Thursday, February 18, 2016

Three Cheers for Academic Dishonesty by ROBERT WEISSBERG

The recent campus events have not been especially good for fans of academic integrity. Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) have achieved one success after another while college Presidents have been busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest in confessing toxic white privilege and promising to do “whatever it takes” to appease thin-skinned students of color.
Nevertheless, the news from the front is not entirely depressing. At least when it comes to dumbing down the faculty by diversifying it, the barbarians have been halted. Yes, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University both have pledged $100 million each, Yale $50 and Johns Hopkins $25 million (among many others) to hire more blacks and Hispanics but such standards-destroying diversification is not about to happen. The reason for optimism is that university administrators have engaged in masterful deceit and those bamboozled do not suspect a thing. Such is the advantage of dealing with stupid folk—they are easily fooled.
First some background. Since the late 1960s universities have pursed faculty diversity so nothing is particularly new. Just read decades of job announcements with boilerplate “minorities and women are strongly encouraged to apply” provisions. Universities have long had special well-funded committees to unearth promising minority candidates to be forwarded to departments with “can you hire this guy and we’ll pay half?” notes.
I recall designated affirmative action “commissars” attached to every recruitment commitment to counter white racist bias against worthy black applicants. Similarly unsuccessful were efforts to identify promising minority candidates early and then hire them before the competition discovered them. The upshot was adding ill-prepared graduate students as full-fledged faculty and then watching them struggle with completing a dissertation and publishing some original research so as to move into a tenure track position. Then there were programs for academically weak black Ph.D.’s to receive an extra a year or two of post-doc mentoring to improve their chances of securing tenure track jobs. Further add mandatory faculty sensitivity training so racially tone-deaf white professors could detect otherwise unnoticed abilities in black applicants. A recent book regarding the paucity of blacks in the pipeline suggested that department graduate admissions committee penalize black applicants by making hurried decisions plus the lack of scientific standards necessary to properly judge minority applicants.
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