( NO ONE will ever confuse Duke’s Brodhead with Everett Piper – Prez of Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ. )
Now, by golly, Duke has itself a for-real Academic Witch-Hunter – Dr Valerie Ashby.
Duke University has an international reputation. We can all agree on THAT. Using Kipling’s “Blind Men & The Elephant” as our model, what might Duke be so internationally well-known “for”…. in no particular order:
(1) Coach Mike Krzyzewski and College Basketball Excellence.
(2) It’s distinctive Gothic Architecture.
(3) The massive socio-journo-judicial cluster **** in 2006 forever known as The Duke Lacrosse Case.
(4) An Outstanding Medical Center with a global patient roster.
(5) An unflattering stereotype (promoted by its “rivals”) for an undergraduate student body heavily weighted in “Jews from New Jersey”.
(6) A propensity in recent years (at least a decade +) of a faculty, knee-walking drunk on delusions of its own self-importance, hell-bent to embarrass not only Duke but all of High Academia with knee-jerk bloviations to assorted socio-cultural brush fires. Their “Gang of 88” during “Duke Lacrosse” being the most notorious example.
To #6 we can now add one new piece o’ work – Dr. Valerie Ashby – recently appointed Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Dr Ashby (who came to Duke from it’s rival institution just 8 miles down 15-501 – UNCCH… Uh Oh!) was installed as Dean in May.
Allowing her a few months to unpack and rest up from that grueling 10 minute drive from Chapel Hill…. President Brodhead is now unleashing his “Witch-Hunter” to clean out anyone from Duke’s Arts & Sciences Faculty that is:
(1) not totally in lock-step with his and Dean Ashby’s radical left-wing socio-political POV. …. or
(2) who simply believe in challenging Duke students to “think” for themselves rather than be indoctrinated.
Using all of the en vogue pop-phrases for this institutional cleansing…. we can assume Witch-Hunter Ashby will be ever-alert for any faculty members using “trigger words” that might cause any Duke Student to seek out “a safe place” where uncomfortable ideas would be unable to reach him/her/it.
“It” being, of course, those Duke students in continual befuddlement over which gender best suits them on a particular day / hour. Duke apparently has more “its” than it does 5-star “one & dones” playing in Cameron.
Please read the READ MORE for the follow-up reaction to Dean Valerie Ashby’s egregious attack on the most Holy of Holies in High Academia – The freedom to bring up contrarian points-of-view within a classroom.
Whether those POVs are personally-held by the professor or simply being employed as a time-honored teaching tool. Contrarian thought / ideas will no longer be tolerated at Duke University. …. The “Gang of 88” would be soooo proud.
Do so at risk of expulsion from Duke as Dean Valerie Ashby dispatches her storm troopers across Duke’s Trinity Campus to ferret out Duke’s ideological witches….
Looks like more than benches and celebratory bonfires will soon be burning in West Durham.
By Eugene Volokh November 23
Prof. KC Johnson (Minding the Campus) notes this item from Valerie Ashby, the new dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, Valerie Ashby said in response to a student question complaining about various supposedly intolerant scholarship and other statements by various faculty members at Duke and elsewhere:
I’d like to … say that, what specific actions are we taking towards that, besides more conversations…. Part of what we’re doing is really, without a shadow of a doubt, speaking to these incidents that happen in the faculty. I am going to every single department and saying to the faculty, these are our values, and then holding chairs really accountable, that we’re training chairs, and then holding them accountable for what’s happening in your departments.
We’re also really working on … the new faculty who step in the door, and really trying to teach them, these are our values, this is what’s tolerable here, this is what’s not, this is how we feel about these things. And at every point of their evaluation, and at every point of — chance where we have an opportunity….
…. to make a decision about whether or not you are Duke, we are evaluating the — we will evaluate the entirety of the person. And so you can’t be a great scholar, and be intolerant. You have to go.