I cannot confirm or deneigh that I have Neanderthal DNA in my makeup. However, the latest scientific research has pointed out that many with european ancestory actually have some and — oddly enough — it may actuallybe harmless. So, on behalf of all of those with possibly some Neanderthal ancestry, I object to her ‘homo sapien centric world view’ that is so free to use a biological fact as an epithet! With actions such as these, it is hard not to understand why the institution of higher learning has fallen in the eyes of the American people.
So why is academia failing us?
Recently, the AAUP ( the American Association of University Professors) presented an award to the President of Trinity Washington University Patricia Ann McGuire for her outstanding contribution to ‘academic freedom.’ When any organization holds someone up for acclaim, it is worth seeing who she really is and what goes on at her university?
You may not have heard of tiny Trinity Washington University ? Well, you are not alone. This is a small Catholic school of 1700 students accepting 74% of their applicants, which – let’s be kind – means they are ‘less selective.’ Nancy Pelosi is an alumna and are we surprised? Ms. McGuire holds a bachelors and a degree in law. BTW, the closest she ever got to teaching was as an adjunct professor (read part time).
When Ms. McGuire, in addressing graduates only months after 911, she delivered a lengthy speech which I have linked, but here is an interesting and revealing segment (May 2002):
“…Where is that energy today? Where are the voices of the universities in this time of war and global danger? Where is the exuberant exercise of free speech in a raucous debate over the conduct of this new war? Do we have it in us to be as passionate about the ethics of the camp in Guantanamo as we can be about parking on campus? Where is the expression of outrage over the increasingly ominous threats to civil liberties in the name of national security? New federal regulations treat international students with suspicion and limit their fields of study… It’s high time for a little outrage.”
You can read more about Ms. Patricia Ann McGuire on her many Presidential Blogs. Here are a couple of provocative thoughts in her most recent blog:
On President Obama:
“President Obama is one of the most thoughtful, intellectual presidents we’ve ever had. But he’s surrounded by political operatives who repress his ability to exert true leadership on tough topics like race because they are afraid that he will be perceived as “too Black” or “too liberal.” Well, heck. He needs to be himself. He needs to liberate himself from those advisors who are making him plain vanilla. That’s not what the voters ordered in 2008, and not what they want now.”
On the greatest threat to education:
“No, the greatest educational threat today is that people who are already well educated are acting like ignorant Neanderthals, abandoning the most fundamental principles of liberal education — “liberal” in the true academic sense of the large perspectives of the liberal arts, not as a political word (yet) — in favor of the most narrow-minded anti-intellectual hate-stirring race-baiting views of the polity and community life.”
The only question I have to ask Ms. Patricia is whose academic freedom are you protecting, your own? One doesn’t have to read too many of the Trinity President’s Blogs to realize that ‘free speech’ may be limited to the University President and that a severe penalty may be applied on all others. I wonder how she handles disagreement and discussion? I found a couple of items in their lengthy ‘rules’ sections that seem to get to the core of this issue:
Here are some of the rather vague rules of conduct governing behavior:
“Students who speak to faculty members or other students during class periods in ways that are disrespectful and disruptive will be dismissed from the course without reimbursement, and in such cases the students may incur an “F” grade as well as additional penalties.”
“In keeping with its historic mission as a Catholic college with a special emphasis on women and action for social justice…”
In an age when the free expression of ideas should be encouraged in academia, referring to those who you disagree with as ‘Neanderthals’ establishes a high bar of intolerance one must pass or remain silent in order to survive on campus.
The AAUP made a very poor decision and I truely wonder if Ms. McGuire was the best they could find? The AAUP should have chosen as a supporter of ‘academic freedom’, someone who encourages and nurtures all sides of a debate and supports free speech for faculty, staff and students. Yes, Ms. McGuire is entitled to her ‘free speech’, but using her position as a bully pulpet casts a shadow of censorship and intimidation on any campus.
Try to do better next time.