The statement, however, did not go through proper channels of faculty governance, and in the ensuing mockery, the faculty may be rediscovering its spine.
Marc Blecher, a political science professor at Oberlin, told me he had never heard of his college’s trigger warning guidelines until he read about them in The New Republic. The language came from a task force appointed in fall 2012 to review Oberlin’s sexual offense policy, but Blecher said the new policy had been mentioned only vaguely at faculty meetings. At the time, no one “realized that what was going to come out the other end was so central to our academic mission.”Typical administrative power-grab. At least the REMFs appointed the task force during the academic year. The real chicken-s***s get their sycophants lined up during the summer, when real faculty are catching up on the research they can't do because of all the administrative scut-work that accumulates at the same time they're dealing with the course management software and all the record-keeping.
When he did realize, Blecher began talking to other colleagues, who also hadn’t heard of the trigger warning policy, and they quickly set up informal meetings with various deans and administration officials. These discussions culminated at a previously planned listening session where Blecher says around 30 to 35 faculty members showed up to voice their displeasure at the new rules.I love it. "Listening sessions." It's the same word-noise as when the mealy-mouths call for dialogue, otherwise understood as "We'll hector you, and when you attempt to rebut us, we'll call you mean-spirited." Implicit in the above is the complete surrender by the faculty of its management prerogatives, more properly carried out through standing committees and college and university councils, where deans or provosts might preside, but the majority rules, and voting isn't on Leninist principles.
In the faculty’s eyes, trigger warnings threaten not just academic freedom but the intrinsic nature of the liberal arts educational model. “We need to … challenge students, to conduct open inquiry in classrooms, to make students feel uncomfortable,” explained Blecher. “Making students feel uncomfortable is at the core of liberal arts education.”Too often, that "feel uncomfortable" is with "ideas on your right." There is no hope, dear reader, of obtaining meaningful viewpoint diversity on the faculty without faculty control of curriculum. Thus, even in the hothouse environment of Oberlin, a reassertion by faculty of its rights and responsibilities is encouraging.
The stupid policy in question was just another Abuse of Power by deanlets, deanlings, and the weenies in student affairs.
Aside from one professor who is also the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Sexual Offense Policy Task Force is made up completely of students and administrators. “Anybody who was seriously engaged with it on the faculty would have seen what was going on and would have started to make the arguments we made in reaction to it.”Let us hope so. Otherwise, the only recourse available to the civilized world is to contine to laugh the freakazoids to scorn.