Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Prostituting and pimping at the UCONN law school

Last week publicdefender.com had a discussion on the UCONN Professor Robert L. Birmingham case and some of the discussants were or had been law students at UCONN.  The dankprofessor was particularly taken by the following comment-

  1. Rastaman said:
    October 4th, 2007 at 11:01 am | Quote Not strange, frightening! The First Amendment, or free speech, is being systematically reduced to a slogan. A law professor, especially, should not have to be politically correct. Of all places to punish someone for their speech law school is the worst. The chilling effect of this decision on other professors will make the mass of boring, lecture note reading, intellectually stagnant professors the norm instead of the burden.UCONN law is a “wannabe” high end school, plagued by political insiders and government hacks. They can’t even get the library to stop leaking, perhaps the magnanimous wimp Dean can pick up a caulk gun and work on the building. He sure doesn’t have the moral courage to run the law school.

Chilling effect, absolutely.  Unfortunately, the Dean has the courage to systematically destroy academic freedom at the UCONN law school and at the University of Connecticut in general.  If the UCONN law school cannot even give lip service to academic freedom, it is not to be expected that the other colleges and professional schools of UCONN will be any different.  

The only professors who benefit from a university’s adherence to academic freedom are obviously the controversial ones.  Take away controversial professors and there is no need for academic freedom.  Obviously the UCONN administration is making some headway in creating a faculty of conforming dullards given the apparent faculty law school support of the actions taken against Professor Birmingham.  Many alumni, many current students have spoken out against these actions but to my knowledge not one single faculty member has done so.  Silence may indicate faculty support or faculty indifference; whether it is indifference or support the non-action of the UCONN faculty in the dankprofessor’s opinion is damning.

Also, let us not forget that Dean Paul and his fellow administrators felt that Birmingham’s “violations” were so serious that he had to be taken out of the classroom immediately; no time for any formal complaint and even a preliminary investigation.  Immediate actions were felt to be necessary.  Usually, in these sorts of “personnel matters” administrators do not go for a public airing of the problem; obviously such did not happen in this case.  The administration even called for a public forum on their so-called case against the professor.

Why such radical and precipitous behavior?  For a video malfunction that caused a microsecond view of a partially clad woman?  For the discussion of a legal case regarding prostitutes and pimps?  For the professor discussing the case for reparations for African-Americans for slavery in a legal remedies case?  Some may feel that it was the reparations issue and the professor putting it forward in the context of asking challenging questions.  Might some academics and administrators have a hypersensitivity to this issue since it was David Horowitz who argued a few years ago against reparations and put his argument forward in campus newspapers throughout the United States?  Some campuses responded to Horowitz’s essay not with a critique but with an attempt to block publication.  Horowitz argued that said response demonstrated how too many US campuses did not value academic freedom, and how too many campuses had become too politically correct. Maybe it is now the case at the UCONN law school that the Dean and the faculty have come to believe that Professor Birmingham and David Horowitz are in essence the same.  Whatever the case may be, certainly the situation under consideration provides support for the Horowitz belief that all too often universities have become a home for the inane.

As for the dankprofessor’s word on this, the word of the day is prostituting- professors and professor/administrators at the UCONN law school prostituting academic freedom. Or maybe I should add another “p” word, pimping.  Professors pimping for administrators in their goal of prostituting academic freedom.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submiited for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

© Copyright 2007


October 13, 2007 - Posted by | academic freedom, ethics, higher education, political correctness, University of Connecticut

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