We tell ourselves, we parents of college-bound kids (not to mention other ordinary citizens), that American campuses really aren’t as bad as all that, that students can avoid the most tendentious indoctrinators, and that the press tends to exaggerate. And then we read headlines like “Kathy Boudin Teaching at Columbia” and sharp reality once again punctures the comfortable cushion of denial.
I’m not speaking personally, because I’m among the hyper-vigilant and politically obsessed. I read the newsletters of the National Association of Scholars, a group of academics who bravely battle campus attempts to suppress free speech and free inquiry. I scan the press for news of academia. But most Americans, I’d guess, while knowing that college faculties are dominated by liberals, don’t realize quite how extreme or how deeply corrupt our campuses have become.
Consider the case of Boudin, a member of the Weather Underground, a left-wing domestic terror group. What kinds of gentle hijinks did the WU engage in? They bombed the U.S. Capitol, the State Department, and the Pentagon. They planned to detonate a bomb full of nails at a soldiers’ dance in Fort Dix, N.J. The bomb exploded prematurely in a New York townhouse.
In 1981, Boudin was at the wheel of the getaway vehicle when the WU held up a Brinks truck and stole $1.6 million. Her colleagues killed the driver and gravely wounded another guard in the course of the robbery. When the U-Haul truck Boudin was driving was stopped by police, Boudin got out of the cab with her hands up and urged the police to lower their weapons. When they did, six of her heavily armed accomplices jumped out of the back of the truck and gunned down two of the officers.
Boudin, a cradle Communist (her father was Fidel Castro’s lawyer, her uncle was I. F. Stone), was 38 at the time of the Brinks attack — not a youth. She spent the next 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony murder and she is now an adjunct professor of social work at Columbia University.
Just imagine if someone who had driven the getaway car for a group that attacked and killed an abortion doctor had been offered a place at the Heritage Foundation or Hillsdale College. Of course, you cannot imagine that, because such a person would be irredeemably tainted in the eyes of Heritage and Hillsdale. But supposing such a hire were possible, can you imagine the outcry?
For celebrated academic institutions, a history of terror and murder is no bar to prestige and employment. Bill Ayers was a “distinguished professor of education” at the University of Illinois. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn (who said of the Manson killings, “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the pig Tate’s stomach! Wild!”) was appointed adjunct professor of law at Northwestern.
From the great halls of our finest universities there is a reverberating silence about Columbia’s decision to hire and thereby to honor a murderer, a terrorist, and an enemy of the United States who has never expressed remorse.
The five-member Orangetown, N.Y., town board passed a resolution condemning Columbia and calling upon its “neighbor” to sever all ties with the woman who was responsible for the deaths of three men. The nephew of one of the murdered officers told the New York Post, “It’s easy to forget that . . . nine children grew up without their dads because of her actions.” Very easy, especially for leftist academics. Veterans of the Weather Underground have a better track record of getting employment at leading universities than do supporters of Mitt Romney.
Each year on October 20, the anniversary of the Brinks robbery, the police in Nyack, N.Y., hold a memorial service. The ceremony is attended by survivors, family members of those who were killed, and local, state, and federal law-enforcement officials. A small scholarship has been endowed to honor policemen Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown.
It’s a disgrace that only the police and the families of the deceased seem to honor their memories. One of America’s great universities has not just forgotten, it has spit on their graves.