The Corner

Education

A Once-Good University Takes a Bad Turn

When colleges or universities get new leadership these days, the result is bad more often than not, as the incoming president wants to make the school notably progressive. That recently occurred at the University of Tulsa and in today’s Martin Center article, philosophy professor Jacob Howland, an opponent of the new agenda, explains the sad turn of events.

Tulsa’s new president, Gerard Clancy wants to emphasize social justice at the expense of the university’s strong liberal-arts curriculum. That’s bad enough, but once faculty, students, and alums began to protest against his agenda, out came the authoritarian measures, which Howland details.

Here’s one key paragraph that will give you a good sense of what’s going on:

Provost Levit has denied or restricted faculty access to crucial information but has offered no reasons for these restrictions. Faculty are not allowed to see any part of the Higher Learning Commission report to which she and president Clancy regularly refer to justify their actions. Phone calls and emails requesting faculty access to this report have gone unanswered. What is more, the crucial report of the Provost’s Program Review Committee (PPRC) that recommended the cuts—a committee that included no one from the humanities and natural sciences, or from any gutted programs—can be viewed only in the provost’s office. I recently accompanied two intrepid colleagues to view the report. We were strictly forbidden to photograph it and fumbled to take notes while perching the 100-page document in our laps (no table was provided), all the while under the unblinking eye of our administrative overlords.

A battle has begun to stop Tulsa’s transformation into what Howland calls a social-justice university with a trade-school focus. The Martin Center will follow and report on developments.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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