Letter: Failing academia

By The Daily Illini

Two scenarios currently serve to illustrate the present sorry state in which modern academia finds itself. First the Ward Churchill case. Here’s someone who is undoubtedly a complete charlatan. His self-proclaimed war record cannot be established, his claim to Native-American ethnicity is certainly false, and his academic credentials are suspect. Yet he has managed to buffalo (pun intended) Colorado University into making him a full professor and even appointing him a department head. Recently it was discovered that he composed a tract in which he referred to the 3000 innocent victims of Sept. 11, as little Eichmanns who deserved to die. The top panjandrums at Colorado U. have defended him on the basis of freedom of speech. Apparently anything that is said can be defended on our campuses these days under this aegis.

Well not quite anything. Take the case of Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard. This poor guy, while looking for a possible explanation of why males dominate the fields of math and science, suggested very tentatively and undogmatically that this could possibly be the result of innate differences in the genders. Whammo!! The you-know-what hit the fan and his apologies and mea culpas since then have been endless. His very job is at stake despite the fact that he has impeccable credentials as a lefty.

Does this all not belie the very meaning of the term “university,” which means the oneness of truth?

Jim Pillar

Urbana resident

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