Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Clueless in Academe?

More perspective on l'affaire Summers, from Stanley Fish. A fresh perspective, a somewhat cynical perspective, but a wise one nonetheless. Fish is spot on in fixing on the importance of position in utterances by academic administrators. I found that out light years removed from Summers's position, as an admissions officer at an unnamed Ivy institution in New Hampshire, when what I said once, off the cuff, at a California prep school, beat me back to the office, reported to my supervisor by a concerned alum.

But saying that Larry Summers, in spite of the Niagara of comments about his "brilliance" and such, doesn't have the simple sense of tact and appropriateness that any cub admissions officer has to know, or must learn to avoid peril, is simply too....simple for many to accept. Thus we will continue to have the discussions of "academic freedom," and such that Fish decries as beside the point.

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