Prof. Cronon’s Political Palaver

Prof. William Cronon has involved himself in political advocacy on behalf of the public employees of Wisconsin.

Writing in the New York Times, he makes the conservative argument that Republicans aim to change progressive institutions that have been in effect in Wisconsin for many decades (and so, in his opinion, should not change) and which Wisconsin pioneered. He also makes the disingenuous claim that Republicans were involved as much as Democrats in establishing progressive programs. 

After the Wisconsin GOP sent an open records request for Cronon’s e-mails, he complained on his blog that the GOP aims to inhibit his freedom of speech. 

Prof. Mitchell Langbert refutes Cronon’s objection as follows:

(1) he chose to involve himself in politics and the GOP’s response is a normal political tactic, (2) universities are ideological institutions that have unethically used public resources for political purposes, (3) Cronon and his allies at Wisconsin are the ones who have suppressed speech by excluding conservatives, (4) under Cronon’s theory that universities should be exempt from the  Wisconsin open records law, university professors should be free to function as partisan advocates using public resources and enjoying special legal exemptions from an open records law meant to help level the playing field by giving access to public information, such as Cronon’s e-mails on the Wisconsin server, from those excluded from power.  His claim that his e-mails constitute student records under the Buckley Law is spurious because confidential information can be redacted.   

Candace de Russy — Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More