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Virginia Tech may require faculty to agree to statement of faith

Read about it here. Authored by George Leef, the essay includes this:

In March, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (nearly always just called Virginia Tech) announced that it was considering new guidelines for faculty assessment. A crucial sentence in the proposal reads, “University and college committees require special attention be given to documented involvement in diversity initiatives.”

There no more is universal agreement on the desirability of laissez-faire capitalism than there is on “diversity,” but the latter enjoys sacred cow status within the realm of American higher education. Therefore, university administrators see nothing wrong in setting up a litmus test of fidelity to their “diversity initiatives.”

To see how blatantly inconsistent this proposal is with the core academic value of free inquiry, imagine a tenure track assistant professor of chemistry who comes to the conclusion that the push for ever-increasing “diversity” on campus detracts from the educational mission of the school. Let us say he finds that many of the students admitted under “affirmative action” policies aren’t capable of handling the workload in his course. Should he say anything about it?

Apparently, according to those proposing this policy, it is not good enough to merely believe in diversity or to have a diversity orientation. You must actually document your "involvement in diversity initiatives." So, even secular institutions have sacraments that go along with their statements of faith. Gloria in Excelsis Nihilum

Read the whole thing here.

Comments (10)

Scary stuff.

Welcome back, Frank!

Howdy!

Just a completely random question: how do you say "Evil has prevailed so that good will triumph" in Latin?

how do you say "Evil has prevailed so that good will triumph" in Latin?

Malus superavit ut bonum superaret. That's one way, at least. I suppose you could also do it like this: Malus superavit ut bonum vinceret, or Malus vicit ut bonum superaret. Or alternatively, malum vicit ut bonum vinceret. Both 'vincere' and 'superare' have pretty much the same sense, "to conquer, overcome," although 'superare' is something you can do to a mountain or a city wall, in the sense of merely climbing it, whereas 'vincere' perhaps has more of an immediate martial sense to it. Caesar did, after all, use 'vincere,' as in "Veni, vidi, vici," "I came, I saw, I conquered." All a matter of taste, I suppose, which one looks and sounds better to you. I prefer the first option. It has a nice symmetry, although it's not literally true to your English word choice, in which you employed 'prevail' and 'triumph,' different words. If you had said "Evil has prevailed so that good will prevail," etc. But, traduttore, traditore.

Of course I used 'malus' the adjective where I should have used 'malum' the noun. That's what you get for taking advice from a second year Latin student. So it would be malum superavit...etc. Otherwise, I'm confident that I employed the purpose clause (ut + subjunctive) properly.

Knowing a little of how tenure evaluations work at schools, I'm trying to figure out exactly how this would work. For example, "university service" is usually one requirement for tenure. The faculty member is then urged by his chairman to be on such-and-such a committee (for example, a university curriculum review committee) to fulfill the "university service" requirement for tenure. Now, how would one demonstrate this "involvement"? There are only so many places for diversity foot soldiers from among the ranks of the professors on any given campus, despite all the diversity hysteria. It seems to me it could be difficult for every single young faculty member at Virginia Tech to find some sort of service assignment before tenure that would demonstrate involvement in diversity initiatives. It looks to me like they'd have to invent more diversity committees and activities so that the professors could say they had been on one of them! I can't help wondering if Virginia Tech's faculty are unionized and how the union would respond to this. Unions are usually _very_ PC, but on the other hand, they are even more committed to not making it more difficult for people to get tenure. They are also very committed to faculty as "specialists" in their academic fields in opposition to administrators as non-specialists. It seems to me that if there is a union, it would be a good strategy to try to get the union to oppose this new evaluation axis on the grounds that it would be subjective, might be difficult to fulfill, could be used against faculty by administrators in an invidious way, and interferes with a department's independent evaluation of the scholarship and fitness for tenure of its members.

As worded, at least from the snippet we have presented to us here, the proposal is not expressly requiring all tenure applicants go and join the movement. It simply says that if you document such involvement, special attention will be given to this documentation. It does not say that no consideration will be given unless you can document such involvement.

However, I take your point that these things often play out that way. The mere inclusion of such a statement tacitly suggests that the institution will give preference to candidates who can make such documentations and the flow on from this probably will be more people wanting to get involved to get that edge over other applicants and due to the demand, more opportunities to do so being created.

As someone who has had some success taking on unions and academic bodies within tertiary institutions I have found the best tactic is always to hold the mirror up and use their own PC terminology against them. 'Given the diversity of opinion that exists in our culture, it would be intolerant and discriminatory to impose one set of beliefs over another. Who are we to judge afterall? Surely it would be best to create no such stance either way, for it would be just as wrong to place the opposing viewpoint in a position of superiority as it is for us to arrogantly place ours. Retaining the freedom to choose one's own beliefs is surely the most tolerant way to see diversity and respect others.'

In order to rebut an argument such as this one would have to admit the faecal attributes of such arguments.

I guess I would actually interpret the clause a little differently, Madeleine, as actually saying that such involvement is now one of the requirements for tenure, promotion, etc. I agree that it's awkwardly worded, but I think the intent is pretty clearly that all untenured faculty be required to document such involvement, just as they are required to document scholarship, professional activity, university service, etc.

But here's a mischievous thought that occurs to me, which W4 readers will understand: If Virginia Tech adopts this, will they be censured in Jobs for Philosophers for discrimination on the basis of political opinions? That's against APA policy, after all!

A left-wing loyalty oath. Who'da thunk it?

Or, taking Madeleine's idea farther, can't a professor go out and 'administer' to a poor hapless, under-represented group and call that his "diversity" service? Take, for example, a group dedicated to scholastic philosophy. They are certainly under-represented, and downtrodden, oppressed, etc. In other words, don't leave it to the enemy to define your terms for you, do it yourself and force them to eat their own bullshhhh. How DARE they refuse to grant victim status to your preferred group?

Come to think of it: there are more females than males - call a men's group a minority group and you have a built-in victim group.

But here is the best one of all: point out that NOT ONE SINGLE women's team has a guy on it, and then get out there and fight against this obvious discrimination. This works even better if there is a campus sport that has a women's team but not a men's team (there often is, though not always).

Faculty members who are fighters will probably try that sort of thing, Tony. And we'll see if it works. But the biggest impact, of course, will be on the relatively apolitical faculty members who will just trudge along towards tenure by being on whatever committees they are advised to be on by their senior faculty, department tenure committees, etc. Even if they are in some sense liberals, they may very well feel distaste at having to engage in political saluting to get tenure, but they will assume they have no choice. It shouldn't be necessary for people who want to get on with scholarship to fight the system in that way, not even in the ways you mention.

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