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    The “guts to stand up and say it” on campus

    The “guts to stand up and say it” on campus

    Scott Johnson at Power Line writes about the devastating report on Bowdoin College and the college President’s smug response to a professor who wrote to the President about the issues.

    Here’s the letter the professor published in the Bowdoin student newspaper:

    To the Editor,

    I write to tell you about my communication with President Mills regarding the NAS study.

    I sent the following letter to President Mills the morning after Monday’s faculty meeting. He was kind enough to call me upon receiving it. During our phone conversation I voiced my agreement with parts of the piecemeal reports that the NAS has already released; with the gist of Thomas Klingenstein’s arguments in his Claremont Review of Books essay and in the Bowdoin Orient; and with Mills’s own argument, in his September 2010 convocation address, which I excerpted in the letter.

    I asked President Mills to look to the final NAS report when it is released and point out in public those parts that echo what he said in his convocation address. I hoped that his doing so would cause people who would otherwise dismiss the central message of his address—which I understand to be more concordant with the thrust of the NAS than he does—to take it seriously.  He said that I should rather “have the guts to stand up and say it.” Herewith.

    Sincerely, Assistant Professor of Economics Stephen Meardon

    Monday April 1, 2013

    Dear President Mills,

    I was sorry to hear my colleagues chuckle at the mere mention of the NAS study at today’s faculty meeting. I am sorrier to say that, to my ear, you encouraged them.

    I was present at your convocation address in September 2010 and admired your aim. “We must guard against political correctness and a culture where everyone…is supposed to feel ‘comfortable’,” you said, and rightly.

    The chuckles were the sound of people resting comfortably with the conviction that the ideas in the study, probably a good deal different from those that dominate around here, need not be seriously entertained. It’s a different sound entirely from your admirable convocation address.

    With highest regard, Steve Meardon

    I don’t know Professor Meardon’s politics.  But it took guts to question — even privately and professionally — the skewed intellectual composition of the campus.  It took even more guts to respond to the President’s taunt by going public.

    See my prior post, “Coming Out As A Conservative On Campus”.


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    retire05 | April 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Here is my problem: there is no doubt that our universities are moving more and more to the left, and in some cases have even become dens of Socialism. And there are not enough professors in those universities willing to speak out.

    But what are parent’s supposed to do? When, like many parents I know, send their kids off to a university like Texas A & M thinking they are going to put their young adults into a conservative setting, only to find out it is just as progressive (new liberal) as any other left wing school, what options do those parents have?

    Maybe Legal Insurrection/College Insurrection should create a list of truely conservative schools where their money will not be funding Gay Studies, Nigerian Women’s Basket Weaving, absurd Women’s Studies departments?

    There has to be a way to let American parents know what schools are not going to simply indoctrinate their kids into the Socialist world view instead of educating them.

      Paul in reply to retire05. | April 8, 2013 at 12:20 am

      You might wish to consider Hillsdale college, and as for lists, you can always cross reference lists on bing (or google or startpage) to see which ones show up the most of “Conservative leaning colleges”

    Good for Professor Meardon! Hopefully he is not pilloried for doing as his institution’s president suggested now. It will be interesting to follow Professor Meardon’s career in the next few weeks to see if there is any backlash to his public comments.

    exsanguine | April 8, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I ventured over to the Bowdoin paper article and waded into the comments.
    If the mindset, quality and content of the comments, defending Bowdoin, is indicative of the student body of Bowdoin then it definitely shows what kind of echo chamber the school has become and proves the NAS report’s claims.

    If I were a student with more than two brain cells to rub together I would be demanding my tuition money back and transfer to another college.

    Another Bowdoin professor, Jean Yarbrough, responded to Thomas Klingenstein’s critical writings back in 2011.

    April 22, 2011

    This fall will mark my 23rd year of teaching political philosophy and American political thought at Bowdoin. I dearly love this college and want to do everything that I can to see Bowdoin be the best that it can be.

    But love requires honesty, and Thomas Klingenstein’s essay provides us with the opportunity to examine one area where we are notably deficient: intellectual and political diversity.

    In his essay, Mr. Klingenstein estimates that the actual number of conservative/Republican faculty is 4 percent. I do not know how he arrived at that number, but using figures from the Bowdoin College profile at the website CollegeData, there are 177 faculty engaged in the full-time teaching of undergraduates, 4 percent of which would equal seven. I have not made a scientific study of this, but that number, small as it is, strikes me as too high.

    From her writing (read the whole letter), if she was ever conservative, she has lost it, but at least she thinks something needs to be done. When she realizes that diversity recruiting is racist, in and of itself, perhaps she will break free of her own brainwashing.

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