August 08, 2006

When Administrators Attack

Or equivocate, or ramble wildly on in a blind panic because a random faculty member has suddenly revealed himself to be a bit nutty in a very public way.

Just a couple of Barrett-related items I found amusing, because nothing is funnier than silly academics except panicked administrators.

Based on this quote, lifted from this post about the Barrett hoo-ha, wherein the Provost opines:

“I think the political correctness — or non-political correctness — of his views outside the classroom … should not have an impact on whether or not he’s allowed to teach."

Umm. We're not talking about whether or not Barrett is using "charged or offensive language," dude. We're talking science.

And then the provost, bless his heart, wants to stand up for academic freedom and freedom of speech, provided that the freedom isn't too, you know, loud or noticeable:

UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell also warned Kevin Barrett to stop associating himself with UW-Madison when he advocates his views. Otherwise, Farrell wrote in the July 20 letter, he would reconsider his decision to allow Barrett to teach a course on Islam this fall.

``In summary, if you continue to identify yourself with UW-Madison in your personal political messages or illustrate an inability to control your interest in publicity for your ideas, I would lose confidence ... ,'' he wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press in an open records request.

Good Lord. Here's a free tip for all you aspiring administrators out there:

Rule number 1 for Provosts Attempting to Walk the PR Tightrope of Embarrassing Weirdo Faculty: DON'T SEND EMAILS, MEMOS OR LETTERS ABOUT OR TO THE WEIRDO! The open records request is not your friend. When the shit hits the fan, the shat-upon would do well to pick up the phone, or something like that.


Posted by Big Arm Woman at August 8, 2006 04:18 PM

Wayne Booth (U Chicago) identifies the administrators' role as fund raising and riot control. Of course that was the 60s.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at August 8, 2006 07:51 PM