The rise of the administrative university

By Glen Martin, for the RU AAUP, Oct. 2012

Books are beginning to appear about the nation-wide conversion of universities away from institutions dedicated to truth and knowledge and into a business model of education.  One such book is by Benjamin Ginsberg called The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why it Matters (2011). Ginsberg chronicles the demise of academic freedom, tenure, and the traditional faculty-driven conception of a quality curriculum and the independent pursuit of truth.

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Plaid avenger strikes again!

Plaid.photoMonday, Feb. 18, 2013.

  • 07:30 — Sharp eyed university censors notice half a dozen unauthorized communications chalked into sidewalks. “#PlaidSwag” looks suspicious.  Superiors notified.
  • 09:30 — University censorship action group (UCAG) concludes that a non-cyber information attack is underway.
  • 9:45 — Vehicles parked over information attack sites to deter spread of dangerous ideas.
  • 10:00 — Criminal incident information recorded.
  • 10:15 — University powerwashing crews swiftly deployed.
  • 10:45 — Non-cyber information attack threat diluted.
  • 4:45 — Report on effective use of human resources forwarded to Superiors.
  • Unfortunately, this is all true, except the part about the UCAG — we actually don’t know what they call themselves or what they call unauthorized chalkings.

Higher Ed & the 1st Amendment

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RU Speechless?

Freedom of speech is a  fundamental right guaranteed under the Virginia Constitution, the First Amendment of the US Bill of Rights and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But freedom of speech is often not recognized in the one place where it ought to be respected the most:  A college campus in the USA.

For centuries, and for generations, unpopular speech has been most protected on college campuses.  For instance, a photo of President Teddy Roosevelt (above) shows a speech he gave defending Professor John Bassett on the Duke University campus in 1903. Bassett  was about to be fired for saying he thought  Booker T. Washington (an African American leader) was the greatest person the South had ever produced except Robert E. Lee.

When the Duke board refused to fire Bassett, Roosevelt said:

“You stand for Academic Freedom, for the right of private judgment, for a duty more incumbent upon the scholar than upon any other man, to tell the truth as he sees it, to claim for himself and to give to others the largest liberty in seeking after the truth.”

It’s been a long time since any similarly strong defense of campus speech has taken place. Today many universities simply refuse to recognize First Amendment rights until they are forced to do so by a court. At Radford University, where this blog originates,  avenues for student expression are strictly limited in ways that are obviously unconstitutional. Continue reading