In response to a recent post of mine, Mark Pulliam asks: “How and when did higher education administration in America become completely captured by knaves, fools, and cowards?” Great question.
“Completely” doesn’t quite capture it: Purdue and Baylor and Hillsdale are run by responsible, courageous people. Conversely, Mark’s question doesn’t quite capture GMU. “Just last evening,” GMU President Cabrera breathed in his missive to the GMU “community,” a “racially offensive” picture was found in a residence hall that was “demeaning, dehumanizing, and unfit for our community.” That picture appears nearby. Nobody at GMU—not any students’ association, not nobody—has been able to discern its politically offensive content, before or after the president’s missive and investigation.
So: in a hyper-charged environment, the president of a major university invents a racial incident where none exists; falsely suggests that it’s the latest of many incidents, none of which exist; and sics the campus police on unknown parties (all his own students) over a non-existent offense. That is not cowardice, or foolishness, or even knavery. It borders on racial incitement. In my book that’s a firing offense.
In the Regents’ view, alas, it’s probably called “getting ahead of the curve.” Or so Mr. Cabrera will say, and he’ll get away with it. The flight from responsibility is not just a higher ed thing; it’s the way of the world, and there ain’t nothin’ nobody can do about it.
How did this happen? I’ll try an answer in later posts.