars to examine Bowdoin's intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. Its report — “What Does Bowdoin Teach?” — isn't pretty.
There are “no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation.” Even history majors aren't required to take a single course in American history. In the history department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history; the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.
As for political diversity, the report estimates that “four or five out of approximately 182 full-time faculty members might be described as politically conservative.” During the 2012 presidential campaign, 100 percent of faculty donations went to President Barack Obama.
I applaud Klingenstein for not making a contribution to a college agenda that is so common today. Wealthy donors are generous but tend to be lazy and uninformed in their giving. They give large sums of money that wind up supporting college agendas that are contemptuous of donors' values, such as enlightened racism, anti-capitalism and Marxism. A rough rule of thumb to discover modern-day racism is to search a college's website to see whether it has vice presidents or deans of diversity and diversity programs. If so, keep your money.
Recent evidence has emerged that some colleges have become bold enough to hire former terrorists to teach and possibly indoctrinate our young people. That's the case with Columbia University in the hiring of convicted Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin, who spent 22 years in prison for the murder of two policemen and a Brinks guard. She now holds a professorship at Columbia's School of Social Work.
Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers is a professor of education on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Unrepentant, in the wake of 9/11 Ayers told us: “I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.”
Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism.
What we see on college campuses represents a dereliction of duty by boards of trustees, which bear the ultimate responsibility. Wealthy donors who care about the fraud of higher education should recognize that there's nothing like the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut to open the closed minds of college administrators.
Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Taillon among 6 Pirates send to minor league camp
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Pittsburgh among 14 cities partnering to improve education
- Agent confirms Mendenhall retiring from NFL
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Pittsburgh half marathon, relay events sold out