What’s Left for American Universities?

There are so many nutty professors around this country Jerry Lewis could sue all day long. The Ward Churchill controversy is just the headline–the real story is the radicalization of the nation’s college faculties.

Churchill, as you may know, is the University of Colorado “Ethnic Studies” teacher who wrote an essay saying that those Americans killed inside the World Trade Center on 9/11 were not actually civilians, they were “little Eichmanns” (as in the nazi Adolf)–people who hurt innocents because they worked for large corporations. Churchill went on to call the 9/11 killers legitimate “soldiers.”

Seeing merit in Churchill’s ravings, a Hamilton College literature teacher named Nancy Rabinowitz invited him to speak at the upstate New York school and agreed to pay the man $3,500. Previously, Rabinowitz tried to hire 1960’s radical Susan Rosenburg to be an “activist-in-residence” at Hamilton College. The problem was that Rosenburg had spent 16 years in prison for possessing explosives. When the alumni at Hamilton found out about that, some short fuses were lit. Rosenburg got the boot.

And so, eventually, did Ward Churchill, but not before major angst. When some journalists exposed Churchill and questioned the appropriateness of giving him a platform, the administration at Hamilton vowed they would not be swayed, the man would appear at the college in defense of free speech! Less than a day later, Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart canned him after a nationwide outcry against her foolish position.

So what exactly is going on here? To understand the craziness on campus, you have to first look at the stats. According to a survey done by UCLA, 48% of college faculty members and administrators identify themselves as either liberal or far left. Just 18% say they are conservative or far right. So the prevailing wisdom on campus is decidedly progressive and aggressively politically correct.

If you challenge the leftist orthodoxy, watch out. Harvard President Lawrence Summers is still bruised after saying some women might not be as good as men in math and science. Well, I did the math on this one. The women who complained defeated Summers 800 to 0 or something like that.

But at Northeastern University across the river from Harvard in Boston, Economics Professor Shahid Alam opined that the 9/11 killers were similar to the founding fathers. According to Alam, the Al Qaeda thugs died so “their people might live free, and in dignity.” In response, the faculty at Northeastern has said nothing, no doubt distracted by the women-math deal.

All over the country far left ravings on campus are acceptable and sometimes even embraced by fanatical faculty. Legitimate dissent has degenerated into hate speech and vile descriptions of America. Many of these so-called teachers, like Ward Churchill, have tenure, a dastardly con that protects teachers for life. They know they can’t be fired so they become little Ayatollahs. And if you call them on their irresponsibility, you are a fascist or a racist.

One more example. That rascal Michael Moore ran around the USA before the presidential election speaking at more than 50 colleges. Moore said he was trying to rally the campus troops to vote against Bush, as if they needed rallying. But what Moore really rallied was his bank account. Conservative estimates put Moore’s take for his bloviating at more than a million bucks, much of it paid for by student union fees.

America–it’s a great country. Especially if you don’t like it.