That Good Old College Haze (or, "Sis-Boom...Huh?")
Since mine was not a full four-year university, I have not experienced anything like what the following stories relate. But I can guess.
I would like to share a couple of things today that I found quite entertaining....one from an April article written by David Horowitz, and two others from the pen of Dr. Mike Adams, a criminology professor at UNC-Wilmington.
Mr. Horowitz paints a picture that many of us are probably familiar with by now. He visits many college campuses a year as a conservative speaker, and has been protested many times by those who would have him stop rocking the politico-academic boat which has been so painstakingly erected therein.
From his accounts of a March '05 speaking engagement at Bowling Green State University:
I had already been told by my conservative student hosts that there was a demonstration planned for my arrival. At the entrance to Olscamp Hall, where the event was scheduled to take place, I saw a crowd of about twenty members of the Revolutionary Communist Party chanting, "George Bush and David Horowitz Get Out of the Way, Christian, Fascist, USA." Nonetheless, the hall filled up with more than 200 people among whom I would guess 50 – including half a dozen Bowling Green professors -- shared the enthusiasms of the Revolutionary Communists, cheering the name "Ward Churchill" when it came up, and signaling in other ways that they were there to protest rather than to listen to my speech.
I opened by observing that I hoped they enjoyed the chanting, and that I regarded it as one of the basic principles of Academic Freedom that individuals should have the right to embarrass themselves in public. I was not about to play passive victim and probably contributed in my unwillingness to do so to the fireworks that erupted periodically during the evening.
Ah, to be young and foolish again...
Elsewhere, Prof. Mike Adams of UNC-Wilmington has learned something else about collegiate life...from, among others, his own supervisor.
Scenario: You have just been invited to a party being thrown by your boss. Plan to attend...or else:
Last week, I went to work to examine a copy of my 2004 performance evaluation. For the first time in 12 years, my evaluation contained some negative remarks. Among those was the criticism that during the last year I did not take part in the "ongoing life" of my department.
Although previously unfamiliar with the meaning of the phrase "ongoing life," I immediately suspected it was related to my unwillingness to attend the departmental parties that are occasionally held at the homes of my fellow professors.
Last September 11, I was invited to such a party at the home of my supervisor – the same one who wrote my annual evaluation. When I told her I was unable to attend the party due to a conflict with an NRA banquet, my supervisor called it a "fascist pig" banquet.
Gee whiz. And I was gonna bring the shrimp puffs, too.
Not to worry, though, o faithful ones....a little while later, Mike got in a shot or two of his own:
After I spoke with a couple of attorneys (for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, about some of the legal implications of using such criteria, I realized that such vague "collegiality" factors were being used in other states like New York, Indiana, and California.
The decision to write an editorial on the subject meant that I would risk getting no pay-raise in a few weeks when the change was divided up in my department. But writing an editorial exposing the practice would bring some badly needed attention to the often overlooked "collegiality" issue. Justice Brandeis once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. So, I wrote the editorial, of course.
Read on, y'all. It gets better.
In closing, I offer the words of Tom Lehrer, who summed up the collegiate experience better than anyone I have ever heard:
"Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth:
Six parts gin and one part Vermouth!"