Reforming Hamilton U. in the Wake of Ward Churchill · 13 February 2005

Filed under: Press Coverage

By David

Nancy Rabinowitz has been fired as head of the Kirkland Project, the Hamilton University program that sought to make convicted terrorist Susan Rosenberg a visiting professor and bring terrorist cheerleader, Indian fraud, and academic impostor Ward Churchill to campus. The Hamilton catalogue describes the Kirkland Project as "a campus organization committed to intellectual inquiry and social justice, focusing on issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, and other facets of human diversity." In other words, a private fief for the radical left. (How can a program be committed to "intellectual inquiry" and a political agenda at the same time? It can't.)

In fact, Rabinowitz was not technically fired but "stepped down under duress," alleging that if she had her druthers she would have waited until she took her next sabbatical -- a 6 month leave with full pay that the privileged professorial elite enjoys every six or seven years, and during which presumably they get to refuel their anti-capitalist resentments.

Is Rabinowitz contrite about the enormous damage she has done to her college not to mention the very idea of a higher education? Not in the least. "What the project needs now is someone more adept at the kind of political and media fight that the current climate requires." Sounds like the Democratic Party. In other words, it's the ignorant public that's to blame for the scandal, a reaction whipped up by Bill O'Reilly and the rabid right. Good radicals among her supporters will dig in their heels and will carry on the revolution by any means necessary, even if that means that she has to fall on her sword. "Therefore, it is in the interests of the mission of the project itself and for no other reason that I am yielding to requests that I resign."

Question: Why hasn't Hamilton put the entire Kirkland Project on probation and opened a full-scale inquiry into the management, organization and choice of speakers going back to 1996 when it was created with Rabinowitz as its head. Or have they? Why was a political ideologue put in charge of this program in the first place, and why did no one in the Hamilton Administration notice or care? Could it be the absence of any intellectual diversity on the Hamilton faculty or in the Hamilton Administration?

In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the dynamics of "Group Think," Mark Bauerlein pointed out that when the room is filled with like-minded people, the center will drift more and more towards the extreme. For nearly thirty years conservative candidates for university faculties have been informally blacklisted and conservative students discouraged from pursuing academic careers, through constant derogation and political harassment in the classroom. Anyone familiar with the result knows that there are thousands of programs like the Kirkland Project and tens of thousands of professors like Rabinowitz and Churchill.

The nation at large has now gotten a little glimpse of what this means. Hopefully, the scandals at Hamilton and Colorado won't be mistaken for a scandal about a couple of bad apples. The system itself is broken. The academic enterprise has been corrupted. Hamilton and Colorado are the the Enrons and WorldComs of the university system. It was their misfortune to blunder onto the nation's radar screen and expose a wider corruption. But the erosion of academic standards is now very broad indeed and the rot deeper than you think.