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Beyond Parody Dept.

by Roger Kimball

Posted: Feb 20, 2005 08:54 AM

After people stop wagging their heads over Ward Churchill and the preposterous "ethnic studies" department he used to direct at the University of Colorado (click here for some revealing pictures of the place), they should look around at what’s happening at other institutions.

The Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture at Hamilton College has gotten a small measure of the scrutiny it deserves. Dedicated "to social justice" and "focusing on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, as well as other facets of human diversity," Kirkland is a typical contemporary academic institution, which is to say that it has nothing to do with liberal learning and everything to do with fostering the entire menu of left-wing orthodoxy. Take a look at what they have sponsored through the years: gender-this, oppression-that, skirling cries for "social justice" from what The Wall Street Journal aptly called "rent-a-radicals." Those running places like The Kirkland Project can’t stop muttering about diversity, but in fact their lives are dedicated to stifling dissent and enforcing strict intellectual conformity. As the historian Robert Paquette observed in an article in The Washington Times "I defy the Kirkland Project’s leaders to name one person invited to campus under its auspices in all the years of its existence who was libertarian, conservative or even centrist."

The point to bear in mind, however, is that Ward Chruchill is not an aberration: he represents what has become the academic mainstream. Ditto the Kirkland Project. Start scratching the surface of your local college or university. What will you find? You’ll find things like this advertisement for a job as--God helps us--an "Assistant Professor of Human Relations & Multicultural Education" at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Really, you can’t make this stuff up:

1. The position’s primary responsibility is to teach a dynamic introductory course addressing the complexity of race and racism using an oppression framework which analyzes institutional and personal racism and race relations in the United States.

2. May teach other appropriate courses in human relations and multicultural education when needed, as determined by department. The theoretical base of the department includes a global critical framework of structural oppression, social and environmental justice and the interrelationship of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, xenophobia, imperialism, environmental issues, etc.

I love that "etc." But hurry, the appointment starts August 30, 2005. Click here to learn more.

Here’s the question: How long will we continue to pay for so-called higher education that abdicates its intellectual responsibilities for the sake of leftist claptrap about "social justice," "structural oppression," "race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, xenophobia, imperialism, environmental issues, etc."? Ward Churchill did us the courtesy of issuing a wake-up call, however inadvertent. Let’s hope that parents, college trustees, and college donors heed the call.

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