Phi Beta Cons

Let’s Try It Again

Here’s a New York Times story on a new program in academia:

Princeton University, one of the leading universities in black studies, yesterday announced an expansion in its program, including at least a doubling in the number of faculty members, the introduction of a major for undergraduates and the creation of a new center for teaching and research on race in America.

What to say, except that the announcement of a new identity-oriented program in academia hardly counts as a headline-worthy event. The president of Princeton, Shirley Tilghman, tries to heighten the significance: “‘Of all the challenges that confront America, none is more profound than the struggle to achieve racial equality and understand the impact of race on the life and institutions of the United States,’ she said.”  But this is hot air, and we should insert the phrase “to college administrators and social science faculty” after the word “profound” in that quote. That a college initiative predicts it will “help train a ‘new generation of leaders to solve problems that have persisted too long,’” in Tilghman’s words, is nothing but self-aggrandizement. 


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