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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Heroes and Heels of 2001: The Antiversity and Edworld

By Nicholas Stix

January 9, 2002
Toogood Reports/A Different Drummer

I call today's higher learning "the Antiversity," because in the humanities, social sciences, and particularly, in "ethnic" or "area" (e.g., black, women's and gay) studies, it embodies the opposite of everything a university is supposed to stand for. Instead of promoting universal knowledge, peaceful debate, and clearly-written, testable scholarship, it spreads blind prejudice, coerces agreement, and supports impenetrable, misleading jargon, and even outright fraud. John Agresto of St. John's College summed up today's antiversity with the phrase, "the love of injustice."

In addition to the customary stories leaking out about instructors being fired and whitelisted, due to their professed acquaintance with the U.S. Constitution, or their failure to "correctly" revise what they taught in the classroom, in 2001 three hoaxes of note were uncovered in the halls of academe. Two were perpetrated by instructors, the third by students.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?: The eminent historian, Joseph Ellis (Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, and American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson) of Mt. Holyoke College, was found to have lied to his students for years, in claiming that he had served as a paratrooper in the Vietnam War, when he had received a deferment, and spent the the war teaching at West Point (1969- 1972). Mt. Holyoke President Joanne Creighton, likewise earned a place in the Hall of Shame, for initially doing nothing about the hoax, while claiming that Ellis' dishonesty was a "private" matter. Adverse publicity and public outrage persuaded President Creighton otherwise, and she sent Ellis off on a one-year, unpaid leave of absence.

Gun Crazy: In the other scholarly hoax, Emory University "historian" Michael Bellesiles' award-winning book, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, was unmasked as having been based on fabricated scholarship. Bellesiles had claimed that the degree to which colonial and early America was armed, had been greatly exaggerated. He insisted that he had proved, through probate records and other documents, that only a fraction of early American homes had working guns or rifles. Led by Clayton Cramer, a trickle, and ultimately a flood of critics, disproved Bellesiles point by point. Most embarrassing for Bellesiles, who when challenged, changed his story more times than a felon getting the third degree, was his claim that he had used mid-19th century probate records from San Francisco, all of which had in fact been destroyed in the great earthquake of 1906.

Listen, White Man!: In the student hoax, at California's Orange Coast [community] College, Muslim students Mooath Saidi and C.C. Abdelmuti were caught lying, when they claimed that during a September 18 class, political science instructor Kenneth Hearlson had personally blamed Saidi for the 9/11 attacks: "You drove two planes into the World Trade Center. You were the cause of what happened September 11." Fortunately for Hearlson, other students had taped the class. Unfortunately for Hearlson, Orange Coast College President Margaret Gratton does not believe in academic freedom, First Amendment rights, due process or the presumption of innocence for white males. She also does not enforce the school's academic honor code in the case of Muslims, or else Saidi and Abdelmuti might have been expelled. Instead, Hearlson was given leave with pay, and not permitted on campus. When confronted with the transcript, Gratton ignored it until Hearlson's lawyer publicized it, while the Muslim students were openly contemptuous of the truth. In what sounded suspiciously like a confession to a conspiracy to violate Kenneth Hearlson's constitutional rights, Saidi insisted that the professor needed "to be taught a lesson."

Affirmative Action -- the Monster That Would Not Die: Outlaw University of California system President Richard Atkinson sought, in violation of California state law, to reintroduce affirmative action by eliminating the SAT I as a requirement for admission to the nation's allegedly most selective system of public higher education.

Harvard Handouts: The faculty and administration of Harvard University turned an honors degree into a handout, as 90.8 percent of the Class of '01 was graduated with honors. Newly coronated President Lawrence Summers' year-end announcement that he would meet with Jesse Jackson, following black studies professors' (most aggressively, Cornel West's) mau-mauing of Summers, promises to add to Harvard's new status as a punch line. Dishonorable mention goes to alleged journalist Richard Rothstein of the New York Times, for his attempt -- while carefully omitting the rate of Harvard honors degrees -- to rationalize Harvard's grade inflation as a case of merit.

Silence is Golden: Daniel Hernandez, the editor of the Daily Californian, the University of California-Berkeley student newspaper, publicly apologized for having accepted an advertisement from David Horowitz refuting the demands for reparations for black Americans. Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl, having recently christened the Free Speech Cafe, a memorial to Berkeley's 1963 Free Speech Movement, was tongue-tied.

Steal This Newspaper: Bigger heels were the nameless, racist thugs at Brown University who hid behind the name, "Third World Student Coalition," and who stole the entire press run of Brown University's Brown Daily Herald. Lewis Gordon, the director of Afro-American Studies at Brown, and faculty patron of the Third World Coalition of Student Newspaper Thieves, rationalized the crimes thus, "If something is free, you can take as many copies as you like. This is not a free speech issue. This is a hate speech issue."

In other words, according to Lewis Gordon, for seeking a rational debate, in which arguments, not physical force, threats, and destruction of property carry the day, David Horowitz, not the newspaper thieves, was the criminal. Meanwhile, the newspaper thieves announced that they had engaged in "civil disobedience," but unlike protesters in the past, who demonstrated against real injustices, and who made a point of being arrested, all of the thugs in the coalition of middle-class, black newspaper thieves hid their identities.

In doing nothing to arrest the criminals, who could easily enough have been rounded up, Brown President Ruth J. Simmons proved herself complicit after the fact in the larceny of the newspaper and the property of all advertisers contained therein, and the violation of the rights of Brown students to read what they wished.

A dishonorable mention goes to the countless academics nationwide, who while taking the side of America's enemies, and silencing all pro-America faculty voices, claimed that THEIR First Amendment rights were being violated.

Allahu Akbar! In that nether region I call "Edworld," for the second consecutive year, New York City schools Chancellor Harold Levy, provided school rooms for Muslim students to pray during Ramadan -- until an outraged public forced him to stop violating the separation of church and state. More importantly, Levy is a heel for doing nothing to root out thousands of incompetent teachers (out of 80,000 total), or end the racist hiring practices responsible for city schools' institutionalized incompetence.

Next column: The Medium is Overdone.

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