Phi Beta Cons

Professors Not Beyond Reproach

A group of professors are organizing against what they call the “aggressive incursion of partisan politics into universities’ hiring and tenure practices.” The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University has issued a statement and is asking professors and others to sign on.

Winfield Myers of Campus Watch stoutly rebuts them, in Inside Higher Ed:

The professors believe … that “academics, uniquely among all professionals, are beyond criticism — that they make up a sacrosanct, privileged group that demands protection from opinions with which they disagree. By implying that criticism from external sources … is illegitimate, they seek to seal themselves off from the society that supports them.” He said that he found irony that “ivory tower intellectuals who regularly render harsh judgments against the practitioners of other professions, from businessmen to clergy, and from politicians to the members of the military — claim immunity from criticism when it is directed toward themselves …

“Their desire to declare themselves off-limits to external criticism is symptomatic of the intellectual homogeneity that plagues academe. Were it not for extra-university voices, there would be precious little debate within academic [notably] academic Middle East studies, so uniform is opinion among professors of that field.”

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