Skip to comments.Academic Censorship
Posted on 02/12/2004 8:05:10 AM PST by Davis
Whoopee! "Repressive speech policies" of American colleges, John Leo assures us, "are under heavy pressure and starting to break down." Authorities at Utah State University actually permitted a debate on race based admission to take place on campus.
And golly gee, at Thomas Jefferson's alma mater, William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, after first cavalierly refusing a permit and thus provoking shrieks of protest, one Timothy J. Sullivan, the president of that institution, did allow a group styling itself "Sons of Liberty," to hold an affirmative action bake sale. For pure smarm, his press release takes the cake.
What I find personally offensive is the manner in which they have chosen to express their views. The "bake sale" with racially differentiated prices that they hold today is inexcusably hurtful to members of this community whose presence here is welcome and critically important to the quality of our life together. Those who have chosen this abusive method of self-expression will have not a few occasions in later life to look back with regret on what they have done.
Alas, President Sullivan doesn't specify how it is more hurtful to sell cookies at racially different prices than to offer university admission tickets at racially different GPA's and SAT scores. Obviously, it is the parallel between the two that makes the point, a mild joke, perhaps, but that's because there are so many spectacularly insensitive college administrations.
Insensitive, yes, lacking empathy. How would you feel if your hard-earned and well deserved entry ticket into the sacred grove of academe was tainted by a profusion of counterfeits?
Although there are reasons for being hopeful that the heavy hand of leftist mendacity is at last being removed from the scale, that, in John Leo's phrase, the fog of censorship is being lifted, there are plenty of reasons for being skeptical. To begin with, college administrators like good ol' boy Tim Sullivan are so suffused with moral hauteur their vision has been affected. They can't see themselves as the jackasses they are.
Their insulting, patronizing definition of "minority" is mendacious, and all of us know it. It is also evident that Sullivan doesn't care a fig about free speech, that it was only the threat of litigation and bad publicity that forced his hand. Even in defeat, he mendaciously claimed victory.
The truth isn't in him. His claim that it is the "manner of expression" of their views that he found personally offensive and "hurtful to members of this community" is phoney. The bake sale protest holds the administration up to ridicule, not the recipients of its largesse.
Had Sullivan been interested in airing the issue of race based admission at all, he could have arranged a forum for civil and courteous argument on an important political issue. He could have released relevant admission statistics. He could have sought to employ the resources of scholarship in a hundred other reasonable ways. He could do them now. I'm waiting for that to happen. But I'm not going to hold my breath till it does happen.