Campus Reform the #1 source for College news
Campus reform Chief Editor Zachary Marschall holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from George Mason University and is an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky.
Higher education suffers under the yoke of leftist ideology, progressive agendas and liberal prejudices.
The situation will never change until those who disagree with mainstream left-wing dogma find the courage to call out the academics who have used their power to allow woke orthodoxies to dictate campus life.
The movement against liberal bias on campus needs to do better if it is to stop — or even reverse — the damage that militant administrators, faculty, and student leaders have done to colleges.
A recent speech by Bari Weiss perfectly illustrates the consequences of failing to hold accountable those who wield the levers of power in academia.
Weiss, an entrepreneur journalist who cancels the culture driven from The New York Timesdelivered her speech to the first cohort of the University of Austin, where she is a member of the board of trustees.
Weiss is a liberal who rails against the woke agenda’s use of cancel culture to force social change on this country, making her an ideal candidate to deliver a speech at the University of Austin. : a school, launched this summer by academics and public figures from both left and right whose aim is to counter the adoption and perpetuation of these trends by higher education.
Unfortunately, Weiss’ speech fell short of what this experimental institution claims to achieve. I take no pleasure in saying that.
I’m disappointed that a writer as talented as Weiss gave a speech on the ills of academia entirely in the passive voice. She used the word “was” 36 times, by my count, to describe an action done to someone or something.
Here are some examples of this passive voice:
“Joshua Katz was branded a racist by Princeton for speaking out against radical ‘anti-racist’ measures such as institutionalized wrestling sessions and race-based compensation for professors – until he was ultimately fired. “
“Perhaps you saw a classmate being ashamed of a mistake.”
“Good people right now are scapegoats. They are burned like wizards, judged on their worst moment and hung up to dry because of a mistake or a bad joke or a bad thought or a lack of judgment.
“That’s why the statues of Grant, Lincoln and Washington were torn down.”
The professors, administrators, students and activists who are turning college campuses into kangaroo courts for woke justice are real people.
Unlike Weiss, Paul Du Quenoy, president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, named the people responsible for Katz’s politically motivated withdrawal.
“The Princeton Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of its Chairman Christopher L. Eisgruber, has fired star classics teacher Joshua Katz after nearly 25 years of employment,” Du Quenoy wrote for Newsweek in May.
In 2020, Campus reform reported that “The University of Wisconsin-Madison student government voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that calls for the removal of the statue of Abraham Lincoln from campus.”
By not naming those responsible for liberal or leftist misdeeds, Weiss’ speech turned these individuals and groups into mere characters.
[RELATED: MARSCHALL: I’ve taught writing about the Holocaust to college students. This is what Whoopi Goldberg and her critics need to understand.]
What is a number and why is it important in combating liberal bias on college campuses?
The numbers are abstract. They represent the general idea of a person or a group. In that sense, I have no doubt that everyone in Weiss’ audience knows who did the censoring and undoing in the examples she listed. However, try to name this character and tie the idea to a specific person.
This challenge shows why the figure is always more evasive than the individual. As with literary characters, the figure can never be reduced to the real person.
Avatars, for example, can approximate the likeness of the real person with increasing accuracy, but they will never be the real person they represent.
By choosing not to name the culprits for the misdeeds, Weiss implicitly deflected blame from those responsible.
Every time Weiss has come close to identifying those who prevent diversity of thought from flourishing, his presentation has misdirected those accusations. As a result, his speech gave the impression that a phantom presence created the current problem, not an ideological cohort of real people.
The result is that Weiss readers and listeners are no more aware of how power operates within institutions of higher learning. Its audience does not learn how and why the political biases in the ivory tower are systemic and institutionalized.
Accordingly, the discourse allows the current power imbalance to continue, for the ability to fire, rescind and censor on the basis of woke politics is, given Weiss’ rhetoric, headless power.
Headless power is like the wind.
People see the consequences of being woke up in academia, but they don’t see who is handing out the punishment because institutionalized policies and initiatives make those in power invisible to those outside of the power hierarchy of academia. ‘institution.
It is only at the center of power within the universities that the individuals who instigate totalitarian revival policies are revealed. But this center of power is inaccessible to those who do not subscribe to the dogma of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
[RELTATED: MARSCHALL: Systemic discrimination explains the rise and fall of Karl Marx at the University of Florida]
“Fewer new professors conducting research that may falsify aspects of the mainstream narrative will be hired, as they will be weeded out by DEI claims,” Max Eden and Scott Yenor recently wrote for the American Enterprise Institute. “The result is a successive narrowing of opinion and the sphere of legitimate inquiry.”
Therefore, the power to censor and cancel in higher education is only available to those who want it.
The relatively few people who can see the harmful actions taken have a responsibility to make them readable to others who have a stake in the future of the American educational system.
In March, I argued here that leftist dogma dominates college campuses because liberals have capitulated to the most extreme elements of the American left.
A professor claiming to be a liberal who does not engage in identity politics does not absolve him of the university’s systemic discrimination. That’s because those who perpetuate the cancel culture in academia are hired and promoted by committees populated by center-left liberals.
This dynamic is why Weiss’ speech was disappointing. Liberals in higher education are guilty of the misdeeds of radical leftists if they allow such behavior by not challenging it at its root: the individual.
Speeches delivered entirely in passive voice do as much to protect totalitarian-minded academics as the tenure system.
Academia is a rotting tower of dogmatic academic resentment that is rapidly collapsing under the weight of a glut of administrators.
These are the individuals who are destroying the promise of higher education. They deserve attention.
Editorials and opinion pieces reflect the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the Campus reform or the Leadership Institute.