Monday, March 06, 2006

What went wrong at Harvard?

Camille Paglia, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times (March 6, 2006) entitled Academic, Heal Thyself," addresses the recent fiasco over the forced resignation of Harvard's president, Lawrence H. Summers. She writes:
Harvard's reputation for disinterested scholarship has been severely gored by the shadowy manipulations of the self-serving cabal who forced Mr. Summers's premature resignation. That so few of the ostensibly aggrieved faculty members deigned to speak on the record to The Crimson, the student newspaper, illustrates the cagey hypocrisy that permeates fashionable campus leftism, which worships diversity in all things except diversity of thought.

If Harvard cannot correct itself in this crisis, it will signal that academe cannot be trusted to reform itself from within....

Over the last three decades of trendy poststructuralism and postmodernism, American humanities professors fell under the sway of a ruthless guild mentality. Corruption and cronyism became systemic, spread by the ostentatious conference circuit and the new humanities centers of the 1980's. Harvard did not begin that blight but became an extreme example of it. Amid the ruins of the Summers presidency, there is a tremendous opportunity for recovery and renewal of the humanities. Which way will Harvard go?
Read more of the always provocative and insightful Paglia's article HERE.

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