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politicized departments

Reader comment on item: Redeeming the Wayward University [through Engagement by Outsiders]

Submitted by Stuart Fagin (United States), Nov 28, 2006 at 19:18

The humanities departments of public universities are public institutions. So it is entirely appropriate that appointments to faculty positions be subjected to public scrutiny. However, we need to go further. Many, perhaps virtually all, humanities departments are captive of a liberal clique. Conservative viewpoints are regarded as outside the scope of learned opinion.

There is as much chance that most Middle Eastern Studies departments would hire a scholar with pro-Israeli views, as there is that my old geophysics department would hire an individual who believes in a flat Earth. To be sure, public scrutiny of personnel decisions, as well as an enforced adherence to an Academic Bill of Rights, would curtail the worst abuses.

However, these measures are insufficient because at the end of the day a politicized faculty remains. The only way to break their grip on academic departments is to relocate hiring, tenuring, and promotion decisions to an outside Board of Regents whose members are appointed by publicly elected officials. These boards would, in turn, be advised by panels of discipline experts who can offer comment on the scholastic qualifications of nominees.


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