City of Roses
|No, I do agree with both of you that universities are of great value because they are centers of myriads of great ideas and information, where education truly is the pursuit of truth to a higher level, where al sorts of theories can be discussed and debated. And by all means I do believe our universities should be funded as they are.
I admit that when I began this thread I was still dwelling in that immediate aesthetic reaction often anyone can have when they see a headline and read a story that can make you shake your head and all, and so I do plead both that my thoughts weren't as well organized as I intended, and both in ignorance about exactly how the college board operates to an extent.
I guess what I meant and failed to argue initially was that we're facing an issue where it's too easy for professors to seek and receive tenure, and in result professors like Ward Churchill have moved up from outsider-status to chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department in no time. Then you wake up and learn that his rise was to a large extent based on fabrications and lies. So there's just little oversight here, and I believe there are likely a considerable number of others who've done just like what Churchill has done.
I don't know if Barrett is one of them. I absolutely believe a wide majority of professors are admirable individuals who have a true, genuine love of teaching and put their love for their job over power. Every teacher I've had thus far at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and Portland State University has been great, often even very open-minded. It's true most of them have political views that lean left, and their politics will occasionally come up in class, but they give dissenters the right to speak as well.
In the Winter Trimester of this year, I had a professor in a class titled "Ecology of War and Peace" named Tom Hastings, who is a pacifist activist and even once co-organized some protest with nuns to attempt to dismantle a nuclear warhead or something of sorts. So you can tell he takes his pacifism and disarmament activism very seriously. Anyway, in this class, there was this fellow classmate of mine named Randy Stovall whose views leaned right-ward and would often criticize vocally the teacher in class for being a communist, a "useful idiot", and also made claims that Russia is going to nuke the U.S, that we should have cameras installed at every ATM and other such claims, and Hastings was patient all throughout the ten weeks of the class and never bitter and was willing to let him speak his mind while also arguing with his points afterward.
I've also had many professors who weren't political at all. Last trimester I had two of my all-time favorite courses, "Dance In Literature", with Maria DePriest, and "Popular Culture" with Tom Fisher. Wonderful people, and you can absolutely tell they cared for their students by the end of the course, because DePriest was wiping her tears on the final day of class, and on the final day of "Popular Culture", Fisher spoke to me and the class in a softer tone than usual and said, 'Parting is such sweet sorrow!"
It's important that universities continue to prosper, for if they fail to do so our children of future generations will be limited of the tools of knowledge and higher education and creative freedom. But we also have to maintain our universities like we do a garden, and make sure that no one like Ward Churchill, who value power more than anything, exploits any such university and invade our learning centers like kudzu vines.
So in a simplistic form, I guess I'm pointing out that professors are too easily getting on tenure, and we need to see to it that only the more genuine, highly-qualified individuals who have a most ambrosial love for teaching are qualified for tenure.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"