Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Harvard President Claudine Gay Has Published Not One Book, And Yet She Leads Our Most Prestigious University. How Did That Happen?

We will look back on the last few years of free speech suppression and the repeated career-ending accusations of racist for those who questioned the DEI movement

I learned from someone with first person knowledge of the @Harvard president search that the committee would not consider a candidate who did not meet the DEI office's criteria.

The same was likely true for other elite universities doing searches at the same time, creating an even more limited universe of DEI-eligible presidential candidates.

Shrinking the pool of candidates based on required race, gender, and/or sexual orientation criteria is not the right approach to identifying the best leaders for our most prestigious universities.

And it is also not good for those awarded the office of president who find themselves in a role that they would likely not have obtained were it not for a fat finger on the scale.

I have been called brave for my tweets over the last few weeks. The same could be said for those called out Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare.

I don't think it will be long before we look back on the last few years of free speech suppression and the repeated career-ending accusations of racist for those who questioned the DEI movement.

We are all shortly going to realize that the DEI era is the McCarthy era Part II. History rhymes, but it does not repeat. - Bill Ackman


A little rant about American universities, in the light on the recent Congressional testimony debacle:

Today I learned that Harvard President Claudine Gay seems to have published only 11 peer-reviewed journal papers in her entire academic career. 'So what?', you might ask.

Well, that's about the number you'd normally need to get hired as a first-year tenure-track assistant professor at a decent state university. It's the number I published in the 12 months before I got tenure.

It's about the number that my more workaholic colleagues publish every year, decade after decade, throughout their careers. And it's less than 1% as many papers as get published by outstanding researchers like behavior geneticist Nick Martin (with over 1,500 journal papers).

The situation at Harvard is not unusual. The leaders of academia are not typically leading academics, in the sense of highly productive researchers or widely respected teachers. One might say they are career bureaucrats - but that would misunderstand their crucial ideological function.

The American people need to understand that in modern universities, both public and private, administrators function more like party political officers in communist Russian or Chinese universities. They are selected, throughour their careers, largely for their political commitments, and their willingness to enforce them. Like Cold War commissars, their allegiance is to the party, not to academia where they happen to work.

I mean 'party' quite literally: the Democratic party. Most American university administrators are loyal Democrats, and can't really imagine why anyone wouldn't be. Very few are Republicans or Libertarians.

And an increasing proportion of them are fully woke identitarian Leftists: they often launched their careers with a short series of papers on woke topics, using woke ideological frameworks, published in woke journals - before turning to the administrative track that offers much more political power to propagandize, indoctrinate, and control.

'So what?', you're might ask.

I've seen many calls for university administrators to enforce the rules of classical liberalism and free speech more fairly. This is like asking a Soviet-era commissar to abandon their Communist party allegiance, and to develop an entirely new identity and ethos grounded in an ideology that they have spent their entire career fighting.

It will not happen. Political animals do not change their spots.

University presidents who have prioritized amassing ideological power over producing academic research will not suddenly rediscover the merits of open inquiry.

They need to be fired, and replaced with academic leaders who are actually leading academics - rather than party political officers. -Geoffrey Miller, Psychology Professor. @primalpoly on twitter.


Reader Comments(3)

none writes:

Bonnie below is merely repeating right wing points and has no idea what she's talking about: 1. Calling for the murder or physical harm of others: please, show me several instances of this 2. is not protected free speech: In 1969, the Supreme Court's decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio effectively overturned Schenck and any authority the case still carried. There, the Court held that inflammatory speech--and even speech advocating violence by members of the Ku Klux Klan--is protected under the First Amendment, unless the speech is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action 3. it is a terrorist threat and illegal: if it was illegal, police, not Harvard's president would be arresting them... not happening, sorry. 4. Ms. Gay does not understand that basic legal concept which is pathetic and unacceptable: I guess you're not educated, and therefore I guess forgivable that you don't understand the basic legal concept

Bonnie writes:

Calling for the murder or physical harm of others is not protected free speech; it is a terrorist threat and illegal. Ms. Gay does not understand that basic legal concept which is pathetic and unacceptable for any educated person in this wonderful country.

OhAnd writes:

It's strange that no one had a problem with Claudine Gay as Harvard president or her qualifications until after October 7. She, along with the presidents of U-Penn and MIT, did not break under immense pressure from university donors and special interest groups to truncate the free speech rights of students on campus when speaking up about the current Israel-Gaza war. Students are fully protected by the First Amendment when on campus, and these presidents know that. Kudos to them for standing up for free speech. Now smear pieces like this article and calls for their dismissal are the consequences for doing the right thing. George Orwell, author of 1984, said--If freedom has any meaning at all, it's the right to tell people what they don't want to hear. The First Amendment exists to protect offensive speech. Why? Because no one objects to polite speech. The attack on these university presidents is an attack on the First Amendment.