Incompetence

Under fire from faculty, the University of Oregon is rethinking a proposed diversity plan that called for all faculty to demonstrate their “commitment to cultural competency” in tenure and post-tenure reviews. UO President Dave Frohnmayer admitted the draft didn’t define its terms. He gave it a shot, reports the Eugene Register-Guard.

Cultural competency, Frohnmayer said, is a straightforward concept.

“To me it means that we are able to effectively reach all of the students who have demonstrated their competence to be in the university but for whom, because of cultural background, traditional techniques of teaching may not be as effective as others,” he said.

Clear as mud. Except that Frohnmayer never explains what kind of teaching is effective for competent white students but ineffective for competent Latino, black or Asian-American students.

Frohnmayer criticized bloggers for criticizing UO’s plan.

“People can engage in stereotypical thinking if they want, and that is one of the really ugly downsides of the blog-verse,” he said, referring to the world of online Web logs. “I guess to that group of people I’d say, what is it you don’t understand about the word ‘draft?’

Isn’t the time to criticize when the proposal is in the draft stage? Isn’t it intellectually dishonest to stereotype critics as too stupid to think straight? In fact, UO professors were outraged too, calling the proposal “Orwellian.” Frohnmayer went on:

“The minute you get in the business of censoring people who have serious ideas that want them discussed seriously even if you don’t agree with them, the minute you can’t do that at a university without someone engaging in character assassination and stereotyping, it’s a pretty sad day.”

How does a blogger “censor” a university official or anyone else?

Here’s my June 1 post with lots o’ links.

Update: Professor Plum rants about U. Oregoon on EducatioNation. And the man knows how to rant.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Mr. Davis says:

    Orwellian in the sense that some ideas are so absurd that only an intellectual can believe them.

  2. Joanne: Isn’t the time to criticize when the proposal is in the draft stage?

    No, the time to criticize the anointed is never. It is our role to obey Those Who Know Better. Nothing more – lest we be accused of “stereotyping” – i.e., of being Racists™.

    Joanne: How does a blogger “censor” a university official or anyone else?

    “Censor” is now just another synonym of “disagree”:

    “I don’t agree, because of X, Y, Z.”

    “WHAT?! You’re depriving me of my free speech rights, y-you censor!”

  3. How about a commitment to teaching?

    For the money I am going to have to pay to put my daughters through college, I want competent professors, not socially diverse ones. My daughters all have excellent grades but little hope of scholarships — they do not fit a minority classification. I am looking at my first daughter’s goal of a degree in genetic engineering and the few schools that actually offer a BS in the field will cost more money than I can scratch together with student loans and a second mortgage.

    I’ll be darned if I’m paying that kind of tuition to some liberal bastion that thinks more of diversity than educating my kid.

    AK

  4. Mike McKeown says:

    Frohnmayer went on:
    “The minute you get in the business of censoring people who have serious ideas that want them discussed seriously even if you don’t agree with them, the minute you can’t do that at a university without someone engaging in character assassination and stereotyping, it’s a pretty sad day.”

    I am sure that President Frohnmayer was among the first to stand up for Larry Summers and the importance of presenting all hypotheses for discussion.

  5. Michael J. Totten says:

    I graduated from UofO in 1994. It’s a pretty good school, despite this kind of silliness. The university is certainly more grown up than the Berkeley-wannabe city itself.

    Frohnmayer, by the way, is a Republican.

  6. Amritas says:

    Michael Totten: Frohnmayer, by the way, is a Republican.

    Can we blame him for trying to shatter stereotypes by being compassionate toward the poor li’l Minorities™, whose vast, VAST cultural differences prevent them from EVER winning something as Racist™ and Anglocentric as a spelling bee’ (ughhhh, such competitions are SO unfair and MUST end now!)?

    Frohnmeyer shows that Rightists can care too.

    Seriously, gimme tough love instead.

  7. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    He probably meant “censure,” not “censor,” and either he or the reporter got it wrong. (Not a good sign either way, alas.)

  8. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    The late Prof. Allan Bloom wrote about the consequences of Political Correctness and the Left’s dominance of the majority of American universities back in 1990 (“The Closing of the American Mind”). Hopefully, the mainstream public has awakened to the degradation of the university system in the social ‘sciences’ and will reverse this trend by exposing the anti-intellectual ‘diversity’ crowd. Message to parents: know what your child is studying in college and don’t waste your money on name appeal–Princeton and Hahvahd are as corrupt as anywhere else.

  9. Is this kind of silliness creating an opportunity for high quality, for-profit, residential universities? Professors would be on contract, no athletics above intra-mural, no PC ‘stuff’. Bring in some Nobel Prize winners for instant credibility, refuse federal money, admit who you want.

    Could it happen?

  10. Cris, if it *could* happen, sign me up to teach there (once I get a masters degree).