ACADEMIC DISGRACE – AT 9:13 A.M. ET: The embarrassments in the academic world continue to pile up. Now the Chronicle of Higher Education, one of the most prominent journals in the field, has sinned badly, and the story is starting to build. From Jon Last at the Weekly Standard:
Late last night, in a shameful example of editorial cowardice, the Chronicle of Higher Education fired Naomi Schaefer Riley. Naomi is a good friend of mine, a sometimes contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and a fine writer. And the story of what happened to her is highly instructive.
Naomi joined the Chronicle’s “Brainstorm Blog” a little over a year ago. It was a good hire—she’s written two insightful books on academia, God on the Quad and The Faculty Lounges, along with dozens of articles on the subject. Her postings were smart and entertaining. (For a couple of samples, click over to “If this is art, your middle-school daughter is Picasso” and “No sex for you.”)
Last week she wrote about the world of “Black Studies” in a post titled “The most persuasive case for getting rid of Black Studies? Read the dissertations.” You should read the whole thing, because it’s only 520 words, but here’s the gist of Naomi’s argument:
I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.
The uproar was immediate.
Chronicle readers were outraged. Not that a graduate student was earning a doctorate by claiming that Sowell, Thomas, and McWhorter are threats to civil rights. Oh, no. They were outraged because Naomi would dare poke fun at such insanity. Because, you know, that’s racist.
COMMENT: At first the Chronicle defended Riley's piece as being a legitimate part of the discussion. But the protests continued to pour in. They were vitriolic and ugly. And yes, the word "racist" was used over and over. (Ms. Riley is married to Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal, an African-American.)
Finally, the Chronicle gave in and fired Naomi Riley. No room for free speech on certain topics.
Presumably, most readers of the Chronicle are involved in higher education. These are the people teaching your children. Spend your $42,000 a year wisely.
I urge you to read the whole piece and the linked articles. This is remarkable stuff. I'm guessing that Fox News and other outlets will pick up the story.
May 9, 2012